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Daily Archives: March 1, 2012

New York Times editors respond to union members’ contract-talks concerns, expressed yesterday in a hallway protest: “We all acknowledge that the push-pull of the negotiating process can be wearying. But we have been here before. Like you and our colleagues on the negotiating team, we are committed to finding a solution.”

March 1, 2012

Getting Through Challenging Times Together

Jill, Dean and John write: Together, we produce the world’s most powerful and engaging news report. We know you are as proud as we are every single day of the extraordinary breadth and depth of our singular journalism. We know that you are being asked to do more and more to keep pace with the relentless demands of a constant news cycle across multiple platforms.

In recent weeks, we’ve had conversations with many of you about your frustrations and worries over the protracted Guild negotiations, which have now gone on for more than a year. Yesterday’s gathering by the page one room shortly before the 4 p.m.meeting was another reminder of how deeply unsettling this time has been.

Negotiations are certainly best left to those at the bargaining tables, where — as we all know — the issue of pension plans is at the heart of those negotiations, just as it is at the center of your concerns.

We understand those concerns. Two years ago, the pensions of all non-union staff members were frozen, mirroring a move that many other companies have taken. At that time the Company did provide excluded employees with an enhanced 401k, and ensured as well that no one lost credits accrued prior to the freeze In the negotiations with the Guild, the Company has indicated a willingness to take this approach, too.

We all acknowledge that the push-pull of the negotiating process can be wearying. But we have been here before. Like you and our colleagues on the negotiating team, we are committed to finding a solution.

We thought this was a good moment for us to underscore our commitment to you and to affirm our faith in the future of The Times. After all, we are all in this together.

We have ambitious plans for the year ahead. We will continue to innovate digitally offering our readers increasingly rich and engaging experiences on many platforms. We will expand our reach and invest in our talent.

The New York Times stands almost alone in being able to offer talented journalists a promising and fulfilling career. We are the destination for those committed to the highest standards of excellence.

We know this has been a challenging time and that we will get through it together.

All best,
Jill, Dean and John

Did Sacramento Bee sports editor Tom Couzens call sports-radio station KHTK twice last week and drop the F-bomb? asks alt-weekly writer Nick Miller. Or did host Don Geronimo fabricate the recording? “I don’t listen to his show,” Couzens tells the Sacramento News & Review. “I didn’t make those calls.” The two apparently have a running feud. (I dropped Couzens an email this morning and he replied: “Jim, sorry, I’ve got nothing beyond what was in the SN&R.”)

* Sports feud: The Sacramento Bee vs. KHTK 1140

Michael Ferro Jr.

Michael Ferro Jr., who bought the Chicago Sun-Times in December, recently spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He introduced himself as chairman of Merrick Ventures and added:

I’m also the chairman and owner of the Chicago Sun-Times. The reason I tell you all that is because I want to make sure I have your attention … Mayor Emanuel is coming tomorrow and he’s the only person who asked me to do this, and I said, ‘Mr. Mayor, I’m very excited to meet all these different mayors from these other cities because my plan is to acquire their publications in a lot of their cities today and keep newspapers alive in America, so people can read about what you’re doing, and you don’t have to rely on blogs.’

* Watch Ferro at the U.S. Conference of Mayors

* Ferro wants Sun-Times to be the New York Post of the Midwest

Praise for the Guardian’s “Three Little Pigs” ad came quickly after I tweeted a link to it last night: “Fantastic,” “Brilliant,” and “So Awesome” were some of the reactions.

Adweek says “Three Little Pigs” — its Ad of the Day — “has delivered one of the most bracingly, brilliantly relevant ads of 2012 so far.”

The ad’s conceit is wonderful—imagining how the modern news media would cover the story of the Three Little Pigs boiling the Big Bad Wolf. Playing out like a docudrama, it begins with swat police storming the pigs’ house and taking them into custody. As news of the incident spreads, the familiar fevered 24/7 information cycle takes hold, as journalists and citizens investigate and analyze the swirl of facts, conjecture and opinion about the case.

