Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
And I can't say I like it anymore here than I did in Denver.
That's not to say that the good folks at the Star-Advertiserhaven't tried to step up and produce a bigger — and better — newspaper than either of the city's two previous titles. But the new reality has disturbing implications for the city's journalism, commercial vitality and public life. There's something depressing about not being able to compare the coverage in two competing papers to try to understand what's going on in a city.
Let me give you a small example from Thursday's paper.
The black front-page above the fold headline in the Star-Advertiser said: "Veto of civil unions bill is not group's position." The italic sub-headline said, "The Business Roundtable clarifies its statement, reacting to internal dissent and other pressures." The article was on Page B3. The headline on the B3 article was fine, but the lede (the first and most important paragraph) was flat-out wrong. It read: "The Hawaii Business Roundtable clarified yesterday that it has not taken a position on a civil unions bill, responding to internal dissent and under pressure from gay rights advocates for urging Gov. Linda Lingle to veto the measure."
The Roundtable has taken a position on the civil unions bill. What it hasn't taken a position on, it now says, is the concept of civil unions. The group wants the governor to veto House Bill 444 because it believes there are "administrative challenges to the implementation of H.B. 444 in its present form."
"At Civil Beat, we believe that anonymous sources are sometimes necessary when they're the only way we can share important information. We only use them, though, when we believe the public benefit clearly outweighs any potential downsides. Anonymous sources must be used carefully. The decision is in our sole judgment. To retain your trust, we believe we must explain why we granted anonymity. It's not enough for us that somebody might ask for anonymity.
"It's important to state: We always try to obtain information on the record. But there may be cases where that's impossible, and yet we believe we have information that is essential for the public to know. In such cases, before considering granting anonymity, we must know that the source or sources are reliable and that they have direct knowledge of the subject. We always try to confirm information by seeking multiple sources. We decide to grant anonymity because we believe the person has a justifiable reason not to speak on the record."
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
- The paper doesn't care about the web.
- The front page is going to be dominated by "concept" covers, rather than documentary journalism.
- So far, the paper isn't asking tough questions. The lead story on Sunday, the first Sunday since the new paper debuted, was lame. Most of the front page was dedicated to a package on how food distributors were paying an extra $300 weekly for overtime for state food inspectors and how that was driving up the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables. The huge headline: "Fresh Costs: Hawaii consumers are paying more for fresh produce because of state cutbacks." Please ....
- The owner is being generous with news hole. It's a bigger paper than you'd find in most other cities of comparable size, based on my experience. Too bad so much of the space is used for long wire stories.
- The owner is also showing more commitment to commentary, beefing up the section — which is a great move. Three pages of commentary many days. Two at a minimum. The old Advertiser used to run 1 and 1/2, with none on Saturday.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
[3/18/10 5:19:08 PM] Jay Rosen: so it's more the anonymous you want to eliminate than that you want to be one way?
[3/18/10 5:20:16 PM] John Temple: We definitely don't want to be one way. If I gave that impression in my talk, I'm sorry. I can see how people might have read the no comments that way. But it was meant as a way to say that instead of comments, we're going to have conversation.
[3/18/10 5:20:42 PM] Jay Rosen: you have a significant misimpression to correct, then
[3/18/10 5:20:44 PM] John Temple: we do believe that in a civic square anonymity contributes greatly to the lack of civility...
[3/18/10 5:20:58 PM] Jay Rosen: the message was "no comments"
[3/18/10 5:21:12 PM] Jay Rosen: which I didn't believe
[3/18/10 5:21:16 PM] Jay Rosen: and did not repeat
[3/18/10 5:21:55 PM] John Temple: i'll work at it...i thought I was pretty clear about the importance of community and conversation...i believe i said that the contributions of readers potentially were as important as the contributions of journalists. I appreciate that you picked up on this and sought to clarify. Thank you!
