New Website, Blog site!

31 03 2009

I have finally bought a hosting plan and integrated my Web site into an all-in-one with my blog, photos, multimedia, resume … everything.
I will no longer be updating the blog on this site.
Visit my new site at www.katharinelackey.com and click on the “Blog” photo.





The Death of Newspapers and Journalism

23 03 2009

“It is now possible to contemplate a time in the near future when major towns will no longer have a newspaper and when magazines and network news operations will employ no more than a handful of reporters.” ~ Time‘s Walter Isaacson

As Wall Street is seeing bailouts in the hundreds of billions, another important sector in America is being ignored: journalism. In a recent article by The Nation, John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney write extensively about the decline of newspapers and what the government could do about it.

The basis of the pair’s argument for government support of newspapers is basically that as an institution newspapers provide for the continuance of America’s democracy.

“The founders regarded the establishment of a press system, the Fourth Estate, as the first duty of the state. Jefferson and Madison devoted considerable energy to explaining the necessity of the press to a vibrant democracy. The government implemented extraordinary postal subsidies for the distribution of newspapers.”

To prevent this devastating  death of newspapers, Nichols and McChesney believe that an annual tax credit for the first $200 spent on daily newspapers should be instituted.

But that’s just to start us off.

The authors argue that the $450 million spent annually by the government (lower than in most democracies) on public media should be increased to $60 billion, or $20 billion a year for the next three years.

Now, I’m not sure if government support is the way to go — after all it could be a slippery slope — but with fewer and fewer options on the table, I wonder if it should at least be discussed. With the current recession, however, I doubt Congress is going to be ready, willing or able to finance such a large operation, even if there is some economic benefit to be had from keeping journalists out of the unemployment line.

There is, as always, a larger point to this discussion. If newspapers cease to exist, what will happen to journalism? Despite online innovation on the part of newspapers, staffs are still decreasing at a rapid rate — The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is reducing its paper staff of 165 to one of just 20 individuals to run its online operations. Will these smaller staff lead not only to less coverage overall, but more coverage on topics without real public impact (especially entertainment?). If even smaller staffed online ventures prove unprofitable, will corporations abandon the enterprise all together for the sake of profit?

When I think about the end of newspapers I think about the thousands of papers that were published on Election Day and on inauguration day. Around the world, people celebrated and read about the new United States president — Barack Obama. And those same people saved their newspapers. In the U.S., papers flew off the newstands, even selling out in some places.

Thirty years from now, we will go through our attic and we will find those papers, tinted yellow by the passing time. And as we leaf through the pages that are beginning to crumble, we will reminisce about the historical events.

But, I wonder, will we also be reminiscing of the days when newspapers still existed?





Speaking of Twitter’s popularity…

15 03 2009

Just caught this in the Associated Press story I was reading to send through copy desk — more proof that Twitter is going mainstream:

Democratic lawmakers promoted a potential plan to help move so-called toxic assets off bank ledgers. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said discussions were under way, but would not be rushed. “If they wait a week or two more, no one ought to get all in a twitter about that. It’s very important to do it right,” he said.

Now, Mr. Frank doesn’t actually use Twitter himself, but its still good to see that a Congressman knows abiut the social networking site. Maybe he will join TweetCongress.org someday.





Absence

15 03 2009

Well I haven’t updated this blog since November…. NOVEMBER! The ridculous-ness of this astounds me — I missed the after effects of Obama’s election, not to mention inauguration day and the first couple months he’s been in office. I missed the climb of Twittering into an acceptable and commonplace social networking site that is beginning to rival Facebook. I missed The Daily Emerald’s strike (though at least that was more recent).

Well, no longer. Though I’ve been and continue to be incredibly busy finishing my final semester at Penn State, I must make this blog a priority.

So to kick it off, here’s my new favorite comic and proof of Twitter’s newfound success:

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On a side note: It’s great to know that comics and late-night talk show hosts have not been completely without presidential jokes since Bush left — though the focus has obviously been taken away from the failed Bush policies and his inarticulate-ness, Obama is still fair game for late night.

After all, nobody’s perfect.





Covering Election Day

6 11 2008

I went out yesterday with my camera in hand around Penn State, taking photos for my photojournalism class. Here’s what I found:

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By far, the most interesting part of the night was when a crowd of students formed, walking around campus in celebration of Barack Obama’s win.¬† They ended up on the steps of Old Main, where Obama spoke to 22,000 in March.

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Capturing the Wall Street crisis

11 10 2008

In the past weeks it seems that we’ve been flooded with the inescapable images of Wall Street’s downfall as markets have plunged, and continued to do so despite the passing of a bailout bill.

What surprised me most, was the relative sameness of the photos being published, mostly through The Associated Press — seems some photographers are stalking the floor looking for downtrodden stock brokers… and they’ve found many examples.

Most photos seem to illustrate the feeling on Wall Street by finding stock brokers with their hands covering part or all of their faces.

Here’s a few from the last couple days:

AP Photo

AP Photo

AP Photo

AP Photo

AP Photo

AP Photo

AP Photo

AP Photo

It’s not that I’m against taking photos of stock brokers who are obviously not feeling great about Wall Street at the moment, it’s just that I’d like to see more photos published that focus on how regular people are dealing with the market … like this one:

AP Photo

AP Photo

I have a feeling the problem comes down to limited space for photos — if you can only publish one photo to illustrate the Wall Street crisis, most likely you will pick from the ones with stock brokers.





Speaking of multimedia reporting

11 10 2008

For the last couple of weeks, my normally print only reporting class has focused on audio. A couple Mondays ago, we recorded a speech of Victoria Freile, a multimedia reporter for the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y.

Here’s a segment of that speech where Freile discusses being a multimedia reporter and why multimedia is so important.