For the life of me, I’ll never understand why some people believe the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech grants them a carte blanche right to say or do anything they like without the least bit of criticism or negative feedback from other citizens.

The recent brouhaha over Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of an anti-LGBT seminar in Pennsylvania has the LGBT blogosphere, mainstream media and Christian media in a frenzy. Some college students have even organized to get Chick-fil-A thrown off their campuses. The seminar isn’t the first time Chick-fil-A has sponsored or supported conservative, right-wing causes. The anti-gay, evangelical views of the company and its leaders have been well-known for an awfully long time. I guess some folks just got tired of it, found the right blog to on which to speak out and hit the news cycle at just the right time.

In a New York Times piece by Kim Severson, however, a conservative Chick-fil-A customer and supporter says the corporation has every right to say or think anything they please. Continue reading this post…

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Local N.C. paper cuts daily editions

The Independent Tribune in Concord, N.C. — home to the famed Lowes (Charlotte) Motor Speedway –  is scaling back from daily publication. They’ll now print three times a week in a hyper-local format: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The change will take place on April 22.

From MeckDeck:

In effect, the Independent Tribune will be publishing for the Web with greatest hits editions printed on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Wednesday can be loaded with government meetings stuff from Monday and Tuesday, Friday catches any reaction to that, along with previewing the weekend, especially HS sports, and Sunday is Sunday.

The Independent Tribune‘s publisher Terry Coomes says:

“This new hyper-local model will allow the Independent Tribune to deliver news that readers, and non readers, have told us is most important to them,” Coomes said, “and that they cannot find anywhere else.”

Breaking news will continue to be reported around the clock on the newspaper’s Web site, www.independenttribune.com, Coomes said.

“As we learned in our recently completed research study, our readers look to us to provide indepth coverage of the Cabarrus and southern Rowan communities, and we believe we must deepen our commitment to delivering this hyper-local content,” she said.

“The combination of the newspaper and its 24/7 Web site allows us to deliver community news and breaking news seamlessly,” she said.

MeckDeck’s Jeff Taylor says the plan sounds doable. I agree. In the near future, I think we’ll see more daily newspapers adopt this three-day or two-day per week model. The only drawback is that the cutbacks will mean job losses. Fewer editions of a print paper might save some money, but it also brings the chance of lowering revenue.

The Independent Tribune is owned by Media General, who owns several community newspapers across North Carolina. One of its flagship, metropolitan papers is the one I grew up reading, The Winston-Salem Journal. The Tribune has a circulation of somewhere around 150,000, according to the newest numbers I could find (2005).

The New York Times reported Wednesday that many of the nation’s two-newspaper markets would become one-newspaper markets through 2009-2010, and that many of those one-newspaper markets would become no-newspaper markets. Let’s hope the one-newspaper towns adopt smaller, more local versions rather than completely shut down.

From NYT:

“In 2009 and 2010, all the two-newspaper markets will become one-newspaper markets, and you will start to see one-newspaper markets become no-newspaper markets,” said Mike Simonton, a senior director at Fitch Ratings, who analyzes the industry.

Many critics and competitors of newspapers — including online start-ups that have been hailed as the future of journalism — say that no one should welcome their demise.

“It would be a terrible thing for any city for the dominant paper to go under, because that’s who does the bulk of the serious reporting,” said Joel Kramer, former editor and publisher of The Star Tribune and now the editor and chief executive of MinnPost .com, an online news organization in Minneapolis.

“Places like us would spring up,” he said, “but they wouldn’t be nearly as big. We can tweak the papers and compete with them, but we can’t replace them.”

[..snip..]

“I can’t imagine what civil society would be like,” said Buzz Woolley, a wealthy San Diego businessman who has been a vocal critic of the paper there, The Union-Tribune, and the primary backer of an Internet news site, VoiceofSanDiego.org. “I don’t want to imagine it. A huge amount of information would just never get out.”

Not everyone agrees. The death of a newspaper should result in an explosion of much smaller news sources online, producing at least as much coverage as the paper did, says Jeff Jarvis, director of interactive journalism at the

A number of money-losing papers should “have the guts to shut down print and go online,” he said. “It will have to be a much smaller product, but that’s where we’re headed anyway.”