New Year — New Job Cuts at Philly Newspapers

The Newspaper industry can’t stop the bleeding. McClatchy lost more than 38 percent of its market value even after they absorbed Knight Ridder. McClatchy sold the Star Tribune at a 58 percent loss from it’s purchase price eight years ago.

By Mick Gregory

The McClatchy newspaper chain may be remembered in the same light as Mrs. O’ Leary’s cow. You may know the “story,” her cow was blamed for kicking over a lamp that started the Great Chicago Fire. McClatchy’s leveraged buyout of Knight Ridder and the spin-off of large, award-winning (union-heavy) newspapers started the Great Newspaper Fire Sale of 2006. And it has raged out of control.

Maybe journalists will start to gain some humility along with a dose of reality and economics 101. Especially at the papers McClatchy dumped i.e., the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and now the Star Tribune. Where have all their union dues gone? I’m guessing that most went to multi-millionaire Democrat politicians.

The Associated Press reports this afternoon that the Inquirer began a round of layoffs today. Several reporters at the Inquirer said they were told Tuesday morning that their jobs were being eliminated, according to AP. The employees said that they were told to meet with personnel officials on Wednesday to discuss details of their severance pay and health benefits.

“The specific number of layoffs is still unclear because some Inquirer employees have already taken other jobs since word of the impending layoffs was announced in November,” the AP reports.

“As we all know, layoff notices are expected next week and could come as early as Tuesday (Jan. 2, today), so I am sending this memo in advance to inform you of some basics,” the e-mail from Ferrick said. “This FAQ is intended for those who may receive layoff notices.”

They tried to avoid more layoffs following last year’s 80-person job cut at the Inquirer. My thinking is the union wants enough dues paying members so the Guild/CWA bosses can still rub elbows with John Edwards, Obmama and Hillary.

Philly shouldn’t take in personally, the entire newspaper industry is in death spiral.

Alan Mutter of the non-profit Poynter Institute said the shares of publicly held publishing stocks in the last two years lost nearly $13.5 billion in value. “Growing investor pressure has terrorized and dangerously defocused the executives of publicly held [newspaper] companies,” he says. “Instead of navigating their businesses through the most difficult environment they will ever know, the executives have been forced to spend disproportionate amounts of their time on investor relations, financial engineering and ill-considered expense cuts that could imperil the long-term health of their franchises.”

Alan Mutter of the non-profit Pointer Institute says the shares of publicly held publishing stocks in the last two years lost nearly $13.5 billion in value. “Growing investor pressure has terrorized and dangerously defocused the executives of publicly held [newspaper] companies,” he says. “Instead of navigating their businesses through the most difficult environment they will ever know, the executives have been forced to spend disproportionate amounts of their time on investor relations…”

What? Newspaper CEOs have actually started to care what investors thought?

Saddam hung by his neck — See the cell phone video here

By Mick Gregory

The Butcher of Baghdad is dead. I wonder if Hugo Chavez holds a fear that he will soon be executed by his countrymen in a similar way? Chavez was one of the last dictators to meet with Saddam while he was still head of state. That was, until the U.S. and U.K. forces took over. Chavez must feel a little less secure today.

capt-1sgeeha15301206114350photo01photodefault-512×371.jpgHe did what ever he wanted to his whole life. Up until the last year, that is. Saddam‘s uncle who raised him, was a Nazi. Did the mainstream media mention this?

Notice how close Felix Rodriguez looks like Saddam. Felix, the CEO of Citgo (hand picked by Hugo Chavez) could have been one of Saddam’s look-alikes.

Here is what the “gatekeepers” of the media elite advise:
Here are some questions to consider:

1. Where did the video or the pictures come from? Are they authentic? Images of the execution could come from two possible sources — officials involved in the execution could release the images, or they could become public through anonymous sources. In both cases journalists should ask about motives. Who benefits by releasing images of the execution? Should the images come from unofficial channels, editors must first determine if they are authentic. Have they been altered or edited?

2. What do the images show? Are they edited? How far ahead of the moment of death is documented? Is the death prolonged and gruesome? Is it clinical and sterile? Can those involved in the execution be identified? If they can be identified, should their identities be concealed?

3. Have the images been distributed widely on the Internet or by other means? This is not to suggest that if they have been, editors should go with the flow. But it does mean that a significant portion of the audience will see the pictures. Editors may consider linking to the images or giving their audience directions for finding the pictures. If the images do become available on the Internet, who is posting them? What is the public reaction? What information do viewers need to place the images in proper context and how can journalists provide that information?

4. How can journalists responsibly use images of Saddam’s hanging? Can still photos be made from a video? Should images leading up to the moment of death be shown, but not the actual death? Should they be used on the Internet, but not in print or broadcast?

5. What is the journalistic purpose for showing images of Saddam Hussein’s hanging? Should the images become available, it would not be hard to justify publishing them in a responsible form.

Impressed with their superior moral standing of the mainstream media?

Senator Tim Johnson ‘responds’ to wife

Mick Gregory

Democrat Senator Tim Johnson remains in a coma. He “is recovering as expected,” said Dr. Anthony Caputy of George Washington University Hospital. “We anticipate no further tests or procedures. . . through the holidays,” said Dr. Vivek Deshmukh, a neurosurgeon. Mrs. Johnson reports that he responds to her. No details were given on what kind of reaction she meant.

His colleagues, especially Harry Reid are optimistic he’ll be able to return to work, when Democrats take control of the Senate (on paper) the 110th Congress convenes Jan. 4th, but how will Senator Johnson vote for Harry Reid for Senate leader?

Oh yes. Maybe by video, he can blink twice for a “Yes” vote on more taxes and blink once for a “No” vote on funding for American troops in Iran.

I wonder if Mr. Johnson wants to die in dignity like Mr. Shrivo thought Terri Shrivo wanted? Has a reporter asked if he has said or written anything about that? How about his view of the Terri Shrivo case?

