Saturday, March 1, 2008

Matt Drudge: World's Most Powerful Journalist

Ten years ago, he was a reclusive, pasty-faced 31-year-old who, bashing away on his laptop in his grungy Hollywood apartment, shot to prominence when he threatened to bring down Bill Clinton's presidency by breaking news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Now, Matt Drudge owns a luxurious Mediterranean-style stucco house on Rivo Alto Island in Florida's Biscayne Bay, a condominium at the Four Seasons in Miami and is said to drive a black Mustang. He remains an elusive, mysterious figure but the internet pioneer is arguably the single most powerful journalist – though his detractors even deny that is his occupation - in the world. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Friday, February 29, 2008

Press-Telegram Essentially Merged

Outgoing P-T Publisher Dave Kuta, LANG VP Labor Relations' Jim Janiga, outgoing Managing Editor John Futch, P-T Executive Editor Rich Archbold, a P-T staffer and Daily Breeze Editor Phillip Sanfield. [Stress-Telegram]

From LA Observed:

I'm told by a staffer that the positions of publisher and managing editor were eliminated today at the Long Beach Press-Telegram, along with the copy desk and most of the production jobs. Those functions will now be handled at the Daily Breeze, located in Torrance. Laid-off P-T production staffers were told they could apply for a fewer number jobs at the Breeze. Two reporters and a photographer had already resigned this week. Online reports in the District Weekly and LB Report, which together pretty much make a skeletal Singleton newspaper in Long Beach unnecessary.

* Noted: Email from Singleton's outposts in the San Gabriel Valley: "No layoffs here at San Gabe, but nobody's getting any work done because we're all just heartbroken over what's happening to our colleagues."

* In sum: Long Beach publisher Dave Kuta and managing editor John Futch out. Long Beach and the Breeze will share news and sports desks, which I thought was tried and abandoned at the other Singleton papers in the L.A. area. They're keeping count of the day's LANG toll at

22 out at the L.A. Daily News (buyouts and layoffs)
Nine at the Daily Breeze (layoffs)
8-9 at Long Beach (layoffs/attrition/consolidation/bulls**t) [Net after re-hiring]

* SoCal Media Guild recap: "The company will eliminate the design department and all copy desk positions, moving the work to the non-union Torrance Daily Breeze, effective next week. Twenty-one designers and copy editors were 'invited' to apply today for twelve available positions at The Breeze. Interviews will be conducted over the weekend," says Vicki Di Paolo at the Stress-Telegram blog.

But when the ax stops swinging, those of us still here are committed to moving forward and doing what we do best — good journalism. We hope to work with — not just for — our employer, to preserve the Press-Telegram as a valued source of information for our city and the surrounding communities.

But tonight, we mourn for ourselves and our colleagues here and at the Daily News. This is a sad time for all of us.

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Which Candidate Are Your Biased Against?

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Small-Market Papers Are Thriving

While Wall Street analysts predict a future for newspapers in ever more apocalyptic terms, the fact is: Many small-market papers are not just surviving, but thriving. E&P's "Small Towns, Big Profits: How Many Papers Survive Slump" uncovers reasons real local, local, local is working. "So how do small-market newspapers do it, and are there things metros could learn from them?" A sampling:
1. While the Internet has turned most news into a commodity, local news remains a unique newspaper asset that's a reliable moneymaker .... "We make significant emphasis on quality local journalism, and we definitely believe that investing in local journalism is absolutely imperative to our success."

2. Getting editors and publishers who truly know their audiences -- personally, even -- pays off journalistically and financially.

3. " a general rule, the most effective papers in terms of business success are the ones who are best in community service." [Stress-Telegram]
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Waiting by the Phone for Careers to End

At the San Jose Mercury News, reporters have been instructed to wait at home on the morning of March 7. If they don't get a phone call by 10 a.m. telling them that they've lost their jobs, they should head to work.

What's happening in San Jose is being repeated to a greater or lesser degree across California. Buyouts and layoffs are being imposed at newspapers all over the country, of course, but California is especially vulnerable because of the severity of its real estate downturn. Along with real estate, advertising in related categories such as home furnishings, hardware and even big-box electronics retailing has been slowing, newspaper executives say.

Today, the Los Angeles Daily News will say goodbye to 22 more editors and reporters, paring its newsroom to 100 people from nearly twice that many a few years ago. Editor Ron Kaye gave the news in a tearful address to his staff Wednesday.

