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. 

Natasha Richardson dies, victim of Canadian nationalized health care?

Sadly, Natasha Richardson died after her simple ski accident on a “bunny hill” in Canada. After spending a day in a Canadian hospital with only observations, she was rushed to a well-equipped New York hospital where it was discovered the 45 year old was brain dead. 

People Natasha Richardson

Why wasn’t there a scan and X-ray? The normal procedures in a head trauma. The blood could have been drained and prevented her death. That is a snapshot of what socialized health-care is about. Basic services. Get to a U.S. hospital as soon as possible. 

Helmets will become much more popular on the slopes. Nationalized healthcare will still be on Obama’s agenda. The media will not go there.

But of course, citizen journalists will.

Here are some facts that you may never see in your “friendly neighborhood media” —

Despite spending more on health care than any other industrialized country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) except Iceland and Switzerland, Canada ranks poorly in several categories according to a new study by the Fraser Institute. 

For instance:

  • Canada ranks 17th in the percentage of total life expectancy that will be lived in full health.
  • It also ranks 22nd in infant mortality, 15th in perinatal mortality and fourth in mortality amenable to health care.
  • Other rankings for Canada included 9th in potential years of life lost to disease, 10th in the incidence of breast cancer mortality and 2nd in the incidence of mortality from colorectal cancer.

Further:

  • On an age-adjusted, comparative basis, Canada, relative to comparable countries of the OECD, has a small number of physicians, ranking 24th out of 28 countries.
  • Notably, Canada had the second-highest ratio among 20 OECD countries for which data were available in 1970.
  • Since 1970, however, all but one of these countries have surpassed Canada’s growth in doctors per capita.
  • While the age-adjusted proportion of doctors in Canada grew by 24 percent, the average increase in the proportion of doctors in the other 19 countries was 149 percent.

With regard to age-adjusted access to high-tech machinery, Canada performs dismally by comparison with other OECD countries:

  • Canada ranks 13th of 24 in access to MRIs and 18th in access to CT scanners.
  • It also ranked 7th of 17 in access to mammographs, and tied with two other nations at 17th of 20 in access to lithotriptors.

Lack of access to machines also means longer waiting times for diagnostic assessment, and mirrors the longer waiting times for access to specialists and to treatment found in the comparative studies examined for this study.

Source: “The Fraser Institute: High-Priced Canadian Health Care System Provides Poor Access to Care Compared to Other Nations,” Fraser Institute,” November 5, 2007.

For study:

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/COMMERCE.WEB/product_files/HowGoodHC2007.pdf

Anna Nicole Smith Is Dead at 39. Two years later, justice.

By Mick Gregory

Killer good looks. Now her doctors and former lawyer and “boyfriend” charged with criminal intent. Finally, justice may come to punish the monsters behind Anna’s death.

Howard K. Stern, her lawyer-turned-confidant, and Drs. Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich were charged in an 11-count felony complaint on Thursday, including conspiracy, unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance and prescribing, administering or dispensing a controlled substance to an addict.

“These individuals repeatedly and excessively furnished thousands of prescription pills to Anna Nicole Smith, often for no legitimate medical purpose,” California Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a statement. His office is expected to release more details about the case at a news conference Friday.

Anna Nicole’s fame and tragic end were all thanks to the mass media, and perhaps her fantasy of becoming Marilyn Monroe (another victim of mass media). Print and TV sold copies and advertising off her life. The tabloids especially made a lot of money off of her dramatic ups and downs. You can’t help but feel pity for her.

