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Archives: May 2009

HuffPo Internship Goes For $13,000

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The winning bidder is a mysterious “ch2008″ who will pay, as we said, $13,000 for a three month internship with the Huffington Post. Now the question is:

CH2008, who are you?

It’s a weird handle, to be sure, and somebody’s been spending the last few years registering on obscure social networks and forums under that name and then posting one or two times or not at all. See:
-Ch2008 on metacafe
-CH2008 on YellYo, a forum for musicians
-Ch2008 on Bandmix.com
-Ch2008 on a dating site

If we trust The Interwebs, the winning bidder of the Huffington Post internship is a 57-year-old single tenor from Angola who watches a lot of, er, questionable videos on the Internet.

Obviously all this information is accurate. Someone want to start making a composite sketch?

Viva Print!

La Raza, the most widely read Spanish-language newspaper in Chicago, has increased its readership (though not necessarily circulation) by 9 percent since last year, parent company ImpreMedia announced. The company attributes its growth to an “improved distribution footprint” and a mid-2008 redesign.

Given that redesigns don’t work (maybe because your print audience is conservative and dying off) it’s probably more to do with their distribution. And maybe—we’re just guessing here—there’re fewer places online for Spanish speakers to get their local news, so the local paper is more important than ever.

It’s Official: AOL Spins Off Time Warner

The Time Warner board has approved spinning off AOL into a privately traded company, undoing, AdAge reports, “the disastrous merger between the two in 2001, which came to be a symbol of failed synergy between content and web distribution.”

The spinoff will happen at the end of 2009, and meanwhile, AOL will continue its reorganization. CEO Tim Armstrong is “reported to be knitting AOL’s major units tighter together and re-emphasizing the AOL brand.”

No word on what will happen with MediaGlow but we’d be surprised if the company didn’t continue to expand its content channels.

This One’s For The Millenials: Get $1k From Ed2010!

Scrooge McDuckHave an unpaid magazine internship lined up in NYC this summer? Are you worried about paying for Metrocards, food, and that totally awesome shirt you saw on sale in Williamsburg? Or maybe you’re more worried about rent and you’re scoping out cardboard boxes and prime under-the-bridge real estate.

Anyway, being an unpaid intern pretty much stinks (we know), so head over to Ed2010 and apply to get a $1,000 stipend. Two catches: one, we just heard about this, and the deadline is THIS SATURDAY MAY 30, and two, a thousand bucks will pay for, what, a month’s rent? Tops? We live in DC and are so not in touch with the New York housing market, but we’re pretty sure it’s bad up there.

But hey, free money. Right? If you have it converted into pennies you might have enough to do the Scrooge McDuck dive.

85 Media General Employees In Tampa Lose Their Jobs

The Media General subsidiary that owns the Tampa Tribune, the local NBC affiliate, and other news platforms in the Tampa area, announced layoffs yesterday of 85 full-time positions. The reductions included at least 20 newsroom positions, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Other sources put the newsroom losses at 25. This comes just two months after the company eliminated 65 jobs in Tampa.

No names were named; management wants to make sure every affected employee is notified first.

What Happens To A Start Date Deferred?

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flickr: Lara604

With apologies to Langston Hughes, but a new trend is making its way through banks, consulting firms, and law firms: the deferred start date. Employers are hiring now—when there’s a glut of top candidates on the market—but telling their new hires not to report for work for a year. Sometimes, HRRecruitingAlert reports, these deferred dates come with cash incentives—I’ll gladly pay you today for a hamburger Tuesday, that sort of thing—but often applicants are so desperate for a job that they’re willing to take one where they won’t get paid for a year. In the meantime, candidates travel or do volunteer work.

The risk is that a candidate could get an immediate offer three months into her deferral and renege on her original commitment. And candidates that accept a job offer from a company that can’t afford to pay them now should think seriously about whether that company will still be around in a year, suggests ABA Law Journal.

So yeah, we work in media, not law, but if things don’t get better, watch for this trend trickling down to us creatives soon.

Thanks For The Layoff

BusinessWeek ran an essay from a woman who was laid off just before Christmas last year where she takes an attitude different than what you see most of the time:

“This layoff may be one of the best things that has ever happened to me…It saved me a fortune on child care and the kids will forever remember it as the year we spent three days building the best gingerbread house ever….John, while severance would have been really nice, the gift that you gave me was an abundance of quiet, contemplative time to decide what to do with my life. Not a career, not my time, but my life. I hired a career coach (a tax-deductible job search expense, I thought to myself). I started a workout routine, and I wrote my day-to-day experiences down for myself as a way to order my thoughts…

“We cook food that looks like the way it naturally grew. I have more peace of mind than I can ever remember. I’m reading books for fun; I’m indulging in hobbies and spending time with friends and family. I’ve reconnected with old friends and I volunteer with causes that are important to me.

This is the most rewarding period of my life, ever.”

Wow.

Granted, writer Jessica Ward (who has since launched her own freelance writing business in Seattle) had a husband in the workforce and presumably a cash cushion to let her take this time. For people without those luxuries, unemployment is terrifying. But that doesn’t diminish the value of what Ward did: stop and think about what she really wanted to do.

New Haven Advocate Outsources Its Writing To India

It started as a joke, but then alt-weekly New Haven Advocate hired Indian journalists to write one issue of the paper.

They posted ads on Craigslist, lined up a stable of freelancers who could handle the 12 hour time difference, and had at.

“Most sections proved possible to farm out—and with sometimes hilarious results. Journalist Dev Das interviewed a pair of mind-readers performing a world-premiere telepathy show in West Hartford this week — then he shared a vindaloo recipe with their publicist. The band Cake thought our idea was absurd and funny, and were good sports to play along.”

But despite not saving the paper a lot of money, it took some serious work, too:
“If our owners want to replace us with Indians, all we can say is good luck! If they find locating, hiring and keeping after these writers half the challenge we did, they might think twice about replacing us. Far from giving us a week off, it took the staffs of all three Advocate/Weekly papers to assign, edit, manage and assemble this project.”

Apparently some of the writers flaked and some turned in sloppy copy, but anyone who tries to assemble a freelance staff from the ground up is going to run into these problems. More importantly, can you cover local news without being local?

The editors write: “Call us old-school, but we think good, old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism is worth the price. Outsourcing could certainly fill pages, probably very cheaply, but what’s lost is the very essence of local newspapers: presence. At city hall, the local music club or out on the street talking up average folks, presence is what sets local newspapers (dinosaurs though they are sometimes) apart, and what outsourced news could never replace.”

Check out the paper yourself. What do you think? (The mentalist article, for example, isn’t half bad.)

Links for 5-27-09: Out Of Work Editor | AARP Mag Hires | More

First On MediaJobsDaily: Four+ USA TODAY Ad Sales Reps Laid Off

We’ve learned that three ad sales reps in USA TODAY’s New York office and one in Chicago lost their jobs on May 13, confirmed by a USA TODAY spokesperson. Our anonymous tipster thought there might have been more layoffs in other ad departments across the country, but we’ve been unable to confirm—let us know if you know more.

Meanwhile, we’re talking about a paper whose parent company that saved $20 million through furloughs in the first quarter of this year and is requiring most of its employees to take a second furlough before June. Guess those haven’t been enough for the nation’s most widely read newspaper.

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