Saturday report: A visiting j-prof’s farewell; a pink slip for a Pulitzer-winner; and more

Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever wraps up his University of Montana visiting professorship with some observations on the news business and where journalism is headed.

Hank Stuever

Hank Stuever

“I’m a lousy prophet,” he tells his students, “but I do predict that we will all live to see a resurgence in quality journalism that employers pay good money to produce and readers pay good money to read/view, only we’ll be working for smaller audiences who have been rediscovered by a whole new version of what we now call ‘advertisers.'”

Stuever notes that veteran journalists often say there’s never been a more exciting time to be entering the journalism field. “We say that because we honestly do see some potential opportunities that we never had. Some of us recall how many times we heard that our journalism dreams were ‘at least 10 years of hard news experience’ out of our reach, which is the last thing you want to hear as an eager 22-year-old.

“To us (almost) old farts, the new media platforms are exciting, so long as you can set aside the small matter of a paycheck. So much bullshit has been done away with. It feels like opportunity.”

But we’re also lying, too. It was never easy to get a job at a newspaper, but they were also pretty freakin’ great places to work. Back then (whenever — the ’70s, the ’80s, the ’90s; five years ago) was also an exciting time to be entering the field. We had a blast.

And you will too. It’s a different sort of blast. Life is long and so are careers. Stop waiting for the renaissance to work itself out — I’ve already told you that I don’t think that even our grandchildren will figure out the perfect business model for media. Shouldn’t it take at least a century for us to completely dismantle and reinvent six centuries of the printed word? So hang on and fight on.

Stuever’s last lecture of the semester: “For the love of pete, stop putting two spaces after a period. You know who you are. Do this for the editors and web producers you’re going to work for in this, the 21st century. Farhad Manjoo is here to tell you why. Two spaces after a period has outlived its typewriter-era purpose.”
* J-494 class recap for Dec. 5 – life is long (hankstuever.com)

Also…
* The financial stakes of the newspaper crossword “are higher than a casual solver might realize.” (theawl.com)
* David Carr: The sudden rush to put up paywalls “represents a moment of truth for publishers.” (nytimes.com)
* Florida Times-Union begins national search for three experienced investigative reporters. (jacksonville.com)
* Pulitzer-winning fashion writer Robin Givhan is laid off from NewsBeast. (nymag.com)
* Nate Silver, wearing a Cookie Monster t-shirt, has a 50-minute serious discussion with Conan O’Brien. (teamcoco.com)
* The sad story of Google Reader — the once-essential aggregation tool for information junkies. (buzzfeed.com)
* Jill Abramson talks about “grabbing beers with the girls from the New York Times.” (youtube.com)
* Departing U.S. News & World Report education reporter has a few things to say to grad students. (facebook.com/menachem.wecker)
* Journalists at The Hill regard columnist Dick Morris as “a laughingstock.” (mediamatters.org)
* Watch Alec Baldwin complain to Piers Morgan about “gotcha” entertainment journalism. (youtube.com)


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