Sunday, March 29, 2009

Print Newspapers: Fighting For Their Livelihoods in the Online Age

Perhaps even Editor Andy and his Std-Ex editor cohorts would benefit by taking a look at this

Informative Andy Howell piece in yesterday's Standard-Examiner, highlighting some of the strategies that our home town newspaper is adopting to transform itself into an internet multimedia platform, with the object of remaining relevant and profitable in the 21st century information age. Among other things, editor Andy mentions having been "contacted by a couple of people in the media industry wanting to know why the Standard-Examiner seems to be doing so much better than other newspapers in this economic climate."

Coincidentally, we also received a timely tip from one of our gentle readers yesterday, pointing toward a fine three-part article published Wednesday on one of our online favorites, the Utah Stories blog. Although Editor Andy wasn't specific, we're going to take a wild guess that it was the article's author, Leo Dirr, about whom Andy was referring above. Leo's put together a fine tome, which presents a broad overview of the challenges and difficulties the traditional print media. As an added bonus, Leo features the fruits of a recent Editor Andy interview, providing a brief glimpse into the Std-Ex's new game plan, as it struggles to survive and thrive in an era where the paper and ink format may very well go the way of the buggy whip. At risk of oversimplification, we believe Mr. Howell's below statement sums it all up:
"I think you'll see the Standard progress into an information/marketing company that produces a newspaper, rather than a newspaper that does all these other things on the side," he says.
You can read Mr. Dirr's most excellent three-part article series here:
Will Newspapers Survive? -- Print journalists are forced to fight for their livelihoods in the Online Age
While we're on the subject of the fate of print newspapers in the online information age, don't miss this morning's Wasatch Rambler column by the way, in which Emerald City journalistic treasure Charlie Trentelman "fights for his livelihood in the online age," and makes a strong case for the preservation of a media business model which would support paid reporters in well staffed newsrooms. We're going to go along with Charlie on this. Frankly, we don't know what we'd do without the vigorous reporting of Ace Reporter Schwebke, and a few other thoroughbred reporters in the Std-Ex stable. Seriously.

And for those readers interested in the whole enchilada, we provide a live link to Mark Potts' extremely interesting Recovering Journalist blogsite, which was referenced by Mr. Dirr in his above article. This site is entirely dedicated to a discussion of traditional media survival in the looming digital information age. Lots of interesting and topical stuff there. Perhaps even Editor Andy and his Std-Ex editor cohorts would benefit by taking a look at the material contained therein.

The floor's open, gentle readers.

You know what to do; do it in our lower comments section.

41 comments:

Monotreme said...

For those, myself included, who have come to value the power of blogs in replacing what has been lost in local journalism, this is extremely chilling news.

Some WCF readers may have also enjoyed an Alaskan blog called Mudflats. Mudflats is an anonymous blogger who has personal and intimate knowledge of Gov. Sarah Palin, and so came to be prized as an alternative voice during the last election cycle.

In a weird turn, a Democratic state representative (take note, Curm!), Rep. Michael Doogan, has taken it upon himself to "out" Mudflats.

I find many similarities between Alaskan politics and the Utah brand. As Gov. Huntsman gears up for a 2012 Presidential election bid, I suspect some of us may be in the same position as Mudflats was a few months ago.

Dan S. and I have had many interesting and productive discussions about the risks and benefits of blogging under one's real name. After a brief flirtation with real-name Op-Ed pieces, where I felt that my livelihood might become forfeit, I decided to go back to being just good ol' Monotreme.

(I would hasten to add that I was never directly threatened by anyone, and the pressure I felt was perhaps totally and completely made up. Still, I couldn't help but notice the public figure who took umbrage at my words was, in a very real sense, my boss. I didn't really want my screen name to become a verb, "Monotremed", à la "dooced".)

