Tablet Computers Called Newspapers' Future
Sunday, April 1, 2012
The tablet computer — the most popular of which is Apple Inc.'s iPad — represents the future of the newspaper business, members of the American Society of News Editors were told on Monday. "This is the primary revenue generator in the digital generation," said Roger Fidler, whose credentials include writing about the possibility of a newspaper tablet three decades ago, in 1981.
Fidler presented the results of a telephone survey of 1,015 randomly selected participants taken between Jan. 17 and March 25. It showed that 28 percent overall said they were considering purchasing a mobile media device. Of those, 44 percent were likely to purchase a large media tablet.
Moreover, 48 percent of daily newspapers that didn’t offer a tablet product in 2011 are planning to offer one sometime this year.
However, Fidler told Journal-isms, "newspapers aren't cultivating the innovation," not realizing that in order to take advantage of the tablet technology, they must add value, not merely repeat what's available in print or on the Internet. And, he said, although media organizations continue to trim staffs, "they still need talent and people" to add that value.
Fidler pointed to News Corp.'s the Daily as one product doing it right. "The Daily takes full advantage of the iPad but still has the feel of a newspaper." Other newspapers in tablet form lack an element of surprise and their presentation is too low-keyed, he said.
Fidler is program director for digital publishing at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. He and Mike Jenner, Houston Harte chair in journalism at the school, spoke on the opening day of the annual ASNE conference, held in Washington this year in conjunction with meetings of the Newspaper Association of America and the Associated Press.
After Fidler and Jenner presented their research in a panel called "How Smartphones, Tablets and Other Digital Devices are Transforming News Consumption," Val Hoeppner, director of education for the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, listed a dizzying array of applications — apps — for mobile devices that aid journalists as well as publishers seeking to reach the burgeoning mobile market.
Consumers of color are overrepresented in that market — for now. An ASNE report issued Monday, "The Future of Diversity in the News" [PDF], reminded readers, "A variety of studies already indicate that minorities — especially Latinos and Blacks — use their mobile phones more often than whites to get information. The 'Mobile Access 2010' Pew report noted that 64 percent of African-Americans and 63 percent of Latinos access the Internet through wireless devices. It also reported that 87 percent of blacks and Hispanics own a cell phone compared with 80 percent of whites."
Members of the black and Latino press, which primarily publish weeklies but nonetheless have an Internet presence, seemed noticeably absent from the gathering. Fidler's study did not address how the move to tablets would affect consumers of color.
Hoeppner told the group, "We are in what Steve Jobs called the post-PC world," referring to the late Apple entrepreneur. In her own family, she said, she advised her father not to buy a PC, but an iPad or other tablet. Dad loves his choice, she said.
Hoeppner said 25 billion apps had been downloaded for Androids and Apple iOS applications.
American readers of the Economist magazine can expect to see the demise of the print edition in two years, in favor of the tablet version, she said.
Among applications Hoeppner listed were the Evernote, for note taking; Dropbox, for storing media files; Police Scanner, for listening to local national and international scanner traffic; Google Translate, for quick translations of foreign languages; Abbyy TextGrabber, to digitize printed text from documents; iTalk, for audio recording; HootSuite, TwitPic and Storify, "social curation" tools; Audioboo, for audio blogging; UStream, for live broadcasts; Movie Camera, for more professional video; iTimeLapse, for time-lapse photography; Panu, for panoramas, and Filterstorm, photo editing software for the iPhone.
In addition, Hoeppner discussed facial recognition software, such as FaceMate and FaceClock. Location and highlight apps notify the user where the targeted person is standing in relation to the user, or they can identify someone who looks similar to the user. Hoeppner acknowledged some of these have "creepy" implications, noting that these apps can even be used to identify jury members whom a court might not want identified.
In their survey [PDF] Fidler and Jenner found that reading habits of tablet users are more closely suited to those of newspapers. They read most widely from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and again in the evening, peaking at 8 p.m. Smartphones, by contrast, are used throughout the day to access a variety of information, mostly in short bursts.
