The Ayatollah Khomeini was praised by the New York Times as a saint 30 years ago. That’s when Iran’s nightmare began.

Do the Democrats want to see Syria look like Iran? Women should be barefoot and in Burkas like they now do in Iran?

 

Flashback to 30 years ago to the fall of the Shah of Iran and his pro-Western government. France and America’s Democrat party let him go.

Ayatollah Khomeini was sending daily broadcasts to his Islamic followers while “in exile in Paris.” The French gave him free international phone services so he could continue his campaign to take over Iran. Soon after, movie theaters were burned down by the scores. They were “sinners”  according to Khomeini’s Islamic teachings.

In one horror, Islamic followers, locked the doors of a theater and burned over 500 Iranians alive. There were also killings of Christians and Jews by the Khomeini mobs.

A strange call from Washington DC came in for the Shah.  It was to be A CALL FROM SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY the leading liberal from the US, calling about human rights. It turned out to be some kind of elaborate hoax. When the Shah picked up the phone a quiet voice kept repeating “Mohammad abdicate, Mohammad, abdicate.”

Did Carter’s new CIA pull the prank?

Today. The Iranian people are fighting for their freedom and life and getting no support from the mainstream liberal media: the New York Times, Washington Post, SF Chronicle, LA Times, CNN, CBS, NBC, and America’s dominant political party, the Democrats. As they did 30 years ago the “elite liberal media”  are not reporting the crisis in Iran.

The are back on the same playbook  that  Jimmy Carter and the Democrats used in 1978 when they sainted the Ayatollah.

In fact, the NY Times described Khomeini as tolerant and “his entourage of close advisers is uniformly composed of moderate, progressive individuals.” The editorials went on to say Khomeini would provide “a desperately needed model of humane governance for a third-world country. Andrew Young went even further saying Khomeini would be hailed as a saint. Jimmy Carter let the former friend of the West, the Shah fall. Soon after, their were mass murders of the Shah’s government and Americans on assignment in IT and in the oil fields. One afternoon, George Link, an Exxon general manager working in Iran was being driven back to work after lunch when his driver stopped the car and got out to open a gate, an assailant leaped from the side of the road and tossed a bomb in the car. Link threw open his door and jumped out. A moment later the car exploded. Evacuations of Americans started soon after, but not soon enough.

Tensions wer running high and Paul Grimm, on loan from Texaco to try and get the Iranian oil companies back up was driving to work one morning when a shot was fired from a car following his. He died instantly.

After more bloodshed the Shah’s kingdom decided to evacuate all it’s Western employees. The expatriates assumed that their exit was only temporarty because the media was not reporting the violence. They would never return.

Within a month, Khomeini was on a chartered Air France 747, the extra seats on the flight were sold to the New York Times, Washington Post, the BBC and other European journalists to pay for the flight. 

Khomeini was resting in the first class cabin about to become the new ruler after  the Persepolis monarchy that had ruled since 330 BC.

Soon after Khomeini returned he set up his candidate to lead the new Iran. A puppet named Bazargan.

There were still 20 or so oilfield managers left, among the group was Jeremy Gilbert, an Irish mathematician who became a petroleum engineer  for BP. They remained only a few days before they realized this country was a nightmare. Gilbert was the last BP man left because he was in a hospital with a case of hepatitis. He was nearly killed there when nurses started chanting “Death to Americans” and a fellow patient beat him nearly to death.

The old regime of 2000 years in Iran was gone. Ironically, Iranians are not Arabs. Now they were ruled by an Islamic sect of Arab tyrants.

The Ayatollah now had millions of fanatical puppets killing off the middle class Iranians and ready and willing to die for their mullahs. Some of the stories were told, of the 50 American hostages captured by “students,” beaten and tortured as crowds chanted their favorite new “prayer” “Death to Americans!”

What the media didn’t tell you about was the “Death to Iranians” that carried on well into the ’80s.

