April 21, 2012

#ChuckColson dead; grannies safer; prisoners still exploited

In case you've not heard, Charles Colson (Wiki bio), one of the last remaining major players in the Watergate scandal, is dead at age 80.

The grannies part of the header, for those unfamiliar with Watergate days, refers to Colson's work for Richard Nixon on behalf of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (yes, actual acronym of CREEP) when he said he'd walk over his own grandmother to get Tricky Dick re-elected.

The prisoners comment is a riff on his Prison Fellowship, which, the story says, Colson created "to minister to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. It runs work-release programs, marriage seminars and classes to help prisoners after they get out." It was his new lease on life, riffing on his pre-conviction conversion for a new career.

And, let's start there with a reality dose on Colson's alleged post-Watergate saintliness.

Per the Yahoo story up top, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg said that Colson never really apologized for threatening to rough him up, just for his role in the burglary of Ellsberg's office. And, that wasn't the only roughing up Colson allegedly threatened to do, or had done, in service of CREEP.

But, he's got more to answer to as long-term head of Prison Fellowship.

First, here in Texas, he served as a "front" for then-Gov. George W. Bush to make overstated, even directly untruthful claims about the power of faith-based groups, not only in prison rehabilitation, but outside the walls. (Unfortunately, our current president, Dear Leader, Barack Obama, has actually expanded Bush's faith-based ministries presidential program. I'm surprised tea partiers haven't said that's part of his secret Muslim plan of U.S. control.)

Second, he got plugged in to The Family, the semi-secret inside-DC Christian prayer/activist group.

Third, he supported, in a letter he and other evangelical leaders sent to Bush, a just-war rationale for invading Iraq.

But, let's get back to those prisoners. First, on the faith-based programs issue, besides not always looking at their success rate, Colson ignored issues of constitutionality, even though one federal court had already, by the time he fronted for Bush, ruled that forced attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings was a First Amendment violation (thereby also, in essence, finding that AA was religious).

And, that's despite a 1987 quote, per his Time obit, that says differently:
Colson argues that each institution has a distinct, God-given role. Churches should emphasize spirituality and avoid the corrupting enticements of political power. Similarly, he opposes government- organized school prayers, insisting that “propagating moral vision” should be the job of the church, not the state.
Hmmm... seems to have ignored that, in reality.

But, let's not stop there.

If Colson REALLY cared about prisoners, then why did he never pair the power of his organization with Project Innocence? Riffing on that, why did he never try to persuade political and religious conservatives to face up to the issue of wrongful incarcerations?

For that matter, why didn't he address the socioeconomic reasons behind spiking incarceration rates? That would be the ever-rising incarceration rates that started rising a lot more rapidly about the time he got out of prison, as shown in the graphic, and about the time the income gap in America started widening again, in part due to the political conservativism he believed in. (And, no, it's not all due to population increases; by now, all baby boomers, AND, the kids of older baby boomers, have all "aged out"  of prime criminality ages.)

Why didn't he ever speak about the capitalistic, slavery-like part of the drive behind this, the push for ever more prison privatization, led by the privatizing companies like Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation of America? If he wanted to help those who were incarcerated live new lives after they got out, why didn't he address ongoing cuts in rehabilitation programs, especially at the private prisons? Ditto on his not addressing guard abuse, again, generally worse at private prisons.

And, that said, how much could a man who graduated an Ivy League school, who might be called an Eastern elitist by today's tea partiers (or by Spiro Agnew back then), who served seven months in a white-collar prison, really understand what he was dealing with?

For that matter, did Prison Fellowship cherry-pick the inmates with which it worked? I don't know, but it's possible; if anybody has any information about that, leave a comment.

No, Chuck Colson may have helped prisoners, but it was within a conservative agenda. The agenda was still running the show.

So, yes, before the hagiography machine runs too quickly, let's step back to reality.

#OrrinHatch vs #teaparty, round 1

So, Orrin Hatch has been forced into an official primary by Dan Liljenquist after failing to get 60 percent in Utah's GOP caucus.

But, can tea partiers really beat Hatch like they did Bob Bennett two years ago? I doubt it.

Hatch will continue to bring up not just his potential chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, but, despite how conservative Utah votes, how much bacon he has brought home the past three decades. And, despite tea partiers' claims to stand for small government, I suspect a fair number of them support it even more for states other than their own.

