Sunday, January 11, 2009

Media Week 1

And so we start a new year...

In The Atlantic Michael Hirschorn wonders what might happen to The New York Times if it runs out of cash.

Regardless of what happens over the next few months, The Times is destined for significant and traumatic change. At some point soon—sooner than most of us think—the print edition, and with it The Times as we know it, will no longer exist. And it will likely have plenty of company. In December, the Fitch Ratings service, which monitors the health of media companies, predicted a widespread newspaper die-off: “Fitch believes more newspapers and news­paper groups will default, be shut down and be liquidated in 2009 and several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010.”

The collapse of daily print journalism will mean many things. For those of us old enough to still care about going out on a Sunday morning for our doorstop edition of The Times, it will mean the end of a certain kind of civilized ritual that has defined most of our adult lives. It will also mean the end of a certain kind of quasi-bohemian urban existence for the thousands of smart middle-class writers, journalists, and public intellectuals who have, until now, lived semi-charmed kinds of lives of the mind. And it will seriously damage the press’s ability to serve as a bulwark of democracy. Internet purists may maintain that the Web will throw up a new pro-am class of citizen journalists to fill the void, but for now, at least, there’s no online substitute for institutions that can marshal years of well-developed sourcing and reporting experience—not to mention the resources to, say, send journalists leapfrogging between Mumbai and Islamabad to decode the complexities of the India-Pakistan conflict.

The Economist takes a look at TinTin and author Hergé (Georges Remi). Apparently, a blockbuster movie is coming our way.

Tintin’s slightly priggish character fitted the times. His simple ethical code—seek the truth, protect the weak and stand up to bullies—appealed to a continent waking up from the shame of war. His wholesome qualities help explain the great secret of his commercial success—that he was, and remains, one of the rare comic books that adults are happy to buy for children.

But probity cannot explain why Tintin became a cultural landmark in Europe, as important on his side of the Atlantic as Superman on the other. There were plenty of wholesome comics in post-war Europe, most of them justly forgotten. Something else in Tintin spoke to children and adults in continental Europe. Even in the straitened years of post-war reconstruction, he was soon selling millions of books a year.

An interview with Frank Daniels of Ingram Digital in The Tennessean:
Powering much of the retail distribution for the e-book market is La Vergne-based Ingram Digital Group, a division born out of Ingram Industries' Lightning Source Division and acquisitions made in 2006 of Raleigh, N.C.-based VitalSource Technologies, a player in the digital textbook field, and U.K.-based MyiLibrary, which supplies electronic content to academic libraries.

Frank Daniels III, who headed VitalSource before its sale to Ingram, now serves as chief operating officer of Ingram Digital. He sat down this week with Assistant Business Editor Ryan Underwood to discuss the current state of the e-book market, where it goes from here, and Ingram Digital's role in all of it.

Maybe it's just that Amazon's Kindle e-book reader was one of the most popular items for Christmas, but whatever it is, e-books seem to be having a moment right now. Are you seeing that?

Absolutely. In a time when publishers' sales are flat, or declining, e-books are the bright spot. You're seeing significant increases in revenue, as much as
400 percent growth for some publishers. That gets the industry's attention. And they recognize that a confluence of events — screen and distribution technologies, and the standards that the industry has adopted — makes e-books more likely to be real versus hype.

Lastly, Bono reflects on Frank Sinatra. NYTimes.

If you want to hear the least sentimental voice in the history of pop music finally crack, though — shhhh — find the version of Frank’s ode to insomnia, “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road),” hidden on “Duets.” Listen through to the end and you will hear the great man break as he truly sobs on the line, “It’s a long, long, long road.” I kid you not.

Like Bob Dylan’s, Nina Simone’s, Pavarotti’s, Sinatra’s voice is improved by age, by years spent fermenting in cracked and whiskeyed oak barrels. As a communicator, hitting the notes is only part of the story, of course.
Lastly, lastly, The Giants may have choked but my team had a crushing victory earlier on Sunday. BBC.

* * * *

Join me on LinkedIn. See my Presentations on SlideShare. View my books on Blurb. Visit my bookstore on Amazon. Photos on Flickr.

1 comment:

xensen said...

If I may be allowed a link, some time ago I made a post on Tintin and the accusations of racism that were leveled at Herve.