I remember seeing video of Terri responding and smiling with family members. Will we see any video of Mr. Johnson before the Senate meets on Jan. 4th?

Why isn’t your mainstream media writing about this?

‘Apocalypto’ has prevented one of the biggest rewrites of evil in history

Mick Gregory

I just saw Apocalypto and I am in awe of Mel Gibson’s work. The digital photography caputured the jungle beauty and the heart pounding running that could not have been filmed just a few years ago. The cast was meticulously picked from villagers and the man who played Jaguar Paw is an excellent actor. He has a future in Hollywood.

But most important to me is that Gibson has pointed out that the Mayan empire was not morally or scientificly superior to Western Civilization. The Mayans did hold pagan festivals where they beheaded and cut the hearts out of captured countrymen and took women as sex slaves by the thousands. They were a blood lusting totalitarian society that killed off their own civilization at a greater clip than Hitler or Stalin. This movie is based on documented events and many are learning them for the first time.
Another was the Mayan’s great studies of the solar eclipse… For what reason, science? Only to show power over their people and stop the killings once every ten years or so. The Mayans had played a sport similar to lacross… No, it was just a sand pit where the sport was hunting men like animals.

Why the coverup?

Gibson has overturned one of the most unusual rewrites of an evil empire in history. I know that the progressive/socialists at our universities are not happy with the truth coming out. They are busy coming out with their counter punches.
“Don’t pay attention to Gibson, he’s a (fill in the blank). Why the distortions? Because it doesn’t fit their propaganda model that all culures are equal and most are even superior to Christianity, Western Civilization and the bottom line, America’s cultureal roots.


I remember teachers and texts telling me that the Mayans were so advanced, that they performed operations on skulls and hearts to save their warriors.

My father laughed at me when I repeated that story in the early 70s.

He said the Mayan witch doctors were killing people, mainly slaves, including virgins by cutting their hearts out and cooking them in front of them as offerings.

Living in San Francisco, I have to report that the Progressive Democrats in that city no longer observe Memorial Day, instead, the city has a parade celebrating Hispanic culture, compete with samba dancing, Mayan Sun God dances and floats.

I can imagine Hugo Chavez as one of the high priests ordering the heads chopped off of his competition.

Did you read this in your daily newspaper or text books?

Bill O’Reilly Has Taken on the Socialists in Mainstream Media

Yes, please pay attention to the aging, dumpy liberal boomers in the media behind the curtains.

By Mick Gregory

Bill O’Reilly said recently, “If FOX News is the dominant No.1 rated cable network, and our presentation appeals to millions, why are we hammered in the press? The answer, of course, is ideology.”

“We can’t find one TV critic in the United States of America, not one who isn’t a liberal or a registered Democrat. Most are committed liberals, who dislike us for giving conservative and traditional Americans a fair shot.”

You got it right Mr. O’Reilly. Let’s hope that you can keep up the campaign before they ruin you. The liberal bias and the Progressive Democrat propaganda media machine has a long reach. They really do hate you.

It’s not an exaggeration to say the Progressive Democrats make up 85-95 percent of media. It is obvious with the top tier: The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times and San Francisco Chronicle, CBS, ABC and Hollywood. But it’s worse as Mr. O’Reilly pointed out, even the wannabe newspapers with 50,000 circulation like the Roanoke Times are run by the progressives. Their propaganda, and distortions against moderates and conservatives helped change the makeup of the U.S. Senate in November.

I’m off to shop at Wal-Mart and fillup at any station but Citgo. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Are Journalists Above the Law?

Did you read about this in your daily newspaper? It happened just a year ago. Imagine if Bill O’Reilly had illegally taped an African-American politician and they later killed themselves in the FOX News lobby?

A year ago, according to a witnesses, Mr. Art Teele, an African-American Miami Councilman walked into the Miami Herald lobby, spoke calmly with a security guard and shook his hand. Then Teele took a pistol out of a book bag and held it to his head.

The Herald’s Web site says that Teele told the security guard to give a message to Herald columnist Jim DeFede. Teele said that he wanted DeFede to tell his wife that he loved her. The statement was unclear as to exactly whose wife Teele was referring to, but it seems likely he was referring to his own wife, Stefanie Teele.

Then when police arrived, he pulled the trigger.

There was a lot of blood.

About two hours later, at 7:50 p.m., Teele was declared dead. His wife was at his side when he died.

Many of Teele’s colleagues and friends expressed sadness over his death. Others were angry.

“We can’t ever have anybody to go into office and retire with dignity. They got to drag them down like they’re pit bulls, like some kind of road kill,” said Teele’s friend, Paulette Simms Wimberly.

Columnist Fired

DeFede was fired just hours after Teele’s death because he “allegedly” recorded a phone conversation with Teele without the politician’s permission.

In the longest call, about 90 minutes before the shooting, Teele spoke very emotionally about his legal problems and various allegations that had been made against him, according to the newspaper.

Many of the journalist’s co-workers were upset that DeFee was fired over the incident.

It’s not the medium, it’s the bias, stupid!

I just saw this piece from the New York Sun by Alicia Colon on Drudge. Ms. Colon highlights a blog that has been hidden by the mainstream media,

Lucianne exposes what I believe is the root cause of the shift of the educated middle class from the mainstream media to that of the fresh air of Web-based citizen journalists.

The Mendacity Of the Liberal Press

December 15, 2006

The first time I heard the word “mendacity” was in the film “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” I loved the way Burl Ives’s character spits out the word as something vile and unacceptable.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where untruthfulness is routinely accepted and even mandated by politicians, union leaders, and members of the press. New York is the headquarters of the biggest producer of mendacity, the New York Times. Fortunately, it’s also the home of the antidote,

I pity the Americans who do not have the computer expertise to access the exposés of lies of corrupt politicians and gullible television anchors, biased newspaper headlines, and anything from the Associated Press. If it were not for the Internet and Lucianne Goldberg’s Web news forum, I would never learn the truth behind the Times headlines as pitched by the Drudge Report.

