September 6, 2017 Last Updated 6:58 am

Cat. 5 Hurricane Irma a serious threat to Caribbean islands, then Florida (or another liberal hoax, according to Rush Limbaugh)

Morning Brief: Trinity Mirror splits digital and print news teams at the Birmingham Mail, rebrands website as Birmingham Live, in latest sign that the debate over the best approach to web publishing continues

The Houston area is just beginning to recover from Hurricane Harvey, and here comes Hurricane Irma, which area residents can probably be forgiven for hoping stays on its current course heading towards Florida. Florida residents would prefer almost anything else but that.

Hurricane Irma

For as long as I can remember news of an approaching hurricane was a weather story, but today everything is about politics. Incredibly, Hurricane Irma is both the evidence for and against climate change, though scientists are wise enough to stay as far away from this kind of talk as they can.

The Washington Post, Andrew deGrandpre:

‘May God protect us all’: Puerto Rico and tiny islands in Irma’s path fear for the worst

Throughout these American territories and on other Caribbean islands in Hurricane Irma’s path, there was widespread fear Tuesday night and early Wednesday, even in the face of preemptive emergency declarations, that this ferocious and possibly historic Category 5 storm will bring with it a devastating storm surge, destructive winds and dangerous flooding and lead to a long, painstaking journey back to normalcy.

Irma is predicted to become the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Leeward Islands, a band of territories and commonwealths stretching southeast from Puerto Rico. At 5 a.m. Wednesday, as the National Hurricane Center declared it “potentially catastrophic,” the tropical cyclone was barreling toward the Leewards’ northernmost islands.

HuffPost, Ed Mazza:

Rush Limbaugh Claims Hurricane Irma Is Part Of A Vast Conspiracy

Last year, Limbaugh said the storms were somehow part of a liberal conspiracy to push a climate change agenda. This year, he has said they’re also part of a media plot to help advertisers sell bottled water and emergency supplies…

…In a transcript of his Tuesday radio show, Limbaugh repeatedly complained about the stores in Palm Beach ― where he lives and broadcasts from ― being out of water despite the uncertainty of the storm’s path.

Limbaugh also claimed the storm was being used to push an environmental agenda. He said, “People in all of these government areas” are “hell-bent” on proving climate change.

“You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic,” he said. “You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere. All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.”

Splinter, Hamilton Nolan:

I Pray to GOD Florida Republicans Listen to Rush Limbaugh and Ignore All This “Hurricane” Hype

Are you the sort of Florida resident who lives in close proximity to a golf course, smokes cigars, and is a big fan of Rush Limbaugh? Then I urge you, in the strongest possible terms: Please listen to what he is saying about this hurricane.

As Rush is quick to point out, he is “not a meteorologist.” Well hell, Ronald Reagan wasn’t a sculptor, but he would still look damn fine on Mount Rushmore. You feel me? Credentialism is no reason why you, the Rush Limbaugh-loving resident of my home state who really makes large portions of Florida unlivable with your golf courses and reactionary know-nothing politics, should not pay close attention to his theories about Hurricane Irma…

…There’s no worse fate than being played as a sucker by those on the left with a climate change agenda. So Florida Republicans, please take a stand: Ride this fucker out. Don’t buy a single fucking bottle of water. Show these globalists what’s what. Let the Dems blow their hard earned cash on supplies and run off to some “safe” area. The joke will be on them, you’ll see!

For as long as I can remember, there has been a debate about the best approach to take regarding staffing for both print and digital: does one combine the task, or separate them out.

Birmingham LiveIn the early days of web publishing, I think the most successful approach was to create a new web team. Print reporters and editors were loath to concentrate on the new medium, and if one were going to build a great website one needed a dedicated staff. Of course, this was the more expensive approach, and one that eventually would cause conflicts as the print staff began to realize that the future was digital, not print.

But the reality was that usually the decision was dictated by cost as some newspaper executives began to realize that the best way to trim their large and expensive print staffs was to claim that they needed to restaff for digital and would use this excuse to layoff veteran newsroom personnel.

This seems to be what is going on at Trinity Mirror with its Birmingham Mail newsroom.

The UK trade press is positioning the news that the print and digital teams will be separate as either a strategy move or a cost reduction move depending on how honest they want to be. At least in the UK there is still somewhat of an honest discussion in the trade press, if this were the US we’d get a giant profile of the media executive on why this is the great new trend (pivot to video everyone!)., David Sharman:

Jobs set to go as city daily separates print and digital teams

Editorial jobs are set to be lost as part of a pilot which will see a regional daily’s online operation become independent from the print product.

The Birmingham Mail’s website is set to be rebranded as Birmingham Live in a move which will also see the title’s journalists return to the city centre after ten years at their current Fort Dunlop home.

Publisher Trinity Mirror says the changes will see a “small net reduction in the number of newsroom roles” in Birmingham as a result, although it has declined to say how many.

PressGazette, Freddy Mayhew:

Jobs to go at Birmingham Mail as publisher Trinity Mirror creates separate print and digital editorial teams

The digital team will also be moved to new premises in Birmingham City Centre “to allow it to focus 100 per cent on the digital audience”, according to a spokesperson.

Trinity Mirror said it has created a number of new “print-only content roles” that will see journalists write “mainly” for the paper, as well as new team of digital commercial specialists.

Said a spokesperson: “The Mail, like other Trinity Mirror newsrooms, adopted the ‘digital first’ approach three years ago, but teams have remained integrated. This new structure is designed to reflect the increasingly divergent needs of digital and print audiences.

“The new approach will allow Birmingham Live the latitude to throw all of its resources into one big story for a whole day if that is what its audiences want, without worrying about filling the next day’s paper.”

As a former classified advertising manager, it obviously distresses me to see the decline of what once was often the largest single revenue category at most local newspapers. Between automotive and real estate commercial adverting, and private party merchandise advertising, classifieds often out produced both local retail and national advertising.

But newspaper executives were slow to react to new competition — first from traders and other specialty publications like real estate tabloids, but then from the Internet. Newspaper executives did the one thing guaranteed to kill the golden goose, wait and do nothing internally to promote digital classifieds.

Today, most newspapers are devoid of classified advertising and instead choose third party partners to do the heavy lifting.

The Journal Gazette:

Fort Wayne Newspapers re-launches job board

Fort Wayne Newspapers, publishers of The Journal Gazette, The News-Sentinel and Fort Wayne Magazine, has re-launched, a website with “cutting edge job-matching technology,” according to Michael Christman, president of Fort Wayne Newspapers…

“TheJobNetwork reaches millions of active and passive job seekers monthly across the Internet on local, niche, and vertical job sites, as well as on leading aggregator sites and social networks,” the release said. “The new site allows hiring managers to save valuable time and effort with Real-Time Job Matching, which automatically screens, grades, and ranks applicants, as well as returns qualified passive job seeker matches in real-time from the site’s resume database.”

The partnership with TheJobNetwork coincides with changes to the printed classifieds within The Journal Gazette and The News-Sentinel. The new marketplace, featuring items for sale, garage sales, homes for sale and recruitment advertising will have a new look starting Sept. 12. The format will be easier to read due to new, wider columns for ads, Christman said. Fort Wayne Newspapers has also streamlined the number of categories to make it easier to find the items you want and expanded the availability of free classified ads for most items for sale up to $1,000.

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