Daily Archives: April 17, 2012

Steven Greenhouse

New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse shares his views on the Times-Guild contract talks with colleagues:

* “As someone who has covered labor negotiations for years, I was baffled why it took nearly a year for management to move beyond its initial draconian offer.”

* “I fear that the anger in the newsroom will only continue to grow so long as the Times negotiating team sticks with contract offers that would cut our after-inflation compensation.”

* “I believe the Times should work with the Guild to seriously explore some type of profit-sharing formula that would help hold down the Times’ fixed costs while at the same time assuring that Times employees receive a fair share of any financial rebound that the Times enjoys.”

* “I have great respect for Arthur and the entire Sulzberger family for their whole-hearted dedication to maintaining the Times as the world’s greatest newspaper. But I fear that the Arthur has been ill served by [Times labor chief] Terry Hayes and other negotiators who, through their draconian contract offers, have shown considerable disrespect toward the newsroom.”

Greenhouse’s full memo is after the jump.

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Lee CEO Mary Junck (Disclosure: Image was altered)

Just three weeks ago it was announced that Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck received a $500,000 bonus for …well, who knows what? … while her longtime sidekick, CFO Carl Schmidt, was handed $250,000. Today we get news the Mary and Carl didn’t do so well the last quarter. Some highlights today’s Lee Enterprises Q2 earnings report:

* The newspaper chain lost $26.6 million, compared with a $1.5 million in the 2011 quarter.
* Revenue fell 3.6% to $172.3 million, from $178.7 million a year ago.
* Advertising revenue declined 5.3%.
* Employee compensation decreased 5.2%
* Average number of full-time equivalent employees was down 7.5%.

* Lee Enterprises second quarter loss widens
* Lee Enterprises reports results for second fiscal quarter (Lee release)
* Lee shares down 13.61% on bleak earnings report

UPDATE: On my Facebook page, I noted that “in the middle of the Lee bankruptcy mess, she was named AP board chairman. A very clubby group those newspaper execs!” One person, who asked not to be named, sent this email in reaction:

Many of us AP retirees shudder at the thought of Gary Pruitt coming in as AP CEO and Junck taking over as the new board chair. The venerable news cooperative that has served the industry, and the world, well for 166 years will be led by two CEOs who made huge misjudgments along the way that put the survival of their companies in jeopardy and saddled them with debt that they are continuing to struggle with. I guess we can hope they learned from their mistakes and will bring a more rational approach to a worldwide news organization.

Presses were stopped at Cincinnati Enquirer over the weekend after someone spotted “Fuck” in a photo. Thousands of Sunday papers were tossed out and the photo was changed for the new run.

“This is the same Louisville ‘design hub’ which inserted the word “fuck” in the Greenville News back in December,” a Romenesko reader writes. “Digital copies of the offending Enquirers haven’t appeared because the photo was caught early in the run. Only a a few thousand of those papers got delivered. The remainder of the offending papers were destroyed at the printing plant. It’s no closely guarded secret. Editor Carolyn Washburn has been fielding reader complaints and discussed the response with staff.”

She distributed this memo — first posted on Gannett Blog — on Monday afternoon:

Sent: Mon 4/16/2012 4:10 PM
From: Carolyn Washburn
To: Cin-News Users
Subject: in case you are getting calls about a photo in Sunday’s paper

A photo ran on the state government page of a protestor holding up a sign that used the word f#*&. It was caught on the press and replated but it still went out to several thousand homes.

Here is how I am responding.

Yes, the photo was completely inappropriate, on many levels.

I learned about this after midnight Saturday when someone in our operation saw this photo and alerted us. We stopped the presses to change the photo and threw out thousands of papers still sitting at our dock. Unfortunately a few thousand papers had already gone out to carriers.

I deeply apologize and am working this morning to understand why this photo was chosen in the first place and why it was not caught sooner. I take this very seriously.

Again, I apologize.


