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Posts Tagged ‘David Brauer’

Patch Sites to Grow Under AOL Ownership

We’re not trying to be all-Huffington, all-the-time here, but such is the nature of media consolidation. There’s been a flurry of articles about the status of following the HuffPo/AOL acquisition. Arianna Huffington’s faith in the Patch concept is translating into a new phase of growth for the network of hyperlocal news sites, after some scaling back earlier this year.

Bloomberg reported today that AOL will hire up to 800 full-time employees for Patch as it adds sites in markets across the country. Sites are now run by just one full-time editor and get additional content from freelance contributors. The hirings will bulk up those one-person shops. David Brauer of reports that local freelance budgets are also up.

In an interview with Street Fight, Brian Farnham, Patch’s editor-in-chief (pictured), talks in depth about the hyperlocal business model and the future of his sites.

How is the AOL’s acquisition of Huffington Post affecting Patch?
We’re still figuring that out. It’s still early days. … We’ve had many active conversations with them so far, but the integration is an active machine with a lot of moving parts. I don’t have the crystal ball for how it’s all going to shake out. But I do know that in the conversations we’ve had with Arianna Huffington, she’s a huge Patch fan, definitely gets what we’re doing, loves the principle behind Patch … which is how AOL always felt too. Everyone realizes that Patch is trying to do something special and we don’t want to muddy those waters.

For even more about Patch, check out this “So What Do You Do?” Mediabistro interview with Farnham from November.

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Star Tribune To Give $$$ To Its Journalists

Wow! Since the Star Tribune beat its 2010 earnings goals, every full-time employee is going to get a check for $1,163, reports David Brauer.

Course, publisher Mike Klingensmith told employees not to expect such good checks for fiscal year 2011, as 2010′s great results were largely due to cost-cutting and staff concessions in 2009. But hey. A grand’s nothing to sneeze at.

Pioneer Press Looks Far Afield For Replacement Editor

The next editor-in-chief of the Pioneer Press may be an outsider, reports MinnPost, if the paper’s help wanted ad is any indication.

First of all, the fact that the job is posted at all means that the company may be looking for someone not within the paper.

And, writes MinnPost’s David Brauer, “Because the PiPress cannibalized the managing editor position amid budget cuts to preserve newsgatherers, no number-two is primed to step up.”

However, there are two promising internal candidates: senior editor of local news Sue Campbell and editorial page editor Mike Burbach.

Burbach confirmed to Brauer that the paper is “doing a national search, as you know, and that’s good. It’s early in the process, and we’ll see how it develops.”

From the listing, which expires March 1:

The Editor will foster an environment of innovation and risk-taking, breaking big local stories and producing quality journalism that can only be found in the Pioneer Press and on The Editor will have a strong reader and market focus, framing stories to put readers first and show an in-depth knowledge and understanding of our market.

The Editor will both understand and embrace technology through the steadfast delivery of real-time news online, spurring the development of interactive content and growing online social media.

Must be willing to challenge instincts and interests of readers.

The ideal candidate will have 10+ years of journalism and management experience, preferably as senior editor in a metropolitan newspaper and/or an online news publication.

More Buyouts At The Strib

A lovely summer in Minneapolis

The Star Tribune is offering another round of buyouts, reports David Brauer.

The good news: The buyouts are not because the paper is sliding into another bankruptcy. The paper simply wants to hire more people, and it can’t do that without getting rid of the old people.

The bad news: The paper can’t hire new people without getting rid of the old people. Yikes.

Only five staffers will be eligible for this round of buyouts—two news assistants, two photogs and one reporter, and management has the right to refuse any employee’s “oh please pick me I’m so ready to be done with this job” statement.

We’re happy that the Star Tribune is going to inject some new blood into its operations. But does that have to involve clearing out the old first?

Patch Hits Minnesota has begun invading Minnesota, “hoovering” up young journalists, as MinnPost’s David Brauer puts it. Young journalists at smaller MN newspapers are fleeing for the “apparently…decent enough” salaries at the AOL owned property.

Brauer writes that Patch has hired “Mike Rose, formerly of the Austin Daily Herald, and now, Kris Janisch, the managing editor of the Stillwater Gazette. The Gazette, a Sun Suburban newspaper, is already advertising for Janisch’s replacement.

“Patch currently lists 37 full-time editorial jobs in Minnesota. (Rosemount, New Ulm, Maple Grove, etc.) Employees work from home, and editors supervise an army of freelancers. It sounds like a meat grinder, but have you ever worked for a small-town newspaper?”

There are 37 full-time editorial jobs at Patch in Minnesota right now, and more than five hundred nationwide. Brauer says: “have no idea how long Patch will survive — AOL is pumping in millions — but I’m glad the next generation has a new avenue to choose. At least until the creative destruction settles out, this also opens up jobs at legacy papers and perhaps — is it too much to hope for? — a pay raise or two.”

All The Paper, No News

Like the dead-tree edition of your favorite paper so much that you’d take the paper over the news?