The next two years brought untold terror to the world. Iraq, watching the internal blood bath and purge in Iran took advantage of the chaos and attacked their refineries and oil production cities. With the Shah dying of cancer, Jimmy Carter finally let him visit the US for medical treatment, but not stay beyond that. Some friend?

Egypt let the Shah spend his last months alive on their soil.

Meanwhile, Hussein ordered an all out war against Iran with legions of armies amassed on their shared border.

To the shock of the world, thousands of Iranian children with plastic keys to heaven around their necks ran ahead of the more important Iraqi tanks and soldiers, they were even dragging their coffins with them. The Ayatollah promised them heaven for their lives. They even used the young girls for finding land mines. Human mind sweepers.

Goats are more valuable to the mullahs. Mull that one over.

I wonder if the Iranians ever wonder why the Ayatollahs live to their 90s while they send 9-year-olds to death as human shields? Don’t the mullahs want to go to heaven? To their perfume gardens with all those virgins?

A lot more than sign waving has to go on to bring freedom to that poor country.

And now you see where this all started.

And you aren’t reading it in the newspapers in America. Their monopoly on rewriting history is over.

Iraq has it’s new freedom thanks to America’s other party, the Republicans.

Obama took two weeks to say anything about the Iranian protests and killings by the Islamic tyrants.

The media/Democrat party alliance is not reporting the side of the protesters. But TWITTER is. The day of citizen journalists has arrived.

Visit TWITTER. Sign up for a free account and search for #iranelections. Join the effort to free Iran.

This is a great source of citzen journalist sites: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=List_of_citizen_journalism_websites

Investment guru Warren Buffett’s outlook on newspapers is dismal

In fact, Warren Buffett has said don’t buy newspaper stock at any price. The days of the monopoly newspapers huge readership and advertising revenue are long gone.

What happened? Take a look at this modest blog’s stats: The 7-day traffic average is now passing hundreds of thousands of hits.  The majority are college graduates and in their peek buying years ages 25-55.
I predict the Boston Globe will go online with just a Friday/Sunday printed and delivered paper. 

Citizen Journalism gains status at the Washington Times, meanwhile more big cuts at the big publishers

The Washington Times promotes the  return of citizen journalism. 

 

Now this is what is called freedom of speech. Is this freedom the result of reality shows and especially America Idol? After all, rank amateurs turn out to be very good singers. 

At the same time, the cuts and shutdowns continue.

The Chicago Tribune plans to cut another 20% of its newsroom staff in yet another bid to reduce expenses amid continuing advertising declines.

Staffers were told of the impending layoffs last week, according to three people who attended a meeting on the topic. The cuts will take place over the next several weeks, the sources said.

The expected cuts are the latest attempt to reduce expenses at the paper, whose parent Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in December.

The Washington Times’ news gathering is about to become a whole lot bigger as the newspaper launches one full print page per day of news stories reported and written by average citizens in local communities. The citizen journalism project, set to debut Monday,(today) is a new take on a traditional idea.