Remember, even Ron Paul has pulled this one, in defending the pork he's brought home to his Congressional district. And, unless Liljenquist gets more outside money than he has so far from Freedom Works, Hatch will have no problem carpet-bombing the airwaves. But, other than raising the "outside funding" angle, which could shoot himself in the foot, will he try to portray Liljenquist as too radically conservative in a state as conservative as Utah?

And, this isn't just about Utah. Should Liljenquist get the nod, Dems could consider putting some national money in this race, to force the GOP to defend a must-win seat AND in the hopes of getting Liljenquist to make a radical comment or two for national ad campaign airplay.

Stay tuned.

I was right ... but Berkman and the #Stlcards aren't

About 14 months ago, when the St. Louis Cardinals picked up longtime Houston Astro first baseman/outfielder Lance Berkman from the free agency discard heap, I speculated that for Cards' GM John Mozeliak, this might just NOT be a one-year plan but rather, should Berkman rebound away from his brief failure in Yankee Stadium, with the added motivation of being in the same division as the Astros to prove them wrong, he could also be made into the "replacement" for The Machine, Albert Pujols.

And, of course, I was right, even though some other sports bloggers hinted at the time that I was thinking too conspiratorially.

However, Berkman isn't ... right. Not physically, we see, as the Cards have officially put him on the DL. Yahoo Fantasy's note (he's on my fantasy team) notes that calf injuries have varying healing times, so he could be out more than the two weeks of the 15-day DL. (The Cards, it's worthy of note, didn't backdate his day of placement, so they at least expect him to chew up two full weeks.)

Unfortunately, he's not the only Cardinal "not right." (And this one is also on my fantasy team.)

Adam Wainwright has been waning this year so far, to be sure. But he hasn't been right, or wright.

An ESPN stat said he's only about 1mph slower on the fastball than 2010, and that his WHIP isn't hugely different. It didn't say anything about batting average against him on balls in play, so I don't know if he's getting unlucky, or getting lead-footed fielding support.

And, I've not seen any video of him, so I don't know for sure what the problem might be ... but I'll venture a guess.

Lack of motion on the fastball, due to rust or whatever. Or maybe he's not "snapping" the curve so much. Or both.

That said, because Rafael Furcal is coming back to earth, David Freese is an injury waiting to happen until he plays a full season, and Chris Carpenter, once again, is an injury that couldn't wait to happen, if Waino can't bounce back and the Big Puma turns out to be an injury tamed pussycat, I'll stand by my preseason prediction that the Cards miss the playoffs.

April 20, 2012

The economy, gas prices, perceptions and elections

As I noted in a post a week ago, the second quarter of a president's fourth year in office is key to his (or her, perhaps, some future day) election chances.

Well, we have the early stories from March analysis, ending the first quarter. The New York Times is kind of gloomy about March, and about what this means for months ahead ,but not too much so.

Meanwhile, gas prices, which were supposed to be such a bugaboo a few weeks ago, are starting to fall again. One reason? Obama's not rattling so many sabers against Iran. Another, not mentioned in the story, is that many refineries have finished the annual conversion to producing summer-grade gasoline.

And, with the election ahead, and likely gambling that moderate as well as liberal Jewish voters will be his, Obama probably won't rattle those sabers very hard very often through at least the middle of the summer.

I stand by my guesstimate that the unemployment rate will be no higher than 8.2 percent, may well drift a tick lower to 8.1, and might possibly hit 8.0 percent, by the traditional Labor Day start of the stretch drive. So, don't believe tea party bullshit like this about "a coming conservative landslide." (Indeed, in one specific counterexample, I'll venture that Obama increases his 2008 margin in Virginia.)

But, the real biggie is that the Green Party boosts its national and Texas effort.

Anti-Green polling bias, it seems

What else can you say about a presidential poll launched by a putatively authoritative and unbiased group, Public Policy Polling, that includes Libertarian Party contender Gary Johnson, who is nowhere near guaranteed to get that nomination, but does NOT include Dr. Jill Stein, who is quite likely to get the Green Party nod?

Biased? Shortsighted? Pushing a "name" envelope, i.e., name dropping by other means? Making pre-judgments about poll-worthiness? A bit of all of the above?

Anyway, if anybody else sees other examples of this, drop me a comment!

April 19, 2012

#CFI is going to the Gnu Atheist dogs

So, John Shook of Center for Inquiry thinks humanists (and he doesn't even use the phrase "secular humanist") who are also atheists, metaphysically, need to self-identify with atheists to promote a "humanist agenda"? Really?

