Thursday, February 14, 2008

News Corp. Enters Yahoo Fray

The odds of Microsoft Corp. winning its $42.1 billion bid for Yahoo Inc. appear to be improving, but Yahoo hasn't abandoned hope of finding a way to keep the software giant at bay.

Its best chance may be a deal under discussion with News Corp., in which the media conglomerate would swap its ownership of MySpace and several other online properties for a stake of 20% or more in Yahoo, according to people familiar with the discussions. Yahoo has also reached out to others, including Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, although that option appears more remote, other people close to the situation say. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Mogul Showdown: Murdoch vs. Zell

Count your blessings, Journal staffers. Here are five reasons why the “Rotten Old Bastard” is a better newspaper boss than the “Grave Dancer.”

While Tribune Co. is working up its latest round of job cuts at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, News Corp. is busily building up The Wall Street Journal.

The contrary approaches that the new owners are taking at some of the nation's best and most respected media outlets raises an interesting question:

Who is the smarter newspaper owner—Sam Zell, the distressed-asset investor who's nickname is "the Grave Dancer," or Rupert Murdoch, the avaricious media mogul known to some as "the Rotten Old Bastard"? [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Stanton Named Editor of the L.A. Times

Signaling a push toward a more digital newsroom, the Los Angeles Times today named Innovation Editor Russ Stanton as the newspaper's top editor.

Stanton will lead a newsroom chafing from the exit of its third editor in less than three years and worried about staff cuts announced Wednesday. Former Editor James E. O'Shea and Publisher David Hiller parted ways Jan. 21 after a disagreement over the editorial budget.

Stanton takes the editor's desk without the same range of experience of his predecessors. Previous Times editors have won Pulitzer Prizes and other accolades for their own reporting or coverage they supervised. High-visibility assignments covering wars or Washington traditionally have been stepping-stones to the top job at The Times and other large newspapers.

"We have literally dozens of people here who have been involved in winning Pulitzer prizes in recent years," Stanton said in an interview. "What I bring to the table is an understanding of our print newsroom, our website and the Internet, and how we can make those three things work together to ensure that we're going to be around for another 126 years." [Click for MORE]

> Patt Morrison interviews Russ Stanton on KPPC radio
> Editor Russ Stanton's speech to the newsroom
> NYT story: Los Angeles Times names new top editor
> Tribune Co. to cut staff by about 2%
> Orlando Sentinel publisher quits after 34 years with Tribune
> 'Disturbing' Tribune cuts no surprise to union leaders
> Battle lines are drawn at The Los Angeles Times Sphere: Related Content

Misery Loves Company

The NYT will eliminate 100 newsroom jobs this year through attrition, buyouts and possibly layoffs. Of course, it's all relative: The Times has 1,332 newsroom employees, which is the most it's ever had - and several hundred more than the next largest paper. While the NYT has avoided any big job reductions, The New York Times Co. has made significant cuts at its other newspaper properties, including The Boston Globe. [LAbiz]

> Chicago, Baltimore, and Hartford papers detail cuts to local staffers
> North County Times offers to buy out 20 newsroom staffers
> Star Tribune layoffs announced
Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Opportunities for Extra Credit

Any story offered to the student newspaper and published will earn double extra credit.

  • Feb. 19: Lori Clark, professor of environmental studies, talks on "Sustainability and Personal Stewardship." 7 p.m., Performing Arts Center.
  • March 5: Paul Scott, president of the Electric Vehicle Assn., will talk and present his film, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" 7 p.m., Performing Arts Center.
  • March 31: Linda Vickers, professor of nutrition, will speak and present the film,"King Corn." 7 p.m., Performing Arts Center.
  • April 15: Sergio Sanudo-Wilhemy of USC will present a panel discussion on the accuracy of Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth." 7 p.m., Performing Arts Center.
  • April 21: Elizabeth D. Gillis-Smith, professor of English, will lecture about Rachel Carson, and present the film, "The American Experience: Rachel Carlson's Silent Spring." 7 p.m., Performing Arts Center.
Sphere: Related Content

Assignment for Feb. 20

Note that there is NO class on Feb. 18 in honor of Presidents Day.

Using these videos, class "press conference," and the Word.doc attachments sent to you by email, write a new news story for next class.