[3/18/10 5:22:24 PM] Jay Rosen: TechCrunch mangled it
[3/18/10 5:22:50 PM] John Temple: We've talked with her and asked her to clarify. I thought she did a great job other than that.
As soon as I saw his column Sunday, I contacted Crovitz to ask him for a clarification. I've exchanged thoughts with him before and appreciate the work he does in his column. He was gracious and said he would pass my comments along to his editors for a possible clarification or letter to the editor.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
- This is my first public appearance since I moved to Honolulu
- I’ve got to say the newspaper scene here feels like deja vu all over again
- A year ago, it was Denver becoming a one paper town and I was the editor there who saw his paper silenced, with hundreds losing their jobs
- When I got here in January, it was apparent that the newspaper status quo in Honolulu couldn’t go on for long
- What happened, how the tables turned, is another example of why we can’t take anything for granted in this media era
- I understand how difficult, even distressing, these changes can be
- But having lived through a similar experience and come out on the other side, I’m also here to tell you that even in a time of uncertainty there are reasons to be encouraged...as I am today, working here in Honolulu.
- The title Jay Fidell gave this speech is “What role will Peer News play in these transformations”
- It seems to me, based on what's happened with local TV news outlets and now at Honolulu's newspapers, that the media environment is doing a pretty good job of transforming itself without any help from Peer News
- Think of Jay’s title for this talk as an unsupported lede...or a headline that doesn’t fit the story
- I’m not actually going to talk about the role of Peer News in the transformation we’ve been talking about at this conference today...Frankly, I don’t know what the role of Peer News will be in these transformations...that will be for others to decide down the road
- I do know that we’re going to approach some things differently. We’ll learn from that and I hope you’ll follow our service and my blog and learn with us
- What’s different for me at Peer News from what I’ve done in the past is that we’re not trying to invent an online newspaper, we're not trying to move things we've been doing in print online
- We started by asking three fundamental questions
- 1. What is the role of the press in a democracy
- 2. How best would you fulfill that role using all the tools available today
- 3. How do you do that in a sustainable way
- I hope my talk today will help make more clear our answers to those questions.
- I think we’re in a period where news organizations need to shift their focus from their own needs to the needs and desires of citizens...
- I’ve been out talking to people to hear what’s on their minds...Let me give you a sense of what I’m hearing...
- Show video clips of man/woman on the street interviews
- I think you can hear a sense of concern...they’re worried that news is filtered, that they’re not getting the whole story and that things are getting worse
- At peer news we want readers to feel things are getting better.
- That they’re being heard
- That they have people working on their behalf.
- We’re starting from scratch, so that allows us certain freedoms.
- We have no history...that means we don’t have to shift from an old model to a new model.
- Our mission statement is an example of I’m talking about
- The mission of peer news is to create the new civic square
- It’s hard to imagine any traditional news organization opting for that mission statement
- Fundamentally, we believe that our news service should empower citizens and encourage greater civic participation
- We’re creating a place where people can learn and understand, debate and discover
- Our goal is to be the place where citizens come to learn, understand, debate and discover solutions to the most important issues in our community
- Peer news will be a place where citizens’ contributions matter...yes, potentially as much as the contributions of the journalists who provide the reporting and information that will serve as the basis for discussion
- So I'm going to answer the question many of you have been asking me for weeks: What are you doing
- Peer News is focusing on two things: Content and community. That’s the bottom line. Those are the two words that you’re going to hear from us again and again. Content and Community.
- Here’s how we’re going to be different on the content side
- We’re taking a more holistic approach to news...We’ll take issues that we know people care about or are important to the community and provide in-depth reporting that can serve as a resource for readers. That resource will be a living history, something that evolves as understanding of the issue develops..That’s different from the traditional approach of reporting isolated stories reflecting a single point in time....And it’s different from an archive, a collection of the stories a news organization has written, like the archives on important topics you might find on many news sites
- Matt Thompson of NPR described a similar way of thinking in a blog post recently
- He wrote: "Right now, the most common way the news industry attempts to impart systemic knowledge is by wedging it into our episodic reports... This is completely bass-ackwards. Journalists spend a ton of time trying to acquire the systemic knowledge we need to report an issue, yet we dribble it out in stingy bits between lots and lots of worthless, episodic updates."