One of the best aspects of newspapers, when I was in the business, was that there were clear and distinct "firewalls" between the business/advertising side and the editorial side. I worked for some small-town newspapers where those lines were blurred, but that was a weekly in a town with a population of 15,000 which is a different kettle of fish entirely. At larger newspapers, the independence of journalists was prized, and one was likely to be congratulated by one's editor for being a nasty and effective iconoclast. I recall one such reporter -- last I knew, he was working at the Dallas Morning News -- who was a total rat bastard to work with, but a jimcrack investigative journalist. I hated him, but I sure respected his work.

I deplore the way in which those firewalls have been breached at the S-E. Perhaps that's the future of newspapers. Perhaps that's the secret to the S-E's continued success. I have given up on the S-E as an independent journalistic source, particularly based on my experiences during the last mayoral campaign. It's not really a newspaper anymore.

So, weirdly, Mr. Howell and I have come to an agreement, although through different routes. I would change just one word in Mr. Howell's commentary, to reflect what I think is the reality that S-E editors and staffers are ignoring:

"I think you'll see the Standard progress into an information/marketing company that produces a newsletter, rather than a newspaper that does all these other things on the side," he says.

I am sad at the demise of the actual newspaper in our country. I fear we will have, in the near future, a handful of "daily" newsmagazines (the NY Times, for example) but the real, local paper is gone, never to return.

Because of the venom and anger directed at anonymous bloggers, I also fear that blogs such as WCF will not and cannot be a replacement for what has been lost.

Perhaps we can re-invent local journalism. Let's put on our thinking caps and brainstorm on how that might be done.

Curious 1 said...

Perhaps the new paper mentioned by Trentelman coming soon Ogden Independent will keep us readers informed. The power of the mighty pen, or mighty blog.

The old independent The Junction was left without ads when they started to critize the Mayor, he pulled the city ads and he threaten anyone who continued to advertise in the paper, even the non-profits.

ozboy said...

Mr. Monotreme

Your posts are always informative and thought provoking. Those "large yolky eggs" that you lay are just full of nutritious nuggets of information. And now we learn that you also have ink in your veins!

googlegirl said...

Poll: Young Americans See Colbert, Stewart Replacing Traditional News Outlets

Scary!

Arlene said...

I heard from a completely reliable source that the mayor of Ogden has forbidden any city connected events from advertising in the City Weekly newspaper. I find this very ironic and strange that the most ubiquitous and well read entertainment oriented news paper on the entire Wasatch Front cannot carry ads for events in Ogden! When I ask why, the person told me that it was because the mayor did not like the way he was treated in the City Weekly a couple of years ago, even though the article in question was really not negative toward him in a big way. In fact the person said the paper has never been particularly aggressive toward the mayor and in fact had been complimentary toward him in a number of other articles. I have read the City Weekly for a long time and I also cannot remember anything particularly bad about the mayor in that paper. During the Gondola scandals I remember a cover article that did have a funny characterization of the mayor on the cover, but it certainly wasn't vicious or mean spirited in the picture or the article. So my question is - does any event held in Ogden, that has any connection with the city, have a large obstacle to overcome just because the mayor didn't like the coverage he got several years ago in one obscure article? Does he really operate on this kind of vindictive and petty level?

monotreme said...

Arlene asked:

Does he really operate on this kind of vindictive and petty level?

Yes.

Lionel said...

Yes Arlene, the Lil Lord is especially petty and mean spirited to almost everyone who is not his crony (FOM). You might say it is what he is most known for, his trademark if you will.

As an example, just look at the extremes he went to with Police Officer Jones a couple of years ago over the "Van Gate" incident. He and his henchmen not only fired Jones, but they threatened to crucify him with a bunch of unfounded accusations of sexual charges if he didn't go away quietly. There have been numerous other examples of his vindictive behavior toward any city employee that he perceives to have crossed him.

The bottom line Arlene is that he's not only incompetent and dishonest, but he is a down right mean little pol cat to boot.

Novice writer said...

The Junction...

I wrote a piece for it some - what five years (or more) ago. Was excited because they featured local writers and one of the local editors offered to pay $40 for the short story. The staff of professional editors was located elsewhere as I recall with the local senior editors having control over who got published or not locally.

The non-"local" professional editorial board loved the piece and planned to run it until the locals stepped in exercising their "local cultural controls".