Matt Drudge, who may or may not be a willing accomplice to the distortion of news reporting, must be held responsible for the dissemination of the bias in the liberal press. Studies have shown that the readership of the Times is down — as it is in other liberal publications — and so are the television ratings of the alphabet networks and CNN and MSNBC, while Fox News is up. Continue reading

The Newspaper Dead Pool Growing

More than 100 New York Newsday reporters and editors signed a letter of protest against their boss, Dennis FitzSimons for widespread cuts that have sliced about one-third of the paper’s editorial staff over the past three years.

Can you imagine 100 employees at HP or IBM doing that? Yet, the software segment has lost tens of thousands of jobs over the past five or six years.

“In its six years of ownership, Tribune has damaged Newsday as an instrument of public information and accountability and, for that matter, as a business,” the letter said. The protest was organized by the Guild union editorial workers.

Dean Baquet, who publicly spoke out against making repeated cuts in the Los Angeles Times – reported here at “Mick’s Place” – was sacked and is looking for work.

I think there are obvious signs of a drift from reality among the journalists and their self proclaimed “Fourth Estate.”

Convenient Liberal Fabrications — Overwheliming bias in the media regarding global warming

What about Greenland actually being green during the Medieval warming? Didn’t we have a couple of Ice Ages? Doesn’t the Kyoto Treaty just punish developed countries, giving a free pass to pollute to China and India?

Get your copy of “The Skeptics’ Guide to Global Warming,” linked below.
See how Al Gore is pressuring public school science teachers to legitimize “An Inconvenient Truth

Mick Gregory

The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was a time of unusually warm climate recorded in Europe, lasting from about the 10th century to about the 14th century. This inconvenient truth is being written out of the liberal’s Big Brother/Big Sis political propaganda to inact more control and taxing authority over free enterprise, espically in the U.S. The Al Gore political machine tried to have 50,000 copies of his movie distributed through the public schools through his executive producer, Ms. Laurie David. When the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) refused the unusual request, The Washington Post let her write an Op-Ed piece complaigning about it.

NSTA Statement on the Distribution of “An Inconvenient Truth”
Nov 30 2006
Last updated 12/7/06

Over the past few days, NSTA and film producer Laurie David have been discussing her offer to provide NSTA with copies of the DVD “An Inconvenient Truth” to mass distribute to our members. On November 29, 2006, NSTA’s Board of Directors held a telephone conference to review Ms. David’s request. In an effort to accommodate her request without violating the Board’s 2001 policy prohibiting product endorsement, and to provide science educators with the opportunity to take advantage of the educational opportunities presented by films such as this, NSTA has offered to greatly expand the scope of the potential target audience identified in her initial request.

NSTA established its non-endorsement policy to formalize our position that the association would not send third-party materials to our members without their consent or request. NSTA looks forward to working with Ms. David to ensure that there are many options for publicizing the availability of the DVD to the national science education community, and to broaden the conversation on the important topic of global warming.

Professor David Deming, an author, scientist and lecturer at the University of Oklahoma and an adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), testified Wednesday morning at a special hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The hearing examined climate change and the media. Bellow are excerpts from his prepared remarks. Continue reading

Journalists and Unions — A Cause of Bias?

Newspaper journalists are union members at most of the top 20 newspapers. Wonder which political party gets the money?

Why isn’t the LA Times, NY Times or Washington Post reporting this major ethics question?

By Mick Gregory

Citizen journalists have found multi-millionaire Nancy Pelosi profits from non-union wineries, restaurants and resort hotels. Yet, she is among the top recipiants of union dues every year. It’s as if the peasants willingly handed over a portion of their potatoes every season to their overlords who in turn protect them. Or it’s like a New York shopkeeper handing over protection money to the Soprano boys.

With a little more digging, we find that union members don’t have control over where their dues are being spent. The union bosses make those “lofty” choices for the rank and file.

There is a new Web site named
and it’s filled with facts and detailed research that the 12.5 million union leaders and hundreds of Democrats in congress don’t want you to know.

Continue reading

It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again for Kerry/Dem’s

Mick Gregory

Wouldn’t you know it. Things a liberal elitist politician said when first running for office and exploiting his limited military experience, come back to haunt him, like a FrankenKerry monster.

In 1972, as Kerry ran for the House, he was less apologetic in his comments about the merits of a volunteer army. He declared in the questionnaire that he opposed the draft but considered a volunteer army “a greater anathema.”
“I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown,” Kerry wrote. “We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply ‘doing its job.’

Kerry fans and liberal Dems: Ralph Nader said: “Kerry agrees with Bush on the invasion of Iraq, and with the Patriot Act.”

So what will Kerry say tomorrow?

Black Fridays Ahead for Mainstream Media

Third quarter results were terrible in a bull market
Layoffs have to hit before the holidays

By Greg Michael

The Broad Street boys are mulling over a new memo warning that Philadelphia Media Holdings, new owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News are threatening layoffs even if a new contract is signed by October 31, 2006.

The memo circulated around the newsroom. One employee e-mailed it to staffers a second time with a subject line with publisher Brian Tierney’s name and the line:

“Remember that guy who said he was about to start the next great era in journalism?” it reads. “He was full of shit.”

By Wednesday the fallout was raining down. “I’ve been besieged by members who feel outraged and betrayed that Brian Tierney has gone from ‘let’s work together’ to ‘let’s freeze the pension fund and selectively lay off some of our best people,’” says Newspaper Guild president Henry Holcomb.

The new owners are negotiating with the once powerful Newspaper Guild union with an Oct. 31 deadline for a new contract, after already pushing back the deadline once in August. The two sides still face numerous sticking points. But what leverage does the Guild have?

