The Clintons make in one day what the average American makes in a year. Hillary Clinton’s ill-gotten gains from speeches, ‘cattle futures’ and ‘White Water’ are fine, only their campaign funds were wiped out. She is $20 million in debt in regard to her campaign. So? There is more money where that came from.

Why did it take seven years for us to see the Clinton’s taxes?

By Mick Gregory

I’m wondering how “working class” families feel about writing a $20 check to the Clinton’s campaign? The Democrat power couple made more money than any other to leave the White House.

The old guard, uneducated, unskilled union workers who gave to her campaign over the past two years lost their bet. Did they know that she spent it all? Worse yet, did they know that the Clinton’s made over $109 million since leaving the White House? They made $41,000 every 24 four hours while the Average American makes $48,000 a year.

How about the “jobs” they did. What did the Progressive couple do for the money?

Bill Clinton has earned $15.4 million from billionaire Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. investment firm since 2003, according to tax documents released by his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The earnings represent 20 percent of the approximately $75 million Bill Clinton earned during the same period, according to the documents. That may raise new questions about what services he performed for Los Angeles-based Yucaipa, whose investors include the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al- Maktoum — acording to Bloomberg.

Tax lawyers said the Yucaipa partnership income for Bill Clinton looks to be a form of salary because it was in round numbers for most years.

Why did the Clinton machine finally release these numbers? I think it was to show they have the money to win the election, and Obama can’t win. We will see how it is reported.

“Most people who make that much money work for it,” said Yale University tax law professor Michael Graetz, a former Treasury Department official. “What are they being paid for, and if it’s the Sheikh of Dubai paying the husband of somebody who might be the next president of the United States, what do they think they’re paying for?”

How does that make the “poor folk” feel? Please write and tell us.

How does that make those life-long Democrats feel who were always told that the Clintons “feel their pain.”

She owes businesses $20,000,000 from the last gasp of her two-year campaign. She has told African-Americans that they are second class citizens after winning 90 percent of their vote during her Democrat career.

It’s all come to the surface now. Hillary has brought the Democrat party back to their roots of the elitist tier system that America hasn’t seen since the Civil War.

The Chicago Sun-Times stock price falls to $1. It’s now a penny stock.

Shares of Sun-Times Media Group Inc. stopped trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday after hitting a red flag, a rule that halts transactions when a stock falls below $1.05. The stock will soon be kicked out of the exchange. The smell of death is in the air of their rented offices.

Trading halted on the floor of the NYSE when the stock opened at $1, down 11 cents from Thursday’s close.

I predicted six months ago that the Chicago Sun-Times would be the next large metro daily to shutter its doors. They sold the roof over their heads just to pay the bills and pay for the penthouse for Mr. Black (who will be living in much more spartan quarters in a federal pen).

But what will happen to all the professional journos? Maybe there will be a few openings at the Hoffman Hearld? Chicken dinner news, obits, high school sports…

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

Journalists and Unions — A Cause of Bias?

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

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

By Mick Gregory


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

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

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

Continue reading

Web use overtakes newspapers and magazines

Mark 2006 as the time that newspapers and magazines came in second to the Web. The Financial Times of London confirmed this in a report.

European consumers spend more time online, and has overtaken the hours they devote to newspapers and magazines, a study revealed. This takes in a market that is very well-read. So the habits of the US print media vs. online are most likely even more dramatic. There has been no major time-use study on American media consumption.

But there is a glimmer of hope, the growth of new media is expanding total media consumption rather than simply cannibalizing print and television.

Print consumption has remained static at three hours a week in the past two years, as time spent online has doubled from two to four hours. Viewers are also spending more time watching television, up from 10 hours to 12 a week.

