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More On Times Online Pay Model: The Memo

nyt logo.jpgAlthough details are scarce about The New York Times‘ decision to launch a metered pay model on its Web site next year, announced this morning, publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and New York Times Co. CEO Janet L. Robinson sent a memo to staff today explaining the impetus behind their decision.

As suspected, the reason behind the move is the search for an additional revenue stream, which Sulzberger and Robinson said, “will be an important part of our future.” They added:

“While digital advertising will continue to be the major contributor to our success on the Web, we expect that online subscription revenue will improve our ability to grow an important part of this business.”

As for the choice of a metered model versus, say, The Wall Street Journal‘s model requiring payment for full access to exclusive stories, Sulzberger and Robinson said the move will allow the Times to “remain a vibrant part of the search-driven Web, which has proven to be an integral reason for why we have become an industry leader in display advertising.” Who said Google News wasn’t good for something (ahem, Rupert Murdoch)?

Sulzberger and Robinson also addressed concern from critics recently — criticism which has reached a fever pitch since a New York magazine report surfaced over the weekend revealing the paper’s pay model plans a few days in advance. The execs admitted there are challenges ahead, and they are taking it slowly, planning to roll out the pay model a year from now. As they told their staff:

“Ultimately, we recognize that the success of our ideas will be judged by how well we execute this effort in the months to come. That is why we are waiting until 2011 to introduce this new system. To pursue this new approach requires that we utilize the full energy and intellect of all of you. All that work begins today…It will take time to get this right.”

Other things to take away from the memo: while the idea of joining a consortium with other publishers is still on the table, this metered model will be a “stand-alone product.”

In addition to the memo, the paper also published their own story today about their announcement, emphasizing their desire to take it slowly and get their pay model right. Executive editor Bill Keller, has reportedly “embraced the plan,” telling the Times:

“It underscores the value of what we do — trustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism, which is an increasingly rare and precious thing. And it gives us a second way to sustain that hard, expensive work, in addition to our healthy advertising revenue.”

After the jump, the full memo sent to Times staffers today.

Read more: The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Web SiteNew York Times

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Times Announces Pay Model

nyt logo.jpgAfter months of hemming and hawing The New York Times today finally announced plans for a pay model for its Web site, NYTimes.com.

The model will be a metered plan, as predicted by New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman over the weekend. Although announced today, the plan won’t go into effect until next year, the New York Times Co. said.

The metered plan will allow users to access a certain number of articles for free before being prompted to pay for additional access, much like The Financial Times‘ current model. Subscribers to the print edition will continue to have free access.

Said publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.:

“Our new business model is designed to provide additional support for The New York Times‘ extraordinary, professional journalism. Our audiences are very loyal and we believe that our readers will pay for our award-winning digital content and services.”

Full release after the jump

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Former FBDC Editor Graff|McGraw-Hill Earned $5.9M From BusinessWeek|NYTCo. May Sell Worcester Paper Soon|More On Comcast-NBCU

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

PRNewser: Former FishbowlDC founding editor Garrett Graff, now the editor of the Washingtonian, talks about working in PR and then making the jump to journalism.

All Things Digital: Today, Mcgraw-Hill told investors that its sale of BusinessWeek netted the company $5.9 million after taxes.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Ralph D. Crowley, Jr., who is looking to buy the Worcester Telegram & Gazette from The New York Times Co., says negotiations might be wrapped up in two weeks.

New York Times: A closer look at Comcast‘s bid for a majority stake in NBC Universal.

Newly Reorganized Cygnus Announces New Board

cygnus logo.jpgOne day after announcing its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the appointment of a new CEO, John French, business-to-business publisher Cygnus Business Media has announced a new board of directors.

The new members of the board include French; former BusinessWeek president and publisher William P. Kupper, Jr.; former Warburg Pincus managing director Al Aguirre; John Balzer, a director at Goldman Sachs; b-to-b veteran George L. Hundley, Jr.; and Charles G. McCurdy, the current CEO of Apprise Media and b-to-b company Canon Communications.

In announcing its new board, Cygnus emphasized each member’s work on digital integration and the development of new initiatives beyond print media, perhaps hinting at Cygnus’ goals post-reorganization.