TOTALLY disagree with the main premise, expressed at the end. For those of us leery enough of Gnus to prefer the label “secular humanist,” we don’t WANT to advance an “atheist agenda.”

I know Shook talked about a "humanist agenda." But, given that he thinks humanists' best option for that is identifying with Gnus, I deliberately switched. I'm just taking his bait-and-switch plea to its logical conclusion.

Second, contra the larger tenor of his column, for Gnu Atheists, "atheist" is indeed becoming, or has become, a sociological word  first and a philosophical word second. That gets back to the "atheist agenda" issue. Shook himself adds to that by continually capitalizing "atheist" and "atheism" throughout the blog post.

Shook struck me as being halfway reasonable in the post-Paul Kurtz era at CFI. Maybe he still is, at least in light of what CFI in general is becoming.

With that thought, I'll say ... "I'm all Shook up."



Newspaper ad revenue still struggles

As I've noted before, one obvious and main reason newspaper journalism is the fifth-worst job in the country, per recent posts of mine, is the decline in revenue.

And, per financial self-reporting by the New York Times, that looks likely to continue. The old gray lady says digital ad revenue continues to slump. This is in line with recent financials fromm Lee and other media groups. Those that own TV as well as newspapers generally say the ongoing slump is newspaper-only; TV ad revenue is on the rebound.

Yes, John/Jane Q. Public keep talking about how much news they read, and even if not from a newspaper website, it may be from something linked to a newspaper website. But, that's still not helping the ad situation, so newspapers' hopes may continue to be unfounded, no matter what people say about the importance of news, nor what they consider to be "news." After all, a majority of people still don't know the name of the Chief Justice of the United States.

April 18, 2012

Do cats have #madcow?

I can't believe scientists haven't thought of that suggestion for "robotic disease" after not finding a pathogenic cause.

Here's the basics of what's up:
The cats seemed to have a slowly-pro­g­ress­ing neu­ro­lo­g­i­cal dis­ease, and to have de­vel­oped it start­ing at a late age, the re­search­ers said. The ill­ness did­n’t kill any of the fe­lines, they added, but over time ap­peared to make their lives so mis­er­a­ble that some own­ers de­cid­ed to have them put down.
From that, and one other thing, here's why I suggest mad cow:

First, the where of the illness. Definitely in Scotland, possibly in northern Europe, other locations. And, the UK was the epicenter of mad cow disease. Assume that downer cows were processed into pet food at the same time the human scare was happening and possibly even illicitly after a ban on human food use of downers.

Second, the symptoms. Slowly progressing, and it's called staggering disease, too. Doesn't that sounds like a bad-prion infested "mad" cow? Does to me.

Obama campaign tries to diversify

So, America's first black post-racial president, who didn't really tune into ongoing racial issues in America into Trayvon's recent fatal shooting, now suddenly recognizes that rich white Wall Streeters (too bad Stanley O'Neal isn't still running Merrill Lynch, for at least token status, eh?) needs to diversify his campaign.

Have fun. Maybe he will get O'Neal and a few other rich black folks. He can come down here to Texas for Tony Sanchez asa  rich Hispanic person, too!

Seriously, though, if you're not rich, and you're a minority, as income disparity has continued to grow under Obama, he's ditched demand-side economics that might actually give you a job, etc., why would you vote for him? Racial identification? Romney-mongering fears? And, will Team Obama muster enough enthusiasm from you that Romney-mongering will push you over the edge and into the voting booth?

April 17, 2012

#Centrism - Teapot Tommy Friedman can't help himself again

Once again, Teapot Tommy is beating the drum for "centrism," and again, the particular presidential centrism of Americans Elect. (Sorry, no longer providing a link to a group of largely rich folks even more secretive than Republicans and Democrats.)

Teapot Tommy now has a man crush, or a political boy toy, to carry this party's standard: Michael Bloomberg.

And, the dual crush, on party and man, has so besotted Friedman, he says this:
Bloomberg doesn’t have to win to succeed — or even stay in the race to the very end. Simply by running, participating in the debates and doing respectably in the polls — 15 to 20 percent — he could change the dynamic of the election and, most importantly, the course of the next administration, no matter who heads it. By running on important issues and offering sensible programs for addressing them — and showing that he had the support of the growing number of Americans who describe themselves as independents — he would compel the two candidates to gravitate toward some of his positions as Election Day neared.
How, other than the Peter Principle, did Friedman get his current, sweet gig? (And why does the NYT not wonder why it becomes less and less relevant?)

