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Archives: March 2009

Media General Slashes Jobs

This morning, TV stations and newspapers across the Southeast announced devastating job cuts as part of parent company Media General’s cost-cutting strategy. The Richmond, Va.-based media company, which doesn’t seem to have coordinated the effort, owns more than 19 TV stations and 250 newspapers, which collectively cut 130 jobs through layoffs and closing open positions today.

At the Florida Communications Group, owned by Media General and owner of the Tampa Tribune, WFLA-TV, and other local publications, 53 lost their jobs, mostly in operations.
The bloodbath continues after the jump.

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International Women’s Media Foundation Accepting Applications

The 6th annual U.S. Leadership Institute for Women Journalists is coming up, and if you’re a mid-to-senior level women journalist in TV, radio, print, or online, you’re invited to apply.

Here’re the details:

This year’s institute will convene 20 mid-to-upper level female journalists for on-the-ground leadership training on July 20-22 in Chicago. During these three days, participants will:

  • Take part in highly interactive skills-building sessions on issues crucial to effective leadership, including “What Is Leadership,” “Who Am I As A Leader,” “Leading Change,” “Leading in the Newsroom,” and “Critical Conversation: Advocacy/Managing Up;”
  • Participate in small “mastermind groups” on topics participants have expressed an interest in within written questionnaires and essays submitted prior to the on-site;
  • Develop a personalized action plan for future career goals; and
  • Network with colleagues from across the country.

The on-site sessions will be facilitated by industry leaders such as Marci Burdick, Senior Vice President of Broadcasting for Schurz Communications; Liza Gross, Former Managing Editor/Presentations and Operations for The Miami Herald; and Marcy McGinnis, former Senior Vice President for News Coverage at CBS News and current Associate Dean of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism.

Institute participants will receive one-on-one (telephone and online) coaching on implementing their personalized action plans for the three months following the institute. This coaching will be conducted by veteran journalists and professional coaches.

This program is FREE to accepted journalists, and 10 minority journalists will receive a $500 stipend to cover travel.

Applications are due May 1.

Links for 3-30-09: Metro USA Drop AP | Hires At Women’s Health | Star Trib To Erect Partial Pay Wall | More

How To Get a Job By Blogging

What used to be a fun, leisurely activity we did in our own time, has now become a way for people to get jobs. Me 2.0 author Dan Schwabel did it.

Blogs are as much of a networking tool as business cards use to be. They also help you appear involved and in touch with current trends in your industry. Today Path101 has a new post about how you can create a professional blog that will get you noticed by industry professionals. A brief outline can be found after the jump.

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AOL Reviving ‘Content-Centric’ Model With New Hires

Despite the horror stories we’ve been hearing from AOL, it turns out that one division is actually hiring people. MediaGlow, AOL’s online publishing unit, announced a major expansion in early 2009 and now we’ve learned that the division has been hiring big names from the world of magazine and newspapers, both print and online.

MinOnline reports:

“StyleList, the AOL fashion site, gets Diane Davis as its new director. Davis had been AP’s lifestyle editor after serving as metro editor for Newsday. The founding editor at HarpersBazaar.com, Sarah Cristobal, becomes the site’s senior fashion editor. Stylelist.com claims 5.1 million monthly uniques.

At the newly launched sports site FanHouse.com, a number of veteran writers join the fold, including Chicago Sun-Times columnist Greg Couch, Santa Rosa Press Democrat writer Jeff Fletcher and ESPN.com writer Sunny Wu.”

MediaGlow claims that its traffic was up 21 percent year over year in February, but let’s not forget that this is the company that just laid off 300 people and has 400 to go.

Layoffs Can Be Funny

So we weren’t jumping up and down about ABC’s new comedy “Canned,” pitched as a post-boom “Friends”&#151and hiring tween queen Amanda Bynes probably makes us even less enthusiastic about it&#151but we’re not complete spoil sports. We know there can be humor in even the most dire circumstances. Thankfully we can always count on Comedy Central to find it for us. Check out this clip from the new season of Reno 911! featuring Jonah Hill. It proves that there is fun in even the most painful topics.

RENO 911! Weds Apr 1, 10:30p/9:30c
Preview – Enforcing Layoffs
comedycentral.com
Joe Lo Truglio Funny Cop Videos

Former AOL CEO Finds New Job With News Corp.

jonathan_miller_aol.jpgThe former head of AOL, Jon Miller, is joining News Corp in the new role of CEO, Digital Media reports BoomTown. In this capacity, Miller will oversee the global internet and mobile businesses as well as developing new digital strategies across all News Corp. sites.