- Ellen Cushing, East Bay Express, Oakland, Calif.: The Trouble with Tablets
- PJ Gurumohan, Venture Beat: As tablet usage grows, can publishers evolve fast enough?
Stanley Greene is an African American war photographer who in the 1990s covered the war between Russia and the breakaway republic of Chechnya. His work was considered "tremendous" by New York Times war correspondent C.J. Chivers. But Greene was not there.
Neither was Gustavo Chacra, New York-based foreign correspondent for Estado de São Paulo, one of Brazil's major newspapers. He's likely the reporter whom Rodrigo Abd of the Associated Press recalled meeting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
They were the only journalists of color who came to mind when Journal-isms asked three war correspondents at the American Society of News Editors convention Monday if any were among their ranks.
"So many of the people have stopped sending" correspondents, said Tyler Hicks, a New York Times photographer. "It's a small group now." Hicks was with Anthony Shadid, the Pulitzer-winning reporter who specialized in the Middle East, when he died in Syria in February. Hicks carried his friend's body across the border to Turkey.
"Probably I am one of the few journalists of color," said the Argentine-born Abd. Sending a correspondent to a war zone is expensive, "and the media rely on the wires," he said. His photo at the funeral of a grief-stricken Syrian boy crouched on the ground with his knees near his chest, tears flowing down his cheeks, struck such a chord that it appeared March 9 on the front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
Abd thought some more. Occasionally, he said, he would see a reporter from Mexico but no one of color from the United States.
Perhaps that might be expected in this era of cutbacks. Moreover, being a war correspondent can be dangerous work for those of any color. It's work for which not all reporters are adequately prepared, even by their news organizations, Chivers said.
For example, "first aid training is essential," he told the group. "You'd be astonished at the number of people who don't have any training. They need to be able to stop the bleeding, treat for shock and do basic triage." He recalled a friend dying with journalists at his side, "providing comfort but not first aid."
It takes a psychological toll, Hicks added. "It's been the worst year of my life," he recalled. He, Shadid and others were captured last year in Libya. This year, his friend died. Hicks' account of Shadid's last day ran on the Times' front page.
If there was one point the journalists wanted to make to the group of editors, it was to think about families of the correspondents. "What my wife goes through and my kids go through when I'm away. . . . it's just like what the soldiers go through," Chivers said.
Hicks said, "Let the photographers and reporters know not to put on the pressure that you've got to have that photo or that story, because the stakes are too high." Correspondents who work in teams, as Chivers had with Hicks, are always calculating risk. "If something happens to you, what do I tell your mom, what do I tell Bill?" Chivers said, referring to former Times Executive Editor Bill Keller. "You can't file if you're dead."
Hicks put the lie to the image of the hard-drinking foreign correspondent. "You have to be healthy," he said. "I'm 42." The troops he travels with are between 18 and 25. Adding to the age difference, "it can be a really difficult experience with all the weight you're carrying. We run, we go to the gym," he said. Added Chivers, "The first patrol I lag on, that will be the day I stop. You have to have the life habits so that you can see this through."
Chivers, who is white, pondered race from another angle. At Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, he wrote a thesis on race and the upper echelons of the Marine Corps. In the Marines, he recalled, "three of my commanders were black," he said, and Chivers wanted to explore how often that occurred. Not very, it turned out.
One shouldn't be surprised that there aren't very many of color among the war correspondents, he said.
"Just like there's generally not [very many] in the newsroom."
- C.J. Chivers, Rodrigo Abd, Tyler Hicks with Susan Bennett: War and Conflict Reporting (C-SPAN video)
A story about a 16-year-old who felt she was a girl trapped in a boy's body won Cary Aspinwall of the Tulsa (Okla.) World the Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity Monday at the American Society of News Editors convention in Washington.
Aspinwall's portrait of Katie Hill "showed what it was like to live as a transgender teen in a small Oklahoma town," ASNE said.
"It cost us some subscribers," Aspinwall said in accepting the award. But others said, "I never really understood that, but now I kind of get it," or "thanks for letting me know I'm not alone," Aspinwall told the group.
Among the other awards, Danny Hakim of the New York Times won after "his investigation into the more than 2,000 state-run homes" for the developmentally disabled "in New York revealed widespread problems, including 13,000 allegations of abuse in a single year, with fewer than five percent being referred to law enforcement."