First, being "Miss Congeniality" in an election gives you no power to sway election dynamics. Second, when have a politician's election homestretch promises ever actually been honored?

I mean, if Friedman is too dumb to grasp even that, what was he doing in all those interviews before he got his op-ed gig?

Or, if he's too conniving to be truthful here, why is he, even by Punch Sulzberger's lax standards of Judy Miller and all, holding the spot he does?

The real answer? This is what passes for wisdom inside the Beltway/New York axis, and even more so, inside its incestuous mainstream media. As proof of that, Friedman quotes Peter Principle fellow grad Matt Miller of the Washington Kaplan Post:
“The right kind of independent candidate would explain that the real question on taxes, once the economy is back on track, is this: Given that taxes have to rise, how should we raise the revenue we need in ways that are best for the economy?” wrote the columnist Matt Miller in The Washington Post last week. “The answer would involve lower taxes on payrolls and corporate income, and higher taxes on dirty energy and consumption.” 
Yet, neither Miller nor Friedman can be bothered to explain details, no more than the mainstream parties they profess won't make the tough choices. Besides that, is there any guarantee Bloomberg will propose any real tax hikes? Let alone progressive ones?

And, yes, I feed the Peter Principle every time I write about Teapot Tommy. I usually don't even bother to read him, but, in this particular case, his blatherings are the symptoms of a larger disease. The same "centrism" led to the rise of neolib Democrats who are now too liberal for the likes of Teapot Tommy.

The latest on Bush and the Air National Guard

If you've not yet heard, Texas Monthly moves the ball several steps forward on the question of whether or not George W. Bush got special help from Ben Barnes and friends to dodge Vietnam service by getting in the Air National Guard.

A few takeaways:
1. In all likelihood, yes, on getting help to get in the ANG;
2. Worry about this coming out is connected to GTECH and the Texas Lottery;
3. So, too, is Bush yanking Harriett Miers' SCOTUS nomination, and other things;
4. Mary Maples was largely right on her investigation;
5. Dan Rather was largely disengaged from her work;
6. Hatfield's "Favorite Son" may be connected to this.

My thoughts? Bush may well have been doing drug-crime community service at PULL in Houston in 1972. He's definitely not so macho; one reason for him stopping flying the original trainers in the ANG was apparently landing-related fears.

That said, Joe Hagan didn't get "to the bottom" of anything. He got deeper, deeper behind the story and the story about the story, but we're far from the "bottom." And will remain so until somebody talks more.

Arianna the unethical and illiberal

People who want examples of Arianna Huffington both being unethical and not being that liberal need read no further than this excellent Columbia Journalism Review article. Among its items of note:

1. Andrew Brietbart in at the foundation of HuffPost;
2. Long before plagiarism of newspaper stories, she was sued, back in the U.K., for plagiarism in a Maria Callas bio;
3. Outsourcing coding for the HuffPost website to places like Ukraine and South America;
4. The fact that, for early "pushers" at HuffPost, "stickiness" mattered more than either content quality or design quality.

There is plenty more. There's one more point, on the illiberal side. The bloggers who sued her after the AOL merger should have seen that something like that was the business plan all along. We're in the Net.com world, the next step past dot.com, and probably waiting for a similar bubble to burst.

And, beyond unethical and illiberal, the CJR story also raises the question about how munch she really may not be about "ideas." Her move from the National Review, itself,  isn't indicative of that. David Brock did that, and it's clear he IS a person about "ideas."

But, she had little in the way of deep ideas then or now. Rather, it's about "stickiness," and having people who know more about the web than her make the stickiness happen.

I personally, as a secular humanist and skeptic, have other reason to question her "depth." Her long-term interest in "spirituality" seems to be of the flighty, New Agey variety. If there's a core to her, it probably starts there.

Science ... isn't always so sciency!

For scientists, philosophers, and "scientific skeptics" who sometimes go rowing in the waters of scientism, this should give you pause: Whether from fraud, error or other reasons, the number of scientific papers needing retraction is rising, and rising exponentially.

Part of it's the general publish-or-perish issue. But, remember when that was laughed at by scientists among New Lit English majors and such? Hmm, shoe on the other foot now, perhaps. And, English majors never were grant-dependent.

