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Archives: February 2009

Newsday, San Francisco Chronicle To Start Charging For Online Content

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Browsing the Web sites of two major daily newspapers is about to start costing: After posting substantial losses, both Newsday and the San Francisco Chronicle have announced plans to begin charging readers for online content.

Late Thursday, Tom Zucker, COO of Newsday‘s parent company Cablevision said the paper plans “to end the distribution of free Web content.” Zucker declined to specify when when Newsday will begin charging to read content on its site, and did not reveal what that pricing would be. The shift comes as ad revenue and circulation are both down at the paper: Cablevision bought Newsday for $650 million in May 2008, and was recently forced to write down Newsday‘s value by $402 million, leading to a fourth-quarter loss.

Meanwhile on the West coast…

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Janeane Garofalo on Rush Limbaugh’s Sex Appeal

“The type of female that does like Rush is the same type of woman who falls in love with prisoners.”

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It’s Never Worth It|Never Talked About at All|A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words|Murakami in Israel|We Think He’s Great

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NYO: Fortune‘s Barney Gimbel Leaves Magazine Amid Plagiarism Charge

Politico: Kerry on Condiments, 2004, and Blago’s Hair

AP: Officials: Pentagon OKs Media Photos of War Dead

Salon: The Novelist in Wartime

Politico: Let Me Explain the Bronze Prize

Google News to Include Ads

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Game on? AllThingsD has picked up on the news that Google has introduced ads to Google News. Meaning that as newspapers continue (an increasingly desperate) fight for their lives Google aims to make some money off of what is left. Times are tough all around!

So, will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back or merely the first domino in a long line that ends with everyone, including Google, paying for content. As Kafka point out this may be just the thing to do it:

In 2006, the World Association of Newspapers demanded that Google News stop indexing its member sites on the grounds that Google was profiting from the use of their copyright material. Agence France-Presse sued Google for the same thing in 2005. At the time, Google News carried no advertisements and hence, no obvious revenue stream. What will they, and other members of the fast-deteriorating newspaper industry say now that it does?

One imagines we won’t have to wait too long to find out.

Pressman’s Union Talks Back To LAT Management

Yesterday we posted the LA Times’ statement in regard to the pressman union’s protest on Monday. Today union president Ronnie Pineda has released a response:

In these economic times, is it fair to offer pressroom employees a severance package substantially less than non-union employees just because we organized and ratified a contract? The contract states that the company can fashion severance for our members, so why is it being fashioned far less than ALL other employees being laid off? Because were union? The Times could give our members the same as the non-union employees, actually, they could give more if they wanted to! How does that respect our rights to organize Nancy?

The Los Angeles Times has NEVER respected our right to organize! And it is obvious by the numerous changes our shops have undergone since ratification. Prior to organizing, the company had the right to make these same exact changes to our operation, but they didn’t, and there is only one reason why they did after ratification. The contract didn’t change anything because they had the right to do these things all along, but they didn’t and they don’t have to now. These are all calculated moves by the company and another example of how the company continues to employ union busting techniques and coerces employees into blaming the union. How does that respect our rights Nancy?

The rest of the statement after the jump-

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Rocky Mountain News Dies

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Tomorrow marks the last day of publication for the Rocky Mountain News, which has been for sale since December. The paper’s owner, Scripps, failed to find a buyer and made the decision to close the 150-year-old paper citing huge — and ever-increasing — losses.

“Denver can’t support two newspapers any longer,” Scripps CEO Rich Boehne told staffers. “It’s certainly not good news for you, and it’s certainly not good news for Denver.”

According to the paper, there was one interested party, but they withdrew after learning it would take an investment of $100 million to keep the paper alive.

Since 2001, the Rocky Mountain News shared a business side with The Denver Post in an effort to “preserve two editorial voices in the community.” After tomorrow, there will only be one.