The Jupiter Research survey of more than 5,000 people in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain shows that Europeans’ use of the internet is still behind the rates seen in the US. A similar study by Jupiter of US habits found that Americans now spend 14 hours a week online – as much time as they spend watching television – and just three hours reading print.
However, the rapid spread of fast broadband internet connections in Europe is likely to accelerate the trend. The average time spent online by broadband customers in Europe was seven hours a week, compared with two hours for those with dial-up connections.
In France, where 79 per cent of online households have broadband connections, the typical user is online for five hours a week, compared with only three hours a week in Germany, which has a broadband penetration rate of 42 per cent.
“The fact that internet consumption has passed print consumption is an important landmark for the establishment of the internet in Europe,” said Mark Mulligan, research director at Jupiter. “This shift in the balance of power will increasingly shape content distribution strategies, advertising spend allocation and communication strategies.”
By far most of the time Europeans spent online was devoted to e-mail and search activities. Entertainment content such as music and video still accounted for only 22 per cent of online activity.
The research found “a very clear new media/old media generational divide”, Mr Mulligan said. Under-25s now spend six hours a week online, half the time they spend watching television but three times the hours they devote to print. Those aged 15-24 are almost twice as likely as the average consumer “to consume music and video content online. Their habits are going to change the face of the web as they become more mainstream,” Mulligan said.

The Newspaper Dead Pool — LA Times Publisher Jeffrey Johnson out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank heaven for bloggers’ reports on Citgo, 7-Eleven, Foley page setup, now elite media spying on journalists

——Mick Gregory

Now a blogger sheds light on the Foley gay outing story. The young man is 21, he was 18 at the time of the IM gross exchanges.

William Kerr, of Moore, Oklahoma is the author of the blog Passionate America, which is being credited with discovering the identity of the former House page who may have exchanged inappropriate instant messages with former Rep. Mark Foley, and that the former page now works for Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Ernest Istook.

Kerr said he received e-mails and phone calls from national media outlets Wednesday, including the tabloid television program Inside Edition and Internet pundit Matt Drudge.

“I started thinking, ‘I’m not big enough to put this story out,’” Kerr said. “In the four days that we really worked on this, we just said to each other, ‘Do you know how big this is?’”

Kerr said he stumbled onto the former page’s AOL screen name when looking at transcripts of the instant messages on ABC’s Web site Saturday.

He said he typed a slightly-different Web address into his browser and found a version of the transcript with the screen name.

Kerr and another blogger spent several days researching on the Internet.

They had determined the page’s identity and were about to publish it when they found out he worked for Istook.

Kerr said he accidentally posted the story before he intended. Although he removed the post, the information already had spread.

He tried to verify the former page’s identity through Istook’s campaign office, but was turned away. Great work! This is turning out to be the Democrats’ October surprise.

Last week we learned on the network news about 7-Eleven dropping Venezuela-backed Citgo as its gasoline supplier after more than 20 years. This news has been posted on blogs for a month.

Management at 7-Eleven were worried anti-American comments made by Venezuelan President Hugo “Boss” Chavez might prompt motorists to fill up elsewhere. The 7-Eleven chain, which sells gasoline at 2,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores, will now purchase fuel from several distributors, including Tower Energy of Torrance, Calif., Sinclair Oil of Salt Lake City and Houston-based Frontier Oil Corp. None of the gas will be from Venezuela.

Today we see that Citgo’s el presidente, Felix Rodriguez, appointed by Hugo Chavez, is making statements to Spanish television stations such as Univision that it was Citgo’s decision to drop 7-Eleven! That’s what 7-Eleven management gets for trying to downplay their decision.

The reality of the situation is that Hugo ‘the Hut’ Chavez signed a huge deal to sell oil to China and would like to keep the price per barrel as high as possible and try to ruin America’s economy. Hugo ‘the Hut’ would also like to be able to stop shipments of oil to America.
In another developing story, reporters attack HP for possibly spying on their managers and directors including the use of private investigators.
HP executives had to appear before a congressional hearing yesterday to explain themselves.

Yet, the San Francisco Examiner hired private investigators to follow reporters and used the evidence compiled to fire them. The Examiner staff, now merged with the San Francisco Chronicle, have their e-mails monitored and their Web use watched. The use of private eyes is most likely still in use. Those stories never see the light of day in the press.

Most IT companies monitor employee e-mails and Web use. Many use private investigators, but they are not the “high and holy” media. The media elite believe they are above the law.

And it’s The Chronicle editors telling the U.S. courts they have the right to leak (and profit from) grand jury content in the BALCO case.

