Daily Archives: February 7, 2012

The Bay Citizen and the Center for Investigative Reporting have signed a formal letter of intent to merge within 30 days. CIR board chairman Phil Bronstein becomes executive chairman of the combined companies, while CIR executive director Robert Rosenthal keeps that title. It wasn’t announced who will lead the editorial teams. || The press release is after the jump. Read More

UPDATE: An emailer writes: “What about this editing job regarding Rendell’s bid for the paper? The initial version that appeared online Friday night placed the valuation of the paper at $40 million. By Saturday morning that graph was removed both online and in print. But the original version still exists in other papers.”

Here’s the paragraph that was taken out of the Inquirer:

Observers of the marketing process say the new owners would be fortunate to receive such a high bid [$100 million]. The company’s representatives have told prospective bidders that Philadelphia Media Network had $4 million last year in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Using traditional standards, a company with that kind of cash flow would be valued at less than $40 million.

* Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer story with the missing paragraph

* Here’s the same story in the News & Observer with the paragraph

I’ve asked Philadelphia Media Network CEO Greg Osberg about reports that he’s involved in the coverage of the PMN papers sale, while reportedly aligned with Ed Rendell.

UPDATE: “We have no comment in respect to these rumors,” PMN external relations vice president Mark Block says in an email.


A 1:55 p.m. post by Philadelphia Daily News reporter David Gambacorta about a potential Inquirer/Daily News bidder was pulled an hour later by management, according to a source. “Why? Not entirely sure but guessing it is because [Philadelphia Media Network CEO Greg] Osberg is tied in with the Rendell Group.”

Here’s what’s in place of the original story

Here’s an excerpt of the post that was taken down:

Developer Bart Blatstein is leading a group of local investors who want to purchase Philadelphia Media Network, the parent company of the Daily News, Inquirer, and SportsWeek.

The group, dubbed Philly Hometown Media LLC, is comprised of Blatstein; Jerry Sweeney, the president of the Brandywine Realty Trust; Bill Harvey, a partner at the law firm Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg; Harold Honickman, the soda mogul; and Andrew Barroway, a consumer rights litigator.

Blatstein’s development company, Tower Investments, last year purchased PMN’s ivory tower headquarters at Broad and Callowhill streets.

Philly Hometown Media LLC released a statement that read in part:
“We reject the notion that operating the dominant print and online sources for news and information in the Philadelphia area has to be an act of philanthropy.

“If we have learned anything in the last ten years, it’s that Philadelphians, like the rest of the country, have become information junkies.” …..

Last week, it was revealed that former Governor Ed Rendell was leading a group of at least five other local investors who also want to purchase the newspapers and their website from its current hedge fund owners. …

Posted by David Gambacorta @ 1:55 PM Permalink | Post a comment

Ed Rendell

If former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and his partners end up owning the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, “the newspapers will be viewed as a direct extension of the Democratic Party and Chamber of Commerce,” writes Paul Davies, who has worked at both dailies.

The intrinsic value of a newspaper rests in its creditability. Readers must trust what they are reading is honest, fair, accurate and the best effort at the truth. There are many first-rate journalists at both papers, and they will try to soldier on. But any real or perceived conflicts of interest stemming from the Rendell ownership group will undermine their credibility.

* How Ed Rendell could ruin the Inquirer and the Daily News

This FAQ for Gannett journalists receiving iPhones was distributed today at the chain’s papers.

FAQs for journalists receiving iPhones

In late December, USCP President Bob Dickey announced a substantial investment in tools and training to help you – our journalists – fulfill your jobs more effectively. With these tools and training, we can move faster and more nimbly to deliver the news and information our readers expect in new and unique ways.

The biggest chunk of this investment is for smart phones and related accessories. We have chosen to equip many of our reporters and photographers with iPhone 4S, the gold-standard in smart phone technology. This FAQ is designed to address some of the many questions you might have:


Why am I getting an iPhone 4S?
USCP evaluated current technology and determined that iPhone 4S is the most appropriate smart phone to support our initiatives. The iPhone is the technology leader for the tasks and workflows a journalist performs now; moreover, as we place more emphasis on creating content for specific devices (smart phones, tablets) iPhone 4S gives us the most flexibility and power to deliver compelling content across platforms. The combination of hardware on the phone, software/apps, network connectivity, variety of service providers and integration with other tools and systems Gannett uses are what led us to decide on purchasing iPhone 4S as opposed to other phones that use other operating systems, app marketplaces and carriers./CONTINUES Read More

An editorial cartoonist tells Romenesko readers: “There’s a little tempest brewing in the cartoon teapot over an offer the NYT sent out yesterday to editorial cartoonists to submit sketches on spec. They then pick one to run in the Sunday Review section for which they’ll pay $250. A bunch of the cartoonists they solicited are taking the whole thing as an insult.”

Here’s the Times’ email

Hello –

The Sunday Review section is bringing back editorial cartoons! Each week a single-panel cartoon will run on page 2, facing our weekly comics by Brian McFadden.

Please email your submissions to

There will be a few changes to the format we used at The Week in Review
– We will run 1 single-panel cartoon a week.
– The cartoon has to be original (not syndicated) and submitted to this email by Friday morning (11 a.m. deadline) for publication on Sunday.
– Compensation for an original cartoon will be $250.

The first cartoon will appear in the issue of February 26th.

(See the technical/payment details below.)

All the best,

Aviva Michaelov
Art director
Opinion Pages | Sunday Review


Please send an RGB, JPG file, at 300dpi. Approximate size is 6in wide x 4in high

Your cartoon will be proof read by our copy editors, if it is selected, please be prepared to correct any typos (if any) on Friday. The final file will be due by 4 p.m.

