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Archives: April 2008

Tough Times at “NewsHour”

FishbowlDC is picking up on some difficult times over at PBS’s “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”

First there was Jim Lehrer’s health problems

Then some departures. First Susan Dentzer left and now we hear that Senior Producer Jim Trengrove is leaving to explore “new ventures and also plans to use this opportunity to spend more time with his daughters this summer.”

But we’re also hearing about some money problems, namely that they’ve frozen salaries and suspended company 401k contributions until further notice (and are doing some staffing reevaluations).

We hear that it isn’t a matter of being over budget, but rather that the economic downturn has limited sponsorship contributions. Without those contributions, a budget shortfall of several million dollars is likely.

This Week In Pool Reports

It seems POTUS can understand Spanish. Who knew? And, he dines at a New Orleans institution, which is right next to a different type of NoLa landmark.

  • “The fundraiser is being held at the home of Dan and Carolyn Heard. A photographer reported that the home was used in the movie The Toy, with Richard Pryor.” — Jim Gerstenzang, Los Angeles Times

  • “The three leaders used shining gold-toned shovels to dig into a pile of freshly turned dark earth, and tossed two shovelsful each around the rootball of a tree identified on a nearby stone as a shumard oak. They made no comments audible to the pool, and completed the task in 25 seconds. The tree sits beneath full-grown live oaks and magnolias in Lafayette Square across the street from Gallier Hall. From there it was a 2-minute ride to the French Quarter where the president is having lunch at Galatoire’s.” — Gerstenzang

  • “Galatoire’s is four doors down Bourbon Street from ‘Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, home of the Hustler Honeys’” — Gerstenzang

  • “We held until about 9, then a smaller pool was taken over to Commander’s Palace to watch a bit of the after dinner entertainment provided by Irvin Mayfield, Ambassador to New Orleans and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. We were ushered into a courtyard of the restaurant where rows of chairs had been set up, filled by an assortment of White House staff (Bolten, Hadley), Cabinet secretaries (Chertoff and Guitierrez) prominent local figures like Archbishop Hughes and Norman Francis and big sports stars, including LSU football coach Miles, Deuce McCallister and Reggie Bush, as well as Chris Paul, looking relaxed and buoyant and ready for the Mavs. It looked like an audience of about 100-120.” — Michael Abramowitz, Washington Post

  • “The seven-piece band struck up a verson of ‘Mac the Knife,’ and in a few minutes, the three leaders walked in and the audience rose in applause. Bush sat in the front row, between Calderon and Harper, who found himself next to Drew Brees.” — Abramowitz

  • “The president’s motorcade made a short and uneventful trip from the Mexican Consulate to the Windsor Court Hotel where he met for roughly an hour with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico in a windowless conference room on the 22nd floor. A transcript will come, but the highlights included the president’s remarks on relations with Mexico — ‘sometimes we take them for granted’ — trade and
    cross-border security, including arms trafficking from the United States.” — Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times

  • “President Calderon offered an even stronger defense of NAFTA. Acknowledging it as a campaign issue, he said the increased trade benefited both countries, creating jobs on both sides of the border and decreasing immigration from Mexico. The two presidents sat in front of a flags and a placard advertising the North American Leaders’ Summit, with their aides in two rows. Mr. Calderon spoke at some length before the foreign minister interrupted him to allow a translator to begin. ‘I understood every word,’ Mr. Bush
    said.” — Myers

  • “The president also accepted an invitation to visit South Korea. Mr. Lee said he did not plan to meet with the North Korean leader anytime soon, and when Mr. Bush was asked if he would consider a meeting, he said simply, ‘No.’ Afterwards, they shook hands and walked off. ‘Come on, ladies,’ the president said. And the entourages followed. The last golf car to leave was driven by the Secretary of State, who spoke emphatically to Gordon D. Johndroe, patting her hand on the top of the steering wheel, but she declined a request to speak directly to the pool.” — Myers