Community-driven news has been a long mainstay in American newspapers. The Times’ version ramps up the intensity and the outreach, focusing on six communities within the larger Washington area: academia on Monday, the Maryland and Virginia suburbs on Tuesday, the District on Wednesday, local military bases on Thursday, faith communities on Friday and the charitable and the public service community on Sunday. The citizen journalists’ work will be showcased in the A-section as an additional page of Metro coverage and will provide a natural complement to the work of the newspaper’s reporters and editors. “We know there are many issues and communities we have not been able to fully cover within the confines of a newsroom budget, and we are excited to empower citizens within those communities to provide us news that will interest all our readers, ” Executive Editor John Solomon said. “While we are expanding our reach through this project, we will not be diminishing our editorial quality. Citizen stories must meet the same rigorous standards for accuracy, precision, fairness, balance and ethics as those written by our newsroom staff,” Mr. Solomon said. Each citizen journalist is provided a set of rules for their reporting and newswriting, as well as copies of The Times’ policies governing ethics, anonymous sources and other journalistic standards. While the project calls for some first-rate news wranglers, The Times also is tapping into some of its own editorial talent known for its savvy – and heart. Former Editorial Page Editor Deborah Simmons, a veteran newswoman with close ties to the local community, is supervising the coverage for the District, the suburbs, academia, faith and the charitable communities. Longtime Times columnist Adrienne Washington, a staple on local TV and radio, also will be a part of the outreach and the editing. “Deb and Adrienne are pillars within the Washington community and their journalistic prowess, community ties and passion for news are perfectly suited for this project,” Mr. Solomon said. “This is a groundbreaking project, and I’m excited to be on the launching pad. Readers know our bylines. Now we’re flipping the script.” Grace Vuoto, editor of The Times’ new Web property BaseNews.com, will edit the Thursday citizen journalism page on military base news. “Grace is leading the way in providing citizen reports from every military base in the world through BaseNews.com, and the Thursday page is an ideal extension,” Mr. Solomon said. The idea of community journalism in a print format is actually a new take on an old tradition, said Al Tomkins, a media analyst with the Poynter Institute. “Rural and county newspapers, community weeklies – they always had space devoted to the community news, written by someone local. That kind of coverage was and still is incredibly popular,” Mr. Tomkins said. “It takes its inspiration from a simpler time. But it remains an effective way to give a voice to the voiceless.” The new citizen journalism page is one of several changes launched in the past few weeks in The Times’ print edition. By Jennifer Harper | Monday, April 13, 2009

Will the rabble be able to follow the AP stylebook? (I know that is going through many of the “professionals’ minds.”

New York ABC radio newsman George Weber was a gay pedophile, killed by his boy date. Sanchez, the gay pedophile train engineer was texting teenage boys seconds before he crashed and killed 25 people in LA

The mainstream news has been filtering the news and making everything nice and PC for the dumbed down readers. They only report what fits the “progressive” agenda. 

With the rise of blogs, the truth can now be reported. Did you know that the longtime New York radio newsman was paying teenage runaways for gay sex? George Weber was found stabbed to death in his Brooklyn apartment Sunday morning, cops said. Now we find he was accidently killed by a troubled teen, paid to have rough gay sex with the radio newsman. 

The bloody body of Weber, a passionate liberal fan of the city who spent a decade doing local news on WABC morning radio, was found just after 9 a.m. when he didn’t show up for work. It can now be told that Weber, an outspoken Democrat, was a gay pedophile. He was a chicken hawk who paid teenage boys, often runaways money for sex. A boy who just turned 16 accidently killed Weber during a session of “rough” gay sex.

Weber, 47, was freelancing at ABC’s national radio network after being laid off last year.

 

What kind of books or DVDs did Mr. Sanchez have in his home? Doesn’t the media look into these things? Oh, wait, Sanchez was a gay pedophile Democrat, not a Christian Republican.

The first results of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation are in. Surprising no one, it’s now confirmed that train driver Robert Sanchez was sending text messages moments before crashing a train full of people into an oncoming freight train, killing 25 people. His last text message was sent 22 seconds before the two trains collided. Sanchez was an outspoken Democrat and Obama reporter with a keen interest in teenage boys.

While we’ll likely will never be able to definitively say one way or the other due to the lack of eyewitnesses, those 58 seconds between received message and sent message are likely the reason why Sanchez missed the “red lights” on the track as the freight train approached. Shouldn’t we know what Sanchez was texting? What if it was something like “the brakes don’t work well?”

The cellular network clock and the train’s onboard computer clock are almost certainly set slightly differently, so the final, incoming text message may have arrived somewhat earlier or later than 22 seconds before the crash. If the timestamps are reconciled exactly, the NTSB could then use information about the speed and location of the train to determine exactly where Sanchez’s train was when he took his eyes off the track ahead and whether that is what likely caused him to miss the signals. The content of the message is important, also. If it was a urgent warning, rather than just a friendly “HOW R U?” Sanchez shouldn’t have had to rush back with an answer. Was he having text sex games with the teenage boy?