The multimedia wash of information is expertly presented and visually stunning—from tweets and YouTube videos to a particularly wonderful segment with the Guardian website presenting a computerized “Huff and Puff” simulation to determine whether the wolf could have blown two of the pigs’ houses down in the first place, as he’s accused of doing.

I asked Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger who came up with the idea. He emails: “David Kolbusz, creative director at the ad agency BBH, wrote the script. He was able to interpret what we were doing and wanting to say. And he found the director for the film, Ringan Ledwidge.”

* Watch the “Three Little Pigs” ad


* Editor’s Note (Slate)
* Slate retracts story (Retraction Watch)
* Celltex retraction demand to Slate

I asked Slate editor David Plotz about this, and he replied: “I’m sorry to say that I don’t have anything to add to my note. Because of our editorial shortcomings, the article didn’t live up to slate’s editorial standards.”

Carl Elliott, the author of the piece, tells Retraction Watch: “The withdrawal seemed to me to be driven entirely by fear of litigation. Their main fear seemed to be my referring to McGee’s unpleasant departure from Albany Medical College, which had been reported in Scientific American.”

* Andrew Breitbart dead at 43 (Politico.com)
* Breitbart collapsed while walking near his home
* Tributes from Drudge, Huffington and others

What they’re saying about him on Twitter:

@marcambinder: “That final Tweet was less than seven hours ago. @AndrewBreitbart — He was very generous and patient w/ me, back in his Drudge days & now.”

@FishbowlDC (Betsy Rothstein): “I forged an unexpected friendship with @AndrewBreitbart only recently. But he was kind, unique and larger than life. I will miss him.”

@MegynKelly: “Farewell Andrew Breitbart and may God bless his family. We have such a short time together on this earth – kiss your loved ones today.”

@xeni: “Breitbart was a nice guy to have as a friend in those early LA blog scene days. I’m sad about last interactions. Wish I could say goodbye.”

@Kibblesmith (Groupon writer): “When someone’s official bio includes ‘I enjoy making enemies’ is it cool if he’s the one guy I’m openly glad is dead?”

@mattchew03: Just remembered how Breitbart mocked–and then copied–my old Twitter avatar. bit.ly/wqxDFp

@AndyRutledge: “Andrew Breitbart’s passing is such a tremendous loss. He was never afraid to say what must be said. By all accounts, a man of integrity.”

@DavidFolkenflik: “Astounding news about Andrew Breitbart – unrivaled, gleeful and self-created cultural warrior of digital age. Never seen an inbox like his.”

@HowardWeaver: “@davidfolkenflik that’s a wholly inadequate and misleading characterization of Brietbart, David.”

@AlecBaldwin: “Did Breitbart die?”

@RobTornoe: “Remember on the day Ted Kennedy died, Breitbart called him a ‘villain,’ ‘a big ass motherf@#$er,’ a ‘duplicitous bastard’ and a ‘prick.'”

@LachlanMarkay: “Andrew passed knowing that his life had purpose and meaning. How many trolls celebrating his death can say the same?”

* Big Government site reports Andrew Breitbart died early this morning from natural causes. (Big Government)

* “LA coroner’s office confirms to ABC News Radio that Breitbart died shortly after midnight at UCLA Medical Center.” (@jaketapper)

* Bill Simmons has first-ever podcast with a sitting U.S. president. (Grantland)

* Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown: “I still can’t figure out if I’m always on deadline or never on deadline.” (The Big Lead)

* When will social media elect a president? (Wall Street Journal)

* Ouch! Newspaper ad revenue adjusted for inflation, 1950-2011 (Reason.com)

* Seattle Times: “We have been and continue to pay attention to paywalls and metered content models.” (Xconomy.com)

* “I think my son feels very comfortable wherever he is,” says Judea Pearl (Los Angeles Times)

* Facebook ads get new placements (Adweek.com)