The new management has proposed combining some newsroom functions between the Daily News and the Inquirer, meaning some editorial employees would sometimes work for both newspapers.

The ego maniacs in Hollywood who are considering buying the LA Times from the Tribune, should study this situation in Philly very carefully.

While the LA Times tries to justify their huge sale price to the Tribune Company, and the execs try to make the huge acquisition work. The LA Times is using it’s own investigative reporters to help chart the future of the newspaper both online and in print.

According to the New York Times, the LA Times “is dedicating three investigative reporters and half a dozen editors to find ideas, at home and abroad, for re-engaging the reader, both in print and online.”

Editor-centric companies like this are doomed to failure. It’s not the newsgatherers who created the innovations that opened up Craigslist and Youtube. In fact, it’s not the editors who generated the 20 percent profit margins that newspaper monopolies once enjoyed.

The editors typically look down on the marketing and advertising staff for creating advertorials and special branded sections on travel, homes or automotive. Those in the editor class actually despise MBAs and tech geeks.

Based on horrible sales of several major newspaper chains in the third quarter, it appears that total automotive classified revenues for the year may tumble to as low as $4 billion, a level last seen in 1996.

Auto sales fell 15 percent to $1.8 billion in the first half of this year, as compared with $2.1 billion in the same period in 2005, according to the Newspaper Association of America, the industry-supported trade group.

Classified ads contributed nearly 40 percent of the industry’s $47.4 billion in print sales in 2005. Since the mid-90s, and the rise of such low- and no-cost Web competitors as Monster, eBay and, the erosion has been swift.

The broadcast media is also losing power to the Web.
NBC announced it will shed up to 700 jobs — 5 percent of its workforce. The changes will be felt from Secaucus, N.J., where MSNBC will shutter its headquarters, to television sets around the country, which will soon begin tuning to game shows and reality programming in the 8 p.m. time slot. NBC said it plans to phase out costly dramas and comedies during the first hour of prime time.

It appears The Chicago Sun-Times, after being stripped of valuable downtown real estate, will be put on the block next. Were the buyouts (layoffs) at the Morning News and Plain Dealer enough to get them back to 20 percent profit margins?

Today, the new owners of the San Jose Mercury News (‘Lean’ Singleton, CEO of Media News Group/Garden State Newspapers, a privately held group of marginally profitable newspapers) announced layoffs.

From: [San Jose Mercury News publisher] Riggs, George
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2006 1:11 PM
Subject: Staff Reductions

October 20, 2006

Dear Colleagues

A few weeks ago, I wrote to everyone about the challenges our business faces, both over the past six years and going forward. Since then, our business outlook has worsened and we have completed our budgeting process. Given continued declines in revenue, we need to reduce expenses significantly, and thus have no alternative but to implement a reduction in work force.

We plan on eliminating 101 positions by December 19th. The process of identifying individual employees subject to layoff is not yet complete. Under California law, if an employer lays off fifty or more employees within a thirty day period, it is required to provide the affected employees with sixty days advance notice of the layoff. This is known as a “WARN notice.” Since our planned reduction involves more than fifty employees, we are providing employees who may potentially be affected with the required WARN notice. Please understand that employees who are potentially affected include all employees in those departments where layoffs are necessary. However, not every potentially affected employee receiving the notice will ultimately be subject to layoff. But in order to meet compliance requirements, notice will be given to a larger number than the 101 employees.

There are some things that could favorably impact layoff plans should they occur. Any significant upturn in advertising revenue would, of course, have an impact. We are seeking additional commercial print work, which would also increase revenues. We are working with our production unions (Pressmen, Mailers and Drivers) to be better positioned to accomplish this. Price reductions in newsprint have been rumored recently, and could lead to expense savings should they occur. Lastly, we have three open union contracts we are negotiating (Guild, Composing and Pressmen) and, depending on the outcome, they may also lead to further expense reductions. All of these could reduce the ultimate number of positions eliminated.

I understand the uncertainty these staffing cuts create for everyone, and deeply regret that we have to take this action. Please know that we would not do so unless it was absolutely necessary to ensure the future viability of our newspaper.


George Riggs

Meanwhile, the Hearst’s San Francisco Chronicle is privately held and can afford to pay $1,000 a day in court fees for refusing to show sources in its Barry Bonds/BALCO case. That’s enough to pay for five staffers. And shows the power of being privately held. Another good example: The Poynter Institute which owns the St. Petersburg Times is hiring and happy with its profit margins even when they dip below that of oil companies. But there is much more to their success than just private ownership.

The Newspaper Dead Pool — LA Times Publisher Jeffrey Johnson out

Life is hard for pimps as well as publishers and editors in 2006.
Here at SadBastards, we reported the arrogant stand the editor-centric LA Times was making to it’s owners, about no more cuts.

The Tribune Co. forced out Los Angeles Times Publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson this morning, a little more than a month after he defied the media conglomerate’s demands for staff cuts that he suggested could damage the newspaper. This was reported today in the LA Times.

Tribune Publishing President Scott C. Smith met with top managers at the newspaper this morning and announced that David Hiller, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, would immediately replace Johnson as chief executive at the 125-year-old newspaper. Hiller is the 12th publisher of The Times.

“After a thorough review, Jeff and I agreed that he should resign at this time,” Smith said in a statement. “We do agree on many priorities to best serve our customers, communities and shareholders. The Times’ has also made great progress on many fronts in the face of intense marketplace challenges. However, this leadership change is necessary because of important differences on how best to shape our future.”

Hiller was expected to ask Times Editor Dean Baquet to stay on the job, despite the editor’s sharp protests against further job cuts by the Chicago-based parent corporation. Friends of Baquet said the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist had not yet decided to remain with the paper.