And another is increasing numbers of Ph.D.s from abroad, even as the naive in the science world, possibly with a foot in the business world, too, like Bora Zivkovic, continue to believe the lie that we need more STEM graduates. Those two are related, of course; the publish-or-perish has more urgency either if you're looking over your shoulder at New Delhi OR trying to wedge your shoulder in from a bachelor's degree program in New Delhi.

Here's another, possibly much bigger reason why, but kind of related to No. 2:
University laboratories count on a steady stream of grants from the government and other sources. The National Institutes of Health accepts a much lower percentage of grant applications today than in earlier decades. At the same time, many universities expect scientists to draw an increasing part of their salaries from grants, and these pressures have influenced how scientists are promoted. 
Ahh, the university as business model nears its hypercapitalistic slouching toward Wall Street. Always follow the money.

And, that means that the ethics of science isn't so exalted either.

And, per research into Millenials, Occupyers, etc., one wonders if some of this, especially on the fraud angle, isn't a generational thing.

That said, read the whole story; the two scientists cited throughout have some specific suggestions for how to change this problem.

April 16, 2012

Third-parties presidential debate set

Sounds great overall. PLEASE, my non-two-party-duopoly friends, pass this one on when you click the link; it's info on the third-parties Prez debate this Saturday, that will eventually go on C-SPAN, at least.

I work in the fifth-worst job/career, part 3 - #advertising revenue

Last week, I blogged about the fact that a certain careers website said that journalism was the first worst job/career field right now, noting that, from the inside, that was no surprise.

Well, I'm probably going to do a few follow-up posts, looking at more specific issues.


Today, I throw out more specific ideas about advertising and circulation/paywall issues.

First, although paywalls aren't the answer, they're part of the answer. Period.

Newspapers are reporting more of their ad dollars are coming from the web, but that's because hardcopy ad dollars continue to sink, even as the country partway comes out of the recession. Newspapers need to get honest with themselves and permanently write off half of their hardcopy losses since 2007. And, that may be conservative.

Until newspapers do this, and accept this, they're not going to be able to better address the future, not just at individual newspaper levels, but at corporate levels.

As for the current disparity between traditional web ad rates and mobile-specific ad rates, reportedly as high as 5-1? Within in a decade, that difference will be no greater than 2-1, driven primarily by greater use of mobile devices, greater competition for eyeballs, etc.

Remember how much higher traditional web ad rates were a decade ago? The same things drove them down as will drive down mobile rates. More mobile-specific content, portals, and sites increases openings for ads and competition for eyeballs gets more scattered. Ergo, rates go down.

So, looking ahead to the future, newspapers need to be honest about that, too.

The Net, in its various delivery forms, has just the opposite problem as old newspaper media. You got plenty of room for editorial content, of course, but, because of ephemeral attention in many cases, there's limited "space" for ads. Plus, add in ad-block software, etc., and web rates plummeted.

I have no doubt that for both Android and iOS for Apple, somebody will invent the equivalent of ad-block programs, too. It's going to happen. Somehow. Jailbreaking of specific apps as well as mobile operationg systems will be involved, in all likelihood. But, it will happen.

The even bigger thing is that corporate chains have probably not even fully digested that 25 percent profit margins, along with hardcopy ad riches, are gone for good. I think many of them think that the much lower overhead for the Net will alleviate that. But, if Net dollars are dropping, or flat, still, and mobile dollars, while rising, are still smaller potatoes yet, that's not a "replacement." Plus, per part two of this series, as readers often demand fancier content, the overhead differential probably isn't quite so great as these owners imagine or hope.

So, back to those profit margins. Owners, and investors, need to digest that the day of 20 percent margins, even, for even the biggest dailies, are gone. Even with two more years of economic recovery, they need to get comfortable with 15 percent as "good." And, therefore, to stop laying off ever more editorial staff, cutting content, etc., while rewarding the CEOs who do that.

Think of this as the dot-com boom in reverse. The worst of the dot-com financial bust for papers is over. BUT ... not all of it is over. AND ... not all the lessons have been learned.

On circulation? A dollar is as high as even big metros outside the two coasts (and I really mean coastal California, on one hand, and the Boston-DC axis on the other) can go for several years. Ditto for the $3 mark on Sundays. That's your ceiling.

I'm glad to see a major metro like the Dallas Morning News has therefore finally gotten into the paywall spirit. I don't currently live in Dallas, so I wouldn't pay, and I don't know how much it costs. But, it was needed. That's even as, here in central Texas, the Austin American-Statesman, still free online, bleeds even more.

