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Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog) RSS feed

The Daphne Project: 45 journalists will continue the slain Maltese journalist's work

The Silencing of Daphne (Stephen Grey, Reuters Investigates, 4-17-18. Valletta, Malta) Last October, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated by a car bomb. This is the inside story of a murder that tarnishes Europe. That bombing last October did more than kill Daphne, as she was universally known on the island. It ripped open the dark side of Malta. The brazen assassination and the lawlessness it implies appalled not only Daphne’s friends and family, but also political leaders across Western Europe.
The Daphne Project: 'Her voice will not be silenced' (Will Fitzgibbon, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 4-17-18) A team of 45 journalists from 15 countries will continue the work of Malta reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia. Forbidden Stories plans  Read More 
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A short history of the Association of Personal Historians

by Pat McNees (revised)
For twenty years, members of the Association of Personal Historians (APH, which folded in May of 2017) met at a popular annual conference, where people originally from many other fields met to talk about a new type of business: helping others tell their life stories. Here below is a brief history of the organization for those who may be curious about it; former members of the organization are invited to join the conversation through the Comments section. The term “personal historians” never became a household word, but personal histories (usually by other names) are still being produced and local groups of personal historians still meet

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What's not to like about The Republican Tax Bill

I asked Wise Elder what he thought of Your financial shock wealth: Understanding money, inequality, and why the tax bill is important by Yonatan Zunger. He replied:

Overall it makes sense.* The tax bill is indeed a naked power grab by the wealthy and powerful to become even more wealthy and powerful, even though they tell us (and themselves) they are doing it for our own good. I was surprised that he didn't say anything thing about the role of unions in the reduction of inequality between 1945 and 1970; the unchallenged economic power of the US at a time when Europe and Japan were prostrate  Read More 
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Where to Celebrate Banned Books Week (Sept. 24-30) 2017!

Happy Banned Books Week! The annual celebration of the freedom to read is running all this week, and the Banned Books Week Coalition invites you to participate by getting involved in the incredible activities (see below) brought to you by our sponsor organizations! From theatrical performances, bookstore parties, and online advocacy, there’s lots of ways you can help  Read More 
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Books about wrongful conviction and related issues

I've posted this list of books about wrongful convictions and related issues as a resource for book groups and those studying the criminal justice system. These books have all been recommended by the deeply worthwhile Innocence Project, which works nationwide to free the innocent and reform our criminal justice system. "DNA testing has exonerated more than 345 innocent people in the United States – and others are still waiting for justice." Do let me know of any other worthwhile books in the comments section. Donations to The Innocence Project are 100% tax-deductible. Note (and this is just Maryland): Wrongly convicted still waiting for compensation for lost years (Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun, 5-9-19) and Freed but Forsaken (Ovetta Wiggins, WaPo, 8-18-19) They spent 120 years in prison for crimes they didn't commit. Will Maryland compensate them?

Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer (2000)
Adams vs. Texas: The True Story Made Famous by the Highly Acclaimed Film The Thin Blue Line by Randall Adams, with William Hoffer and Marilyn Mona Hoffer (1991) Read More 

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21 frequently asked questions about personal histories and personal historians

by Pat McNees* (updated 9-24-18)
What is a personal history?
What is a personal historian?
Why hire a personal historian?
What is [was] the Association of Personal Historians (APH)?
What’s the point? Why would anyone be interested in an ordinary person’s story?
How is personal history different  Read More 

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Index of Writers and Editors blog posts

Blog posts on Writers and Editors website

Indexed (by category)
Addictive TV and cable shows (plus video)
Amazon, Google, and other dominating forces on the Internet
Archiving and history
Book publishing
Book, video, and multimedia production
Collaboration and ghostwriting
Copyright and open access
Diversity and inclusion
Ebook publishing
Editors and editing
Freelancing and independent contracting
Index of blog posts
Journalism and journalists
Marketing and social networking
Memoirs, personal histories, and life story writing
Miscellaneous blog posts
Money matters
Rights, contracts, fair deals, insurance, and legal problems
Self-publishing and print-on-demand (POD)
Storytelling and narrative
The writing life
Tools for writers, editors, and readers
Truth, accuracy, and fact-checking
Videos or art featuring Pat McNees


An anti-racism reading and resource list
Celebrating diversity in children's books


Kinds of editors and levels of edit
Deciding what level of editing to assign to a piece
Editing checklists
Editing: a craft or a business?
When and whether to hire an editor or book doctor
Finding an editor
Online Tutorials on Proofing and Copy Editing (3-2-13)
All you need to know about indexes and indexing (5-12-12)
Even Jane Austen needed an editor

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The Lifespan of a Fact (truth, fact-checking, and art)
30+ sites for fact-checking political debates and other occasions for lies, rumors, hoaxes, misinformation, and inaccuracy
Fact-checking the Democrats and the Republicans (8-30-12)
Retracting Mike Daisey (on fabricated stories, 3-27-12)
On Pat’s website:
How to spot and identify fake news
Fake news and media literacy (a round-up of articles on the subject--including how to make readers savvier)
Key fact-checking sites
Where to check out hoaxes, urban legends, email scams, and chain letters

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The Art and Economics of Ghostwriting Books
Debating the ethics of medical ghostwriting (10-19-10)

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A short history of the Association of Personal Historians
Twenty-one frequently asked questions about personal histories and personal historians
Why I love teaching Guided Autobiography (by Lisa Smith-Youngs)
Writing workshops as group therapy
Voice in memoir. See also Voice, persona, and point of view in memoir
How reliable are our memories? How close to the truth?
Memoir, biography, and personal histories (how-to resources)
Collaborating on memoirs (J.R. Moehringer and Andre Agassi)
Arlene Friedman Shepherd: The Life She Loved (In memoriam, 2012)
A memoir writer's dream come true
Whose Truth? The ethics of memoir writing
Photos and memoir writing
Personal history videos (video by Peter Savigny of his mother, Remembering Renee)
Ben Patton on interviewing military veterans (video, interviewed by RJ McHatton)
Memoirs of war and conflict: A reading list
Memoirs of coping with chronic, rare, or invisible diseases, including mental health problems
Personal historians love their work
Is it still a great time to become a personal historian?
Coming-of-age memoirs make great gifts
Mark Twain on writing autobiography
Soundtrack of your life (engaging students with music, to write about a pivotal moment in their life)

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Preserving original documents (by archivist Taylor Whitney)
Scanning many letters to get a searchable digital archive (Joella Werlin and Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner, 7-24-17)
A Historian's Code (by Richard W. Stewart)
History in and for a digital age

