What is a community organizer? ACORN stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles expose ACORN fraud

Citizen journalists exposed ACORN on camera. Now the Obama/Democrat politicians have to sever their ties with the socialist group famous for ballot stuffing, voter registrations by the tens of thousands and illegal loans by the thousands (helping fuel the financial meltdown).  The two citizen journalists asked for tax advice on opening up a house of prostitution and got some good tips from ACORN staff members. 

 

The interview was taped and now Obama has some explaining to do. Why did he pick 9-11 for the first annual day of service? Now ACORN will forever be tied to a tragic day in American history. ACORN is a brownshirt political activist group hired to rig local elections and beef up poor and illegal numbers for federal aid.  What a shitty organization? My god! 

 

Two employees at the Baltimore, Maryland, branch of the liberal community organizing group ACORN were caught on tape allegedly offering advice to a pair posing as a pimp and prostitute on setting up a prostitution ring and evading the IRS.

The video  was recorded and and posted online Thursday by James O’Keefe, a conservative activist. He was joined on the video by another conservative, Hannah Giles, who posed as the prostitute in the filmmakers’ undercover sting.

Wonder why the New York Times or Washington Post didn’t think of doing this kind of real journalism? I think you know the answer.

The video shows the pair approaching two women working at the ACORN Baltimore office and asking them for advice on how to set up a prostitution ring involving more than a dozen underage girls from El Salvador. One of the ACORN workers suggests that Giles refer to herself as a “performing artist” on tax forms and declare some of the girls as dependents to receive child tax credits.

“Stop saying prostitution,” the woman, identified by the filmmaker as an ACORN tax expert, tells Giles. The other woman tells them, “You want to keep them clean … make sure they go to school.”

Both woman appear enthusiastic to help. The tape is on YOUTUBE. Google it. 

James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles visited one of ACORN’s New York offices in August, where they picked up handy tips on how to lie on housing forms to cover up a prostitution business (”Honesty is not going to get you the house,” one ACORN official advises) and how to hide cash from their illicit business (”When you buy the house with the backyard, you get a tin…and you bury it down in there…cover it…and put the grass over it…”).

Watch the whole thing at Big Government. This is now the third videotaped sting exposing the ACORN racket’s law-undermining, truth-sabotaging counseling sessions.

If the Census Bureau no longer trusts ACORN to collect data as a result of these videotapes, why is Congress still allowing taxpayer money to be funneled to the ACORN Housing Corporation?

AHC has received an estimated $16 million in taxpayer funds between 1997-2007, according to the Employment Policies Institute.

 ACORN is now managing apartments in Bedford-Stuyvesant for the newly completed Atlantic Avenue Apartments.

 

The video footage — which has been edited and goes to black in some areas — was recorded and posted online Thursday by James O’Keefe, a conservative activist. He was joined on the video by another conservative, Hannah Giles, who posed as the prostitute in the filmmakers’ undercover sting.

The video shows the pair approaching two women working at the ACORN Baltimore office and asking them for advice on how to set up a prostitution ring involving more than a dozen underage girls from El Salvador.

One of the ACORN workers suggests that Giles refer to herself as a “performing artist” on tax forms and declare some of the girls as dependents to receive child tax credits.

 

 

 

 

Governor Sarah Palin, in her Wednesday night speech to 40 million Americans said, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” Sarah hit a grand slam with that one.

 

But what exactly were Barack Obama’s actions as of community organizer in Chicago?

 

It’s been hidden from the news that Obama was a member of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, ACORN. Google ACORN and you may be surprised to find that it is a liberal/socialist organization involved in voter fraud. Look up the lawsuits ACORN is involved in.

 

 

Obama’s community organizing involved training grievance-mongers from ACORN.

Last week, Milwaukee’s top election official announced plans to seek criminal investigatioins of 37 ACORN employees accused voter registration fraud on a massive level.

 

Obama’s campaign apologized for failing to report $800,000 in campaign payments to ACORN. They were “accidently” filed with the Federal Election Committee as money sent to “get-out-the-vote” and “advance work.”

 

The New York Post has more quotes today from upset community organizers. Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, says: “I don’t like seeing the really hard work that goes on in really poor communities being demeaned by cheap politicians.”

 

Hard work such as signing up non U.S. citizens as Democrats with voter cards.

