Journalist Losing Hope for the New Year. He Can’t Get Hired in Chicago.

By Mick Gregory

I’ve been highlighting some items from Joe Grimm “the newspaper recruiter” at the Detroit Free Press and now a daily columnist at Poynter.

Take a look at this poor stiff, who is finding his J-school degree can’t even get him an entry level job at the ring of low-level suburban newspapers in the outskirts of Chicago. He signs his letter “Stymied.”


Why Can’t I Get a Job in Chicago?
Q. I will graduate with a journalism degree in May. I’d like to work in the Chicago area, but have had no luck finding a job.

I’ve freelanced for the Daily Herald, interned at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as well as a specialty magazine and the Milwaukee business weekly. I have extensive experience as editor of a campus newspaper and also have multimedia experience in video, Web and print design.

The Daily Herald seems to have a hiring freeze, the Sun-Times and Tribune are not for entry-level journalists and I never see any job openings listed for the Sun-Times News Group papers in the suburbs or the Northwest Herald. The JS just offered a bunch of buyouts and I haven’t seen many openings yet.

Should I expect to see openings on job boards for any of these papers, or should I be sending my clips and resumes blindly to these papers? Is it realistic for a journalist to have a job lined up months in advance, like business students?

Thank you,

Stymied

Mr. Grimm’s response:
A. It is frustrating, when you have friends who are in business or law, to see them get offers so far in advance. Journalism just doesn’t work that way — especially in recent years, when budgets are more nip and tuck.

Your biggest hurdle is focusing on one of the nation’s most competitive media markets. People who are determined to start their careers in a major city, especially New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Chicago, are trying to compete with veterans who have worked years to get there. For many of them, those cities are home.

Mr. Grimm, Stymied knows that. He is trying to get hired by one of the suburban papers. He doesn’t even have the self worth to send a resume to the Sun Times or Tribune.

How can you look yourself in the mirror? You are lower than a “pre-need” casket salesman.

Mick’s advice: get some real education in IT, engineering, maybe even law, while you work at whatever you can, hopefully on Web projects. Businesses need help with their communications.

Don’t let a bad career choice ruin your whole life. Grimm isn’t going to tell you the truth about the dismal condition of the newspaper industry. Good luck.

Those who create the news, create the present, past and future

Mick Gregory

Those who control the past control the future. Those who control the present control the past.– George Orwell


The past, present and future have been created and controlled by the liberal media for the past 55 years. Now we are finding out that it was LBJ who was the main benificiary and master mind behind JFK’s assassination. It was Democrat LBJ who escaleated the Vietnam War within days of becoming president. Yet, today, becuase of the whitewash by the liberal media, Richard Nixon is remembered as the evil, plotting president. In fact, Nixon got us out of the war. Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, Nixon put a halt to the U.S. use of biological weapons. Who initiated the use of bio weapons? FDR. Who put American citizens in prison camps? FDR.

Remember the Valerie Plame drama? It should have been called the Mrs. Wilson covered for hubby case.

Briefly, she sent her husband Wilson on a government paid trip to Africa to ask a few questions about Iraq agents trying to purchase yellow cake uranium, though they both were both Clinton Democrats and anti-Bush and trying to discredit the CIA Iraq nuclear weapons investigation.

The press made it look like Cheney was trying to discredit and expose a CIA agent. That is very creative news reporting.

Now we know this:
Columnist Robert Novak said Saturday Joe Wilson did not forcefully object to the naming of his CIA operative wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, when Novak spoke to him prior to the publication of a column that sparked a federal investigation and sent White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to jail.
“He was not terribly exercised about it,” Novak said.

Instead, Wilson focused on not being portrayed as simply an opponent of the Iraq war. Wilson also stressed that his wife went by his last name, Wilson, rather than Plame, Novak said.
Novak forcefully defended his handling of the column and the legal wrangling that surrounded the special counsel investigation in a seminar on the CIA leak case at the 2007 Society of Professional Journalists Convention.

“It was an off-hand remark to a question I asked in an interview I requested,” Novak said. “This was not a conspiracy in the federal government to go after Valerie Plame Wilson.”

Novak said he complied with prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s subpoena to testify because his lawyer told him he had no legal grounds to resist, and losing a court fight could erode the legal protections of the press. He noted that, as a syndicated columnist, he had to pay the legal fees himself, to the tune of $160,000. His home newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times, contributed $30,000, he said.

He was surprised when the questioning began, that he was not pressed on his source. The reason, he said, was that Fitzgerald already knew that it was then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

At one point, he recalled, former White House aide Kenneth Duberstein called Novak on Armitage’s behalf, asking if Armitage was the source.

“I said, ‘I can’t give you that information,’” Novak said with a grin.

Novak said his critics, including those in the press, have attacks his ethics, when in fact their quarrel was with his ideology.

“I was stunned by how little editorial support I received. I was under assault from editorial writers from across the country,” Novak said. “It is startling how little is known about this case by the people who are commenting on it.”

He said his case shows the need for a shield law like the one approved last week by a Senate committee. But he added, “Is it not hypocritical for my critics to support a law that would have saved me from three years of confrontation?”

The liberal media no longer controls the past with citizen journalists.

The Media Mob Snobs.

The battle for dominance between the mainstream media and citizen journalists is boiling. Some have their panties in a bunch.

By Mick Gregory

James Lewis at American Thinker, penned this gem about “The Media Mob”:

Like other unaccountable elites, they are monumentally fickle, self-indulgent, snobbish, vain, vulgar, entitled, incestuous, arrogant, ignorant, unprincipled, hysterical, and demagogic. They sound like a unified chorus for the same reasons that street mobs run as a group — because by and large, they don’t dare to stand alone.

Pinchy — Time to fly back to the Aspen Institute to discuss how much more objective the press is than blogs. Could you pass me that organic Grey Pupon?

James Lewis nailed it. Congratulations!

Grim future for Journo with 25 years in the newspaper business

By Mick Gregory

The Dead End Career Realization.

A long-in-the-tooth journalist just wrote a newspaper recruiter with an unfortunate moniker — Joe Grimm — who writes a column at the Poynter Institute. Don’t believe me? Google Joe Grimm.

