Tuesday Edition 1/26/10

FREE MAINE: Who’d have thunk it: A chain of free daily newspapers in Maine. Read about it on free-daily.com.

FACEBOOK FIX: If you screwed up your Facebook privacy setting — or really don’t know what you did or should do — you’re not alone. This NY Times story, which clearly explains how to make everything reasonably right, was still the Number 1 Most Popular story on the Times Website seven days after it was published.

TRANSEXUAL NAME CHANGES: It’s all the rage, according to a NY Times report. One glitch: To change your name in New York State, the law requires that you publish, in a newspaper, your old name, new name, sex and address (and a few other key identifiers). This requirement “has fed an eerie subculture of readers, many of them prisoners, who follow the newspaper notices. One man forced to advertise that he was becoming a woman received several seductive letters with prison return addresses. ‘Hello Angel!’ said one of the letters. ‘I am not afraid to take new roads,’ said another.

SINGLE PAPERS FOR SINGLETON: Expect consolidation in several cities in the wake of MediaNews bankruptcy, Alan Mutter predicts in a city-by-city analysis in his Reflections of a Newsosaur.

D-DAY MINUS ONE: Print media awaits salvation by Apple, the NY Times reports, again — with some useful insight.

IN DEFENSE OF AL JAZEERA: A New Hampshire TV station won’t allow feeds to the Arab network, prompting Dan Kennedy to write in Media Nation: “Al Jazeera is a legitimate news organization [that] reaches 40 million viewers around the world, and it acts as a wire service for CNN and other American news operations. The perspective it offers is quite different from that of the Western media, but isn’t that the point?

Al Jazeera English is available on very few U.S. cable systems, but it does offer a YouTube channel. Its current lead story — about drug addiction in Iran — is exactly the sort of thing you’re unlikely to see on American television.

IN YOUR FACE: An Oregonian commercial brings the newspapers’ superstars into your home.

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