The Houston blonde bombshell, Anna Nicole Smith died in Hollywood, Florida this afternoon at the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino. The former model and Playboy Playmate collapsed at the South Florida casino and couldn’t be revived.
anna.jpg

pantsuit1.jpgA tragic ending to a People Magazine life. The past year she experienced the birth of her daughter and death of her son. She was 39 years old. Anna Nicole Smith used her good looks to leap from trailer park trash to super stardom.
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The media chased her around, like Princess Diana. It’s very similar to what the San Francisco Chronicle is trying to do to Barry Bonds. Some reporters even made money on a book written from illegal grand jury testimony. But Bonds has much more self control, talent and intelligence than Anna Nicole. He understands the way the media works. He hasn’t given interviews in a decade. His grand jury testimony has his statements made under oath, that he never knowingly took illegal steroid drugs.
And he’s about to be the all-time home run king.

Ask yourself this, which is harming and killing more young people? Bulimia and diet pills that girls take to just try and fit the model look? Or performance enhancing herbal remedies and vitamins that athletes may use to heal injuries and extend their careers?

Why isn’t the Chronicle looking into Nancy Pelosi’s carbon footprint? Or her hiring of non-union, illegal workers? Or, why not look at the monopoly that Shorenstien has on parking fees and downtown office space?

What do you think?

Rocky Mountain News publishes final edition Friday

Poynteronline.org holds a podcast/blog later today on “Is it time to exit newspaper journalism?” What do you think they will say? 
Here is the final edition. It has a sad, final edition look to it. http://eatthedarkness.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/rip-rocky/

 

Executives from E.W. Scripps Co., announce their decision on the future of the Rocky Mountain News in the 150-year-old newspaper's newsroom on 2/26/09 in Denver. In December 2008, the Rocky's parent company put the paper up for sale, citing multi-million dollar annual losses.   

Executives from  Scripps, announce their decision on the future of the Rocky Mountain News in the 150-year-old newspaper’s newsroom on 2/26/09 in Denver. In December 2008, the Rocky’s parent company put the paper up for sale, citing multi-million dollar annual losses. No offers were made. Nobody was that slow on the uptake on the future of newspapers.

Rich Boehne, CEO of E.W. Scripps Co., announce their decision to close the Rocky Mountain News in the 150-year-old newspaper's newsroom on 2/26/09 in Denver. In December 2008, the Rocky's parent company put the paper up for sale, citing multi-million dollar annual losses.   

 

 

A man stops to read the ticker on the outside of the Denver Newspaper  Agency building announcing that the Rocky Mountain News is closing and that it will publish its last edition on Friday. Photograph taken in Denver Thurs. Feb 26, 2009.   

Photo by Darin McGregor © The Rocky

A man stops to read the ticker on the outside of the Denver Newspaper Agency building announcing that the Rocky Mountain News is closing and that it will publish its last edition on Friday. Photograph taken in Denver Thurs. Feb 26, 2009.

 Executives from E.W. Scripps Co., announce their decision on the future of the Rocky Mountain News in the 150-year-old newspaper's newsroom on 2/26/09 in Denver. In December 2008, the Rocky's parent company put the paper up for sale, citing multi-million dollar annual losses.   

Photo by Joe Mahoney © The Rocky

 

Executives from E.W. Scripps Co., announce their decision on the future of the Rocky Mountain News in the 150-year-old newspaper's newsroom on 2/26/09 in Denver. In December 2008, the Rocky's parent company put the paper up for sale, citing multi-million dollar annual losses.   

Photo by Joe Mahoney © The Rocky

Executives from E.W. Scripps Co., announce their decision on the future of the Rocky Mountain News in the 150-year-old newspaper’s newsroom on 2/26/09 in Denver. In December 2008, the Rocky’s parent company put the paper up for sale, citing multi-million dollar annual losses.

Share Your Thoughts

What do you think about Scripps’ decision to close the Rocky? We want to hear your thoughts. You can talk live with Mark Wolf by clicking here, or send a letter to the editor at letters@rockymountainnews.com

The Rocky Mountain News publishes its last paper today (Friday).

Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Rocky-owner Scripps, broke the news to the staff at noon today, ending nearly three months of speculation over the paper’s future.

“People are in grief,” Editor John Temple said a noon news conference.