Is Age Hurting My Job Search?
You think? More than that, it’s the salary you think you deserve. You should know newspapers still have a stream of ambitious, gullible, journalism (J-school) graduates who just spent their parents’ nest egg on a very worthless degree, and are willing to work for $10 an hour. In fact, interns are willing to work for free.

I’m looking at a great 25-year career with honors and a dead end as far as job prospects. In a narrowly focused newsroom field, I’ve got more experience than most candidates, and I’ve got a resume to match, yet for the past two years (I’m temporarily out of the newsroom), I’ve been unable to land a top-level management job. Holding out for management?

Most recently, I was assured that I’d “be back” soon following a great interview process, only to be called weeks later — by the recruiter, not the editor — to say they had chosen someone with more experience … a stretch, since I was aware of the other candidates.

So tell me. Is it age? Or being out of the newsroom? In searching for answers, I’ve asked for feedback from editors, one of whom replied that it’s all about fit. Others didn’t respond. Take a look in the mirror; is that a comb-over? How much exercise have you been getting, chunky?

Is it me? I’m thinking that professional etiquette would at least be paid from one manager to another, even if one is a candidate. And certainly the decency of a telephone call or a response.

In our profession (he thinks journalism is a profession!) as communicators, it seems we are the great mis-communicators. Or perhaps, as has happened to many strong newsroom voices, I’ve become one of those led out to pasture.

So, Mr. Grimm… what’s your recommendation? Do I simply resign myself to having reaped the best years and sit quietly in the meadow? Or do I continue to apply for everything that comes up and risk the chance of being “one of those …”?

Need your advice.

Thanks,

Stuck…

Grimm’s answer: Of course, I can’t tell you what the problem is on the basis of your well-written note, but I can give you some things to think about.

First of all, if age is the issue, no one who wants to stay out of court will tell you that. It likely is a lot more complicated than a straight age issue, though, as it sounds like you have a lot of working years in front of you.

Employers will seldom get real honest with unsuccessful job candidates unless they see them as well-suited for another job down the road. Explanations can be awkward and time-consuming, and they often lead to defensive arguments from candidates who feel they are being attacked at a time when they are vulnerable.

The person who gave you the vague answer about “fit” may be the closest you have come to the truth. “Fit” usually refers to a personality mismatch and may refer to qualities such as outgoingness, aggressiveness, entrepreneurial skills and a host of other characteristics.

Talk to former employers and other colleagues — people who know you well and who will be honest with you. It is too soon for you to give up.

Fellow bloggers, what kind of advice would you give “Stuck”?

My advice is, “start practicing this line in a mirror, ‘you would look great behind the wheel of this cream puff Honda Civic!'”

Stuck, I have a question for you. With 25 years in the biz, you may well have a child about to enter college. Would you encourage your son or daughter to pursue a degree in print or any other mainstream media?

LA Times scandal just the tip of the iceburg

By Mick Gregory

Society of Hispanic Editors poster boy Andres Martinez dethroned from his prestigious appointment.

Mr. Bill Boyarsky, who retired from the Los Angeles Times in 2001, would like to see media reporter James Rainey and a team of top LAT reporters examine past Current sections and editorials to see whether they’ve been influenced by publicist Allen Mayer and his associate, Kelly Mullens, who has been dating editorial page editor Andres Martinez.

Executive editor Andres Martinez is forced to “buy the farm;” steps down as editor of the LA Times Sunday editorial section.

Look at this “holier than thou” memo from the shamed executive who is acutally putting his resume out to the public. It’s a “situation wanted” ad.

…. This event makes my continued tenure as Los Angeles Times editorial page editor untenable. The person in this job needs to have an unimpeachable integrity, and Hiller’s decision amounts to a vote of no confidence in my continued leadership.

I regret that my failure to anticipate and adequately address the perception of a conflict in this matter has placed Hiller — whom I like and respect a great deal, incidentally — and my colleagues on the editorial board in such an awkward position, not to mention Brian Grazer and Kelly Mullens, who did nothing wrong here but have been caught up in all this. Nick Goldberg and Michael Newman are two of the smartest, most talented people I have worked with, and any lapses in judgment here were mine, not theirs.

I accept responsibility for creating this appearance problem, though I also maintain that the newspaper is overreacting today. We are depriving readers of an interesting, serious section that is beyond reproach, and unfairly insulting the individuals we approached to participate in this guest editor program by telling them it is a corrupt concept. How we come about this decision when 24 hours ago the managing editor of this newspaper was assuring me he didn’t see a story after I walked him through the facts, and while Hiller maintains we did nothing wrong, is a bit perplexing. In trying to keep up with the blogosphere, and boasting about their ability to go after their own, navel-gazing newsrooms run the risk of becoming parodies of themselves.

Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a newspaper can enter into is to have the same people involved in news coverage running opinion pages. I am proud of the fact that Jeff Johnson, Dean Baquet and I fully separated the opinion pages from the newsroom at the Times. I accept my share of the responsibility for placing the Times in this predicament, but I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom’s agenda, and I strongly urge the present and future leadership of the paper to resist the cries to revisit the separation between news and opinion that we have achieved.

We’re a long ways removed from the fall of 2004 when Michael Kinsley and John Carroll lured me out to the West Coast, with promises of investing more resources on the LAT opinion pages and web site. Some of the retrenchment is understandable given the business fundamentals, but I have been alarmed recently by the company’s failure to acknowledge that our opinion journalism, central to the paper’s role as a virtual town square for community debate and dialogue, should not be crudely scaled back as part of across-the-board cuts. Decisions being made now to cut the one part of the paper that is predominantly about ideas and community voices go too far in my view, and are shortsighted.

Still, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last two years. —Andrés

——

This brings to mind a former icon of “Bagdad by the Bay” who’s girl friend was a PR executive who would hit up celebrity restaurants around town: i.e., Stars, Postrio, Cafe Lulu, Greens, Boulevard, One, and Farallon. If they retained her services, “like magic,” some nice plugs would appear in the popular column.

