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Archives: August 2010

Dallas Morning News Denies Paywall…Kinda While Michael Eisner Keeps Good Company, Plus Other News of the Day

- It’s looking more and more like former Disney CEO Michael Eisner will in fact take over the Tribune Co. According to the Wrap, Eisner is good friends with John Angelo, a large creditor of the Tribune Co. who is set to take control of the board once the bankruptcy process ends. That’s good company to keep. A formal announcement could come as early as next week.
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- News & Tech reported yesterday that the Dallas Morning News would put up a paywall for stories about the Dallas Cowboys and other content created by the newspaper’s staff writers. News & Tech used an unidentified source for the information. This morning, DMN’s CEO and publisher Jim Moroney wrote to the Dallas Observer, saying the story is “not accurate.” But he didn’t go further than that, leaving plenty of room for speculation. Could we get a better clarification DMN?

- The planned sale of the Washington Times to another group within the Unitarian Church won’t cost the new owners much. According to the memo obtained by U.S. News & World Report, the new owners, News World Media Development, will purchase the paper for $1 and take over much of the paper’s debt. Also the new leaders will reinstate some of the former Washington Times officials fired under Preston Moon‘s regime.

- The ultra-swanky Modern Luxury Media found a new owner today as the Atlanta based company Dickey Publishing picked up the group of magazines, according to Folio: magazine. While no official reports of the price tag have been released, the New York Post pegged the going price at just more than $20 million. The company includes titles like Modern Luxury Dallas, Manhattan and The Atlantan. It’s a far cry from the $240 million-plus sticker price the group of magazines went for three years ago.

Photo by Playfulibrarian

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Entrepreneur Dave Morgan: There’s “Never Been a Better Time to Practice Great Journalism”

Not too many people claim that we’re living in a golden age of journalism, but some see the potential the Web and other hardware devices provide for future journalistic endeavors.

Entrepreneur Dave Morgan, who created a variety of businesses including Real Media, spoke to Knoxville Biz News to discuss the future of news, and in it he has some advice for those young journalists thinking of getting into the reporting game.

“You will have a great future if you recognize that there has never been a better time to practice great journalism; that great journalists are the eyes, ears and analysts for their audiences; that great journalists listen more than they talk and write; and that great journalists can now – more than ever before – get truly close to their audiences.

No longer is the media world one of a publishers-top editor-section editor-subeditor-journalist hierarchy. Today, audiences are in charge and they want direct access to, and interaction with, journalists.

So, basically, you’ll have a lot of people interacting with you and critiquing your work in today’s journalism. He should have also advised to develop thick skins. Welcome to the golden era, kiddos.

The State of The Media Job Industry: Growth In August 2010

Once again we take a look at three major job boards serving the media industry to see how they’ve fared. August was a much better month than June (the last time we did this) for mediabistro.com’s board, with postings hitting a series high of 1402 on Friday, August 27. Journalismjobs.com also saw some growth, but Bookjobs.com’s growth slowed somewhat.

We present to you the graphs. These represent the interval of time between May 1 and August 30; the blue line serves as a measure of absolute postings while the red line is a moving average meant to smooth out fluctuations. For more on our methodology, click the jump.

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This Exists: Fake Receipts Let You Fudge Expense Reports

fake_receipt_with_store_logo.jpgSick of expense reports?*

At least now you can get reimbursed for whatever you want.

The Sales Receipt Store will, for $15, print 15 receipts for anything you want. So your cheapo dinner at iHOP becomes an expensive steak dinner.

Note: We are not actually advocating that you do this. Even Sales Receipt Store emphasizes that these are for “novelty use only,” though then they go and undermine their credibility by reminding site visitors that most expense reports go unchallenged by their bosses. But no, don’t do that. We’re just floored that such a service exists for shady workers.

There’s apparently one kosher use for this service: We’re reading Hacking Work, by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein (the crow vending machine guy), out Sept. 23. In it, the authors describe a guy so sick of saving his receipts on business trips that he pays Sales Receipt Store to reproduce them at the end of the trip.

Whatever floats your boat, we suppose..

*We once worked at a company where the policy was to tape all receipts to 8.5×11″ sheets of paper in order to keep everything organized and easily photocopy-able. One coworker, out of ignorance or malice, don’t know which, would tape one receipt to each page, usually lopsided.

Management at Deseret News Announces 43% Staff Cut Then Quotes Expert Calling Them “Courageous”

This very well could be the worst announcement explaining staff cuts I’ve ever seen.

In a rather typical move in the newspaper industry, the Deseret News in Utah has announced it will cut 43 percent of its workforce and plans a realignment to move to a more digital product.
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“Today we have announced the reduction in our print work force by 57 full-time and 28 part-time employees, which reflects just over 43 percent of our work force,” said CEO and president Clark Gilbert.

Then the paper announced how it will use different tools to supplement coverage, like integrate with the companies other entities and use a system of contributors. So far, Deseret News is doing nothing too unusual. But then they try to act as if this move is “courageous.”

