Online legal issues links

I’m doing a Webinar today on online legal issues, another in a series E.W. Scripps is doing with journalism professors at Hampton University using Skype and DimDim. These are some interesting conversations.

I’ve put together a set of links for them and I thought others might find the list useful. An earlier set of links dealt with ethics.


A day golf’s Mike Strantz would have enjoyed

Autumn at Tot Hill Golf Club
Golfers at Tot HillI don’t play golf and I never met golf course designer Mike
Strantz, but I think he would have had fun yesterday on a sunny day with a bit
of crispness and trees still holding some gold fall color across the rolling
landscape of Piedmont North Carolina.

The weather was splendid, the golf was good and the ribs,
slow cooked for some three hours, were excellent.

The video shot nine years ago of the construction at Tot
Hill Farm Golf Club shows a guy with a twinkle in his eye, a smile on his face
and obviously loving what he is doing.

Mike StrantzStrantz died at 50 of tongue cancer. By that time, he had
become a hot talent in golf design known for challenging and controversial

He began his career as a golf course designer with the famed
Tom Fazio, but did a mere nine courses after going out on his own.

Two of the nine are in North Carolina, Tot Hill in Asheboro
and Tobacco Road in the Sanford area. On Saturday, Tot Hill held the First
Annual Mike Strantz Memorial Golf Tournament, attracting over 100 golfers.

Cooking ribsHis dad was there. His two daughters were there. His wife,
Heidi, spoke briefly about how the proceeds would help the Hollings Cancer
Center of South Carolina
, located on the campus of the Medical University of
South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

Strantz would have been proud.

(Mike Strantz photo from Some more photos from Saturday.)

Training and focusing on content quality even in tight times

News Sentinel newsroom VCCE.W. Scripps CEO Rich Boehne is getting some kudos for focusing on editorial quality and training even as the economics of the media business have forced painful cutbacks.

A large training program focused on storytelling has launched amid the media industry recession for the company’s 10 TV stations.

“It’s very deep and broad training in storytelling,” Boehne told the Cincinnati Business Journal. “It’s an out-and-out investment in the quality of the content, training hundreds of people, with no other aim than to increase quality.”

Boehne said it is part of a strategy to ensure the company continues to provide compelling value to consumers. Another aspect measures and compares the company’s newsrooms.

“We measure percent of content that’s local. We measure story count. We measure head count in newsrooms. And we spend a lot of time saying, against some research, ‘Is it any good? Is our quality increasing or decreasing?’,” Boehne said.

In addition the corporate yardsticks, the Knoxville News Sentinel has one of the most extensive metrics initiatives among Scripps newspapers. Data is posted daily on a large board in the center of the newsroom called the Visual Communication Center (yeah, a consultant came up with that gem).

Among the measures: On-time performance in getting the paper out, number of corrections, number of Web first/Web only updates, number of videos posted, number of text alerts sent and most recent single copy sales. In addition, a comprehensive training matrix tracks newsroom training.

The business journal got react from well-known newspaper industry blogger Alan Mutter:

“I agree with him that quality matters,” said Mutter, a former Chicago Sun-Times editor whose well-known blog, “Reflections of a Newsosaur,” chronicles the daily newspaper industry’s troubles.

“It’s heartening to hear that kind of commitment at a time that’s quite challenging for publishers,” Mutter said. “It’s very squishy to prove or disprove the proposition.”

A Newspaper Guild representative at the company’s Memphis newspaper cast a more wary eye at the quality assertions.

Photo by J. Miles Cary of the News Sentinel is of the newsroom “Visual Communication Center.”