But he was intent on making sure the Rocky’s final edition, which would include a 52-page wraparound section, was as special as the paper itself.

“This is our last shot at this,” Temple said at a second afternoon gathering at the newsroom. “This morning (someone) said it’s like playing music at your own funeral. It’s an opportunity to make really sweet sounds or blow it. I’d like to go out really proud.”

Boehne told staffers that the Rocky was the victim of a terrible economy and an upheaval in the newspaper industry.

“Denver can’t support two newspapers any longer,” Boehne told staffers, some of whom cried at the news. “It’s certainly not good news for you, and it’s certainly not good news for Denver.”

Tensions were higher at the second staff meeting, held to update additional employees who couldn¹t attend the hastily called noon press conference.

Several employees wanted to know about severance packages, or even if they could buy at discount their computers.

Others were critical of Scripps for not seeking wage concessions first or going online only.

But Mark Contreras, vice president of newspapers for Scripps, said the math simply didn’t work.

“If you cut both newsrooms in half, fired half the people in each newsroom, you’d be down to where other market newsrooms are today. And they’re struggling,” he said.

As for online revenues, he said if they were to grow 40 percent a year for the next five years, they still would be equal to the cost of one newsroom today.

“We’re sick that we’re here,” Contreras said. “We want you to know it’s not your fault. There’s no paper in Scripps that we hold dearer.”

But Boehne said Scripps intended to keep its other media, both print and in broadcast, running.

“Scripps has been around for 130 years. We intend to be around another 130 years,” Boehne said. “If you can’t make hard decisions, you won’t make it.”

After Friday, the Denver Post will be the only newspaper in town.

Asked if pubilsher Dean Singleton now walks away with the whole pie, Boehne was blunt.

“He walks away with an unprofitable paper, $130 million in debt and revenues that are down 15-20 percent every year,” Boehne said.

Asked if Singleton would have to pay for the presses now, Boehne added, “We had to kill a newspaper. He can pay for the presses.”

Reaction came from across the nation and around the block.

“The Rocky Mountain News has chronicled the storied, and at times tumultuous, history of Colorado for nearly 150 years. I am deeply saddened by this news, and my heart goes out to all the talented men and women at the Rocky,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said in a statement. “I am grateful for their hard work and dedication to not only their profession, but the people of Colorado as well.”

At the Statehouse, Rep. Joe Rice (D-Littleton), said the paper would be missed.

“The Rocky Mountain News has been a valued institution in Denver,” he said.

“It’s a sad, sad day.”

Long-time Denver real estate agent Edie Marks called the Rocky a voice of reason, moderation and common sense.

“I think that it was the fairest newspaper, the most diverse, and am important part of my daily life,” she said. “I’m going to miss it tremendously.”

On Dec. 4, Boehne announced that Scripps was looking for a buyer for the Rocky and its 50 percent interest in the Denver Newspaper Agency, the company that handles business matters for the papers. The move came because of financial losses in Denver, including $16 million in 2008.

“This moment is nothing like any experience any of us have had,” Boehne said. “The industry is in serious, serious trouble.”

Didn’t Obama sign the trillion dollar stimulous bill in Denver? What did that do for the Rocky? 

Stephanopoulos and Obama Chief of Staff on daily phone briefings from the White House

No wonder why trust in the media is at record lows, like temperatures. 

ABC News’ anchorman of the news and host of This Week with 
George Stephanopoulos, is on a daily morning conference call with Rahm Emanuel and others from the old Clinton administration, now in the media
.  Web site Politico broke the news that
Stephanopoulos is currently conducting private, daily
phone briefings with Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel

This is unethical  journalism and a clear
conflict of interest.   How can Stephanopoulos participate
in daily briefings about the administration’s strategy and
message and then be charged with reporting on them?