“All of us involved in the newspaper business have been challenged to adapt our traditional newspaper business model to our new realities,” said senior vice president of E.W. Scripps and chairman of the Newspaper Association of America Mark Contreras in the release announcing the news cuts. “The Deseret News team has showed courageous leadership, not just to make the difficult decisions around costs, but to define a broader and more digitally-focused future.”

The cuts are bad enough, but people in the news industry have come to expect them. Management, own up to the cuts and don’t try to make it sound as if this is any bigger than the paper’s bottom line. And, worst of all, don’t act as if your move is “courageous.”

Pull the band-aid, let employees stew for a little, and then make the moves that will create a profitable business. Don’t try to deflect accountability. It’s disingenuous and just plain insulting.

Photo by Italian voice

Getting Past the Experience Qualification

Doesn’t it always seem like when you’re searching for jobs, the positions that pop out to you the most are those with required experience that’s one-to-two years more than you currently have? The posting doesn’t explicitly say job skills that you lack, except for those pesky years of experience. Is it possible to still land the coveted job?

“It’s probably not useful to apply for a job for which you lack qualifications,” said creative director of Quintessential Careers Katharine Hansen to Philly.com.

Hansen explains that in the current job environment, the chance to land that job decreases since so many people are looking for jobs right now. But if you don’t want to listen and grasp that dream job, she did have some suggestions.

You basically need to make it clear you have the skills and experience to work the job, even if your years don’t match the company’s expectations. Add keywords that are appropriate for the position. Philly.com used the example if you’re looking to get into public relations, make sure you add examples where you highlight your “power of persuasion” or communication skills.

The other trick, use your cover letter. List the qualifications the company has for the job, and explain how you can fill them or have filled them in the past.

Of course, if you do all this and happen to get the interview, then you better turn on the smile and blow the company away. Provide solutions and the company just might look past that annoying year you lack.

WaPo Columnist Mike Wise Gets One Month Suspension For Twitter Hoax

Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise is being suspended for one month for yesterday’s hoax tweet about Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger.

ProFootballTalk writer Mike Florio heard Wise on his daily radio show this morning, reading a statement that said he “made a horrendous mistake,” and that it “cost me a chunk of [my] own credibility.” He also said that the Post had placed him on a one-month suspension.

Wise yesterday tweeted that suspended football player Roethlisberger would be out for five games, adding “I’m told” to the end of his tweet. An hour later, a message went out saying that his source was a casino employee. Wise’s goal was apparently to prove that people will print anything without checking their sources.

The stunt “cost Wise all of his credibility, as far as we’re concerned,” says Florio. “Even though he surely will never pull another stunt like this, it’s fair to wonder whether other motivations, apart from providing true, accurate information, will undermine any of his future journalistic endeavors.”

Side note: The Post’s own social media policy, obtained by Deadspin, appears to prohibit making up fake news.

Departing Missoulian Editor: “Newspapers are Helmed by Old, Decrepit Captains”

Some of the best quotes regarding the state of newspapers come from those editors and managers giving up on the paper game. That’s the case in the latest departure from the Missoulian.

Digital manager from the Montana paper Tim Akimoff made public some of normally candid thoughts in a farewell post on Facebook. Romenesko posted Akimoff’s entire statement, but here are a few highlights.

After nearly six years in journalism working for a daily newspaper, I find myself in the enviable position of being a stay at home dad. At least for the time being. The time it takes for a gutless corporate severance package to wear out.

Akimoff goes on to state why his love for newspapers has waned.

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After Pressure, ESPN Backs Off On Reporter-Pitchman Deal

icehouse.pngESPN has reversed its decision to allow college football reporter Jenn Brown to promote a brand of beer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Brown had been hired by MillerCoors to promote Icehouse beer. The deal was approved by ESPN, but after the story appeared, ESPN changed its mind.

Last week, Dan Patrick, a radio sports talk host but formerly a SportsCenter anchor, said that when he was at ESPN he acted as a Coors spokesman; the deal had been approved by ESPN at the time. “But Patrick says now that he realized what he had done was a mistake,” writes the Journal Sentinel.

Another reason why the deal may have been deep-sixed is the issue of a college football reporter promoting beer. There’s enough controversy about promoting drinking to college kids to last a lifetime without reporters getting into the mix.

‘We Need New [Work] Role Models’

Americans often cite their “Puritan work ethic” as the reason why they’re a) so productive and b) the only industrialized nation without mandatory maternity leave; all manner of other work-related issues can be traced back to our Puritan roots, scholars argue.

But Dan Pallotta, writing in the Harvard Business Review, reminds everyone that worry isn’t the same as work.

“Worry isn’t work. Being stressed out isn’t work. Anxiety isn’t work. Entertaining a sense of impending doom isn’t work. Incessant internal verbal punishment isn’t work. Indulging the great unknown fear in your own mind isn’t work. Hating yourself isn’t work.

“Work is the manifestation of value, and anyone who tells you that a person whose mind is 50% occupied with anxiety is more likely to manifest value is a person who isn’t manifesting much.”

He argues for taking care of yourself–exercising, meditating, taking a long lunch, going on vacation, even going to church (or a movie if you’d prefer).

After all: “The Puritans had a strong work ethic. They also burned witches at the stake and massacred Native American women and children. We need new role models.”

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