The first I heard about Mike Connell and his plane crash was in a tweet that pointed to Rove’s IT Guru Warned of Sabotage Before Fatal Plane Crash; Was Set to Testify, by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, in Truthout. The original is here at Alternet.
So I went looking for more at Google News. All I got were more blogs. Nearly every item currently on top in a Google News search for “Mike Connell” crash is a blog source. And all of it has a political axe to grind. The Facts are buried in there, but to find them you have to get past writers’ talk radio biases.
Why aren’t newspapers listed? Two reasons, near as I can guess. One is that the papers’ stories don’t get many inbound links, and fail at PageRank (which I presume plays a role at Google News). The other is that the stories are no longer there for the linking.
The crash happened near Akron. It also appears from an archive search that the Akron Beacon Journal had some plain-facts coverage of Connell’s plane crash,; but those are archived behind a paywall now. Not helpful. Searching the Cleveland Plain Dealer isn’t any help either.
Newspaper folks have a legitimate gripe against blogging: that it’s much more of a partisan op-ed practice than a reportorial one. (Hell, I’m op-eding right now.) But papers aren’t doing themselves any favors by continuing to hide one of their best weapons in the war against reader attrition: archives. Also called “morgues”, most of these deep and helpful resources are still “monetized” only by direct payment, and invisible to Google and other search engines.
Newspaper Archives/Indexes/Morgues is the Library of Congress’ listing of deep newspaper resources. The top item, U.S. News Archives on the Web, is maintained by the excellent Ibiblio.org, and details a depressing picture. Many papers are listed. “Cost” is a column heading, and many have entries such as “Searching is available to all for free, but only registered subscribers can retrieve articles” or “$2.95 per article with multiple-article pricing options available, articles published within the last seven days are available through the site’s search engine for free”. Many also say “free” (or the likes of “free registration is required to access the free archives”). But most still require registration, or are just plain lame.
But you can find some stuff. Here’s a first report on the Connell crash in the Kentucky Post. Cincinnati.com has this. There I found that Connell ran NewMedia Communications. Its index page (that last link) is now a memorial.
I’m not going to keep digging, because I have too much else to do. But my long-standing recommendation to papers still stands: open the archives. Stop giving away the news and charging for the olds. Leave bad money on the table and go for depth and relevance. Those are aces in your hand. And hell, sell advertising in the archives too. You’ll make far more money that way than by shaking down readers for $2.95 per item: a price that prevents far more demand than it satisfies.
Bonus link, just because Sheila’s first-rate as both a journalist and a blogger.
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