Former Philadelphia Inquirer metro columnist Tom Ferrick calls Philly.com “an anomaly among the newspaper-related web sites in America in that it doesn’t much like news.” The people behind the site know they can’t get millions of unique visitors with news stories, he says, because “news is dull.” They think, “Sports is better. Gossip is better still. Showing a woman with big breasts is good.” That harms the print newspapers, says Ferrick.
The Inquirer and Daily News are brands built on good journalism — and good journalistic practices. Their value is in their truthfulness and reliability.
Philly.com doesn’t share those values. It doesn’t work under the same rules. Therefore, it runs the risk of pulling the papers down to its level. That cheapens the brand.
Philly.com editor Wendy Warren tells me that Ferrick is wrong about Philly.com staffers’ view of news.
“I want to make emphatically clear that news is the lifeblood of philly.com — we absolutely care very much about news.” She points out this morning’s lead stories on the site are about a priest’s trial, an FBI sting, and the Trayvon Martin case.
There have been cheerleader galleries on the site, but “finding a balance between light and heavy is something journalists have done in my 20 years in the business and certainly before that,” says Warren.
“News is what brings people back to the site and we are extremely conscious of that. We have increased our staffing for breaking news” and will continue to. “News could not be more important to us.”
* Freak Show: Tom Ferrick on Philly.com
The Santorum-Zeleny exchange starts at 00:42.
After cursing at New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, Rick Santorum told Fox News that he “had enough of you know what” and said that “if you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you’re not really a real Republican. || Maggie Haberman writes in a Politico post that “the notion that politicians don’t swear is almost as entertaining as the faux shock whenever they do publicly. But, it never goes unnoticed, and it’s not exactly common for recent presidential hopefuls.”
* Rick Santorum curses New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny (USA Today)
* “What speech did you listen to?” Santorum told the New York Times (NYT)
What we learn from Lauren Collins’ piece on The Daily Mail (“The newspaper that rules Britain”) in this week’s New Yorker:
* The Mail sees itself as the defender of traditional British values. Its detractors call it the Hate Mail or the Daily Fail. It’s considered the most powerful newspaper in Great Britain, with a daily readership of 4.5 million.
* “The Mail’s closest analogue in the American media is perhaps Fox News,” writes Collins. “In Britain, unlike in the United States, television tends to be a dignified affair, while print is berserk and shouty.”
* Editor Paul Dacre believes American newspapers “forgot that there’s a huge market out there of people who are serious-minded but also want some fun in their reading.”
* “The Mail takes a skeptical view of celebrities. It covers them, maximally, but often its stories are about their fading looks, their failing marriages, their hypocrisy, their illegitimate children.”
* Mail Online brought in $25 million last year — up 65% from the year before — but it still isn’t profitable because of expansion investments.
* Mail Online editor Martin Clarke contends his site adheres to fair-use rules. (It’s often accused of lifting others’ work.) “We never like to follow a story without improving it, with either new facts, graphics, pictures, or video.” Clarke says the site will soon be introducing features “that will allow us to link easily and prominently to other sites when further recognition of source material is needed.”
* How the Daily Mail conquered England