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The Authors Guild Fair Contract Initiative (the main issues in book contracts, once over lightly)
Authors Guild vs. Authors Alliance (Writing for a living vs. the broadest possible sharing of one's work)
Authors' wills, trusts, and estates
Estate planning: Your literary Estate)
RIGHTS 101: What Writers Should Know About All-Rights and Work-Made-For-Hire Contracts (2003 position paper from ASJA, posted 10-2012)
How to Deal with Warranty and Indemnification Clauses (8-13-12)
Author alert: Reclaim rights on books pubbed 1978 and after (1-10-12)
The interviewee's right to "edit" a transcript or story
Who owns an interview? Who controls the right to use it?
"How Can Creators Get a Fair Deal in the Digital World?" (6-10-10)
Bad Behavior: Rights bandits on the Wild Web
Consent the best defense against invasion of privacy lawsuits
New iBook software's greedy grab for exclusive rights (2-1-12, thanks to Robin Rowlands)
Media perils and liability insurance 101
Health insurance, freelancers, and the Affordable Care Act (8-22-13, so not up-to-date but lists resources)

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How long does copyright last?
Revolution in academia: Copyright and open access
The Hubbub About Sci-Hub: Who's the real pirate?
Righthaven, the "copyright troll"

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Covering the Covid-19 pandemic: Resources for journalists
Where journalists get their medical news (an important search and reading list)
Will journalism survive? In what form?
Fake news and media literacy
Reporting on controversial scientific and medical topics
Should political reporters be more than stenographers? (1-15-12)

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Storytelling (the secrets of professional storytellers)
How to shape a book (on story structure)
The danger of a single story (video, Chimamanda Adichie's Ted Talk)
Narrative Medicine and Medical Narrative (12-2-11)

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Margaret Atwood on The Publishing Pie (3-5-11 and still delightful and right on)
The truth about book sales and authors' income
Book Publishing: After the blockbuster, the niche
Agents as publishers--a new conflict of interest (5-17-11)
Mike Shatzkin on bookselling's past, present, and future (6-7-11)
Authors' options in the changing book publishing game

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Who gets the ISBN for your self-published book and why?
Tom Benjey's run with print-on-demand self-publishing (by Tom Benjey, 2-17-12)
CreateSpace, Lightning Source, and Lulu: One self-publisher's experience (by Tom Benjey)
Does the world want a flood of crummy self-published books?
The frontier world of self-published e-books (6-6-11)
Self-publishing trailblazer Amanda Hocking shifts gears (3-30-11)
Tutorials from the Self-Publishing Trenches (4-11-11)
Essentials of self-publishing

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Readers: you can't actually buy an ebook
How to price ebooks (as of 2013)
Nathan Bransford explains the e-book price wars (3-11-11)
Will the e-book revolution have the same effect the paperback revolution did? (report on Mike Shatzkin's post, 3-14-11)
Librarians feel gobsmacked by HarperCollins restriction on e-book loans (3-15-11)
EBook basics for authors (part 1: formatting) (report from May 2011, updated 2013)
EBook basics for authors (part 2: DRM, or copy protection) (5-13-11)
eBook basics for authors (part 3, trends and questions) (5-13-11)
Amazon, E-books, and the Future of Publishing (updated 11-2012)
How to price ebooks (as of 2013)
What's up with publishers not selling ebooks to libraries? (3-19-12)
Amazon, E-books, and the Future of Publishing (updated 11-2012)

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Audio-recording equipment, software, tools and tutorials (1-3-12)
Scanning many letters to get a searchable digital archive (Joella Werlin and Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner, 7-24-17)
Guides to scanning, digitizing, and editing for video and multimedia (6-21-11)
Scanning photos: what resolution is best?
Working with Offset Printers (by designer Robin Brooks)
Editing checklists
Metadata, explained, with Tweeted examples

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• ****Addictive and wonderful TV and cable shows (for when you're looking for something good to watch)

Great podcasts to listen to as you exercise, drive, iron, file, cook, clean, ride or walk

A Hairstyle of My Own (Bill Erwin's funny video about Pat McNees's hair history)
Seniors Today interview about personal histories (video: Austin Heyman interviews Debbie Brodsky and Pat McNees)
Personal history videos (video by Peter Savigny of his mother, Remembering Renee)
Bill Wurtz's fabulous speedy history of Japan (video)
Grandfather's journal (video)
Gratitude (video, Louie Schwartzberg's inspirational TED talk)

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A Hairstyle of My Own (Bill Erwin's funny video about Pat McNees's hair history)
Seniors Today interview about personal histories (video: Austin Heyman interviews Debbie Brodsky and Pat McNees)

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Ten reasons why it's better to be a docent than a writer (Kathryn Lance's delightful piece)
The care and treatment of authors

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Pay the Writer (video, Harlan Ellison's classic rant)
Authors' wills, trusts, and estates
Estate planning: Your literary Estate)
How to set your prices as a freelancer or consultant (4-1-12)
Unpaid internships under fire
Who wins and loses from DoJ's suit against Big Publishers and Apple? (5-5-12)
The Panama Papers: Exposing the rogue offshore money maze (Politicians, Criminals, and the Rogue Industry That Hides Their Cash)

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How to do a virtual book launch (especially during the pandemic)
Your elevator speech
Social networking for book readers
Library Thing, GoodReads, Shelfari -- and other social networking for bookworms
Great covers sell books, but what makes for a great cover?
Do blurbs help sell books?
Can negative book reviews help sales? (3-24-11)
Author websites that pull you--in different ways
New fellowship in Jewish fiction writing and scholarship (Dec. 2012)
PEN Literary Awards offer generous, prestigious honors (Jan. 2013)


Independent writers object to laws that reclassify freelance writers as employees (ASJA)
Freelancers Suffer Unintended Consequences of Independent Contractor Law (6-30-10)
Should I work for free?