Laura Chick Tolerates A Room Full Of Journalists For An Entire Evening

FBLA made it to the SPJ mixer last night in the back room of the Redwood Bar and Grill downtown. Laura Chick was the featured speaker, and had a friendly, informal chat with a room packed full of sweaty journalists. She offered her insights on accountability and transparency in city hall, the responsibility of journalists to keep local politicians on their toes, her audits of the city’s anti-gang programs and the LAPD’s rape kit testing program, the future of the Los Angeles City Controllers office, and her decision to leave public office after 16 years of service. After she finished speaking, Chick was swamped by journalists eager to continue the dialogue. While graciously pushing her way to the door, she was kind enough to pose for a picture with a geeky FBLA editor-

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Previously on FBLA:
LAPD Rape Kit Debacle Continues
LAT Made ‘Hilarious Newspaper Clippings’ Cut

Movieline Taps Defamer Writers For Spring Relaunch

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Entertainment magazine Movieline announced today that it will relaunch this spring as a “Web portal covering all things Hollywood,” written by the trio of editors who used to run Defamer.com, the Hollywood gossip site that was folded into parent company Gawker Media’s flagship Gawker.com blog by company head Nick Denton last week. Defamer’s three writers, Seth Abramovitch, S.T. VanAirsdale, and Kyle Buchanan, have been hired full-time by Movieline’s parent company Mail.com Media Corporation to provide the new portal with “original content, up-to-the-minute blogs, reviews and high-profile interviews.”

According to Abramovitch, the original incarnation of Movieline “had a big influence on Defamer, and the idea of reviving it for a new generation of savvy industry insiders and pop culture fanatics is a thrill, to say the least.”

Full release after the jump.

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LA Weekly Drops “Life In Hell”

laweek0707.jpgIt’s hard to believe we’ll have to say goodbye to Akbar and Jeff. Matt Groening‘s cartoon “Life In Hell” has run in the LA Weekly for the last 22 years. The cartoon itself is 29 years old- it originally ran in the now defunct Los Angeles Reader. Groening tells CNN.com:

[T]he alternative newsweeklies are really struggling. In fact, this coming week will be my final week after 22 years in the LA Weekly. I and all the other cartoonists are being dismissed because they can’t afford to pay.

We’ll see. I’m still in a bunch of other papers, so I may continue to do my strip, but it doesn’t look good.

We’re shocked that the LA Weekly would drop such a successful cartoon- by the creator of “The Simpsons”, no less! Take it from a former Weekly employee- the paper wasn’t paying very much for the strip. And Groening has been good to the Weekly over the years- making himself available to the staff for interviews, illustrating covers for the Weekly for the paper’s small standard fee despite his enormous success, and continuing to read the paper itself. Dropping the cartoon seems incredibly short-sighted, so it’s probably safe to assume it was a decision made by the corporate offices in Phoenix.

Portfolio Mag’s Madoff Breakfast

Kudos to Portfolio magazine for this morning’s thought-provoking panel about Bernie Madoff. Panelists: Elie Wiesel (pr. Eely Vee-zel), a prominent author and founder of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which lost money to Madoff; Harvey Pitt, ceo of Kalorama Partners and former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and Jim Chanos, President and founder of Kynikos Associates, a well-known short-seller. Portfolio Editor in Chief Joanne Lipman moderated. The conversation ranged from heart-felt to thought-provoking to vengeful. I Twittered it at http://www.twitter.com/laureltouby

Some of the questions raised: What is Affinity fraud? Why was there such a lack of accountability on the part of the SEC? Did Madoff have accomplices? Will the high-stakes banker-types at Lehman and Merrill be accused of criminal behavior? How can we trust that it was a $50b fraud when that number was what Madoff himself reported?

The best answer was given when someone in the audience asked Wiesel (who lost tens of millions of dollars to Madoff): “Could you ever forgive him?”

Wiesel repeats the question: “Forgive?” as if to consider it. Then, after a looooong pause, retorts “No!….He’d have to ask for forgiveness and he wouldn’t do that.”

A bit later, I’ll post some video. In the meantime, hit the “continued” link to find out more about what was said (and what went noticeably unsaid) about the Madoff Fraud…

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