Saturday, December 20, 2008

Deep Throat and Journalism

Remembering Watergate's Deep Throat

WSJ's Gerald Seib reflects on what W. Mark Felt, who died Thursday, meant to a generation of journalists and other Americans who followed the Watergate scandal.

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From Los Angeles Downtown News Sphere: Related Content

Friday, December 19, 2008

Creditors Picked in Tribune Filing

From the Chicago Tribune:

Tribune Co.'s official committee of unsecured creditors will include Wall Street banks and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, Merrill Lynch Capital Corp. and Deutsche Bank National Trust also won seats on the eight-member committee of unsecured creditors, which represents the interest of all holding debt not backed by collateral.

Tribune Co., the Chicago-based owner of the Chicago Tribune, filed for bankruptcy Dec. 8, less than a year after real estate billionaire Sam Zell took it private as an employee-owned company in an $8.3 billion deal that saddled it with debt. Most of the company's $13 billion in debt isn't guaranteed by Tribune Co.'s newspapers and broadcasting stations.

> Newspaper Guild Local Named to Creditor Committee in Tribune Bankruptcy Filing
> Sun-Times Media Group: We'll Return to Profitability At A 'Fraction' Of Size Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, December 18, 2008

LA Times Editor: Are Newspapers a Viable Business?

"I think big-city newspapers, the way we have known them, are not long for this world, as they're now configured."
-- Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton

Journalists, accountants and bankruptcy experts found accord Thursday on the No. 1 issue facing Tribune Co. as it begins its Chapter 11 bankruptcy adventure: It isn't owner Sam Zell. It isn't the company's huge indebtedness. The question, said Los Angeles Times editor Russ Stanton, is "whether this is a viable business." [Click for MORE]
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Would it be anti-trust?

Would it be an anti-trust violation for newspaper groups like Gannett, McClatchy, Tribune, NY Times, etc. to get together and simultaneously switch their websites to paid subscription, ending all free access?

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News You Can Lose

By James Surowiecki,
The New Yorker

The real problem for newspapers ... isn’t the Internet; it’s us. We want access to everything, we want it now, and we want it for free. That’s a consumer’s dream, but eventually it’s going to collide with reality: if newspapers’ profits vanish, so will their product. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Detroit Papers Cease 7-Day Delivery

It's official: The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, will become the first major U.S. newspapers to cease seven-day home delivery. The news was announced by the Detroit Media Partnership, the agency controlling the interests of both the Gannett and Media News papers, at a press conference this morning in the Motor City.

The confirmation comes after several days of speculation, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, about a fundamental change in the business model for the struggling Free Press and News. The papers work together in all matters other than editorial under a Joint Operating Agreement. The change is expected to happen in the first quarter of 2009.

The highlights of the plan:

Goodbye to every day delivery: Both papers will cease seven-day home delivery to all subscribers as they begin transitioning to more online delivery of news.

Hello to three-day delivery: The JOA will instead focus on Thursday and Friday delivery of both papers and Sunday delivery of the Free Press only. Those days are the most lucrative for advertising and have often been considered in the newspaper world as the “money” days for both sales and circulation.

Get it on the newsstand: The papers will offer single copy editions six days of the week; only the Free Press will publish a Sunday single copy edition.

A new pricing model for subscriptions and a push to online: Seven days of access to an e-edition would also include the three days of home delivery. [Click for MORE]

> Detroit newspapers fewer days for home delivery; union says 9 pct. job cuts also planned

> Hunke says 'a day of reckoning coming'; In historic move, Detroit ends most home delivery

> Text of Detroit CEO Hunke's memo to employees

> Detroit News' story on the changes | Free Press' story
> Comments from Free Press editor Paul Anger
> Letter to News readers from the editor and publisher
> Doing the math on Detroit newspapers' big gamble

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Shoe Leather

> Shoe insult against Bush resounds in Arab world Sphere: Related Content

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's All About Reputation Now for Zell

At this point, the only remaining incentive for Sam Zell to slog through a Chapter 11 reorganization likely to last a year or more appears to be the chance to repair his reputation as a businessman. Long known as a canny dealmaker in the real estate business, Zell had an opportunity with Tribune to prove himself as a corporate strategist. [Click for MORE]

> L.A. Times journalists respond to Tribune's hard times by working hard
> The case for and against Sam Zel
> How Zell screwed up on Blagojevich
> MediaNews Sees Bad Timing on Newspapers, Not Bad Bets
> Newspapers' voices changed once, and might again Sphere: Related Content