Why didn’t you read about this in the LA Times or San Francisco Chronicle? How about this?

There is a dark side to the tragedy

Sanchez’s “partner,” Daniel Burton, allegedly hanged himself in the garage of the home they shared in Crestline, a community in the San Bernardino Mountains about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

Burton’s sister, Carolann Peschell, said she suspected foul play and never believed her 39-year-old brother, who was HIV-positive, would have killed himself. He had found a job at a gourmet restaurant and sounded well when she spoke to him two weeks before his unusual death.

“He was doing fine; he was happy, no signs of depression,” Peschell said. “We didn’t feel my brother was capable of doing this to himself.” He was a gentle man and hanging is a brutal way to kill yourself.

Peschell, who described Sanchez as “very odd, very strange, and obese” said her suspicions were not investigated throughly by San Bernardino County sheriff’s investigators.

A coroner’s report said the two men had argued the night before Burton’s body was found; Sanchez had told Burton they should break up. That would draw attention by a professional CSI team.

Peschell kept her brother’s purported suicide note, which read: “Rob, Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you. Please take care of yourself and Ignatia. I love you both very much.” Ignatia was their dog.

From KFI radio, the John and Ken Show, Los Angeles

Newsman Eric Leonard reported on KFI radio (3:15 PT today) that the driver in the LA Metrolink crash last week, Robert M. Sanchez, is suspected of having killed his male lover 5 years ago. Leonard reports that the that the family of the lover, Daniel Charles Burton, has always believed that Sanchez killed Burton. The Burtons tried to get the police to investigate their son’s death as a murder to no avail. The death appeared to be a suicide, but the family has handwriting experts who say that the handwriting on the suicide note was not Burton’s. The family also told the police that Burton was HIV positive and that he and Sanchez had a fight right before the “suicide.” More recently, the Burtons called Metrolink to warn them that Sanchez was unstable.

Eric Leonard also reports that “it looks clear from [Metrolink’s] review of the [train] controls, that Sanchez did actually apply some speed controls within seconds of the crash but never braked.”

Would Sanchez have lost his home? That could be a motive. Was Sanchez a chicken hawk preoccupied with teen texting? He was arrested and plead guilty to theft of expensive electronic gaming equipment. And on Sept. 2 his train killed a pedestrian. Was Sanchez texting then too?

Newspaper editors purged MBAs from management years ago

Newspapers have not been blessed with the best and the brightest managers. Why? The executive editors sabotage real management and have purged MBAs from their ranks. Kill off the competition.

This is from the WSJ Deal Journal column, a Q&A with Mr. Knee, a highly respected  investment consultant

DJ: What would be your advice to newspaper owners?
Knee: You have seen people outsource everything from printing to editorial and indeed, any kind of journalism where your scale in the local community does not provide you with an advantage should be gotten elsewhere. If you find out how many people the large papers sent to the national conventions, you would wonder whether that’s economically justified. You have to focus on your competitive advantage, which is local. When the smoke clears, the local newspaper, which may not be the sexiest part of the newspaper industry but is overwhelmingly the largest and most profitable part of the industry, will be a smaller and more-focused enterprise whose activities will be directed to those areas where their local presence gives them competitive advantage and they will continue to generate as a result better profits than the supersexy businesses in the media industry asking for government or nonprofit help like movies and music.

The newspaper industry has not been blessed with the best managers, and generations of monopoly profits do dull the senses. On the journalism side, I think many managers would rather have avoided a fight with journalists than actually force them to think harder about what their readers want, rather than what they want their readers to want. In the economic environment we’re in, newspapers can’t afford to do every six-part investigative series they could have done before.

Meanwhile, the rank and file newspaper reporters who were busy covering their beats, don’t make much compared to the executive editors. 

Moma don’t let you’re kids grow up to be newspaper reporters. Have them study business, engineering, law or sales, even bar tending would earn them a better living. The executive editors who scratched their way to the top make big bucks for a while, until the host dies from bad management anyway. 