Well, it turned out the editor I who I submitted the piece, called "The Librarian", too ended up resigning because the other local editors decided only wealthy contributors to The Junction would be published. The publication disappeared very soon afterwards as I recall. I never knew why.

Because a bunch of self serving politicos wanted to control the people instead of serve the people. Nice! Very nice....

danny said...

It's funny, but I don't see in these kinds of stories a lot of accountability. The newspapers blame everything for their problems - everything but themselves.

This it typical of out of touch entities - it's somebody else's fault, not the fault of those most responsible.

It's the Internet's fault. It's the economy. I'm not to blame.

So rather than improve the quality of their work, they do things like this.

Three Days a Week

I will say this about the SE, they do try to change. But their editorials and management are about as closed-minded, self-important, self-righteous and lazy as they come.

Nature kills off such as this. If the government would get out of the way, much of society's rot would already be gone and we would be in recovery by now. But by propping up the rot, we will suffer for years.

If the SE deserves to live, they will. Otherwise they will die.

Many of them are already gone. Good riddance to all of them.

Curmudgeon said...

Since the topic seems to be "real" newspapers [which usually for those approaching middle age like me]means "old-fashioned" newspapers, I thought this article --- eulogy really --- on the recently deceased Seattle Post-Intelligencer might be interesting. It's by a writer named Bruce Barcott who worked at the PI as a summer intern once, and appears in the current edition of City Arts: Seattle. Good stuff. [Language Caution: a paragraph of it quotes a copy desk editor's... colorful... language and may not be Work Safe.]

monotreme said...

Thanks, Curm. Sounds like some of the copy editors I worked with.

There was a kerfuffle at a polling place during the 1976 Carter-Ford election. One of the Republican pollwatchers got into a dispute with one of the Democratic pollwatchers. I don't know which one said it, but one of the pollwatchers exclaimed, "You s**mbag, you s**mbag, you bag of s**m!" It was poetry.

An hours-long editorial meeting ensued, while Dan Gordon, the reporter who had been on the scene, argued vociferously that it needed to go into the paper verbatim, while a group of editors worried about our status as a Family Paper. Finally, it was decided. It ran without the asterisks you see above.

Dan took a sweet job with the UPI. (Of course, the UPI went up in smoke years ago.) I often wonder what happened to him. Dan taught me a lot about copy editing, and a lot about life.

hypocritical S E said...

If the S E is doing so well, why do they ridicule government employees? Yet at the same time they keep asking the government for tax relief and government grants and government handouts.

slave labor said...

monotreme,

The gays at the S E, Andy Howell and Doug Gibson are the reason why they claim to be successful.

They pat themselves on the back and give themselves big paychecks and hire slave labor.

slave labor said...

Sorry, that one word is a typo. But the S E is use to that.

pickey mickey said...

The only thing going for the SE is the crossword puzzle....when that goes I go.

Why on earth were today's obits in the Sport Section?

Dependently Ogden said...

Regarding the new publication the Ogden Independent should actually be called Ogden DEPENDENT. It is fully funded by the Historic 25th Street Business Association. In other words it is a promotional newsletter for the association's objectives. Nothing wrong with that other then the name is quite contradiictory. A real local publication is not dependent on an organization and governed by it although advertising ultimately keeps it alive. The articles are just fluff pieces about some of the business who are members of this group. I doubt we will ever see a real meaty and controversy article that pertains to issues. The writers are all local business owners on 25th Street. I will continue to depend on the internet for news and discussions, including this blog.

Pistol Pete said...

The problem with the Standard Examiner is it will not do hard hitting stories about conflicts of interest, malfeasance in government, or the heavy hand of developers in our area of Utah. They are afraid to buck the religious/good old boy faction in Utah politics that everyone knows about, but is reluctant to tackle head on. With that attitude, they deserve to go out of business.

Curmudgeon said...

