The Norman Transcript

Columns

August 29, 2013

Journalism’s golden age meets opportunity

NORMAN — There’s something reassuring about columnist Paul Greenberg’s prophecy this week about a “new, wide-open, freer era of journalism.”

I always enjoy Greenberg’s columns, particularly the ones where he signs off as “Inky Wretch.” The 76-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner has been around long enough that indeed he probably does have ink in his veins.

And he’s not the only one who is bullish about the future of the press.

His message echoes one I’ve listened to several times in recent weeks as the sale of The Washington Post has some waxing nostalgic, while others are excited about the possibilities of what’s being referred to as “the golden opportunity.”

That’s what Bill Ostendorf, a former Providence Journal graphics and photo editor, thinks newspapers hold in their hands right now.

Ostendorf delivers webinars for newspapers in which he debunks some long-held newsroom schools of thought, such as the idea that there’s no way that newspapers can ever be as good as they once were.

Ostendorf calls B.S. on that with reminders of boring, gray, stodgy pages.

As I listened to his brutally honest assessment, one thing really caught my interest. The one thing he thought newspapers did better once upon a time was to serve readers’ varied interests. Newspapers embraced communities of readers much like what HGTV and the Food Network do today.

Maybe we should have kept loving our readers more.

A local columnist recently wrote about newspapers and “the big news” of the day. Yet, ask 10 people what they consider the “big news,” and it’s likely, depending on age and interests, that you will receive 10 different answers.

How does today’s press even begin to speak to all those readers? By combining a top-drawer print product with unique digital products and social media and making it a whole new ballgame.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014