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Tools for Writers and Editors
Evernote (Productivity Tools for Writers and Editors)
What's an iPad good for? (by David Dantzler, 4-23-12)
Reading devices and back pain

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Amazon vs Book Publishers (Do Writers Win or Lose?) (Gorilla) and the Future of Book Publishing (part 1) (2-1-12) and the Future of Book Publishing (part 2)
Social media superpowers under the microscope (Manipulation, copyright violation, clickbait, blockchains, and other issues with the Internet monopolies: Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, YouTube, and Twitter)
Amazon, E-books, and the Future of Publishing (updated 11-2012)
Settlement on Google book search lawsuit

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Artificial intelligence (AI)--what the heck is it? What problems does it bring?
Ever wondered about those TED talks and conferences?
Hans Rosling, animating global health data
20 great resources for aspiring writers of children's books (12-29-11)
Connecting the dots: Steve Jobs' wisdom
Net Neutrality: What is it and where do things stand? (a roundup of links to important explanations, arguments)
Channeling rage to produce change (quoting Terry Tempest Williams)

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by category
Amazon, Google, and other dominating forces
Archiving and history
Book publishing
Book, video, and multimedia production
Collaboration and ghostwriting
Copyright and open access
Ebook publishing
Editors and editing
Freelancing and independent contracting
Good video, TV, and cable
Index of blog posts
Journalism and journalists
Marketing and social networking
Memoirs, personal histories, and life story writing
Miscellaneous blog posts
Money matters
Rights, contracts, fair deals, insurance, and legal problems
Self-publishing and print-on-demand (POD)
Storytelling and narrative
The writing life
Tools for writers, editors, and readers
Truth, accuracy, and fact-checking
Videos featuring Pat McNees
Index of blog posts


Kinds of editors and levels of edit

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Scanning many letters to get a searchable digital archive

Joella Werlin and Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner (via Pat McNees)
When Joella Werlin used a small wireless scanner to scan a multitude of letters for a major project, she praised it to a group of personal historians, one of whom asked if it did two-sided scanning. With her permission and Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner's, I post here what both of them wrote:

Joella writes: Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner convinced me to buy ScanSnap iX500 (Fujitsu's wireless desktop scanner). To answer your question, yes it scans a two-sided doc in a flash! When it creates files, it eliminates blank pages. Settings enable you to control how you set up files. At Elisabeth’s suggestion, I also have hired  Read More 
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Will journalism survive? In what form?

by Pat McNees (updated 2-1-19, orig. published 10-2-15)
The days of "the internet wants to be free" are ending. As the advertising-pays-for-print-journalism model stops working, will the blog-for-free-because-it-will-give-you-exposure-and-a-platform model replace it in the name of "citizen journalism"? What are the alternatives? Here are links to some of the debates and articles circulating on this topic -- most recent at the top:
Does Journalism Have a Future? (Jill Lepore, New Yorker, 1-28-19) The more desperately the press chases readers, the more it resembles our politics. In an era of social media and fake news, journalists who have survived the print plunge have new foes to face. "Even as news organizations were pruning reporters and editors, Facebook was pruning its users’ news, with the commercially appealing but ethically indefensible idea that people should see only the news they want to see....Every time Facebook News tweaks its algorithm—tweaks made for commercial, not editorial, reasons—news organizations drown in the undertow....BuzzFeed surpassed the Times Web site in reader traffic in 2013. BuzzFeed News is subsidized by BuzzFeed, which, like many Web sites—including, at this point, those of most major news organizations—makes money by way of “native advertising,” ads that look like articles. In some publications, these fake stories are easy to spot; in others, they’re not. At BuzzFeed, they’re in the same font as every other story....
"The Times remains unrivalled. It staffs bureaus all over the globe and sends reporters to some of the world’s most dangerous places. It has more than a dozen reporters in China alone. Nevertheless, BuzzFeed News became more like the Times, and the Times became more like BuzzFeed, because readers, as Chartbeat announced on its endlessly flickering dashboards, wanted lists, and luxury porn, and people to hate."
"The broader problem is that the depravity, mendacity, vulgarity, and menace of the Trump Administration have put a lot of people, including reporters and editors, off their stride."
BBC & The New York Times — where the R&Ds meet the news (Global Editors Network, 1-31-19) "Some things obvious to newsrooms today, were most probably thought of by a Research & Development team before becoming norm. Though some R&D teams have been around for years, others are just now starting to develop interesting projects. Whether focusing on AI and machine learning, blockchain, or smart speakers and voice devices, the R&Ds are aiming to help advise newsrooms on what’s next; identifying where technology and news, unitedly, can fuel what will drive the media industry forward...."In a media landscape where twists and turns are common, the Research &
Development teams don't only have to help in the now, but also predict the
future. So where do they get their ideas from, how do they interact and
implement their solutions, and in what direction do they see news and
technology to be headed next?"
Newsonomics: Tronc’s selling, and buying, and just generally shapeshifting (Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab, 5-31-18) Patrick Soon-Shiong, the one-time Tronc vice chairman, finally close on his nearly $600 million buy of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune. For a company that’s known little but chaos in its short life, the degree of uncertainty is now as high as ever. Just about the only thing we know: Tronc execs will come out well in the end. Could the Los Angeles Times come out a better paper?
Mort Rosenblum Laments AP (Aileen, AdWeek 2-20-06) Suggestions for preserving AP's virtues from a man who worked for AP for decades. A good inside-the-biz story.
Newsonomics: “Everything I believe about the news business is being violated” at The Denver Post (Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab, 5-7-18) "The Post has been totally gutted of news coverage and of editorial coverage. That's a fact."— former Denver Post owner Dean Singleton. Meanwhile, the current owners plan still another round of cuts, under hedge fund control — and consider killing editorial pages entirely.
The Hard Truth at Newspapers Across America: Hedge Funds Are in Charge (Gerry Smith, Bloomberg, 5-22-18) Coast to coast, financial firms are playing a bigger role at local papers struggling to adapt in digital age. Investors like Alden Global Capital LLC and Fortress Investment Group LLC have acquired ownership stakes in newspapers that have struggled to adapt in an online world, from the Denver Post to the Providence Journal. Funds have brought their cost-cutting know-how to help restructure several newspaper chains in heavy debt after the 2008 financial crisis. “They’re not reinvesting in the business,” Ken Doctor, a longtime newspaper analyst and president of the website Newsonomics, said about Alden Global. “It’s dying and they are going to make every dollar they can on the way down.” A hedge fund's news formula: Cut well-paid but unproductive reporters and ask the rest to write more.
The Denver Post’s rebellion and ‘a crisis in American journalism’ (Pete Vernon, CJR, 4-9-18)
The American experiment was built on a government-supported press (Will Meyer, CJR, 5-7-18) The advertising business model for journalism only gained traction 150 years ago. From the 1790s onward, news publications received a postal subsidy that slashed as much as 90 percent off postage fees. (It was met with resistance in the South; slaveholders loathed it.) Today, the United States trails far behind many of its industrialized counterparts in supporting the press.
What Could Blockchain Do for Journalism? (Nicky Woolf, Medium, 2-13-18) For an industry under siege, a potential solution to account for “billionaire” shutdowns and funding challenges. 'An ecosystem of micropayments, in which everyone pays fractions of a penny for every article they read, has long been thought of as the holy grail for online journalism, the theoretical future solution. But there has never been a way to process payments like that in reality — until now. “Blockchain technology can create both chains of authenticity and a level of security,” Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, tells me....On top of that, she says, cryptocurrencies offer an opportunity for “marketplaces which bring journalists and interested communities together to fund work.”'
Blockchain Will Be Theirs, Russian Spy Boasted at Conference (Nathaniel Popper, Technology, NY Times, 4-29-18) 'Another delegate who had a separate conversation with the head of the Russian group remembers a slightly different wording: “The internet belonged to America. The blockchain will belong to the Russians.”'