Off topic... except that this appears in SL's weekly alternative newspaper, City Weekly. John Saltas' column rants about Salt Lake's refusal to create a downtown entertainment zone, permitting more bars per block. And he offers as an example of how such bar-packed entertainment zones can work... wait for it... Ogden's 25th Street. From the column:

Ogden’s Historic 25th Street has a score of clubs, bars and restaurants serving alcohol on both sides of the street equal in length to about two Salt Lake City blocks. Did someone vaccinate the people of Ogden? Are they immune—as most adults are and as the children of mature adults are—to the wild temptations of “open bars?”

dan s. said...

Charlie's column was mostly fine, but he still stubbornly refuses to give us gadflies and bloggers our due credit:

"Part-time volunteer gadflies and bloggers have their place, but they are no match for full-time government. Wait for government to tell you about the land around the trails, for example; you wouldn't know about the proposed hotel... That was Standard-Examiner reporter Scott Schwebke's story on Thursday."

Ahem. It was actually part-time gadflies and bloggers who filed the GRAMA requests to get the minutes and maps from the Golf Course Committee, and who posted those maps along with a story on this blog a full six days before Schwebke's story appeared.

Schwebke's story added some important information that he got by interviewing Kent Petersen, but he was not the one who did the real digging or broke the news.

Curmudgeon said...

Pistol Pete:

While I share your unhappiness with the SE's more or less abandonment of investigative journalism [too costly, the suits there tell me], and its parallel reluctance to fact-check elected officials' press releases and similar statements, your conclusion that the SE should "go out of business" as a result is off base. Those are important functions of good papers, but they're not the only functions of metropolitan dailies.

Not everyone is a policy wonk. Not everyone reads a daily paper for assessments about the politics of city halls. Or even for trenchant examinations of state legislative actions. [You and I may. But many don't.] The paper covers a great deal more: local sports, a variety of community affairs, environmental news [particularly regarding water], local entertainment news, a few feature stories of some interest. And much besides.

And the SE is the major source [the Greater Ogden Metropolitan Area [GOMA] not having its own TV station and so not having local TV news] for many people of what government is, or is not, doing [however inadequate you or I may think that coverage]. And its editorial pages provide some opportunities for printing objections, complaints, disagreements with government decisions. And so opportunities for promoting discussion of same. Again, not as much as you or I might like, but some.

So while I agree the GOMA is not getting the daily newspaper it deserves in the SE, throwing the baby out with the bath water [which is what the end of the SE would mean] makes little sense to me.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

I thought the same on reading Charlie's column, that some of what he pats the SE on the back for bringing to the public's attention was being posted, and discussed, on WCF significantly earlier than it appeared in the SE. And I recalled the SE's refusal to print the OP ED piece you submitted, so that much of the documentation from public sources of the Envision Godfrey matter appeared here first. And the discussion about Envision Godfrey's use of public properties for fund raising back when it happened was nowhere to be found in the SE, but did take place here.

Where he's missing the point on independent public affairs blogs like WCF, I think, is his thinking that people who post on them believe they can replace daily newspapers. I don't think most blog posters believe that. He'd be better off approaching blogs as (a) new sources for both reporters and column writers to tap for information [always fact checked first]. Often these days things that ultimately become news surface first in blog discussions. He's thinking of blogs like WCF as competition. He should be thinking of them as sources. And (b) he ought to recognize that blogs like WCM provide yet another venue... and one that operates much closer to "real time" than the letters columns of a daily... for discussion of public affairs. This is a good thing.

Perhaps the on line comments sections of newspapers will emerge over time to provide the same opportunities. But from what I've seen so far, the discussions at WCF [with some notable exceptions] seem to me to involve more substantive comments, more actual discussion than do the on line comments appearing on the SE's "Live Edition" website. [Not the SE's fault. The same is true, sadly, of the on line comments sections of many papers.]

Finally, I'd hope Charlie [and the SE editors as well] would see in the end public affairs blogs like WCF as sources of feedback, often critical but not always, from readers on what kind of job the SE is doing, both what readers think it's doing well, and what they think it's doing badly, or not doing at all that it should be doing.