Ever wonder what kind of money the nation’s top newspapers pay their best journalsits? The top rung of the latter is set by the Newspaper Guild. Once you’ve lasted five or six years after about four years at a small daily and tuition of at least $20,000 a year at a respected J-school, this is it.

New York Times pays the most, $1,675.28 a week after two years. But that’s where it stays fixed until the next Guild negotiations. Of course, New York City has the highest cost of living expenses in the U.S.

Reuters pays $1,587.93 a week after six years.

The San Francisco Chronicle pays $1202.24 a week for six years of journalist experience. I know that is top for the Guild scale, but many of the hard workers, who put in more than 38 hours a week get additional pay above scale.

Consumer Reports takes the No. 1 position with $1,80410 a week scale after four years of experience. The union-biased “non-profit” magazine pays more that the New York Times or San Francisco Chronicle for their pro-union advertorial reports on products.

Can new online newspapers chage for its content? Jeff Jarvis of the LA Times says “No!” And he explains himself very well:


How’s that for a direct answer? Every rule has its exceptions — this one only a few: The Wall Street Journal (paid by expense accounts), Consumer Reports (which serves reviews, not news), iTunes (we may play a unique performance over and over, but I don’t read even my articles more than once) and porn (which is suffering the same problem newspapers are thanks to free competition from, uh, amateurs). But the rule of the new, post-scarcity economy is clear: Charging for news online is dangerous folly. Why? Let me count the reasons if not the dollars:

Once news is known, that knowledge is a commodity and it doesn’t matter who first reported it. There’s no fencing off information, especially today, when the conversation that spreads it moves at the speed of links.

There will be no limit to competitors. Readers, like water, will follow the path of least inconvenience. It’s impossible to compete against free. Have papers learned nothing from Craigslist?

In the old-content economy, one could make much money selling many copies of a product. In today’s link economy online, we need only one copy, and it is the links to it that give it value. So rather than complaining that Google should pay them for aggregating their headlines, news organizations should be grateful that Google does not charge for the links it gives and the readers it sends. Indeed, we should be spending our effort figuring out how to get more links to original reporting to support it.

Putting your content behind a wall cuts it off from the conversation and robs it of influence. Just ask New York Times columnists how much they disliked the pay wall the paper finally demolished.

Not all newspapers are going bankrupt. Many, in small monopoly markets are among the most profitable businesses in America with profit margins much higher than oil companies, Apple, EBay, Cisco, Sprint, AT&T, Google or Microsoft.  Gannett has the lion’s share of these markets. And also the highest ratio of MBAs in the media business. 

Major city newspapers will go nonprofit to keep influence

Major cities such as San Francisco, Washington D.C., LA, Chicago, New York, Houston and Philadelphia may convert the serviving newspapers into nonprofits to keep their political and philanthropic status. 

The San Francisco Chronicle will be the first to test the entity. 

San Francisco investment banker Warren Hellman and other prominent SF  lawyers and investors made an informal proposal  last week to Hearst, owners of the San Francisco Chronicle about helping the troubled daily paper become a nonprofit, San Francisco attorney Bill Coblentz told the SF Business Times.

Hellman and Coblentz discussed the idea, then Coblentz conveyed it to former San Francisco Examiner editor and publisher William R. Hearst III, who is a Hearst Corp. director and an affiliated partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. William is one of the working Hearsts who lives in the Bay Area and keeps touch with The Chronicle on a daily basis. It’s unofficially the Hearst flagship, though in money making ability, their Houston Chronicle is by far the financial headquarters. 

“What happened after that, I don’t know,” said Coblentz, who is out of town.

The proposal would be for a nonprofit corporation “to take over the Chronicle,” with Hearst Corp. continuing to provide some philanthropic support, Coblentz said. Details remain sketchy. It’s unclear if the proposal is being seriously considered.

 

Editorial-wise they are already PBS in print, aren’t they? 