“Today’s media landscape offers exceptional opportunities for growth and transformation as it has in each prior decade,” French said. “Each of our board members has participated in the industry from launching start-ups to establishing world leading mediums. Experience, knowledge and hands-on expertise will provide us with a competitive edge and a unique vision of the future. This new board is reflective of our commitment to our business and to the B2B industry as a whole.”

After the jump, full bios of the Cygnus’ new board members.

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We Are Family: Sulzberger-Ochs Grandnephew Joins NYT Newsroom

NYT_08_21_09.jpgThe New York Observer reports that Associated Press reporter Sam Dolnick will join the Metro desk at The New York Times. Oh, and he’s the grandnephew of former NYT publisher Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger. A Times spokeswoman said Dolnick will start September 14.

After Arthur Gregg Sulzberger (son of Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.) joined the Times staff in February, ‘City Room’ bureau chief Sewell Chan told mediabistro.com, “He has been absolutely impressive, gracious, smart as a whip, hardworking, full of energy, full of ideas, and has a great sense of language.” Let’s hope this holds true for the new legacy on the block.

Magazines Remembering Michael Hit Newsstands

time.pngForget Jon & Kate, Michael Jackson‘s death may be the latest event to help resuscitate the faltering magazine industry. After news of his death broke on Thursday afternoon, magazines rushed to honor the pop star.

Today, Time magazine has a commemorative issue hitting newsstands. The issue features memories of Michael from a laundry list of his famous friends and admirers, including Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Nancy Reagan.

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Lunch: Cindi Leive, Harold Ford, Jr. & The Gang

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We heard we missed quite a scene yesterday when the dining room was filled with the likes of dirty joke diva Sarah Silverman, Pedro Almodovar, Harvey Weinstein and his oh-so-fashionable wife, designer Georgina Chapman, Ron Perelman and a long list of other movers and shakers. But there were plenty of fabulous folks to chat with today, so I made the rounds before they got down to business over their Cobb salads.

I was delighted to see ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, who had been across the pond enjoying some time in London and missing from his regular perch at Michael’s for several weeks. He’s right back into the swing of things, having been at Sunday night’s Tony Awards to see his friend Sir Elton John, who wrote the music for 10-time award winner Billy Elliot celebrate with the cast on their big night. Monday night Joe attended the benefit for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp hosted by Julia Roberts, Robert Redford and some other A-listers. “We raised $2.5 million,” reports Joe, who volunteers at the camp every summer. “It’s great to see all of Paul’s work is still going strong.” Joe was lunching today with the charming — and funny — Harold Ford, Jr., chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council who moonlights as a news analyst for MSNBC.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The ‘Imber Gang’: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield and Andy Bergman.

2. A dapper duo: Nielsen Business Media’s Gerry Byrne and Henry Schleiff. I stopped by Gerry’s table to catch up since we last crossed paths at Showtime’s party for Nurse Jackie and its star, Edie Falco. Coincidentally, Gerry, who is one of the greatest guys in the business, is getting a ‘Made in New York’ Award from the mayor’s office next Monday night and his fellow honoree is none other than Edie. Small world.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Harold Ford, Jr.

4. Stan Shuman with another gent we didn’t recognize…

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Lunch: Special Fashion Week Edition

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— DIANE CLEHANE

These days, you just never know who you’re going to meet on Wednesdays at Michael’s. If we’d come yesterday, we would have been able to chat with Willem Dafoe. Oh well. This being New York Fashion Week, I was thrilled when Donna Karan came in. I was happy to catch up with my former boss (I once toiled as her flack during her heyday at Anne Klein) and add to the praise she’s been getting for her show earlier this week. When I asked her if she’s seen the glowing review Cathy Horyn wrote in this morning’s Times, she replied with a smile. “That was a surprise!” Not to her most fervent fans, though. Donna’s gorgeous jackets and draped skirts that are sure to be on plenty of well-dressed city gals come next fall hearkened back to her 80s heyday without looking at all retro. While everyone else is referencing the decade of giant shoulder pads (Is anyone really going to wear them again?) and DayGlo brights, Donna has managed to make everything look thoroughly modern and beautiful. Bravo!

