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Archives: March 2009

Pics From Pressmen’s Protest of LAT

Ed Padgett got some great shots of the pressman’s union rally at the Los Angeles Times yesterday. Workers were protesting the company’s failure to give severance packages to 63 union pressroom employees whose jobs were recently cut. The full set of pictures can be found on Flickr.



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Newspapers Failing Social Networking 101

newspapers03.31.09.jpgAccording to a report from Gartner Inc., newspapers need to do much, much more to engage the social side of their readers if they hope to compete in the increasingly difficult marketplace.

Specifically, newspaper Web sites fail to integrate social media tools effectively. As a result, while 49 percent of those surveyed use search engines to find news or content every week (and that number seems low), only 20 percent use search tools that exist on newspaper and magazine sites.

This trend mimics one discussed in Mark Bowden‘s Vanity Fair article about The New York Times that made the round yesterday. In it, the author discusses how one of the revolutions of the Web — one that newspapers failed to capitalize upon — is that news has become deaggregated.

Those who grew up using the Internet, which now includes a full generation of Americans, are expert browsers. It’s not that they have short attention spans. If anything, many of them are more sophisticated and better informed than their parents. They are certainly more independent. Instead of absorbing the news and opinion packaged expertly by professional journalists, they search out only the information they want, and are less and less likely to devote themselves to one primary site, in part because it is less efficient, and in part because not doing so is liberating. The Internet has disaggregated the news.

These latest numbers from Gartner would suggest newspapers still aren’t learning any lessons.

Morning Media Menu With CBS’s Russ Mitchell

mornmm.gifToday on the Menu we are joined, straight off the set, by CBS’s Russ Mitchell who is the news anchor for both The Early Show and CBS’s Sunday Evening News. Mitchell, who by the way is running second in his NCAA bracket behind Julie Chen (apparently going with Syracuse was not our best choice!), talks about the changing face of news and what people entering the business should consider.mitchell_3-31b.jpg

    “The traditional model of doing things is long gone, so what I tell them is to have a thick skin, know they’re going to get knocked down many times, and to also have as many skills as possible under their belt.”

Mitchell also talks about the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism he is about to receive from his alma mater, the University of Missouri, as well as the future of online video. You can listen to all the past podcasts at and call in at 646-929-0321. Launches ‘Comprehensive’ Photo Site


Everything old is new again. At least everything that can figure out how to reinvent itself on the Internet! Behold The magazine, which helped to visually define much of the 20th Century, has relaunched online. The site, which is a joint venture between Time Inc. and Getty Images Inc., will combine both companies’ photo collections to “create the most comprehensive photo experience available online.”

Per the release (in full after the jump): “The curated site features both rarely seen and iconic photos from the 1850s through today. The photos are presented with descriptions and categorizations to give users an in-depth photo viewing experience, where they can not only view, but also rate, share and link to images in this expansive collection.”

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Erica Smith is Miffed at CNN for Misquoting Her Stats

papercuts22222.jpgJourno, Erica Smith, whom we’ve dubbed The Newsroom Angel of Death for her somber vigil of the death of our national print papers.

Apparently, her record keeping has gotten pretty popular, we’ve received press releases with her name dropped in. Now CNN is using her stats…mangling them.

She sent us this email:

CNN is referencing Paper Cuts, saying “More than 21,000 jobs at 67 newspapers have vaporized” which is so wrong. Only 67 papers? That’s 313 jobs per paper. I gave them more accurate numbers than that. I’ve tried contacting the original reporter; no fix. And now non-CNN people are picking up that number and using it in other stories. (And that’s just lazy research!)

Yeah, there were almost 16,000 jobs lost just in 2008, according to our crack research team.

Smith clarifies:

On March 19, when the reporter [Stephanie Chen] asked, 428 papers had announced layoffs in 2008, and 246 had announced layoffs in 2009. Now, the ’09 number is about 305, and there have been about 1,500 more layoffs. And of course some (but not all) of the same papers that announced layoffs in ’08 are doing the same thing in ’09.