- If you want to understand an issue like the proposed rail project for Honolulu on Peer News, you’ll be able to read a deep and ever-growing briefing on the issue, with maps, source documents, etc. Articles won’t need all the boilerplate background that is typical of many newspaper stories...we’ll use links from articles to connect people back to a page that will seem more like wikipedia than a newspaper, although wikipedia with a news edge
- Our articles typically will be driven by questions rather than events...that’s why we talk about an investigative reporting mindset driving our approach..... we’ll be trying to answer the questions readers might ask in order to come to an informed opinion about an issue like rail
- And when I talk about important issues, I think it’s key to stress that we’ll identify what we think those are and hold onto them tightly...we don’t want to focus on a hot topic one day and seem to forget about it the next
- So that’s a bit about the content part of the equation
- Let me focus now on the other half of the equation: community
- As I mentioned before. We’re out to create the new civic square. You can’t do that without having people engaged.
- One of the ways we’ll get people involved is by connecting with them and connecting them with each other
- Here are 3 specific things we’re going to do
- No. 1. Our job title for our reporting staff isn’t “reporter”
- It’s “reporter and host”
- This is different from what other people are doing...but we think it’s going to be a key to our success....
- If you think of reporters as the servants of their readers...people who are working for their readers...you’d be a lot closer to what we’re thinking, instead of reporters as chroniclers or reporters as stenographers...
- We know there are going to be people in the community who know more than our reporters on any given subject...the challenge is to involve them and create a place for them to participate in the new civic square...
- The second thing that will make us different is how we’ll handle what most news sites call comments.
- How many of you, and be honest with me, how many of you read comments because you think you’re going to learn something from them? Give me a show of hands. How many of you are embarrassed by the comments on your own Web site and think they reflect badly on your community or news organization?
- Maybe now you’ll understand why we’re not going to have "comments". (I put quotes around the word comments after Jay Rosen pointed out that it sounded like I was saying it was going to be a one-way conversation. My point was that we were going to have debate, discussions, conversations - not comments. We think we can create a more satisfying and civil environment through this approach, rather than using "comments" after an article.)
- We all know how comments on news sites can descend into racism, hate, the ugly side of humanity...how they can reflect badly on news organizations and often only reflect a narrow slice of their communities...in truth, the comments sections of most news sites often act as a keep out sign to decent people...why would anybody want to participate given the tone and nature of the speech found there?
- The problem...or at least a big part of the problem...anonymity...
- In a civic square...you have to show your face ...you can’t avoid responsibility for your words..
- We plan to recreate that experience ..
- No. 3, Peer News is going to call things like it sees them.
- We think it’s important to find a way to, as one new friend put it, speak hard truths to each other and still get along
- This means that at Peer News we’ll be taking stands... Readers may not agree with us sometimes, or even most of the time...but we believe that by taking a clear position on many issues, it will help others shape their own...
- So that should give you a sense of how content and community will work together on Peer News
- But let me go ahead and address a few questions I know you might still be asking
- One big one is what the news service itself will look like
- The site isn’t going to be some 3D affair, something nobody has ever seen...it’s not Avatar...
- It’s designed to serve the needs of its readers, to make it seamless for them to participate every day, to keep them coming back for more...it’ll be about the content and the conversation, not about whiz bang
- The site exists to fulfill the needs of the community..
- We hope the site will connect people here in a way they haven’t been connected before
- Another question that I often hear is so what’s the business model
- Peer News will be a member organization, but not members only
- We’ll be embracing transparency and social media...there will be plenty of presence and impact for everybody, whether they’re members or not
- But the business model is based on creating content and experiences that people will value...and are willing to pay for
- That’s where we start...
