2009.04.01 Following the Bullfrogs

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Agreed, there are already too many Bulldogs in the world (I’m talking about sports team mascots) and there are already plenty of Eagles.

But Flying Bullfrogs?

So far, that’s what they’ve come up with for a new mascot if Morenci and Fayette join their sports programs, as proposed.

I suppose it could grow on me in time. Because it’s unique and corny, it just might work, like Ann Arbor’s River Rats.

One plus is the existence of a German band by the name Flying Bullfrogs. They play some good hard-driving music that could be used before basketball games.

A good thing about the proposed merger is that Fayette and Morenci don’t compete much anymore and don’t have an animosity established. Imagine Morenci joining forces with Sand Creek, for example.

Morenci could definitely use more kids on the football team and Fayette’s always really thin in track, so why not give it a try? After all, Fayette is Morenci’s nearest neighbor—less than seven miles as the bullfrog flies.

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Occasionally someone asks how things are in the newspaper industry. What? Don’t you mean the information industry?

A newspaper is just one of many vehicles of delivering information. And perhaps a withering one at that. A list published Sunday included 100 U.S. papers that have altered printing schedules, such as cutting out a day or two. Or seven.

If I were successfully transitioned into the new newsroom (note: I would never use the word “transition” as a verb in the old newsroom), I would say something bold like, “I don’t really care if the newspaper survives. My duty is to meet the information needs of readers and advertisers.”

A column I read recently about the newspaper dilemma provided this summary: “There are no silver bullets and no one knows where the industry will be in three years.”

At least we know one thing about the future newsroom: The cliché lives. Silver bullets for all.

The column quotes someone from Chicago predicting that two or three major newspapers will go out of business this year. If going out of business means no longer printing, then Denver and Seattle bring two deaths and another—the Ann Arbor News—is going in July. But Seattle and Ann Arbor, plus the Christian Science Monitor, aren’t really dying. They’ll try to survive with on-line versions. Best wishes with that effort. May your bullets all be silver.

The editor of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette no longer uses that title to describe himself. He is becoming the information content leader.

“The information content leader works with content team coaches and team leaders using every journalistic resource available employing what he calls entrepreneurial Superbloggers” who will use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, etc.

That doesn’t bode well for the Observer.  If I were forced to serve as a content leader working with content coaches and team leaders and tweeting about it all, I might not want to go to work in the morning.

The executive of the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star hopes to begin using holograms. Holograms? I had to do a little research on that one and didn’t come up with much.

Holograms are those images that change when you look at them from different angles. Here’s what I found: “The newspaper you’re now reading one day may be done as a hologram. Allen says one hologram would be able to contain up to 200 pages of text, which could be accessed merely by tilting the hologram in your hands.”

There are holograms and then there are chunks. I read that newspapers must think of themselves not only as multi-platform packaged story providers but also as the information utility. The difference, the writer says, it revolutionary. Consumers must be allowed to create their own products based on “extremely granular interests,” chunks of data, not news stories.

Looking ahead, I don’t have any reporters to lay off other than myself and then what would I do with my time? I intend to continue creating chunks as I cover every event the Flying Bullfrogs are part of.

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