Mar 11, 2008

More from Wes Hughes

In an earlier post, I quoted liberally from a comment laid-off San Bernardino Sun columnist Wes Hughes left on this blog.

Now, LA Observed has his final, unpublished - and spiked - column, along with a plea he made to Stanford President John Hennessy, asking that his university take the demise of newspaper journalism as seriously as it takes global warming. An excerpt follows (or read the whole thing here):

My request is that Stanford take on the problem of how to preserve public and investigative journalism with the same seriousness academia addressed global warming, because it is that desperate. Put some of Stanford’s best minds to work on it, create a think tank, talk to everybody but be wary when you talk to publishers and top editors because they are at a loss as to what to do and have succumbed to herd panic.


Mike Rappaport said...

There is actually an excellent solution to the problem, and I'm surprised no one has ever thought of it before.

Make the news media -- particularly the print media -- not-for-profit.

What businesses in this country have specific constitutional protections? Churches and the media.

Neither should be about profits. Let the media make money through selling its product, but all the money goes back into the product.

No moguls.

No shareholders.

Just news.

Anonymous said...

There are such things. For example, the St. Petersburg Times -- which is usually on just about anyone's list of top 10 American newspapers -- is owned by the Poynter Institute. The LA Times and Steve Lopez tried to scare up interest in Eli Broad or whoever setting up a nonprofit to buy them the last time Tribune was for sale.

Anonymous said...

Wes Hughes,

Here is a plea to you.

Please write to Bill Gates and Oprah. Tell them of our plight. You of all people, know how to put what were going through eloquently and without making people feel sorry for us.

They have the money to start a newspaper in So Cal and hire all of us lost journalistic souls.

Tell them to make it a non-profit, employee-owned paper with bylaws that would make it illegal to sell it forever.

I bet we could put MNG out of business in So Cal because between all of us out here, I know we could put together one great institution for the 21st century.

This is not a joke. I mean it. Think about all the combined years of journalism between the reporters, columnists, photogs and REAL editors and management types (including ad sellers) who could be the seed of something FANTASTIC.

Wes, if anyone can do it, it is you. Go out and get us 100 Million to start a company that from the beginning it would already be a great force in our dying profession.

We could buy a nice building, throw in some presses, get everyone up and going with state-of-the art equipment and we could call it:

People's Daily (L.A. Bulletin Tribune Sun Star Telegram) News

There would be an edition of real local news in each market that would compete directly with MNG in So Cal.

Founding publisher: Wes Hughes

For their kindness, we could name the building after Bill, Melinda or Oprah and our satellite offices like whatever they want them to be called (in memory of, or something like that). Of course, they would be part of our governing body and we would only get the best, most honest people to run the board of directors.

Here's where all of you get to put in the names of the leaders you want running this, as of now, virtual publication.

Executive editor
Managing Editor
News Editor
Features Editor
Sports Editor
Photography Editor
Online Content Editor
Magazine Editor
Special Sections Editor

whatever else there is that runs papers