Getting Romeneskod

In his media blog for Conde Nast’s business mag, Portfolio, former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines remembers being “Romanesko’d” out of his job in the post Jayson Blair period. He talks about the Poynter blogger‘s rise to prominence and writes:

According to Roy Peter Clark, the senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, the verb form of Romenesko’s name quickly established itself as journalistic shorthand for getting zapped, often fatally, by unflattering publicity. I never really blamed the messenger. Since then, however, hard times have hit the newspaper business, and today, many editors are doing just that, grousing that Romenesko’s blog at poynter.org feeds gloom and doom in the nation’s newsrooms with its instantaneous reporting of layoffs, declining ad revenues, and fire-sale prices being paid for metropolitan dailies.

Raines says Romanesko is both the medium and the message:

Newspaper publishers assumed that even if the printing press disappeared, the internet would still have an insatiable need for their basic product—verified facts, hierarchically arranged by importance. But Romenesko’s rapid growth showed that even newsrooms are part of the emerging market for an unprocessed sprawl of information, delivered immediately and with as few filters as possible between the fingertips of one laptop user and the eyeballs of another. In short, it’s not technology per se that’s killing newspapers; it’s plummeting demand for quality information.

Raines writes that both he and Romaesko are “survivors of the print era destined to be bucked off the same bronco of change.”

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