Speaking of PBS, make time for the latest edition of Frontline.
In a four-part special series, News War, FRONTLINE examines the political, cultural, legal, and economic forces challenging the news media today and how the press has reacted in turn. Through interviews with key figures in print, broadcast and electronic media over the past four decades — and with unequaled, behind-the-scenes access to some of today’s most important news organizations, FRONTLINE traces the recent history of American journalism, from the Nixon administration’s attacks on the media to the post-Watergate popularity of the press, to the new challenges presented by the war on terror and other global forces now changing — and challenging — the role of the press in our society.
I’ve only caught part III titled “What’s Happening to the News?” This episode examines new ways to deliver news – for example 60 Minutes on Yahoo, The Daily Show, blogs (eg. Rocket Boom and Daily Kos) – as well as examining print media tumult, specifically at the LA Times.
Perhaps one of the most interesting nuggets I took away from Frontline was the idea that newspapers like the LA Times are still lucrative, making a margin of (iirc) about 20% or $200M. Papers are not loosing money; they are just not seen as a growth industry. Additionally, I was shocked to find that, in the past, big papers made around 70% of their revenues from classified ads! Not those full page “Macy’s One Day Sale” ads, but the help wanted ads, etc which are now migrating to Monster and craigslist.
In a coup of new media journalism, the whole 4 part series is being shown online, with parts I-III available now. Check out this segment focusing on blogs with very insightful discussions by Markos Moulitsas, Jeff Jarvis and Nicholas Lemman as to who they percieve to be journalists.