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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Edmonds’

Wall Street Journal Publisher Jumps to Merged Paywall Firm

PianoMediaLogoFrom a media personnel perspective, the most intriguing aspect of Slovakian startup Piano Media’s acquisition of much larger U.S. paywall services firm Press+ is the individual they’ve snared to run the merged entity. Poynter’s Rick Edmonds spoke to Kelly Leach, formerly the publisher of the Wall Stret Journal‘s European edition, to ask why she decided to make this somewhat unorthodox career move:

“I really believe in the paid digital model, and I did when not very many others did…” she said. “It’s an area I’m passionate about. We have seen this wave working its way around the world and at the same time we are realizing that digital ads alone won’t carry the day.”

Leach worked with [Press+ co-founder Gordon] Crovitz in the early 2000s, when he was Wall Street Journal publisher, and the Journal was among the first to introduce digital subscriptions. (Closing the Dow-Jones loop, she was recruited for the job by [Piano Media communications director] David Brauchli’s brother, Marcus, a former editor of the Journal and later the Washington Post).

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News Corp Might Bid on Tribune Newspapers

Tribune logo GThe big media rumor of the week is that News Corp. is putting together a bid for Tribune Publishing. According to Poynter’s Rick Edmonds, News Corp would be interested in buying the company, but only after it is spun off from Tribune, a move that is expected to happen in the next few months.

Tribune Publishing publishes several newspapers, including heavyweights like The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and The Sun-Sentinel.

News Corp buying the publisher, according to Edmonds, would make sense for a few reasons. Murdoch has always been a big fan of the LA Times and his desire to own it has been chronicled in the past; News Corp was spun off with plenty of cash, cash that investors will want to see do something; and relating to that last point — Tribune Publishing would be easy for News Corp to afford.

Would Rupert Murdoch really buy more newspapers even though print is clearly on the decline? It doesn’t seem to make much sense. But if there’s one person we wouldn’t count out, it’s Murdoch.

Cable News Sites More Popular than Newspapers on the Web

As FishbowlNY noted yesterday, Yahoo! News is the most popular news website, according to recent data by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. But when you take out news aggregators, as comScore did, the result is some grim news for print: Cable News websites are pulling in higher numbers than print sites.

For the first three months of 2011, CNN was the most popular site, averaging nearly 8.5 million unique U.S. visitors each day. MSNBC came in second place with 7.4 million. New York Times, the best performing newspaper, ranked third on the ComScore list with an average 5.6 million.

Fox News, though the giant of cable, averaged 2.3 million. Nonetheless, it bested sites for the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News and USA Today.

David Folkenflik provides some explanation at NPR:

People associate breaking news with cable channels, said Rick Edmonds, who writes about the finances and business trends in the news industry for the Poynter Institute… “If you’re on CNN or MSNBC, you figure you’ll find out what’s going on within five minutes… With the others, there’s a feeling I’ll get a nice serving of stories that were produced this morning.”

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.

Layoffs Leading to Digital Future For Baltimore Sun

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This week the Baltimore Sun laid off 61 newsroom staffers. The cuts represent nearly a third of the paper’s newsroom, which previously had 205 employees. Staff were notified of the layoffs Wednesday and, in some cases, on Tuesday evening. Three reporters and a photographer got the news that they were losing their jobs by phone in the press box during last night’s game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels. In the past few weeks, the Baltimore Sun Media Group has also made cuts at its Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland.

The Sun is owned by Tribune Co., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December. Last year, revenues and circulation were both down at the paper.

Since 2006, Ted Venetoulis, a local Baltimore businessman who owns a chain of community newspapers, has led a group of other area investors who have been seeking to buy the Sun from Tribune. Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute, who spoke with Venetoulis yesterday, said Venetoulis thinks the cuts indicate that Tribune’s desire to “continue running the operation itself rather than selling it.” Venetoulis also told Edmonds that his group was close to reaching a deal to buy the Sun from Tribune just a few weeks ago, but that negotiations were postponed due to the bankruptcy proceedings.

If Tribune does decide to hold on to the paper, there are many signs that they’re considering making it a Web-only news operation. In an article about the layoffs, Baltimore Sun Media Group spokeswoman Renee Mutchnick told Sun reporter Lorraine Mirabella that the cuts were part of a restructuring plan for the newsroom aimed at turning the paper into “a 24-hour, local news-gathering media company so we can more effectively gather content and distribute it among our different platforms: print, online and mobile.” Two weeks ago, in a seminar at Johns Hopkins University, Sun editor Monty Cook told the audience: “We have to stop being a newspaper company. Right now. We are a digital media company.” FishbowlNY reached out to Mutchnick and Cook to ask about their plans for the Sun, but as of this writing, they have not responded to our request for comment on this story.

Let’s Talk More About the End of The New York Times

nyt-building.jpgThe likelihood that the New York Times is suddenly going to cease printing by May, even in this accelerated bad economy, are none, to less than none. However(!) that isn’t going to stop everyone from talking about it endlessly &#151 apparently it’s the new ‘web is killing print’ and/or ‘Google is killing journalism’ conversation. To wit: over at the NewYorker.com James Surowiecki picked up on Felix Salmon‘s post about why The Atlantic article that started the NYT end times ball rolling makes very little sense.

The New York Times is not a small newspaper. It has an enormous display-advertisement inventory, and sells most of it at high rates. It’s also incredibly well placed to go national, as smaller papers close, and become a replacement for people who’ve lost their local paper and who shudder at the prospect of ever reading USA Today.

Meanwhile over at Poynter Online Rick Edmonds concurs that the story has “flunked the basic math.”

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