- So what can you expect from peer news? A different way of thinking about content and a different way of thinking about community
- And a new way of thinking about how they’re connected
- I’ve come a long way to start this journey...My wife and I moved here from Colorado because we believe in this idea...as much as I’ve come to love the magic of this place in the weeks that I’ve been here, it’s not what brought me here...I’m here because I’m passionate about the possibility of finding a new approach to journalism...I believe in what we’re doing at Peer News, in what I’ve told you about today...I hope after listening to this talk that you’re starting to feel the same excitement, too
Monday, March 15, 2010
I’m happy to report that we’ve now hired the editorial team that will launch our new news service for Honolulu and Hawaii. I’ll be talking about our approach publicly for the first time at a speech in Honolulu later this week at a conference called Newsmorphosis.
I stress in my headline that these journalists will be hosts as well as reporters because the community will interact with them in a way that’s not typical of the relationship between reporters and their readers. A big part of Peer News is going to be community, and the reporter hosts will be key in making that happen.
Mike Levine, currently a reporter and assistant news editor at The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai. Mike has worked as a journalist on Kauai for a couple of years, after picking lettuce and acting as a tour guide there. He also worked for Fodor’s to update the Kauai section of the 2010 Hawaii Guidebook and Kauai Guidebook 3rd Edition. Mike worked as a news desk editor and writer at NBA.com before moving to Kauai. He’s a graduate of Lehigh University and the rare reporter to have majored in journalism and minored in material science and engineering.
Katherine Nichols, currently a staff writer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Katherine approaches journalism with the drive and determination of the triathlete that she is. The 16-year resident of Hawaii has experience as a reporter for both Honolulu papers, and served as the Hawaii bureau chief for Travel Weekly Magazine. She has written freelance articles for publications ranging from The New York Times Magazine and The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine to People Magazine and Honolulu Magazine. She wrote, produced and hosted a local television show, and has written and produced programming for ESPN. Katherine attended UCLA, where she earned a degree in English Literature and a master's in education.
Treena Shapiro, currently the assistant features editor at The Honolulu Advertiser. Treena was born in Honolulu and grew up on the Big Island and in Virginia and California before returning to Oahu as a teen-ager. She’s a graduate of Kailua High School and the University of Hawaii/Manoa. Treena had an extensive career as a public affairs reporter before she made the switch to editing in 2008. She was a general assignment and education reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin before moving to the Advertiser, where she covered City Hall, education, the legislature and state government. Treena was an early adopter of new approaches to journalism. She shoots video on stories and has written a blog for the Advertiser.
Monday, March 8, 2010
The staff of Peer News is starting to take shape. Last week I announced that Sara Lin of The Wall Street Journal will be joining the new Honolulu-based news service as assistant editor.
Today it’s my pleasure to announce the names of the first people who’ll be joining the service as “reporter and host.” Yes, you read that correctly. The job profile for reporters at Peer News includes the role of host, reflecting our commitment to community engagement as a central part of the reporters’ role.
Joining Peer News (in alphabetical order) will be:
Chad Blair, currently a reporter with Pacific Business News in Honolulu. Chad has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawaii. He is the author of Money, Color & Sex in Hawai’i Politics and has also worked as a reporter for Hawaii Public Radio and the Honolulu Weekly. Chad was a Racial Justice Fellow in 2005-2006 at the Institute for Justice and Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. Chad has extensive experience as a teacher, having worked at the University of Hawaii, Chaminade University, Hawaii Pacific University and Honolulu Community College.
Noelle Chun, currently social media coordinator for Ashoka’s Changemakers in Washington, D.C. For Noelle, Peer News will be a return to the community where she grew up. Noelle is a graduate of Punahou School, where she was editor of the student paper for two years. She went on to earn journalism and history degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She has worked extensively in new media, including with Guy Kawasaki on Truemors.com and Alltop.com. She has also worked as an assistant editor at the University of California, San Francisco, and as an intern at Honolulu Magazine, The Honolulu Advertiser, KHON2, and Newsweek.