Industry Insight: How a New Breed of Billionaire Owners is Shaping the Newspaper Business (Matt DeRienzo, Editor & Publisher. 4-17-18) Certain points are highlighted in this review of Dan Kennedy's book The Return of the Moguls: How Jeff Bezos and John Henry Are Remaking Newspapers for the Twenty-First Century. Basically: "Hoping a random billionaire buys your local newspaper and makes everything great again is probably not a solid plan for saving journalism in most of America. But examples of just that in Boston and Washington, D.C., are providing room for experimentation." Kennedy's book "explores turnarounds at the Washington Post and Boston Globe, failed attempts elsewhere, and the overall limits and pitfalls of the 'billionaire savior' model....Instead of a Jeff Bezos, you could end up with a Sam Zell, whose leadership of Tribune newspapers was disastrous, or a Warren Buffett, who has taken a hands-off, wind-down-the-business approach similar to the most-criticized corporate newspaper chains."

Journalism’s New Patrons: Newspapers deepen embrace of philanthropy (David Westphal, CJR, 2-8-18) On January 30, the Charleston Gazette-Mail staff learned it would receive philanthropic support for two news-side reporters in 2018. The money, from Report for America and ProPublica, will cover about 15 percent of the Gazette-Mail’s news reporting salaries (excluding features and sports reporters). And it becomes the latest example of how philanthropy is becoming an ever-larger part of the revenue streams of newspapers and other for-profit news companies. The West Virginia paper is one of seven news organizations being subsidized by ProPublica to intensify investigative reporting over the next year. Separately, it’s one of three participants in a Report for America pilot program that will shine a spotlight on life in Appalachia.
Bikini slideshows and other click bait: Do paywalls usher in better content? (Mollie Bryant, Big If True, 2-1-18) An interesting discussion of online ads, paywalls, clickbait, slideshows of bikini contests, and other approaches to declining revenue for journalism. "Wired’s new subscription package is a helluva deal. For $20, readers get a year’s worth of the magazine’s print and digital products, including online access. To sweeten the deal, the package offers a rarity in online subscriptions – no website ads. That means no standalone ads thrust in your face like a jack-in-the-box while you’re mid-sentence. What a concept!" But it’s not going to save print journalism.
Learning from the New Yorker, Wired’s new paywall aims to build a more “stable financial future” (Ricardo Bilton, Nieman Lab, 2-1-18) “People who have studied the information age at this point recognize that there were a bunch of problems and side effects to the fact that people weren’t asked to pay for content in the early years of the internet.” "Wired’s brand and mission may align it closely with the koan of the internet revolution that “information wants to be free,” but the days of unlimited free content at are coming to an end." Wired editor-in-chief Nick Thompson, who joined the magazine last January after seven years as editor of, said that developing a Wired paywall topped his agenda from the earliest stages of taking on the job because “it is my strong sense that paywalls are an essential part of the future of journalism.
Paywalls make content better, Wired editor Nick Thompson says (Eric Johnson, Recode, 2-1-18) Wired’s wall goes up today: Four free clicks, then $20 a year.
The Problem With Journalism Is You Need an Audience (Hamilton Nolan, Gawkerh, 1-14-16) "Many writers believe that our brilliant writing will naturally create its own audience. The moving power of our words, the clarity and meaning of our reporting, the brilliance of our wit, the counterintuitive nature of our insights, the elegance with which we sum up the world’s problems; these things, we imagine, will leave the universe no choice but to conjure up an audience for us each day.
"The problem is that nobody ever bothers to inform the audience....The history of journalism is littered with the corpses of good publications. The “new media” world is no different. The “long tail” and “audience segmentation” and every other buzzword term does not change the nature of the business. The audience for quality prestige content is small."

Three tools to help digital journalists save their work in case a site shuts down (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 11-21-17) “So many people who work professionally on the Internet really don’t know, until too late, that their work is this fragile.” She writes about
---Save My News, site launched by Ben Welsh, editor of the Data Desk team at the Los Angeles Times, lets journalists (about 300 of them so far) save their links to Internet Archive and WebCite, so they won't be lost when sites suddenly shut down.
---If You See Something, Save Something – 6 Ways to Save Pages In the Wayback Machine (Alexis Rossi, Internet Archive, 1-25-17)
--- Gotham Grabber (available as open source code on Github).

Why a divided America has united against the media (Gillian Tett, Financial Times Magazine, 7-14-17)

Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online (Data & Society, 5-15-17). Download free report. "the spread of false or misleading information is having real and negative effects on the public consumption of news."
"Online communities are increasingly turning to conspiracy-driven news sources, whose sensationalist claims are then covered by the mainstream media, which exposes more of the public to these ideas." Great links to other, related stories, including: Who Controls the Public Sphere in an Era of Algorithms: Case Studies (Laura reed and Robyn Caplan Data&Society, 5-13-16), "a collection of case studies that explores how algorithmic media is shaping the public sphere across a variety of dimensions, including the changing role of the journalism industry, the use of algorithms for censorship or international compliance, and more." and Google and Facebook Can’t Just Make Fake News Disappear Danah Boyd, Wired, 3-27-17) "That’s the beauty of provocative speech: It makes people think not simply by shoving an idea down their throats, but inviting them to connect the dots."