All three of those [a,b and c] strike me as roles for blogs that print folk ought to welcome and use to their advantage.

googleboy said...

Journalism Is Not Just Newspapers

wrong said...

Re: The Ogden Independent

"The writers are all local business owners on 25th Street."

I am sure the writers will be surprised and happy to hear that.

See, therein is the problem with using this place as a news source. You never know what is true.

fed up with the standard said...

Pistol Pete is right. When it came to the question of whether the SE would be a news provider OR a marketing company, the Staandard made that decision long ago. Today's Standard is just a collection of glossy ads, wrapped in a few pages of ward newsletter fishwrap.

If you want to know what's happening in Ogden, Weber County Forum is the place to go.

It certainly won't break my heart when the Standard goes tits up.

Maybe they could buy a few more years of life if they took a page from the professional sports playbook, and named their paper after their biggest advertiser. The Delta Center is now the "Energy Solutions Nuclear Waste Dump Center", or whatever. How about the RC WIlley Examiner for a catchy new name?

The Standard is useless. The sooner they go broke, the better.

dap said...

Dependently:

You might want to read an issue or five before you make sweeping generalizations about what the Ogden Independent is or isn't.

Ed J said...

Wrong:

Re: Ogden Independent

The 25th street association is the major cash cow. They pay Conlin direct. Most of their writers / contributors trade words for ad space.

This is fact.

Jan said...

Look, people. The essence of democarcy was killed when Rupert Murdoch bought Fox News.

It's just as bad with other so-called news sources, like the corporate-owned SE.

The only fresh information and full information I can get is from weber county forum.

I'm presuming you post the most accurate info, Rudi, because you don't have to kowtow to your advertisers, like the Standard does.

Many thanks to you rudi, for sticking in there, and publishing you blog!

Dependently Ogden said...

Wrong and Dap...
I have read all the issues and it took me all of ten minutes and do not find it an independent press. It is no more then promotional pieces for the 25th Street Association and businesses. Nothing really new, but businesses that have been established for years but are top contributors into the monthly marketing plan for the association. Not new news nor issues. Thaine Fisher the marketing director of 25th association and an agenda of his own is one of the writers and he set up this publication with the marketing and "advisory" board. Nothing wrong with promotional publications but to use the word "Independent" is not accurate, deceptive and completely ironic. City Weekly is truly independent and are not afraid to challenge issues. Where are the issues in this rag that are plaguing Ogden right now and that is of real concern? No,it is a fluff paper as they go through the top donors one by one in their coverage. Where were they when the real issues on 25th street such as Windsor heighth ordinance,lineal block for clubs ordinance, Star Noodle sign abuse etc etc. It is simply the 25th Business Association publication, very dependent on them. And what about the rest of Ogden? The number 25 sits proudly on the cover in it's mast head. It would be a big move forward if it did take on some of the topics that are discussed here on this blog and get both points of views in print.

Curmudgeon said...

On the Ogden Independent:

I've read each issue, except the latest which I'll read shortly.

It is largely a publication of the 25th Street group, which is fine. No, it's not a "City Weekly," nor does it [so far] purport to be or, so far as I can tell, want to be.

It has, however, printed a couple of interesting, not badly composed feature/human interest articles.

Folks, it's a start-up, scrounging around for a dependable revenue stream. Who the hell knows what kind of voice it will develop, or whether it will even be here a year from now?

It's no substitute for the SE, nor does it try to be. It's no substitute for WCF, nor does it try to be so far as I can see. And if it develops as an arts-and-entertainment focus monthly about Ogden, what's wrong with that?

'Fraid I'm a little old fashioned about papers [main stream or alternative]: I figure the more, the merrier. I hope this little start-up will become, in time, something more than it is as it launches, but even now, I've enjoyed a couple of its feature articles.

Hope they make it.

dap said...

So Thaine Fisher writes a real estate column in the paper and from that you assume all the writers have businesses on 25th Street?

At least they put their names on their writing and be accurate with facts.

D.O. you spout half-truths- purposely perhaps or perhaps by lack of knowledge- either way, you are nameless and inaccurate.

retired in real estate said...

