Friday, June 26, 2009

News-Press Coverage of Jackson Death Was Off The Wall

It was certainly big news. But by the time it hits the front page of any print newspaper this morning, it will be old news.

So I was curious to see how Santa Barbara's three newspapers that also have a web presence would handle the news of the death of Michael Jackson.

As of around 4:15 on Thursday afternoon, the Daily Sound gave the story the most prominent placement of any paper. At the Independent there was a link to a story in the left hand column which led to this article by Senior Editor Matt Kettmann who covered the Jackson child molestation in Santa Maria for Time magazine as well as the Indy.

And what will it take to get the News-Press to break up the design of their web page to accommodate a major breaking news story? If you surfed over to their website Thursday afternoon, you had to have a pretty sharp eye to find the news of Jackson's death.

It was buried in the slow "breaking news" crawl at the top of the page. If you clicked on the link it led to this page, but you had to be a subscriber to the paper to read the entire story.

So, with stories reporting Jackson's death, free and plentiful on the web, why would you pay to read the account posted by the News-Press?

And it should come as no surprise in these times, but the first media outlet to report Jackson's death was a website, TMZ, beating out TV and all of the other "mainstream media."
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What they say about celebrity deaths occurring in threes certainly proved to be true this week with Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Jackson all passing within three days of each other.

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The News-Press isn't the only paper in town where the staff is saying "salsipuedes!" Over at the Pacific Coast Business Times Assistant Managing Editor Emily Rancer left earlier this month to pursue her MBA at UC Davis. Real estate editor Sara Hamilton has reportedly given notice recently that she will be leaving.

Word on the street is that the News-Press is looking for freelance writers. The pay: $75 to $125 per story. That's roughly in the same range of what the Daily Sound is paying their freelancers. And, I'm informed, freelancers at the Indy don't do a whole lot better.

Or to paraphrase the Oscar winning rap group Three 6 Mafia, "It's Hard Out Here for a Temp!"
© 2009 by Craig Smith and