Michael Rains is Bonds’ attorney. He pointed out in a rebuttle to The Chronicle reporters trying to use the courts to shield them, that Barry’s trainer and boyhood friend, Greg Anderson, has been found in contempt of court twice for refusing to testify and is in jail for a second term. Anderson, who earlier served three months after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering, has refused to tell the court whether he gave Bonds steroids. At issue is whether Bonds lied under oath when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly took steroids.

Anderson’s testimony appears to be key to making a successful perjury case against Bonds.

They (the Chronicle reporters) need to be in jail,” Rains said of the reporters, whose work cast Bonds as a steroid-enhanced cheat.
“Other media people, of course, take exception with my attitude about that; but I say unless they go to jail, you make a complete mockery of the grand jury system. Since when can anybody declare that the purpose of our dealing with this issue has a larger purpose, and that is to educate the public?

“How can these guys sit there and say, ‘Oh, yeah, we’ve convinced kids in the Central Valley that they shouldn’t take steroids. And look at all the good that is coming.’

Come on, give me a break. This is all about money. It is all about a newspaper that was having financial problems. It is all about them making dough and how much they can make [from the book smearing baseball greatest players].”

Follow the money.

Start the cuts at the LA Times at the top

 ——By Mick Gregory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Desperate Clinton White House–Why?

—-By Mick Gregory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Dr. Sanity for a top Web site that has been following the Berger/Clinton  cover-up. http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2005/08/motive-for-bergers-bizarre-behavior.html
On Friday evening, Bill Clinton’s lawyers sent a new letter to ABC chief Bob Iger demanding that ABC yank “The Path to 9/11.” We’ve obtained a copy of the letter, and it reads in part: “As a nation, we need to be focused on preventing another attack, not fictionalizing the last one for television ratings. `The Path to 9/11′ not only tarnishes the work of the 9/11 Commission, but also cheapens the fith anniversary of what was a very painful moment in history for all Americans. We expect that you will make the responsible decision to not air this film.”

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

—-Mick Gregory

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

Black Tuesday at Ohio Newspaper

 —-Mick Gregory

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

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

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

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

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

The death of newspapers is not greatly exaggerated

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

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

JonBenet wasn’t the only victim of this media circus

“I did not kill . I loved that child with my whole heart and soul,” Mrs. said in one of the first press conferences held after her daughter’s murder. She continued to say essentially the same thing for the rest of her life, she died of cancer last June. 
  

It didn’t matter to the newspaper “journalists” who helped feed the tabloids and cable news headline and crime shows with the sensational story. Now it’s been 10 years, and the media stoked public perception is that the wealthy parents did it.

Some details: Boulder is a lot like the sister city of Berkeley, Calif. Both are liberal university towns. So the Boulder police are “smarter” than your average police. The rich parents were immediately under the umbrella of suspicion. They may have even been Republicans! Did Mr. Ramsey’s computer company work with Halliburton?    

Michael Tracey, a University of Colorado journalism professor, had communicated with Mark Karr (the former 2nd grade school teacher) by e-mail, the has reported. Tracey produced documentaries on JonBenet’s murder. Karr and Tracey exchanged dozens of e-mails, the Rocky reported, and that helped lead police to Karr, who was arrested Wednesday in Bangkok, shopping for sex on holiday.

“Tracey was instrumental in this investigation,” Susan Stine, a friend of the Ramseys told reporters. “He was instrumental in flushing this person out in the sense of getting him to talk,” she added, also saying the e-mails, “helped develop the case. I do believe he has the right to be presumed innocent,” Tracy told the Rocky reporters.  “I got involved in this, for 10 years, because I believe that right was never extended to the Ramseys, and that was wrong. We’ll see how this thing unfolds. Previously, the media leaks about the evidence and absurd theories as to how JonBenet died helped convince the public that the parents did it.”

“Was it ethical for a journalist or journalism professor  to share private e-mails?  Was the principle of finding a killer more important than the privacy of a journalist’s notes and communications?”  

This is a question being asked by journalists today. Some of the same “holier than thou” group who ruined JonBenet’s parents with sloppy reporting, hand fed to them by the town’s police department.  Now we find out there was a broken window to the Ramsey basement. What else was held up by the Boulder police in order to frame the “rich” Ramsey family?  This sad case will play out without any mention in the major media of the arrogance of the journalism “profession.” It’s not unlike the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. ‘You must have the bishop’s blessing!’

