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Archives: February 2009

Media Stocks: The State of the Top 13

Well, it wasn’t as bad as last week…

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The Silver Lining in the Silver Screen|Good-Bye ‘Hello Americans’|ASNE Cancels Convention|If You Can’t Beat’em Try Again|Didn’t Gregory Just Join?

Survey Says: Newspapers Still Relevant!

newspaper-stand2.jpgThe Rosen Group has conducted its first ever media consumption survey to some interesting results. The Rosen Group polled 316 respondents ages 12-75, online, from February 18-23, 2009 and of the people surveyed “nearly 80 percent of respondents still subscribe to magazines and the vast majority (83 percent) find that daily newspapers are still relevant.”

Judging by the dire financial state of newspapers one imagines “relevant” is somewhat different than, say, “worth the subscription fee.” That said, 45 percent of those surveyed seemed to think newspapers and magazines will still exist in 10 years. See all the results here and the full release after the jump.

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ASNE Convention Canceled

asne.jpgAmerican Society of Newspaper Editors announced today that they have canceled their 2009 convention, scheduled to be held in late April. Not surprisingly, given how many journalism professionals are out of work, or having their pay slashed, attendance at the convention was projected to be weak. From the memo of doom:

ASNE’s leadership has decided to cancel our 2009 convention because of the challenging times we face. The text of the press release that is going out this morning follows this note.

The Convention Program Committee had put in place an innovative and relevant program, and I am very grateful to them. But it became increasingly clear in recent weeks that our attendance would be low because editors need to be in their own newsrooms during this difficult time. The board of directors will meet soon to deal with the financial implications of canceling the convention and map strategy for the coming year.

Found via Reuters

Media Stocks? No Thanks

arrow02.27.09.jpgHaving chronicled the fate of the country’s biggest media stocks for the past few months, we’ve come to understand that buying into one of them isn’t a good idea. This climate is terrible and almost no one is making any money. Of the 13 stocks we’ve been following, almost all of them have gone down — many more than the market average — and it’s not going to get better soon.

The good folks at the Motley Fool seem to agree with us. They’ve published a good list of five media stocks to avoid. Their picks (or non-picks, as the case may be): CBS, News Corp., Sirius/XM Radio, Time Warner, Viacom. Not exactly brain surgery, but then again they said making money as a banker was easy too, and look how that turned out.

Rocky Mountain News ‘Final Edition’

Most readers have heard by now that today will be Denver’s Rocky Mountain News‘ last. With the San Francisco Chronicle hanging in the balance, and Seattle holding discussions about what it would be like to be a no-newspaper town, one can only hope the RMN‘s closure isn’t just the first sign of what is to come. Meanwhile the RMN has put together this (well worth watching) good-bye vid which covers the last month of its existence and is currently running on their homepage.

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

LA’s Top Tax Cheats Get A Little Exposure

This morning the city of Los Angeles released a list of businesses with the highest delinquent taxes. Reports

“We are facing a multi-million dollar budget deficit and before we have to cut any additional city services, I want to ensure we crack down on the most egregious tax cheats,” said Councilwoman and City Controller candidate Wendy Greuel today of the city’s new webpage calling out 16 businesses who owe the city more than $100,000 in taxes.

The top offender is Crystal Enterprises, which from what we can glean via Google is a valet parking company based out of Hollywood. They owe the city over $3 million in back taxes, which leaves us wondering just how much money Angelenos piss away every year paying someone else to park their car.

Martin Eli Weil Has Left The Building

We hear from the LA Times that restoration architect Martin Eli Weil has passed. Weil was found dead in his home on Tuesday and is believed to have died from a heart attack. He was 68.

Weil was a founding member of the L.A. Conservancy, an architectural preservation organization started in 1978 as part of an effort to prevent the demolition of the LA Central Library downtown. He supervised the meticulous restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Storer House alongside the famous architect’s grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright. The Storer House is considered to be the best-preserved of Wright’s designs in Los Angeles. Lauren Schlau, a friend of Weils and former president of the West Adams Heritage Association, tells the LAT, “This is a big loss for the preservation community.” We’ve had enough arguments with snotty New Yorkers about the merits of historic L.A. architecture to know just how true that is.

The restored Storer House in the Hollywood Hills:


Mailer to Sulzberger: ‘Michiko Was First With the Worst’

mailer.jpgBefore the Internet was around as an tool with which to fight back, or start them in the first place, writers had to resort to, gasp, letter writing. The Beast has a collection of letters penned by the late Norman Mailer to people who took a less than favorable view of his writing. One can only imagine what Mailer could have done with Tumbler (Twitter, come to think of it, may have been a useful exercise for the loquacious writer). Anyway! Here’s part of what he once wrote to then NYT publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger after one-too-many nasty reviews (including one ill-researched one) from infamous critic Michiko Kakutani.

Over the last ten years, Michiko Kakutani has reviewed every one of my books published in that period. In order, they were Oswald’s Tale, Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man, The Gospel According to the Son, The Time of Our Time, and The Spooky Art. All five were given bad reviews (The Spooky Art perhaps the least awful), but three of those five could make the claim that the ugliest review all received came from Kakutani. What underlined the procedure and could give it a willful subtext was that four of those five reviews came out a week to two weeks ahead of publication. Michiko was first with the worst. One of the basic tricks in book criticism is to get out early if you really detest a book. Still, four out of five! Kakutani was abusing her privilege.

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David Carr on the Future of the NYT

The other night near the end of the David Carr/Tina Brown conversation Brown turned the tables on Carr and asked him for his thoughts on the elephant in the room, namely the future of the NYT, and whether he had any ideas to add the to the ongoing paid content debate.

Not surprisingly Carr had plenty of interesting stuff to say. For one, he says that long term he feels very bullish about the Times, but that the key in the meantime is “scarcity.” “Scarcity and adjacency have historically driven us as a business.”