In an e-mail to The Times staff this morning Hiller said: “I read and love newspapers and have the highest regard for the Los Angeles Times, its great journalism and the special role it plays in Southern California.

“I believe in the future of newspapers as the most trusted source of news and information in the communities we serve. To achieve that future we have to continue to change because our readers, online users and advertising customers continue to change.”

Hiller, a nearly 20-year-long company veteran, has served as publisher of the Chicago Tribune since November 2004. He was previously senior vice president of Tribune Publishing and also served as president of Tribune Interactive.

Los Angeles Times newsrooms staffers, including many who had signed a petition just weeks ago supporting Publisher Jeff Johnson and Editor Dean Baquet’s stand against more budget cuts, greeted yesterday’s announcement of Johnson’s firing with sadness and concern.

Although some were waiting to see what incoming publisher David Hiller of the Chicago Tribune would do, most took Johnson’s forced resignation so shortly after his public stand as a sign that owner Tribune Co. would likely make the cuts that have been in the pipeline.

“The mood is pretty grim, as far as I can see,” said Bill Nottingham, a city and county bureau editor. “None of us know all of the back-and-forth between Jeff and Chicago. If he was removed for taking a stand, that does not bode well for our paper or our industry.”

Henry Weinstein, a 28-year Times reporter, agreed. “Obviously we are very distressed that our publisher has been forced to resign, we think that is a regrettable decision,” he said. “There is nobody here who is happy about this.”

Robert Salladay, who works out of the paper’s Sacramento bureau, said the firing was a clear move by Tribune to flex its muscles. “Most people today see this as a very significant shot across the bow from Tribune Co.,” he said. “It is never good when there is instability at the top. People are hoping this doesn’t lead to 120 people being laid off. I think the quality of the paper would suffer.”

William Rempel, who has spent more than 30 years at the Times, said “resentment runs deep and wide.” He added that the move has increased anger against Tribune Co.: “There is no one in the building who has any confidence in Tribune management to do what is right for our newspaper or for journalism. It is punishment for Jeff for speaking truth to management and doing it publicly.”

Weinstein and other were partially relieved with word that Baquet would stay on, at least for now. “That is good news,” he said. “The big issue is, what are the conditions? Hopefully they did not present him with any intolerable list of cuts that have to be made.”

And some of the LA Times staff have already given a Hiller a nick name, guess what it is…

Shares of newspaper companies headed downward this week after a Deutsche Bank analyst lowered his fourth-quarter and full-year 2007 earnings estimates on many of the companies. Of course, analyst Paul Ginocchio did his homework.

The analyst cut 2007 forecasts on Tribune, New York Times Co., McClatchy, Belo, Lee Enterprises, E.W. Scripps, Washington Post, Gannett and Media General due to weaker-than-expected third-quarter advertising trends. Tribune’s full-year earnings per share estimate fell to $1.99 from $2.01, while the New York Times dropped to $1.36 from $1.46. McClatchy’s estimate slipped to $2.52 from $2.62 and Media General sagged to $2.37 from $2.44. Belo declined to $1.10 from $1.13, Lee fell to $1.91 from $1.95, Scripps shed a penny to $2.40 and the Washington Post slumped to $42.27 from $43.91. Gannett dropped to $4.85 from $4.95 per share.

“The biggest change in ad growth over the next two to three quarters will be real estate and help wanted classified, both of which are showing weakening trends,” Ginocchio said in a Sunday client note. “We maintain our cautious view on newspaper publishers.”
He also reduced fourth-quarter earnings per share estimates on Belo, Gannett Co. and Medial General. Belo declined to 47 cents from 49 cents, Gannett, the best managed, sagged to $1.50 from $1.53 and Medial General declined to $1.33 from $1.35.
Ginocchio said next year could be difficult for the newspaper sector.
“Online will still be greater than 10 percent of ad revenue for most companies, and even if some publishers are successful in implementing a more innovative culture, the impact probably won’t be apparent financially until late 2007 or early 2008,” he said. In real world terms, 10 percent is chump change. There doesn’t appear to be any examples of newspapers able to make the switch.
Shares of Gannet fell 18 cents to $56.65, Lee slipped 36 cents to $24.88 and Media General lost 84 cents to $36.88 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. McClatchy dropped 64 cents to $41.55, New York Times slumped 43 cents to $22.55 and Scripps declined 36 cents to $47.57 on the Big Board. Tribune dipped 6 cents to $32.66 and the Washington Post fell $4 to $733.

Kristie Landa said goodbye and good riddance in her letter to readers of Gannett’s Reno Gazette-Journal last week. The Reno paper is one of the most profitable in the “scrap yard dog” chain with revenues pouring in from high population growth, new housing, employment and gaming advertising.

Chris Anderson, CEO and president of Freedom Orange County Information, today announced that FOCI will reduce its workforce through a voluntary severance plan.

“Along with almost every other metropolitan newspaper, The Orange County Register has suffered declines in advertising revenues in recent months. Unfortunately, we don’t see a quick turnaround in the loss of this advertising in key categories,” said Anderson. “We are diversifying our product portfolio and showing some growth, but is not enough to overcome the revenue shortfalls. That means we must carefully reduce expenses, and one of the actions we are taking is the voluntary severance plan.”

The Orange County Register’s voluntary severance package is being offered to about a third of the newspaper’s full-time staff of 1,600.

There is no innovation going on, just cuts. What do analysts expect from an medium that delivers biproducts of dead trees to peoples driveways every day?

Which will be the next newspaper to fold? It will most likely be one of the small community papers, so it won’t make big news. But the time has come to set up a dead pool. There is one already for magazines, Google it at magazine death pool.

Start the cuts at the LA Times at the top

 ——By Mick Gregory

The Tribune Company is under pressure to sell its largest paper, the Los Angeles Times, as you’ve read here and in the business press. The major trouble was coming from the Chandler family, the former owner of the and one of the company’s largest share holders in the stock and cash deal.