But it is a new Web age, so blogs and e-mails have taken the role of finding and communicating the truth. JonBenett Ramsey may become a Wikipedia entry that includes how the mainstream media helped judge and convict her parents in the court of public opinion, with some “journalists” arguing that it was unethical for the journalism professor to share his private e-mails from Mark Karr with the police or media. The Web 2.0, new media must put that fact in the story.   

Whispered tales of Gore

 By Mick Gregory—

The media tends to go for the hipster, cool, dumbed-down route to please their audience. In the U.S. the press gives a pass to Democrats while attacking Bush and the UK’s . In fact, don’t you see a bit of a let down by the media in that the Islamic terrrorists bomb plot was stopped by Scotland Yard and U.S. Homeland Security?

Now let’s look at one of their favorite sons, and his new gig, fighting global warming.

My other vehicle is a jet. My other home is a former handed down to me. My trust fund is Occidental Oil gifted to me.

Mr. Gore, a drop out from divinity school has been propped up by the media, especially the New York Times, as being far more intellectual than George W. Bush, who had much better grades than Al Gore and earned an MBA in Business/Economics from Harvard. Now let’s get down to more media coverups.

Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore’s example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a “carbon-neutral lifestyle.” But if Al Gore is the world’s role model for ecology, the planet is doomed.

For someone who says the sky is falling, he does very little. He says he recycles and drives a hybrid. And he claims he uses renewable energy credits to offset the pollution he produces when using a private jet to promote his film. (In reality, Paramount Classics, the film’s distributor, pays this.)

Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.

Then there is the troubling matter of his energy use. In the Washington, D.C., area, utility companies offer wind energy as an to traditional energy. In Nashville, similar programs exist. Utility customers must simply pay a few extra pennies per kilowatt hour, and they can continue living their carbon-neutral lifestyles knowing that they are supporting wind energy. Plenty of businesses and institutions have signed up. Even the Bush administration is using green energy for some federal office buildings, as are thousands of area residents.

According to public records, there is no indication that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences.

Peter Schweizer, author of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy has outlined some of Gore’s lies.

When contacted last week, Gore’s office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes. Talk about inconvenient truths. Gore is not alone. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has said, “Global warming is happening, and it threatens our very existence.” The DNC website applauds the fact that Gore has “tried to move people to act.” Yet, Gore’s persuasive powers have failed to convince his own party: The DNC has not signed up to pay an additional two pennies a kilowatt hour to go Green. For that matter, neither has the Republican National Committee. Maybe our very existence isn’t threatened.

Gore has held these apocalyptic views about the environment for some time. So why, then, didn’t Gore dump his family’s large stock holdings in Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum? As executor of his family’s trust, over the years Gore has controlled hundreds of thousands of dollars in Oxy stock. Oxy has been mired in controversy over oil drilling in ecologically sensitive areas. Living carbon-neutral apparently doesn’t mean living oil-stock free. Nor does it necessarily mean giving up a mining royalty either.

A mine is a terrible thing to waste!

Humanity might be “sitting on a ticking time bomb,” but Gore’s home in Carthage is sitting on a zinc mine. Gore receives $20,000 a year in royalties from Pasminco Zinc, which operates a zinc concession on his property. Tennessee has cited the company for adding large quantities of barium, iron and zinc to the nearbyCaney Fork River. If Gore genuinely believes the apocalyptic vision he has put forth and calls for radical changes in the way other people live, why hasn’t he made any radical change in his life? Giving up the zinc mine or one of his homes is not asking much, given that he wants the rest of us to radically change our lives; ride bicycles to work; wear sweaters and turn down the thermostat… If you must buy gas, buy it from a communist dictator. Am I joking? No. Progressive,  Green and groups are encouraging U.S. consumers to ‘BUYcott’ Citgo, in order to (as they put it) help fuel a democratic revolution in Venezuela. This campaign for pro-Chavez, Citgo is acutally promoted on the New York Times’ About.com.

