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Daily Archives: May 10, 2012

“We’ve been doing this nearly ten years,” Gawker chief Nick Denton tells his staff. “I’m not nearly ready to retire yet — or cash in. But we need to recognize there’s a new generation of management at Gawker Media.”

Denton writes in his memo:

* “The days of the banner advertisement are numbered. In two years, our primary offering to marketers will be our discussion platform.”

* “A historical tidbit: the original business model for Gizmodo was affiliate fees from purchases of gadgets through Amazon. We didn’t have the scale then to make that work. We do now. In December we made $70,000 from Amazon. Without really trying. No seriously, it was an accident.”

* “Unlike most companies during this bubble, we are planning for an independent existence for the next decade and beyond. And we don’t need to hire big names from outside to get us there; we grow our talent in-house.”

The full memo is after the jump.
Read More

The Orange County Register, which had 91 journalists at an Angels game for a so-called News Mob last month, has scheduled News Mob 2 — it’ll be all about Disney — for the week of June 15.

Keith Sharon, who coordinated the Register’s Angels News Mob coverage, tells Romenesko readers:

The OC Register’s second News Mob will descend on the Happiest Place on Earth during the week of June 15.

Disney’s California Adventure will re-open to the public in June with a new Cars Land, Buena Vista Street, rides and a restaurant. The Register will have photographers, videographers and reporters from sports, real estate, pop culture, theater, food, OC Moms, retail, cities, crime, features, travel, social issues – and virtually every department in our news organization — covering the event. Dozens of Disney fans will also participate in the coverage by contributing photos, memories and reviews of new Disney experiences.

The Register’s News Mob comes nine weeks after 91 staffers covered Opening Day for the Angels.

Since April 6 when the News Mob highlighted the Register’s Angels coverage, the Register’s audience for the Angels has exploded. Without counting Opening Day stories, the Angels’ regular coverage in April and May is on pace to reach page view levels only achieved (in our professional sports coverage) by the Lakers during the championship run of 2010.

In other words, one of the worst starts in Angels’ history is on par with the Lakers’ victory over the Celtics and the championship parade.

Four other News Mobs are being considered, including Election Day and the Orange County Auto Show.

Media/journalism junkie Doug Campbell shares ten “nitpicks” taken from the last three issues of Copyediting newsletter, including the four above. He writes:

The strain of achieving perfection for an eagle-eyed audience of one’s peers must be enormous. After all, what excuse can there be for a misspelled word or misplaced apostrophe when you run a publication called Copyediting? Yet, as terrible as it is, there’s something ridiculously satisfying about spotting a typo in an article devoted to the most efficient ways to catch typos.

* Who edits the copy editors? (The Awl) || Copyediting.com

Earlier on JimRomenesko.com:
* Blogger points out copyediting errors and gets hired
* The lonely life of the lowly copy editor
* “My first day as a copy editor was a shock”


The new Time magazine cover reminded me of a piece — titled “The Breast of Times” — that my former Milwaukee Magazine colleague Judith Woodburn wrote for Salon in 2006. I thought I’d share it with you.

One passage:

Are you a bad mother if you don’t breast-feed? Having experienced the challenges of breast-feeding firsthand, I don’t think so. But having started down this path, my personal debate has involved a different question altogether: Am I a bad mother if I haven’t stopped?

Woodburn, who was Milwaukee Magazine editor-in-chief in the early 1990s (I was senior editor at the time), points out in her piece that in some places, her decision to breast-feed her four-year-old son might still be considered criminal.

* The Breast of Times (Salon)
* How common is extended breast-feeding? (Time)
* Time managing editor discusses the cover with Paul Farhi (WP)
* Time’s breast-feeding cover heats up on social media (USAToday.com)

In his story about Chicago Sun-Times’ parent buying the Chicago Reader for $3 million, Reader media writer Michael Miner notes that a Crain’s story has “hinted” that Sun-Times owner Michael Ferro and his allies might be interested in taking over the Chicago Tribune.

“The money’s there,” writes Miner. “Among the [Sun-Times] investors is billionaire Joe Mansueto, who controls Time Out Chicago, the Reader’s principal competition.” Ferro has said that he wants to buy more newspapers.