The Wall Street Journal reports that several prominent Los Angeles billionaires are interested in buying the L.A. Times, the nation’s No. 4 paper in terms of circulation. Business leaders in Los Angeles are also joining together to urge the Tribune not to make further staff and cost cuts at the paper, saying that it should sell the paper if it is not satisfied with results.

The Tribune bought the LA Times as part of its purchase of the Times Mirror Co. in 2000. The purchase made the Chandler family the company’s No. 2 shareholder in Tribune Co., and made the newspaper publisher party to two complicated partnerships with the
Chandlers, which could not be unwound until this month without negative tax consequences.

Scott Smith, president of Tribune Publishing, dismissed the idea of a sale of the L.A. Times in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. He told the paper he sees the Times and its staff as a central source of content for other Tribune Co. newspapers.

But the Journal reports that Eli Broad, philanthropist and founder of insurer SunAmerica, and supermarket magnate Ronald Burkle, recently sat down with representatives of the Chandler family and their investment bankers to discuss how they might structure a deal to purchase the Times from the Tribune. However the paper reports people close to the Chandlers said these talks didn’t go far.

In addition, entertainment industry mogul David Geffen made his own separate, informal, all-cash offer to buy the Times, according to people familiar with the situation and reported as a major story on today’s

In response to all three overtures, Mr. FitzSimons wrote a letter saying the board had decided unanimously to not discuss the transaction “at this time,” according to a person who saw one copy. Tribune stock is down nearly 40 percent since the end of 2003. The company took on debt to finance a $2 billion share buyback earlier this year to try to help share price, a move that was opposed by the
Chandler family trust.

The Tribune is just one of  many newspaper companies with its share price sharply declining over the last 12 months; Gannett, the largest newspaper-centric company has seen its stock fall even even further, dropping more than 20 percent in the last year, while the New York Times has lost nearly 30 percent in that period.

The “death spiral” started when Knight-Ridder, one of the nation’s largest newspaper companies, and considered to be the most Web savvy, was acquired by the much smaller, McClatchy chain earlier this year under pressure from shareholders to sell its assets to make up for share price declines there. Since that purchase, McClatchy has sold off several former Knight-Ridder papers, some to local ownership groups. McClatchy stock has fallen at double digit rates. It’s the equivalent of a carriage company buying up all the buggy whip factories when Chevrolet and Ford got into the auto business.

LA Times Editor Baquet sets the table for his last supper

 —-By Mick Gregory

In what some regard as a highly arrogant move, Dean Baquet, who was named editor of the LA Times last year, was quoted yesterday in his own newspaper — saying he was defying the paper’s corporate owner, the Tribune Company in Chicago and would not make the cuts they requested. 

The paper’s publisher, Jeffrey Johnson, said he agreed with Baquet. “Newspapers can’t cut theirway into the future,” he told his reporter. 

The number of jobs at stake is unclear but the paper,the fourth largest in the country, has eliminated morethan 200 positions over the last five years from aneditorial staff that now numbers about 940. Some experts in the field believe that number is way too bloated.  

“Newsrooms have benefited from all the automation of computers and  software products, yet, they are the most labor-heavy of all media,” said Greg Michael, media analyst.

“I am not averse to making cuts,” Baquet told the paper he manages. “But you can go too far, and I don’t plan to dothat.” 

The LA Times reported that Scott Smith, president ofthe Tribune Publishing division, had asked the paper’sexecutives to come up with a plan for trimming theirbudgets, but when Mr. Smith visited
Los Angeles late
last month, they had produced no such plan. 
Baquet “made his opposition to further cuts clearand said there was no need for further discussion,” the LA Times reported.  Smith said in a statement: “In this rapidlychanging media environment, we are all workingtogether to best serve our communities, customers andshareholders.” The decision by The to take its battle against Tribunepublic may signal that Baquet is trying to rally support on the paper’s behalf, to affect a sale to local investors. Local businessmen have expressed interest in buying the paper.

Sure, Hollywood, movie stars… Life is good as an editor or publisher of the LA Times. But life is not as glamorous for stockholders in Park Ridge, Barrington and Hoffman Estates who are paying their big salaries in tinsel town.  

But at what price? Investors know not to try and grab a falling knife — Greg Michael  

The stock prices of most newspaper companies has been falling for about two years, yet many of their publications remain profitable. The Los Angeles Times reported that its operating profit margin was 20 percent, higher than that of most oil companies.   Many papers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer — have announced buyouts and job cuts over the last year. Newspaper costs, predominantly for newsprint and personnel, areoutstripping revenues and the Internet is siphoningoff readers and advertisers. The Belo Corporation announced yesterday that 111 newsroom employees at their flagship, The Dallas Morning News hadtaken buyout offers, leaving 450 editorial employees to retrench and focus mainly on local news. The dust has not yet settled on Dealey Plaza. “I expect further cuts in staff due to attrition and the heavy hand of management,” said Greg Michael of  

Last month, David Black, whose Black Press is the new owner of The Akron Beacon Journal, laid off 40 editorialemployees, about 25 percent of the newsroom staff.

The cuts in other departments are rarely reported. Circulation help-desks are being off-shored to India. In a few years, why not some of the newsrooms?  

At The Los Angeles Times, circulation has been falling from its peak of 1.2 million in 1990. For the six months that ended in March, it was 851,500, down 5.4 percent from the period a year ago. It was the biggest drop among the top 10 dailies and more than twice theindustry average. 

The Tribune has been in particular turmoil because of aconflict in recent months with the Chandler family,its largest shareholder.  The
Chandlers have said
the company, in which The Los Angeles Times is the biggest business, is mismanaged and have called for the company to sell its assets.

“This is ironic, because it was the Chandlers who profited from the  inflated sale of Times-Mirror to the Tribune stockholders, and a major slice of their pie is Tribune stock which has fallen as the market found that stockholders paid too much, several billion dollars too much for the antiquated media giant,” Michael said.  