I heard this from an executive chef.

Citizen journalism at your service.

Major Media Fund Will End Race-Based Journalism Programs With Colleges. A Settlement to a Federal Lawsuit.

By Mick Gregory

White students were excluded until today. Race-based affirmative action program ends after 40 years.

The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, a nonprofit organization supported by the Wall Street Journal, has agreed to cease operating summer journalism programs solely for minority students in response to a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group critical of affirmative action.

As part of a legal settlement announced today, the fund — which had been operating more than 20 program for minority high-school students in connection with colleges — agreed to open up the programs to members of any racial or ethnic group and to rename the programs to drop references to minority members. The fund has been awarding students of color only for four decades with the goal of inspiring minority students to pursue careers in newspaper journalism.

Today’s settlement comes in response to a federal lawsuit filed in September by the Washington-based Center for Individual Rights. The lawsuit challenged a summer program for minority student journalists operated by the newspaper fund, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Media General Corporation, publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The suit alleged that the program’s race-exclusive eligibility criteria violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law, as well as various federal civil-rights statutes, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial and ethnic discrimination by educational institutions that receive federal funds.

The plaintiff in the case had been Emily Smith, a junior at Monacan High School, in Virginia’s Chesterfield County, who submitted an application to participate in the Virginia Commonwealth summer program last March. The lawsuit alleged that Virginia Commonwealth initially notified Ms. Smith that she had been accepted for the workshop but then rescinded its offer after one of its faculty members called Ms. Smith, asked her race, and learned that she was white.

As part of the settlement, Virginia Commonwealth agreed to offer Ms. Smith admission to its workshop for 2007 and agreed that, if she accepted, she would “not be discriminated against on the basis of her race or because she filed the lawsuit.”

The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund’s guidelines for newspapers and colleges involved in its summer workshops previously had said that “each participant must be a minority (defined as U.S. citizens who are black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, American Indian, or Alaskan Native).”

Among the other colleges involved in the race-exclusive programs last summer were Florida A&M, Kent State, Marquette, Monmouth, New York, San Francisco State, and Seattle Universities, and the Universities of Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Missouri, and Texas at El Paso.

In announcing the settlement of the lawsuit, Terence J. Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, said, “Virginia Commonwealth University deserves credit for taking the lead in promptly settling this case. Today’s settlement saves the taxpayers significant legal expense and ensures that this summer’s programs will be open to all, regardless of race.”

Major Brand Survey Shows Citgo Crashing

By Mick Gregory

What the mainstream news either can’t or will not provide. The cost of this oil industry report is $150. That’s about how much a reporter costs a day following Hillary and Obama around.
Where are the followup stories on Citgo? Why not report on why 7-Eleven, Circle K and Petro Express dropped Citgo? Have they lost 3,000 or is it closer to 5,000 locations?

More than 90 brands were ranked in this year’s Brand Power rankings including Mobil, Exxon, Stewarts, Marathon Ashland, Citgo, Cenex, Sunoco, Rotten Robbie, BJ’s, USA Petroleum, Safeway, Phillips 66, Sinclair, Kum & Go, Aloha, RaceTrac, Admiral, Home Depot, Caseys, Speedway, Kwik Trip, PDQ, Irving, Tesoro, Rutters, Gas America, Gate, Mapco, Getty, Gulf, Circle K, Weigel and more.

The Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), the leading authority on wholesale and retail gas prices in the U.S., has put together the most comprehensive scorecard on the entire retail petroleum landscape. The OPIS Retail Year in Review and 2007 Profit Outlook is a must-have 125 page almanac for anyone involved in the downstream petroleum industry.

The report includes the annual OPIS Brand Power results, a ranking system based on how much of a premium one brand is able to extract against its direct competition at the pump.

On a national basis Chevron proved to be king for the third straight year. The average Chevron station was able to charge 2.15cts/gal more than its competition. Shell was second followed by Lukoil, BP, Texaco, Fina, Mobil, Exxon, 76 and Pure.

At the opposite end of the spectrum was Arco which priced its pumps nearly 10cts/gal below its competitors. The Arco discount was more substantial than Costco, Sam’s and BJ’s, the three largest wholesale clubs in the country. Most of Arco’s business is company operated or dealer tankwagon, but if measured against local racks, Arco sites fetched very low implied margins.

On a regional basis, top honors continued to go to major flags except one region.

New England: Texaco was the most powerful player with the average station pricing 3.1cts/gal above its competitors. Shell was next followed by Mobil, Exxon and Sunoco.
Hess was the most aggressive in the region, even more aggressive than supermarket chain Stop & Shop.
Mid-Atlantic: Shell, Mobil, Lukoil, and Exxon were in the top four, while Wawa, Xtra Fuel, Delta Sonic, Royal Farms and Kroger were in the bottom five.
Southeast: Chevron was also a regional winner in the Southeast. The more aggressive stations in the region included Flying J, Costco, Liberty , Sam’s and Sheetz which recently opened some sites in North Carolina.
Great Lakes : It was independent brands in this region that took the top 2 spots. Gas City and Fast Stop were best in the region which were comprised of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Flying J, Meijer, Wal-Mart, Murphy USA, Thornton Oil, and Kroger were ranked as some of the chains with the lowest pump prices.
Midwest : BP took the top spot in the Midwest which also saw Valero and Fina crack the Top five. The top 5 most aggressive brands included Murphy USA, Quik Trip, Kwik Shop, Mirastar and 7-Eleven.
Southwest: The 76 flag was tops in the Southwest. The most aggressive supermarket in the region was Kroger followed by Albertsons, HEB and Safeway. The data also indicates that Costco priced more aggressively than Sam’s by about 3 cts/gal.
Rockies: Chevron once again obtained a regional championship and Conoco cracked a regional top-five for the first time this year. Sam’s Costco, Mirastar, King Soopers, Flying J, and Maverik were the most aggressive sites in the region.
West Coast: Texaco was number one in the West Coast followed by Chevron. Costco and Arco were the two cheapest pricing brands on the Pacific.
In addition, the report takes an in-depth look at profit margins on a national, regional and market-by-market basis. It reveals the six annual trends in the market, (the winter high, winter sell-off, Petronoia rally, Petronoia ebb-tide, demand/storm rally and the autumnal collapse) and examines how each market in the eight regions of the country reacted to those trends.

