In case you missed it — Barbara Walters has apologized for assisting an ex-aide of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. She did a bit of networking on behalf of the aide, who had advised al-Assad on media strategy, among other things. Got a problem with that?
*Harry Shearer in CJR hammers executives with Advance Publications for diminishing the print schedule of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He’s particularly harsh about the move to drive folks to the paper’s Web site, Nola.com:
And 36 percent of New Orleanians are not connected to the Internet. Consider also that nola.com, the website to which Advance Publications now assumes people seeking news in the city will drift, is widely recognized as one of the ugliest and worst-designed such sites — aside from the others in the Advance newspaper stable, all of which are forced by Advance headquarters New York to use the same digital template.
*And speaking of dying newspapers, check out the Poynter chat with Rick Edmonds, Mallary Jean Tenore and Jack Shafer. Edmonds riffs on the logistical difficulties of frequency reduction:
Also, in Detroit, readers have had more specific complaints — missing death notices until after the funeral has occurred, no print edition on big news days. New Orleans will be none too happy with digital-only on the Monday after a Sunday Saints game.
And Shafer reminds us that the newspaper crisis isn’t such fresh news:
There’s a great David Shaw Los Angeles piece from 1978 about the industry whose lede was, “Are you now holding an endangered species in your hands?” My view is that the dying of newspapers is well-understood by the newspaper industry, which was fretting about it decades before the Internet came alive.
Continuing in this topic area, Reuters did a story that needed to be done, on how digital ad growth appears to be stalling. Have a look:
At the New York Times Co digital ad revenue at its news sites, including nytimes.com and bostonglobe.com, fell 2.3 percent to $48.5 million in the first quarter from a year earlier. At the Washington Post Co, the decline was even worse, with revenue dropping 7 percent to $24.2 million, mainly at the website of its namesake newspaper and online magazine Slate.
“The online share that newspapers are getting is smaller even though it’s the greatest goldmine of advertising growth we’ve seen in a generation,” said Ken Doctor, an analyst with Outsell Research.
*Frances Martel of Mediaite blasts Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC for a segment on Mitt Romney’s alleged fetish for police uniforms.
*”El Huffington Post” existe.
*MSNBC’s Ed Schultz insists that union members who voted for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker owe something. “You gotta explain to the country and the your union why you did that.” You know, they really don’t.