Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Just In -- I'll Now Work My Own Prompter

The day's news may soon rest in the hands -- and quite possibly on the feet -- of newscasters at WTTG, Channel 5, in Washington.

In a bid to save money, the station is planning to reassign the technicians who operate the electronic prompters that feed scripted news copy to the anchors while they're on the air. Instead, the station wants its anchors to do the job themselves.

WTTG, known as Fox5, intends to train its newscasters to operate prompters using a series of hand levers and foot pedals, all while they're reading the news as it scrolls by.

Some at the station worry that such a roll-your-own system could increase the potential for on-camera blunders, as anchors fumble for the right spot in their scripts. They also say that viewers may notice some awkward cranking and pumping beneath the anchor desk. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tribune Co. Papers Were Thin,
Now They'll Get Skinny

Tribune Co. is trimming the margins of its daily newspapers in an effort to improve its financial margins. All its daily newspapers -- including the Chicago Tribune -- will adopt a web width of 44 inches in the coming months, the company confirmed Tuesday.

Web width is a measurement of the size of a roll of paper for the presses, and for consumers it translates to the width of four broadsheet pages. By reducing the web width, the papers should realize a cost savings because less newsprint is required.

"Over the next several months, Tribune newspapers will convert to a 44-inch web-width, just as hundreds of other newspapers across the country have already done," a Tribune Co. spokesman said.

"This conversion will have no impact on content and little or no impact on advertising, as we standardized ad sizes across our newspapers earlier this year," the spokesman said.

Tribune Co.'s Baltimore Sun has had a 44-inch web width (or a broadsheet front page width of 11 inches) since late February. The other company papers will complete the conversion in late 2009 and early 2010.

The Chicago Tribune, like the Los Angeles Times, currently has a 48-inch web width, or a 12-inch broadsheet front page, although the Tribune's present layout is for a 46-inch web, the company said.

The South Florida SunSentinel, Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, Hartford (Conn.) Courant and the Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., have a 46-inch web width and the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., has a 49-inch web width.

The longtime industry standard width was 54 inches, which meant a 13 1/2 inch front page, but it gradually has been reduced in the last decade. The Tribune began reducing its size in 2001.

Overseeing modifications to the presses will be crews from Goss International and Pressline Services Inc., according to, which first reported the change.

-- Chicago Tribune
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Kindle Killers? The Boom in New E-Readers

Amazon, the online retailing giant, did more than any other company to turn the sale of digital books into a real business with the 2007 launch of the Kindle electronic reader. The company has sold an estimated 1.7 million units of the handheld device in the U.S., and it's getting ready to ship millions more. On Oct. 6, Amazon announced that it would soon begin selling Kindles — complete with a key feature that allows users to wirelessly download e-books from Amazon — in more than 100 countries...

Major newspaper and magazine publishers, which are suffering mightily from the loss of subscribers and advertisers to the recession and the Internet, are also getting involved. News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Wall Street Journal, is reportedly considering a deal with Japanese consumer-electronics giant Sony, which in 2004 introduced the first commercially viable e-reader, to use a black-and-white display technology called electronic ink (also used by the Kindle). Sony is rolling out a new family of e-readers, including a pocket-size version and one with a large screen that's geared toward newspapers and magazines. [Click for MORE]
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