The First Media Pay Wall, Obama as The Joker, Chicago Trib Redesign, and Where Vick Will Go

  • The trend has been building, so it had to tip at some point, for better or worse:

    News Corp. to Charge for All Websites, Business Spectator (Australia)

    In America, this could work to an extent, because News Corp.’s two big properties here are the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, both outlets with a dedicated (read: rabid) readership that turns there for a specific take on things that really speak to them. But outside the U.S. and for most of the company, I think this is a really bad idea: I don’t see anybody paying to access Sky News online, or junk tabloids like The Sun or New York Post (American, but more reminiscent of a British or Australian News Corp. publication).

    I don’t think the blanket approach is a good way to go, and this type of drastic change should have been evaluated on a per-publication basis. (Maybe it was and they went with this anyway, but that would be puzzling.) TIME.com tried this when I was there, and it was a big failure — TIME is going for such a wide volume of readers that they don’t create a really targeted, “I need my fix” demand, and Sky News isn’t exactly media crack, either. Even the NY Times couldn’t pull this off with their opinion section, and that’s at least at the heroin-level of punditry.

    More reaction roundup from the NY Times.

  • nullI read an opinion piece in the Washington Post criticizing the Obama-as-Joker poster, in which the author argues that the poster is playing on racial fears and says that this poster isn’t as effective as the “Hope” one from the election.

    That seems wrong on two counts. First, even the article itself takes a way long rhetorical path before it can make a connection between the Joker and racial fear. The Joker has always been a white guy, except on the ’60s Batman TV show, when you could possibly say he was sorta-Latino thanks to Cesar Romero. This article just doesn’t convince me that there’s anything about the Joker that links to blackness at all — if you want to break this Joker dude down racially, Heath Ledger clearly depicted him as a source of random violence, a.k.a. terrorism, and I’d say there’s a defined ethnic group that has a clear monopoly on being considered terrorists. Also, the Joker is a sociopathic serial murderer, and “weird middle-aged white guy” is the depiction that immediately springs to mind with that term.

    Second, the Joker poster is totally blunt, but that’s not really ineffective: the great bulk of people are going to think, “Joker bad and socialism bad, so Obama bad”. I’m already seeing it as online avatars, so clearly it’s blunt enough to work on some level. You could get into the fact that probably 70% of people who dislike socialism have any knowledge of the topic besides negative word association, but the point is the poster ties the president pretty effectively to two things Americans dislike. Fair or not, it’s effective, and it’s not racist.

  • The Chicago Tribune launched a redesign today. I’m struck first off how much the top navigation looks like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette site. (Check out the two local-news pages, which for the Trib is the one I read the most.) But they did do a good job of cleaning it up a bit, particularly the headlines toward the bottom of the local-news page that used to get lost with no context, a.k.a. subhead, and the fact that the flyout links under the top navigation bar seem to be pretty flexible for spotlighting new stuff.
  • My pick for Michael Vick’s ultimate destination: the Oakland Raiders. Here’s why:
    1. JaMarcus Russell is not exactly a showstopper;
    2. Jeff Garcia is too old;
    3. Oakland likes to take slightly older players with something to prove — think Daunte Culpepper;
    4. Al Davis is a total jagoff and probably hates puppies.

    This guy seems to differ from my opinion, but I think he will be surprised in the end. Or I will. The point is, surprise will happen at some point.

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2 Responses to “The First Media Pay Wall, Obama as The Joker, Chicago Trib Redesign, and Where Vick Will Go”

  1. I read that Vanity Fair did GWB as Joker back when the flick was more current.

  2. Also, looks like I was wrong about Vick. But Oakland’s head coach did punch one of his assistants in the face, so there’s that from the Raiders.

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