The Tribune board has defended management and has beenin talks with the Chandlers to try to iron out their differences. The company earlier this year bought back $2 billion worth of company stock in an attempt to prop up the stock price. They also have to make $200 million in cost cuts company-wide overthe next two years. The statements in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times seemed to be a declaration that Tribune would not find much of those savings in Los Angeles — or it could lose its top executives. 

Note to executives, get your resumes up to date.

“Tribune isn’t shy or sentimental,” said Martin Kaplan, associate dean of the Annenberg School forCommunication at the University of Southern California. “My guess is that they don’t want to be backed into a corner.” 

My guess is that the LA Times newsroom can function well at 500. And that Baquet will be getting his walking papers in the next couple of weeks.  

As expected, Dean Baquet was forced to resign as editor of the Los Angeles Times at the request of the publisher after he refused to agree to further cuts of his editorial staff.

Baquet’s departure was to be announced Thursday but word leaked out this afternoon and the 50-year-old editor confirmed to his staff that he would be leaving the paper Friday.

Baquet will be replaced by James O’Shea, who is now managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and a long-time employee of the Tribune company.

O’Shea starts the job Monday.

Desperate Clinton White House–Why?

—-By Mick Gregory

The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz deserves credit for at least bringing up the manipulation today by the  party, but he did not tell the powerful story of “Sandy” Berger’s destruction of evidence and the fact that Clinton was more interested in his image and sexual appitite than Osama bin Laden. Top officials of the administration have launched a preemptive strike against an ABC-TV docudrama, slated to air Sunday and Monday, that they say includes made-up scenes depicting them as undermining attempts to kill Osama bin Laden.  

Too bad Clinton didn’t launch a real preemtive strike against Osama, one has to ask

Former national security adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger said the film “flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions.”

Mr. Kurtz, did you forget about the documents Sandy Berger admitted he destroyed regarding and terror plots?

It’s breathtaking, that the Democrats are so used to getting the white glove treatment by the mainstream media, that when some truth is shed on the sloppy Clinton administration, they think they can confuse the public and even prevent a major network from broadcasting details. Update — the Clinton administration did pressure ABC to change wording and some other demands. We will know more by the weekend.

Web 2.0 and will now connect the dots. The truth will come out in blogs in the coming weeks. Don’t miss the docudrama on ABC this Sunday and Monday.

Berger said in an interview that ABC is “certainly trying to create the impression that this is realistic, but it’s a fabrication.” Why did you destroy several documents on this subject matter, Mr. Burger? ABC will get a big audience from this, unknowing football fans looking for “Monday Night Football,” may actually stick around and learn something. Scores of them will be blogging later and help capture the truth for today and history.  

One year ago — “The Sept. 11 commission (search) did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell,” said Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from
Indiana. “Had we learned of it obviously it would’ve been a major focus of our investigation.”

Check out Dr. Sanity for a top Web site that has been following the Berger/Clinton  cover-up.
On Friday evening, Bill Clinton’s lawyers sent a new letter to ABC chief Bob Iger demanding that ABC yank “The Path to 9/11.” We’ve obtained a copy of the letter, and it reads in part: “As a nation, we need to be focused on preventing another attack, not fictionalizing the last one for television ratings. `The Path to 9/11′ not only tarnishes the work of the 9/11 Commission, but also cheapens the fith anniversary of what was a very painful moment in history for all Americans. We expect that you will make the responsible decision to not air this film.”

You too could date a diva if you work out at a gym like this newsman did!

—-Mick Gregory

Actor Rupert Everett writes about his life with the – a new book hitting the market with excerpts on the This is London Web page. Google it for some great reading.  “She ( ) was radiant in a jeweled dress; her husband (Phil Bronstein) looked like a pug from a downtown gym. We kissed and chatted and raised our eyebrows (this was in the days when one still could) as he seethed quietly beside her.  Many of the girls from the old school end up at some point with a bruiser. Initially they love the feeling of protection and exclusivity.  The intense power they have achieved at the studio has left them completely isolated, hard as nails and yet vulnerable as twigs, deliciously snappable.   The man in question is usually decent, simple and respected. He feels ten feet tall. She feels cozy and petite. Sex is a constantly exploding volcano. But at a certain point the novelty wears off. She feels trapped behind the fence. Her girlfriends are vetoed, she can’t bat an eyelid at a passing waiter, yet she must flirt to keep her engine tuned.  I don’t know whether Sharon and Phil’s marriage was like that, but before too long it was all over.” See, journalists can even win over a beautiful sex goddess, if you have the total macho image. Start body building today.

Black Tuesday at Ohio Newspaper

 —-Mick Gregory

More tales of fallen journalists, not long ago, known as a ‘holy’ profession by many; today it is the place for rich kids and losers. Earlier this month, Dave Wilson, who worked for a total of 18 years, 10 as a reporter and editor for the Akron Beacon Journal,went to a party.  He was on his way to a wake of sorts.  A fairly common practice in this rust belt area, where funeral parlors out number Starbucks.

He snatched up the mug and headed to a co-worker’s house, where Beacon employees were mourning the end of an era. Knight Ridder, once one of America’s largest newspaper chains, with papers from Philadelphia to San Jose, was officially dead. “Anyone got a golf club?”Wilson asked when he arrived. Someone slipped him a Big Buddie-sized driver. He placed the mug on a tee, then smashed  it into a cloud of ceramic chunks.