Since 2006, Miller has been working with the venture capital firm Velocity, which he founded. This new role is an interesting turn as Miller is just emerging from his non-compete contract with Time Warner, which he has been under since he left the role of AOL CEO three years ago. Previously Miller was barred from taking a seat on Yahoo‘s board of directors by this same contract. Even now Miller can not officially take this new position heading News Corp’s digital media group as his contract is still binding for another three days. News Corp expects to officially announce Miller’s appointment on Tuesday or Wednesday. This is not the only battle Miller will have to face when it comes to News Corp. More on this after the jump.

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Conde Nast Experiments With Reddit

redditguy.jpgThere’s something new going on at Reddit reports MediaMemo. The Digg like news aggregator that Conde Nast purchased a few years ago is sporting some new links at the top of their page. Unlike the average link that appears because users voted it into this spot, these new links&#151which look remarkably similar to standard Reddit links&#151are actually sponsored ads placed by the sales and marketing department of Conde Nast Digital.

So far the sponsored links&#151which do have a “sponsored link” tag&#151have succeeded in two ways: click-through rates for the ads are running at around five percent&#151higher than the industry average&#151and Reddit users haven’t complained.

Reddit now attracts five million unique visitors a month, up from one and a half million uniques when the publisher bought the site. The Reddit community is very vocal and anti-advertsing&#151around 20 percent of Reddit users have ad-blocking software on their computers&#151so the fact that they have not fought back in this first major attempt to monetize the network is a spectacular feat.

Of course even the CMP for these ads&#151Conde charges $7 for every 1,000 views of the ad&#151does not bring the company a torrent of cash. Josh Stinchcomb, head of sales and marketing for the business group of Conde’s digital properties says they are toying with the idea of creating a cost-per-click/performance model. This would be the first for model of its kind for the company.

Digg, Reddit’s progenitor, is also considering creating a similar link model for its site. Though the business has been valuated at around $40 million, the actual revenue for the site has been quite small.

So it seems this area is ripe for experimentation and for the first time Conde Nast might be on the cutting edge. Of course, as TechMeme notes “we’ve seen versions of this model for as long as we’ve had mass media.”

Is The Auto Industry Killing Maxim?

maximla6.jpgWhen we think of Maxim the first two things that pop into our minds are probably babes and cars. So wouldn’t it be fitting that the demise of one of those things maybe bringing down the entire magazine empire that runs Maxim? Keith Kelly explains this twisted tale of company turmoil.

Alpha Media was formed when Quadrangle Media, headed by Steven Rattner and Peter Ezersky, bought Maxim, Blender and Stuff from Felix Dennis in August 2007 for about $245 million…

But things did not go according to plan. By the fall of 2008, Quadrangle had defaulted on loans when the company’s profit dropped from $28 million in 2007 to under $8 million last year. Cerberus Capital Management, which led the banking group that loaned Quadrangle $125 million to complete the deal, called for Quadrangle to put in more cash to bring the company’s cash flow in line with the loan requirements…

On paper, Quadrangle remains in control of the board, but as part of restructuring talks, Cerberus is expected to swap its debt for equity, and become the new owner…

In the midst of all this, Rattner abruptly resigned from Quadrangle, where its media holdings were winding down, to serve as a special adviser on the auto industry to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, heading a task force guiding the White House on how to restructure the US auto industry.

Oddly, having played hardball with Cerberus after defaulting on the loan at Alpha Media, Rattner’s now in a position to influence the outcome of one of Cerberus’ investments, Chrysler Corp.

What goes around comes around might be the name of the game here. Of course in this world of global investments, aren’t all companies really interconnected? Cerberus should have a great time traversing the sinuous road of print publishing now.

10 Women Fighting The Hyperlocal Fight

Are we tired of ‘hyperlocal’ as a buzzword yet? Hopefully not, as some of these niche-focused news sites are actually making money while bigger papers hemorrhage staff. Business Insider compiled a list of women-run hyperlocal sites, of which some are making money and others are building influence. (Not that you can pay the rent with influence, though.)

On the moneymaking side are Tracy Record‘s West Seattle Blog and Debra Gallant and Liz George‘s Baristanet, covering Bloomfield, NJ.

Check out the full list here.

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