 

Chronicle’s chronic losses lead to major cuts at the Bay Area’s largest newspaper — papers coast-to-coast cutting staff

The San Francisco Chronicle ready for some major “right sizing.”

After some more streamlining in addition to a new printing process off site, the largest newspaper in Northern California should begin to be profitable again.  

In a posted statement, Hearst said if the savings cannot be accomplished “quickly” the company will seek a buyer, and if none comes forward, it will close the Chronicle. The Chronicle lost more than $50 million in 2008 and is on a pace to lose more than that this year, Hearst said.

Frank J. Vega, chairman and publisher of the Chronicle, said, “It’s just a fact of life that we need to live within our means as a newspaper – and we have not for years.”

Vega said plans remain on track for the June 29 transition to new presses owned and operated by Canadian-based Transcontinental Inc., which will give the Chronicle industry-leading color reproduction. That move will save a few million annually due to the reduction of highly paid pressmen.

If the reductions can be accomplished, Vega said, “We are optimistic that we can emerge from this tough cycle with a healthy and vibrant Chronicle.”

The company did not specify the size of the staff reductions or the nature of the other cost-savings measures it has in mind. The company said it will immediately seek discussions with the Northern California Media Workers Guild, Local 39521, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853, which represent the majority of workers at the Chronicle.

“Because of the sea change newspapers everywhere are undergoing and these dire economic times, it is essential that our management and the local union leadership work together to implement the changes necessary to bring the cost of producing the Chronicle into line with available revenue,” Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Hearst vice chairman and chief executive, and Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers, said in a joint statement.

From the Newsosaur:

SF Chron cost-cut target equals 47% of staff

If the San Francisco Chronicle had to slash enough payroll to offset the more than $50 million operating loss threatening its future, nearly half of its 1,500 employees would be dismissed.

That’s the magnitude of the challenge facing the managers and union representatives who were tasked today by Hearst Corp. to find a way to cut the paper’s mushrooming deficit – or else.

After losing more than $1 billion without seeing a dime of profit since purchasing the paper in 2000, the Hearst Corp. today threatened to sell or close the Chronicle if sufficient savings were not identified to staunch operating losses surpassing $1 million a week. Without significant cost reductions, the losses would accelerate this year as a result of the ailing economy, said Michael Keith, a spokesman for the paper.

To wipe out a $50 million loss, let alone make a profit, the paper would have to eliminate 47% of its entire staff

Meanwhile, on the East Coast:

The latest Hartford Courant (former Times-Mirror newspaper) layoffs were announced last night – political reporter Mark Pazniokas is among those cut from the newspaper. We’ve been told these names as well – please correct us if we have anything wrong: Jesse Hamilton of the Washington bureau,  Religion Reporter Elizabeth Hamilton, Business Reporter Robin Stansbury, Environment Reporter David Funkhouser, reporters  Steve Grant and Anna Marie Somma, sportswriter Matt Eagan,  itowns editor Loretta Waldman, itowns reporter Nancy Lastrina, administrative assistant Judy Prato, Marge Ruschau, Features copy editors Adele Angle and David Wakefield, and library staffer & researcher Owen Walker.

We’re told that editor/reporter Kate Farrish resigned earlier this week as did editor John Ferraro.

Denis Horgan is calling it the Mardi Gras Massacre.

Paul Bass has more in the New Haven Independent.

Now, back to Texas:

Memo from San Antonio Express-News’ editor

From: Rivard, Robert
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:44 AM
To: SAEN Editorial
Subject: We are canceling this morning’s news meeting for obvious reasons.

Colleagues:

By now you have read Tom Stephenson’s message to all employees. Every division of the Express-News will be affected, including every department in the newsroom. Incremental staff and budget cuts, we are sorry to say, have proven inadequate amid changing social and market forces now compounded by this deepening recession.