The Web of Deceit: Can Journalism Survive the Internet? (Aidan White, Ethical Journalism Network, 2-12-15) Andrew Keen, a veteran of Silicon Valley, says cyberspace "has become a dangerous place for everyone except power-hungry capitalists and snooping governments and the rest of us are its victims....Keen underscores how the net’s free for all culture, including news, has caused havoc in the creative industries. There were promises that the Internet would come up with solutions for the crisis that has overtaken people in publishing, music and entertainment, but 25 years on nothing has emerged....although the Internet, together with the World Wide Web, personal computers, tablets, and smartphones, has ushered in a mighty communications revolution, and one of the greatest shifts in society since the dawn of the industrial age, as Keen points out it also has had deeply negative effects....His first book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture, was a lacerating critique of the obsession with user-generated content. He then asked how quality content can be created in an online environment (including journalism) that demands everything for free." Interesting analysis.
See also The great internet swindle: ever get the feeling you've been cheated? (Jon Henley, The Guardian, 2-9-15) The internet was meant to liberate and empower its users. But the real effect has been to create vast monopolies and turn us into victims, argues web sceptic Andrew Keen in his controversial new book The Internet Is Not the Answer.

How will journalism survive the Internet Age? (Reuters, 12-11-09) "First, journalism is not synonymous with newspapers... Second, journalism will do more than survive the Internet Age, it will thrive. It will thrive as creators and publishers embrace the collaborative power of new technologies, retool production and distribution strategies and we stop trying to do everything ourselves.... I continue to believe and support the link economy....Like many we grapple with the coverage, cost and value issues of content scarcity vs. abundance as well as content uniqueness vs. utility. We choose to maximize the value of each of these four quadrants and have adaptive business models and markets which allow us to. For example, we focus principally on the importance of vertical and niche markets that have subscription-oriented models — this where our firm derives the vast majority of its revenues.... the newfangled aggregators/curators and the dominant search engines are certainly not the enemy of journalism."

Can Journalism Survive?: An Inside Look at American Newsrooms by David M. Ryfe

Meet The Modern-Day Journalist (Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Association Media and Publishing, May/June 2015) "The nature of how journalism gets done has changed drastically in recent years – digital communications and social media, media organization consolidations, downsizing and disappearances of traditional newspapers, citizen journalism, blogging as an alternative to professionalism, and multiple responsibilities for reporters....The big driver, of course, is the transformation in the ways that digital technology has changed or ruined business plans, such as advertising, which has been undermined until it's difficult to make the kinds of profits that larger publications need to survive."

American Press Institute Conducts Largest-Ever Journalism Survey (Rob Stott, Associations Now, 8-14-15). American Press Institute conducted a survey of more than 10,000 journalism and communications graduates spanning two generations and hailing from 22 U.S. universities. "News flash: Journalism in 2015 looks lot different than it did 30, 20, and even 10 years ago. Newspapers are still around, but they’re struggling. Content marketing is on the rise. And social media is becoming the go-to news source for all Americans—not just millennials."And 60% of journalism and communications graduates "have a mostly negative view of sponsored content and believe it crosses ethical boundaries.... Still, 50 percent of journalists said their news organization publishes sponsored content."

Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism by Thomas E. Patterson The message: .As the journalist Walter Lippmann noted nearly a century ago, democracy falters “if there is no steady supply of trustworthy and relevant news.” Today’s journalists are not providing it. Too often, reporters give equal weight to facts and biased opinion, stir up small controversies, and substitute infotainment for real news. Even when they get the facts rights, they often misjudge the context in which they belong.'

Bringing the trolls out of the dark: Russian ‘troll’ awarded 1 rouble damages (Joanna Gill, EuroNews, 8-18-15) "Samchuk claims that she and hundreds of other employees in the St Petersburg agency were paid to run several social media accounts, flooding the internet with pro-Putin comments as well as doctoring images that ended up on Russian and Western websites."

Riptide: An oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology, from 1980 to the present (Nieman Lab, September 2013). Three veterans of digital journalism and media — John Huey, Martin Nisenholtz, and Paul Sagan, Fellows at the Joan Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School — interviewed dozens of people who played important roles in the intersection of media and technology — from CEOs to coders, journalists to disruptors. Riptide is the result: more than 50 hours of video interviews and a narrative essay that traces the evolution of digital news from early experiments to today. It’s what really happened to the news business.

Digital Journalism: How Good Is It?
(Michael Massing, NY Review of Books, 6-4-15--the first of three articles) "The distinctive properties of the Internet—speed, immediacy, interactivity, boundless capacity, global reach—provide tremendous new opportunities for the gathering and presentation of news and information. Yet amid all the coverage of start-ups and IPOs, investments and acquisitions, little attempt has been made to evaluate the quality of Web-based journalism, despite its ever-growing influence."

‘Farewell, readers’: Alan Rusbridger on leaving the Guardian after two decades at the helm Rusbridger reflects on two decades of sweeping change – from broadsheet to Berliner, Aitken to Snowden, and newsprint to pixels – and recalls his fervent wish when he took the job: “Please, please let me not drop the vase.” Excellent overview of basic changes in the industry.

The decootification of media companies (Jeff Jarvis, Buzz Machine, 8-5-14). Do read this one. " companies do not have the stomach, patience, capital, or guts to do the hard work that is still needed to finish turning around legacy media. So they spin them off. What used to be Gannett, Tribune, Scripps, and Belo are now TV companies. What used to be News Corp. and Time Warner are now entertainment companies — companies that might merge not, in my opinion, because that’s such a wonderful deal but because the best path they see to growth is not innovation there either but instead cutting costs and consolidating negotiating power to outmaneuver (with help from legacy telcos) the Netflixes of the future. "

The Economist hosts online debates on the future of news (July 7 to Aug. 3, 2014) (ijnet) What business models will best serve news firms? How important is objectivity in the news industry? Is the power of the press now diminished? And how much does that matter? See related story What is the future of news? (The Economist 7-7-11)

Small Pieces, Loosely Joined: On the End of Big News (Nicco Mele, Nieman Reports, Spring 2013). Fascinating analysis of what's happening to newspapers, and especially to investigative journalism--with some hints of new ways to support it.

Change Starts Small: The Texas Tribune Chooses Efficiency Over Size (Kate Galbraith, Nieman Reports, Spring 2013)

“The Story of a Lifetime” (David L. Marcus, Nieman Reports, Spring 2013) Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory on the Boston marathon bombings, paywalls, misinformation, and social media.

Five questions publishers need to ask before charging for content, or Pitfalls of the pay wall. "Before they jump into charging for content, news organizations must bypass the 'quality journalism' argument and answer these five questions instead," writes Michele McLellan, and you can read about those five questions on the Knight Digital Media Center website.
Among columnists she thanks for blogging about paid content, which helped her understand the issues: Steve Yelvington (Fatal Assumptions), Steve Outing (Attributor: Will it be used for good or evil?) and Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine The Golden Link, on whether to charge for linking to content. (I don't know if those are the specific blogs she was grateful for, but they are interesting, and take you to those bloggers' sites.)