  • “Under a cloudless sky the helicopter bearing the President of the Republic of Korea and Mrs. Kim Yoon-ok broke the treelined Camp David around 4 p.m. POTUS and FLOTUS waited behind the Colors. FLOTUS wrapped her green shawl tight around her shoulders and Marines held their lids as the rotor wash laid flat the combed grass. … POTUS and the Kim Yoon-ok headed for one golf cart and the first ladies headed for the second one. In the back seat of each sat a translator. When the leader of the free world offered the controls of Golf One with
    gleaming tires to the president of Korea, Yoon-ok leapt at the opportunity. During a quick drive-by, POTUS said, ‘He’s afraid of my driving.’ With that, they headed off into the wilderness of Camp David for a dinner of roast beef tenderloin, sauteed mushrooms and cheese grits, which is closed to the press.” — Charles Hurt, New York Post

  • “POTUS arrived at Renaissance Hotel shortly after 11 a.m. for the America’s Small Business Summit. … POTUS welcomed the crowd of small business owners. ‘You’re brave souls to be here during tax week,’ he said. He commended them for coming the same week as the Pope’s visit since ‘it will take a miracle to keep the IRS out of your pocket.’” — Hurt

  • “Meet” Gets Obama

    “Meet the Press” has Barack Obama for the full hour this Sunday. The show will originate live from Indianapolis.

    UPDATE: Washington Times Layoffs

    We told you

    The names are rolling in…

    Kevin Chaffee
    Cathy Donohoe
    Bert Goulait

    Chris Dolan has been named deputy assistant managing editor for politics.

    >UPDATE: Seth McLaughlin, Jim Brantley and Shelley Widhalm also.

    >UPDATE: Expect more from Foreign desk.

    >UPDATE: This is on top of some significant attrition recently (including some clerks and librarians).

    >UPDATE: Chris McGonigal, assistant photo editor; Janine Wise from Graphics

    >UPDATE: Steve Hirsch and Stacy Urban.

    >UPDATE: Arlo Wagner and Gus Constantine

    Who else is being let go?

    “Russert” On “Family Guy”

    In other Tim Russert news, both the New York Post and Nikki Finke say that Big Russ has played a role in keeping Arianna Huffington off NBC.

    Journo Weddings!

    Fox News’ Jim Angle is getting married!

    Washington Times’ Brian DeBose is getting married to WaPo’s Theola Labbe.

    Morning Reading List, 04.30.08

    Good morning Washington. Al Kamen, Ana Marie Cox and Jon Meachem talk about Prom. TVNewser’s April Ratings analysis has some good news for Fox & Friends, CNN and MSNBC.

    Quickly navigate Morning Reading List:


  • You did not miss the NYTimes at this Year’s WHCA.

  • Today’s “Angry Journalist” rant of the day: “I’m angry that I know everything, but I’m surrounded by idiots who know nothing. And I’ve been out of school for six months already. What gives?”


  • A release announced, “Qorvis Communications, one of the largest and fastest growing independent communications firms in the United States, announced today that Sol Levine, former CNN, NBC News and ABC News producer, has joined the firm as Senior Director.”
  • The Charleston Gazette reports, “A high profile professor at West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism involved in a court case to disclose her sources for stories about the 2001 anthrax attacks will leave WVU at the end of the spring semester. Toni Locy is currently a visiting professor and Shott Chair of Journalism at WVU. She will leave the university in May to join Washington and Lee University Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, according to Washington and Lee’s Web site.”

  • Duke’s The Chronicle reports, “William Raspberry, Knight professor of the practice of journalism and public policy studies, is retiring this month after spending more than 13 years at a post he intended to keep only for five.”

