The Wired City
Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Table of Contents
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Introduction: Apocalypse or Something Like it
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As the first decade of the twenty-first century drew to a close, it looked like the collapse of the newspaper business that media observers had been predicting for years was finally coming true. Three mighty forces came together in a wave that threatened to sweep away an industry whose pillars had long been rotting beneath it. Corporate debt and a profit-driven, ...
1. Annie Le is Missing
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Paul Bass felt uneasy. It was a Friday—September 11, 2009. He was
getting ready to leave the office for Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath. And he
was beginning to wonder if he had blown a big story.1
Two days before, Bass had received an e-mail from someone at Yale University telling him that a twenty-four-year-old graduate student named...
2. The Outsider
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It was the afternoon of the New Haven Independent’s fifth-anniversary party. Paul Bass was wondering how many people would show up. The celebration, on a Wednesday in September 2010, would be competing with parent-teacher conferences at the city’s middle schools that evening. There was also a major Jewish event taking place at Yale. City Democrats ...
3. Rebooting the Register
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Randall Beach walked into the coffee shop where I was waiting and stuck that day’s New Haven Register in front of my nose. A veteran reporter and columnist for the Register, Beach had asked that we meet at a spot near New Haven Superior Court, where he spends much of his working day. Thin, white-haired, and tieless, Randy Beach looked like a reporter. It...
4. A Hotbed of Experimentation
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In a side room at the Mark Twain House in Hartford is a collection of artifacts related to Samuel Clemens’s involvement in the printing industry. The most unusual is a hulking mass of metal and wood from the 1880s called the Paige Compositor, which could set type 60 percent faster than the Linotype machines in use at the time. Clemens sunk a fortune into...
5. Print Dollars and Digital Pennies
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The idea that a nonprofit organization can be more financially viable than a for-profit business may seem counterintuitive. Yet as the experience of CT News Junkie and the Connecticut Mirror suggests, technology—at least in these early years of online news—has turned the economics of journalism upside down. At News Junkie, Christine Stuart and Doug Hardy...
6. From Here to Sustainability
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William Ginsberg is a Very Important Person in New Haven journalism. In the old days, that might have meant he was in charge of buying newspaper advertising for a major department store or a venture capitalist backing media businesses that he hoped would bring a nice return for his investors. But Ginsberg is neither of those things. Rather, he is the president...
7. How to Win Readers and Influence Government
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Paul Bass walked into his office at La Voz on the afternoon of Thursday, March 3, 2011, called up the New Haven Register’s website on his iMac, and, after a few moments of reading, matter-of-factly announced: “We got fucked.”1 The reason for Bass’s displeasure was an article the Register had posted about the findings of an internal investigation at the police...
8. The Care and Feeding of the “Former Audience”
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About two hundred people filed into the auditorium at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School in downtown New Haven on the evening of Tuesday, November 30, 2010. They had come to hear Diane Ravitch, an author and expert on public education, talk about the city’s nationally recognized effort to reform its schools. As they soon learned,...
9. Race, Diversity, and a Bilingual Future
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The kids were starting to arrive at the Brennan-Rogers School, which serves some of New Haven’s most challenging students from kindergarten through eighth grade. It was half past eight on an overcast, late- March morning. Karen Lott, the principal, was patrolling the corridors of the Katherine Brennan building, which houses grades three and up....
Epilogue: The Shape of News to Come
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One day in late May 2012, I was paging through Jim Romenesko’s media- news website when I came across a picture titled “Times-Picayune Photo Says It All.”1 The photograph had been taken at a meeting where employees of the New Orleans Times-Picayune were formally told that the print edition of their paper was being cut from seven days a week to three, that salaries...
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About the Author, Back Cover
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Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2013