Monday, March 16, 2009

Tucson Citizen R.I.P.

Tucson, Arizona. Tucson's first newspaper shuts down this week. Art Jacobson's The Data Port has followed the unfolding developments of its demise. Like many and for good reason Art is concerned about the implosion of so many newspapers and the consequences it may have on journalism and the ability of the public to get to the truth, always a precious and difficult to obtain commodity. Those who have tried understand the difficulties associated with quality journalism.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a paper in print for 146 years, prints its final hard copy edition this week and from now on will be published entirely on the Web. Hearst Corp., owner of over a dozen papers, continues to lose money on most of them and like the owner of the Citizen, failed to find a buyer. The San Francisco Chronicle is in serious danger of closing, as is the Philadelphia Enquirer and many, many others. Even The New York Times, what one might consider the strongest and last to be standing, faces a $400 million balloon payment (the company might have a tenth of that on hand) this May. Uh-oh.

Checkmate has a good piece, The Great Newspaper Massacre of 2008 that reinforces Art’s concerns. It’s easy to watch TV and get the sense that the talking heads or their employees actually got the information. That almost never happens. Quoting the article: Newspaper reporting, for all its oft-mentioned flaws, is the photosynthesis of the news ecosystem; it feeds everything above it. The real thing usually comes from hardworking journalists covering their assigned piece of reality, in some cases persisting like hungry dogs chasing a scent against extraordinary adversity, a situation masterfully illustrated by the Oscar winning and fantastic film, All The President’s Men.

I’ll leave the in-depth discussion of the future of journalism to others, but as hinted at in the Checkmate piece, its future has to include Internet based content that attracts the readership hits to support adware for which advertisers will pay. While at levels far below what I would like to see, the public has elements hungry for quality journalism and the first rate journalists that can generate the truth. The demand for the product has not diminished. The product’s media have changed. Smart people must figure out a way to turn this corner. I’ve been 100% keyboard and screen for over a year, but that said, I will always miss a certain something about Sunday morning with a fat stack of print.

Word in Tucson is that the Cloth trough might fund a few of the Citizen’s displaced workers to spin smoke for the Clothmeisters, giving them titles like "Public Relations Director" or "Community Outreach Specialist" with the real assignment of making stuff up to flatter naked emperors. (Rio Nuevo could use a dose of sugary syrup these days.) I wish the employees of the Citizen a better future, and may they have good luck in securing positions that encourage and reward their talents.

UPDATE:In what occurs to me as a cruel move, today it was announced that The Citizen will continue to live on a day to day basis. Gads. Serves me right for posting a tombstone ahead of time. Apparently we now have Republicans fighting for Rio Nuevo.

I thought the GOP hated boondoggles.


Blogger The Navigator said...

I know it's off topic, but I am so upset about the AIG bonuses I can't even think.

I want them all crucified.

3/17/2009 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear you, Nav. It's beyond disgusting. My personal opinion is that AIG just slit its own throat. Their image is dogsh** forever.

Would you do business with them now? They are now universally despised.

Regarding the Citizen, as x4mr states it is a national if not global development. I don't know the future of journalism either, but I also think it's online.

F AIG. I hope they rot.

3/17/2009 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Believe soon-to-be-former reporter Teya Vitu is among those joining the perimeter of the Cloth. He'll never be an insider, just a mouthpiece.

3/17/2009 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Xrmr, Cruel doesn't begin to describe the Evil Gannett.
Their Corporate Suits are nothing more than high-priced Cloth.
Evil, evil.

3/17/2009 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scarlett is spot on.

The patient is dead. Your tombstone applies. They are just dragging it out.


3/17/2009 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Framer said...


I'll believe you are truly upset about the AIG mess when you go after the people that allowed it to happen.

" During a late-night, closed door meeting last month, negotiators for the House, Senate and White House agreed to strip an amendment to the stimulus bill that would have restricted bonuses to any company receiving federal bailout funds. Instead of that measure, another measure by Senator Chris Dodd (D) from Connecticut was inserted that limited "executive compensation," but specifically exempted bonuses.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada was in on those closed door negotiations when the bonus limitation was stripped from the stimulus bill. "

Just for fun, guess who received the greater sum of AIG money in their election coffers?

