Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Meet the New Frontiers of Journalistic Obsequiousness, Same As The Old Frontiers of Journalistic Obsequiousness.

Choire takes stock in some recent developments over at The Chicago Reader, who have recently decided that, in order to cut costs, four of their regular journalists have to walk. Smart move? OF COURSE NOT. As Choire notes: "Does firing real journalists actually cut costs? A look at any newspaper's most popular stories suggests the most obvious thing of all: That reporting actually makes money for newspapers."

He goes on:

News (and strong opinion, and stories about animals having sex, and politics analysis, and funny stories about moms on Facebook) are what bring traffic; So why does the Chicago Reader think ditching the asset of news will bring them profitability?

Instead, they are still literally blaming their troubles on Craigslist and the death of alt-weekly classified ads, as if it were 2003. That is pretty unreal. And, yup, they may be dying in print ads—but they're still also dying on the web, and that should have been fixed years ago.

Ahh, but where was the Chicago Reader and it's ersatz former [corrected, my apologies] leader "years ago?" As it turns out: blaming his troubles on Craigslist and the death of alt-weekly classified ads! This is something that I covered while a-stint at Wonkette:

Michael Lenehan of the Chicago Reader is sad. Sad because no one, apparently, is reading newspapers anymore. Which actually means that newspapers aren't making as much money as they used to make, in his opinion, but never mind that. He's got a laundry list of people who've done the industry in, including Craig Newmark and his Craigslist, EBay, Google Base and naturally, bloggers, all of which begs the question: how many straw men are currently employed by the Chicago Reader.

Naturally, he cites this and other blogs and "their blogging friends whose idea of a good time is giving yourself a funny name and distracting normal people who used to read newspapers." Yep, our secret was our funny name.

Actually, he seems most pissed at the fact that bloggers take news stories and then do what the reporters seem unable to do -- make them interesting.
At that time, Lenehan had a big idea to save his ilk from the bloggers and the Craigslists and the interwebs. What was it? Throw a giant snit-fit!

Today, therefore, I am proposing a yearlong journalism strike. I am urging reporters and editors around the world to put down their notebooks, close their laptops, hang up their phones . Lie down and be counted! Let s have no reporting, no editing, no application of any human intelligence whatsoever to events public or private till January 1, 2007. I m calling it the Year Without Journalism.
As you recently sacked journalists of the Chicago Reader begin your Year Without Journalism, this is something you should keep in mind: Lenehan had two years to solve this problem, but his leadership seems to have peaked with that shallow bit of grandstanding. He tried nothing, and soon found himself all out of ideas.

By the way, please note that Lenehan's "Year Without Journalism" article, written in 2006, was available for online readers ONLY AS A PDF DOWNLOAD. (As a matter of fact, this still appears to be the case.) Michael Lenehan: forward thinker!


amythemighty said...

You know that Lenehan left the Reader in August, right? So whatever his blind spots, he's not behind this round of firings. It's the Creative Loafing folks now.

The Deceiver said...

Argh. You are correct. I meant to write "ersatz FORMER leader." Thanks for the heads-up. I will correct.

My point was, plenty of dick-around by supercilious nincompoops on the same issues preceded the firings. No coincidence.

RB said...

I'd forgotten about Lenehan's "Year without Journalism" article because his phone-book-sized apologia for Wemple and Cherkis' hit piece on Murray Waas pushed that article out of the tiny sliver of my brain devoted to the maunderings of Lenehan. Thanks, Dceiver, for reminding me!