Low pay or no pay, but exposure. Discussions about writing for low pay or no pay, partly for the "exposure, " can get fairly heated. Here are a few examples.
A Day in the Life of a Freelance Journalist—2013 (Global Editor of the Atlantic Magazine digital edition asks Nate Thayer to write a story, for no pay. Say what?? Nate Thayer responds.)
A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor, 2013 (Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, responds to Nate Thayer. "The biz ain't what it used to be, but then again, for most people, it never really was." And "You have to want to be jacked into the Internet all day long, every day. This is not the life most journalists imagined when they were looking at 1970s magazines." And "As a rule of thumb, it sucks to take free work from people who are freelancing for a living."
Joe Dator New Yorker cartoon on working "for exposure".
When People Write for Free, Who Pays? (Cord Jefferson, Gawker, 3-8-13)
Artisanal Journalism (Reg Chua, (Re)Structuring Journalism blog, 6-11-12). Chua recommends rethinking three aspects of journalism: information gathering, presentation ("everything from a tweet to a 10,000-word piece, graphics, data visualizations, photo slideshows, documentaries and forms yet to be invented"), and publication ("not just getting it in print/on a show/online, but the entire process of thinking about what news product should be presented, and how. Should you report on politicians’ statements, or create a site that tracks how truthful they are? How much automation/machine-generated content should you embrace? What focus and audience should you aim for?").

The Newsonomics of the shiny, new wrapper (Ken Doctor, Nieman Journalism Lab, 6-21-12). "Publishers are getting more aggressive about repackaging their work into ebooks, iPad magazines, and other new forms, in the hopes of creating something readers will pay for....Consumers aren’t paying just for content; they may not know or care a product’s origin. They are also paying for some sense of discovery and convenience. Credit the iPad, the table-setting, placement-rearranging marvel of our times, for this new thinking. It is making possible reader — and publisher — reassessment of news and magazine product. In a sense, the tablet is just a new container.... news and magazine design never found a metaphor that seemed pleasing for readers. Tablet design, borrowing many of the principles of print, but making use of features print could never support, connects with readers."

Brand-Name Journalists Cross a Vanishing Journalistic Divide (David Carr, NY Times 10-20-10).

Internet con men ravage publishing John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine, makes a powerful argument about how fast-talking Internet promoters have fooled publishers and writers into thinking they can make any money publishing online. (Providence Journal blog, 3-12-12). MacArthur quotes from Screened out and isolated (Tyler Brûlé, Fast Lane columnist, Financial Times, 1-20-12). "What Brûlé was describing was the physical manifestation of what the novelist Scott Turow calls 'siloing,' that is, the cordoning off of information and elimination of the haphazard, sometimes random, adjacencies, so vital to learning and, for that matter, romance. Adjacencies such as the story on the lower-left-hand corner of the page adjacent to the less interesting story you happen to be reading. Adjacencies such as the book on the shelf next to the book you were looking for."

Paper Con Man Ravages the Internet Alexis Madrigal's response to John Macarthur's essay attacking the whole enterprise of online journalism (The Atlantic, 3-13-12)

two interesting reviews of Chris Anderson’s new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price: Malcolm Gladwell's

Priced to Sell: Is free the future?, in the New Yorker (7-6-09), and $0.00 by Virginia Postrel (NY Times Sunday Book Review, 7-10-09)

The Death of Journalism (Gawker Edition) by Ian Shapira (Washington Post, Outlook, 8-2-09), with follow-up discussion on Tuesday, August 4: Outlook: How Gawker Ripped Off My Story and Why It's Destroying Journalism

Priced to Sell: Is free the future?, in the New Yorker (7-6-09), and $0.00 by Virginia Postrel (NY Times Sunday Book Review, 7-10-09)

A conversation with entrepreneur and software engineer Marc Andreessen. (video) On the Charlie Rose show, the founder of Netscape talks about how print newspapers are on the way out, to be replaced by a web of Internet interactivity

All Hands On Deck: 4 Editors on the SF Chronicle Implosion (the Daily Anchor Editorial Team)

An extremely expensive cover story — with a new way of footing the bill Zachary M. Seward, Nieman Journalism Lab. Sherri Fink's 13,000-word story about the New Orleans hospital where patients were euthanized in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a New York Times Magazine cover story that is simultaneously available on ProPublica's site, may be "the most expensive single piece of print journalism in years." The new economics of journalism. Investigative journalism is labor-and-brain-intensive! Mother Jones on the same story: Cost of the NYT Magazine NOLA Story Broken Down (Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones 8-28-09)

Barry Diller: ‘The Internet is a miracle … Newsweek is an evolutionary process’ (L.A.Lorek, Poynter Online, 3-14-11). “We are in the very early period of a great revolution,” he said. “Once you can push a button and publish to the world you can go over the top and around all of these systems.” Diller's advice to entrepreneurs: “only get enough money to get it started, give away as little as possible, keep your head down, do not listen or talk to anybody, when it gets out there. Listen to your audience, unless it makes no sense, early audiences don’t always get you,” Diller said. “Keep going on your path. It will either work out gloriously or it will be another failure.”

Brill's secret plan to save the New York Times and journalism itself (Stephen Brill, Romenesko, 11-08)

Content Farms: Why Media, Blogs & Google Should Be Worried (Richard MacManus, NYTimes, 12-13-09). See also Content Mill Demand Media Expands Its Reach -- To More Newspapers! (Erik Sherman, b-net, on race to the bottom, 5-21-10)

Craig Newmark: I Didn't Kill Newspapers, it's an "urban legend" and David Carr Agrees (Beet.TV)

David Simon's Testimony at the Future of Journalism Hearing (David Simon, Real Clear Politics, 5-9-09). Simon says, among other things, "...high-end journalism - that which acquires essential information about our government and society in the first place -- is a profession; it requires daily, full-time commitment by trained men and women who return to the same beats day in and day out until the best of them know everything with which a given institution is contending. For a relatively brief period in American history - no more than the last fifty years or so - a lot of smart and talented people were paid a living wage and benefits to challenge the unrestrained authority of our institutions and to hold those institutions to task. Modem newspaper reporting was the hardest and in some ways most gratifying job I ever had. I am offended to think that anyone, anywhere believes American institutions as insulated, self-preserving and self-justifying as police departments, school systems, legislatures and chief executives can be held to gathered facts by amateurs pursuing the task without compensation, training or for that matter, sufficient standing to make public officials even care to whom it is they are lying or from whom they are withholding information." But it is not the internet that is killing newspapers, says Simon. " industry butchered itself and we did so at the behest of Wall Street and the same unfettered, free-market logic that has proved so disastrous for so many American industries. And the original sin of American newspapering lies, indeed, in going to Wall Street in the first place....In Baltimore at least, and I imagine in every other American city served by newspaper-chain journalism, those ambitions were not betrayed by the internet. We had trashed them on our own, years before. Incredibly, we did it for naked, short-term profits and a handful of trinkets to hang on the office wall. And now, having made ourselves less essential, less comprehensive and less able to offer a product that people might purchase online, we pretend to an undeserved martyrdom at the hands of new technology."