It is clear to industry analysts that Citgo is in its last months as a brand. Not even Joe Kennedy shilling for Hugo Chavez’ brand, can help stem the market losses.

Why don’t your major newspaper business sections cover this subject?

New York Times Empire Crumbling — Road Trip! Publisher Meets and Greets at Davos, Switzerland!

By Mick Gregory

“I don’t know if we will be printing in five years, and you know what, I don’t care,” said Pinchy Suzberger, New York Times publisher.

You know what Pinchy? Most of us don’t care either!


sulzberger_jr_nyt03.jpg

Profits at the Times have been declining for going on five years, and the Times company’s market capitalization has been crumbling faster.

The Times wrote down the value of its New England Media Group—which includes The Boston Globe—by $814 million, resulting in the shocking quarterly drop announced last week. Oopsie!

Yet, as they hold “town hall” meetings with their working stiffs at the Boston Globe, the editors made room to hire Dean Baquet and hand him the Washington DC throne. Baquet, you may recall, is the executive editor who refused to make any more cuts at the LA Times which has a 950 person newsroom.

But Mr. Baquet, you just joined a paper that has cut some 150 journalists in the past year? No problems with that, eh?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Janet Robinson’s pep talk: first impression

Word is, the Times Co. president/CEO faced a very tough crowd at Morrissey Boulevard today. Here’s what Media Log has heard so far:
It was a very hostile meeting. I would say most of the hostility came from the classified ad people who’re being outsourced to India. This woman–her name doesn’t matter–got up and said, she’s been there 37 years, she loves the company, and basically, how can you do this? The paper’s been cut back; we’re kicked out; is this corporate greed or what?

So Janet Robinson right off the bat had to handle this highly indignant, well-spoken classified ad person.

(Note: classified sales people are subhuman in the eyes of the far superior editorial department, so the surprisingly well spoken woman doesn’t get a name).

And she just kept on talking about how they’d had to make very difficult decisions, they wouldn’t be doing them if it wasn’t necessary. That was basically the theme: in order to save the village, we have to destroy it.

The people really kept at her about the outsourcing–that was really the main theme. Dan Totten [the Globe union head] said it was appalling and disgusting, and when did they make the decision–because let’s face it, we just agreed to this contract, and right after that they announced this outsourcing. Was that bad-faith bargaining? And [Robinson] never really gave an answer. She said [the outsourcing] had been under consideration for at least a year, but they didn’t make the final decision until the terrible results of the final quarter were known. They didn’t have a choice.

Somebody said, why do you still want us as part of [the Times Co.] portfolio? And she went on about, you’re a beacon of great journalism, people want to buy you and I admire their taste, but you’re a very important part of the company.
—thephoenix.com

Morgan Stanley, has set out on a campaign that could cost Sulzberger control over the paper. The New York Times is one of a unique few that have a two-tiered stock plan. The family holds a fraction of the stock, but they are voting stocks, the majority of the stockholders do not have a vote on decisions of the company. They ivory tower “executive editors” at the Times have been making horrible business decisions. And Morgan Stanley has been communicating the reasons why.

The details are by AFX International Focus — The New York Times has refused to list on its proxy a proposal from a Morgan Stanley investment fund that called for putting the company’s two-class share structure to a vote.

That system, which has existed since before the company went public in 1969, cements control of the company with the Ochs-Sulzberger family. The company says the control is necessary to protect the editorial integrity of the newspaper.

The Morgan Stanley fund had proposed the measure in November after expressing dissatisfaction with the company’s share price and what it called a lack of accountability to public shareholders.

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for the Times, said the Times rejected the proposal last month, with the blessing of the Securities and Exchange Commission, after determining that the issues being raised in the proposal couldn’t be voted on by holders of the company’s publicly traded stock.

Those shares, which are called Class A stock, have limited voting rights, such as electing 30 percent of the company’s directors, the approval of certain acquisitions and other matters, she said. The more powerful voting rights belong to the Class B shares, which are almost entirely controlled by the Sulzbergers.

The company rejected the proposal last December, Mathis said, but the news became public late Tuesday in a regulatory filing made by Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

And Mr. Sulzberger had to get away. He jumped on a jet to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. Remember, that’s where Senator John Kerry called the USA a pariah to the civilized world?

Then they fit in some skiing at one of the ritziest resorts in the world.

What began as a casual chat ended in a fascinating glimpse into Sulzberger’s world, and how he sees the future of the news business.

By Eytan Avriel of Haaretz.com

Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years?

“I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either,” he says.

Sulzberger is focusing on how to best manage the transition from print to Internet.

“The Internet is a wonderful place to be, and we’re leading there,” he points out.

The Times, in fact, has doubled its online readership to 1.5 million a day to go along with its 1.1 million subscribers for the print edition.

Sulzberger says the New York Times is on a journey that will conclude the day the company decides to stop printing the paper. That will mark the end of the transition. It’s a long journey, and there will be bumps on the road, says the man at the driving wheel, but he doesn’t see a black void ahead.

Asked if local papers have a future, Sulzberger points out that the New York Times is not a local paper, but rather a national one based in New York that enjoys more readers from outside, than within, the city.

Classifieds have long been a major source of income to the press, but the business is moving to the Internet.

Sulzberger agrees, but what papers lose, Web sites gain. Media groups can develop their online advertising business, he explains. Also, because Internet advertising doesn’t involve paper, ink and distribution, companies can earn the same amount of money even if it receives less advertising revenue.

Really? What about the costs of development and computerization?

“These costs aren’t anywhere near what print costs,” Sulzberger says. “The last time we made a major investment in print, it cost no less than $1 billion. Site development costs don’t grow to that magnitude.”

The New York Times recently merged its print and online news desks. Did it go smoothly, or were there ruffled feathers? Which team is leading the way today?

“You know what a newspaper’s news desk is like? It’s like the emergency room at a hospital, or an office in the military. Both organizations are very goal-oriented, and both are very hard to change,” Sulzberger says.