"The best editors to me are the ones that let ideas come from the bottom up," Hakim told the audience.
The staff of the Joplin (Mo.) Globe won the distinguished writing award for deadline news reporting for its coverage of the deadliest U.S. tornado in more than 60 years. "Despite the situation — nine of the newsroom’s 30 employees lost their homes in the tornado; one staffer was killed — this staff quickly turned to social media to get the word out to victims, their families and the nation," ASNE said.
Editor Carol Stark told Journal-isms her newsroom includes one journalist of color, Dave Woods, a Native American who participated in the coverage.
Howard Troxler of the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times won in the commentary or column-writing category. In accepting on Troxler's behalf, Managing Editor Mike Wilson said Troxler, at 59, had "quit the business and retreated to North Carolina." The award, Wilson said, was a reaffirmation that "not just anybody with a blog or a tablet can call themselves a columnist."
Separately, Investigative Reporters and Editors announced Monday that "On Shaky Ground," a project of California Watch and KQED San Francisco. was one of two winners of its highest honor, the IRE medal.
As reported in this space last month in an item on Corey G. Johnson, California Watch also won Scripps Howard's Roy W. Howard Award for Public Service for the 19-month series detailing a breakdown in the way the state protects children and teachers from the threat of a major earthquake.
"Last week Geraldo Rivera issued an apology for claiming 'the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman is,' " Merrill Knox reported Monday for TVNewser. "In an interview last night with Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the Fox News anchor personally apologized to the pair.
" 'I never intended to hurt anyone's feelings, and certainly, Sybrina and Tracy, I never intended to hurt your feelings,' Rivera said. 'I want to personally convey my deepest apologies to both of you. I am sorry if anything I said, Tracy, added to your misery.' "
Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, accepted the apology and added that it was raining the night his son was killed. The "hoodie" was protecting him from the rain, he said.
Meanwhile, "MSNBC contributor and author Touré apologized late Saturday for losing sight of the big picture in a fiery interview with CNN's Piers Morgan about the country's inflamed racial tensions in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting," Dylan Stableford reported Sunday for Yahoo News.
" 'I should not have gotten caught up in "winning" the debate with Piers,' Touré wrote on Twitter. 'I got caught up with "winning" on some masculine bravado bs when my whole point has always been justice for this boy. I lost sight of that.' "
His apology should not be conflated with Rivera's, Touré told Journal-isms. "He said something racist that he's disavowing. I'm repudiating ego."
- Jenice Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News: Trayvon was no angel, but does that merit a death sentence?
- Charles M. Blow, New York Times: A Mother’s Grace and Grieving
- Audra D.S. Burch, Miami Herald: Trayvon case has become pop culture phenomenon
- David Carr, New York Times: A Shooting, and Instant Polarization
- Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: On the Age and Innocence of Trayvon Martin
- Corey Dade, NPR: Will A Movement Emerge From Florida Teen's Death?
- Eric Deggans blog, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times: Trayvon Martin case highlights need to talk about race issues before someone gets killed
- John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: I am angry, at so many, over Trayvon’s death
- Denis Hamill, Daily News, New York: Trayvon Martin lifts the veil on hoods
- Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Let's chill for a day or two on Trayvon, please
- Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Journalistic lapses in Trayvon case
- Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle: Oakland has more than its share of Trayvon Martins
- Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Senseless violence hurts no matter who is the victim
- Erin Aubry Kaplan, Los Angeles Times: Race: It's gotten personal for Obama
- Trymaine Lee with Brooke Gladstone on "On the Media," NPR: Trayvon Martin, Week Two (audio)
- Douglas C. Lyons, South Florida SunSentinel: Shooting sheds light on Stand Your Ground controversy
- Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: Protests Are Driving the Pursuit of Justice for Trayvon Martin
- Lenny McAllister, Politic365.com: Could You Really Be #Trayvon?
- Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: What if Trayvon’s killer doesn’t face any charges?
- Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: What Trayvon was wearing is overshadowing the real issue
- Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Trayvon's death claims legitimate attention
- Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel: 'Ragtime' performance at UCF offers a glimpse into Trayvon Martin case
- Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel: Trayvon Martin: Revisiting 'The Talk' that black parents give to keep their children safe
- Pew Research Center: Blacks’ View of Law Enforcement, Racial Progress and News Coverage of Race
- Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: In Trayvon Martin case, it’s not about the hoodie
- Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: America needs answers in killings of Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi
- Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: On race, we pick our own truths
- Bob Ray Sanders, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Wheels of justice moving in Trayvon Martin's case
- Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Race is the real issue in Trayvon Martin case
- Soni Sangha, Fox News Latino: Trayvon Martin: Latino Silence over Zimmerman Draws Fire
- Alysia Santo, Columbia Journalism Review: The Trayvon Martin Case: How Has the Sentinel Handled It?
- David Squires, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.: Trayvon can spark talk, action
- Wendi C. Thomas, Commercial Appeal, Memphis: For black boys, the lesson is hard one
- Wendi C. Thomas, Commercial Appeal, Memphis: Pray for justice
- Touré, Time: Why Obama Will Never Call Out Racism
- Adrian Walker, Boston Globe: Stopped for being black
- Dr. Boyce Watkins, syndicated: How to Not Make Your Son Another George Zimmerman
- Rod Watson, Buffalo News: Post-racial America still about 'they'
- Erik Wemple, Washington Post: NBC to do ‘internal investigation’ on Zimmerman segment
- DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Watchman, police need to answer for their actions
George E. Curry, editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service from 2001 to 2007, returned to the job on Monday, Curry told Journal-isms.
The service distributes articles to black community newspapers and posts them on its website, but some stories on BlackPressUSA.com had remained there for more than a year.
Curry is also part of a group that in January purchased Heart & Soul, a health-and-wellness magazine that has broadened its focus from African Americans to include other people of color.
In that venture, "I will continue serving as editorial director," Curry said in an email. "I will be able to serve in both capacities because we have hired Sandra Guzman as editor-in-chief of Heart & Soul and she will serve as the face and voice of the magazine. When we brought Sandra aboard I told her although she will be reporting to me, she will have full authority to execute her vision. I will continue to exchange ideas with Sandra, be a sounding board for her and recommend writers for certain stories but, in the end, Sandra is editor of Heart & Soul and will have all the powers normally enjoyed by an editor-in-chief."
Curry said he had voluntarily resigned in 2007 when the NNPA Foundation was experiencing financial problems.
"Karl Rodney, chairman of the NNPA Foundation (which operates the news service) asked if I would be willing to take over the news service again," Curry said. "I submitted a proposal to the Foundation and it was accepted. Association President Cloves Campbell also asked if I would be willing to return to NNPA and I said yes.
"Why did I agree? The news service has been dormant for nearly two years and this is a critical period for the Black Press. Black newspapers can't operate effectively without an active and thriving Washington presence. I fell in love with the Black Press as a teenager in Tuscaloosa, Ala. when my stepfather subscribed to the Pittsburgh Courier. I felt an obligation to return to NNPA because I know the history, I know the papers and, more importantly, I know how to quickly revive the news service. I was awarded the NABJ Journalist of the Year in 2003 for my work overhauling the news service.
"I will hire two reporters, probably within the next week. In addition, Kyle Yeldell will remain on board on focus on making technical improvements to BlackPressUSA.com, NNPA’s public Web site." Reporter candidates may contact Curry at george (at) georgecurry.com
Three veteran black journalists — Acel Moore, Sandra Long Weaver and DeWayne Wickham — are donating their personal papers to local institutions in the cities where they worked for much of their careers.
Moore, a retired associate editor and editorial columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Long Weaver, who was laid off in June after working at the Inquirer since 1984, are donating their papers to the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University. Long was vice president for editorial product development for Philadelphia Media Network, owner of the Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.
Wickham, a columnist for USA Today and interim chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at North Carolina A&T State University, is donating his material to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in his Baltimore hometown.
"We're just delighted. I can't wait until it arrives," Diane D. Turner, curator of the Blockson collection, told Journal-isms, speaking of the Moore and Long Weaver donations. The Blockson collection highlights the contributions of African Americans in Philadelphia.