Katherine Poythress, currently a staff writer at The Gadsden Times in Gadsden, Alabama. Katherine is a graduate of Hillsdale College in Michigan, where she was on a scholarship for outstanding journalistic performance. Katherine is a hard-driving local news reporter who has embraced new media tools. She has also worked as a reporter at The Daily Home in Talladega, Alabama.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Sara Lin of The Wall Street Journal is coming home to Honolulu to become assistant editor of Peer News
Somehow a new news initiative never seems entirely real until the team of journalists that's going to produce it starts to take shape. Since I joined Peer News at the end of January, we've had lot of great conversations about what we're going to do, but there hasn't been another working journalist for me to collaborate with to start creating content.
I'm happy to announce that we've hired an assistant editor. We're bringing home a local star - Sara Lin - to work as my partner leading the Honolulu-based news service. Sara was born and raised in Hawaii and graduated from Punahou School, where she was editor of the student newspaper for two years. She's a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in Politics and minored in East Asian Studies. While a student, she worked as an intern at Honolulu Weekly and The Honolulu Advertiser. After graduation, she went on to a reporting career at two of America's great newspapers: the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, where today she is a real estate reporter and columnist. Sara starts at Peer News at the end of the month.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
It’s deja-vu all over again.
Here I am in Honolulu, one year after the announcement by the E.W. Scripps Co. that it would shut down the Denver Rocky Mountain News, and what do I hear? That another newspaper company is dealing essentially the same death knell to another proud title, this time the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
It wasn’t unexpected. It hasn’t seemed possible since I arrived here in January that Honolulu could support two major newspapers. I thought it was only a matter of time until there would be just one. I still think I’m right.
Of course, the owner of the Star-Bulletin says it’s putting the paper up for sale. But that appears to be just a way to say it did everything possible for the paper.
I know the uncertainty and even despair that some newspaper journalists here must be feeling. We felt something similar a year ago.
Tomorrow, in Denver, former Rocky journalists will gather at the press club and mark the anniversary of the paper’s final edition. I will be with them and my other colleagues in spirit.
I never could have imagined last Feb. 26 that one year after telling my staff that our next issue would be our final edition, I would be in Hawaii, launching what we’re calling a next generation news service.
I won’t say I don’t feel a sense of loss. Of course I do. I’ll never forget my days at the Rocky or the friends I made there. But perhaps my words - and experience - can encourage some of the new friends I’ve made in the journalism community here and the many newspaper people here I’ve yet to meet.
Yes, it’s difficult to move on to the next stage in life. And, no, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to make the kind of money you once made. Or that you’ll be able to work in journalism again. But there’s life after the death of a paper. You can see that in what has happened to many who were at the Rocky. I had hoped to do a survey and report what had happened to the staff, the way I did after six months. But frankly, I’m too busy building something new to look back. And that’s the good news.
I feel so lucky to be here. I feel liberated by not having the tug of the newspaper holding us down as we imagine what the future of journalism might look like. I have only a map of where we’re going and I don’t know all the people I’ll be going with, but each day I get to put one foot in front of the other and help us try to find our way.
I would encourage others to do the same. Don’t abandon your belief in the importance of the work or your dream of doing work better than anything you’ve done until now.
Yes, the announcement Thursday in Honolulu was probably another grave marker along the road to doom for newspapers. But I feel even more strongly today than a year ago that what we should be thinking about reinventing is journalism, not newspapers. I still love newspapers - I read three a day in print - and I admire the work that many are still doing at them. To those who can still work at them, and to their owners, I would just ask that you take more chances. Just because something used to be a certain way doesn’t mean it always has to be that way.
And to those at both Honolulu papers, I would tell you what I told our staff when Scripps announced the Rocky was for sale. Don’t waste the time you have. Do the stories you’ve always wanted to do. You won’t regret it. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.