Grumpy Editor is taking time off to celebrate Christmas and welcome year 2012.
He --- and his grumpiness --- will return on Jan. 3.
Grumpy Editor finds widely different versions of reporting by the Associated Press and LA Weekly yesterday based on the same University of Southern California study on the future of media.
AP’s Barbara Ortutay’s byliner focuses on the Internet, mentioning “most people don’t consider online content reliable” while LA Weekly’s Dennis Romero writes “the print product some of you like to pick up on your driveway every morning will go the way of the dinosaur within five years.”
Basing information on the study authored by Jeff Cole, director of USC Annenberg School’s Center for the Digital Future, AP’s version points out:
“Last year, 15 percent of Internet users said they found only a small portion of online information reliable.”
Taking a different angle, LA Weekly summarizes the study with:
“Most print newspapers will be gone in five years.”
The Center says only four major daily newspapers would survive, naming The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, adds LA Weekly.
USC’s Cole figures “the only print newspapers that will survive will be at the extremes of the medium --- the largest and the smallest.”
The latter include local weekly newspapers.
According to Time magazine, the “Person of the Year” is not an actual, individual person at all, but groups summed up as “The Protester,” observes Grumpy Editor.
High-tech developers, scientists, politicians, sports figures, entertainers, military commanders, etc. all were shelved in favor of a cover story spotlighting demonstrators, including the Occupy Wall Street crowd.
And some magazine editors wonder why circulation is slipping.
Time said protesters were recognized for "redefining people power" around the world.
Sounds like turning news pages back to the 1960s.
The weekly news magazine put the focus on dissent in the Middle East and Europe that spread to the U.S.
Protesters had been the force behind the largest news stories of the year, claimed Time editor Rick Stengel.
"They dissented, they demanded, they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets," he trumpeted. “They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change."
Grumpy Editor wonders how many protesters are scanning Time magazine to savor the “colossal change” they brought in 2011.
In the spirit of the season, there’s more than local, national and world news plus weather and sports on the Los Angeles Times Web site: For "about the cost of a Christmas card" Santa Claus will call your children, finds Grumpy Editor.
And no, the ho! ho! ho! doesn’t come from a deep-voiced mature editor --- doing double duty --- after deadline.
The greetings originate from an outside service based at a location not disclosed on the Web.
Charge associated with Santa on the line is $3.99.
Santa's call starts with “This is Santa Claus, and I'm calling you all the way from the North Pole.”
The pitch promises Santa will say names of youngsters and “even what they want for Christmas.”
Santa signs off with, “Now don't forget to leave me some milk and cookies, and you have a Merry, Merry Christmas...and remember, Santa's always watching.”
No mention is made about reminding parents to renew their Los Angeles Times subscription.
Magazines will be getting less from newsstand sales starting in February when U.S. commissaries overseas stop carrying magazines and most newspapers because of declining sales and rising costs to ship the publications, notes Grumpy Editor.
Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), a Defense Department unit, operates a worldwide chain of 284 commissaries that provide groceries --- and publications --- to military personnel, retirees and their families.
Sales of the Stars and Stripes newspaper in commissaries in Europe and the Pacific will not be affected. That’s because the newspaper is published overseas and not shipped from the U.S.
Also not affected are periodical sales at Army and Air Force exchanges, military versions of department and drug stores.
The halt of magazines to commissaries is being blamed on budget cuts facing the Defense Department.
DeCA in fiscal 2011 spent about $670,000 to airlift magazines to commissaries in Europe and the Pacific.
Some customers point out that much of the reading material is available online.
Another factor: lofty cover prices. Some examples:
Money magazine, $3.99
Entertainment Weekly, $3.95
Popular Science, $4.99
National Geographic, $5.99
Motor Trend, $4.99
Popular Mechanics, $4.50
Consumer Reports, $5.99
ABC News described Saturday night’s nationally-televised debate spotlighting six Republican presidential candidates from Drake University in Des Moines, less than three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, as “high stakes” --- but West Coast viewers saw it on a three-hour tape delay, observes Grumpy Editor.
Those in the Pacific time zone heard radio/TV news reports or read about the debate --- including via ABC News’ own Web site --- before the taped airing, thus cutting viewership and scuttling coverage of advertisers such as Hertz, Pillsbury, T. Rowe Price and UnitedHealthcare.
In this competitive news era, it was strange for ABC News executives to decide on showing viewers in the West the “high stakes” action three hours after it happened.
Other networks have not done that.
Some folks in the West were unaware that the debate was on tape. That’s because through the two-hour taped presentation, a misleading white-on-red LIVE “bug” appeared above the ABC logo at the lower right corner of the TV screen.
[Does the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have anything to say about that?]
Shortly after the debate ended at 11 p.m. Eastern (8 p.m. in the West), ABC News’ own Web site spilled details on the event under the headline, “Republican Candidates Clash in Pivotal Iowa Debate.”
At the same time, ABC also came up with a super-fast-developed “Fact Checking the Debate in Iowa,” listing six eyebrow-raising items, including “Newt Gingrich would build a colony on the moon.”
Alert West Coasters, seeking to bypass the tape-delayed airing, could have visited ABC on the Web prior to the 9 p.m., Pacific, replay to see a video: “Watch Highlights: 2012 GOP debate.”