“It was like saying adios to that whole scenario,” he said. Once upon a time that stupid little cup had meant something special — something that fought to better people’s lives, earned Pulitzers for doing so, and allowed Wilson to be a proud provider. Now, on this crappy August day, it stood for something ugly — something full of defeat, anxiety, and loss. Knight Ridder had spent the past four years trying to appease the bottom line with layoffs and cutbacks that shrank the Beacon to the size ofOhio
State’s student newspaper. Then it sold the paper off like a rusted junk Ford. But not even the new owner, McClatchy, wanted anything to do with it. The company spit it back onto the auction block just days later. McClatchy quickly sold the Beacon to Black Press for $165 million. The Canadian company’s owner, David Black, assured the staff that he cared about “journalism,” and wasn’t going to lay anyone off. Some breathed a sigh of relief. Others were more realistic, they knew that even Knight Ridder had trouble making a profit at a rust belt property with no growth. “We knew more layoffs were coming,” Wilson says. A few weeks later, Black must have had a good look at the real numbers and said, “What the frick did I get for 1.6 million bucks!” On Tuesday, Black laid off 40 of the newsroom staff.  As the layoffs were announced, people ran to bathrooms, crying. Others fled to a downtown bar to numb the news. Ridder’s reign of terror hadn’t really ended, it seemed. “I was a little bit taken by surprise,”
Wilson said. “I thought there were others who were more expensive. I pretty much spent the whole next day seething with anger.”
Over rounds of MGD and whiskey, staffers pondered what led to the latest bloodletting. Just as Black bought the paper, it was losing its biggest advertiser, Kaufmann’s. The department store was being purchased by Macy’s, with a top-rate marketing team, they wouldn’t be wasting their advertising budget on a token schedule in a suburb of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer won’t be getting much print from Macy’s either, the giant retailer is now a national chain and will leverage that with national TV buys. It was a financial blow the Beacon did little to prepare for. It simply raised ad rates and ignored the rest. “People were just hoping it was gonna fix itself,” Wilson said.

“Newspapers have often succeeded in spite of themselves. That’s no longer the case.” Adds columnist David Giffels, who is now dealing with survivor guilt, having withstood the purge: “Daily newspapers are big old traditional companies that are slow to adapt . . . There hasn’t been that sort of fire to adapt in an aggressive way. And until they start, those numbers are never going to turn around.” But Knight Ridder was the epitome of an old, lethargic company. “It became so bureaucratic,”
Wilson says. “There were too many committees, and committees always make bad choices.”

I saw the offices of the San Jose Mercury News about four years ago. I’d guess that 60 percent of the desks were empty, a couple were even truned over. I asked a secretary if there were layoffs recently, she nodded and said she was a temp. I stayed for the job interview, but I knew it was not the profitable, thriving flagship that Knight Ridder portrayed. The newspapers don’t air their own dirty laundry. They are not in the  business of  broadcasting their own demise. In fact, these quotes from Black Tuesday don’t come from the little Ohio paper. They are from a free paper in Cleveland. The new media model is pointing to free weeklies with Web 2.0 blogs. Google the Cleveland Scene for the story you won’t read in the  mainstream media.

The death of newspapers is not greatly exaggerated

It’s not just the large metro papers in the US that are drying up, watch the small local papers fall  even faster, because their advertising budget is often a tertiary add-on buy, and the first to  be cut by the Macy’s,  Home Depots and new home builders. And the papers large and small all over the world are entering the ICU stages of their long lives. Just this week (so far) The masthead of the Oakland Press is a little lighter following the summary dismissal of three top editors on Monday. Editor Neil Munro, Managing Editor Susan Belniak Hood and Dolly Moiseeff, assistant managing editor for features and entertainment, were told their jobs were being eliminated with no warning, according to two of those who were fired.“I was encouraged to leave the building right away,” said Munro, who was the paper’s main editorial writer. “Turn in my door card and leave the building.”The dismissals come only weeks after the paper’s owner, the Journal Register Co. of Yardley, Pa., announced that July ad sales for its 91
Michigan papers dropped more than 12 percent from the same time last year. Those losses severely lowered overall revenue for the company: Without the Michigan losses, the decline would have been only 2.2 percent, the company said.
On Monday, Journal Register announced plans to sell its cluster of five
New England daily papers and a group of weeklies.

London’s Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Independent editor Simon Kelner were on BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Friday morning responding to another of those “newspapers are dead” pieces — this time the cover of The Economist.
Rusbridger said that not all newspapers will survive; he listed the combined pressures of declining circulation and ad revenue – both of which are shifting to the Web; disaggregation of advertising from editorial; fragmentation of audiences; and competition from free sheets – all at a time when newspapers will have to invest large amounts of payroll and IT into the  online Web 2.0 world.

Did you read this news item in The New York Times or San Francisco Chronicle?

By Greg Michael —  Now we find on the blogs that , the 41-year-old schoolteacher who admitted to the media when he was picked up in Thailand last week that he was with   when she died on Christmas Day in 1996. He was actually arrested in Northern California five years ago after telling an acquaintance that he broke into the Ramsey’s house the night of the slaying. A Northern California woman exchanged e-mails and recorded phone conversations with John Mark Karr in which he talked about JonBenet Ramsey’s 1996 slaying and the 1993 murder of Polly Klaas. Wendy Hutchens told police about her 2001 conversations with Karr weeks before the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office arrested him on five misdemeanor child pornography charges. At the same time she told The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa (a New York Times subsidiary). The paper is now reporting details in its online edition.

She says Karr told her that he met JonBenet at her family’s Christmas party, then sneaked back into the house that night through a basement storm window. So why did that shocking news stay hidden for five years?

Mrs. Hutchens said she alerted the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department (the same unit involved in investigating the Polly Klaas rape and murder) and recorded her conversations with Karr as evidence. The sheriff’s deputies later searched Karr’s Petaluma home and found enough evidence to charge Karr with five counts of child-pornography possession. He served six months in jail before leaving the United States.

It takes citizen journalists like Wendy Hutchens with the ethics to report what the New York Times never bothered to report or worse, covered up. A tip of the hat to the DrudgeReport for pointing to this information.