Payment process
We use an online payment system for invoicing. If your cartoon is selected you’ll get an email with our contract and a W-9 form. Once you return the documents, you will receive an email with a login and password to our payment site. The following week the payment will be processed, and you can login and collect your payment. (If you are selected and published multiple times, you’ll only need to login and approve your payments.)


“The Observer is profitable by a thin margin for the first time in its 24-year history,” writes editor-in-chief Elizabeth Spiers, who started at the paper a year ago. “This is a big, big deal.”
* The New York Observer, one year in

Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg News

Graffiti artist David Choe (left), who took Facebook stock instead of cash for doing murals at the company’s first headquarters, gave his first lengthy interview to Howard Stern this morning. Choe, whose stock will be valued at $200 million or more when Facebook goes public, discussed everything from his masturbation habits to his love for gambling. He also went after the media very early in the interview:

The press is saying all this bullshit, like I’m homeless and whatever. I have a house that I bought for my parents years ago, but for me, I travel nine months out of the year. I’m an artist and when I come home — home right now is Las Vegas. I have a room at every single casino.

I started transcribing the interview, but then recalled that there’s an obessive Stern fan who logs every show. I did a search and found Here are some excerpts from the site’s David Choe interview summary:

David said he was just out of prison and he went to see the guys at Facebook in Palo Alto. He said that movie [“The Social Network”] was so sensationalized. He said they’re all the coolest, raddest guys out there. He said Zuckerberg is great and he’s been with the same girl since high school. David said he hates Friendster and Myspace and all of that shit. He said they told him about Facebook being social networking for college students. David said he hates everything about that. He said they told him about how big it was getting and he didn’t give a fuck.

David said he was with Mark Zuckerberg recently and he was painting their new headquarters. He did that as a freebie. He said he loves Mark. He said he paints everything and anything in the building. Howard told him to get out in the hall and start painting now. David said he would do anything for Howard too. He said he’s been painting since he fell out of his mother’s womb.

Howard said David took stock in the company. It was $60,000 and that was back in 2005. He said back then Facebook was just a joke. David said that his prices were going higher and higher and he asked for 60 grand. He said they had Sean there and he’s a skinny, nerdy kid and he was nothing like Justin Timberlake. David said this guy told him that he was going to transform himself and he really did it.

Howard said David’s stock is now valued at somewhere between $100 million and $200 million. Howard said some people are saying he’s worth that because of this IPO. David said that if people are grabbing magic numbers like that are wrong. He said it’s “maybe.” He said it could be worth $500 million. Howard asked how many shares he has. David said they split forward and he’s not even sure how many he has. He said that very powerful Jewish people are figuring all of that out for him.

* Read the log from the David Choe interview (note: it’s graphic, with discussion of masturbation, penis size, etc.)

Joe Pompeo reports these magazine circulation highlights:

— The New Yorker’s average circulation increased 2.2% to 1,047,260, and newsstand sales were up 2.8% to 33,530.

— GQ’s circulation was up 4.5% to 980,254, while Vogue’s circulation dropped 1.7% to roughly 1.26 million. Vanity Fair dropped 4.8% to around 1.22 million.

— Time showed a .5% decrease to 3.23 million, and Newsweek was down 1.8% to 1.52 million. (Tina Brown’s title did show small newsstand bump of .3% year-over-year.

— Bloomberg Businessweek’s total average circulation was by 1%, but its single copy sales were down 9.4%.

* In latest circulation report, circulation up for New Yorker, New York

“There’s no easy trick, no gimmick, to draw people to read your website,” writes editor-in-chief Kerry Lauerman. “Trust me, we’ve tried.”

We’ve also — completely against the trend — slowed down our process. We’ve tried to work longer on stories for greater impact, and publish fewer quick-takes that we know you can consume elsewhere. We’re actually publishing, on average, roughly one-third fewer posts on Salon than we were a year ago (from 848 to 572 in December; 943 to 602 in January). So: 33 percent fewer posts; 40 percent greater traffic.

* Hit record

Rachel Barnhart’s Rochesterian blog reports that Buffalo’s WGRZ-TV has told viewers it will no longer show footage of the Le Roy students who are showing Tourettes-like symptoms. (I’ve called the news director for comment, but haven’t heard back.) This is what the station said, according to Barnhart:

Regarding the Le Roy story, we want to tell you about something we’ve decided here at 2 On your Side. The doctors involved in this case have said that part of the problem is that the media is constantly replaying video of these girls on the news, and the stress of being on TV, even after the interviews have ended, are making things worse for them. 2 On Your Side not only takes its journalism seriously, we also take seriously our role in our community. And if not showing the teens and their tics will help, then we’re in. We have decided, until or unless some other diagnosis is realized, that we will not be showing the video of the girls and their tics. We will continue to follow the story as we have from the start. We’ll talk to doctors, school administrators, and parents. Now, we can’t control all the media, even our own network’s coverage of this story, but we can control what we do and we have decided to do this because the doctors say its best for the kids in this situation.

Barnhart writes:

I can see both sides. On the one hand, the girls themselves are continuing to give television interviews. Their parents, to my knowledge, have not complained to news outlets about use of footage. I am also unaware of any medical professionals directly reaching out to television stations asking them to stop. There is still intense interest in the case. Showing the girls’ distress in context can be helpful to a story. And, as one person said upon learning of this decision, “The genie is out of the bottle.”

* Buffalo station stops showing Le Roy girls and their tics

* “Le Roy is becoming the freak of the week to the rest of the country”