 

The Arkansas connection
You know Acorn. You know the grassroots organization, now a national power, got its start here, led by Wade Rathke (pictured), who spent the group’s formative years wheeling and dealing in Little Rock before moving to New Orleans. The local affiliate remains a powerful voice for poor people.

Depending on your point of view, you’ll be saddened or gladdened to learn this shocking news:

The New York Times reports today that founder Rathke’s brother embezzled $1 million from the organization eight years ago and the matter was handled internally.He stayed on the payroll until a month ago, when whistleblowers finally forced him out.

Wade Rathke said the organization had signed a restitution agreement with his brother in which his family agreed to repay the amount embezzled in exchange for confidentiality.

Wade Rathke stepped down as Acorn’s chief organizer on June 2, the same day his brother left, but he remains chief organizer for Acorn International L.L.C.

He said the decision to keep the matter secret was not made to protect his brother but because word of the embezzlement would have put a “weapon” into the hands of enemies of Acorn, a liberal group that is a frequent target of conservatives who object to its often strident advocacy on behalf of low- and moderate-income families and workers.

Wade Rathke said he learned of the problem when an employee of Citizens Consulting alerted him about suspicious credit card transactions. An internal investigation uncovered inappropriate charges on the cards that led back to his brother.

“Clearly, this was an uncomfortable, conflicting and humiliating situation as far as my family and I were concerned,” he said, “and so the real decisions on how to handle it had to be made by others.”

If one of the prosperous businesses or public officials Rathke and Acorn have bedeviled and humiliated over the years had offered this alibi for wrongdoing, they would be in Lompoc right now.

Nancy Pelosi Extreme Makeover Working — (Not Her Facelifts) Her Transformation from San Francisco Liberal Progressive to Kindly Grandma, Italian Catholic

By Mick Gregory

Newt Gingrich has exposed the lies of Nancy Pelosi and is calling her actions the worst example of political power and damaging lies he has ever experienced in his lifetime. Watch the new Democrat one-party system ignor Pelosi’s poison and turn it on the few remaining Republicans.

 

 

Recent Pelosi items in the news

Chris Mathews of “Softball” calls Ms. Pelosi “a knockout.” She is amazing looking for a 68-year-old.

Update: Feb. 25, 2009 (Morning after Obama’s first State of the Union address). 

Pelosi’s face- and eye-lifts are amazing, but her biggest makeover is her political image, from a progressive Democrat/socialist, atheist, wealthy resort owner, to a middle of the road, “working class” Catholic.

 

pelosi1

 

Quite a makeover for newly sworn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as her national image morphed from leader of the San Francisco liberal elite to Italian Catholic mom from Baltimore.

There was her photo-op return to the Little Italy neighborhood where she grew up as Nancy D’Alesandro, the mayor’s daughter. There was the visit to St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, where they still recite Mass in Italian several times a year.

“It’s clear Republicans are reeling today based on her outreach to Italian Catholics who, as we know, have deserted the Democratic Party in the Midwest in droves,” said San Francisco power attorney Joe Cotchett, who was among those attending the Pelosi swearing in.

While the marathon events in the nation’s capital might have resembled a coronation, those most familiar with how Washington works said Pelosi’s time in the spotlight amounted to well-calculated politics that could help her move her agenda in her first 100 days.

“A lot of people don’t know much about her, so this is a chance to fill in her profile and biography so she doesn’t just become the San Francisco liberal,” said San Francisco consultant Chris Lehane, a veteran of the Clinton-Gore White House. “This is the one time when the press will be focusing on it.”

And it may be working.

According to the results of a Rasmussen Reports national phone survey of 800 likely voters, released Friday, Pelosi’s approval rating has jumped to 43 percent — up 19 points from November.

On the other hand, the same poll also found 39 percent of those surveyed still give Pelosi the thumbs-down.

Showing off: In politics as in movies, staging is all-important to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — and his inaugural was no exception.

Produced by Schwarzenegger family friend Carl Bendix, who has done the Academy Awards Governors Ball and other Hollywood events, and emceed by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, the Friday affair was Hollywood through and through — including a last-minute prop to help the gimpy governor.

–Matier & Ross, SF Chronicle

Keep a score card on the liberal mainstream media. Make note that there is never a word about:

Nancy Pelosi’s age.
The age of her children — in photo-ops it is Pelosi and her youngest, prettiest grand children
Her resort, Napa Valley vineyards, and high-end restaurants and use of non-union and illegal immigrant labor.
Her total support of partial birth abortion.
How she gained the votes from Democrats for first, minority leader and now majority leader.

