Friday, October 01, 2010

Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of the New York Time spoke tonight at the University of Denver Alumni Symposium.

Rosental graduated from DU in 1978, "I didn't go to an Ivy league school, but a lot of the people I've hired did."  He wrote for the Clarion, the DU school paper, "which was not so much of a newspaper as a club." He soon was hired by the Rocky Mountain News as a part-time police reporter, after graduation by the Associated Press, then the New York Times.

He gave a very interesting talk, followed by an frank, open, and long question and answer session. Here is a recap of some of his thoughts:

The print edition of the New York Times is not about to stop. The prime measure of print subscribers, 2+ year subscribers is up, But we could still use more, please subscribe using your credit card.

The Internet is the biggest printing press in the world, but it is easily stopped by governments. We own our printing presses and no one can stop us from printing what we want. Google now has a very interesting webpage measuring government censorship, partly to inform and partly to shame the governments involved. (I think Rosenthal is refering to Repressive regimes require licenses for Xerox machines which they know can be used as printing presses.

The Internet could be controlled here. What would happen today with the Pentigon Papers?

You can do more with online ads, take an immediate sale, but they make it really hard on news organizations. CNN fills dead air time with live coverage of bus crashes and other stories that really shouldn't be reported, we can get pulled into the same thing. "It's out there," can be an excuse to cover rumors like the CIA pushing cocaine to exploit certain groups.

Citizen journalists aren't journalists, they are witnesses. Internet powerful tools for reporters, sometimes its better to look for witness online rather than with shoe leather at the scene of a fire. But the opinions posted on blogs aren't news.

Political strategy in Washington right now is "shut this guy down," and the nature of politics right now that nobody debates anything, and that's too bad.

I asked Rosenthal if he'd attended a precienct caucus while he lived in Colorado, he didn't. He doesn't see  how the debate he feels is so important is stimulated by neighborhood caucuses, so I suggested that he read Grassroots Rules and ME Springlemeyers series on the 2008 Iowa Caucuses

This afternoon he shared his thoughts with journalism students at DU

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