FishbowlDC TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser GalleyCat SocialTimes

Mo’guls, Mo’ Problems

San Diego Union-Tribune to Launch Television Network

San Diego-based KPBS television and radio producer Megan Burke is tweeting up a storm about a proposed plan by San Diego Union-Tribune (we’re still not ready for U-T San Diego) CEO John Lynch to launch a new television network under the paper’s banner. The new network will apparently air on cable TV as well as the paper’s website and will be called UT-TV.

Memo to Lynch: There’s nothing more demeaning to a real journalist than being called a “content provider/contributor.” More to come on this story we’re sure.

Sam Zell May Have Bankrupted Tribune Co, but He’s Still Got Some Money Left for Karl Rove

Interesting little tidbit from an LA Times piece on Karl Rove‘s “American Crossroads” super PAC–which has brought in $18.4 million from wealthy oligarchs in the past year. Guess who’s name turned up on the 2011 donor roster?

The end of the year tally  included $100,000 from Sam Zell, whose properties include the Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other papers.

It gets better. Guess what Zell’s money is helping to buy? Videos like this one, attacking President Obama’s track record on jobs and unemployment. Isn’t that just the cow’s knockers? Incompetent billionaire bankrupts a company, lays off thousands, and then has the sack to spent a reporter’s salary or two funding political attack ads accusing Obama of devastating the middle class.

Watch Zell’s video after the jump if you feel like retching.

Read more

Tribune Company Has Spent $231 Million on Bankruptcy

The Tribune Company, (abusive) parent company of the LA Times, has spent $212.9 million on lawyers fees and another $17.8 million on additional legal expenses since they filed for bankruptcy in December of 2008, according to a report in Crain’s.

And the river of wasted money isn’t drying up anytime soon. U.S. bankruptcy judge Kevin Carey recently said he wouldn’t hold hearings to end Tribune Co’s bankruptcy until May, at the earliest. Which, sadly, will most likely mean more layoffs, despite the company’s supposedly improving cash flow.

San Diego Union-Tribune Shills for Owner’s Waterfront Redevelopment Plans

San Diego Union-Tribune… nee… make that “U-T San Diego” owner and real estate magnate Douglas Manchester ran not one, but TWO editorials in his new toy… er… paper today, shilling for his waterfront development plans. And one of them ran on the friggin’ front page!

San Diego is not pleased. Voice of San Diego CEO Scott Lewis called the plans “half baked.”

The paper provided no new insight on deep, decades-old disagreements. It merely posits that problems can be solved because problems can be solved. It worries about a skeptical public unwilling to invest in big ideas because it has been misled so much and then immediately misleads on how expensive this big idea would be.

Read more

Media Exec John Paton Airs His Digital Views in the Analog World

Digitally-oriented media mogul John Paton got a nice fat profile in the LA Times over the weekend, courtesy of James Rainey. Paton is the CEO of Digital First Media, the Journal Register Company and Media News–and oversees the Daily News, Pasadena Star-News, Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Daily Breeze, among a few hundred other papers and media outlets across the country. Paton is a one-time copy boy for the Toronto Sun, who has made it big as a media executive by pushing his newspapers to embrace digital journalism–and pushing hard.

Writes Rainey:

Paton and his Digital First Media — a management company established four months ago that now oversees the recently bankrupt Journal Register and MediaNews chains — have put a 21st century spin on “Stop the presses!” Reporters post video before writing news stories, tweet to their readers in search of news tips and invite customers into news meetings to help mull story choices.

Ad reps had better be pushing Facebook placements, email blasts and online video ads. Paton’s mantra: “Stack digital dimes to match print dollars.”

The roundish chief executive with the insouciant Sydney Greenstreet affect displays a notable lack of sentimentality for parts of his lifelong trade. He has said that traditional print journalism has a value of “about zero,” urged that newspaper people stop listening to other newspaper people, and stated that the public “knows more than we do” about their towns.

Paton later qualifies those statements by arguing that newspapers are no longer fit for breaking news, when stories can be posted on the web at a moment’s notice. Which is true. But he never disputes the notion that John Q. Public somehow knows more about their town than reporters do. We’d encourage Paton to take a stroll around LA and ask people on the street if they can name all the city council members. Or even their own city council member.