Previously on FBLA: FBLA Checks in with Erica Smith, Paper Cuts Hits 1000 for the Year…Already, Newspaper Layoffs Hit 6,000 This Year – in March – Mid-March

Douthat Prepares for NYT Op-Ed Page Destiny

090330_douthat_nytimes_223.jpgMichael Calderone has a nice interview up with the New York Times‘ 29 year old incoming columnist Ross Douthat. Some highlights:

  • “Those of us who have known him for a while have joked that his destiny was to be the conservative on The New York Times editorial page,” said associate editor Marc Ambinder.

  • Douthat, who once went skinny-dipping with William F. Buckley, will be facing an audience more likely to share political views with Frank Rich than with the late National Review founder. “I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by liberals,” Douthat said, “so hopefully it won’t be a difficult adjustment.”

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Sun Sets on Sun-Times Media Group

cst_logo_353_203.31.09.gifWe’ve been following Chicago’s Sun-Times Media Group for months now. The paper laid off a number of staffers in January. Then it hired a dude who lived in Dallas to run the company in February. Earlier this month, it promoted two execs. Well, now it’s bankrupt.

Jeremy L. Halbreich, chairman and interim CEO, explained the decision in a statement.

“Over the past several months, the Company has taken several steps to reduce costs and strengthen our organization. However, the significant downturn in the print advertising environment that has affected newspapers across the country has continued to severely impact us. Unfortunately, this deteriorating economic climate, coupled with a significant, pending IRS tax liability dating back to previous management, has led us to today’s difficult action. Importantly, we firmly believe that filing for Chapter 11 protection and exploring the potential sale of assets or new investment in the Company offers us the best opportunity to protect our respected media properties for the long-term.”

The company’s 59 papers will continue to operate. The local news will go on.

FBLA’s Top 5 Stories Yesterday’s Jack Shafer Thinks There is No Yellow Journalism Anymore…Wants to Bring It Back…Serious, He Wrote That…On the Internet

jackshafer.jpgJack Shafer writes in his column “Bring Back Yellow Journalism” in Slate:

But every now and again, I wish the newspapers landing on my doorstep contained a little more blood, took a position without being partisan, yelled a tad more, and brushed some yellow from the palette while painting their stories.

There. I’ve said it. I wish our better newspapers availed themselves of some of the techniques of yellow journalism and a little less of the solemnity we associate with the Committee of Concerned Journalists. Yes, the yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World from the 1890s.

Now before you storm the U.S. Congress’ Periodical Press Galleries, demanding that they deny my latest application for a press card, hear me out. Being rambunctious to the extreme, yellow journalism is misunderstood. At its best, yellow journalism was terrific, and at its worst, it really wasn’t all that bad.

Uhm. Yeah.

Isn’t yellow journalism the gold standard of cable news?

Fast Company Pens a Happy (Read: Not Totally Depressing) Story About Media (Spoiler – It’s NPR)

cov134.jpgThanks, Fast Company…change the conversation. Make us look smarter for reading you.

Anya Kamenetz writes:

Yes, it’s true: In one of the great under-told media success stories of the past decade, NPR has emerged not as the bespectacled schoolmarm of our imagination but as a massive news machine poised for what Dick Meyer, editorial director for digital media, half-jokingly calls “world domination.” NPR’s listenership has nearly doubled since 1999, even as newspaper circulation dropped off a cliff. Its programming now reaches 26.4 million listeners weekly — far more than USA Today’s 2.3 million daily circ or Fox News’ 2.8 million prime-time audience. When newspapers were closing bureaus, NPR was opening them, and now runs 38 around the world, better than CNN. It has 860 member stations — “boots on the ground in every town” that no newspaper or TV network can claim. It has moved boldly into new media as well: 14 million monthly podcast downloads, 8 million Web visitors, NPR Mobile, an open platform, a social network, even crowdsourcing. And although the nonprofit has been hit by the downturn like everyone else, its multiple revenue streams look far healthier long term than the ad-driven model of commercial media. (In 2003, Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray, gave a $200 million endowment to NPR, the largest gift ever to an American cultural institution. She must have gotten one hell of a tote bag.)

You should read the whole piece.