Notice how the San Francisco reporters go with the spin, calling her a “mom” and not mentioning any of these items.

That’s why citizen journalists are filling the void.

New York Times burried Obama ACORN major donor story before the election

‘New York Times’ Spiked Obama Donor Story

The New York Times building is shown in New York on June 2008. The Times pulled a story about Barack Obama’s campaign ties to ACORN. (Frank Franklin II/Associated Press)

Congressional Testimony: ‘Game-Changer’ Article Would Have Connected Campaign With ACORN

Constitutional crisis.
This story was published in the Philadelphia Bulletin. Did you see this in your local favorite newspaper?
By Michael P. Tremoglie, The Bulletin
Monday, March 30, 2009

 

A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a “a game changer.” 

Heather Heidelbaugh, who represented the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee in the lawsuit against the group, recounted for the ommittee what she had been told by a former ACORN worker who had worked in the group’s Washington, D.C. office. The former worker, Anita Moncrief, told Ms. Heidelbaugh last October, during the state committee’s litigation against ACORN, she had been a “confidential informant for several months to The New York Times reporter, Stephanie Strom.”

Ms. Moncrief had been providing Ms. Strom with information about ACORN’s election activities. Ms. Strom had written several stories based on information Ms. Moncrief had given her.

During her testimony, Ms. Heidelbaugh said Ms. Moncrief had told her The New York Times articles stopped when she revealed that the Obama presidential campaign had sent its maxed-out donor list to ACORN’s Washington, D.C. office.

Ms. Moncrief told Ms. Heidelbaugh the campaign had asked her and her boss to “reach out to the maxed-out donors and solicit donations from them for Get Out the Vote efforts to be run by ACORN.”

Ms. Heidelbaugh then told the congressional panel:

“Upon learning this information and receiving the list of donors from the Obama campaign, Ms. Strom reported to Ms. Moncrief that her editors at The New York Times wanted her to kill the story because, and I quote, “it was a game changer.”’

Ms. Moncrief made her first overture to Ms. Heidelbaugh after The New York Times allegedly spiked the story — on Oct. 21, 2008. Last fall, she testified under oath about what she had learned about ACORN from her years in its Washington, D.C. office. Although she was present at the congressional hearing, she did not testify.

U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., the ranking Republican on the committee, said the interactions between the Obama campaign and ACORN, as described by Ms. Moncrief, and attested to before the committee by Ms. Heidelbaugh, could possibly violate federal election law, and “ACORN has a pattern of getting in trouble for violating federal election laws.”  

He also voiced criticism of The New York Times.

“If true, The New York Times is showing once again that it is a not an impartial observer of the political scene,” he said. “If they want to be a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party, they should put Barack Obama approves of this in their newspaper.”

Academicians and journalism experts expressed similar criticism of the Times.

When newspapers start reporting the news, and both sides to an issue, letting us make up my own mind, rather than having it influenced by the unionist/socialist agenda, we will start reading again…until then, God save the Internet.

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. 

Sleepless in Seattle — The Post-Intelligencer shuts down — lives online

Last week: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has told employees they “might” lose their jobs as soon as next week after a deadline for Hearst Corp to sell the newspaper passed last Monday. 

The news is out, the  146-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer prints its last edition tomorrow.

The P-I will continue to “live” on the Internet with a much smaller staff.

I like it. It’s a mix of current and archival. Mikey likes it!

http://www.seattlepi.com 

Owner, the Hearst Corp. reports it has failed to find a buyer for the newspaper, which it put up for sale in January after nine years of financial losses. There are no more suckers left with enough trust fund money to waste.

The end of the print edition leaves The Seattle Times as the only major daily newspaper in the city. 

The TV stations will be there tonight and tomorrow capturing the historic day.

Seattle has been counting TV, and now the internet as their favorite news sources. Do you think people will wait for the Seattle Times to find out?

 

 

Last week:

Read between the lines: Boxes for removing personal items and shredding bins are scheduled to be delivered to the PI floors this week.

Clues suggest Hearst plans to close the P-I shortly

Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports on its own demise
Just after Hearst spokesman Paul Luthringer claimed that “we are still evaluating our options,” Post-Intelligencer staffers learned that boxes and bins are scheduled to be delivered to the newsroom later this week — some for materials to be taken home, others for notes that require shredding. “It would be nice to have some clarity,” says business reporter Joseph Tartakoff. “It’s really hard to plan your work when you’re not sure if you’ll be around the next day.”