Thaine Fischer is NOT an expert on real estate. He's just a young little shit who unwisely invested his funds, and those of his investors, just as the housing bubble burst.

Like so many others before him who didn/t understand the cyclical nature of the market, he believed the real estate market could only go up.

By the time his Arizona investors get done with him, he'll be lucky to have a counter job at a McDonald's in Flagstaff.

I've seen hundreds of these hubris filled real estate geniuses fall on their faces over the past forty years.

Nothing new here at all.

Listen and learn.

Dependently Ogden said...

dap...
That is fine that you have the director of marketing of the 25th street business association, one the original founders of this publication, as real estate expert writer (his article was about his own building- the star noodle but did not explain why the sign sits unprotected on the sign companies yard and months past due from Landmarks commissions orders to get back on) or that all/most of it's profiles are of those that are invested in the association by their steep monthly marketing dues (100-200) and/or actually write their own articles. It is fine that it is ultimately the publication of the 25 business association members and acesses those resources primarily. I just find it contradictory and ironic to call it Ogden "Independent"-that's all, when it is totally "DEPENDENT" on this association for survival, income and input and that it is rooted and birthed out of the 25th association members, including the publisher who is a member and business owner on the street. That is fine as long as we all know, agree, understand and accept that fact. Perhaps every district could have their own marketing publication including the downtown area. Thats it. Just call it as it is. It is not Independent. That's all I am saying. The number 25 sits on your masthead. That is the truth. Perhaps someday, eventually, after it survives it's critical first three years and weens off the association's teet it will becomes a voice of the Ogden community (independently), the entire community. Until then it is simply the 25th Street Business Dependent monthly marketing brochure. That is fine but let's call it what it is.

I'm just saying.....

Sincerely, Ed Miller

Curmudgeon said...

The Hearst corporation, which just this week closed the Seattle Post-Intelligencer , has announced that if it cannot sell the San Francisco Chronicle, it may close that paper as well to stem multi-million dollar annual losses. That will leave SF with no daily paper. The NY Times has a long story on the imminent demise of the SF Chronicle here.

Steve Conlin said...

Mr. Miller and others,

I was informed of your posts and wanted to clear up the “facts” a little. I am intimately knowledgeable about the formation of the Ogden Independent as I am the publisher.

First of all, this publication was not formed by the Historic 25th Street Association. It was formed by me. You have the facts correct that I am a business owner on 25th Street and that I do serve as a board member of the 25th Street Association (For the record, I do run an ad in the publication for my other business Newcastle Mortgage.) After that, your “facts” stray a bit off course.

The Association committed to buying the centerfold of the publication each issue. That was committed to for a year. Thaine Fisher doesn’t have any ownership and was not a “founder.” In fact, Thaine Fisher was out of town and not in attendance when this was voted on by the H25 board. Though I am pretty sure he would voted in favor as all of the board members did. I, of course, recused myself.

This commitment from H25 allowed me to go forward and minimize my monthly losses on the start up of this publication. I believe you said in a post that this publication is completely funded by the 25th Street Association. This is simply not true. Currently, the Associations advertisement covers about 35% of the cost of the the 14,000 copies to be printed and delivered. The rest of the cost is paid by other advertisers and myself (including all of the capital expenditures for starting up the publication.)

It was mentioned that advertising is traded for content. Again, not true. I do have people who write columns who advertise. They pay for those advertisements and are not paid for their columns.

Additionally, no one who has contributed to the publication has been paid (nor have I made any money. In fact, quite the contrary.) It is, at this point, a completely volunteer publication subsidized mostly by me. I would love to reach a point where that changes and hopefully before three years.

Allow me to also clear up the comment regarding the writers. As far as I know, none of them have a connection to 25th Street other myself and Thaine (who as mentioned, is also a member of the board and contributes a column on real estate each month.) And just like all of the other column contributers it is their personal view and topic, not an assignment.

