5 things I think I think about today’s Tampa Bay Times and other media

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A week after defending his friend Roland Martin against criticism from gay rights advocates upset with Martin’s seemingly homophobic Tweets during the Super Bowl, Eric Deggans may have to weigh in again, this time in defense of another brotha intent on fulfilling the new meme that some of the worst racism is coming from African Americans (see recent comments from Samuel L. Jackson on why he voted for Barack Obama as just another example.)

There are so many fallacies and falsehoods in this editorial about the recently-completed redistricting work of the Florida Legislature that it deserves its own post, but I’ll give you a couple of examples here.

The first is this line:

“In theory, the new redistricting requirements should have resulted in maps that would produce a congressional delegation and Legislature that better reflect Florida’s political balance.”

Actually, producing maps which produce a specific political outcome is EXACTLY what is prohibited under Constitutional Amendments 5 & 6, as this very editorial explains in earlier paragraph: “…in 2010 Florida voters approved constitutional amendments placed on the ballot through a voter petition drive by the nonpartisan group Fair Districts. More than 60 percent of the voters approved Amendments 5 and 6, which require legislators draw districts that do not favor or disfavor incumbents or political parties.”

Continuing, the editorial refers to the newspaper’s correlative analysis of previous election results which suggests Democrats could pick up three congressional seats, with two other districts competitive. The writers  “If the new congressional maps meet the constitutional requirements, why would President Barack Obama have won only 10 of the 27 new districts even though he carried Florida in 2008?”

I took apart this so-called analysis here, proving why it didn’t make sense when it came to seats in the Florida House. Undoubtedly, the criticism holds true of Congressional seats because it’s ridiculous to suggest in a battleground state like Florida that top-of-the-ballot performance is an accurate indicator of electoral performance down the ballot.

Thank you, Ernest Hooper, for using your column to take up for your son’s high school football team. The rest of us are really concerned that Gov. Rick Scott did not recognize the team at a recent Cabinet meeting.

There’s a great line from John Romano in his column about the increasing problems with St. Pete’s 3 a.m. “last call for alcohol.” Romano writes:

In other words, they’re trying to close the bar door after the drunks got out. This kind of thing should have been anticipated in 2010, it should have been addressed by 2011, and it should be a nonissue now in 2012. Instead, everyone seems to be pointing fingers at one another and complaining it’s someone else’s fault while the city’s bouncers are practicing how to duck.

Great line aside, I vehemently disagree with Romano’s assessment.  Having helped lead the effort to pass the ordinance moving back the “last call”, I thought it necessary to respond to Romano (which you can read here.)

Don’t you just love it when the New York Times writes about the Washington Post…Jeremy Peters writes “A Newspaper, and a Legacy, Reordered: For a Digital Future, The Washington Post Shrinks Its Scope”:

“Marcus Brauchli, the executive editor of The Washington Post, … refuses to be held hostage to the past. ‘There are a lot of nostalgia-drenched people in the journalism field who look back at what newspapers were and have a fairly static view of what they should be,’ he said in an interview. ‘Just because The Washington Post used to be a certain way doesn’t mean The Washington Post has to be that way in the future.’ … Though company managers say privately that The Post is modestly profitable, its newspaper division, which also includes a group of community papers and The Herald of Everett, Wash., reported an operating loss of nearly $26 million through the first three quarters of last year. Compounding its troubles, The Post’s safety net ripped a giant hole. For decades, The Post could rely on Kaplan – the money-minting, for-profit college and test-preparation business that the company bought in 1984. But Kaplan has been squeezed under the weight of new federal rules that place greater limits on how for-profit colleges can recruit and enroll low-income students. …

“‘The survival of the institution is not guaranteed,” [Bob] Kaiser said … Over the course of his five-decade career with The Post, he has been a summer intern, a metro reporter, a foreign correspondent and the No. 2 to Len Downie, Mr. Brauchli’s predecessor. ‘When I was managing editor of The Washington Post, everything we did was better than anyone in the business … We had the best weather, the best comics, the best news report, the fullest news report. Today, there’s a competitor who does every element of what we do, and many of them do it better. We’ve lost our edge in some very profound and fundamental ways.’ …

“THIS summer, Reuters tried to poach Mr. Balz , one of the country’s most prominent political reporters. Mr. Brauchli and the national editor, Kevin Merida, were loath to see him go – not just because they were wary of more brain drain but also because of the potential damage to newsroom morale from the defection of such a revered and well-liked colleague. They flew a young political reporter, Philip Rucker, to Michigan, where Mr. Balz was on vacation and considering the Reuters offer. Mr. Rucker appeared on Mr. Balz’s doorstep carrying a basket with cheese and wine and a book they had made called ‘Campaign Crescendos: The Election-Night Writings of Dan Balz.’ Editors and reporters had signed it, urging him to stay. He declined the Reuters job. ‘To me, The Post was and is a great newspaper,’ Mr. Balz said. ‘Is it a different place today than it was? Sure. But in the end it’s still a great place to do great journalism.'”

With Matt Lewis winning the “Blogger of the Year” award from CPAC this past weekend, there is a great discussion on Hot Air about what defines “blogging.”

With political season in full-force, consumers will be seeking easier ways to get to the truth and content generators need to report in a way to alleviate their concerns. Nieman Journalism Lab predicts that news and curation apps will dominate in 2012. This increasingly popular tactic will give readers the control they need to believe the news.

Salon editor Kerry Lauerman discusses the site’s trajectory during the recession: from simplifying and aggregating to fewer posts and more page views. He elaborates on the process the site endured to get to their level of success today.

Smart Politics examined the Republican delegate scorecards of eight prominent news outlets and found no two counts were identical.

Tablet magazines spark new trend: rereading back issues: New research from GfK’s MRI iPanel suggests not only that tablet users are interested in tablet magazine editions, but also that they are using the devices to read back issues that are no longer on newsstands – welcome news for digital advertisers.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.