Update: Feb. 4: A White House reporter, so infatuated with the new president, jumped out of line and begged for Obama’s autograph today. At the end of the SCHIP signing, a member of the press corps jumped the rope penning off reporters to get an autograph from POTUS. Secret Service swooped in and stopped him. An Obama aide said the man is still being held by Secret Service. No details yet on the reporter’s name or publication. — Carol E. Lee 

The individual in question, whose name I don’t know, showed up in the press briefing room basement under escort of a White House press aide (not the Service at that point) apparently to retrieve personal belongings and make his way out of the complex. — Josh Gerstein 

 

How about tapes of those conversations with major media and the White House? Shouldn’t the public get in on that? It’s our White House, not the Democrat party’s central command for propaganda. 

The Media Research Center (MRC) Action Team thas started a campaign to call
ABC News and demand that he Stepanopoulos (Stephy)  recuse himself
from reporting on any issues involving the Obama Administration,
thousands of citizens took immediate action!

         In fact, the MRC reports  that ABC News switchboard
         personnel were completely swamped, and couldn’t keep up
         with the heavy volume of angry calls.

Don’t Stop Calling!

We are expanding this effort, and have added Stephanopoulos’s boss,
David Westin, President of ABC News and Westin’s boss, Anne Sweeney,
Co-Chairman at Disney. They all need to hear from us.

Here are the numbers to call:

George Stephanopoulos, Washington Chief Correspondent, ABC News
202-222-7700

David Westin, President ABC News 212-456-6200

Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks 818-569-7700

Click here to send emails:

http://www.mrcaction.org/r.asp?U=15953&CID=517&RID=11817738

The Goracle speaks about global warming to our leaders

During a rare snow and ice storm in Washington DC on Jan. 28, the Goracle  (Al Gore) spoke of the crisis of man-made global warming.

 

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) begged the Goracle to look further into the future. “What does your modeling tell you about how long we’re going to be around as a species?” he inquired.

The Goracle chuckled. “I don’t claim the expertise to answer a question like that, Senator.”

This story by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post will  be  the turning point on the greatest hoax of the last 100 years.

By Dana Milbank
Thursday, January 29, 2009; A03

 

The lawmakers gazed in awe at the figure before them. The Goracle had seen the future, and he had come to tell them about it.

What the Goracle saw in the future was not good: temperature changes that “would bring a screeching halt to human civilization and threaten the fabric of life everywhere on the Earth —

and this is within this century, if we don’t change.”

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry (D-Mass.), appealed to hear more of the Goracle’s premonitions. “Share with us, if you would, sort of the immediate

vision that you see in this transformative process as we move to this new economy,” he beseeched.

“Geothermal energy,” the Goracle prophesied. “This has great potential; it is not very far off.”

Another lawmaker asked about the future of nuclear power. “I have grown skeptical about the degree to which it will expand,” the Goracle spoke.

A third asked the legislative future — and here the Goracle spoke in riddle. “The road to Copenhagen has three steps to it,” he said.

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) begged the Goracle to look further into the future. “What does your modeling tell you about how long we’re going to be around as a species?” he inquired.

The Goracle chuckled. “I don’t claim the expertise to answer a question like that, Senator.”

It was a jarring reminder that the Goracle is, indeed, mortal. Once Al Gore was a mere vice president, but now he is a Nobel laureate and climate-change prophet. He repeats phrases

such as “unified national smart grid” the way he once did “no controlling legal authority” — and the ridicule has been replaced by worship, even by his political foes.

“Tennessee,” gushed Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Gore’s home state, “has a legacy of having people here in the Senate and in public service that have been of major

consequence and contributed in a major way to the public debate, and you no doubt have helped build that legacy.” If that wasn’t quite enough, Corker added: “Very much enjoyed your

sense of humor, too.”

Humor? From Al Gore? “I benefit from low expectations,” he replied.

The Goracle’s powers seem to come from his ability to scare the bejesus out of people. “We must face up to this urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization,” he

said. And: “This is the most serious challenge the world has ever faced.” And: It “could completely end human civilization, and it is rushing at us with such speed and force.”