You are not bound by the story structure we began in class. It was a work in progress. Feel free to tweak, modify, change and improve the story in any way. Remember, you are writing a second-day story and you want to propel the events forward. Don't forget the 5Ws and an H, inverted pyramid, quotes, nut graf, gritty detail and descriptions (from the video?), and the ethical considerations.

You can file your story by email if you want your instructor to critique it and give you a chance to rewrite. Sphere: Related Content

Doing More With Less

Click on the image for a slide show.

Tribune Co. to cut staff by 2%

Tribune Co., struggling with declining revenue, today said it would cut staff by 400 to 500 people companywide, or around 2% of the Chicago-based media company's workforce. At the Los Angeles Times, 100 to 150 jobs will be eliminated, 40 to 50 in the newsroom, through a combination of attrition, voluntary buyouts and, if necessary, layoffs, Publisher David D. Hiller said in an interview this morning. [Click for MORE]

> Analyst's response to Tribune cuts: 'Again?'

Sphere: Related Content

Metromix Is In the Mix

The Los Angeles Times has a new publication, aimed at young adults, that launches today called Metromix Los Angeles. It began as a website and has now migrated into print. This new weekly tabloid will be free for the taking every Wednesday, and offers tips on clubs, television, movies, restaurants, and much more. [Ed Padgett]

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, February 11, 2008

Assignment for Feb. 13

If any of the media news items in this blog prompt questions, please bring them to class.

1) Continue to refresh your knowledge of the AP Stylebook. Everything you write should follow AP style. Yes, accuracy, grammar and spelling count.

2) Catch up on your reading if you have fallen behind. Make sure you have read these links about juvenile offenders and journalism ethics in order to participate in the next class:
3) Do exercise 1 on page 427. Remember to type, double-spaced. If you email you work, send it as an attachment.

4) Be prepared for some press conference role-playing with the "police chief" during our next class. Don't be reluctant to ask pointed questions. Sphere: Related Content

Newspapers Like L.A. Times Serve Greater Good

Former Publisher, Ventura County Star

Freddie Mercury of the musical group Queen may have been the prophet of journalism when he sang, “Another one bites the dust.”

Indeed, James O’Shea left as editor of the Los Angeles Times last month over a dispute about the budget for the newsroom – the newsroom that produces journalism in the giant newspaper 365 days a year. Editors drop regularly at the Los Angeles Times these days. Publishers disappear, too. Managing editors. Vice presidents of advertising. Spring Street has become the stopping point for forwarded mail.

It is not that the Times is so different from any newspaper these days. I left as publisher of the largest newspaper in Ventura County last year. Same thing happened to the publisher at the Orange County Register. And I have lost track of the revolving door publishers at the L.A. Daily News. Advertising dollars formerly spent in newspapers, especially the classified advertising “Big Three” (employment, automobile and real estate), have been cascading to Internet competitors. Newspaper corporate leaders were reluctant to embrace the Internet when they should have in the 1990s and now cannot catch up. They are asking advertisers to pay more for a smaller audience.

Hence, the need for expense cuts. [Click for MORE]

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Minority Cartoonists Get Serious

Click on image to enlarge.
Only 25 percent of newspapers have a cartoon that is written by a minority or stars minority characters. Cartoonist Cory Thomas is bringing attention to the inequity. Joie Chen of CBS reports. [For Video Click HERE]
Sphere: Related Content

In the Shadow of 'the Chief'

Final edition rolls off the Herald Examiner's ancient presses in 1989.

The Chief's ghost lingered when I came, mostly in the stories from the old timers, and the decaying condition of the premises. One of the veterans purportedly went with a group of men to fetch [William Randolph] Hearst's body away from mistress Marion Davies' house when he died. I asked him about it one night at Corky's, the "HerEx" watering hole across a street from the newspaper.

"We got the call and went down there and…" then he started to cry and didn't say another word. I don't have an idea if the story was true, but it brought this tough old bird to what seemed like real tears. [Click for MORE]

> The Wayback Machine: Death of the Herald Examiner

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A Conversation With Otis Chandler

In 2000, Otis Chandler, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, sat down for a 30-minute interview about his life, the paper, the Tribune Co., the internet and the future of journalism. Compare his thoughts with those of new owner Sam Zell.

[Ed Padgett] Sphere: Related Content