Employees at The Times have until 3 p.m. Monday to respond to a voluntary buyout offer aimed at eliminating 100 to 150 jobs, 40 to 50 of them in the newsroom. If not enough people volunteer, layoffs will make up the balance. [Click for MORE]

> THE PRESS-TELEGRAM took an especially hard hit today, losing more than 20 people from a staff that is considerably smaller than the DN's. ... The axe fell hardest on copy editors and designers. [LAO] Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Newsday Eliminates About 120 Jobs

Newsday employees are told in a memo: "Today we initiated job reduction actions across the company. These actions included notifying employees that we are eliminating their positions and posting notices in the editorial, transportation and pressroom bargaining units to eliminate positions in accordance with the labor contracts. About 120 employees are affected." [Romenesko]

> Newsday's "getting rid of more Indians, keeping the chiefs"
> For whom Zell tolls
> Newsday settles with car dealers who sued over circ fraud Sphere: Related Content

Assignment for March 3

1) Continue to check this blog for media news and assignment updates.

2) Re-read your AP Stylebook and apply style to everything you write for this class.

3) Read Chapter 9 in the text.

4) Do exercise 1 on page 206. Remember that deadlines will now be strictly enforced. All work should be typed and double-spaced. Work submitted via email should be formatted as a Word.doc attachment.

5) Prepare for an open-book quiz/test covering the text, AP Stylebook, class lectures and perhaps some current events and media news from the class blog.

6) Start gathering all of your classwork for a portfolio. Nothing fancy required. A three-ring binder will suffice. We'll have some one-on-one sessions before the Spring Break. More details to come. Sphere: Related Content

Is 'Time Out' Coming to L.A.?

According to three sources, [the publisher plans] to expand the Time Out brand to six new American cities: Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Miami. (Right now, its only U.S. editions are New York and Chicago.) Because the new editions would be web-only, at least at first, the target markets don't have to meet Time Out's usual criteria of a well-defined downtown area and a large base of mass-transit commuters who frequently pass by newsstands. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

'Worst Day Ever...Heartbreaking' at Daily News

Editor Ron Kaye gathered everyone around Wednesday afternoon, said he was sorry, and confirmed that 22 editorial staffers will be gone by Friday, taking the newsroom to an even 100. Kaye broke down as he tried to assure reporters, editors and others that the little paper in the Valley will plug along as an alternative to the Times and put out the best paper they can. But it sounds as if the room felt that today was the end of an era and the beginning of something much different. Kaye said he would remain editor, answering one major question. He also said owner Dean Singleton had been persuaded to save another ten reporters that the suits wanted to axe. [Click for MORE]

> Daily News alumni mourn for the paper
> Los Angeles Times sheds 16 employees
> Panic time at the Mercury News
> Philadelphia newspapers slash 68 staffers
> Boston Globe, Telegram & Gazette to offer more buyouts
> Layoffs at Daily Breeze
> Meetings and apologies at DN, but.... Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr. Is Dead at 82

William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, famously arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn.

Mr. Buckley’s winningly capricious personality, replete with ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare with an anteater’s, hosted one of television’s longest-running programs, “Firing Line,” and founded and shepherded the influential conservative magazine National Review. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Everything's Gone to Zell in a Handbasket

CLICK image to enlarge.

> Zell trumpets tearing down bureau walls
> Zell delivers 'psychic bloodbath' in DC bureau
> Tribune bureau chief OK with change in DC
> Chicago Trib DC bureau chief says his staff is ready to change
> Liberty, journalism and Sam Zell
> The pool of people covering DC from a local angle is shrinking
> Buy Out or Burn Out?
> The Morning Call: Journalism’s petri dish?
> Waiting for Sam: Zell hovering as Newsday shakes
> Tribute Company seems uncertain of its future
> More Zell damage control Sphere: Related Content

Is it Time for the NYT to Get Out of Local Paper Business?

While it pains me to suggest it, I think [the pundits] may be right. It's time for the Times to look at selling off its regional properties and concentrating its future on what will make most sense for the Republic and for the potential prosperity of the Times brand.

Why, and why now? [Click for MORE]

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Daily News Staff Expects Imminent Bad News

Amid signs that the severest cuts yet are coming this week at the Daily News, tonight's latest word to the newsroom staff from union steward Brent Hopkins:
The rollercoaster continues. There have been many rumors floating, but I must stress that there's nothing definite. Kerry and I met with Ron today and asked for an update -- he was unable to give us much. We expect there will probably be a staff meeting called Wednesday afternoon and that they will offer buyouts, but this is not certain.
[Click for MORE]
> Newsday staffers jittery as they wait for news about job cuts Sphere: Related Content

How It Was: Death at Kent State

How It Was: Death at Kent State [TV-14 V Ratings N/A]
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On May 4th 1970, American soldiers shot down American students on American soil. Ever since, people have argued over who was to blame the protesting students at Kent State University or the National Guardsmen brought in to restore order on campus. By stripping away the rhetoric and dissecting the available evidence, National Geographic Channels How it Was: Death at Kent State casts a dispassionate eye on this national tragedy. The wealth of raw data generated by the event includes still photographs, news film footage, home movies, audio recordings and riveting testimony from key participants on both sides including the first television interview with one of the indicted National Guardsmen. This is Kent State as you've never seen it before. [Click for MORE]

Check your local listings for times and subsequent broadcasts. [Schedule]
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Monday, February 25, 2008

First Nuclear Meltdown Was In Suburban L.A..