The New York Times sold off the majority of its new sky scraper in New York and has a long-term rent agreement. The company no longer owns the roof over its head.

Next, McClatchy announced massive layoffs, and Hearst’s Seattle PI is about to turn into a shadow, online only edition. Meanwhile, back at Hearst’s figurative flagship, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Media Guild has accepted big cuts just to keep most jobs. The Denver Rocky Mountain News shut down a week or so ago. 

McClatchy Co. is shearing another 1,600 jobs in a cost-cutting spree that has clipped nearly one-third of the newspaper publisher’s work force in less than a year.

The latest reduction in payroll announced Monday follows through on the Sacramento-based company’s previously disclosed plans to lower its expenses by as much as $110 million over the next year as its revenue evaporates amid a devastating recession.

The layoffs will start before April. No fooling.

 Several of McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers, including The Sacramento Bee and The Kansas City Star, already have decided how many workers will be shown the door. Close to 2,000. 

 

Pew Research report
Just 43 percent  of Americans say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community “a lot,” according to a Pew Research poll. And even fewer, only 33 percent say they will miss their local newspaper if it folds.

Back to the West Coast

Negotiators for the Guild and the San Francisco Chronicle reached a tentative agreement Monday night changes to the collective bargaining agreement in line with cost cuts planned by Hearst. 

The agreement will require approval by Chronicle Unit Guild members. (They will approve or lose their jobs wholesale). 

A ratification meeting will be scheduled as early as Thursday of this week. Time and place will be announced on Tuesday as soon as a large enough facility can be secured.

In view of the latest terms agreed today, the Guild Negotiating Committee recommends membership approval.

The terms reached late Monday include expanded management ability to lay off employees without regard to seniority. All employees who are discharged in a layoff or who accept voluntary buyouts are guaranteed two weeks’ pay per year of service up to a maximum of one year, plus company-paid health care for the severance term, even in the event of a shutdown – which today’s agreement is designed to avoid.

Guild membership will remain a condition of continued employment for all employees. However, new hires in certain advertising sales positions will be given the option of membership, even though they will retain Guild protection under the contract.

On-callers will be limited to no more than 10 percent in any classification or department.

Pension changes are not part of this agreement, but are being discussed by pension authorities and must be implemented under terms of the Pension Protection Act, due to the recent declines in investment markets. Because those changes may affect the decisions of many members concerning buyouts, we are attempting to reach some key understandings now as to the nature of the changes and when they will take effect.

A lunch-hour meeting on Wednesday March 11, with our pension plan’s lawyer will be held at the Guild Office, 433 Natoma, Third Floor Conference Room.

A bulletin summarizing all the proposed contract changes will be issued Tuesday. A set of the complete proposed amendments will be available on the Guild’s Web site (mediaworkers.org) as soon as possible.

Management is seeking to change the union contract as part of an attempt to cut costs and keep the paper operating under the ownership of the Hearst Corp.

The company said Feb. 24 it would sell or close the paper unless the Guild agreed to changes in the labor agreement in effect through June 2010.

The leaders in the former cash cow industry thought they could just transform to their pages of expensive advertising to Web pages. Sorry. The Web is very competitive and readers will not put up with page after page of ads to follow the news. 

McClatchy is down for the count. The stock is hovering below $1 and will soon be kicked out of the New York Stock Exchange. 

The The Sun of Myrtle Beach and the  Macon Telegraph — McClatchy papers, announced last week that they were outsourcing printing, they joined what one experts are calling the last stage of the dying industry.

Chuck Moozakis, editor-in-chief of Newspapers & Technology, found in a December survey piece that the flight from printing includes mid-sized papers like the two last week, small papers, but also very big ones like the San Francisco Chronicle. Dow Jones has already closed plants in Denver and Chicago and could shutter 10 of the 17 around the country that have printed The Wall Street Journal.

 
“There is a lot of iron sitting out there now,” Moozkis reported.  
“What’s more sobering is the amount of press capacity now available within operations with relatively new presses” like Detroit and Denver. Losing the Rocky Mountain News press run — when it closes (not if) — won’t help, and some of the same impact will come as the two Detroit papers have reduced distribution of a smaller print product most weekdays.
 
 The carbon footprint of newspapers is enormous. At least the unemployed “progressives” can be happy that they are no longer contributing to the worst global warming industry on the planet. 

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? 

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