Web 2.0 sites like Digg.com use ‘social networking’ to rank the news, from both mainstream and citizen journos

By Greg Michael  

The times, they are a changin’. The next shoe to drop came a few weeks ago, when Michael Arrington, a blogger on new Internet businesses  www.techcrunch.com, caused a few more grey hairs at the Old Grey  Lady (a nickname for the New York Times) when he said Digg.com looked like it  was close to equaling The New York Times in one measure of online readership.

“Digg is looking more and more like the newspaper of the Web,” Arrington concluded in a post on his popular blog. According to Alexa.com, which tracks Web traffic, the news-aggregating site begun in late 2004 also has more online traffic than The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, or USA Today. This, reported by  Gregory M. Lamb of The Christian Science Monitor.

Numbers, of course, can be counted several different ways, just ask your friendly local newspaper circulation manager. Whatever the most accurate readership figures turn out to be,  this and other  jaw-dropping new media news has caused  a shockwave across media analysts, stockholders and the no-longer-ivory-towers of newspaper executives.  Those tracking the future of the news media are asking their  doctors for anxiety-reducing drugs. 

The Times stories are of course, chosen picked by editors, journalists trained to decide what is “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” (and supports Hillary’s politics) as the Times’s slogan promotes. At Digg, visitors recommend items they find of interest online. Other Digg visitors then vote for the story by clicking “digg it” or disapprove of it by clicking “bury story.” Items that are “dug” the most become the top stories on the entry pages. Stories that receive too many “bury it” votes drop off the site. Digg is among a growing group of Web sites leveraging “social interaction” made famous by MySpace, YouTube and WordPress to news gathering. The site grabbed more attention last month when it expanded from tracking only technology news to such topics as world and business news, science, entertainment, videos, and gaming.

That move came just as media giant AOL announced plans to give its Internet portal www.netscape.com a drastic makeover, turning it into a similar visitor-powered news site (though Netscape says some human editors will monitor the site). Today, readers can choose between the unedited Digg and the edited NY Times models.

www.digg.com is simply tapping the “wisdom of the crowd,” says Kevin Rose, the founder and chief architect of Digg. That phrase is taken from a 2004 book by James Surowiecki, “The Wisdom of Crowds,” which argues that, in the right circumstances, the collective knowledge and expertise of a large group of people lead to better decisions than those made by individuals and what is becoming clear to many, elitists with political  agendas. “I think people will flock to sites like Digg to supplement their traditional news diets,” says JD Lasica, cofounder of Ourmedia.org, which also lets visitors post and share their original videos, photos, artwork, and writing.”Digg started on a shoestring a year and a half ago, and it’s astonishing how popular it’s become in such a short time,” says Lasica, a former editor at the Sacramento Bee who now writes about online media. “Like most big ideas, it starts with a ‘duh’ realization – that users want to be part of the editorial process, and that readers want to see news stories from a wide range of sources.” He continues, “Like it or not, most people just want to read a story and don’t really care which news organization first reported it.” 

The Stories that Never Get Published

By Mick Gregory

The death of a newspaper journalist.

The story starts out following the norms of old newspaper writing by a blogger/writer for NewTimes in the Palm Beach area, named Bob Norman.

Veteran South newspaper editor Diann Slattery died Monday, following a sudden collapse at a public library. Slattery, who was 46 years-old, last held the position of managing editor at Miami Today. Prior to that, she spent 12 years at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where she worked as graphics editor, projects editor, and Broward Metro Editor.

“I can’t really talk about her hobbies, because her main interest was ,” says Today Michael Lewis. “She was thinking journalism 100 percent of the time. Everything to her related to news and how it affected the community. And that was real important to us.”
Slattery, a graduate of the University of Florida, came to Fort Lauderdale from her hometown of Sarasota, where she worked on the metro desk at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

“There are a lot of editors in this world who are good at copy editing and conceptualizing stories, but can’t manage people at all,” says Sentinel social services reporter Bill Hirshman, whom Slattery hired 12 years ago. “Journalists are notoriously difficult to manage and she dealt with her staff as human beings and encouraged them and made them feel like there was somebody in a glass office that genuinely cared about them both as a professional and as person.”

The next day Norman came back with the rest of the story.