Once change begins, it happens quickly, so the transition was difficult, he says. “But once the journalists grasped the concept, they flipped and embraced it, and supported the move.” That included veteran managers, too.

How are you preparing for changes to the paper that are dictated by the Internet?

“We live in the Internet world. We have, for example, five people working in a special development unit whose only job is to initiate and develop things related to the electronic world – Internet, cellular, whatever comes.

The average age of readers of the New York Times print edition is 42, Sulzberger says, and that hasn’t changed in 10 years. The average age of readers of its Internet edition is 37, which shows that the group is also managing to recruit young readers for both the printed version and Web site.

Also, the Times signed a deal with Microsoft to distribute the paper through a software program called Times Reader, Sulzberger says. The software enables users to conveniently read the paper on screens, mainly laptops. “I very much believe that the experience of reading a paper can be transfered to these new devices.”

Will it be free?

No, Sulzberger says. If you want to read the New York Times online, you will have to pay.

In the age of bloggers, what is the future of online newspapers and the profession in general? There are millions of bloggers out there, and if the Times forgets who and what they are, it will lose the war, and rightly so, according to Sulzberger. “We are curators, curators of news. People don’t click onto the New York Times to read blogs. They want reliable news that they can trust,” he says.

“We aren’t ignoring what’s happening. We understand that the newspaper is not the focal point of city life as it was 10 years ago.

“Once upon a time, people had to read the paper to find out what was going on in theater. Today there are hundreds of forums and sites with that information,” he says. “But the paper can integrate material from bloggers and external writers. We need to be part of that community and to have dialogue with the online world.”

And while on community, the scandal about Jayson Blair, the reporter caught plagiarizing and fabricating, hurt the brand, not the business, he says. Blair was forced to quit in May 2003.

You’re one of the few papers that continues to print on broadsheet, which people consider to be too big and clumsy. Until when?

“Until when? The New York Times has no intention of changing that,” Sulzberger promises. At any rate, transitioning from broadsheet to tabloid would be prohibitively expensive, he says.

If you own any of those secondary NY Times stocks, I think it’s time to sell.

Molly Ivins — The Texas Liberal Icon Has Died. Get Ready for the Mother of All Obits. Updated.

By Mick Gregory

Molly Ivins was the Texas Democrat party’s biggest supporter for 40 years. Newspapers always deliver big obits of their own, but when they are uber-liberal “celebrity” columnists, get ready for a state funeral pageant.

Although the press is fond of labeling FOX News journalists and nearly all Republicans “right-wing,” they rarely call even the most liberal journalist or Democrat left-wing.

But not so for Molly Ivins. Ivins was a self-described leftist agitator. She made her living as the Texas Democrats’ pit bull.

—————–

Update: Sunday, February 4, 2007
Every day we have seen more updates on the late Molly Ivins. The journalists who have “touched her robes,” or sat at her feet and heard her anti-Reagan, Bush bashing, Arnold scorn (she said he looked like a condom filled with walnuts) one-liners.

James T. Campbell, at the Houston Chronicle, had his little brush with famous Ivans when she volunteered to speak at a conference of the National Association of Black Journalists. (One has to wonder about associations based on skin color).

For nearly 45 minutes, she captivated the audience with her salty humor and delicious tidbits about Texas politics and politicians. She saved the day. She was my heroine.

Sill, I was embarrassed. The conference had no budget to speak of, so I couldn’t even offer her a small honorarium. She settled for gas money, a couple of drinks and my company at the hotel bar.”

molly-ivins-rip.jpg

Read “The Mother of All Obits,” today in your daily newspaper. In The Houston Chronicle, she gets front page play today, a 2-col. photo with a jump to page four, about 80 column inches with “pull-quotes” and photo of her as an “intern” with the paper in 1966.

“I’ll remember sunsets, rivers, hills, plains, the Gulf, woods, a thousand beers in a thousand joints, and sunshine and laughter. And people…Mostly I’ll remember people.” — her farewell column to Texas Observer readers in 1976, when she took a job with the New York Times.

She was fired by the New York Times six years later, “because she didn’t show due respect and reverence to the great dignity…”

Andy Ivins, brother to late columnist Molly Ivins, recalled his sister smashing a beer can on the deck of the family’s boat in New York to the puzzlement of those on board.

He also remembered his sister disliking UT fraternities but devouring the beer they dispensed. His stories set the tone for Ivins’ memorial service, where those in attendance seemed determined not to focus on her passing, but on the unorthodox qualities that defined her as a friend, party girl and liberal megaphone.

Can you imagine being too liberal for the New York Times?

I met her in 1982 at Times Mirror‘s Dallas Times Herald. I was in my early twenties, fresh out of college and as promotion manager, advertised the super stars like Ivans. She was the headliner of the LA Time’s liberal journalism expansion into Dallas, Houston and Denver. She got top billing. Her face was on billboards and the sides of delivery trucks, and her quotes in radio ads. Her left wing, in-your-face rants may have helped sink each of those “left coast” papers in time. Only the Denver Post survives today, because of a Joint Operating Agreement for failing newspapers, with the Rocky Mountain News.

Her resume reads, “After the Times Herald folded, she joined the Fort Worth Star Telegram.”

Correction: The Times Herald didn’t fold. It was purchased by the Dallas Morning News and turned into a parking lot.

It wasn’t Ms. Ivan’s fault. Her anti-American rants is what she did. Her attacks on Ronald Reagan and the conservative values of Dallas readers caused a mass exodus of circulation and advertisers from the Times Herald to the Morning News. The same thing happened in Houston and Denver. Who knew? Editors still don’t get it.

One of her repeated gems was: “Ronald Reagan was so dumb he couldn’t pour water out of a boot if the directions were written on the heel.”

The Minneapolis Tribune hired her as its first female police beat reporter, and she claimed one of her proudest moments of her journalism career was when the department named its mascot – a pig – in her honor. Funny stuff. By the way, The Minneapolis Tribune, a well-known liberal New York Times wannabe, and was dumped off on private investors just a month ago.

