Friday, August 26, 2016

Warren Hinckle, columnist and author, dead at 77

Warren Hinckle, the pugnacious
San Francisco columnist and author, died Thursday (Aug. 25) at age 77.

The Examiner’s obit said, “Recognized in part for the unmistakable eye patch that he wore following a childhood accident and his beloved basset hound Bentley that accompanied Hinckle everywhere from assignments to the newsroom to bars, Hinckle dipped his pen into San Francisco politics for decades, writing memorable columns for numerous publications including the San Francisco Examiner.”

The Chronicle said in its obit: “One of the milestone moments for Mr. Hinckle came when he assigned Hunter S. Thompson to cover the Kentucky Derby in 1970 for Scanlan’s Monthly. The resultant rollicking article, 'The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,' not only launched the over-the-top, personalized journalism that came to be known as gonzo, it began a lifelong friendship between Mr. Hinckle and Thompson. Mr. Hinckle’s final book, 'Who Killed Hunter S. Thompson?' is expected to be published this year. He began writing it in 2005 and was making changes to the manuscript until near his death.”

Friday, August 12, 2016

If you haven't seen it already, here's John Oliver's piece on the decline of newspaper journalism

John Oliver of HBO's "Last Week Tonight" takes aim at the newspaper industry and lambasts the corporate owners like Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing). It includes a hilarious parody of the movie "Spotlight," featuring a reporter who desperately tries to report a scandal at city hall but is impeded by his own paper's obsession with social media and clickbait.

Maybe the best scene in the movie parody was when the paper's editor, played by Jason Sudeikis, tells the reporter, played by Bobby Cannavale, that he's not interested in his corruption story. “I’m just not sure what kind of clicks were going to get on that,” Sudeikis says, before green-lighting a story pitch from Rose Byrne about a cat that looks like a raccoon. When Cannavale protests, Sudeikis delivers the ugly truth about the state of journalism today.

“Technically, you don’t work for a newspaper anymore,” Sudeikis says. “You work at a multi-platform, content generation distribution network now.”

Between 2004 and 2014, online ad revenue generated $2 billion in profit for newspapers, Oliver said, while print ad revenue fell by $30 billion. "That's like finding a lucky penny on the sidewalk on the same day your bank account is drained by a 16-year-old Belgian hacker," Oliver joked.