Saturday, February 14, 2009

Facebook has a newspaper escape plan

Martin Gee, a designer who was laid off from the Mercury News last year, started a Facebook group six months ago called "Newspaper Escape Plan." The group has grown to 2,568 members and 39 topics. They're even selling merchandise, such as the button at right. Gee is perhaps best known for the Flickr photo essay about downsizing at the Merc called "Reduction in Force." We learned about the escape plan group from this post at fishbowlLA. Gee tells fishbowl:
    "News and journalism can evolve but it's held back with editors' and owners' hanging on to newsprint. Newsprint is just a medium. I'm definitely worried about the newspaper industry. I go back and forth sometimes. I want newspapers to do well and evolve. Somedays after reading Romenesko, I want them to die so something else can rise from the ashes. I do have hope for print."
While we were on Facebook, we noticed another group journalists might want to visit, "I judge you when you use poor grammar."


Anonymous said...

You didn't mention the most interesting part of the fishbowlLA posting: Gee said that after his project on the merc was posted, 20,000 Flickr views later, "I got laid off." Just a coincidence?

Anonymous said...

The important part of newspaper is NEWS, not PAPER. Staff reduction won't work. Move reporters to the net. I concede, however, that much of the problem involves lack of trust in the news media. When UPI went under in the 1980s, AP inheritied a news monopoly. Power corrupts.

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem with the internet; it's FREE. No one pays a cent for what the reporters, editors and photographers have done.
It's time editors and publishers realize the fact that giving away the news on the Internet doesn't work, won't work and is wrong.
If those who won't pay for the news want news, let them go elsewhere, perhaps to their neighborhood blogger.
How would the local supermarket manager feel if I came in and just started loading my cart with groceries and not pay for it? Or, let's all go down to the car dealer and take any car of the lot and not pay for it.
It's the same damn difference.
You want something, pay for it.
Publishers and editors should demand that anyone who wants to read an online newspaper either subscribe online or for a real newspaper.
Better yet, for all those who think information should be free, try going to work everyday and not getting paid for it. Why not?
We've lost the value of news and news gathering when we gave away our hard work.

Roger Helbig said...

I subscribe to local Bay Area papers, but I also want news from the source and often read on-line news from all over the world. I can not afford to pay for each of the papers that I read on line and I probably pay too much for the two Bay Area papers that I do subscribe to. What is needed is a way that the reader can be a subscriber to all on-line papers through having a newspaper subscription.