It wasn’t the publisher’s fault, Thomas McCartin at the Times Herald was a Times Mirror Company (TMC) man all the way. His initials (TMC) allowed him to have custom monograms on his cuffs, stenciled into glass doors and in the marble. McCartin wouldn’t argue with Otis Chandler’s top editors’ plans. It was the editorial executives who had the vision that a socialist, poison pen columnist would increase readership in conservative Texas and Colorado. They were out to show the establishment who was boss.

Tom McCartin was a marketing, community events promoter of “Dallas, City of The Arts” and jazzy new sections publisher. He switched the paper from a blue collar afternoon paper to a morning, middle- and upper-middle class paper (on the surface) through promotion, almost overnight. He may have known about the liberal-snob link before the rest of the mainstream media. McCartin was a marketing genius. He didn’t dwell on the leftist takeover of the Times Herald’s editorial department. He was used to that, having worked at the LA Times and for a time, the Washington Post. Ken Johnson, the executive editor of the Dallas Times Herald also came from the Washington Post. David Broder — the famous lefty who is a regular on “Face the Nation” and other Sunday morning political shows actually had an office at the Times Herald for a stint. I promoted him too. We had a party at the downtown Dallas paper where liberal heavy hitters gathered. I even have a picture of me with Martha Graham, publisher/owner of the Washington Post. But I digress.

Johnson “knew” that Ivins was his kind of journalist. The editorial department was well funded at this boom time and there were layers of managing editors.

Here’s a little piece from an editor, Jim Schutze at the time:
…There were six or seven assistant city editors, a city editor and half a dozen people with the words “managing editor” somewhere in their titles sitting around the desk.
I harrumphed for attention, then said, “I have written a column for tomorrow’s newspaper that I am worried about. It’s a fairly personal attack on a wealthy and powerful citizen of the city, known to be litigious, and I fear that it may be libelous. I worry that the column, in its present form, may harm the paper. Would any one of you be willing just to read behind me on it before I send it to the printers?”
No one moved. There was a long silence, They all kept their eyes glued to each other or to their computer screens. I refused to move. I waited. Finally one of them whirled around and held up his hands before his face with the two index fingers in the sign of the cross, in the gesture used to ward off vampires.

Schutze was showing a friend that he was free to print anything he wanted and attack the big shots at will. That’s the environment that Molly Ivins worked in for a few years, anyway. The paper’s enemies — and even some of its liberal friends in the Democrat and black communities — closed in on the Times Herald editorial slant.

There were jabs by Ivins and others about “lavish holiday parties” by builders who were overcharging for their new homes, the same story on the evil new car dealers. The home builders and auto dealers simply pulled their advertising from the Times Herald and put it in the more conservative Morning News.

As ad revenues fell, editors were less able to defend the journalist “foot soldiers” from the Dallas establishment’s heavy weights. In 1984, the paper finally gave in to critics and Molly Ivins was kicked-off the metro section front page. Molly was still allowed a fairly visible spot on the Op Ed Page, but she had to get out of Dallas and move to Austin and she had to stop writing about the business leaders in Dallas. Ken Johnson left with a golden handshake from McCartin and Chandler and started a chain of weekly newspapers called Westward Communications. That chain actually got back to basics and covered local news. Johnson learned his lessson about letting the rabid left wingers destroy the advertising base.

Ivans was a diehard liberal. She boasted about that. She was at nearly all the fancy fundraisers with her gal pal, the former governor, Ann Richards. She hung out at with Dan Rather and Jim Hightower at fundraisers in lawyers private mansions around Texas.

Ivins had a reputation as something of a partyer, and, until her health declined, she hosted at her Austin home monthly gatherings of writers, Marxists, druggies and rabble-rousers.

She was a colorful writer. It’s just too bad she didn’t spread some of her talent and power of the press to attacks on LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Ann Richards, Hilly and Bill Clinton. Maybe the Houston Post and Dallas Times Herald would still be around today.

Ivans was actually born in Carmel-Monterey, California and grew up in Houston’s River Oaks. (That’s where Ken Lay used to live). She attended Smith College, her mother’s and grandmother’s alma mater. Her father was a rich corporate lawyer and a Republican.

She put on persona that she came from the piney woods of East Texas. Now you know that she has a lot in common with Democrat leaders, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Diane Fienstien, Teddy Kennedy, perhaps even fed with a silver spoon.

She missed her calling, that was some act she put on. RIP.

——————–

Visit the Wonkette to see a liberal point of view. Like which conservative columnist should die next.

http://wonkette.com/politics/gene-weingarten/political-humor-columnist-trifecta-who-must-die-next-233080.php

Editor-Centric New York Times Loses More Than $800 Million in Fourth Quarter, Yet Makes Room for Baquet

The New York Times Co. posted a $648 million loss for the fourth quarter as it absorbed an $814.4 million expense to write down the value of its struggling New England properties, the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

It’s fun to watch editors with no business acumen calling the shots and rearranging the deck chairs as the big old ship, New York Times takes on water.

The top editors made a space for the former LA Times editor, Dean Baquet. You have to wonder what hard-working, award-winning New York Times editors think of that, especially the next time there is another round of layoffs. Baquet was reported hoping and holding out for new owners of the LA Times to have him “back at the helm.”

“it became clearer and clearer to me that the New York Times was the place where I belonged now,” Baquet said.

Would Senator Biden think that Baquet is “clean and well spoken?”

Newspapers killing Scripps profit picture

Mick Gregory

When did newspapers make 20 percent profits?

The Scripps Co. owner of several newspapers and the popular HGTV channel, sent out a press release to stock analysts stating it is “talking about options” for its newspaper division, which is dragging down the company’s stock price.

“We’ve reached no conclusions, it’s fair to say,” Chief Financial Officer Joseph NeCastro said at an investor conference late Tuesday. “But we do believe that there probably is some value to be created in looking at a structural alternative there . . . maybe some form of separating the newspapers out.”

Scripps has built its cable-networks business, which includes HGTV and the Food Network, into the company’s leading profit generator. It’s now entering e-commerce with acquisitions of Web sites Shopzilla and uSwitch.