Read more

Now News Corp Wants a Piece of the Dodgers

Is there anyone left on the planet who doesn’t have their eyes on the Dodgers? Mark Cuban tried, but the price was too high. Magic Johnson, Joe Torre, Rick Caruso and Roy Disney are all still in the running. Now Rupert Murdoch and News Corp want a piece. Next thing you know Jimma Hoffa is going to resurface and want in on the action.

News Corps’ interest, however, isn’t to buy the whole team, reports the Wall Street Journal. They just want enough of the pie to help their Fox division maintain its media stake in the team.

Fox is looking to become a minority investor to improve its chances of keeping the team’s television rights. The people say the company is interested in a 15-20% stake and is also offering to use its resources to help finance an acquisition of the team.
Read more

George Lucas’ Red Tails Travails Highlight Hollywood’s Racism

The film studios have so little interest in all-black films that even Hollywood royalty like George Lucas struggled to find a distributor for his latest work, Red Tails. Lucas didn’t mince any words when explaining to Daily Show host Jon Stewart the source of the problem:

It’s because it’s an all-black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all. It’s one of the first all-black action pictures ever made.

Lucas spent 23 years making the film, which is based on the true story of a crew of African American pilots who fought in World War II and helped start the civil rights movement. “I financed it myself. I figured I could get the prints and ads paid for by the studios and that they would release it,” he explained to Stewart. “And I showed it to all of them, and they said, ‘Noooo. We don’t know how to market a movie like this.’ It’s not green enough.” And by green, Lucas means profitable.

These are the same yahoos who brought us Mars Need Moms, a film that lost over $100 million. A whackadoodle story about motherless space aliens strikes these dunderheads as a better investment than a classic tale about real American heroes. Because they happen to be black.

Get it together, Hollywood.

View the full Lucas/Stewart interview after the jump.

Read more

San Diego Union-Tribune Now U-T San Diego

The San Diego Union-Tribune is no more. The 144-year-old paper will henceforth be known as “U-T San Diego.” According to a memo to staff, obtained by Jim Romenesko, the name change “will help us unify our print and digital products under a single brand with a clear and consistent expectation of quality. In this way, SignOnSanDiego.com is now UTSanDiego.com to match the nameplate of the newspaper and our newly released iPad app. We will operate as one integrated media company.”

It does make sense to unify the paper’s various digital forms under one banner. But here’s what we don’t get: one of the first moves Douglas Manchester made when he recently purchased the paper was to make the dress code more formal. “Business attire” is now the accepted norm at the paper. We personally thought, given his politics, that the move signified Manchester’s desire to return to the rich conservative history of the paper. But now Manchester has gone out of his way to obliterate that history. His tenure will not be a return to the good ole’ days. Something entirely new is in the works.  And despite his desire to see his employees present a spiffy appearance to the public, “U-T San Diego” sounds decidedly less serious than San Diego Union-Tribune.

San Diego Union-Tribune Staffers Get New Year’s Bonus: Longer Hours

San Diego Union-Tribune staffers will be ringing in the New Year with longer hours with no additional pay. The new workday is 8:30 to 5:30–up 30 minutes per day from under the previous ownership. You eat lunch on your own time under Douglas Manchester‘s watch.

The new hours were just one in a series of largely cosmetic but annoying changes announced today by new U-T CEO John Lynch in a memo to staff. U-T employees will also be required to start dressing in “sharp business attire.” Just because it’s warm and sunny all the time in San Diego doesn’t mean employees should dress like it. “Casual Friday” will remain intact. But, according to Lynch, it “should be only slightly less business oriented than Monday through Thursday.”

So… not really casual at then…

San Diego CityBeat has the memo in full.

Sam Zell May Not Get Tribune Co. Bankruptcy Payout After All

Tribune Company’s protracted bankruptcy isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey said in a ruling yesterday that he wouldn’t hold hearings to end the case until May at the earliest. Some apparent good news, however, did come out of Carey’s ruling yesterday.

From the LA Times:

In his order, Carey reversed part of a ruling he made in October that seemed to give an advantage to a deeply subordinated class of note holders known as the Phones.

At the time, Carey indicated that the Phones class should be able to recover at least part of a claim with a face value of $1.2 billion, getting its share from money that would otherwise go to Aurelius and other junior creditors.

That opened the door to a parallel demand from Tribune Chairman Sam Zell, whose affiliate owns a similar note. It was Zell who acquired the company in a highly leveraged buyout in December 2007, a deal that landed it in bankruptcy a year later.

Read more

<< PREVIOUS PAGENEXT PAGE >>