Saturday, December 13, 2008

Working on 2008 Review

What were the top stories of 2008?

The closing of Muhlenberg surely tops the list. Plaintalker has a few stories, but left the bulk of coverage to the print media. Brandon Lausch and Mark Spivey did a fine job in the Courier News.

There were lots of other stories that Plaintalker published first, having the advantage of being able to write and publish at will. But sometimes Mark had a story online by the time this writer got home from a long meeting.

Media coverage is changing as print operations embrace online options. The cost of printing and delivering newspapers is forcing adaptations such as smaller editions, cutbacks in publishing, equipping reporters with cameras and other gear formerly exclusive to professional photographers and wireless connections to the newsroom for speedy transmission.

Where do you get your news nowadays, especially local news? Most of us have heard all about national stories before the newspaper arrives, hence the shift to local news on the front page. Blogs including Plaintalker may be hybrids of news and opinion, which in the print media are sharply separated. It is up to a blog reader to sort out facts from hearsay, although talk in the street often presages a news story. Are news consumers better off with more sources now or is it more confusing?

So far, I am only one-third through 2008 in making lists for a Year in Review article. One advantage of a blog is that the whole year is there online for anyone to do their own review. In fact, Plaintalker's entire body of work since June 2005 is posted online. It now forms a free , searchable archive on many city matters.

Plaintalker has just one unpaid writer/photographer/publisher and does not attempt to cover everything, such as crime news. Having chosen to be a pedestrian, this writer is also geographically limited in coverage, to some extent. Most likely Plaintalker will continue through 2009 and then we shall see what's next. Many more blogs and potential online information outlets have begun in 2008. The fate of the traditional news media will be a story in itself for 2009.

--Bernice Paglia

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the review and glad to see that you will be writing at least through 2009. Can't wait to read your coverage of the mayor's race!

A Huge Fan

5:55 PM  
Blogger Hughes ap Williams said...

Now that we are easing into retirement at our house, I can't imagine not finally having the opportunity to read the entire morning newspaper over my coffee and then working the crossword puzzles.

I finished The Huffington Post book on blogging yesterday. With the print cuts in local coverage you may be one of the only news sources for many residents, so I hope you keep blogging. Also, being an independent blogger/journalist, you can keep up your high standards while still saying what you really think.

You may enjoy this post: http://hillsboroughnjjournal.blogspot.com/2008/11/no-newspaper.html

9:26 AM  
Blogger Bernice said...

I remeber when my dad would bring in an armload of Sunday papers, including the Journal-American, Herald-Tribune, Daily News and Newark Evening News. The Daily News had great crime stories and all the papers had comics. One had a banner with an image of Puck saying, "What fools these mortals be." I do recall all the special interest articles and features that have long since been dropped. Nowadays I read next to the recycling bag. Working backwards, I look for Plainfield legal notices. Inserts and sports go right in the bag. Dear Abby is a must-read. Obits, editorials and local news get scanned for Plainfield items. Ingle and Riley get my close attention. Other papers are read online, lest the recycling bag burgeon beyond my ability to keep up with it.
All the uses you note for newspapers still prevail in most households. It will be sad if print fades away.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Jackie said...

On a local level, for me one big news story is about the construction FINALLY getting started on East Front Street after so many years of a vacant lot and vacant promises!

As for news, I buy the Courier News each day for my train commute, but read the Star Ledger online. On my days off, I also go for the online version of the Courier News. I've been reading the locally specific blogs as the newspapers really don't cover the local news thoroughly.

11:15 AM  

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