Scripps’ newspapers are slow-growth or no-growth. In the first nine months of 2006, the Scripps Networks division, which includes its cable business, posted a 17.8 percent gain in revenue. Meanwhile, its Interactive Media division, aided by the uSwitch acquisition, grew 408 percent.

Newspapers, which account for less than 30 percent of the company’s revenue, saw sales drop by 0.1 percent in the same time period.

Compared to broadcast television, “Newspapers seem to be much more troubled, and it’s hard to call a bottom there,” NeCastro said. “I think up until this last year probably it wasn’t that clear. I think we collectively feel like there is some damage.”

The newspaper industry is in a death ride. The Knight Ridder chain sold itself last year after investor pressure, and the Tribune Co., which paid more than 8 billion dollars for Times Mirror, is now being pressured to break up its newspapers, especially by the Chandler family, (former owners of Times Mirror), to boost its stock.

Scripps’ comments cheered Wall Street, with analysts from Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs publishing positive analyses Wednesday. Scripps stock hit a 52-week high, closing up 3.8 percent to $51.92.

“We were positively surprised by the company’s comments, which indicate that management has given more serious consideration to this possibility than we had previously thought,” Goldman Sachs analyst Peter Appert said. “Elimination of the newspaper unit would meaningfully enhance the company’s growth prospects and likely translate into a higher valuation for the shares.”

Scripps has daily and community newspapers in 18 markets, including Denver; Memphis and Knoxville, Tenn.; and south Florida. Scripps is a 50-50 partner with MediaNews Group, the owner of the Denver Post, in the Denver Newspaper Agency.

Scripps executives did not say an investment banker has been hired to assist in the deliberations. But NeCastro said the company’s board has spent “a fair amount of time” discussing options.
One possibility is a spinoff, in which Scripps shareholders would receive shares in a new, “pure play” newspaper company. Investors could then choose to sell the newspaper company shares and stick with the higher-growth, new-economy Scripps — or vice-versa.
“We believe (Scripps) could spin out its non-newspaper businesses, could sell most of its papers, or likely pursue many other scenarios,” Merrill Lynch analyst Lauren Fine said.

— David Milstead, Rocky Mountain News

Sign of Time’s Print Demise

Mick Gregory

TIME magazine, which has been coming out every Monday for over 36 years, hit the streets last Friday instead. The Wall Street Journal has trimmed down it’s large broadsheet size. Most Gannett and Hearst newspapers made that change seven or more years ago.

The WSJ launched its new design last week with a narrower, 48-inch web width. With the smaller page size and fewer columns, ads have new prominence, especially on section fronts. Improved typography, charts/graphics, Web “links” show the shift to the Internet.

These are signs that real MBAs have been put to work in the print industry that has been anti-management for all these years, “run” by editors.

“I believe that getting the magazine on newsstands on Friday helps us set the news agenda,” explained Richard Stengel, the managing editor.

NEW YORK TIMES media columnist David Carr takes the opportunity to rain on TIME’s first weekend parade:

“At the end of the month, there will be significant layoffs at the magazine division… In the last six months, the huge rate base of Time magazine has been cut by almost 20 percent, the street date has been moved, and at the end of the month, the standard editorial model — a centralized, well-paid cadre processing every bit of copy that comes in the door — will be kaput…”

Carr explains: ‘A tremendous amount of effort has been expended on TIME’s new Web site, which makes its debut Monday.”

Carr knocks the print magazine: “In its current state, a thin weekly on increasingly thin paper, TIME magazine is not much of a thing to behold.”

Mr. Carr, that is called managing. You make adjustments to the organization to save on expensive coated paper and move more resources to the Web. That’s the future. You might want to sign up for a night school course on Managerial Accounting.

Quote of the Week — By Tucker Carlson

“We ruined their country? It was kind of a crappy country to begin with.”

—Tucker Carlson, on America now being blamed for ruining Iraq, Tucker’s show, January 2, 2007

Blog of the Week — http://jamilhussein.com

Jamilhussein.com is a blog “Borat” — It’s a hit!

Jan0414:11
Media Opportunities
By: Capt. Jamil Hussein
I am very interested in developing new relationships with media representatives in Baghdad. I would especially be interested in on-air opportunities with Western broadcast media. I have fluency in English and can also converse in German.

As an Iraqi police captain I see many, many bad things. Just this morning I saw a Sadr City street brawl erupt into gunfire over a discussion about whether Cheetos Lip Balm is haram. Yesterday I witnessed a dog having sex with a sheep. Truly Iraq is descending into madness. I have many compelling stories to tell.

Please contact me through this website.

New York Times selling off TV stations en mass to keep afloat

The New York Times Co. stated after the stock market closed Thursday that it plans to sell its broadcast-media group, including nine television stations, to Robert M. Bass’s Oak Hill Capital Partners for $575 million.

Facing the prospect of further circulation and advertising declines and the growing threat of online competition, the newspaper giant said it needs to dispose of the properties to focus on core operations (the old gray lady).

“Over the years (the stations) have provided their communities with high-quality programming and have contributed significantly to our financial performance,” Janet L. Robinson, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We believe, however, that our focus now should be on the development of our newspapers and our rapidly growing digital businesses and the increasing synergies between them.”
The lead investor for Oak Hill, Bass is part of the Bass family of Texas oil billionaires. His brother, Sid, recently held a large stake in Walt Disney Co. Robert Bass’s net worth is placed at more than $5 billion. Oak Hill’s committed capital stands at $4.6 billion, the company said.

The nine stations were expected to account for $150 million in 2006 sales, or 4 percent of New York Times’ overall revenue when the plan to sell was announced in September, spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said. At that time, 2006 operating earnings from the group was estimated at $33 million.

The stations are affiliates of ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as one member of the MyNetworkTV group, and are in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia. Market sizes range from Memphis to Moline, Ill. They employ roughly 900 people, Mathis said.

While a number of media companies are disposing of assets in order to cut costs, don’t expect large newspaper companies to sell off their broadcast assets en masse like the Times has, said Steven Barlow, analyst for Prudential Securities in New York.