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  • “Negative campaigning, the Pennsylvania primary, and the return of racial issues propelled the Democrats into the media spotlight for the week of April 21-27. Campaign stories mostly about Democrats outnumbered those about Republicans by a margin of about seven to one, according to a Project for Excellence in Journalism study.”
  • NBC’s Brian Williams writes, “I read that the New York Times Sunday (and weekday) circulation is down. I must admit that on Sundays it becomes a tough paper to figure out. While this week’s paper featured an op-ed piece by Elizabeth Edwards bemoaning the lack of serious, in-depth coverage of the political race, it’s tough to figure out exactly what readers the paper is speaking to, or seeking.”
  • The New York Times reports, “In a long career, Robert Thomson has left a trail of happy reporters in his wake — at The Financial Times and more recently at The Times of London, where the newsroom under his guidance was, in the words of a former colleague, ‘the happiest place to work on Fleet Street.’ He’s got his work cut out for him at The Wall Street Journal.”

  • Josh Marshall takes on AP.

  • A release announced, “USA TODAY remains the top-selling newspaper in the United States, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation report. USA TODAY’s daily circulation was up 0.27% to 2,284,219 for the period ending March 31, 2008. USA TODAY is the only newspaper of the top 25 daily newspapers in the U.S. to have an increase in print circulation. Over the last 12 months, third party sales and copies purchased by hotel guests are up nearly 5%. Registered college student copies also grew year over year, up nearly 2%.”

  • Bloomberg reports, “U.S. newspapers reported that circulation losses accelerated in the six months through March as more readers turned to the Internet and publishers cut promotions to lower expenses. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times reported declines of 3.9 percent and 5.1 percent, as paid weekday circulation among 530 newspapers dropped 3.6 percent, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said. Average weekday print circulation at U.S. newspapers fell to 41.1 million from 42.6 million a year earlier, ABC spokesman Neal Lulofs said today.”

  • Talking Biz News reports, “Cutting back on the number of newspapers and other media outlets in the country will stave off the downturn in business journalism where media organizations are cutting business sections and busines coverage, said Steve Pearlstein, the Pulitzer Prize winning business columnist for the Washington Post.”

  • The National reports, “The newspaper wars are about to heat up. The International Herald Tribune and the Financial Times, two publications with hundreds of thousands of readers around the world, will soon make their UAE debut.”

  • The New York Times reports, “With print revenue down and online revenue growing, newspaper executives are anticipating the day when big city dailies and national papers will abandon their print versions. That day has arrived in Madison, Wis. On Saturday, The Capital Times, the city’s fabled 90-year-old daily newspaper founded in response to the jingoist fervor of World War I, stopped printing to devote itself to publishing its daily report on the Web.”

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  • Fox News headed to HD.

  • An ABC release announced, “‘ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson’ placed 1st among key demo viewers last week, tying NBC’s ‘Nightly News’ for the top spot; both broadcasts averaged a 1.9/8 and 2.33 million among Adults 25-54. This marks a 5% weekly increase for ABC among demo viewers. Among Total Viewers, ‘World News’ grew 4% week-to-to week to average 7.79 million, placing second.”

  • Stung by Complaints, Telecoms Stress Customer Service

  • A NBC release announced, “According to Nielsen Media Research data, ‘NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams’ was the most-watched network evening newscast, winning the week of April 21, 2008. The Williams-led newscast averaged 8.015 million total viewers”
  • Bloomberg reports, “Shareholders of Time Warner Inc., the world’s largest media company, are urging Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes to get rid of the cable-television unit and buy back shares after the stock fell 34 percent from a 2007 high.”

  • TVNewser’s Steve Krakauer reports, “FNC’s Bill O’Reilly addressed the topic of his upcoming interview with Sen. Hillary Clinton — the first time she’ll be a guest on The O’Reilly Factor — today on his radio show. The interview will take place tomorrow morning in Indiana (he’ll miss tomorrow’s Radio Factor), and will air on Wednesday and Thursday.”

  • TVWeek reports, “The Republican National Committee is calling on CNN and MSNBC to pull down a new ad from the Democratic National Committee about Sen. John McCain’s Iraq statements. The RNC said the ad is a ‘gross distortion’ and demonstrates illegal coordination between the Democratic presidential candidates and the party.”
  • Reuters reports, “U.S. media conglomerates are expected to shrug off the deteriorating economy in the first quarter thanks to strength in their cable networks, but real pain could hit as early as in the second quarter. Cable TV affiliate fees and advertising have propped up media profits as viewers defected from network TV, analysts said, despite a procession of incrementally dour comments on the economy from top executives of News Corp, Walt Disney Co and Time Warner Inc.”