That appears to be the goal behind the Star Tribune’s “StribExpress,” launching this Sunday.

StribExpress is a stripped-down version of the Sunday paper. It contains, according to MinnPost’s David Brauer, “all the Sunday ads plus six pages of ‘the best features content from the Star Tribune,’ according to a media release.”

The Star Tribune will still put out the regular Sunday paper, of course, but StribExpress is free, and because the readers will have opted in via mail or telephone, the company can count the papers as verified circulation (though it won’t be “lumped in with the ‘main’ Sunday paper,” Brauer writes.)

Back when the Internet was young, there was a web service called, short for CReAte Your Own Newspaper. (Okay, so the acronym was a little forced. Tell it to them.) Crayon’s slogan was something along the lines of “All the news, no paper!”

This Strib project seems to be the exact opposite.

However, as Brauer says, providing a new way for advertisers to reach readers is “good thing if advertisers still want to use a news organization to get their messages out. (After all, plenty of advertising alternatives have no news-gathering to subsidize.)” And the product seems to be well-received so far, at least according to a couple blog postings: “Can you imagine? FREE coupons?”

The Search Is On To Replace The Art Director With ‘The Most Hardware In Town’

city pages coverNick Vlcek, the trophy-bedecked art director of the Minneapolis, Minn.-based City Pages, is leaving, reports David Brauer.

During his tenure at City Pages he may have won more awards than anyone in town, Brauer wrote lightheartedly.

Here’s Vlcek’s page on showing that he won two national awards for cover design and photography; he took home seven awards from the Minnesota Society for Professional Journalists last year. The picture illustrating this entry is one of his recent covers.

So if you think you can out-do this guy (or at least tie with him), apply for the vacant position here.

Bankrupt Just 18 Months Ago, The Star Tribune’s Now ‘Optimistic’ About Profit Sharing

A lovely summer in Minneapolis

How’s this for a bit of cheer on your Hump Day? The Minneapolis Star Tribune, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy January 15, 2009, is now doing well enough that it may be able to share a bit of the wealth around, David Brauer of MinnPost reports.

“I’m sure you’re wondering about the likelihood that you will receive a payout for this year or the next few years,” wrote Strib CEO Michael Klingensmith in a memo to staff Monday, obtained by Brauer. “While it’s not a question we can definitively answer in this still-shaky economy, our collective good work so far this year is encouraging. Halfway through the year we are optimistic that if current trends continue, we would expect a profit-sharing payout.”

Essentially, if the company’s cash flow exceeds $5 million for the year, workers will get a portion of everything over the $5 million. A cash-flow of $10 million would equal about a $500 check for each employee.

Not much, Brauer points out, and not enough to make up for the wage cuts of last year. But it’s certainly something, especially from a newspaper that’s been through a number of buyouts and layoffs in the past eighteen months, and was ranked second on a “newspaper deathwatch” list last March.

Star Tribune Offers More Buyouts

Just a few days ago it seems we were rounding up the names of the buyout-takers and layoff victims at the Minneapolis Star Tribune; well, the paper didn’t quite meet its staff reduction goal so it’s off to the voluntary separation races again.

The paper is seeking just five volunteers from the following categories, according to a memo posted by David Brauer at MinnPost:

- H scale feature editors
- A scale designers, but excluding designers who regularly design Page 1
- A scale photographers
- A scale reporters (from local news teams, features teams, or general assignment writers on any team)

These are all categories of employees who weren’t eligible for the last buyout, and according to the memo, a buyout request could be turned down if the paper deems you too valuable or irreplaceable.

Newspaper Guild local co-chair David Chanen told Brauer he would be “stunned” if the paper could get five volunteers; a spokesman responded: “We fully expect to get enough volunteers. This should not be an issue.”

At least it’s only five this time, though we’re sure many staffers are wondering why this wasn’t taken care of two weeks ago.

The Strib Buyout & Layoff List: Eleven Go Willingly, Fifteen Kicking And Screaming

A lovely summer in Minneapolis

The Star Tribune’s cut 27 positions, mostly from the ranks of copy editors. Eleven staff members took a buyout, but the other fifteen were laid off last Wednesday and Thursday.

David Brauer
has the names:

Copy editors (10 buyout-takers): Steve Fisher, Ann Wilhelmy, John McIntyre, Patty Pryor-Nolan, Sharon Hodge, Cyndi Nightengale, Jean Shea, Paulette Henderson, Tim O’Brien, and Sharon Kessler.

Copy editors (eight layoff victims): Lisa Hoff, Nancy Lo, Kelly Maynard, Mark Holland, Troy Melhus, Sherri Hildebrandt, Bill Crum, and David Gustafson.

News assistants (2): Chris Reusse (layoff), Christine O’Connor (buyout)

Photo editors (2): Jennifer Simonson, Tricia Drury.

Multimedia producer (1): Karen Paurus.

Read Brauer’s post to see some touching memorials for the staffers that are moving on.