Chris Matthews was always a sexist blowhard

You may have heard that Chris Matthews’ long, often bizarre stint at MSNBC has come to a close. It’s too bad that he seemed to be the last person to know that his time was up. Then again, he was an aging, sexist blowhard 12 years ago, when I wrote about his shtick for The Guardian.

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The Globe’s digital circulation continues to rise, while print slips again

The Boston Globe continues to make impressive gains in digital subscriptions, while its print circulation keeps on slip-sliding away. Don Seiffert of the Boston Business Journal has the numbers along with some thoughts from me.

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Should opinion journalists disclose whom they’re voting for?

Photo (cc) 2018 by Bill Smith

We’re all familiar with newspaper endorsements. But what about individual journalists whose job descriptions include expressing their opinions about politics and politicians?

Is the old rule that opinion journalists shouldn’t reveal whom they’re voting for still relevant?

Read the rest at Poynter Online. And talk about this post on Facebook.

Burgers, beers and journalism: An experiment in civic engagement

Photo (cc) 2012 by Ruocaled

Can a news organization help to support itself by opening a café, bar and wedding venue? It’s a good question, but here’s a better one: Can such a gathering place lead to the revival of civic engagement and, thus, to renewed interest in local journalism?

Read the rest at WGBHNews.org. And talk about this post on Facebook.

How six women fought for (and won) better family leave at The Boston Globe

Poynter has published a terrific story on six women who pushed for a better family-leave policy at The Boston Globe. They won — but it took two years.

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Do newspaper endorsements matter? Why a hoary tradition may be near its end

My Northeastern colleague Meg Heckman has written an important thread about political endorsements by news organizations. Her starting point is the Concord Monitor’s unusual decision not to endorse in the New Hampshire primary. (Heckman is a former editor at the Monitor.) Please read it and come back.

The Monitor’s non-endorsement is not the only break with the past that we’ve seen in recent weeks.

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What ‘American Factory’ says about the soul of our nation — and the coming campaign

A scene from “American Factory”

The botched Iowa caucuses and the State of the Union mark the official opening of the presidential campaign. From now until November, you’re going to hear a lot about whether Democrats can take voters in the Midwest back from President Trump.

And so politics was very much on my mind when I watched “American Factory” over the weekend. The Netflix documentary, the first released by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, tells the story of a glass factory opened by the Chinese in 2016 at the site of a former General Motors plant near Dayton, Ohio. The film has been nominated for an Oscar.

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The Boston Globe embraces uppercase ‘Black’ to describe race and culture

Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory sent this email to his staff last week, and it is just now wending its way in my direction:

Effective immediately, we’re updating the Globe stylebook to put the word Black in uppercase when it is used to describe a person’s race. After consulting with leaders in the Black community, we’re making this change to recognize that the word has evolved from a description of a person’s skin color to signify a race and culture, and as such, deserves uppercase treatment in the same way that other races — Latino being one example — are capitalized. Unless otherwise requested by a person we’re writing about, we’ll use Black, which is considered to be more inclusive, rather than African-American.

This is a good, progressive move. Will the Associated Press follow suit?

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When Clayton Christensen and Jill Lepore tangled over ‘disruption theory’

Clayton Christensen. Photo (cc) 2011 by Betsy Weber.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen’s ideas about why some businesses adjust to competition and some don’t were so controversial that a battle broke out on Twitter within hours of his death last Friday at the age of 67.

Christensen’s best-known critic by far, though, was Harvard historian Jill Lepore. Nearly six years ago, in a long essay for The New Yorker, Lepore lambasted Christensen’s theories as flights of fancy with little evidence to back them up.

I had read Christensen’s first book about disruption theory, “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” and thought he had some provocative things to say about the struggling news business. So not long after Lepore’s piece appeared, I wrote a self-published essay for Medium about Lepore and Christensen’s battle of ideas, which I’m republishing here this week.

Obviously the world doesn’t look exactly the same in 2020 as it did in 2014. But if you’re wondering who Clay Christensen was and what disruption theory is all about, I hope you’ll find that this is a useful introduction.

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Can hopes for local news co-ops ever turn into reality? A conversation with Tom Stites

After nearly a decade of attempting to raise money and spark interest in the idea of a cooperatively owned community news site, a group of volunteers in Haverhill, Mass., announced this month that they were shutting down.

The site, which would have been known as Haverhill Matters, was to be a pilot for the Banyan Project, the work of veteran journalist Tom Stites, who hoped to seed co-ops in news deserts across the country.

I reached out to Stites with the idea of having a conversation that would mark the end of a long journey — except it might not be over yet. News co-ops remain an interesting idea that could help fill some of the gaps created by the failures of legacy media.

Here’s a lightly edited version of our interview over email.

Read the rest at Nieman Lab. And talk about this post on Facebook.