Z – Zines

ZRather than end the A to Z Challenge with a bang, I think I’m going to end it with a half-joke.

What the heck happened to Zines?

I mean, they seemed like a fad, I suppose, anyway, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised they’re gone. What were they, you ask? To merriam-webster.com!

Zine:

a small magazine that is written by people who are not professional writers and that usually has stories about a particular subject”

e-Zine:

an electronic magazine : a magazine that is on the Internet”

Oh… wait a minute… do they mean a blog?

Blog:

“a Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences”

So… kind of. Mostly. Maybe? There are probably a number of Blogs which might be more accurately Zines or e-Zines, maybe especially ones that have a specific subject, and which have multiple writers.

I didn’t end up going with my original plan for the letter M which was going to be Magazines… I felt like I was beating on them enough between Journalism and Newspapers. And because I knew eventually I would be writing about Zines… was it supposed to be the cool, hip, trendy, online word for a magazine? Was it supposed to catch on? Can you choose and control those sorts of things? Or do they just naturally happen – like the adoption of the word Blog instead.

I don’t know. But it seemed like a fun word to close out the A to Z Challenge with! Do you read any Zines? Or did you ever? Let me know in the comments below!

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N – Newspapers

NI think it’s safe to say it’s been a tough few decades for newspapers. I talked about how Journalism jobs seem to be becoming more specialized and in some ways this makes sense, as the news in general gets smaller and tighter as an industry. But what has led to the steady decline in newspaper business? The obvious answer is our old friend the Internet. But I see a few specific elements that are causing more trouble for newspapers because of the Internet than other industries are seeing – say, books versus e-books.

The obvious one is that the Internet provided a new means of accessing the news, forcing them to react and start to try and provide the news in multiple channels. And, to provide it at an Internet-appropriate speed: so, basically instantly. Not the easiest thing, and for getting your facts straight, for doing good editing, a deadline and publication schedule and time is kind of a useful thing. That changes significantly with the Internet.

And then there’s the fact that search engines arose – increasingly giving people the feeling that they can find things on their own, and don’t need anyone else to do that sort of work for them. All of a sudden, is there as much value in the person doing that work, digging up the stories, reporting on them? When all of a sudden, everyone feels like they can do this.

And then you get people creating the content, too! Bloggers and the like, doing the work for free, on their own time. Saying whatever they want, with no editorial standard. Eroding our expectation of there BEING an editorial standard.

But no, the number one problem facing newspapers, in my opinion, is the fact that people expect things online to be free. Oh, and we don’t really like ads. Why buy a newspaper when the same paper gives the news online for free? So then some of them add pay-walls, and we’re up in arms. Paying for something that costs money to create, and which we used to pay for anyway… I will also say that regularly, the most ad-filled, cluttered websites I have seen are news sites. This has gotten better with time, or else I stopped going to their sites: I’m not sure which it is.

I’ve given a few of my thoughts, and I think these things are hitting newspapers harder than a lot of other types of writing. There’s free fiction online, after all, but I still see the value in paying for a good book. However, the news? If I can’t get it one place for free, I’ll just look elsewhere until I can get it for free. Right? That’s what they’re up against. At least in my opinion – what do you think is their greatest challenge?

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