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Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’

Earnings Slump for Newspapers Reported in First Quarter of 2011

Poynter amalgamates the 2011 first quarter earnings reports from Gannett, New York Times Co. and Media General, and the outlook for newspapers isn’t so rosy: lower revenues are driving lower earnings compared to the period a year ago.

So what’s going wrong? Well, where do we begin! Newsprint prices are high, circulation revenue is down, digital efforts are still in their early fumbling stages, heavy debts must be repaid, and even “severe weather” and an “unsettled world economy” are being blamed.

But all is not lost. Rick Edmonds sees beyond the earnings report figures:

The very thin profit margins on net earnings (1 percent for the quarter at New York Times Co.) do not delight Wall Street, but I see a positive beneath the surface. As all the companies do their own version of digital transformation, they are investing in new media rather than harvesting operating profits and dropping them to the bottom line.

Exactly the right attitude! We’ve had enough of this depression, and it’s time for a turnaround. Newspapers, 2011 is your year.

Newsroom Employment Slightly Up, Except for Minorities

The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) has released data indicating that American newspapers showed a very slim increase in newsroom employees last year (from an estimated 41,500 in 2009 to 41,600 in 2010), “finally halting a three-year exodus of journalists.”

It’s not a huge increase, but we’ll take whatever good news we can get!

But for minority newsroom employees, things aren’t quite so rosy. The percentage of minorities in newsrooms, according to ASNE, currently totals 12.79 percent (minorities make up 36 percent of the total U.S. population). This is a decline of .47 percentage points from a year ago, and marks the third consecutive year that the percentage of African-American, Asian, Latino, and Native American journalists has declined in U.S. newsrooms.

It seems smaller papers have a greater problem in this regard. ASNE reports that 60 percent of minorities work at newspapers with circulations exceeding 100,000.

USA Today to Start Paying Writers Bonuses for Page Views

This is a sign of things to come as newspapers go digital.

Jason McIntyre reports that according to a source, in a conference call last night USA Today outlined its plan to pay annual bonuses to writers based on page views.

“But once writers start scrutinizing their page view tallies, and realize slideshows, rumors, and celebrities drive traffic, what will be the impact?” asks The Big Lead editor-in-chief.

We’ll see which other major newspapers will be next to follow suit.

Time Spent On Newspaper Web Sites Declines

epOct09.jpgIf Editor & Publisher goes out of business at the end of this month, who will do stories like this?

E&P has been tracking time spent by readers on newspaper’s Web sites, and today reports that visits to these sites “took a hit” in November 2009 compared to the same month last year. This could be due to the lack of a Presidential election, or maybe readers are just not paying as much attention to newspaper Web sites any more.

View their whole comparative list here.

Previously: Could E&P Have Been Saved?

Another Cost Cutting Measure: Condé Cuts Newspaper Subscriptions

4timessquare.jpgOver the past year, Condé Nast has tried a number of cost-cutting measures — from limiting corporate car use to shutting down whole magazines. Yesterday, the company said it would no longer be paying for its employees’ newspaper subscriptions. Is this evidence of McKinsey & Co. at work?

According to a memo leaked to Mediaite, the company will no longer pick up the tab for newspaper subscriptions, single copies or house accounts at Hudson News — unless a title can’t be found online or in the Condé library.

What will they cut next? Gym membership discounts? Visits from the sushi chef? Where will they draw the line?

(Photo from Flickr)

Brian Williams Gets Indie Music Cred|Google’s Mysterious Meetings With Post And Times|Newspapers Should Fail|OK!‘s Luxury Update Conspiracy|WSJ.com’s Micro-Payment Plan

WebNewser: Today, Brian Williams launched BriTunes, an indie music web series. Sadly, Williams doesn’t sing.

MediaMemo: Google is meeting with The Washington Post and The New York Times, too. But what are they talking about?

Silicon Alley Insider: Newspapers should be allowed to fail.

ASSME: Is OK!‘s luxe rebranding a product of “an evil pact between publisher Lori Burgess and editorial consultant Jason Oliver Nixon“?

Reuters: WSJ.com plans to institute “micro-payments” for articles and premium subscriptions.

Star-Ledger Cuts Salaries, Benefits

star-ledger.jpgThe Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest paper, is no stranger to belt-tightening, but they’re going to take it one step further later this year. After asking 200 employees to take buyouts just a few months ago, the paper announced yesterday that it will now be reducing employee salaries and its payments for their health care benefits.

According to the AP, remaining Star-Ledger employees’ salaries will be reduced on a sliding scale starting July 1, with the first $40,000 reduced by 5% and the next $40,000 by 10%.

In addition to the salary cuts, the Star-Ledger will also no longer cover the full cost of its employees’ health care coverage, instead requiring them to pay 25% for their health care plan.

Earlier this year, remaining employees were told the paper would no longer contribute to their pension plan and were also asked to take a 10-day unpaid furlough in 2009. Still, given the current state of the newspaper industry these beleaguered staffers are probably grateful to still have jobs.

And if they’re not, they can always join their departed colleagues in their new local news online venture. If you’re a current or former Star-Ledgerreporter or editor, we want to hear from you. Email us or leave us a note in the comments below.

Michael Wolff Interviews Billionaire, Promised ‘Consultations’

Vanity Fair‘s media writer must have had flashbacks of his dot-com days. Michael Wolff finds himself not only in an “off-the-record” interview with a billionaire who would like to buy a newspaper, but also giving the guy advice. Wolff tells one of the great man’s aides on his way out: “He doesn’t have a clue.”

His outspokenness also gets a promise of “future consultations” and reminds us why we have paid tabloids in our fair city:

Newspapers — in rather direct contradiction to the theoretical values of the journalists who worked for them — have classically been about power and influence and settling scores (in the ideal formulation, the proprietor gets the editorial page to exercise his primal needs, while the news pages remain more pure) and, not least of all, gaining advantages in real-estate deals. Newspapers often bullied their way to centrality in a community. They were a kind of Mafia, a kind of protection racket — you don’t play nice with me, you don’t advertise with me, I mess with you.

Actually, it is not impossible to imagine, in this age of so many billionaires, that competing billionaires would want competing papers. That you can’t be an effective or prideful billionaire without your own paper. New York City has the most robust newspaper market in the nation because billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman‘s break-even-ish Daily News competes against billionaire Rupert Murdoch‘s certainly-money-losing New York Post.

  • Billionaires and Broadsheets [Vanity Fair]

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