I was lunching at the bar with fellow People scribe and soul sister Natasha Stoynoff when Ed Victor came up for a chat. Our favorite uber agent told us he was meeting Fugees producer/rapper John Forte and his lawyer Aarti Tandon. Here’s a tantalizing tale: John was one of 14 people who got a presidential pardon from departing President George W. Bush. John received a 14-year sentence in 2000 for drug trafficking when he was caught with two suitcases of liquid cocaine worth $1.4 million in Newark Airport. Carly Simon and Senator Orrin Hatch (now there’s an odd couple) both championed his release, says Ed. Now, he’s blogging about his experiences for Tina Brown on The Daily Beast, and Ed is shopping a book about his adventures in and out of jail. Sounds like a page-turner to us…

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Bonnie Timmerman and Richard Belzer

2. Peter Brown and a young bespectacled gent

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Dorothy Kallins

4. My pal, Inside Edition anchor Deborah Norville and CBS Television’s Bob Madden. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Deb, so I went over to chat, and we laughed about how busy the dining room is despite empty tables all over town. “This place is the cafeteria for the LinkedIn set,” she laughed. So true ….

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Phish Re-Emerges, Eight Years After Giacchetto Sting

Phishphish.jpg, the alternative Vermont-bred rock band that was at the center of the Dana Giacchettodana.jpg money manager scandal in 2000, is getting back together for a reunion concert in Vermont.

The band was smack in the middle of a round-robin scam, according to the New York Observer and scads of other Hollywood-watching magazines, conducted by Giacchetto whereby the money manager would borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, from unwitting clients to pay back the Hollywood elite like Mike Ovitz, Ben Stiller, Lauren Holley, Rick Yorn, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire that Giacchetto enlisted as targets of the scam as well.

In March 1999, Giacchetto allegedly took $556,521 from Rick Yorn, Michael Ovitz‘s young partner at Artists Management Group, to pay What’s Love Got To Do With It director Brian Gibson $476,000. Then, on March 19, 1999, Mr. Giacchetto allegedly took $500,000 from Alanis Morisette’s manager Scott Welch to pay Phish manager John Paluska $258,978.00; in August, he took $450,000 from Mr. Ovitz to pay his company’s payroll, then cut a check to hotelier Andre Balazs for $11,000.

Then, in September 1999, Mr. Giacchetto went on a bit of a tear. He allegedly siphoned $250,000 from Ben Stillerbenstiller.jpg, $250,000 from then- Talk editor David Kuhn, $150,000 from actor Tobey Maguire, and $100,000 from Lauren Holley to send Mr. Yorn $737,000, Mr. Ovitz $150,000, Razorfish Web site design firm co-founder Craig Kanarick $21,000, and artist George Condo $75,000.

There was even a little left over the following month to mail E Street Band guitarist and Sopranos star Stevie Van Zandt $100,000. Then in November, he allegedly took $100,000 from art dealer Marianne Boesky and sent it right off to bony actor Tim Roth. One hundred thousand dollars from artist David Salle’s account allegedly went toward paying Alanis Morissette $3,600; a half million dollars of Phish’s retirement fund repaid Ben Stiller the quarter million he was missing. In January 2000, the $250,000 of a gentleman named Gordon P. Baird, Jr. allegedly helped pay producer Stacy Sher $251,033.

Phish disbanded in 2004.

Not sure whether Phish ever saw any money again. Maybe that’s why they’re re-uniting.

Nearly Everyone’s a Winner with RADAR’s Charles Kaiser

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RADAR posts their Winners and Sinners list but Charles Kaiser sounds more like a gushing fanboy than any sharp media critic. He squashes some low-hanging fruit, like Deborah “Didn’t I Ask That?” Solomon, but practically wets himself in praising the unwatchable mess made by director Julie Taymor:

Winner: Julie Taymor for Across the Universe, a charming musical starring adorable newcomer Jim Sturgess. The movie uses more than 30 Beatles songs to propel us through a story that touches all the stations of the ’60s cross. One bad creative decision: Revolution Studios head Joe Roth tried to shorten the movie by 30 minutes. Taymor went berserk and got it all put back. At 133 minutes, the movie is exactly half an hour longer than it should have been.

Most of his praise is reserved for household names, like Carl Bernstein, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, Lara Logan, Jeffrey Toobin, and most of the New York Times. Really, it’s like he’s superpoking his Facebook roster, should one exist.

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