On the other hand, Susan Snyder who writes the features and works at the Nature Center does do an assigned feature story each month. (Susan has 30 years of journalism experience and, truth be known, it was her commitment to contributing to the publication is what truly allowed it to go forward. ) Her monthly story doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with 25th street but we hope fits a scope that people who pick it up learn something about their community that they didn’t know. Or that people in Park City or West Jordan find out something interesting that they didn’t know about Ogden. (We distribute approximately 6000 copies from Park City to Layton and are getting about a 93% pick up rate.) She also writes a column ,“Green Living,” that is on a topic of her choice not assigned.

The person who writes restaurant reviews doesn’t work at or have a business on the street. She is under the instruction to write reviews from any food business downtown. She has chosen the locations she has wanted to visit (she lives in Layton.) She doesn’t get free food either. She goes unannounced, then calls me and I go take a picture.

The other writers have also come up with their own ideas under the instruction that I want the publication to focus on stories between 20th and 30th and Washington and Wall as well as local artists and musicians.

So contrary to your belief that the association members are cherry-picked as topics, the only assigned stories have been the following:

Peter Barrera (first issue)
Officer Ron Gardiner & Sundance (second issue)
Willie Moore (third issue)
Pam Clark (forth issue)
Community Garden @ Grounds (fifth issue) and actually this was brought to me by Susan.

Our next six months feature stories are budgeted out and only one is on a 25th Street business and it will be written by a WSU proffesor.

Ok, I did cherry-pick the Tona story in the first issue because I share the same building with them and I really needed a food story at the last moment.

All of the other stories have been stories the writers wanted to bring to the publication, voluntarily. I believe the last My Best story is the only "story" that has been contributed by a business owner on the street and it is labeled as a community contribution.

While it might not fit your belief for what my publication should be, my goal is simply this: Tell stories that are people focused and might be of interest to readers in Ogden (or people being introduced to Ogden.) I would also like to provide a resource for people (visitors) looking to find things to do in downtown Ogden as I feel that it is in my best interest to have a vibrant, participanting community. I try to do this in the few pages I have available all while providing space for people to write about the things they are passionate about and have made the commitment to write about each month. I would be nice to reach a point where feature writers can also be paid.

Oh yeah, the name. I almost forgot. I would love to live in a world where publications aren’t dependent on advertisers or the charity of the publisher and contributors. Perhaps no publication should be called “independent.” I think you were referring to content though.

You can believe what you want, but I not been told or asked to write, cover, or publicize anything by anyone in the Historic 25th Street Association or any advertiser or organization. I have had few individuals who I don’t know that have contacted me via email and made story suggestions.

Sorry this is so long, but so many issues. Regarding the 25 in the masthead– I believe, in a way, 25th street is the heart of this city. If you squint a little bit, you will see that the red 25 takes on the shape of a heart. A stretch? Perhaps. But since no one was telling me what to do, that is what I did. Obviously I have an affection for 25th street.

I am personally very proud of the people who have stepped up to participate in this publication for nothing more than contributing to their community and a byline. Sure each may have other motives, and you might think you know exactly what they are. What is evident to me, is that you are probably mistaken. I have also learned there’s not much point in arguing with people who already know it all. So you can accept these facts or not.

I am in my office almost everyday if you feel you would like further clarification.

Thanks for reading and look for the next issue on the streets about April 27th.

Sincerely,


Steve Conlin

Steve Conlin said...

It is late.

I meant "Harrison and Wall" and apologize for the typos and know that professor is spelled incorrectly above.

Steve Conlin

Curmudgeon said...

Mr. Conlin:

Thanks for the long reply, and for recounting the origins of the OI. I was curious about that. Appreciate the info.

ozboy said...

Mr. Conlin

Thanks for the background.

I wish you success in this endeavor, as well as all of your others.

I'll be looking for, and reading, your paper in the future.

Bonnie at the bank said...

Mr Conlin:

You seem like a good man.

But I think you are saying that you receive payment every month from PPC / Thaine Fisher for their purposely placed ad.

Is that what what you are saying?

He gets no compensation from your brochure for his "expert" column and still pays your ad fees.

Is that what you are saying?

Independently Ogden said...