Norm wrote that he had a rough time with rewrites on a specific part of his report on Slattery. He ended up cutting it out. Why? Because it was about Slattery’s drinking.

Norman had never met Slattery, never even had heard of her before he was told about her death. They said she collapsed and had gone into a seizure while doing some research at the Plantation library. She later slipped into a coma.

After several days of hospitalization, her heart stopped early Monday morning.

Everybody Norman talked to about Diann said she had a problem. They said she’d gone to rehab, but fell off the wagon. That she’d get drunk at lunch, at employment functions, at the office. That it had cost Slattery her vaunted job as Broward Metro Editor at the Sun-Sentinel, her job at Miami Today, and, ultimately, her life. The drinking, they said, had destroyed her body.

Norman brought up the subject with her last boss, Miami Today editor and publisher Michael Lewis.

“That’s funny, the Sun-Sentinel never told me anything about that,” he said. “The only issue I ever had with Diann was that she worked too much. It was a serious issue. She never wanted to leave the building.”
Did he know her to have had a drinking problem?

“There aren’t many reporters who don’t drink,” said the veteran newspaperman, before regaling me with a few anecdotes from his long career in journalism that featured a lot of half-drunk bottles of alcohol he’d seen on many a city desk.

Then, in the afternoon, Norman got an e-mail with the subject line, “Diann Slattery.”

“Do you know even a tenth of this story?” it read. “CALL ME.” It was a reporter who’d worked for Slattery at Miami Today, a 37,000-circulation newspaper founded by Lewis in 1983. The publication is aimed at the business community and, despite having only a handful of newspeople who are paid relatively low wages, has a solid reputation.

“This is terrible story, a classic story about how the bottle destroyed a phenomenal journalist,” the reporter said with near-reverence for the profundity of the human tragedy that had occurred at the newspaper.
Slattery was a disaster at Miami Today, the reporter said, an obvious alcoholic in terrible health.

“She totally let herself go,” said the reporter. “She would roll in at 4 in the afternoon and proceed to get hammered throughout the day and trap us there until late at night. Weird things would happen to our copy. Mistakes would get edited into the copy. She would destroy the copy sometimes because she was totally trashed.”

Another reporter who worked for Slattery at Miami Today confirmed these things . Slattery would often stay in the building until the early morning hours. She’d go to her car periodically throughout the day and had a bottle of Scope at her ready. Sometimes she’d be found passed at her desk in the morning. She missed work, suffered strange injuries, and behaved erratically and at times abusively.
…….

There is more to her sad story, but I should point out that there are many more Slatterys at newspapers large and small all over the country. Sad, wasted lives.

My first job right out of college was at a daily newspaper. It was a well managed operation in a charming New England setting with much of the staff just out of college, it was a lot like working for a student newspaper except for the sprinkling of the veterans.

I remember an editor who was a heavy drinker and chain smoker who had to ditch out for “cig” breaks, well before it became law to do so. He was pretty good with AP style and the standard newspaper way of formatting stories.

He was a grumpy old guy, and a few of us would play jokes on him with shocking copy that he’d catch and assorted prank phone calls. I played a trick on him with our computer network by sending out an IT warning to shut down the computers. He took it very seriously and instructed everyone to do so. Someone ratted me out and I was on his shit list for a few weeks.

He worked all night cleaning up copy for the early morning press run. He was in his early 60s when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He went quickly and we held a fundraiser for to help pay for his medical bills, but the money went to bury him instead.

He lived in an old, well-worn mobile home several miles and class ranks from the paper he edited. It was the first glimpse I had behind the facade of the dignified newspaper business. No one spoke of his real life outside the paper, only of his expert editing and some of the exciting big news events he helped get to print for the 33,000 daily, that’s the size of 75 percent of America’s daily newspapers.

The New York Times not good at communicating with investors

 —Mick Gregory

The famous dynasty run by 54 year old “Pinchy” is tightening its financial grip on the New York Times. They are doing it the old fashion way, using shareholders’ cash, instead of their own to buy out the company. This is coming to light via a new business analysis by the Boston Herald.  

