FRIDAY’S LINKS: McClellan and the Press, Google Earnings Soar, ‘LAT’ Yanks Columnist Hiltzig’s Blog

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s edition, Google’s quarterly profit soars, Jay Rosen on how Scott McClellan’s stonewalling was by design, and the Los Angeles Times suspends Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Michael Hiltzig’s blog after discovering he has been posting comments under false names.


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McClellan’s Job ‘a Piece of the Puzzle’
“Scott McClellan was a different kind of press secretary, sent to do a different job than the one people had done from that podium before,” writes Jay Rosen. “Instead of grouping him with a succession of other White House spokesmen, a line to which he does not belong, we have to take McClellan’s job, call it a piece of the puzzle, and place it alongside other pieces until we recognize the larger political strategy he was a part of. He’s gone; the policy — strategic noncommunication — may still be in place.”


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‘LAT’ Suspends Columnist’s Blog After Questions Arise
The Los Angeles Times suspended the blog of one of its top columnists last night, saying he violated the paper’s policy by posting derogatory comments under an assumed name. The paper said in an online editor’s note that Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize winner who writes the Golden State column, had admitted posting remarks on both his Times blog and on other Web sites under names other than his own. The Times said it is investigating the matter. Editor Dean Baquet declined comment, and Hiltzik said he could not comment.


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French Newspaper Founded by Sartre Searches for Identity
Liberation, now a pillar of France’s mainstream media, has drifted far from its original Maoist moorings and into the orbit of the market forces it once vowed to avoid. Like newspapers the world over, Liberation has been hammered by the Internet, but the paper’s woes also mirror a broader European predicament: the long struggle of countries such as France, Italy and Germany to reconcile the rebellious ideals of 1968.


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Google’s Quarterly Profits Soar
Internet search firm Google has said first-quarter profit rose 60% to $592M, from $372M a year ago. Revenue was up 79% to $2.25B, ahead of analysts’ forecasts, as the firm showed it was responding to the challenge from Microsoft and Yahoo. Google, listed on the stock market in August 2004, saw its shares rise by 6% after the ball trading in New York.


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The Era of Participatory Media Has Arrived
This has profound implications for traditional business models in the media industry, which are based on aggregating large passive audiences and holding them captive during advertising interruptions. In the new-media era, audiences will occasionally be large, but often small, and usually tiny. Instead of a few large capital-rich media giants competing with one another for these audiences, it will be small firms and individuals competing or, more often, collaborating. Some will be making money from the content they create; others will not and will not mind, because they have other motives.


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Marketwatch Readers Slam Pulitzer Winners
“Yes, it’s an axiom in the media biz that unhappy people tend to write the lion’s share of the letters to the editors,” writes Jon Friedman. “Still, it’s rare when EVERYONE who responds to one column happens to take the same position on an issue. So, I was struck when every email message disagreed with my view.”


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Contests to ‘Meet Your Favorite Columnist’ Could Easily Get Out of Hand
“These days, my dream doesn’t involve bedbugs and jackals, but a five-star hotel in Rome,” writes Michael Kinsley of a contest to win a trip with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “That’s why I have decided instead to enter the Times’ next contest: ‘Win a Trip With Tom Friedman.'”


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Trial By Newspaper
“The fairness of a trial-by-newspaper, of course, depends on how closely a news organization apes the practices of official courts,” writes Jack Shafer. “Fairness requires it to consider not only the statements and evidence of the accuser, but that of the accused, no matter how heinous the charge. By that measure, the New York Times has failed the two Duke University lacrosse players who were indicted Tuesday of raping a woman during a party in an off-campus house on March 13.”


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What Some Call Treason, Others Call Truth
“Conservatives, such as the Powerline blog (who called the Risen and Lichtblau piece ?treasonous? and columnist Mark Steyn, who says that even though he?s ineligible to win a Pulitzer, he ?wouldn’t want the thing in the house? anyway), rail against the awards because they feel the reporters have hurt national security,” writes Eric Alterman. “Unsurprisingly, none of these conservative attackers felt compelled to explain why these leaks should be punishable by prison while, say, leaks lovingly dealt out to administration-friendly reporters like the Post?s Bob Woodward or the Times? Judith Miller that dealt with no less secretive or sensitive matters should be celebrated.”

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