The Weekly Top Four

“Steve, if that report isn’t on my desk Friday, just keep eating brains all weekend and don’t bother coming in Monday.”

Each week, right here, I review my top four items from the week that was.

Sometimes I’ll be angry. Sometimes I’ll be wistful. Sometimes I’ll just point out TV shows I watched. Sometimes,I’ll be woefully late with plaudits for a noteworthy story I read.

Bonus: You continue to learn more about me, which helps my ego and keeps you coming back for more. #Hint.

After the jump: JoPo and JoePa, The End of Cable, Journalism Jobs and This Week In Duh, featuring zombies infecting your office. Watch out!


Apology or warning?

The fall of a writer. With the release of the Freeh investigative report, the Penn State scandal withered to yet another unsatisfying conclusion.

Paterno knew, of course he knew, the report detailed. To my uninformed opinion, seems as though Paterno was an emperor of Happy Valley fiefdom, desperate to keep his kingdom intact, desperate to shield a one-time friend, desperate to preserve legacy or conventional wisdom, at stunning and tragic cost. That would actually be a fascinating book.

Unfortunately, it seems that’s not the book Joe Posnanski turned in. Paterno, available in August!

Plus, you can’t let this graphic designer’s hard work go to waste. Look at that font. All class!

I have my doubts. So does Greg Hall (essential daily reading if you’re interested in KC sports media), who unearths Joe’s tweets from the scandal’s break, and also distills Joe’s promotional interview from Amazon. Prepare to be disappointed, Greg writes.

When the story began, Deadspin’s Tom Scocca admonished Pos for the same tweets Hall unearths today. The New York Times covered Posnanski’s dilemma in curious tone. Each basically asked: Will Joe scuttle his trademark “Magic of Sports” stuff in order to write the investigative, contextual piece of the truth behind a Happy Valley legend?

That’s the chance many reporters would dream of – plus, it was paid for handsomely.

 

Paterno’s legend is sullied and perhaps fallen. Joe Pos’s legend – the sportswriter with prose effortless as breeze, subtle humor pointed as arrow – may as well. Had the scandal not occurred, “Paterno” would pass with a blip, earning praise for Pos’ writing and no further thought. Now, however, it’s perhaps portrayal of a writer who failed, who never saw the story, who refused to believe any story other than his pitch. That’s not a reporter.

(Disclosure: I worked for The Kansas City Star’s sports copy desk in 2003, editing numerous Posnanski columns. I enjoyed working with him.)

The End of Cable. Like The Atlantic reports, the end of cable is probably coming soon, just as everyone predicts. The problem? No one knows when.

Right now, DirecTV and Viacom are embroiled in a snit that appears commonplace. It’s about money; just like AMC and Dish, just like cable networks and ESPN, occasionally. It’s easy for everyone to cry for the demise of cable, for the Nick Biltons to declare that they’d gladly watch TV on demand on their iPad.

But what’s going to break cable? Assumptions that cable nears its end are based on people switching to on-demand services with an Internet component. I’d be interested in knowing what percentage of the population has this internet or device capability. I tend to think we’re further away than most writers would assume.

But maybe not. Netflix on-demand would qualify as a massive cable network, dwarfing several channels you or I watch. And rest assured, the only way cable breaks is when a network decides that it can make more money through streaming or internet connectivity than they can through cable. This may be HBO, but it will probably be ESPN.

Should ESPN decide to monetize, and deliver as primary – not supplementary benefit – its live sports content through internet, for advertising money, then and only then will they abandon lucrative cable, or unbundle from peers, intermediaries and competitors. As it stands now, they set the price, and cable conglomerates are more than willing to pay. Conglomerates are willing to set hard lines with Viacom and AMC. Smaller cable networks exist only in ESPN’s wake.

I want to work for this paper. From Romenesko and via JournalismJobs.com, the Index-Journal of South Carolina makes the point of being pretentious within a job posting. Two things:

  1. At least they’re hiring!
  2. Nice to see pretentiousness prior to the job food chain, rather than emanating from accomplished reporters in big cities, sneering at humble beginnings.

Anyway, Romenesko interviewed Scott Bryan, the editor, who explained the job ad:

“…With all the doom and gloom in the newspaper industry, I wanted our job to be about the — to borrow a president’s favorite buzzword — “hope” our newspaper presents.”

That’s refreshing. I much prefer boastful pretentiousness to finger-wagging and bemoaning a youthful populace who no longer has time for ink-stains or crumpled newsprint with morning coffee.

The Index-Journal promises a career, not a cause. Might also be fun. The best job I ever had was my first news desk in Danbury, Connecticut, at The News-Times. (high-fives) You never realize how great a dynamic is until it’s missing everywhere else.

This Week in Duh. Speaking of hiring, Mashable aggregates an infographic that details the unseen cost your firm undertakes should you hire a nonproductive zombie. It’s eye-catching and eye-opening, probably, for some of you. Don’t hire zombies!

Anyway, you might see the dollar figures and wonder how, exaclty, “Vitamin Talent” came up with these figures. After all, they’re an ad agency promising – no freaking way – to help your stupid business navigate human capital management. (This type of consultancy deserves a post all its own, FWIW). The infographic’s fine print:

“The data and information on this infographic all came from the World Wide Web. If you find something that seems incorrect, please contact the Internet immediately, or just assume we’re right.”

Oh, snap! How clever is that! A disclaimer that highlights your entire consultancy business is based on misdirection, obfuscation, and assumption. But look! Cute zombies!

NOTE: The Weekly Top Four will return July 27. Going back to Danbury, Connecticut for a weekend. Believe it or not!

  • Joe Posnanski Talks … Expect to Be Disappointed, as in Very [Greg Hall]
  • A Plea to Joe Posnanski: Stop Writing Mealy-Mouthed Nonsense About Joe Paterno [Deadspin]
  • The Coach, The Biographer, and the Last Chapter [NYT]
  • Netflix & Youtube: The Innovator’s Dilemma [TechCrunch]
  • The End of TV and Death of the Cable Bundle [The Atlantic]
  • Work at the Index-Journal (S.C.) [JournalismJobs]
  • The Most Upbeat Ad You’ll Find at JournalismJobs [Romenesko]
  • I Hired a Zombie, Infographic [Mashable]

 

John Hanley

About John Hanley

John Hanley is a marketing director by day, author and blogger by night, and smart aleck all the time. He lives in Kansas City. He has two cats. He habitually misplaces his stupid chapstick.
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