This short film from the History Channel documents the formerly secret 1959 meltdown of the sodium-cooled reactor at the Rocketdyne research facility in the hills above Simi Valley, Calif.

Politics, environmental health, and history of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site will be discussed 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the Performing Arts Center as part of Moorpark College's Year of the Environment Program.

The talk is free and open to the public. Parking is $1.

Three local activists, Christina Walsh, John Luker, and William Preston Bowling of Clean-up Rocketdyne, will host a discussion of the history and current legal environmental status of the site in Simi Hills.

The research facility saw at least four nuclear accidents and rocket fuel contamination, and has been implicated as a major health hazard, according to the activists.

"This may be one of the biggest local environmental issues that directly affects our community," says Environmental Science Professor Lori Clark of Moorpark College.

For more information, see,, and Sphere: Related Content

Who Owns This Place?

Click and laugh! Sphere: Related Content

The Rise of the 'Citizen Paparazzi'

Hunger for Celebrity Gossip Helps Create a Market For Amateurs, But Not Everyone Is Happy

Erin Horgan is more than a casual John Mayer fan. When she learned about a Caribbean cruise being offered earlier this month with the singer as the featured entertainment, the 22-year-old worker at a Hyannis, Mass., scrapbooking store didn't hesitate to drop $1,000 for a ticket.

As it turned out, she got even more contact with her favorite singer than she expected: Mr. Mayer, hamming it up for fellow passengers, donned a neon green thong-style swimsuit as Ms. Horgan and others furiously snapped photographs.

In a blog post after returning home, Ms. Horgan joked that she was going to send the pictures to celebrity magazine Us Weekly.

She didn't have to. Within days, Ms. Horgan heard not only from Us Weekly, but also from MTV, VH1, Rolling Stone, Blender and Newsweek. She ended up selling photos to Newsweek and VH1 – she says she was offered "a couple hundred" for each photo, but declines to be more specific.

"The thought of getting shots that anyone was interested in was never on my mind," she said.

Ms. Horgan is part of the changing face of the paparazzi trade, an Internet-fueled industry that feeds on the public's seemingly insatiable interest in entertainment news. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Twin Cities-based Rake Mag Drops Print Edition, Remains Online

The last edition of the Rake magazine of Minneapolis has rolled off the presses. Publisher Tom Bartel told staff today that the monthly publication will discontinue its print edition immediately, but it will continue to publish online.

Bartel said a lack of advertising and increasing costs of printing and production are the main reasons for the demise of the print version of the magazine that he and his wife, Kristin Henning, began in 2002. The March edition is currently on newsstands.

The announcement means that most of the 15 writers, editors, production staff and bookkeepers are out of a job. [Click for MORE]

> Time Inc. to Make More Cuts This Year
> Sun-Times Media Group's stock opens at $1; NYSE trading halted
> Who Put These Guys In Charge? (Why Newspapers Are Failing) Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Albuquerque Tribune Shuts Down

The Albuquerque Tribune said goodbye Saturday to the city it had served for nearly nine decades as it closed in what observers described as the latest newspaper to succumb to the digital age.

Eighteen editors, reporters and photographers hunkered down in front of computer screens to put out the last edition. The final front-page headline read simply, "Goodnight, Albuquerque."

The Tribune's circulation had dropped from 42,000 in 1988 to about 9,600; some blamed the advent of an era in which readers increasingly shun ink and paper to consume news online. Its main competitor was the much larger Albuquerque Journal. [Click for MORE]

Phill Casaus, editor of The Albuquerque Tribune, holds up the last edition of the newspaper while reporter Ollie Reed Jr., left, applauds and copy editor Paul Maldonado Jr., right, sits at a desk where the final button was pushed, sending the paper to print on Saturday Feb. 23, 2008 . The Tribune closed Saturday after 86 years in business . [AP Photo]
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What That McCain Article Didn’t Say

Public Editor, New York Times

Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said the article about John McCain that appeared in Thursday’s paper was about a man nearly felled by scandal who rebuilt himself as a fighter against corruption but is still “careless about appearances, careless about his reputation, and that’s a pretty important thing to know about somebody who wants to be president of the United States.”

But judging by the explosive reaction to the 3,000-word article, most readers saw it as something else altogether. They saw it as a story about illicit sex. And most were furious at The Times. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Mike Huckabee on Weekend Update

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