Location filming in L.A. down sharply in last 20 years

As more states offer their own film and TV production credits, fewer big budget productions are being shot in Hollywood:

The findings echo results of a recent Times report that found a 60% drop in the number of top grossing movies that shot in California in last 15 years. They are likely to add more ammunition to industry advocates who are pressing Sacramento to beef up California’s incentive program. […]

Unlike many other rivals, California’s film tax credit excludes movies with budgets greater than $75 million. The bulk of big budget movies flocked to Georgia, Louisiana and other states and countries, such as Britain and Canada that don’t have such restrictions.

What if Cincinnati’s I-71/MLK interchange was held to same standards as streetcar?

Chris Wetterich of the Cincinnati Business Courier asks why a new highway interchange on I-71 isn’t being held to the same standards as the Cincinnati Streetcar by Mayor John Cranley and several council members.

Just for fun, I’d also like to consider how the Enquirer would cover the interchange if they used the same tone as their streetcar coverage:

  • They’d print a bunch of letters to the editor claiming that the new interchange “doesn’t go anywhere.”
  • They would use pictures of Model T’s and other antique cars instead of modern automobiles (like they frequently use photos of vintage trolleys instead of modern light rail streetcars).
  • They’d constantly refer to the interchange as “proposed” (even after contracts are signed and construction is started).
  • Instead of just reporting the facts, they would get a bunch of quotes from supporters and opponents of the interchange in a massive display of false equivalence.
  • They will finally come out in support of the interchange–but they’ll endorse a mayoral candidate who runs on a pledge to kill the interchange after it’s already under construction.

See also: Localizing Operating Costs for Streetcar Sets Dangerous Precedent.

Cincinnati Enquirer: Finish the streetcar

Even the Enquirer thinks it would be fiscally irresponsible to cancel the Cincinnati Streetcar project, which is very much under construction:

But now 200 construction workers are digging up Downtown streets, and 1,800 feet of rails are already in the ground. […]

Project manager John Deatrick estimates it will cost another $34 million to $47 million, and take up to a year, to stop it. There are streetcars under construction, tracks to rip up, streets and curbs to restore. By city estimates, we could spend $67 million to $80 million and have nothing to show for it.

And suddenly, the Enquirer understands that the streetcar will make Cincinnati more competitive with its peer cities:

A low cost of living is no longer enough to spur growth; we must also offer modern infrastructure and amenities, especially to the millennials and baby boomers interested in urban living. […]

To attract those kinds of jobs and workers, 20 streetcar systems are under construction or planned in the U.S., in addition to around a dozen in operation. They are in places like Charlotte, N.C.; Milwaukee; Austin, Texas; and Minneapolis –– places we compete with for people and jobs.

I wish the Enquirer would have considered these arguments years ago, instead of publishing ridiculous articles about Barry Horstman power walking the streetcar route.

And finally, what does the Enquirer say about their endorsement of John Cranley, who, uhh, ran on a promise to kill the streetcar?

In endorsing Cranley, we said he would “have to rein in his dictatorial tendencies and discipline himself to be diplomatic, respectful and collaborative.” What we’ve seen so far is a matter for concern. Hurling insults at professionals like streetcar project manager John Deatrick isn’t what we need.

David Lowery on Pandora

David Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven claims Pandora listeners streamed his song 1 million times, yet he only made $16.89. As usual, Lowery’s writing style is a little sensational, but he makes a good point.

I’m not sure of what the solution is, but music fans should take note. Make sure to support bands you like by paying for their albums and seeing them live when they come to your town.

Edit (7/26): Michael Degusta fact-checked Lowery, and found that Pandora actually paid about $1,300 for those one million plays. It turns out that Lowery only mentioned his personal share of the songwriting royalties, and he ignored the $1,274 that Pandora spent on performance royalties. Terrestrial radio does not pay performance royalties at all.

Chicago Sun-Times will train reporters on ‘iPhone photography basics’

After letting go of its entire photo staff Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times plans to begin mandatory training on “iPhone photography basics.” Media writer Robert Feder referred to the training in a Facebook post, and quotes a memo from Editor Craig Newman: “In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need.”

Newspapers should be focusing on their strengths. They could be differentiating themselves from other media by doing investigative journalism and publishing quality photos alongside their stories.

Unfortunately, many newspapers have chosen to compete with blogs by publishing more frequent, less-researched stories and lower quality photos. If they’re having trouble selling subscriptions now, just wait until the quality of their content starts declining.

Why I left news

So here goes. This is the real reason why I left news: I finally came to accept that the vanity of a byline was keeping me in a job that left me physically and emotionally exhausted, yet supremely unsatisfied. […]

I took a pay cut when I moved back from Florida to Charleston, expecting to make up the difference quickly. Instead, I quit my newspaper job at 28, making less money than earned when I was 22.

U.S. Internet Users Pay More for Slower Service

In 2004, the [Lafayette, Louisiana] utilities system decided to provide a fiber-to-the-home [Internet] service. […]

From 2007 to mid-2011, people living in Lafayette saved $5.7 million on telecommunications services. […]

According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance […] these community-owned networks are generally faster, more reliable and cheaper than those of the private carriers, and provide better customer service. […]

In 2011, six Time Warner lobbyists persuaded the North Carolina legislature to pass a “level playing field” bill making it impossible for cities in that state to create their own high-speed Internet access networks.

Thanks, Time Warner Cable!

We’re living the dream; we just don’t realize it

The one positive social trend that did generate a significant amount of coverage — the extraordinary drop in the U.S. crime rate since the mid-’90s — seems to have been roundly ignored by the general public. The violent crime rate (crimes per thousand people) dropped from 51 to 15 between 1995 and 2010, truly one of the most inspiring stories of societal progress in our lifetime. And yet according to a series of Gallup polls conducted over the past 10 years, more than two-thirds of Americans believe that crime has been getting worse, year after year.

CBS’s David Poltrack touts new golden age of broadcast TV

Poltrack, who has been crunching numbers for CBS for decades, said new platforms such as digital streaming and video on demand are allowing the networks to increase their reach beyond the traditional television screen. The trick is getting accurate ratings for non-traditional viewers.

If that’s how they feel, then why are they the only major TV network that doesn’t allow streaming services like Hulu to access its full lineup of shows? CBS finally reached a deal with Hulu last month, but similar to the network’s deal with Netflix, it’s only for older shows like Star Trek, I Love Lucy, and The Twilight Zone.