Media Blues

“Old Media Blues” (The Atlantic). The author writes, ” I am second to none in my appreciation of new media and its possibilities. But so far, it has proven more effective as a complement to old media than a replacement.”

Old Media Blues – Business – The Atlantic

A complement to old media. The author hits the nail on the head. And that’s what “Where Old Media and New Media Meet” is all about! It’s about collaboration, not replacing one with the other. You’re with me?

Old-Time Media Tycoon Henry Luce

The good old times? New York Times Book Review about The Publisher, aka Henry Luce, the creator of Time, Life, Fortune and later of Sports Illustrated. “Luce was a media tycoon at a time when […] freedom of the press belonged to the man who owned one (rather than, as now, to anyone with an Internet service provider), a time when a lone publisher could aspire to influence the course of world events.”


Thankfully, those days are over.

How We Read Online

An article from Slate (old but, oh, so true!) “Lazy Eyes — How We Read Online“. Quote: “We’ll do more and more reading on screens, but they won’t replace paper—never mind what your friend with a Kindle tells you. Rather, paper seems to be the new Prozac. A balm… for the distracted mind. It’s contained, offline, tactile.” So true.

How the Web Has Changed Our Culture

Must read: How the web has changed our culture: a NYTimes article titled “Reading on the Web: Text Without Context” on how digital media are reshaping our political and social landscape, molding art and entertainment, even affecting the methodology of  scholarship and research.

This great analysis examines “the consequences of the fragmentation of data that the Web produces, as news articles, novels and record albums are broken down into bits and bytes; the growing emphasis on immediacy and real-time responses; the rising tide of data and information that permeates our lives; and the emphasis that blogging and partisan political Web sites place on subjectivity.”

Global Journalists On Journalism

World Press Review’s website [my former employer, when it still published a print edition] has a compelling special report on global journalists musing about journalism in their countries. “In countries around the world, independent journalists risk jail, injury, and death to get the story out.” Must read.

A Worldpress.org Special Report – Journalists on Journalism – Worldpress.org

Print to Web Transition: Where’s My Fair Pay?

NYTimes article by Michael Winerip “Keeping The Plates Spinning” (2/19/10) about the transitions from print to web — Quote: “We’re asking more of them, and frankly we’re not paying them more. But they do it, because we’re a team and they’re nice people.”

Not only that: They are looking for writers “who’d be willing to …write, unpaid, in exchange for links to their sites and mentions of their businesses in an accompanying bio.”

Here is another take from Newsosaur, “Stop the Exploitation of Journalists,” urging veteran and aspiring journalists “to stop participating in their own exploitation by working for a pittance – or, worse, giving away their valuable services for free…The reason is simple: If they don’t put a value on what they do, then no one else will either.”

People, when are we finally done with being “nice” and eager for a free byline and demand fair pay for our work?!

We Did It! Not So Fast.

“We Did It!” announced the Economist on its cover recently, and continued, “What happens when women are over half the workforce?” The magazine went on and flatly declared: “The rich world’s quiet revolution: women are gradually taking over the workplace.”

We did?

I tell you what would happen if women really were half of the workforce: Even more women would be underpaid and even more employers would save a buck. Maybe that’s the trend post-Great Recession: Lay off the higher-paid men and hire us. And that, sadly, includes the communications industry and its giant corporations.

If other industries serve as an example, rampant pay inequality in media is a reality. Reuters reported in October 2008 that the year before, “female chief executives earned just 58% of what their male counterparts did, and their compensation packages were slashed three times as much as their male peers.” Granted, most women CEOs work in smaller companies. But also that in itself is telling.

People don’t like to talk about their salaries, and especially women don’t feel comfortable haggling over compensation (like most men do) before accepting a new position. According to a PINK Magazine study, women don’t ask for pay rises nearly as often as men. Consequently, many women start off on a lower pay level. And this inequality stays with them until they reach the top. Regardless, of the 2,000 world’s top performing companies, 1.5% of the CEOs are women. And in media, name one woman who has clawed herself to the top of a media empire and become a Murdoch in a pantsuit.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center published a study in 2002: “The Glass Ceiling in the Executive Suite.” Guess what they found? The number of executive women in the major communication and entertainment conglomerates is barely in the teens. A year later, a second study revealed that the glass ceiling in media had barely budged. And with it, the prevalence of lower paychecks continued. “Women made no progress in the past year,” the report concluded. That was in 2003. And in 2009? Women in the United States in full-time positions still make only 78 cents on the dollar compared to the typical male worker — more than 45 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963.

According to the Pew Research Center, 49% of Americans believe that “women who try to rise to the top [where they would get paid more] get held back by the ‘old-boy network’.” Women “aren’t supposed to be aggressive and self-promoting, even though it’s often rewarded,” writes Kathleen Deveny in Newsweek (Nov. 30, 2009). She declares that “when women are finally sufficiently represented in the executive suite, we will stop viewing them as proxies for their entire gender — superior or not.” But the magazine also predicted in the same issue that “working women are poised to become the biggest economic engine the world has ever known.” Apparently while clutching their lower paychecks with a smile.

Even so, Gail Evans, who retired from CNN in 2001 as the network’s first female executive vice president, told me she dislikes the term “glass ceiling” because it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “It’s about a general power shift that hasn’t happened yet,” says Evans. “Women need to learn how to play the game. We all buy into the same stereotypes: Women take care — and men take charge. Women have to start supporting each other more. Their success is connected. Women think it’s all about ‘I can do it.’ They think that ‘if I try hard, it’ll change.’ We have to go from ‘I can do it,’ which gives isolated success, to ‘we can do it.’ ”

So, no, we haven’t done it — yet. “Equal rights for the sexes will be achieved when mediocre women occupy high positions,” the French writer and feminist Françoise Giroud (1916-2003) once said. Maybe she was on to something.

Launching E-newsletter on Print Media vs. New Media!

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicSign up now for my e-newsletter Where Old Media and New Media Meet with tips on how print journalists can adapt to the web,  how print and web interact and how new media have changed and shaped our culture, society and communications in general.

It will also discuss the state of the media in general and point the reader to interesting articles/books/links on the topics. I will also give updates about my website tekla-szymanski.com and new posts on this blog.

Where Old Media and New Media MeetTM is the name of my editorial services business venture, helping print media professionals adapt to the web — and web editors understand where mainstream media professionals are coming from.

Both print and new media are here to stay, but new media endeavors will have to recognize the expertise of print journalists to truly succeed. And print journalists in turn will have to tap into what new media have to offer to communications.

Discussions welcome!