Friday, June 12, 2009

Vampires Take Over the LA Times

Flickr photo by i-hate_my_screen_name
From the Associated Press:

Vampires have taken over the Los Angeles Times.

Beneath the masthead of Friday print editions is a full front-page ad for HBO's "True Blood."

A black-and-white close-up of star Stephen Moyer with blood dripping from his mouth dominates the page, which is all that's visible in newsboxes around town.

No other stories or photos appear on the cover, which is actually a separate four-page broadsheet touting Sunday's season premiere. Readers remove the wrap to find the regular front page, anchored by the Lakers's Thursday win over Orlando.

Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan says it's the first time newspaper has put its masthead above an advertisement wrapping the paper. She declined to discuss how much the paper charged for the ad.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Howard Stern vs. KTLA Weatherman

From Franklin Avenue:

It all started when Mark Kriski mentioned on "KTLA Morning News" that Howard Stern's pop culture influence began to wane after he moved to satellite radio.

It was a brief remark, but Stern caught wind of it -- and soon went on a diatribe against the KTLA weatherman. Stern targeted everything -- Kriski's credentials, his hair and the idea of weather forecasters in general. Check it all out above -- and there's more at the KTLA site. Sphere: Related Content

Tribune Creditors Follow the Money
to the McCormick Foundation

Irked creditors are following the money from the 2007 leveraged buyout of Tribune Co. right to the stately acres and 27-hole golf course at the mansion-turned-museum commemorating the life and times of deceased Chicago Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick, new court documents show.

The non-profit Cantigny Foundation that runs the 500-acre estate sold nearly $184 million worth of Tribune stock in connection with the deal. The LBO that saddled Tribune Co. with billions in debt meant a nice bump to the Cantigny Foundation endowment, allowing it to further its mission of providing the public the opportunity to hike, golf and examine the artifacts of the First Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. (McCormick was Colonel McCormick.)

Also in the cross-hairs of creditors in Tribune’s Chapter 11 case is the billion dollar-plus McCormick Foundation, which sold $1.5 billion worth of company stock in the LBO transactions, for a $963 million profit, according to tax records. It dishes out millions annually to civic charities around the country. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
End Times
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorNewt Gingrich Unedited Interview
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How the $0 Netbook Might Just
Help Save the Media Industry

It's considered a truism that "information wants to be free" -- a reality, aided and abetted by technology, that's destroying traditional media models. But it's increasingly turning out that technology itself wants to be as free as information. To get personal about it, your computer wants to be free! Your software wants to be free! [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How Much Will You Pay To Read News Online?

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NY Times Co. Seeks Boston Globe Bids

Potential buyers say paper's owner has hired firm to manage possible sale

The New York Times Co. has hired an investment bank to manage the possible sale of The Boston Globe, and the company plans to request bids for Boston's major daily in the next couple of weeks, according to two people who say they may make offers on the newspaper. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Job Description of Today's Reporter

From LAobserved:

The job skills and responsibilities sought in a new county government reporter for the Register in Orange County, CA, could be a template for how out-of-work journalists should market themselves these days. Think solid reporting, the ability to break news and write smart analysis, mixed with posting to blogs and Twitter and comfort on TV and radio. Posting from the newsroom is HERE. Sphere: Related Content

Storms Still Ahead for the Chicago Tribune

For the Chicago Tribune, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2008 was a fateful day.

On that day, the newspaper published its in-depth investigation of the Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich scandal; two days earlier, its parent company, Tribune Co., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“That day said the business model is broken,” editor Gerould W. Kern said at a May 21 panel of industry leaders titled “Make Media Matter.”

Before and since December, the newspaper suffered numerous layoffs, lower print circulation and a $13 billion debt load which real estate mogul Sam Zell took on when he purchased the company in April 2007. Zell invested $315 million in equity in the company in an $8.2 billion dollar buyout.

“Reporters are losing their jobs and people are getting lower quality,” said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst for the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit industry education resource. “It’s a lot to do with helping Sam Zell pay the debt, which he isn’t able to do completely anyway.”

Not all newspapers are saddled with debt. But the Chicago Tribune has plenty of company in the pool of struggling papers trying to conquer the Internet and other new technologies, while seeking to overcome economic challenges and attract younger audiences. Experts fear the Tribune’s financial trouble is negatively affecting the credibility of the paper, and with advertising revenues falling, the Tribune must search for other revenue streams and ways to deliver its content. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Boston Globe Union Rejects Wage Cuts

Proposal Is Voted Down by 277-265 Vote; Management Calls Concessions Vital to Survival

The Boston Globe's survival was jeopardized Monday when its largest union rejected a package of wage and benefits cuts that management had deemed necessary to keep New England's largest daily alive.

Members of the Boston Newspaper Guild rejected by a vote of 277 to 265 a proposal by the Globe's parent, New York Times Co., to cut costs at the unprofitable publication.

Times Co. two months ago had told union leaders the paper was on pace to lose $85 million this year and would be closed unless its unions agreed to $20 million in concessions. By Monday, six of the seven unions involved in negotiations had approved new contracts. But that effort hinged on passage by the Guild, which was responsible for half of the $20 million. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Monday, June 8, 2009

'The Day the Media Died' Goes Viral

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N. Korea Sentences 2 U.S. Journalists
to 12 Years of Hard Labor

North Korea on Monday sentenced two American journalists to 12 years of hard labor in a case widely seen as a test of how far the isolated Communist state was willing to take its confrontation with the United States.

The Central Court, the North’s highest court, held the trial of the two Americans, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, from Thursday to Monday and convicted them of “committing hostilities against the Korean nation and illegal entry,” the North’s official news agency, KCNA, said in a report monitored in Seoul.

Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee were detained by North Korean soldiers patrolling the border between China and North Korea on March 17. [Click for MORE]

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Sam Zell Might Lose Control of Tribune


Intriguing story out of the Chicago Tribune (via Romenesko) says that negotiations with big creditors of the bankrupt Tribune Company could lead to chairman Sam Zell losing his role. Details are still in flux, apparently, but the story says:

Bankruptcy experts said the plan's outline raises questions about whether the senior lender group would want to retain Zell and his management team or seek new leadership for the company. It also poses the question of whether Zell would want to stay without a large ongoing stake in the company.

Sources close to both the creditors and the company said it is too early to make such decisions and Tribune management continues to control the process because it currently has the exclusive right to propose whatever reorganization plan it wishes. But Zell's team has indicated that it wants to work toward a consensual plan with the company's creditors, which means issues such as who manages the company and whether those managers are given equity as part of an incentive package will be negotiated over time, experts said.

"It completely depends on whether the new owners see value in keeping Zell," said Douglas Baird, a corporate reorganization specialist at the University of Chicago Law School. "They have to decide: Is the person at the helm when the company went into the storm the most able person to steer it out?"

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