Though some lawmakers tangled with Gore on his last visit to Capitol Hill, none did on the Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. Dick Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican, agreed that

there will be “an almost existential impact” from the climate changes Gore described.

As such, the Goracle, even when questioned, was shown great deference. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), challenging Gore over spent nuclear fuel, began by saying: “I stand to be corrected,

and I defer to your position, you’re probably right, and I’m probably wrong.” He ended his question by saying: “I’m not questioning you; I’m questioning myself.”

Others sought to buy the Goracle’s favor by offering him gifts. “Thank you for your incredible leadership; you make this crystalline for those who don’t either understand it or want to

understand it,” gushed Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who went on to ask: “Will you join me this summer at the Jersey Shore?”

The chairman worried that the Goracle may have been offended by “naysayers” who thought it funny that Gore’s testimony before the committee came on a morning after a snow-and-ice

storm in the capital. “The little snow in Washington does nothing to diminish the reality of the crisis,” Kerry said at the start of the hearing.

The climate was well controlled inside the hearing room, although Gore, suffering from a case of personal climate change, perspired heavily during his testimony. The Goracle presented

the latest version of his climate-change slide show to the senators: a globe with yellow and red blotches, a house falling into water, and ones with obscure titles such as “Warming

Impacts Ugandan Coffee Growing Region.” At one point he flashed a biblical passage on the screen, but he quickly removed it. “I’m not proselytizing,” he explained. A graphic showing a

disappearing rain forest was accompanied by construction noises.

The Goracle supplied abundant metaphors to accompany his visuals. Oil demand: “This roller coaster is headed for a crash, and we’re in the front car.” Polar ice: “Like a beating heart,

and the permanent ice looks almost like blood spilling out of a body along the eastern coast of Greenland.”

The lawmakers joined in. “There are a lot of ways to skin a cat,” contributed Isakson, who is unlikely to get the Humane Society endorsement. “And if we have the dire circumstances

we’re facing, we need to find every way to skin every cat.”

Mostly, however, the lawmakers took turns asking the Goracle for advice, as if playing with a Magic 8 Ball.

Lugar, a 32-year veteran of the Senate, asked Gore, as a “practical politician,” how to get the votes for climate-change legislation. “I am a recovering politician. I’m on about Step 9,” the

Goracle replied, before providing his vision.

Prospects for regulating a future carbon emissions market? “There’s a high degree of confidence.” The future of automobiles in China and India? “I wouldn’t give up on electric vehicles.”

The potential of solar power in those countries? “I have no question about it at all.”

Of course not. He’s the Goracle. He and his entourage jetted to Davos, Switzerland! 

He can afford his carbon credits, he owns the company. It’s like the Stienbrenners “buying” tickets to see the New York Yankees. 

Now the famous NASA “climate change scientist” has been disgraced.

One of Al Gore’s favorite salesman is  James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute. Hansen’s former boss, retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, has come forward with some news … Theon is skeptic of man-made global warming and his former employee James Hansen is an embarrassment to NASA. Theon says, “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made.” He goes on to say, “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

There’s more to chew on here,  it is good to find out who is on the  Al Gore PR payroll.

Most trusted media? Not newspapers.

Besides skiing, wine gulping and dining 24/7, there are some presentations at Davos. I know, it is hard to believe.

Two thirds of people in the Western world don’t trust newspaper articles.

Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, began a session saying that trust is an issue for the press as well as government and big business. Edelman found that trust in business magazines and analysts fell from 57% to 44% and from 56% to 47% respectively. Trust in TV news is down from 49% to 36% and in newspaper coverage from 47% to 34%.

The least trusted businesses: Banking and the auto business. In general the U.S., India, U.K., Poland and China, there is much more trust in business than in government. The French, Germans and most of Europe believe  in Big Brother over the private sector. The sad part, the U.S. is moving toward the French.