Showing posts from June, 2008

A dog you need to see...

It comes around once a year... the world's ugliest dog. So on this Wednesday, here's something to cheer you up: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Times front page on Monday. (And click on the photo for the larger picture of Gus. Beware.) Enjoy.

Opinion: Shame on you AP

Post Details: • James reacts to an AP article about the newspaper industry The Associated Press, known for its reporting around the world and supplying the news media with succinct articles, compelling photographs, graphics and multimedia, was a little too succinct (maybe even a little callous ) in one of its articles published last week. The article discussed the Chicago Tribune and its efforts to redesign and create a smaller paper beginning in mid-September continue to shoot itself in the foot . Here is the article: Chicago Tribune to use Saturday paper to try ideas Associated Press 12:08 PM CDT, June 20, 2008 CHICAGO - The Chicago Tribune will be using its Saturday editions to test new ideas as it prepares for a smaller, redesigned newspaper starting in mid-September. All Tribune Company newspapers are shrinking their news sections and trimming pages as part of a cost-saving plan announced earlier this month. Chicago Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski discussed the coming changes i

Recent Star cuts represent growing trend

Post details: • Kansas City Star announced job cuts • Graphic designer creates Google Map to track cuts On Tuesday’s front page (6/17), the Kansas City Star staffer Dan Margolies wrote the Missouri-based newspaper is cutting 120 jobs (about 10 percent of its work force) – about 20 to 22 positions are expected to be eliminated in the newsroom. “These cuts are part of the way we must respond as we strategically realign our company for success in this digital age,” said Star Publisher Mark Zieman, who also called the move “a painful but necessary step,” in a memo to employees Monday. Zieman cited reductions in revenue because of increased competition and the current economic downturn as reasons for the cut. The Star is “struggling to replace lost print advertising revenue quickly enough with new online revenue,” the article stated. (Having one of the worst designed newspaper Web sites in the country and one that is hard to navigate, I can see why the Star is having problems online.) Oth

Something to think about

Post details: • Global gas Graphic in Virginian-Pilot • Europeans pay a LOT more at the pump because of taxes On Tuesday’s front page (6/10), The Virginian-Pilot published an enlightening graphic about gas prices around the world, based on Associated Press statistics from May 30. The AP article written by Angela Charlton in Paris featured the stats and discussed the main reasons for the vast differences: taxes and subsidies. Surprisingly, the price at the pump varies greatly— “from Venezuela , where gas is cheaper than water [at 12 cents!] , to Turkey , where a full tank can cost more than a domestic plane ticket [at $11.29!!] ,” stated the article. Venezuela and China have no tax on gasoline; and there may be extremely high taxes in Europe and Japan but those prices do not take consumers on a roller coaster as much so as we have seen in the United States. While the prices there are still high and painful, the strong euro is helping somewhat, along with the fact that less expensive ma

Rethinking Downtown Toledo

Post Details: • Life in Downtown Toledo far from extinction • New arena, opening fall 2009, design unveiled 2002 was a good year for my hometown, Toledo, Ohio. It was the year the new downtown ballpark –Fifth Third Field, home of the Toledo Mud Hens, our minor league baseball team – opened to much buzz and excitement. I was most excited, however, about the investment being made in a beautiful part of town, along the Maumee River downtown. What had seemed like a downward spiral to extinction for non-business-related events downtown was looking to spiral back up – at least to some extent. Last summer, I worked downtown at the Toledo Free Press, a stone’s throw away from the stadium. At lunch, I would either walk down to the river to eat lunch with colleagues or find a nice eatery to satisfy my hunger. Downtown was bustling with people at lunch, but in the evenings or on the weekends, it was deader than dead – a ghost town just waiting for a new day. The exception: when there are baseball