Moore, 71, was the first black reporter at the Inquirer. He said his collection includes a copy of the Declaration of Independence as pulished in the Inquirer in 1926 on the document's 150th anniversary. It also includes his old Rolodex, 20 years of yearly calendars and art work from a reporting trip to South Africa
Long Weaver said the idea for her donation came last year when she spotted a box in the corner of her garage that turned out to include files and papers from her five years at the old Philadelphia Bulletin. "I knew I didn't want to move it to Tennessee," where she was moving with her new husband, she said. Long Weaver had a 37-year career in the Philadelphia area, including her first newspaper job at the News Journal in Wilmington, Del.
Included in her material are programs from conventions of the National Association of Black Journalists, of which she and Moore are founders; her college transcript; her high school newspaper and material from Project BAIT, a Philadelphia black journalists group whose acronym stood for Black Awareness in Television and Radio.
"As African Americans, if there's somebody who has a collection of something that relates to Philadelphia, let's boost that collection," she said.
Wickham told Journal-isms in an email, "the Enoch Pratt Free Library is going to create a collection of my work that will be housed in its African American Collection. The official announcement will be made in the fall. It will include my personal papers, the columns I've written over the past 27 years, videos, records, hundreds of hour of audio tape of interviews, many with historic subjects like George Wallace, Chris Hani, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, etc."
- Mike Armstrong, Philadelphia Inquirer: Local investors buy Inquirer, Daily News, website [April 3]
Thirty-eight years ago, Ernie Reese became one of the first African-Americans to cover sports for a major Southern newspaper," J.E. Geshwiler wrote Saturday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"Guy Curtright, a retired Atlanta Constitution sports reporter and editor, remembers vividly that night in 1974 when Mr. Reese made his initial appearance at the office.
" 'Ernie got off the elevator and approached the sports desk,' Mr. Curtright said. 'He was a total stranger. The senior editors had given us no inkling of his coming to work for us.'
"It was a highly awkward moment for Mr. Reese, Mr. Curtright said.
" 'Just the same, Ernie made the best of it, and within a few weeks, he was a beloved member of our department. Trained as an athlete and coach, he transformed himself into a memorable sports journalist,' Mr. Curtright said.
". . . Earnest L. Reese Jr., 70, died Thursday at his McDonough home of complications from prostate cancer. His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Shiloh Baptist Church, McDonough. W.D. Lemon & Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements."
Eight black people — but apparently no Latinos, Asian Americans or Native Americans — made New York University's list of "the 100 Outstanding Journalists in the United States in the Last 100 Years," released on Monday. The list includes several better known for their literary efforts than their journalism, and omits others, such as Robert C. Maynard, the first African American publisher of a mainstream newspaper and namesake of the institute that publishes this column.
The African Americans chosen are James Baldwin, Ed Bradley, W.E.B. DuBois, Bob Herbert, Langston Hughes, Gordon Parks, Carl Rowan and Ida B. Wells.
A blurb at the top of the list explains, "In March 2012 the faculty at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, together with an Honorary Committee of alumni, selected 'the 100 Outstanding Journalists in the United States in the Last 100 Years.' The list was selected from more than 300 nominees plus write-ins and was announced at a reception in honor of the 100th anniversary of journalism education at NYU on April 3, 2012."
Andrew Beaujon wrote Monday for the Poynter Institute, "One thing the list's authors better prepare for is a barrage of questions about why so much of its real estate belongs to white men. I counted 21 women and 8 African-Americans on the list (I counted three times, but let me know if I muffed that)." He quoted NYU journalism professor Mitchell Stephens.
"Considering how long blacks were discriminated against, says Stephens, 'I don’t think we did that terrible a job on that.' Women had to scale high cliffs to get into newsrooms over the last 100 years too, he says. And if the paucity of either 'inspires a discussion,' he says, so much the better."
While journalists of color were discriminated against in the mainstream media, many did appear in the black, Hispanic, Asian American or Native American media, as Du Bois, Hughes and Wells illustrate.
Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.
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