* Sun-Times parent close to acquiring Chicago Reader (Crain’s Chicago Business)
* Crain’s says Reader going to Sun-Times (Chicago Reader)
* March 1: Sun-Times owner wants to buy more newspapers (JimRomenesko.com)

Chris Papst: Why hazing isn't so bad

“Thought you might find this Harrisburg Patriot-News op-ed interesting,” writes a Romenesko reader.

HAZING ISN’T ALL THAT BAD — IT CAN BRING TEAMMATES TOGETHER

“Aside from the, er, unique perspective the editorial provides, it seems strange a reporter would be writing opinion columns on stories he covers for another news outlet.”

This comes from Romenesko reader Rob Devine:

Your posting of that op-ed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News reminded me of a column I had seen late last year about the same thing. It was an op/ed in the International Business Times entitled, “Why Hazing Can Lead to Positive Change,” and was written after someone died from hazing at Florida A&M.

It’s amazing to me that anyone would write these stories, but it seems at least Mr. Papst has a brother-in-arms with Mr. Carey.

* How hazing can lead to positive change (ibtimes.com)

Letter to Romenesko

From BRUCE LAMBERT, former New York Times reporter: Years ago, while scrolling through old New York Times microfilms on a totally different topic, I was startled to come across the following multi-decked headline:

The publication date was June 22, 1895.

What followed under that heading was a story explaining that despite watermelon’s popularity among blacks, their consumption was NOT the cause of rising prices.

The article appeared to rebut an unstated premise (a rumor, a myth, a claim, an editor’s wrong hunch?) that melon-eating Negroes were driving up the cost in a supply/demand dynamic.

An unintentional self-parody of Times preoccupation with details, the story laboriously estimates the number of Negroes in NY, the number of railroad cars carrying watermelon (70 cars in July and August), the number of melons per car (1,100), an equal number of melons imported by steamship, and the average pounds per melon (25), then calculates how much of that total melon supply was consumed by Negroes.

It further speculates that Negroes working at restaurants and boarding houses consumed some melon in the workplace, so they weren’t buying directly.

Some Negroes were too poor to afford melon, the article says.

And – this is a real howler – some were too young:

“Out of the 23,6000 colored people in the city, at least 2,000 are under the melon-eating age,” The Times reported, “since the inventor has not yet come forward who has discovered a method of liquefying melons for use in feeding bottles.”

Too soon for watermelon smoothies, I guess.

Well, read the whole for yourself and be prepared for serial eye-rolling.

The story is oddly tagged under a short on street mapping. To find it in Times online archives, go to the “All Since 1851″ time frame and use these search terms: “watermelon, Negroes, map.”

Click on the first item, about annexed streets. A pdf file pops up with a picture of the watermelon story appended to the street map story.

[HERE'S THE LINK]

And for a real cultural eye-opener, search simply for “watermelon, Negroes” and find all sorts of stories on things like watermelon theft, a boy who jumped into the water with a melon and drowned, and a 1925 feature on “Darkies” and watermelon.

Texas Student Media, which includes the University of Texas newspaper, radio and television stations, and humor publications, has long been funded by Daily Texan ad dollars.


But…

As the print apocalypse continues ravaging the industry, the student newspaper has become a shell of its former cash-generating juggernaut. Advertising, distribution, and especially the classifieds revenue has all but evaporated. This bedrock of the TSM infrastructure used to pay 88% of the bills, but now, as The Daily Texan struggles, so too does the rest of UT’s student media.

THE NUMBERS:
The Daily Texan
Total Revenue 2012: $1,546,703
Total Loss: $224,529

KVRX
Total Revenue 2012: $131,522.
Total Loss: $13,401

TSTV
Total Revenue 2012: $174,267.
Total Gain: $18,137

Texas Travesty
Total Revenue 2012: $34,561.
Total Loss: $1,835.

The Texan reported in March that its advertising revenue fell from $2,326,411 for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, to $1,352,632 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

The Austin Chronicle’s Luke Winkie writes: “Blame lies everywhere, of course: from an excess glut of publications to a lack of grassroots community support, and the sabotaging presence of the internet.”

* Daily Texan loses $225,000 so far this year (College Media Matters)
* U. of Texas student radio station avoids the chopping block — for now (Austin Chronicle)
* “The model is broken. We’re going to have to find a new one.” (Daily Texan)

COLLEGE MEDIA STAFFERS AND ADVISERS: HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?