Answer- the people involved in those closed door meetings, the ones Republicans were not invited to.

It's OK to be outraged, but be honest with it.

3/18/2009 9:21 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

I don't recall anyone singling out the Republicans with respect to AIG. The fiasco has friends on both sides.

However, it was the Bush administration, at the hands of Rove and Cheney, that deliberately selected blind, unquestioning obedience, abandoning the slightest regard for competence, in filling who knows how many positions throughout our government. Their bungling ineptitude has infested the whole system.

We've gone bonzo, and when it comes to ignorance, stupidity, and the worship of dumb (Grand Canyon is 4000 years old), I give the Republicans the silver star.

3/18/2009 9:42 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

I'm also livid like most, and Framer's point is legitimate that the Democrats had a hand in the debacle. Nav is also right that the atrocity of incompetence of the last eight years follows more from W than any other source.

I actually know some people (can't identify) who were specifically instructed to select loyalty OVER EVERYTHING in filling positions. Consider the selection of Sarah Palin for VP. Consider the selection of Steele to head the RNC. The GOP needs to kick its addiction to Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of the pinheads.

Nav, you didn't know the Grand Canyon is 4000 years old? You probably think fossils are legit.

3/18/2009 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again we bump up against the same old song played over and over again where the Republicans rally against "big government" (after presiding over the biggest expansion of government in history) and for massive tax cuts to "starve the beast."

Now that we have seen (AIG) what corporations do when given the freedom to manage their affairs, who can argue for lack of regulation and free markets?

The democrats pretend to be against rape. The republicans declare open season for the rapists to do as they please. This country has devolved to two classes, the rapists and the raped.

I'm moving to Sweden, Denmark, France, Canada. I'm sick of Cialis commercials. The free market SUCKS.

3/18/2009 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Framer said...


Don't let your door hit you on the way out. I suspect Venezuela would be more to your liking. They hate the free market there too.

The AIG thing was a DIRECT payoff by DEMOCRATIC politicians to one of their deep pocket donors. They are only indignant now because they got caught. Maybe we should read the bills next time before voting on them. Its amazing how one-sided liberal criticism can be.

Also saying Frank is a born again supporter of Rio Nuevo is wrong also. You could certainly call him if you need clarification.

3/18/2009 12:00 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

I did speak with Frank, although awhile ago, and he was no fan of Rio Nuevo at that time. The paper quoted him directly (and more than once) as having changed his mind and now being a supporter. It seems odd the press would be so wrong, but it's happened before.

When I spoke with him, he was struggling with the hard decisions of cutting education, medical services, CPS, and the rest, and he was in no mood to funnel millions into the Cloth trough.

The pharmaceutical industry is a perfect example of the insanity we've allowed to develop. They spend over $30 billion a year to tell men they can't screw, pee, or sleep well enough. In every other country on the planet, advertising prescription medicine is illegal.

3/18/2009 12:14 PM  
Anonymous framer said...


Here you go. Frank's own words:

3/18/2009 4:12 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

THANKS SO MUCH. I listened to the entire thing. Wow, the press really screwed up their coverage. What Frank said at the link you provided is FAR more consistent with the conversation I had with him and makes a lot more sense than what the press said.

For readers willing to click and listen, what just occurred is an example of when blogs cut a sharper angle than MSM.

3/18/2009 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Well this thread sure as hell has nothing to do with the original post, but no problem.

You obviously have an intellect and a mind and a respectable relationship with reality. Why are you a Republican? I think (as do others) x4mr's blog has shifted to the center lately. How do you articulate intelligence in the Republican party?

I think the Framers and the Antoneris and the Ash's (I think highly of Bruce) need to jettison the freak show. The Republicans need a serious enema.

For what it's worth, Framer, I voted for you.

3/18/2009 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrats are fessing up to what Framer has said.


3/18/2009 10:58 PM  

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