Bonnie...
He is saying that he gets a large sum of money from Thaine Fischer representing Historic 25 Association as Marketing Director and probably his business ppc. The publication is getting advertising dollars from the assocation which they collect $100-$200 and beyond from the members from the street which goes into a marketing fund. The board voted in approval to spend it in this start up publication which had not even been launched, not the Standard, City Weekly nor any other local media. It was this committment that began the publication. It was conceived from the markeing/board chiefs/members headed by Mr. Fischer and with the publisher who is on the board. That is what I call a marketing publication, not a community magazine. That is fine, just call it what it is and "Independent" it is not and the subtle, subliminal 25 on the masthead says it all.... it is DEPENDENT. City Weekly takes in advertising but not 90% from one source nor founded out of any business assocation. It is very independent, this one is not. That is all I am saying... call it as it is. The association has become a good ol' boy's club and being a memeber does have it's benefits I suppose. This publisher should is benefitting.

Thaine Fischer, heavily invested in Ogden's real estate owns the Star Noodle building and wrote an article about it. It was simply a p.r. piece which told mostly truths and read as a press release. Why was not an "independent" reporter asked to interview and report on the real facts on this building? The fact is that this building is torn apart and no funds to continue as his other downtown properties sit vacant due to no renters because of the glutton of space in Ogden downtown and the high price they now ask after the renovation and yes, the economy. The Star Noodle sign is sitting on a dirt lawn on 21st street unprotected and unattended to although there was a time limit that Landmarks Commission gave to him a year ago and the building is exposed to vandals, and transients... and danger. There are good reasons for this delay I suppose, the economy and perhaps bad planning. He did not get his ordinance change from city planning nor city council to put a private club in there. So this publication is a perfect outlet for his and the association's public relations plan at the expense of the businesses that contribute to the marketing fund that is directed all/most of it's monies to this "independent" magazine.

So tell me.... how independent is it. I enjoy reading about 25th street like the next guy. My wife works at one of the stores down there, which is how I know about it all. They have chosen to not participate in the association as many other business so it serves the elite so to speak. Those that do get their name listed on the double page spread that the association buy from this independent publication. A one line name for one to two hundred dollars a month. Something odd about that.

I wish the publisher much luck and perhaps some day it will actually become an independent press. A hard time to venture into the world of publishing as advertising dollars dwindle, the internet takes over (such as this blogsite), paper prices go up, newspapers around the country fold, and the economy is tanking with no real relief in site. It does all add up to dollars. I wonder how long he can publish taking a loss and why? He says 14,000 copies but I do not see it hardly anywhere and it does lack meat, mostly fluff about 25th street. I do get around too and never see it around but sure do city weekly. He says it goes to Park City and SLC but does that really service the local community if it is not getting or embraced by the locals otherwise it is a promotional piece? I don't know but I like the idea of a local publication for the local community. That is the marketing dept/Fischer's goal to promote to outside of the area, thinking that is what will revitalize the 25th street and the local real estate market. Not personal interestt for Mr. Fischer? Perhaps? Perhaps not.

It's all about marketing.... for 25th street primarily. That is fine, but change the masthead to say "25th Street Association official promotional publication". Not Ogden Independent!

Sincerely, Ed M.

KS said...

Thank God we have someone like you who has a wife that works in a store that is not part of the association to tell us what is really going on.

And you are willing the publisher of a local publication a liar based on that breadth of knowledge you have.

You should start a paper.

RJ Svengali said...

We know Steve Conlin.
We have worked with Steve Conlin. And we can tell you, "Dependently Ogden",
you are no Steve Conlin.

Steve Conlin has integrity, a strong work ethic, a sense of humor, a grundle of luck, and does as much, or more, to make our 25th street home livable than bout any other Ogdenite.

He can also hold his liquor.

Steve would publish any article that fit the scope of the publication; he would not shy away from an article simply because it was critical of various decisions made by downtown owners.

In fact, we would be surprised if there were not some fine, razor sharp pieces forthcoming.

OI has much potential.
We love this town.

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