November 1, 2007

BizzyBlog Nominated for Best Business Blog in the 2007 Weblog Awards

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 11:50 pm

This is cool, and makes it three in a row.

Polls apparently open early this afternoon will hopefully open sometime before the end of the day at about noon on Friday. If it works like previous WLAs, you get to vote once every 24 clock hours. I’ll update this post with links when they are known. Vote early and (as) often (as you can).

Thanks to those who nominated me, to Kevin Aylward and the WLA folks for selecting me, and to all those who are sending the congrats e-mails.

Positivity: Hero Cops Rescue 12 from Burning Bronx Homes

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 11:48 pm

From New York City:

Posted: Sunday, 28 October 2007 5:54PM

BRONX (1010 WINS)  — Twelve people, including a 2-month-old were rescued from two burning homes in the West Farms section of the Bronx by two NYPD officers, this morning.

Officers Christopher Scott (above right) and Michael Welsh were patrolling the neighborhood at about 9 a.m. when they smelled smoke coming from one of the houses, police said. They banged on several doors and were able to reach the people inside and get them out.

As they completed the rescue, the officers noticed a neighboring house that had caught fire as well, they said.  They went into action again, banging on doors and saving the people there.

Both officers were treated for smoke inhalation and Officer Scott was treated for a minor burn to his head.

None of the twelve sustained any injuries.

Go to the link for audio.

ISM Manufacturing Report: It Hangs On

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:55 am

The Institute for Supply Management’s October reading for the 12% or so of the economy involved in manufacturing came in at 50.9%, which is barely in expansion mode.

The ISM report’s bottom line:

“It does appear that the impact of the slow down in the financial, housing and transportation segments has spilled over into manufacturing with the exception being continued strength in new export orders.”

Though the Bush economy has tended to produce many more upside than downside surprises, a look at the components in the ISM index does seem to indicate a real deceleration that could very well continue in the coming months and move the index into contraction mode for the first time since January.

Looking at the index’s full history, it’s worth noting that the economy’s current run of 51 out of 53 months of manufacturing expansion is the best in over 40 years. That’s better than the best years of the 1990s, which never had a consecutive expansion streak longer than 22 months, and the 1980s, when the longest consecutive expansion streak was 33.

Print Newspaper Circ Tanks Again; Industry Trying to Shift the Focus

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 10:10 am

It appears that Editor & Publisher felt the need to get in front of some really bad news in the newspaper business. In fact, the sampling of numbers reported previews a report that will apparently be worse than others I have tracked (previous posts here, here, and here):

According to industry sources speaking to E&P, daily circulation for reporting papers in the six-month FAS-FAX period ending September is down about 2.5% while Sunday is expected to fall 3.5%. Those types of declines — in the 2% and 3% range — have been occurring as far back as the March 2005 period.

E&P has learned that several major papers have suffered declines in daily circ of over 7%, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Miami Herald and The Dallas Morning News.

Ask for comment, publishers of these papers blamed the decreases partly on the cut back in other-paid circulation — which includes Newspaper in Education, hotel, and third-party copies. And papers have been chopping distribution areas–it’s too expensive to serve outlying communities, at least in print.

Of course, some of the decline is occurring because fewer people are reading the print version. Single-copy sales, which is a barometer of paid circulation, have tumbled in recent years. This reporting period, the category is expected to decrease around 5%.

Specific bad news previews (weekdays):
- Atlanta Journal Constitution — Down 9%
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel — 9%
- Dallas Morning News — 7.7%
- San Diego Union-Tribune — 8.5%
- Miami Herald — 8.4%

The five top-tier papers with drops of over 7% is more than is present on any of the previous three larger lists I covered previously — and this is only a sample of what’s to come in the full report.

The industry’s “solution”? Come up with different numbers that are perhaps easier to fudge, perhaps tougher to audit — and apparently needed in a hurry for damage control (the excerpt below appears before the excerpt above in the original E&P article):

Finally after years of debate, the industry is moving towards tracking its total audience which encompasses all its products (especially online viewership) — not just how many people plunk down some coins for the newspaper. The change will be reflected next Monday, when the Audit Bureau of Circulations releases numbers for more than 700 daily newspapers throughout the country.

The push to herald total audience is coming not a moment too soon since paid circulation continues on a downward slide.

Look, I understand the need to get a handle on audience measurement, regardless of where the audience is coming from, and I recognize that the Internet is going to whittle away at the print market, even at an excellent newspaper. But what I think we are seeing is an attempt to equate a non-paying online reader who checks in to see last night’s sports scores and goes away to someone who buys an entire printed paper at the newstand or has it dropped on the driveway every morning. Pun intended — I’m not buying it, nor do I think that investors and shareholders will be particularly moved.

Readers, and investors, might be more impressed if they thought the papers were giving even a reasonable effort at being fair and balanced, and weren’t failing to follow up on obviously important stories — even ones handed to them on a silver platter. The circulation bleed is happening more quickly than it should because of these all-too-obvious shortcomings.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (110107)

In case anyone is interested, I’ve updated this post in response to concerns about election-law complaints I have filed in the past and my involvement with blogs I don’t run.

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This reporting seems to exaggerate a bit, starting with the headline (“Exports climb as dollar falls, boosting GDP 3.9%”): USA Today’s Barbara Hagenbaugh writes that “A burst in exports was a key contributor to the biggest increase in economic activity in 1½ years.” Oh, come on — Exports are a good thing, but they’re only 10% or so of GDP.

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I think this article refers to the same report Jill at WLST noticed last week, and it bears linking — “Slant seen in ’08 race coverage.” If you can’t guess which way the slant is, you haven’t been watching.

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Larry Elder has a very interesting take on the rise and fall of Merrill Lynch’s Stanley O’Neal.

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Emmett Tyrell comments on the evolution of journalism in the blog age – or perhaps it’s devolution:

….. why not remind readers of Dan Rather’s aspersions on President George W. Bush’s service in the Texas National Guard? Rather’s evidence obviously was faked, yet Rather is still claiming some sort of Higher Accuracy. Or how about the CNN-Time story from the late 1990s claiming on doubtful evidence that U.S. forces used nerve gas in Laos? A president of NBC News resigned after admitting in 1993 that his “Dateline” report of an exploding General Motors truck was a hoax, and four years later a Pulitzer was conferred on him for, of all things, editorial writing. Perhaps some journalist statute of limitations had passed.

The New York Times, however, deserves special mention for the likes of Jayson Blair, who both plagiarized and fabricated a whole string of stories before being fired in 2003 along with two editors. A year earlier, the paper had to fire a New York Times Magazine writer after the magazine published the writer’s phony story.

….. Perhaps as conservatives continue to break the liberal monopoly, the liberals will raise their journalistic standards. Or maybe they will get worse; most of the aforementioned plagiarisms and hoked up stories took place in recent years.

He didn’t even get to what they decide isn’t newsworthy, or investigation-worthy.