I thought I would be the one to break this news, since Peter is an old friend, but obviously I moved too slowly. Peter Waldman, who has written for the Wall Street Journal for 22 years, much of it from the
Have people been monitoring those who are leaving the Chronicle? Since I was on vacation I haven’t blogged about those losses, or those who were laid off from the Mercury News, but some of the papers’ best reporters are gone. At the Chronicle they include Mike Weiss, known for his lengthy takeouts on a range of topics, including a story about the making of wine which he turned into a book; Keay Davidson, a fabulous science reporter; Rick DelVecchio, who has covered the East Bay for years and writes a fine feature; and Glen Martin, whose environmental writing was illuminating and compelling. Read a list of the rest of the departed here.
Newspapers and journalism schools are virtually throwing themselves on and at the web to try and adapt. The Chronicle just appointed Eve Batey as Deputy Managing Editor for Online (notice the word "news" is nowhere to be seen.) She will be the liaison between the newsroom and SFGate. She comes to this position with virtually no journalism experience. Instead, she made her reputation at SFist, one of those city blogs with splashy graphics.
The Medill School at Northwestern University, which just changed its name from the Medill School of Journalism, (somehow dropping that dreaded j word makes it more contemporary) is revamping its program to have all budding reporters get out into the field with video ipods and digital cameras. They will also be required to take a class that examines what readers want, audience behavior and motivation, a sort of marketing look at how to write stories so they will be read.
The Journalism School at Berkeley is also revamping its core journalism class and will have its first year students use video cameras and tape recorders to make multimedia reports. Previously the school had everyone take a core reporting class and a separate multimedia class since there is so much to learn in both disciplines. The combined approach is an attempt at relevance.
I never thought I would live through the death of the newspaper industry or watch as journalists grasped at everything to try and resurrect its important position in the world. As one friend put it recently, she feels like the weaver at the start of the Industrial Revolution watching the construction of fabric factories through the window of her stone hut.