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Archives: April 2009

Best. Job. Ever.

Know a social-media-savvy PR or marketing person with a passion for wine? Might want to send them to A Really Goode Job, where the Murphy-Goode Winery is looking for someone to basically drink wine and blog about it. For $10,000 a month plus free housing.

What on earth are you waiting for? They want a 60-second video and an application, and the best wino—er, social media maven—will be selected on July 9.

Time Warner’s Earnings Fall 7%; AOL’s Down 23%; Plans To Spin Off AOL Confirmed

Cue the secret-agent music: Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said that the media behemoth would announce plans for AOL, which was hit particularly hard this quarter, “very soon.”

UPDATE: Time Warner filed a report today that confirms the rumors. AOL is going to be spun off into its own company.
It wrote:

“Although the Company’s Board of Directors has not made any decision, the Company currently anticipates that it would initiate a process to spin off one or more parts of the businesses of AOL to Time Warner’s stockholders, in one or a series of transactions.”

(Big tip o’ the hat to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo.)

Rumors have been swirling that Time Warner will spin off AOL, whose revenue this quarter was down 23 percent. The company wasn’t shy about blaming AOL for its overall decline in revenue, listing the internet company first in its Q1 2009 earnings statement when citing the three Time Warner segments that dragged Time Warner’s revenue down 7 percent from this same period last year. (The other two segments were Publishing and Filmed Entertainment.)

Also in the release, Bewkes said, “We’re also working to determine the right ownership structure for AOL.”

Let’s remember, though, that AOL is still profitable, only it’s about half as profitable as last year, when it earned $284 million to its $150 million this year. So is the “You’ve Got Mail!” company totally doomed? ‘Course not. But what it will look like when this all blows over is anyone’s guess.

The Sun‘ll Come Out Tomorrow?


The New York Sun‘s web site has been displaying glimmers of activity in recent days, despite the paper and site having been shut down since last September.

Society columnist Amanda Gordon has been blogging on the site since April 10, and yesterday, the site posted an unsigned editorial and one news article.

The site still attracts more than 100,000 unique visitors a month, which, for a dead site, is pretty good, writes Nieman Lab’s Zachary M. Seward. Publisher Seth Lipsky told Politico’s Michael Calderone that “a business plan for the site is still in formation,” and told Seward not to “make too much of that activity [on the site].” Still, eagle-eyed Seward noticed that the Sun’s previous holding company, One SL LLC, is no longer active. Instead, the Sun’s being held by a new company incorporated in December, Two SL LLC. The SL stands for Seth Lipsky. Hmm.

How to make money off this? Seward thinks it could be as simple as selling ads against the paper’s six-year archive, as well as driving new traffic to the site through some original reporting and smart aggregation. If a “dead” site can get a hundred thousand pageviews a month, why not?

Your Recession: Nobody Sees Me

Note: This week, we’re doing something a little different; this essay was sent in by a reader, and we thought we’d just give it to you unfiltered. The author tells us she’s “not bitter, just sad” about the decline of newspapers, and even has a few opinions on what went wrong.

Newspapers are dying. It’s like watching a terminally ill loved one wither away to nothing before your eyes. You are simultaneously filled with dread even as you wish they would just go, already, and end the suffering.

I entered journalism all earnest and idealistic. A child of two social workers, I was determined to save the world and believed fervently that the pen was, indeed, mightier than the sword. I would shine a light on injustice, stand up for the little guy, balance out the negative stereotypes of people of color, find the humanity in a sometimes inhuman world. I would be a griot. A storyteller. A historian.

Read more

Meredith Corp. Reports Almost 50% Drop In Earnings

Meredith Corp.’s fiscal Q3 2009 earnings dropped almost 50% and the company’s revenue fell by $54 million, the publisher and broadcaster reported today. Its earnings this quarter of $25 million, or $.56 per share, were far lower than earnings of $45 million, or $.97 per share, during the same period last year, but were within investor expectations.

The company’s publishing division, which houses Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Ladies’ Home Journal, Family Circle and more, reported profits of $48 million, a 25 percent decrease from its Q3 2008 profitability. At the same time, the Interactive division reported a 25 percent increase in pageviews to 170 million monthly, and a 7 percent increase in online advertising revenues.

The broadcasting division did not fare as well. Profit this quarter was $1.3 million, compared to $19 million in the prior year period. Advertising revenues fell 31 percent. To cut costs, the company has announced it will streamline and centralize some of its television operations, including master control, traffic and research, across its stations.

Unemployment In Metro Areas Rises; California Hit Worst

More than one hundred metropolitan areas reported unemployment rates of 10 percent or higher in March, with California by far the worst hit, according to information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today.

Unemployment in El Centro, Calif., reached 25.1 percent, Merced, Calif., hit 20.4 percent, and ten more Californian metro areas reported unemployment of at least 15 percent.

Of the areas with populations over 1 million, Detroit, Mich., and Riverside, Calif., reported the highest unemployment rates in March. All 49 large areas reported an increase in the jobless rate.

Running A Niche Media Business: 12 Tips

At the third annual Niche Magazine Conference in Denver, Ted Bahr, president and publisher of BZ Media, gave a keynote address focusing on the problems plaguing the niche magazine biz. Really, the same problems (hint: the internet) are plaguing all magazines, but small magazines can deal with the problems in different ways. Small pubs are nimbler (good!) but have fewer resources (bad!), so what’s the best way to keep your little mag afloat?

The first six tips from Bahr follow:
- Keep infrastructure costs low—spend only on products and people, and no excesses.
- Check facts and contentions versus “trust.”
- Drive sales. If you are not a former salesperson you may feel you have no right. You have the right. Do it.
- Go on sales calls. There is a tendency among publishers to sit and preach from the tower. It’s the only way to really know what is happening.
- Use drill-down research as an excuse to meet with potential advertisers—become a market resource.
- Always know that initiatives start at the top.

Folio: has the rest.

Make The Most Of That Internship

Interns–They just keep getting younger. Flickr: .A.A..

Are you a college student (or a laid-off career-changer) looking to get into media? Better hope that internship is more hands-on than just making photocopies.

Forbes has some suggestions for the eager beavers who find themselves working as “java professionals” (and I don’t mean the programming language) this summer.

To wit: “Students have a golden opportunity to discuss their goals at the end of an interview…That’s when most interviewers solicit questions. Ask what kinds of projects previous interns were given and discuss what specific ideas they might have for you. Be specific and prepared; don’t just ramble and generalize.”

But don’t get cocky, see: “Once you’ve done the duties asked of you, …compile a list with two columns. On one side, put down the projects you expected to be taking on, and on the other what you’re actually doing. Once you’ve completed the list, ask yourself how realistic your expectations were for an intern.”

Get ready to get out there this summer and wow ‘em with more than just your photocopying abilities, and there may just be a job for you in the future.

Links for 4-28-09: Source Files For Bankruptcy | Is Print Dead? | More

Vanity Fair Grades News Orgs’ Survival, Complete With Adorable Names

Ever wondered whether a velociraptor or triceratops would win in a fight? Yeah, us too—but how about a velocireporter versus the Webmagasaurus Rex? Matt Pressman at Vanity Fair rated news organizations’ chances of survival by category, rather than by market share or size. Which is a great idea in theory. Turns out that Pressman thinks Politico, TPM and other hard-news, online-only outfits are likely to live on, while HuffPo and The Daily Beast (excuse me, the “Buzzceratops”) are more in jeopardy.

Just ignore the cutesy nicknames and go read the piece.