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Save the Date: May 27th Conference, "From Gatekeeper to Information Valet"

"From Gatekeeper to Information Valet:
Workplan for Sustaining Journalism"

ONE DAY: Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The George Washington University
805 21st St. NW /  Washington, D.C.

Will you stand for achieving a sustainable future for journalism? If so, please join journalists, researchers, scholars, entrepreneurs, technologists, regulators and the public on Wednesday, May 27 at a critical summit in Washington, D.C.

Please go to to learn more, or download this two-page handout for a quick briefing:

Newspapers starting to pressure Google

As newspapers look for ways to make money online, they're grumbling about sites like Google that are making money off their news.  Newspapers don't want to pull their articles from Google searches and Google News (the links bring readers to newspaper websites) but rather force Google to start paying them something.  In what form (subscriptions, content deals) no one seems quite sure, though people are starting to apply pressure.  Murdoch

St. Louis Beacon and both find a home in local television stations

This article talks about the St. Louis Beacon (started by reporters laid off by the Post-Dispatch) and the newly minted, a recently founded (though not yet live) local online site started by employees of Seattle's now defunct Post-Intelligencer. What they have in common--

Jimmy Wales pulls plug on Wikia Search

Yesterday, giraffe prospect Jimmy Wales pulled the plug on Wikia Search, his open-sourced, collaborative search engine that he hoped would rival Google.  He wrote the postmortem on his blog:  

Two takes on the fate of newspapers

ESSAY: Two media reformers propose $200 tax break for newspaper subscribers; news literacy in schools.

I came across two articles this week about the fate of newspapers:  Clay Shirky's March 13th post, "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable," and John Nichols' and Robert McChesney's recent Nation article, "The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers."

They clumped together in my mind, not because of how similar they were,

Creating a film that keeps up with the news

Media Giraffe Prospect Robert Greenwald was in the news over the weekend for his latest film, "Rethink Afghanistan."  This New York Times article, "Released on Web, a Film Stays Fresh," talks about Greenwald's efforts to make his documentaries as real time as possible. With "Rethink Afghanistan," he is shrinking the gap between creation and the audience even further, posting the film (on and

Even more on the Kindle

I'm not sure why I'm so interested in the release of the new Kindle, but it appears Slate is as well.  Over the weekend, they published another article on the portable reading device: "How the Kindle will change the world."  The article by Jacob Weisberg doesn't say much that the other articles (here and here) didn't, except to strike a sunnier note:  while the potential rise of Kindle might make it harder for writers and independent publishers to make money, there's every reason to think that the opposite might happen, that it could "spur new forms while breathing life into old ones."  He doesn't say

ESSAY: Media reformers propose $200 tax break for newspaper subscribers; news literacy in schools

In a groundbreaking essay, two of the United States' most prominent media reformers are calling for a $200-a-year tax credit for subscribers to daily newspapers, reduced megazine postal rates and news-literacy ducation in schools as methods for sustaining journalism.

In an article in the forthcoming edition of The Nation magazine, already
posted online, John Nichols and Robert McChesny write, "We confess that we do not have all the answers. Neither, we have discovered, does anyone else."

Advertising vs. Paid Content

A guest post written by Eric Clemons on TechCrunch, "Why Advertising is Failing on the Internet," predicts that online advertising will continue to fall:  "It’s not that we no longer need information to initiate or to complete a transaction; rather, we will no longer need advertising to obtain that information.  We will see the information we want, when we want it, from sources that we trust more than paid advertising." He also breaks down his scenarios for making money online.

New Profiles on Tracy Record and Bob Gough

We've added two new profiles to our database:  Tracy Record from West Seattle Blog and Bob Gough from  These are both pioneers in the local online news field.  Much of the information in these profiles was excerpted from Jane Steven's ReJurno (she and MGP's Bill Densmore are both fellows at the Reynolds Journalism Institute this year).  Researching the Record profile, I found this YouTube video clip from Flip the Media--it's a fun and quirky behind-the-scenes look at the West Seattle Blog family and their house.

Vint Cerf on the Internet

Media Giraffe has added another video to the archives.  Here, Vint Cerf, Vice President and Internet Evangelist for Google, talks about the infrastructure of the Internet and his role in helping develop that structure. Cerf also talks about the egalitarian nature of the Internet and its function in a democracy. 

The Media Giraffe Project’s Bill Densmore conducted the interview in August 2005. Below is a condensed, 9 minute version.  A full length version will be added to the site soon.  In the meanwhile, view it here.


Proposal unveiled to hire 50 laid-off journalists to teach "news literacy" to non-journalism college majors

Stony Brook University unveiled on Friday a proposal to hire 50 laid-off journalists to undergo training this summer and join dozens of U.S. university campuses in the fall to teach "news literacy" to non-journalism majors.

Google CEO takes a look at funding models

On March 6, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Charlie Rose, where he talked about funding (including the figure that 98% of Google revenue comes from advertising).  MGP's Bill Densmore blogged about the interview:

"Google CEO Eric Schmidt has laid out his vision for the three principal ways information will be financed in a digital age. His answer, not surprisingly: Advertising, micropayments and subscriptions. What’s notable is his particular take on where each method can be most effectively deployed."  Read the rest here.

More notes on the future of newspapers

Bill Densmore (MGP's Director, who is spending the year as a Reynolds Fellow at the University of Missouri-Columbia) recently typed up notes from a presentation there about the future of newspapers.  In the notes, Doug Crews and Vicki Russell, both Missouri newspaper people, offer up their advice.

Positive outlook for local news sites

For some positive news:  David Westphal recently posted a story on OJR covering how local news sites have been affected by the recession.  The verdict (gathered word of mouth, through interviews) was that things look good so far.  The article includes interviews with giraffe prospects West Seattle Blog, Baristanet, New West, and others.