“I wouldn’t imagine you’ll see anything from (other media companies) on that front,” Barlow said.

Inside the mind of an LA Times columnist

You have to wonder why newspaper journalists seem to be so out of touch with the public. Maybe it comes down to elite, arrogant snobbishness.

Joel Stein of the LA Times writes:

I don’t want to talk to you; I want to talk at you. A column is not my attempt to engage in a conversation with you….Not everything should be interactive. A piece of work that stands on its own, without explanation or defense, takes on its own power.

I get that you have opinions you want to share. That’s great. You’re the Person of the Year. I just don’t have any interest in them.

A lot of e-mail screeds argue that, in return for the privilege of broadcasting my opinion, I have the responsibility to listen to you. I don’t. No more than you have a responsibility to read me. I’m not an elected servant. I’m an arrogant, solipsistic, attention-needy freak who pretends to have an opinion about everything. I don’t have time to listen to you.

Hello? We don’t care to digest your opinion anymore. This is the world of Web 2.0. Read up on it. You may need a new job in the next couple of years.

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?

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.com.

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

BY ALICIA COLON
December 15, 2006
http://www.nysun.com/article/45266

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, Lucianne.com.

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

Classified advertising is the canary in the mineshaft for newspapers — and it has flopped over

By Mick Gregory

Help wanted and automotive classified advertising have been the core revenue category for daily newspapers. But the bottom has fallen out because of competition from the much more customer-centric and well-read Web portals. Craigslist.org, Ebay.com, Yahoo and Google have taken the lion’s share of revenue and listings in just five years. The classified gold mines newspapers created and held on to “mining rights” for nearly a century have played out.

One of the hidden, but major differences in operations between the Web and newspapers is interaction with the customer. With Internet sites, the customers — “advertisers” in newspaper lingo — do the classified ad writing, placement and coordination. At newspapers, a huge staff of “account executives” perform that process. But that is about to change.

AdStar Inc., provider of e-commerce software and services for advertisers and publishers, is supplying its E-commerce Platform and Web-based Ad Sales software solutions to MediaNews Group (the new media privately held company that specializes in “fire sale” newspapers.

AdStar’s approach enables advertisers to create, schedule and pay for one or more ad listings from a single application for print and Web-based publications. Most MediaNews papers converted last year to AdStar Web-based software as have several Hearst publications.

AdStar calls the latest version of its application “much more Web-centric and assumes a strong Internet bias on the part of the online consumer coming to newspapers’ online brands.” Simple Internet packaging and pricing (Good/Better/Best) replaces representations made by newspaper account executives of complex print classified packaging and shown on many newspaper Web sites. They often need explaining and the customers are a lot more savvy today.

The purpose of enterprise software such as AdStar is to make it easier for customers to automatically place their own classified ads. The big savings will come from old media downsizing their labor intensive classified and inside retail sales staffs and offshoreing the remaining human element to Mumbai or Manila for a 24/7 service.

One dirty little secret that has been hidden from newspaper classified advertisers is that the readership of the paid advertising is often higher than the shallow, formula written stories by their editorial departments. Hard to believe? It’s true. The ads are interesting, useful content. Craigslist knows that.

So newsrooms with head counts that would have even caught the attention Enron executives for budget cuts, remain bloated. The LA Times has some 950 editorial staff. The New York Times carries even more. What are the stockholders thinking?

Editorial enterprise solutions…

(I’m guessing that’s what the software companies will call it).

The next step will be copyediting Web-based systems. They are already in place at Hearst and some MediaNews Group papers. Though, right now, the only labor saving effieciencies comes from stories from sister papers. In the near future, popular stories can be placed in multiple regions for both print and Web publications within seconds. And copy editors for the entire chain of papers and Web sites can be in one central location, today San Ramon, tomorrow Mumbai.

The elitist editorial departments haven’t bothered to check the health of their canaries lately. It’s over and the fat canary isn’t singing.

As newspapers seek to cut costs in the face of sagging circulation and advertising pressures, some have started to ship jobs overseas to places like India. “More than two years ago, Reuters, the financial news service, opened a new center in Bangalore,” reports Doreen Carvajal. “The 340 employees, including an editorial team of 13 local journalists, was deployed to write about corporate earnings and broker research on U.S. companies. Since then, the Reuters staff at the center has grown to about 1,600, with 100 journalists working on U.S. stories.” Other publications are using the services of Hi-Tech Export, an Indian company with some 700 employees that offers proofreading, copy-editing and writing services to companies in the United States, France and Britain.

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Day of the Dead — More newspaper journalists take low-level buyouts

Mick Gregory

A Day of Action by Newspaper Guild — More of a farce than show of force.

Like Ford workers, journalists have become a bottom-line problem, which is quite a comedown from being members of “The Fourth Estate,” lamented a former newspaper journalist.

Yesterday, journalists and others in the newspaper industry held a so-called “Day of Action.” In frigid Minneapolis/St. Paul, the event was coordinated by the merged union I’ve wrote about earlier, the Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America.

St. Paul Pioneer Press had 21 journalists quit the paper last week after accepting “chump change” buyouts from the paper’s new owner, MediaNews Group of Denver.

A rally Monday outside the Pioneer Press called attention to the danger that newspaper cuts are creating for democracy.
Both locally and nationally, journalism jobs are disappearing and newsroom staffs shrinking. That much has been widely reported.

Left unanswered is how downsizing of the news media, the so-called Fourth Estate of politics, will affect public life. Twin Cities media workers of all kinds raised precisely that point Dec. 11, when they gathered outside the Pioneer Press building downtown St. Paul. And we have a photo of a group of some 20 concerned newspaper employees hoding black balloons.

Black Balloons“Who is going to ask the questions if the newsroom is gutted, if we aren’t here?” asked Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres, one of a handful of speakers to address the crowd lined up along the sidewalk in front of the newspaper’s headquarters.

MediaNews ended up with the paper after San Jose-based Knight Ridder was purchased by Sacramento-based McClatchy, which purchased the Star Tribune from the Minneapolis-based Cowles family in 1998.

Continue reading