Monday Evening Edition 11/30/09

OLD MEDIA’S FALL: Today’s overview by David Carr includes cold hard facts. [NY Times]

Various media labs are now testing algorithms that assemble facts into narratives that deliver information, no writers required. The results would not be mistaken for literary journalism, but on the Web, pretty good — or even not terrible — is often good enough.

Sounds like “Epic 2015,” which I’ll repost here. If you’ve not yet seen it, do so now.

MICROSOFT-NEWS CORP COMBINE: Will it work? [Big Money] Also: Giving it away undermines democracy.[Guardian]

POSTER’S PRIVACY: Judge orders cloak removed. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Experts and attorneys are keeping a close eye on this First Amendment case in which Stone filed legal papers asking the Herald’s publishers for the identity of the commenter known as “Hipcheck16.” The online poster made a series of unflattering comments on the Herald’s Web site earlier this year as Stone was running for trustee and just before she took office.

COMMENT POLICE: New tools, from Knoxville. [Editor & Publisher]

THANKSGIVING SURCHARGE: Newspapers shouldn’t have done it. (Told you so!) [Peter Funt]

There’s little mystery about what the nation’s newspaper publishers were thankful for on Thursday: a bountiful harvest of holiday advertising. And how did many papers — from the Washington Post in the East, to the Bakersfield Californian out West — celebrate their good fortune? By raising the cover price. …

Readers must have felt quite a jolt upon discovering that their Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kansas City Star were priced at $2. Customers in Dallas must have felt truly blessed to find that Thursday’s Morning News had a “Special Price” of $3.

[Bakersfield’s publisher crowed that he] “increased the cost of today’s paper from 75 cents to $1.50, but we feel the bargain you’ll get from the specials inside is definitely worth the extra charge. Happy Thanksgiving.” …

If the Internet doesn’t kill newspapers, upside down marketing like this just might.

The basic premise of newspaper economics is that circulation revenue covers the shortfall in advertising revenue. Theoretically, if publishers could sell enough ads they’d give the paper away free, or close to free, and in doing so attract even more ad dollars. …

Whatever the fate of the newspaper industry in the face of new Internet challenges, the only reasonable explanations for higher prices are improved news content and/or unavoidable increases in the cost of production and distribution. Selling more advertising is not a reasonable excuse for doubling the price.

GLENN BECK: Ticking timb bomb. “One day he’s going to explode in the face of Roger Ailes, and they’re going to regret they gave him that television show.”

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