Of course, the AP, and now, Reuters with a largely expanded American presence, and somewhat AFP, have to be in the mix. Not all three can jointly deal with rates for news aggregators without explicit Congressional antitrust waivers, of course. But, individual papers can only do so much.

Of course, AP's long-term chairman of the board, Dean Singleton, was as stupid about this issue with AP as he ultimately was with the finances of MediaNews, running it into bankruptcy.

And, why didn't a court impose a five-year hiatus on him buying newspapers after getting out of Chapter 11? That could be a blog post by itself.

April 15, 2012

Progressives, environmentalists, and worker exploitation

Years ago, both professional environmentalists and professional progressives "lost" much of working America. In some cases, this was workers' fault. Resisting building green, fuel-efficient cars is a prime example; despite what Detroit said, the Japanese built more, and ever-better ones, and sold boatloads. Or, some racial issues back in the 60s and 70s, when many unions still weren't always broad-minded, are another example.

At other times, especially today, though, professional progressive and environmental organizations are the ones doing the "losing."

Take organizations that (as you may have seen on some job alerts, at places such as Idealist) that offer to hire people for just under $24K a year in the name of starting up some new district office vaguely dedicated to progressive or environmental issues. Fair Share Alliance is the latest of these, which seem to change names every 6-9 months.

Well, when it changed names to Fair Share Alliance, thinking it might be different, I actually applied. And got to the initial phone interview round.

First, if the office calling me was typical, organization or similar skills that people are supposed to learn aren't being taught a lot. But that's secondary.

I was told the job could often run around 60 hours a week.

And that means, at $23,750, people are literally being paid the equivalent of minimum wage if they were on wage not salary.

Do the math. Take 40 hours at $7.25 and another 20 at time and a half, and you'll end up at around $23,750.

So, if such "progressive" organizations are teaching young, would-be liberal activists a lesson, if any, it's about how inside-the-Beltway groups of multiple political stripes can and will be exploitative.

Nice "lesson," eh?

I work at the fifth-worst career, part 2 - the #advertorial world

Last week, I blogged about the fact that a certain careers website said that journalism was the first worst job/career field right now, noting that, from the inside, that was no surprise.

Well, I'm probably going to do a few follow-up posts, looking at more specific issues.

Today, I tackle where the editorial and advertising rubber overlap on the same road, the good old "advertorial" content, as well as a couple of other business issues.

Per a recent post on Bloomberg about BuzzFeed, new media may be headed in an even more advertorial direction. This should be of no surprise. A recent story at Editor and Publisher said that many newspapers don't "get" either the traditional web or various new media as being different enough in format from hardcopy to call out for different presentation styles.

Now, a big paper like the New York Times has staff to create graphics slideshows and more. A community daily, a six-day or five-day, doesn't, really. A nondaily certainly doesn't. But, if readers who are reading the nearest metro seven-day of any size see those, won't they start expecting them from smaller papers, too?

So, per BuzzFeed, if smaller dailies want that type of stuff, it probably will be an easy opening for online advertorial content. For nondailies, it will probably be an issue of web news getting no more than an Onion-esque first-graf look. Or else.

And, it's not just smaller dailies. I've already seen online advertorial content at the Austin American-Statesman. In fact, it may be easier to disguise the advertorial nature of online content until after someone has clicked the link.

For nondailies, more advertorial content is probably going to come via the newspaper oriented web content companies that host, and provide support for, most nondailies that aren't part of big corporate chains. Expect more advertorial video first. Slideshows second. Text "news" third.

Meanwhile, advertorial's always existed in hardcopy newspapers, and usually more so at community ones, and above all in smaller communities that still had the fortune, or the misfortune (due to it straining both papers even thinner) of competing newspapers.

Even when not part of explicit "buy a story, get an ad" special sections, I've seen it. At my current newspaper, we got a fax last week from the area's top renter and property manager. An official from said company asked if we were aware that current highway construction projects plus the pending work on a new power plant were likely to make renting a better option than ever for homeowners who can't sell their homes right now? Said official then said his company would like to advertise in the same issue of our semiweekly that we ran a story about this.

It's fucking disgusting, to be honest. The story line actually isn't a bad one, though the highway projects don't have that many new people in town, and we'll see on the power plant. But, that we the newspaper will be that blatant (and not the first time) ...

So, journalists? Let's be honest and stop calling PR "the dark side." You're going to get expected to do more and more of it.

Part 3 ... advertising and circulation revenues ... is ahead.