Saturday, February 21, 2009

Journal Register Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Journal Register Co., the debt-strapped owner of the New Haven Register and about 20 other daily papers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Saturday, at least the third newspaper publisher to tip into bankruptcy court in recent months.

Journal Register has been plagued for more than a year by an unsustainable level of borrowing, made worse by an industry-wide plunge in revenue. Journal Register's woes stem from an acquisition binge, the pinnacle of which was a 2004 deal to buy a chain of Michigan newspapers for more than $400 million. [Click for MORE]

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Introducing 'The Media Biz'

Introducing "The Media Biz," a new blog by Jeff Klein, an experienced newspaper, B2B and web publisher whose reputation and background demand attention.

When I left the Los Angeles Times in late 1998 to start a new magazine and internet publishing company, I never imagined how bad it could get at my long time employer. I had spent 15 rewarding years at the paper in a variety of legal and management positions. I knew the Times was caught in a time warp, refusing to recognize the real and serious threat of the internet. I knew it was a slow-moving aircraft carrier where committees and departmental fiefdoms slowed down decision making. I knew it was arrogant and didn’t care enough about the changing reading and buying habits of its readers. But I never expected it would be part of a company filing for bankruptcy. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Friday, February 20, 2009

Does News Have a Future?

From KCRW:

As of last year, more people were getting their news for free on the Internet than were paying for newspapers and magazines. We hear proposals for preserving journalism as we've come to know it and for creating new ways of serving consumers of information.

Does News Have a Future? (12:07P)

Magazines are cutting their staffs as are news broadcasters, both commercial and listener supported. Newspapers have more readers than ever, but they're downsizing and going bankrupt, threatening not just providers of news but the news itself. Major American cities may soon have no papers at all. The problem is that they're giving their product away for free on the Internet, a business model that can't be sustained. Will a new generation of news consumers be willing to pay? We hear different ideas about keeping traditional journalism alive. Is it time to develop new methods for keeping the public informed?

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Amazon: Re-kindling the Newspaper Biz?

Amazon’s second foray into consumer electronics is a slimmed-down revision of its first. The Kindle 2 ($359) is a portable, networked electronic book reader. Or perhaps it’s a kind of tablet computer that happens to be obsessed with books, magazines, and newspapers. Regardless, it’s a powerful portent.

We know that newspapers are dropping like flies due to drops in both advertising revenue (bad economy, shift to online spending, failure of print media to deliver, craigslist) and subscriber revenue, which includes readers turning to non-traditional media, like blogs and online-only publications. But many former readers of print publications haven’t abandoned those periodicals; they’ve switched to reading the same publications online that they used to read on dead trees, and advertisers pay far less for their eyeballs there. Even with the cheaper cost of publishing online, a great number of online readers for primarily print publications can’t bridge the difference in revenue from lost subscribers.

Is the Kindle (and its ilk) the bridge from commercial print/digital hybrids to sustainable all-online publications? It’s certainly a bright spot in the future for the continued persistence of both readers of perishable content and for subscription revenue. [Click for MORE]

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Newspaper Industry's Collapse Hastens;
Shutdowns Loom

The collapse of the U.S. newspaper industry is accelerating as a deepening plunge in advertising forces publishers to consider curtailing print editions or shutting down altogether.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will appear only on the Internet and the Tucson Citizen in Arizona will close if their parent companies can't find buyers for them by March. Denver's Rocky Mountain News is up for sale, and Detroit's two dailies cut their publishing schedule to three days a week.

"There's going to be a lot of papers giving up days of the week that they publish editions and an acceleration of movement from print to digital publishing," said Ken Doctor, an analyst at media consultant Outsell Inc. in Burlingame, California. [Click for MORE]

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shuttered Printing Plants

Hat tip: Ed Padgett

As beleaguered newspapers across the United States seek alternatives to an ever-growing exodus of advertiser dollars to the new media, shuttering of production facilities is increasing in frequency at an alarming rate. Since 2005 forty production plants have been closed, and 2009 could surpass the past three years in this trend. Many newspapers are outsourcing their production to newspapers that were once their rivals, and some are dropping the print edition entirely for an online edition only.Below are the newspapers that have shuttered printing plants since 2005:

•Citizen-Times in Asheville, N.C.
•Boston Globe
•Boston Herald
•New York Times (Edison, N.J.)
Los Angeles Times (SFV)
•The Times in Trenton, N.J.
•North Jersey Media Group (Hackensack, N.J.)
•Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.
•Dow Jones (suburban Denver and suburban Chicago)
•The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
•Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville, Tenn.
•The Daily Breeze in Torrance, Calif.
•Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
•Atlanta Journal-Constitution (downtown plant)
•Denver Newspaper Agency (former Denver Post plant)
•The Courier in Waterloo, Iowa
•San Angelo (Texas) Reporter-News
•The Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home, Ark.
•Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal
•The Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise
•The Olympian in Olympia, Wash.
•The (Boise) Idaho Statesman
•Bellingham (Wash.) Herald
•The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass.
•Northwest Florida Daily News in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
•Stevens Point (Wis.) Journal
•Washington Times
•The Modesto (Calif.) Bee
•The Gleaner in Henderson, Ky.
•The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va.
•Muskegon (Mich.) Chronicle
•Bradenton (Fla.) Herald
•Detroit Newspaper Partnership
•Santa Cruz (Calif.) Sentinel
•San Francisco Chronicle
•Patriot-Ledger in Quincy, Mass.
•Brockton (Mass.) Enterprise
•The Times-News in Hendersonville, N.C.
•Community Press (Cincinnati suburban weeklies)
•Palladium-Item in Richmond, Ind.

Source: Newspapers & Technology

[Graphic: TJ SULLIVAN]

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Would You Print This Cartoon?

From the Wall Street Journal:

The New York Post faced a barrage of criticism on the Internet Wednesday after publishing a cartoon that some say compares President Barack Obama to a violent chimpanzee.

The drawing, by frequent Post editorial cartoonist Sean Delonas, whose work appears in the paper's Page Six gossip column, depicts a police officer holding a smoking gun he apparently used to shoot a chimpanzee. The caption reads, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

The cartoon refers to a well-publicized event in the New York City area: a pet chimpanzee that was shot dead by police after it attacked a Connecticut woman earlier in the week. Mr. Obama on Tuesday signed a nearly $800 billion economic stimulus package.

Monkeys have been used historically in pejorative portrayals of black people, and the New York Post cartoon immediately drew criticism, including from civil-rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton. Mr. Sharpton called the cartoon "troubling at best," and he called for a protest Thursday in front of the New York Post's headquarters in Manhattan. The Web also was filled with debate.

The New York Post defended the cartoon, and Editor Col Allan said in a statement that the cartoon "broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy." Mr. Delonas couldn't be reached. The New York Post is owned by News Corp., as is The Wall Street Journal.

This isn't the first time news organizations have drawn flack for their images of Mr. Obama. The New Yorker magazine generated unwanted attention last summer for a cover cartoon that depicted then-candidate Obama wearing a turban and long robe, with a framed portrait of Osama bin Laden behind him. The cover was intended to mock portrayals of Mr. Obama as a terrorist, but not everyone saw it that way, including the Obama campaign, which called the cover image "tasteless and offensive."

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