Reporter's Notebook

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Archive for February 2018

Pledge Free Streaming

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Quick, if you could listen to music versus music but with a lot of unrelated talking mixed in, which would you choose?

For listeners to public radio pledge drives, pledge free streaming makes the answer an obvious one.  The technology, first introduced in 2011, gives paying listeners the choice to link their device to a code that is activated when they contribute.  And for the length of the drive or until the next one, they listen without pledge pitches.

Simple.  Elegant.

But for stations, it’s a different question; If I have to choose between a pledge drive which has worked raising money for the last 40 years versus a technology that has only been around for seven years, which makes more business sense?  Pledge free streaming has the potential to not only eliminate drives that a large percentage of listeners have made clear they hate.  It also has the potential to raise tons of money in the spirit of something akin to a Netflix subscription.

The technology, though, also might diminish the one-on-one stations have with listeners at pledge drive time.  The personal testimonies, the challenge grants, the giveaways.  How would all of those other streams be affected if algorithms for payment and listening take over?

It’s a question I address in my upcoming book, PLEDGE: The Public Radio Fund Drive.  But for now,  here’s a funny example of a pledge free stream concept, produced by Noah Madrano for @Sub Human Intellectual Theater @KBOO with graphics by my book’s cover designer, Karen Green.…

Written by Interviewer

February 28, 2018 at 06:23

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Protected: PLEDGE Excerpt – Introduction

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Written by Interviewer

February 25, 2018 at 15:03

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Error in Fact

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Rainbows and Unicorns

Forbes said in a 2013 article that as of then, a million or more books were published in the U.S.  OK, except a New York Times article said that as of 2002, only 80,000 were published in the U.S.  OK, except I can’t believe the number of published books has jumped by 920,000 in 10 years.  I mean, Amazon is powerful but it’s not THAT powerful.  Especially with all of the dour talk about declining book sales, the introduction of Kindles way back when and the disappearance of Joseph Beth and Little Professor’s along the way.

But this isn’t about bookstores.  It’s about credibility of reporting.  Neither article cites its sources for its numbers.  Maybe because it’s Forbes and the Times, both editors felt company names speak for themselves then and now.  But as I work on my own book; a book I’ve sweated and cursed and exhausted myself over for the last three years, I wonder will people trust my research considering these plain and simple examples of journalistic inconsistency from those at much higher levels than me?

Like, when a well known writer for a well known media outlet told me by email that they didn’t know if a fact I quoted from a piece they’d written was correct.  Excuse me?  They didn’t say they couldn’t remember.  They didn’t say the facts had changed.  They said they didn’t know.  And as gingerly as I could, I prodded to know if they knew that as they were writing, or did they come to know it over time?  And either way, why would they put it in their piece or not offer a correction?

I have busted my ass to make this, my first book, to be as good as I can make it.  It may not be as good as I hope my writing will eventually be.  But I’ve been a reporter for a long time. I know how to research.  And I expect I also know how to tell the truth and how to feel like crap if I even suspect that I haven’t.,

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Written by Interviewer

February 14, 2018 at 02:54

Posted in Scratchpad