These plans by the Suzbergers are not reported in the pages of the Times. Why not? The dynasty is  not obligated to telegraph their plans to their readers. But shouldn’t their stock investors know?  After all, the loyal stockholders own 80 percent of the NYT stock, but have virtually no voting rights or representation on the board of directors.

The Herald examination of financial filings shows that since took over as chairman in 1997, The New York Times Co. has bought up more than 20 percent of the stock held by outsiders.

Meanwhile the Sulzbergers themselves have “basically held their shares,” says company spokeswoman Catherine Mathis. Without  spending a dime, the newspaper dynasty has raised its stake to about 20 percent. (Who said editors are not very good at math?) The jury is still out on that, read on.

The Times has spent $3 billion so far buying out shareholders. And those who were bought out should be very happy. Total net income from 1997 through 2005: $2.85 billion. In other words, pretty much every penny of profit generated by the New York Times, the Boston Globe and other company operations under Pinch has been spent . . . gradually returning the company to Sulzberger hands.

and his inner-circle blew much of the cash buying stock at the peak of the market. Based on 2006 prices, they overpaid by $1.2 billion.   If they handed out Pulitzer Prizes for blowing shareholders’ money, Pinch could finally add his name to the Times’ roll of honor.   You’d expect such largesse at least to keep the share price aloft, right?

Actually, since Pinch took over the company, it’s fallen by nearly a fifth.  Washington Post shares, over the same period: up 69 percent. They paid over double!  

But if you look at the Times’ share purchases from the other side, the program starts to make a lot more sense.  The Sulzbergers already control the special voting shares. But to take the company private, they would have to buy out everybody else. And, today, that would cost little more than half what it would have back in 1997.  Likely savings: About $2 billion.  A deal would probably appeal to Sulzberger for personal reasons.

Lowlights of Pinch’s nine-year reign: Jayson Blair, Judith Miller and now a collapsing stock price. Taking the Times private could at least remove some of his problems from public view.   

But don’t expect a leveraged buyout too soon. They can’t afford it.

Brian Shipman, analyst at UBS, said a deal “is certainly a possibility” at some point. But, he thinks, not at current levels.

He thinks New York Times stock would have to fall to about $17 before it started to look attractive to the kind of private equity backers that Pinch would need. Other analysts suggested $15.

The good news for the Sulzbergers? Based on recent trends, that day cannot be far away. Who are the real sad bastards in this story? The shareholders who are not related to the family.

Voters are no longer fooled by elite media spin

These quotes are from Will Lester of AP on Saturday, July 29, 2006 —
of at George Washington University.

“Some decry the professional role of , they would like to see it disappear,” Rove told graduating students at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. “Some argue political professionals are ruining American politics _ trapping candidates in daily competition for the news cycle instead of long-term strategic thinking in the best interest of the country.”

“It’s odd to me that most of these critics are and columnists,” he said. “Perhaps they don’t like sharing the field of play. Perhaps they want to draw attention away from the corrosive role their coverage has played focusing attention on process and not substance.”

But he said voters are able to watch campaigns and candidates closely and “this messy and imperfect process has produced great leaders.”

That is a nice way of sayng that the are not fooled by the old media with staffs made up of liberal, socialist journalists who in recent poles vote 95 percent for the Democrat ticket.

A major reason daily newspapers are shedding voters is because of their staffs’ arrogance and non-stop spin. Like one-hit wonders of the pop-rock industry, they really can’t come up with a new tune.

A Perfect Storm is Brewing in Indianapolis

It Includes Sex, Status, Race, Inaction, Death and Possible Coverup

Indianapolis Star Lawsuit First Sign of Big Problems

A lawsuit filed by two former editorial writers last year against the Indianapolis Star makes some familiar charges — managers pressuring employees and making them uncomfortable enough to leave, allegations of racial and age discrimination — along with the unfamiliar: claims of religious discrimination linked with questions of sensitivity to gay concerns.

The accusations come at a newspaper that has been undergoing a housecleaning of its staff and that claimed a newsroom that included 14.4 percent people of color in the latest American Society of Newspaper Editors census. One manager of color is at the assistant managing editor level, AME for features Jacqueline Thomas.

James Patterson and Lisa M. Coffey filed their suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Monday. Patterson is described in the documents as “a 51-year-old African-American man with strong and sincere Christian religious beliefs” who had worked at the Star since 1989.

