Category Detroit

Digital First’s paywalls and what they mean in Detroit

I’ve had an interesting vantage point, at The Detroit News, from which to watch and learn more about the journalism debate over whether news content should be offered for free on the web or put behind a paywall for subscribers only. Digital First Media, which famously eschewed paywalls, took over management of our sister Media […]

Public service journalism: What we can’t give up

With shrinking staffs and growing demands, reporters and editors for years have been asking, “What can we give up?” It’s a fair question (and one I’ll get to), but we learn far more when we  ask: What can we not give up? That answer is simple: Public service journalism. Despite smaller staffs, more frequent deadlines and diminishing […]

A gut punch for “digital first” advocates

On the great scale weighing two alternative futures of the newspaper business, Journal Register has had all its weights on one side. Print is dead. Go digital first. And fast. It’s an attractive message. It’s a vision, after all. As the rest of the industry meanders toward a digital future, these folks are racing ahead. For the […]

Should news values change with the times?

Vigorous, but not vicious. Interesting, but not sensational. Fearless, but fair. They were core values for The Detroit News — in 1916. Are they appropriate standards for the 21st century? I recently came across a style book, dated the year before The News moved into its present building, that gave a detailed explanation of the […]

Why journalists should celebrate New Orleans

Last week’s news that the New Orleans Times-Picayune would reduce print publication to three days a week and reorganize as a digital-first media company was met with hand-wringing, blame and much time spent discussing what we’re losing. Yes, of course. Who isn’t lamenting that it’s come to this? In the meantime, there’s been too little celebration. Why celebrate? […]

Why the worst may not be behind us

The cuts of the last three years, plus generally improving economic news, have led some to believe that the worst is behind print newsrooms. Consider this a wake-up call. The worst is not behind us. Not unless we proactively chart a new course. Print circulation continues to decline, advertising tends to follow suit and there’s […]

Welcome to ‘News Inscriptions’

In 1916, University of Michigan rhetorician Fred Newton Scott was asked to write the inscriptions on the parapet of The Detroit News building being designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn. “Mirror of the public mind … Interpreter of the public intent … Troublers of the public conscience…” are among his words. Some 96 years later, journalists still […]