Tag Archives: Newtown Bee

Media Nation’s top 10 posts of 2012

be02f758328311e2b55612313804a1b1_7Work-force reductions at The Boston Globe. The end of WFNX as an over-the-air radio station. “Local” news from the Philippines. Possible bankruptcy at GateHouse Media.

These were a few of the top 10 Media Nation posts of 2012 as determined by Google Analytics and WordPress’ own internal statistics.

Most people who read Media Nation come in via the home page, which means that any notion of a “top 10” is dubious. Usually it means that a particular post got retweeted a lot on Twitter or was linked to by a popular media website such as JimRomenesko.com.

But the list isn’t entirely without meaning — and one takeaway for me is that Media Nation’s role as an aggregator and a curator may be its most important. I’ll keep that in mind in the year ahead.

Here is my top 10 for 2012.

1. The Boston Globe keeps on shrinking (July 23). Despite some encouraging signs in the form of rising digital-subscription numbers and a continued commitment to first-rate journalism, The Boston Globe, like nearly all daily newspapers, continues to struggle financially. Last summer Media Nation obtained a memo from Globe publisher Christopher Mayer announcing another wave of downsizing at the Globe and its sister paper, the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester.

2. Donna Halper on the future of radio (May 17). Friend of Media Nation Donna Halper was kind enough to write a guest commentary, and her post turned out to be the second most popular of 2012. Halper wrote following an announcement by the Phoenix Media/Communications Group that it would sell WFNX’s broadcast frequency, 101.7 FM, to Clear Channel. Fortunately for local music fans, by the end of 2012 WFNX and the Globe’s RadioBDC were engaged in a spirited competition of online-only local music stations — the real future of radio.

3. Long-distance “local” journalism (July 5). The public radio program “This American Life” and the journalist Anna Tarkov reported extensively on Journatic, which helps community newspapers cuts costs by outsourcing some of their local coverage. At its worst, news was being compiled by underpaid Filipino workers writing under fake bylines. Dubbed “pink slime” journalism by one former practitioner, Journatic underscored what debt-ridden corporate chains will do to survive — and thus demonstrated the importance of independent local journalism.

4. And Joe Scarborough thinks “Morning Joe” is awesome (Jan. 1). A full-page ad in The New York Times for the wretched MSNBC program “Morning Joe” started the gears whirring when I noticed one of its celebrity endorsers was Tom Brokaw. Who, uh, appears on “Morning Joe.” I got to work, and soon found that Politico, which was quoted as praising the program, had an undisclosed partnership. The ad even stooped to using seemingly positive quotes from two reviewers who actually didn’t like it much at all. Disingenuous, to say the least.

5. More bad news for GateHouse Media (March 19). By now it’s not exactly news when executives at GateHouse Media, struggling with $1.2 billion in debt, pay themselves handsome bonuses. (Nor is that unusual at newspaper companies.) In 2012, though, there was a wrinkle at the chain, which owns some 100 community newspapers in Eastern Massachusetts. Jack Sullivan of CommonWealth Magazine paged through the company’s financial disclosures and discovered that officials were openly raising the possibility of a bankruptcy filing.

6. David Gregory debates himself (Oct. 1). The host of “Meet the Press” was brought in to moderate the second televised debate between Republican Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren. Unfortunately, it was all about David Gregory. Good thing the candidates were forced to weigh in on whether Bobby Valentine deserved a second year as Red Sox manager. Warren blew the question but won the election.

7. From Newtown, a plea for media restraint (Dec. 17). I republished an open letter from John Voket, associate editor of The Newtown Bee, to his colleagues at the New England Newspaper & Press Association following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Voket wrote about “reporters and media crews invading the yards and space of grieving survivors, school staff and responders,” and asked editors “to remind your correspondents that most are still requesting to be left alone.” A heartfelt message from ground zero.

8. Calling foul on politicians who lie (Aug. 30). It would be hard to come up with a more falsehood-laden performance than U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention. Ryan’s lies prompted me to wonder how far the balance-obsessed media would be willing to go in labeling them for what they were.

9. At CNN, getting it first and getting it wrong (June 28). My instant reaction to CNN’s false report that the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. At least CNN executives flogged themselves in the public square. As we later learned, Fox News made the same mistake — and refused to apologize.

10. An unconscionable vote against the disabled (Dec. 5). My reaction to Senate Republicans’ rejection of a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled — a treaty modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, championed by President George H.W. Bush, a Republican.

Ghosts of 2011. Oddly enough, the single most popular post of 2012 was one I wrote in 2011 — a fairly terse item on Jay Severin’s return to the Boston airwaves, a comeback that proved to be brief. As I wrote last year, I’ve put up several Severin posts that have generated huge traffic, and I have no idea why.

Newtown Bee associate editor expresses thanks and concerns

The following message was sent earlier today to members of the New England Newspaper & Press Association by John Voket, associate editor of The Newtown Bee. It is well worth reading given the Bee’s central role in covering the Connecticut shooting massacre. Note, too, Voket’s comments about harassing behavior on the part of some of his colleagues in the media.

Dear NENPA Colleagues and Members,

By now you and the world is fully aware of the devastating tragedy that has befallen our small community here in Newtown, CT.

As a member of the NENPA board I wanted to reach out the first moment I could to many of you, and journalists around the globe who reached out to us at The Bee to send thoughts, prayers and asking how you can be of help to our community — especially those immediately impacted by the December 14 massacre at Sandy Hook School.

Please know my fellow staffers here — and our community — are so very touched by your thoughts and wishes. And if I was to make a request for anything at this early stage of recovery, it would be twofold.

First — despite repeated requests by many victims’ families, First Selectman Pat Llodra, and our local and state law enforcement agencies, a growing number of incidents have been occurring as I write this Monday morning involving reporters and media crews invading the yards and space of grieving survivors, school staff and responders.

I fully acknowledge that some of these were initially invited as shock set in, or as part of the process working through their immediate grief by communicating to the world stories of heroism and tragedy they were hearing from children and other survivors. But I have been asked by officials and some victims to remind your correspondents that most are still requesting to be left alone.

Secondly — the outpouring of support has been, and continues to be overwhelming. But it has created opportunities for scams and legitimate organizations that are taking pass-through and/or processing expenses before delivering donations being made.

Newtown Savings Bank has assured me through its president and CEO that its survivors fund will be distributing 100 percent of every donation to assure the immediate victims are being cared for — including any expenses related to specialized counselors and responders who need to be brought in and put up in close proximity to Newtown. I will be discussing with them in the near future ideas about how any future surplus from donations can continue to serve victims and especially children affected by this and other similar tragedies.

If any NENPA outlets are inclined, they can drive readers, viewers and listeners to www.nsbonline.com for information on donating to this fund. Having friends of my own who lost children, and many more who were immediate to the incident, I can’t begin to articulate the horror this unwanted event has showered on us, but your thoughts, prayers and attention to these immediate concerns will make a significant and positive difference.

With deepest appreciation,

John Voket
Associate Editor
The Newtown Bee … since 1877