The Deal from Hell: A Cautionary Tale Every Publisher Should Read (Peter Cook, Publishing Perspectives, 7-5-11). Guest book review of The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers by James O'Shea

The Death of Journalism (Gawker Edition) by Ian Shapira (Washington Post, Outlook, 8-2-09), with follow-up discussion on Tuesday, August 4: Outlook: How Gawker Ripped Off My Story and Why It's Destroying Journalism

Editors Only: The Newsletter of Editorial Achievement (discussing the changing nature of content delivery), sister pub to STRAT: The Newsletter of Print and Online Magazine Publishing Strategy

Disrupted: The Internet and the Press Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky discuss what's happening in journalism after its disruption by technology, conversations sponsored by NYU Journalism/Primary Sources)

8 Industries That Will Sit Out a Recovery. (Rick Newman, US News & World Report). Moody's rates media as one of the industries that won't be climbing back up any time soon. "... Media. It's hard to imagine what else could go wrong for traditional print and broadcast media companies. Even without a recession, newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio broadcasters have been losing their audience to the Internet. At the same time, a crushing downturn in the retail, automotive, and financial industries has led to double-digit cuts in advertising, the biggest source of revenue for many media companies. And there's no historic election, accompanied by millions in political advertising, slated anytime soon to help pick up the slack, as there was in 2008. Many newspapers are in such bad shape that investors have virtually no interest in buying them, at any price, according to Moody's. Magazines are doing so poorly that McGraw-Hill is struggling to find a buyer for BusinessWeek, one of the most venerable titles on the market."

The End of Hand Crafted Content (Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, 12-13-09)

End Times:Can America’s paper of record survive the death of newsprint? Can journalism? (Michael Hirschorn, The Atlantic, January-February 2009) and End Times: A Response from the Times

Enter Austin Post: New online venture seeks to create a 'conversational democracy' (Kevin Brass, Austin Chronicle, 7-10-09, on how "citizen journalism" may be an aggregation of "sloppy bloggers" in a system offering exposure for personal agendas instead of payment for professional journalism).

Five questions publishers need to ask before charging for content, or Pitfalls of the pay wall. "Before they jump into charging for content, news organizations must bypass the 'quality journalism' argument and answer these five questions instead," writes Michele McLellan, and you can read about those five questions on the Knight Digital Media Center website.
Among columnists she thanks for blogging about paid content, which helped her understand the issues: Steve Yelvington (Fatal Assumptions), Steve Outing (Attributor: Will it be used for good or evil?) and Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine The Golden Link, on whether to charge for linking to content. (I don't know if those are the specific blogs she was grateful for, but they are interesting, and take you to those bloggers' sites.)

Gerry Marzorati on the future of long-form narrative

Google CEO Eric Schmidt's Q&A at Newspaper Association of America convention, on advertising, micropayments, and subscriptions (Julie Moos, Poynter Online, and you can listen to the speech)

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations and BoingBoing on Clay Shirky's masterpiece (with links to more Clay Shirky pieces)

How to Save Your Newspaper (Walter Isaacson, Time) and The bell tolls for Time, too (Alan Jacobson, Brass Tacks)

The Intelligence Briefing model of media (Conover on Media, a front-row seat at the final bonfire, 9-23-05)

Lesson from WisconsinWatch: Nonprofit Journalism Isn't Free (Robert Gutsche Jr., Poynter Online, 8-11-09)

Let’s Invent an iTunes for News (David Carr, NY Times, argues for a pay-for-news-by-item business model to save newspapers)

Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy by Alex Jones. "[S]ignificance may not be governed by the clock. The most valuable element in journalism is often enough not an episode that occurred today, yesterday or, horrors, the day before. It’s the creation of a new awareness provided by either months of investigation or relentlessly regular coverage," writes Harold Evans in The Daily Show, his review in the NY Times of this book, which Howard Gardener calls an "authoritative account of why journalism is vital, how it has lost its bearings," and what can be done to reinvigorate this foundation of a democratic society.

Monetize Online (Brass Tacks)

The newspaper business isn't dying, it's evolving (Kirk LaPointe, Vancouver Sun, 5-1-09)

Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable (Clay Shirky)

The Newspaper Suicide Pact (Xark 6-3-09, on "paid content")

Over 60, and Proud to Join the Digerati (James R. Gaines, Preoccupations, NY Times 11-28-09)

**• The Price of Truth (Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones, Sept/Oct 2009). "The old model, where journalism was heavily subsidized by advertising, is over. The recession has made the divorce faster and more acrimonious, but the knives were already out. And online advertising is turning out to be a harsh mistress....Sure, information wants to be free. Alas, it's not....Reporting takes money." A concise summary of the issues.

Priced to Sell: Is free the future? Malcolm Gladwell's review in the New Yorker of
Chris Anderson’s new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price. See also $0.00, Virginia Postrel's review of the book in the NYTBook Review.

