Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin media’

The same old sources…

January 15, 2010

Over at University and State, which I didn’t realize was covering local issues anymore, the Critical Badger brought up an important point about sources used in city reporting, or lack thereof. To prove his point he uses three articles by Isthmus writer Joe Tarr, who on three different occasions uses Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway as the “opposing viewpoint” on whatever issue is being discussed.

This is a problem that every local reporter (and independent blogger) faces: resisting the go-to source for a certain opinion, party or expertise. Just about any state article in the Badger Herald is sure to have a quote from Rep. Steve Nass, and many city articles have quotes from Mike Verveer. It’s usually much easier to spot in local reporting, but the problem exists at the highest echelons of the media: remember Judith Warner? We don’t even need to include cable news in the discussion.

The limited sources are just one symptom of an increasingly marginalized local media, however. As the media loses money, it cuts staff and loses its coverage capability. Reporters are over-extended and they can’t keep in touch with as many contacts as they should have access to. Instead of having several reporters working the halls of the Capitol, the State Journal may have one over-worked writer make a few desperate calls to somebody they know will answer.

I try to get in touch with as many sources as possible but it’s tough, especially when there are officials who simply aren’t interested in talking. As a result, there are certain readily accessible sources who I will naturally favor if I want to find something out. I would bet that local reporters like Joe Tarr face the same dilemma.

What the music industry can teach newspapers

October 8, 2009

Hat tip to the Dean for guiding me to an article at Mashable, which has a run-down of all the things newspapers can do to avoid extinction, in the same way that the music industry has. Some of it is obvious but there are some points I haven’t heard – and I’ve heard quite a bit of talk about the decline of print media.


Reports of downfall will be grossly exaggerated.

Do not get sue-happy with bitter lawsuits against piraters (bloggers, social media etc.).

Embrace the digital age – look for internet equivalents to the jobs of yore.

Nothing is said about seeking tax breaks from local government.

Walker, Barrett lead polls, elderly still read newspapers

October 4, 2009
UW political science professor Ken Goldstein conducted a survey of Wisconsin residents to gauge attitudes about the economy, state and national government and next year’s gubernatorial election.
Interestingly, Tom Barrett, if he declares, will start the primary race with a heavy advantage over Barbara Lawton. If the primary were held today, Barrett would get 38 percent of the vote versus Lawton’s 16. He obviously benefits from being recognized practically universally in the most important Democratic district in the state (Milwaukee), but I certainly would not underestimate the days of free press he got from the scuffle at the state fair.
Practically the same deal on the other side. If the Republican primary were held today, Scott Walker would get 38 percent and Mark Neumann would get 14.
Also of particular interest:
Among those aged 18-35, 8 percent get their news from newspapers and 40 percent from the Internet. Among those 65 and over, 60 percent rely on the papers and 2 percent on the Internet.