Inquiring minds are wondering what’s going on with the stock market's continuous ups and downs this year when the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches the sensitive 12000 mark after 198.67 points were erased yesterday to close at 11,997.70, once again dipping below 12000 --- then today making another sharp U-turn, observes Grumpy Editor.
Today's gain, once again putting the Dow above 12000, was helped by a strong consumer sentiment report.
The reason for yesterday's drop: Stocks declined in the final minutes of trading after Germany rejected some of the EU summit draft measures and comments that dashed hopes that the central banks would raise its bond purchases of debt-ridden European nations.
The Dow today zipped across the 12000 line again, up 186.56 points to 12184.26.
With such a ping-pong market, some eyebrow-raising business editors wondered if other factors are at work here.
With three weeks of trading left in 2011, there’s always the chance of a year-end Santa Claus rally, with the Dow again crossing deep into 12000 territory.
It should be pointed out that the Dow rose above 12000 points for the first time on Oct. 19, 2006. That’s when the average made it to 12012.
But in 2011 it has been a zig-zag route.
Among times the Dow crossed the 12000 line this year:
UP --- The Dow on Feb. 1 closed up 148 points to 12040, getting above 12000 for the first time since 2008.
DOWN --- Dow dipped below 12000 on June 10, at 11952, off 172. (This was down from April 29 when the average, at 12810, was poised to crack the 13000 level.)
UP then DOWN --- After an up period, the Dow plunged 266 points on Aug. 2, closing below 12000 again, at 11867.
DOWN then UP --- The Dow on Oct. 22 soared 340 points to 12209.
DOWN then UP --- After a period below 12000, the Dow on Nov. 30 ascended 490 points to 12045
A glowing story in the January issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine on the upcoming replacement of the long-used traditional incandescent light bulbs overlooked mention that compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, one type of substitute, contains toxic mercury that can pose problems, notes Grumpy Editor.
Under the headline, “Incandescents Take the Heat,” CFLs, Halogen bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are cited as replacements when new energy standards go into effect next month.
But the main concern, not touched on in the article, focuses on the replacement CFLs, produced mostly in China. They are being promoted in efforts to go more "green” and conserve energy.
A few vigilant newspaper editorial writers in recent months have alerted readers to problems with CFLs which entered the future lighting picture when Congress four years ago passed an energy bill that essentially banned the traditional incandescent light bulb that received a major thrust in 1878 from Thomas Edison’s research.
Many officials apparently remain unaware that when a CFL bulb (a small glass tube twisted into a spiral) shatters, mercury escapes as vapor that can be inhaled, and as a fine powder it can settle into carpet and other textiles.
A Scientific American posting three years ago was among the first to point out highly toxic mercury is especially harmful to the brains of both fetuses and children.
The director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Hazardous Waste Minimization and Management Division at that time recommended opening windows and stepping outside, then quickly ventilating the room when a CFL bulb breaks.
"Get all the people and pets out of the room for 15 minutes and let the room air out,” was the warning.
In July, U.S. House efforts to repeal use of CFLs fell short of the two-thirds majority vote needed for passage --- without a peep from the current EPA.
Must have been a slow day at The New York Times.
Rather than a penetrating story on a Republican presidential candidate’s positions on foreign policy, climate change, illegal immigrants, health care, taxes, nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, and (the latest irksome element for Americans) curbing overnight deliveries by the Post Office, the newspaper of record decided on a lengthy story focusing on Mitt Romney’s hair, observes Grumpy Editor.
In doing so, it produced 35 paragraphs on the hairy subject.
It included an interview with Romney’s hair stylist, Leon de Magistris --- which The Times described as a “barrel-chested, bald Italian immigrant.”
Whether facing wind, rain or snow, the former Massachusetts governor’s hair always seems perfectly in place along the campaign trail.
Among things the Gray Lady apparently figured are sure to affect Romney’s upcoming activities around the country --- and perhaps his ranking with voters:
· Romney gave his Boston-area hair stylist $70 for a trim last month.
· Romney does not color his black hair, said de Magistris.
· Romney’s hair is gel and mousse-free, the stylist added.
What’s more, in attempts to dig deeper on the subject, The Times was left grumbling because a Romney campaign spokeswoman “declined to comment on the candidate’s hairstyle, or to make Romney available to discuss it.”
Which is it --- Kris Kringle or Kriss Kringle?
Associated Press, in a holiday guide, is reminding media, especially print news writers and editors, about proper spelling and capitalization of certain words, notes Grumpy Editor.
Kris vs. Kriss Kringle is drawing attention.
Seems most people in and out of journalism wrongly settle on Kris.
From Wikipedia to notes on the 1947 classic movie, “Miracle on 34th Street,” Kris is used. Even most spell checks note it is Kris.
Not correct, reminds AP (along with dictionary.com, among others). It’s Kriss, derived from the German word Christkindl.
Focusing on some other words or capitalization in its holiday guide, AP points out:
Christmastime is one word.
With Champagne, the sparkling wine is capitalized when it is from the French region.
The number in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is spelled out, not 12.
Lower case treatment is given to yule and yuletide.
Don’t forget the “ia” in the popular plant of the season, poinsettia.
The big no-no is abbreviating Christmas as Xmas.