Coffey is “a 46-year-old Caucasian woman with strong and sincere Christian religious beliefs” who began working in 1990 on the editorial page of the old Indianapolis News, coordinated the Pulliam Journalism Fellowship program, and then switched to the Indianapolis Star, where she continued to work on the fellowship program along with her other duties.

According to their suit, both were praised for their work until shortly after Gannett Co. changed managers after buying the paper in 2000. Barbara A. Henry became Star president and publisher and Dennis Ryerson soon after became editor.

The court action included:

“… The Star, through the actions of Ms. Henry and Mr. Ryerson, implemented a policy and practice of encouraging, favoring and printing news coverage and editorials with a positive slant on homosexuality and of disfavoring editorials with a positive slant on Christianity.”

The complaint says that “shortly after Mr. Ryerson’s hiring, he made a public statement to the members of the Editorial Department that sodomy laws should be repealed,” and that Coffey then began researching the topic. When he read it, Mr. Ryerson became enraged and refused to print it, stating that the Star would never run anything that was so anti-gay. The test column was not anti-gay, despite Mr. Ryerson’s interpretation of it; it was an accurate depiction of the risks associated with anal intercourse.”

Three months later, Ryerson told Coffey that the newsroom would be taking over her Pulliam Fellowship work and that she would be transferred to the copy desk.

In discussing Patterson, who also is the founding president of the Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists, the suit says “Mr. Ryerson’s first day at The Star was the day after war was commenced against Iraq. Plaintiff Patterson had written an editorial calling for the country to pray over our troops and the war effort in general. Mr. Ryerson informed the Editorial Department that he had been repulsed and offended by the prayer editorial and stated that, in the future, he would not allow any editorials with any Christian overtones to be published or which could be construed as proselytizing on the editorial pages.”

The complaint said his career went downhill, with positive performance evaluations — cited in the lawsuit — turning negative. Patterson said he made a “minor error” that was corrected and that his 2003 evaluation, “contrary to prior practice,” made “scant reference” to “two state first-place awards and a prestigious international award for his series of editorials on the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

“In 2003,” the complaint continued, “Plaintiff Patterson had won a first-place award from the Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors organization for his editorial writing. Trophies for the other award-winning reporters were distributed to them. Plaintiff Patterson did not receive his trophy. After several months, he eventually found it in a gunny sack in an empty office.”

The EEOC allowed the plaintiffs to follow through with their actions.

Indianapolis is the site of this year’s National Association of Black Journalists convention.

This is on top of the OSHA and Guild investigations into alleged poor safety policies at the Gannett paper that may have been a factor in delayed action to save a stricken staff member, a Mr. Mpozi. The story goes that Mpozi was eating Cherry Garcia Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that night and he began chocking.

Comments made on a former columnist’s blog ruthholladay.com
have indicated a “lock down” of the phone system or bottle neck to the security office, redirecting 911 calls to an illprepared agent. Meanwhile Mpoze had turned blue and was not breathing. Two staff members tried CPR but there was a long delay before EMTs arrived at the Star.

The Poynter.com Web site’s James Romensko posted the Ruth Holladay blog and was later criticized for doing so by the paper’s editor, Mr. Ryerson.

US journalists could become offshore outsource helpdesk employees for India and UK firms

As the  industry piles on more losses and fires back with cut-backs, there are many former food writers, columnists and sports reporters fleeing. Jim Romenesko at Poynter.org has started getting stories on the entry-level pay and veteren salaries from journalists in America. These letters will serve as a warning for students contemplating a newspaper career.

This is your salvation, newspaper employees who want to get out and have a reasonably happy lifestyle. With salaries of $16,000 to $20,000 a year, a good grasp of English, some basic computer awareness, and the magic of the Web, you could take jobs back from India in the area. Work at a helpdesk and make $30,000 or more here in the USA. Imade my great escape a few years ago from a major league paper where I had worked for more than 15 years.  I’m in I.T. now and am working just nine-hour days, Monday through Friday. In my spare time,I blog about  new and old media on my new MacBook at Starbucks. What stories do you have of old and new media? This is an historic time we are experiencing.