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The death of the honor box

Newspaper honor boxes

There once was a time when buying a newspaper meant walking to the corner with a quarter or two and picking up the latest edition from an "honor box" machine. Those days are gone, as publishers move single-copy sales to retail outlets in the face of rising prices and falling demand, Lynne Marek writes: "The disappearing boxes are another sign of the distressed newspaper industry's effort to evolve as advertisers and readers flee print products for digital alternatives."

If newspapers had ignored the web

Type in a chase

A recent academic study suggests that newspapers would have been better off sticking with their print editions instead of trying to migrate to the web, Jack Shafer writes: "For years, the standard view in the newspaper industry has been that print newspapers will eventually evolve into online editions and reconvene the mass audience newspapers enjoy there. But that’s not what’s happening." Other views from Steve Buttry, Mathew Ingram, and Benjamin Mullin.

The billionaires' war on journalism

Hulk Hogan

The Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker, funded by a Silicon Valley billionaire, shows how the rich try to silence journalists, Damaris Colhoun writes: "An entire industry has been created, some of it underground, some of it wide open, all of it aimed at discrediting a journalist’s critical take. Companies and interest groups, often coached by aggressive PR firms, are investing in bare-knuckled strategies to give their media rebuttals more teeth and a wider audience."

Still more trouble for print news

Newspaper on table

The Pew Research Center has just issued its latest State of the News Media report and the news is grimmer than ever for legacy newspapers, with circulation down 7% in the past year, ad revenue down 8%, and staffing down 10%: "Though the industry has been struggling for some time, 2015 was perhaps the worst year for newspapers since the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath." Also, Rick Edmonds on the Philadelphia experiment so far.

Inside history's biggest data leak

Panama Papers sign on cash stack

The Panama Papers unveiled a hidden web of shell companies used to hide the fortunes of wealthy people worldwide. Andy Greenberg explains how hundreds of media outlets kept the lid on before publication. More details from Ricardo Bilton, Nicola Clark, and David Uberti. Also, Thomas Fox-Brewster with some theories on the leak's technical causes. And Jack Murtha with background on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The challenges of four web startups

Start button image via Shutterstock

Naomi Lubick writes about four startup journalism web sites and talks to their leaders about the challenges they faced and overcame. Part 1 is on MATTER with founder Jim Giles; part 2 is about the New England Center for Investigative Journalism with reporter Beth Daley; part 3 features the San Francisco Public Press and founder Michael Stoll; and part 4 covers Grist and founder Chip Giller.

When journalists won't talk to the press

Interviewee with microphones image via Shutterstock

Paul Farhi covers news media for the Washington Post and he's learned that reporters won't talk to him on the record: "Journalists know how the news game is played, and they’re all too eager to play it to their advantage when they’re the interrogated, not the interrogators. I’ve interviewed people in the news business for years; rare is the reporter or editor who speaks his or her mind freely. Most will provide information when asked, but only with strings attached."

Job changes dampen Pulitzer triumphs

There aren't many things that can take the shine off journalism's most prestigious awards, but for two reporters, Monday's news must have been bittersweet. Both Natalie Caula Hauff, who won for the Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier, and Rob Kuznia, from the Torrance, Calif., Daily Breeze, left the business after their work was published. Also, the Breeze winners didn't even know they were nominated for the prize.

The federal attack on journalism

Brick wall image via Shutterstock

Journalists are stepping up their complaints about restrictions on their access to policymakers, Paul Farhi writes in a story replete with "minders" and FOIA stonewalling: "Reporters have always wanted more information than government officials have been willing or able to give. But journalists say the lid has grown tighter under the Obama administration, whose chief executive promised in 2009 to bring 'an unprecedented level of openness' to the federal government."

Why web journalists shun unions

Labor Day parade image via Shutterstock

The Newspaper Guild changed its name to NewsGuild, but that won't make web journalists sign up, Lydia DePillis writes. She cites two reasons: "One is the loss of leverage, with more aspiring journalists than there are jobs and an environment in which content is becoming increasingly commoditized. The other is a shift in identity, with a generation of younger workers less familiar with unions who’ve built personal brands that they can transfer to other media companies."