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look inside the Comcast Center, home of the cable company.

  • Bloomberg reports, “CBS Corp., owner of the second most watched U.S. broadcast network, reported first-quarter profit rose 14 percent on sales of its ‘CSI’ crime series abroad. The company raised its quarterly dividend and the stock gained.”
  • Reuters reports, “U.S. cable companies are expected to have lost more basic video subscribers in the first quarter due to the housing market slump, the economic slowdown and stiff competition from satellite and telephone companies.”

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  • Newsday reports, “Worldwide, the environment for journalists grew more hostile last year, extending a six-year downturn, researchers reported Tuesday. Setbacks for press freedom outnumbered advances 2-to-1 across the globe, although the Internet and blogs helped slow the decline, particularly in Iran, reported Freedom House, a nonprofit organization that released the report in advance of World Press Freedom Day on Saturday.”

  • reports, “The Hollywood Reporter Monday completed a wholesale overhaul of its iconic brand, including a redesigned look and format for its print and digital publications, a revised editorial approach, expanded range of coverage and analysis and new industry data exclusive to THR-parent The Nielsen Company.”

  • The Boston Globe reports, “A coterie of A-list geeks, known not by face or name but by nom de blog and Web address, descended on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus this weekend for the Woodstock of the Web, a festival of cyberculture called ROFL-CON. The convention was steeped in online culture, from the name itself — cobbled together from the instant message abbreviation for Rolling on the Floor Laughing and CON, for convention — to name tags that were modeled after a software log-in screen.”

  • Multichannel reports, “After more than half a year of planning and tweaking, National Geographic Channel will unveil a redesigned Web site April 28 that is expected to feature more than 800 hours of video, 2,000 photos from its most popular shows and a state-of-the-art interactive TV scheduling tool.”

  • The San Jose Mercury News reports, “Internet commerce continues its robust growth, defying a sluggish economy that’s teetering on recession, Google’s chief economist and several analysts said Friday.”

  • The Los Angeles Times reports, “Hollywood believes the Internet is the key to its future. But its constituents are again squabbling over how to get there. As in the recent television writers strike, the major studios are at odds with some members of the creative community over digital distribution. This time it’s about a public policy issue known as network neutrality.”

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  • MarketWatch’s Jon Friedman answers, “Why The Week is gaining on Time and Newsweek”

  • MinOnline reports, “At Thursday’s 2008 National Magazine Awards, Adam Moss Will Definitely Give — And He Is A Favorite To Receive.”

  • Mr. Magazine reports, “The number of new magazine launches in the first quarter of 2008 witnessed an increase of five titles compared to those introduced in 2007. A total of 150 new magazines were introduced to the American magazine scene in the first quarter of 2008. This is an increase of five from 2007, but still a far cry from the introduction of 192 new magazines in the same time period of 2006. However the number of titles published four times or more in the first quarter of this year has dropped by nine. Only 41 magazines were launched with the intention to be published at least four times a year compared with 50 in 2007, and 72 in 2006.”

  • Mediabistro has “Four editors delve into why their Web sites are National Mag Award shoo-ins”

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  • NPR’s Ombudsman Alicia Shepard reports, “The New York Times revealed last week that the Pentagon has long covertly pressured and pampered more than a dozen retired military officers hired by broadcast networks as analysts to ensure positive spin on the Iraq war. Among those cited was a military consultant for NPR.”

  • Bloomberg reports, “The proposed merger of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. was opposed by four states that say the combination of the only two pay radio companies poses a threat to competition.”

  • Reuters reports, “Sirius Satellite Radio Inc and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc said on Tuesday they would each delay their annual shareholder meetings as they await information on when their pending merger could close.”