The Printed Blog ("Publisher Rethinks the Daily" by Claire Cain Miller, NY Times)

Spackman of Times Online, UK, speaks of interweaving journalism and search optimization, counsels against becoming a "traffic tart" (Martin Stabe, Press Gazette, UK)

StreetVibes: Advocating Justice, Building Community (Gregory Flannery on a newspaper with a sense of purpose)

Talk Radio Gets Angrier as Its Revenues Drop (FrumForum on radio hosts who believe that anger is their only path to survival)

TimeSelect Content Freed (Holly M. Sanders, New York Post)

True/Slant: Angling for News Sponsors Howard Kurtz, Media Notes, Washington Post 6-8-09)

True/Slant Tests Another Model Of Web Journalism (Walt Mossberg,WSJ, Personal Technology, 4-8-09)

United, Newspapers May Stand (David Carr, The Media Equation, NY Times 3-8-09)

Urgent Deadline for Newspapers: Find a New Business Plan before You Vanish (Knowledge@Wharton Strategic Management Research Article - Requires free membership)

End Times:Can America’s paper of record survive the death of newsprint? Can journalism? (Michael Hirschorn, The Atlantic, January-February 2009) and End Times: A Response from the Times

U.S. bill seeks to rescue faltering newspapers (Reuters, 3-4-09, on allowing newspapers to become nonprofits)

Web Sites That Dig for News Rise as Watchdogs (Richard Pérez-Peña, NYTimes, 11-17-09,

Storyful, a startup that started filtering videoclips about the turmoil in Egypt, is partnering with YouTube's CitizenTube, YouTube’s news and politics channel, in an experiment in teamwork to "curate" the news knowledgeably. Read Storyful Now: Egypt in Revolt (Nieman Journalism Lab, 2-4-11)

Will paid content work? Two cautionary tales from 2004 Tom Windsor, Nieman Journalism Lab, 2-10-09

Why Obama should stiff-arm "save the newspapers" legislation Jack Shafer, Slate, on Saving Newspapers From Their Saviours, 9-21-09)

Why iTunes is not a workable model for the newspaper business (Clay Shirky)

Why Small Payments Won’t Save Publishers (Clay Shirky)

Why the End of Newspapers Is Not the End of News (Larry Kramer, The Daily Beast)

You Can't Sell News By the Slice (Michael Kinsley, NY Times opinion page, 2-9-09)

All Hands On Deck: 4 Editors on the SF Chronicle Implosion Read More 
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Is it still a great time to become a personal historian?

by Pat McNees (updated the month the Association of Personal Historians filed for bankruptcy--but individual personal historians are still at your service)

Since 1990 I've been helping people and organizations tell their life stories. If you're nosy (curious), love to do interviews, like shaping them into a compelling narrative, and either know how to produce and independently publish a book or are willing to learn and/or subcontract some stages of the process, this kind of gig is a great variation on being a conventional writer, editor, or publisher. People enter this new field from many different previous careers (some unexpected -- for example, funeral celebrant). Some personal historians have been (and still are) book designers, some oral historians, some therapists, some editors from book publishing (who now get credit for all the work they do), some are journalists (who have seen the writing on that particular wall), some are video documentarians. The list of previous careers is a long one.

The point is, personal historians take advantage of the trend toward private publishing and public sharing.

Personal histories come in print, audio, and video formats, among others. Video biographies are great fun, especially to show at family gatherings, and sometimes a family just wants you to capture an elder's stories in his or her own voice -- so all you need to produce is edited audio interviews with transcripts.

Some of us are also memoir coaches. My favorite activity is teaching life story writing (at the Writer's Center in Bethesda and in Montgomery County libraries). In a course I call "My Life, One Story at a Time," I share tips and writing prompts with some really interesting adults, who write a story from their life each week and come in and read it aloud. It's fascinating and they get the writing done, because they have a deadline, an interested audience, and a little targeted encouragement from me. (Reading your story aloud is a wonderful way to "find your voice." Reading aloud with others is a great way to get your creative juices flowing and to hear what works and what doesn't. Your storytelling improves almost by osmosis.)

If you want to make a living helping others tell their life (or family) stories, start by picking up a copy of a useful book called Start & Run a Personal History Business: Get Paid to Research Family Ancestry and Write Memoirs by Jennifer Campbell. Jennifer was active in the Association of Personal Historians (of which, let me say up front, I am a former president). Alas, the group disbanded formally in May 2017, owing to severe financial difficulties. (One problem is that new people kept joining the organization but after a while the experienced members dropped out. Many people love the idea of doing personal histories but don't know how to find clients.)

APH produced a few special toolkits for personal historians (on getting your business up and running; doing the interview; developing products and services that suit your skills and the market you want to reach; and marketing (ideas that have worked for various members of APH). In this business, talking shop covers a LOT of ground. You learn not only about memoirs but about specialized products, such as ethical wills (or legacy letters).

When APH was holding its annual conferences, there was much cross-pollinating, so to speak. If you were a designer, you could still learn how to do an interview from an oral historian. If you were a journalist, you could learn from a book packager how to go about finding the right designer and printer. The workshops were helpful, but even more so, in the corridors between workshops you could look at each other's products and get ideas that would work in the niche you settled on (mine was and is books -- including several histories of organizations -- and I co-produced one video). This is more of a sharing culture than most: personal historians love what they do and want others to love it too.

I was co-editor, with Paula Stallings Yost, of My Words Are Gonna Linger: The Art of Personal History, with a foreword by Rick Bragg. I am biased, but this is a great gift for someone whose life stories should be captured, preserved, and shared but who keeps saying, "Who cares what happened in my life?" I hope that it will remain in print, available from Amazon, but chances are it will disappear because of bankruptcy, so order fast. It contains backstories about the process of getting the stories into print, which are helpful if you want to help others tell their life stories.
"At last, a collection that shows the 'why, what, and how' behind memoir as legacy." ~ Susan Wittig Albert, author of Writing from Life and founder of Story Circle Network.

For more information and many, many helpful links in this field, check out Telling Your Story, a semi-encyclopedic page of resources on my Pat McNees (personal) site. See also More About Personal Histories and Legacy Memoirs on my Writers and Editors website, and The Business of Personal History (a blog post on the same site). Sadly, you can no longer join APH (the national organization). Maybe another organization will rise to take its place. Meanwhile, local chapters are forming and if you are lucky and one forms near where you live, you can still share information about new technologies, new techniques, new markets, and new approaches to that old idea that used to be the province mostly of the rich and famous: leaving a legacy (memoir as book, video, or audiotapes) for the next generation. So far you can find local personal historian groups here:
---Life Story Professionals of the Greater Washington Area (DC, Maryland, and Virginia).
---Personal Historians (a Facebook group)
---Personal Historians Northeast Network (in the Boston area)
---Personal Historians NW (in the Pacific Northwest)
---Life Stories Australia (personal historians, biographers, editors, etc.)
---NYC Personal Historians (a Meetup group).
-- Pat McNees

Originally published 3-22-2011 as "It's a great time to become a personal historian." Updated because the Association of Personal Historians closed its virtual doors. It never did have a physical home.

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