It is not lost on us as journalists in this difficult moment that we have built an audience of readers, in print and online, that is larger and more diverse than at any time in our century and half of publishing. We have done that at the Express-News through a commitment to excellence and public service. Now we must find ways to maintain these high levels of journalistic distinction even as valued colleagues depart. It is an unfortunate but undeniable fact that declining advertising revenues are insufficient to support our operations at current levels. At the same time, more and more people have become accustomed to reading us at no cost on the Internet. As a result, we are reducing the newsroom staff by some 75 positions, counting layoffs and open positions we are eliminating.

As a first step to securing our future and continuing to serve the community, we are undergoing a fundamental and painful restructuring of the newsroom staff. We will have fewer departments and fewer managers, and yes, fewer of every class of journalist. After we reorganize and consolidate additional operations with the Houston Chronicle, we will then turn to finding new ways to create and present the journalism we know is vital to the city and the region. There is every indication the community we serve recognizes our importance and wants the Express-News to succeed.

The newsroom leadership team will begin now to meet with individuals whose jobs are being eliminated. Brett Thacker and I are working with these editors to carry out such notifications as swiftly and humanely as possible. No one is being asked to leave the Express-News today unless you so choose. March 20 will be the final day for those whose jobs are being cut, at which time they will then receive involuntary separation packages that include two weeks’ pay for each year of service up to one year’s pay, along with other benefits. Some production journalists involved in the consolidation project with the Houston Chronicle will be asked to stay on until that project is completed in the coming months. Those who do stay until the completion will receive their separation packages at that time.

We have worked to preserve the size and depth of our newsroom in every imaginable way these past months and years, but events beyond our control have overwhelmed those efforts. Newsrooms become like families, but companies in every industry reach a point where they face fundamental, sometimes harsh change in order to preserve their viability. We are at that point. Most of you read yesterday’s news regarding the San Francisco Chronicle and recently became aware of pending staff cuts at the Houston Chronicle. Our intention is to get through these difficult days and work to remain an indispensible source of news and information through the recession and beyond.

Hearst purchased the Chronicle in 2000, but soon afterward felt the impact of an economic downturn in the dot.com sector as well as the loss of classified advertising to Craigslist and other online sites. The problems have been exacerbated by the current recession.

In the news release, the privately-held, New York-based company said that the Chronicle has had “major losses” since 2001.

Back on the West Coast, there is no safe haven.

Sacramento Guild bracing for job cuts

Woe is us, McClatchy warns

Media Workers Guild – 12 Feb 2009

Sacramento Bee employees should expect a serious wave of layoffs in early March, as well as other cost-cutting measures now being considered, including wage cuts and mandatory furloughs as McClatchy Newspapers’ financial crisis worsens, company representatives told the Guild’s bargaining committee in a 90-minute session Thursday.

Mercury Bargaining Bulletin 9

 

Mercury News wants $1.5 million cut from wages and benefits

 

California Media Workers Guild – 10 Feb 2009

Mercury News negotiators said Tuesday they need to find $1.5 million by cutting wages and benefits paid to Guild members annually in the face of the economic woes facing the company. The company’s announcement came at a bargaining session Tuesday that kicked off an effort by management and the Guild to expedite the process of reaching a new contract to replace the one that expired October 31.

“Given the losses the Chronicle continues to sustain, the time to implement these changes cannot be long. These changes are designed to give the Chronicle the best possible chance to survive this economic downturn and continue to serve the people of the Bay Area with distinction, as it has since 1865,” Bennack and Swartz said in their statement.

“Survival is the outcome we all want to achieve,” they added. “But without specific changes we are seeking across the entire Chronicle organization, we will have no choice but to quickly seek a buyer for the Chronicle, and, should a buyer not be found, to shut down the newspaper.”

The Hearst statement further said that cost reductions are part of a broader effort to restore the Chronicle to financial health. At the beginning of the year, the Chronicle raised its prices for home delivery and single-copy purchases.

Hearst owns 15 other newspapers including the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio News-Express and the Albany Times-Union in New York . Hearst announced Jan. 9 that in March that if a buyer is not found it will close Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which has lost money since 2000.

Vega said readers and advertisers will see no difference in the Chronicle during the discussions with the unions.

