Wednesday Edition 12/16/09

TIME TO JETTISON ‘OBJECTIVITY’: “It may be time for journalists to shift out of neutral in order to start calling things forthrightly the way they ought to be called.” [Newsosaur]

We live in a different time than we did 25 years ago. The competition facing newspapers is fierce and the financial situation facing most of them is dire. In some cases, nothing less than survival is at stake.

There’s not much question that a bit of editorial attitude – OK, a lot of editorial attitude – has been good for business at News Corp. To pick one prominent example, the journalistically unencumbered fulminations at Fox News have blown the doors off the other cable talkers.

‘PROMISCUOUS’ NEWS CONSUMERS: Once newspaper readers get the online habit, they lose their brand loyalty. And paywalls will lose these readers. [Greenslade]

CAREFUL READER: Lots of newspapers have them — just not to this degree — readers who want to be (and are) helpful, finding errors and suggesting missed opportunities. [Politico]

APPLE ‘GESTAPO’: Tracking down leaks. [Gizmodo] Link includes Apple’s classic ‘1984’ commercial.

“Apple has these moles working everywhere, especially in departments where leaks are suspected. Management is not aware of them. Once they suspect a leak, the special forces—as we call them—will walk in the office at any hour, especially in the mornings. They will contact whoever was the most senior manager in the building, and ask them to coordinate the operation.”

The operation, as Tom calls it, is not anything special. It is not one of a kind event. It’s just a normal practice, and the process is pretty simple: The manager will instruct all employees to stay at their desks, telling them what to do and what to expect at any given time. The Apple Gestapo never handles the communication. They are there, present, supervising the supervisors, making sure everything goes as planned.

All cellphones are then taken … If you need to contact the exterior during the time your cellphone is under examination, you will have to ask for permission, and your call will be monitored … If the cellphone is an iPhone, it gets backed up onto a laptop … Employees are asked to unlock and disable any locking features in their cellphones, and then the special forces will proceed to check them for recent activity.

They back up everything and go through all the other phones’ text messages and pictures. If you have porn in your phone, they will see it. If you have text messages to your spouse, lover, or Tiger Woods, they will see them, too. Just like that. No privacy, no limits.

While all this is happening, the employees are ordered to activate the screensaver on their computers, so the special forces are sure there are no chats happening between employees or with the exterior. They are told not to speak, text or call one other when the lockdown is happening

SNOW GO: The postman may not cometh, but the newspaper must get through. [Telegraph-Herald]

PAPERS FOR KIDS: France moves ahead with its plan to give out free youth newspapers — whether the youngsters want them or not. [Christian Science Monitor]

MONEY, PLEASE: Miami Herald seeks voluntary payments online. [Miami Herald]

TEXT-CRAZY: By last December, Americans keyed 110 billion of them. Imagine the number now! [LA Times]

WORSE MAY BE OVER: Roy Greenslade’s view. [London Evening Standard]

TOP VIDEOS OF 2009: Mashable‘s YouTube counter puts Susan Boyle at number one, with over 81,000,000 views.

Click Mashable link for links to other top videos.


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