Saturday, December 6, 2008

How Gannett Newspapers Got into This Fix

From Paul Oberjuerge:

Or, we could subtitle this post, “the numbers at Gannett leak out, and they reinforce what Gannett veterans already knew.”

That is, Gannett never has owned newspapers. By its own preferred corporate-speak, it has owned “profit centers” — and the greedy bastards who ran the company were bold enough to call it just that. [Click for MORE]

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Red Ink Will Spur Change at Newspapers

One thing is certain about the newspaper industry: It is going to look very different two years from now.

The recession will fast-forward a restructuring that had to happen because of the decline caused by the switching of ad dollars to the Internet. But without a sharp economic downturn it might have taken many years.

More than 20% of the newspaper industry -- measured by daily circulation -- is currently in financial distress. Publishers including Tribune, McClatchy, Lee Enterprises, Journal-Register, MediaNews Group and Freedom Communications are carrying heavy loads of debt given their fast-shrinking revenues. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

The Miami Herald Is Said to Be for Sale

The McClatchy Company, burdened by debt and a steep slide in newspaper advertising, wants to sell one of its most-prized properties, The Miami Herald, according to people briefed on the company’s plans.

McClatchy, the nation’s third-largest newspaper chain, has approached potential buyers for The Herald, said these people, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue. But they said they knew of no serious offers for the paper, reflecting the evaporation of major investors’ interest in buying newspapers. [Click for MORE]

  • FOR SALE: Newspaper. Runs good. Driven daily and Sunday for decades. Leans slightly to the left. Fully loaded: includes presses, delivery trucks, journalists, newsprint reels, many working news boxes. Has fresh coat of layoffs. Needs some work: cost-cutting, redesign, updated Web strategy. Offers buyer a unique chance to be a local big cheese. Seller is highly motivated–will take best offer. [Click for MORE]
  • OVERHEARD: Preparing for the worst? There is talk that Tribune Co.'s lending syndicate has hired FTI Consulting as financial pressures build at the owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. [Click for MORE]

> Internal Post memo suggests Rocky to close
> Singleton: Rocky sale not going to happen
> Rocky Mountain News 'sale' shows peril of crossing profit line
> Newsday cutting 100 jobs -- 5% of staff -- and raising price
> 25 more jobs cut at Star Tribune
> Honolulu Advertiser sheds more than 50 staffers
> Three Baltimore Sun staffers laid off; another 12 leave voluntarily
> Elsewhere: AT&T to cut 12,000 jobs as landline losses grow Sphere: Related Content

U.S. Employers Kick 533,000 to Curb in November

Most Jobs Lost in 34 Years; Unemployment Hits 6.7%

Skittish employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, catapulting the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent, dramatic proof the country is careening deeper into recession.

The new figures, released by the Labor Department Friday, showed the crucial employment market deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid clip, and handed Americans some more grim news right before the holidays. The net loss of more than a half-million jobs was far worse than analysts expected.

As companies throttled back hiring, the unemployment rate bolted from 6.5 percent in October to 6.7 percent last month, a 15-year high.

"These numbers are shocking," said economist Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economics Advisors. "Companies are sharply reacting to the economy's problems and slashing costs. They are not trying to ride it out." [Click for MORE]

> 1.25 million jobs lost in three months

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rocky Mountain News Up for Sale

Video link.

The Rocky Mountain News, Colorado’s oldest newspaper, has been put up for sale by its parent company.

Citing worsening financial conditions, the E.W. Scripps Co. said it will weigh any offers through mid-January. If no buyer emerges, it will consider shutting down the newspaper. [Click for MORE]

> Early Rocky reaction
> Bloodbath nears 2,000 at Gannett
> Chicago Tribune eliminates more than a dozen newsroom jobs
> Bakersfield Californian lays off about 10% of its workforce
> Santa Barbara News-Press parent cuts 17 positions
> Elsewhere: AT&T, DuPont, Viacom and Credit Suisse combine to take another 20,000-plus jobs out of the work force.
> Media job losses mount with Viacom, NBC slashing jobs
> AP Cuts 10% of Workforce, Newspaper Guild Trims Publication Schedule
> Layoffs at Random House, Simon & Schuster
> No relief in sight as radio ad revenue declines
> Layoffs gut Hollywood Reporter
> Layoffs at the Los Angeles Daily News

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Watch Gannett Layoffs in Slow Motion

The largest U.S. newspaper publisher and owner of USA Today, the nation’s biggest-selling daily paper, is slashing payroll just in time for the holidays. We read about layoffs everywhere these days, but if you want to see the slow-motion car crash version of how Gannett is doing it, look to Gannett Blog, run by former company reporter Jim Hopkins. [Click for MORE]

> Gannett Blog's layoff ticker Sphere: Related Content

Typesetting, Yes. Typecasting, No

Robert Lloyd: As a person with a regular byline, I am sometimes asked by journalism students for advice on how I got started in the business. I tell them that my case is a bad example, because I started at a place where experience counted for nothing. I mean that in a good way. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

'Several Cities' Could Have No Daily Paper
As Soon As 2010

Newspaper and newspaper groups are likely to default on their debt and go out of business next year -- leaving "several cities" with no daily newspaper at all, Fitch Ratings says in a report on media released Wednesday.

"Fitch believes more newspapers and newspaper groups will default, be shut down and be liquidated in 2009 and several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010," the Chicago-based credit ratings firm said in a report on the outlook for U.S. media and entertainment. [Click for MORE]
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A Primer in News Credibility

Whatever Tribune's Sam Zell wants to call it,
copy editing is vital to quality in journalism and beyond

Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell, in a recent Conde Nast interview, lamented the layers of work involved in putting out a newspaper.

"If this gentleman over here is a reporter and he calls in and says, 'I've got a story and you want to put it up on the Web,' he talks to one copywriter, they put it all together, it's on the Web in 10 minutes," Mr. Zell said. "But if that same story with the same facts is going in the newspaper, then it goes to the copywriter, the section editor, the page editor, I mean, it goes to everybody. OK? And you wonder why the newspapers can't financially compete."

Well, we'd like to fill in some holes in Mr. Zell's conception of news publishing. [Click for MORE]

> The Platform: What Zell Bought and Wrought Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, December 2, 2008