Rethink Overload

Post details: • A look at the new "Early Show" graphics CBS News has been trying to find its voice. Since Katie Couric debuted as the anchor and managing editor of the “Evening News” in September of 2006, the news division’s flagship program has struggled for ratings even hitting rock bottom with record low numbers towards the end of last month (May 2008), according to TVNewser. What began as a refreshing take of the news – meant, I suppose for a younger audience – changed into a somewhat lackluster carbon copy of its fellow evening newscasts – meant and mainly watched by a much older demographic. I note that this twentysomething writing this blog is a huge fan of Ms. Couric and of the newscast – including the graphics package, set and music composed by Academy Award winner James Horner. But today I’m not writing to focus on the “Evening News.” Instead, I want to look at another CBS News program: “ The Early Show .” The show is a youngling compared to NBC’s “The Today Show”

A case of déjà vu?

Post details: • A look at the similarities of newspaper design Looking through front pages on Newseum yesterday (6/3), I found myself with a case of déjà vu? Or was it? Starting alphabetically, I thought the Bakersfield Californian chose a great Associated Press photo of Hillary Rodham Clinton taken Monday by Elise Amendola in Sioux Falls, S.D., when Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y., was coming from her campaign plane. The paper’s designer utilized great treatment of the photo putting text on top (“Will she stay or go?”). Continuing my perusal of Newseum, I found the San Jose Mercury News went with an almost identical photo (the second in the series by Amendola) with similar treatment. This time the text was “Is this the end?” This was not the first time similar photos and treatments have been used on the same day’s front pages. Thus, I moved on. Then I came across the Cleveland Plain Dealer , which used the same photo as the Mercury News, along with very similar text (“Is it over?”). My reactio

Online document creation in a Flash

Post details: • Adobe introduces • A review of the features Microsoft and Google, watch out for Adobe. On Monday (6/2), Adobe released the public beta of , a product for online document creation and sharing. Think Google Docs, but by Adobe and all in its powerhouse software Flash. The new Web site allows users to create simple documents and collaborate with other users (using Buzzword ) and when you are finished, you can export the file as a PDF, Word document, among other file types. With Share , you can upload up to 5.12 gigs of files, share the files with others and create PDFs. ConnectNow , the third part of the semi-disconnected set of offerings, allows users to communicate multifariously via different "Pods": chat, Web cam, file view, white board, screen sharing and note sharing - all at one URL. You can even use microphones to create a true conference. And remember, this is all done in Flash. No software required (except Flash, that is) and onl

A sign of the Times

Post details: • Washington Times to stop printing Saturday edition • Redesign premieres today • Sunday Times makeover • Web site overhaul On its front page, The Washington Times announced Friday (May 30) that it would no longer publish a print version of its Saturday edition . Instead, subscribers will receive the electronic edition for free. Blame it on poor circulation. Executive editor John Solomon told the Associated Press that Saturday had the lowest circulation of the week. But again, this is not surprising. Last summer, Tom Pounds, publisher of the Toledo Free Press told me that the Saturday and Tuesday editions of the daily paper were basically worthless. Think about the last time you actually read a Saturday edition of a paper – or even subscribed to one. One of my family members subscribes to the local paper and receives the Thursday, Friday and Sunday editions. I thought it was odd, but it makes sense. This is not, however, the only change for the D.C. daily. Beginning today

Welcome to ‘Rethink.’

As promised, this Web log – – is back with fervor . It all begins Monday, June 2, 2008. In each post I’ll be covering the media and other news items I see in regards to the idea of “rethinking” traditional media or past ideas. I will also highlight designs in newspapers, magazines and other media outlets. I cannot promise that every post will contain excellent journalistic ideas or reporting (for example, there may be a few Harry Potter posts now and again), but I will try to stick to this blog’s topic. If you have any suggestions or news items you want to share with me, comment on my latest post . What I want to create here is a forum about rethinking – you’ll see this word a lot – the way our society does business, the way news is presented, and anything else you can think of. As you can see, the new design is in place and ready for Monday. Let’s begin this journey , shall we?