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Monday, May 07

Morning Media Newsfeed 05.07.12

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Washington Post Co. 1Q Net Improves; Education Unit Swings To Loss (WSJ)
The Washington Post Co. reported significantly weaker first-quarter results from its education and newspaper businesses, even as one-time items helped the company report higher net income. Politico / Dylan Byers On Media The company reported a net income of $31 million in January-March 2012, up from $15.2 million in the same period in 2011, while revenues fell 7 percent to $972.5 million in Q1 2012 from $1.04 billion in Q1 2011. Washington Post The newspaper division reported an operating loss of $22.6 million, compared with a loss of $12.8 million in the first quarter of 2011. Print advertising at the flagship newspaper plunged 17 percent from a year earlier, to $52.7 million, with declines in general, classified and preprint ads. Despite increases in online readership, online revenue -- primarily from WashingtonPost.com and Slate.com -- fell 7 percent to $24.2 million. Reuters New enrollments at Kaplan, which returned to growth last quarter after four straight quarters of declines, rose 5 percent. Poynter / MediaWire The newspaper division reported $1.9 million in "severance and early retirement expenses." Adweek Washington Post staffers are buzzing about a secret meeting between some 10 big-name Post journalists including Dana Priest, David Finkel and Carol Leonnig, and Steve Hills, the president and GM of the newspaper. The April 17 meeting was highly unusual for two reasons -- the executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, wasn't present, and the participants agreed not to talk about it.

New York Times Confirms Non-Newsroom Layoffs (JimRomenesko.com)
I received multiple tips late Thursday about layoffs at The New York Times. NYT / Media Decoder The New York Times Company cut about 50 positions from human resources, legal, finance and other corporate departments, the company confirmed on Friday. The layoffs did not affect any positions in the newsroom, a company spokesman said. FishbowlNY The layoffs included lawyer George Freeman, who had been with the Times Co. for just over 30 years, most recently working as vice president and assistant general counsel. Capital New York This is the second time in about five months that the Times Co. has trimmed its ranks. It implemented a round of voluntary buyouts at the end of last year, but there were no layoffs attached to that deal, as had been the case during the bloodbath of 2009.

Warren Buffett Tells Omaha Gathering He May Buy More Newspapers (The Telegraph)
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said that he may buy more newspapers even though the profits they make will be "nothing like the old days."

FCC Rejects Billionaire John Malone's Attempt To Take Control Of SiriusXM (Forbes / Moral Hazard)
The Federal Communication Commission rejected Liberty Media's request to take de facto control of SiriusXM Radio on Friday. LA Times / Company Town Liberty's request, made in March, argued that because it had 40 percent of SiriusXM's shares, along with five out of 13 seats on the company's board, Liberty effectively controlled SiriusXM, a New York-based satellite radio service with 22.3 million paying subscribers. Reuters The FCC said Liberty's application was not "sufficient" to show it was in control of the company. Liberty was not able to get passwords, signatures and other information from SiriusXM to properly submit its application, the FCC said.

Announcing The 75th Class Of Nieman Fellows (Nieman Journalism Lab)
Friday morning, the Nieman Foundation announced its incoming class of Nieman Fellows, which will be its 75th.

Pottermore eBook Store Sells £3 Million ($4.8 Million) In First Month (The Bookseller)
The Pottermore eBook store sold £3 million worth of Harry Potter eBooks in its first month, the company's chief executive has revealed, while the Pottermore experience, which allows fans to explore the Harry Potter universe online, added five million new users in the two weeks since its own launch on April 14. paidContent The Harry Potter eBooks are priced at $7.99 each (for the first three) or $9.99 each (for the final four books in the series). Assuming an average price of $9.13, that means around 525,739 copies were sold in the first month.

Saturday GMA Wins Among Younger Viewers In April (TVNewser)
Like its weekday counterpart, the Saturday edition of ABC's Good Morning America has continued to make inroads against the Saturday edition of NBC's Today. TVNewser Marc Victor, who has been the Today show's lead booker and senior producer of the third hour, is leaving the show after seven years.

Every Picture (And Tweet, And Clip) Tells A Story (Adweek)
With the presidential elections underway and the Olympics coming up, this is a big year for event-driven journalism -- and for social publishing tool Storify.

Comcast To Sell Part Of Stake In A&E (WSJ)
Comcast Corp. said its NBCUniversal unit exercised an option to sell "a substantial portion" of its stake in A&E Television Networks to joint-venture partners, a transaction that could be worth about $2 billion. THR NBCUniversal's stake in A&E TV Networks, led by CEO Abbe Raven, used to amount to 25 percent. LA Times / Company Town However, that stake shrank by almost half when Disney and Hearst Corp. -- co-owners of Lifetime Television and its sister channels -- merged those networks into A&E Networks. When that agreement was reached, part of the deal called for NBC to exit the partnership within 15 years.

For Many, Web Video's Actual Value Trails Its Massive Hype (AdAge / Digital)
At AOL's digital upfront in New York recently, CEO Tim Armstrong instructed audience members to check under their seats for a car key. He called the three people who found one to the stage and, Oprah-style, awarded one of them a shiny new Mustang convertible.

Why Are Kids' eBook Sales Surging? Partly Because Adults Are Reading Them (paidContent)
New stats from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) show that kids' and young adult eBook sales grew by triple digits in February, while adult eBook sales appeared to flatten. But the AAP notes that's partly due to the fact that so many adults are reading young adult eBooks like the Hunger Games trilogy.

Politico Endorses Post-First, Check-Later Journalism (Washington Post / Erik Wemple)
On April 20, New York Daily News photographer Todd Maisel was in Cartagena, Colombia, working on the story of the Secret Service scandal. Amid his wanderings, he banged out a provocative tweet.

The 140-Character Or Less Campaign (Adweek)
It took a mere one hour and 24 minutes for Mitt Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom to mount a Twitter offensive against Hilary Rosen after the Democratic strategist's incendiary remarks on CNN last month about Romney's wife Ann never having worked "a day in her life." And the most salient point of all: as responses go, Fehrnstrom's was slow.

AP Apologizes For WWII-Era Firing Of Reporter (NPR / The Two-Way)
Sixty seven years later, the Associated Press is apologizing for the way it condemned and then fired one of its correspondents for reporting "perhaps the biggest scoop in its history."

Allan Cohen To Retire From KMOV After 32 Years As General Manager (TVSpy)
Allan Cohen, the president and general manager of Belo's KMOV, will retire at the end of the month after more than three decades at the St. Louis CBS affiliate. B&C May 25 is his final day, after which Cohen, 64, will keep a home in St. Louis while traveling with his wife Roberta, and spending more time with his children and grandchildren.

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