* Earlier: “Fuck” is put into the third paragraph of a Greenville News story

Letter to Romenesko

From JEREMIAH CHRISTOPHER WHITTEN: It’s quite interesting that Josh Barrie’s post “If Shakespeare had Twitter” appeared on HuffPo less than 36 hours after my op/ed “Twitter needs Shakespeare” was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (online, hard copy and frequently linked in Twitter). A different piece, yes, but perhaps the inspiration was unacknowledged or, perchance, borrowed. I’m not sure, but it’s quite a coincidence.

Josh, care to respond? (Post here or send me an email.)

* Six degrees of aggregation: How the Huffington Post ate the Internet

“Triple whammy,” a reader says of the Washington Post’s bad-news Monday.

1. Elizabeth Flock
2. Skunked on Pulitzer day
3. Buyout deadline

Regarding #1: WaPo ombud Patrick Pexton says in an email: “There’s a broader story here, which I will address either in my blog, or in my Sunday column.” (There’s nothing about Flock’s resignation on his blog yet, but I’ll watch for it.)

Regarding #2: A reader says the Post staff knew early yesterday morning that they didn’t win anything because a P.A. system that was put up over the weekend was taken down before noon. True?

Regarding #3: Fredrick Kunkel of the Post Guild wrote to colleagues yesterday morning:

I probably don’t have to mention that today is the deadline to decide whether to accept the Post’s most recent buyout offer. Some of you have reported receiving telephone calls from editors late last week to hint hint that you should go. If you feel pressured to leave — or even if you don’t, but you still have questions — please feel free to get in touch with a Guild rep to talk things over. You must submit the paperwork to Human Resources by 5 p.m. today. Keep in mind that you also have seven days after accepting the buyout offer to change your mind and withdraw.

A Romenesko reader from Detroit writes:

How can you trust auto reviews when 90+ journalists are treated to a great dinner and a Springsteen concert?

Please do not use my name. I do not want to be blackballed by the auto companies.

Were any Romenesko readers at this event? Care to tell us more in comments (or an email)?

* Earlier:The world of car reviewing is replete with expensive perks

- Headline in last Wednesday's New York Post

2020? Try February of 2011.

That’s when my Comcast bill — for cable TV and high-speed Internet — went to $203 and I said enough! I canceled cable, sold my three flat-screen TVs and started watching everything on my iPad.

I now pay Comcast $69.95 a month for Internet, and my ComEd bill has been cut significantly now that I don’t have television sets sucking up electricity. My monthly usage went from a 12-month high of 914 kilowatts to last month’s all-time low of 243.

What I found is that there’s an app for nearly all of my favorite shows, and that I don’t mind watching them on a smaller screen (even after once owning a 65-inch flat-screen) – especially now that the iPad has a retina display screen.

Cord-cutting, really, was a cinch, and I now pay only $7.99 a month — thank you, Hulu Plus! — for programming.

I know that dumping cable hasn’t been as easy for others, especially ESPN addicts and families. CNET editor David Katzmaier wrote 16 months ago about going a month without cable, then deciding to go back to Verizon. He wrote: “I’ve reconnected, and committed to the pipe for another two years, I can’t help but feel that I should have done more, kept at it longer, or found a way to make it work. On the other hand, I’m infinitely relieved that my wife and I can eliminate TV as a source of stress in our household.”

My Comcast separation has been stress-free. It happened this way:
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* Dan Kennedy’s reaction to the above: “This is an abomination”
* More comments about this tweet from my Facebook wall
* Dispatches from a copy editors’ convention

Bonnie Miller Rubin

The Chicago Tribune’s Bonnie Miller Rubin has a great piece today about being hired by the Davenport Times-Democrat in 1973, and being introduced to readers by the editor as a “pert young miss” who will be covering sports. (It was Sports Lite, actually; she did stories on the lives of coaches’ wives, trendy workout fashions and what makes for a good cheerleader.) “Please no special treatment for her just because she’s a member of the fairer sex,” her boss wrote in his new-reporter introduction.

It seems so degrading now, but it was common for those of us in that first large wave of women to transform the newspaper business.

* A female sports reporter looks back at her hiring in 1973