“Even with the reduction in workforce, our goal will be to retain our essential and well-read content,” Vega said. “We will continue to produce the very best newspaper for our readers and preserve one of San Francisco ‘s oldest and most important institutions.”

The Chronicle, the Bay Area’s largest and oldest newspaper, is read by more than 1.6 million people weekly. It also operates SFGate, among the nation’s 10 largest news Web sites. SFGate depends on the Chronicle’s print news staff for much its content.

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to 21 daily newspapers covering an 11-county area.

The Chronicle’s news staff of about 275, even after a series of reductions in recent years, is the largest of any newspaper in the Bay Area.

“While the reductions are an unfortunate sign of the times, the news staff has always been resilient in San Francisco ,” said Ward Bushee, editor and executive vice president. “We remain fully dedicated toward serving our readers with an outstanding newspaper. We are playing to win.”

The area’s other leading newspapers – the Bay Area Media News Group that includes the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune – also have seen revenues decline sharply and cut staff.

These problems are a reflection of those faced by newspapers across America as they experience fundamental changes in their business model brought on by rapid growth in readership on free internet sites, a decline in paid circulation, the erosion of advertising and rising costs.

Advertising traditionally has offset the cost of producing and delivering a newspaper, which allowed publishers to charge readers substantially less than the actual cost of doing business. The loss of advertising has undermined that pricing model.

In the case of the Chronicle, Vega said the expense of producing and delivering the newspaper to a seven-day subscriber is more than double the $7.75 weekly cost to subscribe.

At the beginning of the year, in an effort to evolve its business model and offset its substantial losses, the Chronicle raised its subscription and newsstand prices, taking a cue from European papers that charge far more than their American counterparts.

“We know that people in this community care deeply about the Chronicle,” Vega said. “In today’s world, the Chronicle is still very inexpensive. This is a critical time and we deeply hope our readers will stick with us.”

The challenge the Chronicle faces, Vega said, is to bring its revenues from advertising and circulation into balance with its expenses so that the newspaper can at least break even financially.

“We are asking our unions to work with us as partners in making these difficult cost-cutting decisions and reduction in force to ensure the newspaper survives,” Vega said.

Michael Savage will have some candid comments on the layoffs. What about the content of the Chronicle’s “news?”

The union reps “negotiate” their fate:

Cost-Cutting Talks Begin – 

Guild leaders met with representatives from The Chronicle and Hearst Corp. this morning to discuss the company’s cost-cutting proposal.

We opened the meeting by underscoring our commitment to our membership and the community to do all we can to reach an agreement that will keep The Chronicle open and return it to profitability.

The company seeks a combination of wide-ranging contractual concessions in addition to layoffs, the exact number of which the company said it did not yet have. For Guild-covered positions, the company did say the job cuts would at least number 50. Other proposals include removal of some advertising sales people from Guild coverage and protection, the right to outsource — specifically mentioning Ad Production — voluntary buyouts, layoffs and wage freezes. 

We plan to closely analyze this proposal over the next few days and explore every possible alternative. Meetings will be held to discuss details with members of the bargaining unit. An informational membership meeting will be held from 5-7 p.m.tonight (Tuesday Feb. 25) at the Guild office, 3rd floor conference room.

Management reiterated its commitment to keeping The Chronicle open and to working with the Guild to secure a viable future. Despite the difficult economic environment, we are confident that by working together we can find solutions to any problems that confront us.

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact your shop steward or e-mail Unit Chair Michelle Devera, Local President Mike Cabanatuan or Unit Secretary Alissa Van Cleave.

In solidarity,

Michelle Devera, Chronicle Unit chair, michelleatsfchronunit@gmail.com
Michael Cabanatuan, Local President, ctuan@aol.com
Alissa Van Cleave, Chronicle Unit secretary, vancelave44@hotmail.com
Wally Greenwell, Chronicle Unit vice chair
Gloria La Riva, president, Typographical Sector
Carl Hall, Local Representative