  • Crain’s New York reports,Don Imus may have a job, but he’s not exactly setting the world on fire. The latest iteration of Imus in the Morning, which debuted on WABC-AM in December, was ranked 20th among persons aged 25 to 54, according to the winter survey from Arbitron.”

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  • reports, “It’s the economy, stupid! As media and entertainment conglomerate earnings season kicks into high gear this week, Wall Street will look for signs of how the sluggish U.S. economy has affected sector biggies in the first quarter and guidance on how consumer and advertising spending will play out as the year unfolds.”

  • A release announced, “Top journalists, bloggers, educators and executives from around the world will gather in the nation’s capital to discuss practical and pioneering ideas in online journalism during the ninth annual conference of the Online News Association, Sept. 11-13, 2008.”

  • Poynter’s Amy Gahran writes, “Journalism: A Toxic Culture? (Or: Why Aren’t We Having More Fun?)”

  • The Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow writes, “Newseum buries the lead with corporate sellout”

  • The Wall Street Journal reports, “New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who became a multibillionaire after founding financial-information empire Bloomberg LP, is writing a management guide. Mayor Bloomberg will not get an advance for the book, ‘Do The Hard Things First (And Other Bloomberg Rules for Business and Politics),’ to be published by Perseus Books Group’s Vanguard Press in September. Instead, in an arrangement used by Vanguard for high-profile authors, he’ll get a larger percentage of the royalties, monies that will be donated to charity.”

  • A release announced, “‘The American President,’ an exhibit of compelling news photos from the Associated Press, will be on view at Georgetown University’s Bunn Intercultural Center (ICC) Galleria, from April 28 to May 9, 2008, open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to midnight daily. The display shows American presidents at war and at ease, in victory and in defeat, confronting national crises and facing personal scandals, running for office and leading the country on the world stage.”

  • reports, “While a well-placed press release can still generate tons of media coverage for a brand getting involved with a hankering for entertainment, some PR shops want to offer clients more than a mention in Page Six. Independent Edelman is one of those evolving shops, and the PR giant is making a big play to mine creative talent to produce fresh branded content for its clients.”

  • The American Prospect’s Jim Waldman writes, “The press is convinced that badgering candidates about faux scandals is necessary because they ‘will be raised’ in the general election, but it ignores its own crucial roll in shaping the terms of debate.”

  • TNR’s David Greenberg writes, “Whenever Bill Clinton opens his mouth, he’s accused of saying something dishonest, self-serving, or at best politically unwise. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, I think this has less to do with any difficulty that Clinton has had in accommodating himself to the You Tube era — which is not, after all, such a quantum leap away from the 24/7 news environment in which he successfully conducted his presidency — than with a desire on the part of the Washington media panjandrums to exact some revenge.”

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  • Aerospace Industries Association is looking for a Communications Manager.

  • Bowhead Information Technology Service is looking for a Communications Strategist.

  • Warren Communications News is looking for a Part-time reporter, a Paid Summer Intern and a Business Reporter.

  • National Guard Association is looking for a Staff Writer.

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    Hat Tips: DCRTV, TVNewser, IWantMedia, Romenesko, MediaBistro, JournalismJobs, JournalismNext

  • UPDATE: Jim Lehrer On The Mend

    From TVNewser:

      Insiders tell us PBS’ Jim Lehrer is on the mend after undergoing heart surgery last week. We hear colleague Judy Woodruff visited Lehrer in the hospital and says he is doing well and is in good spirits.

    Pictures Of Morning Papers

    Click on the papers below to see full images.


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    Roll Call Honors Yudain

    From Roll Call:

      Family and friends feted Roll Call founder Sid Yudain for an early 85th birthday celebration Saturday at Yudain’s Virginia home. The revelry took a decidedly musical turn when the 30-some partygoers, including comedian and satirist Mark Russell, got a surprise visit from a mariachi band halfway through dinner, Yudain tells HOH. Not to be upstaged at his own birthday celebration, Yudain joined in the musical fun, playing his saxophone along with the band. His son Ray, in town from Pittsburgh for the occasion, also got into the act by singing Johnny Cash songs.