Obama girls at school, Cerberus bailed out, and newspaper websites less annoying

January 5, 2009

Baratunde Thurston returns (triumphantly) to Jack & Jill Politics with a post linking to his new article on Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast, “The Obama Girls’ First Day of School”.

Dear President-elect and Mrs. Obama,

You’ve been there. Princeton. Columbia. Harvard Law. The white-shoe law firm of Sidley Austin. The US Senate. You know what it’s like to be that raisin in the milk, the rare black face at an elite institution.

As your daughters come of age at the top prep school in our nation’s capital, they will likely face the same raisin-in-the-milk trials and awkwardness with which you are likely familiar and I most certainly am; I attended the same school, Sidwell Friends, for six years, graduating in 1995.

There are some important differences between my Sidwell experience and what your daughters will face, of course.

At Teresacentric, Andrew Sparrow posts two entries in a row on the auto industry bailout,
I Want A Bailout Too and Let’s Give Cerberus Money. He’s not a fan.

Cerberus Capital Management is the majority shareholder in both GMAC and Chysler. Despite, owning 80% of Chrysler and 51% of GMAC, Cerebrus, which has holdings worth $24 billion, has refused to inject their own capital into the failing companies, opting instead to lobby for government bailouts. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, since the chairman of Cerberus is John Snow, George W. Bush’s former Treasury Secretary.

Meanwhile, the “Teresa” in Teresacentric has a new “Angels and Scrooges”  episode of her Wilshire & Washington podcast up.

Zachary Seward of the Nieman Journalism Lab writes about a survey by the Bivings Group that reveals trends in online newspaper websites. For example, the number of newspapers that required readers to register in order to access online content dropped from 29 in 2007 to 11 in 2008.

Registration can be useful in customizing websites and collecting data for advertisers, but users mostly just find it annoying. Newspaper sites once embraced the technique, and registration actually rose from 23 of the top 100 in 2006 to 29 in 2007, according to Bivings. That trend appears to have completely reversed itself.

However, only one of the top 100 newspaper websites runs ads in its RSS feed.