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News Sentinel tries hard sell for old ways in Walgreens

I ran into Walgreens hoping for the world’s quickest pickup of a product that I now know you have to buy at Target and was accosted at the door.

Sales guy, holding out Walgreens printed circular (the bait): "Would you like this week’s ads?"
Me, no I don’t because I came in for a single product but being a dumb human (the nibble): "Sure."
Sales guy (the hook): "Would you like a Walgreens gift card?"
Me, quickly noting the stack of News Sentinel papers (the denial): "No thank you. I don’t need a paper."
Sales guy (the switch): "Are you sure you don’t want a News Sentinel?"
Me (attempted escape): "I read it online."
Sales guy (the lie): "At only 38 cents a day, there’s value in the print edition you can’t get online."
Me (the truth): "Honestly, I’m never going to read a paper ever again." (and I won’t pay for it online either)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
End Times
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Newt Gingrich Unedited Interview

You know who would love this? My grandma! [Source, The Daily Show’s Jason Jones, End Times 2:41-2:46]

Thanks to Cathy for pointing to the video!

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N.E.W.S. times are a changin’

N.E.W.S. – Notable Experience Was Scrutinized (or Noble Elitist Writers Soapbox)

What’s new in the news now? People are all a buzz…better…people are all a twitter about the death of the newspaper business. Ironically nicknamed deadwood, the printed word is dying. Newspapers are following the slide projector. Newspapers, once the cornerstone of public opinion, are struggling to re-establish themselves, figure out how to be profitable, and not get closed down. Newspapers used to be accepted as gospel. The tone of the printed word could set public opinion and decide political careers and was regarded by the public as "fair and unbiased" when in truth the newspaper is controlled by either an editor who can influence the tone set by the paper or corporation whose agenda may side with printing the opinion or running a story with a twist that brings in the most money. Pajamas Media argues that news should not be fair and balanced. So with papers dying, where will news come from? The Associated Press says to listen to the bloggers and the social media entrepreneurs. News is turning from the professional journalists who seek it out to the amateur writer who is experiencing the news as it happens. I want papers to succeed. Without the newspaper, society will crumble! How will we train our dogs? What will childhood be like without that disgusting smell of wet flour and strips of paper for sculpting? What will our parents stare blankly at while struggling to remember if this is their first or second bowl of bran cereal for the day?

N.E.W.S. – Now Everyone Writes Something

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New York Times Pwns Bloggers

Let’s knock out some buzz words: new media, blogger, msm, social media, old media. The future of the New York Times, and other traditional papers, is shaky at the moment.

…its financial performance is lagging. NYT Co.’s stock is trading at about 40, down 25% from its high of 53.80 in mid-2002…The Wall Street consensus is that the company will report net income of $290 million for 2004, down 4% from the preceding year and a good 35% below the $445 million it netted in the media industry boom year of 2001. Revenues have plateaued at $3 billion, give or take a few hundred million, for five years running. [Source, BusinessWeek, The Future Of The New York Times]

With newspaper circulations down, the newspaper companies are in a panic and looking for someone to blame. The finger most frequently gets pointed at bloggers, citizen journalists who write without the impedance of an editor nor the accountability of a professional journalist and who are able to get the news out (accurate or not) in seconds from the scene as eye witnesses. Blaming bloggers is simply a red herring.

The root problems go back to the late 1940s, when the percentage of Americans reading newspapers began to drop. But for years the U.S. population was growing so much that circulation kept rising and then, after 1970, remained stable. That changed in 1990 when circulation began to decline in absolute numbers. [Source, The State of the News Media 2004]

1940 predates the modern Internet and 1990 predates the blogging boom. But since The New York Times is convinced that bloggers are partially responsible for subscription decline (and that may very well be accurate!), they devised a way to get some of that traffic back…they published an article about how detrimental blogging is to health! They even attributed a 41 year old’s heart attack to blogging. Now that should scare the competition away! Bloggers jumped on this story! Writers like my wife, Michael Silence, and Dr. Helen all chimed in and linked to the story. It spread like wildfire through the blogosphere with each blogger adding their opinion and interesting commentary. Now I respect each of these bloggers and enjoyed reading their take on the NYT‘s article, but I’m going to call it like I see it. In a stroke of marketing genius, you were link baited by The New York Times! Which I’d say is quite an honor!

Is blogging stressful? I suppose if you were relying on it for your income it would be. But if you are a hobbyist who posts between tasks rather than taking smoke breaks (which is how I blog), there should be no stress in this diversion. I do find blogging stressful when I have deadlines because I know my clients read my blog and each post could look like I am playing instead of working (which is not the case). So for me, the stress is in wanting to post but not give the wrong impression to those people to whom I have professional obligations.

Others who took the NYT’s bait:

Whew! The list goes on. I just can’t keep up.