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Daily Archives: May 17, 2012

* Ford Foundation to fund new Los Angeles Times reporters with $1 million, two-year grant. (LA Observed) | (Los Angeles Times)
* Warren Buffett on Media General deal: “I did this because I love newspapers.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
* Comics page trend: Storylines about abortion. (Concord Monitor)
* Freedom Communications sells four papers to Philly-based Versa Capital Management. (Sedalia Democrat)
* Tampa Tribune managing editor Richard “Duke” Maas promoted to executive editor. (TBO.com)

Letter to Romenesko

A former “Good Morning America” producer writes:

Watched the Today show this morning and was surprised by several things …

Matt did the two top news stories himself – at the desk for 15 minutes before throwing to ‘news.’
Didn’t do any banter til end of the first half hour
didn’t appear on the couch til, I believe the 8 am hour

Ann was almost nowhere to be seen – usually a ‘split show’ still involves banter between sets and taking turns

Seems to me [executive producer] Jim Bell is playing with format in response to GMA – after all his star is Lauer

And they sure took a LOOOONG time with that call me maybe segment, a segment which felt very GMA to start with

PS when I was [at] GMA, Charlie was always pushing for him and Diane to do the news without a newsreader

Just some thoughts

NOTE FROM ROMENESKO: My original tweet about this post gave the impression that this was a New York Times screw-up, which it was not. This is a screen shot from a Joe Ricketts-funded SuperPAC’s storyboard for the ad and the “slick and cocky” line was not written by the Times.

A Romenesko reader writes:

Thought you might enjoy this frame grab from the NYT.com homepage at 2:09. As you can see, the label at top reads: “Footage of BO looking slick and cocky. EXISTING STOCK.”

I would love to know what this is — an indexing label, maybe? [UPDATE: The explanation is below] But if this is how the NYT categorizes its art and describes the president, well — they should be more careful about where it appears.

Image is gone now, but was online for at least 10 minutes.

UPDATE:

Lucy Dalglish

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press executive director Lucy Dalglish has been named the next dean of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. She’ll succeed Dean Kevin Klose on August 1. “Lucy Dalglish’s work puts her in the middle of some of the most critical journalism issues of the day, particularly those involving media rights and protections,” says University of Maryland President Wallace Loh.

* Dalglish named new dean of UMD’s Philip Merril College of Journalism (UMD.edu)
* Earlier: Merrill College dean candidates make final presentations (JimRomenesko.com)

I posted the “Time We End It” issue of the Sun-Times below two days ago. Today Emily Miller tweets: “Mr. @Romenesko, news it’s ‘time we end it’ has been greatly exaggerated. Our rebuttal, today in #Aurora by @slulay2: http://instagr.am/p/KvHeeBoNMH

Former St. Louis Post Dispatch editor Ellen Soeteber recently emailed alt-weekly Riverfront Times and said she wanted to talk. (She left the paper in 2005, saying at the time that owner Lee Enterprises wouldn’t provide adequate resources.) “We didn’t have to think twice about taking her up on the offer,” writes Tom Finkel.

Ellen Soeteber (Credit: Candace West)

Soeteber didn’t hold back and gave the St. Louis alt-weekly an excellent Q-and-A. Some highlights:

* “I was optimistic at first [when Lee Enterprises bought the Post-Dispatch]. Many of us were glad we hadn’t been acquired by Gannett, although in retrospect that might have been better. Gannett has tough rules, but you know what they are. Also, Lee made a lot of promises earlier on, but these quickly began to look shaky. It became clear that my ideas were not compatible with Lee’s.”

* “I don’t know what the [Lee Enterprises-owned] Post-Dispatch will become over the long term, given its ownership problems and the continuing overemphasis on short-term returns versus long-term investment. This emphasis was not new to Lee, but it has intensified.”

* “I am worried overall about the future of metro newspapers. They are like the big department stores that used to be one of any newspaper’s cash cows: Both businesses were big something-for-everyone, one-size-fits-all operations. A lot of people don’t want or need that anymore.”

* “I think that the handful of national newspapers — like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — will survive as solid journalism entities for a long time to come, in whatever formats come along. Small-town news media will, too, where no one else offers the information they can provide.”

* It’s the traditional metro newspapers such as the Post-Dispatch, the Miami Herald and so on that worry me going forward. I hope I’m wrong.”

* “[Departing Post-Dispatch editor Arnie Robbins] and I have made some folks unhappy over the years because of wrenching changes we either wanted to make or had to make.”

* Riverfront Times checks in with a former Post-Dispatch editor
* 2005: Soeteber resigns, says Lee won’t provide adequate resources (St. Louis Journalism Review)
* 2005: Soeteber talks to CJR about her “copy boy” days, leaving P-D (CJR)
* Arnie Robbins succeeds Ellen Soeteber as Post-Dispatch editor (Lee release)

“I can’t believe how slow a news days it is when they’re bringing camera crews out here,” says the owner of Chuck’s Place in tiny (population 3,192) Thiensville, Wisconsin.

Fish-fry lover "Big Bill" Wisth

Ted Hagen says his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since a local news site first reported that he banned a 350-pound customer known by Chuck’s employees as “Big Bill” for exploiting the all-you-can-eat fish fry. (Everyone from NPR to Gawker has covered the kerfuffle.)

“We’ve been nice to him over the years,” Hagen says of former customer Bill Wisth. “We’re just sick of his silly antics.” (Wisth claims he’ll be picketing the restaurant every weekend because it won’t let him eat as much fish as he wants. The restaurant says he ate at least 20 pieces of fish and was sharing the food with a friend on the night he was booted.)

“I’ve gotten 60 to 70 [media] calls from 12 states,” says Hagen. “Even TMZ called. A radio station in Toronto said they’d give me $200 if I’d let him back in and they could film him eating the fish.

“I said, I don’t think so.”

* Diner warned after protesting end of all-you-can-eat fish fry (MequonNow.com)

Christian author-blogger Nancy French reports she successfully pressured Books-A-Million into changing its Sexuality display. “I suggested to my Twitter followers to Tweet the corporate headquarters to raise awareness. You guys did just that!” A note from the book chain followed:

We are removing the top shelf presentation and ensuring that no graphic covers are front-faced within the Personal Growth section.

French — co-author of Bristol Palin’s recently published book — thanks Books-A-Million “for helping parents protect themselves – and their children – from seeing these inappropriate images.”

* Books-A-Million listens to concerned shoppers, changes display (Patheos.com)
* Author objects to racy display at Books-A-Million (JimRomenesko.com)

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is buying Media General’s newspapers for $142 million in cash. The Tampa Tribune isn’t included in the deal; Media General says it’s talking to people interested in that paper. (The newspapers being acquired by BH include 63 daily and weekly titles in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama.)

Richmond, VA-based Media General disclosed in February that it had “received inquiries from several third parties regarding the potential purchase of certain of its print assets,” and Buffett said earlier this month that “we may buy more newspapers.” (He bought his hometown paper, the Omaha World-Herald, last November. Here is that paper’s story on today’s deal.)

* Berkshire Hathaway buys Media General papers (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
* Read Media General’s press release about the deal
* What Buffett said about newspapers in 2009
* Buffett talks newspapers with Bloomberg TV
* Buffett performs at Omaha Press Club annual banquet

NPR’s sharp downturn in corporate “underwriting” (aka advertising revenue) this year has resulted in discussions about staff and program cuts, reports Paul Farhi.

NPR president Gary Knell says of his radio network’s growing deficit ($2.6 million through March): “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that. We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”

Farhi writes:

Another problem area: The strong audience growth that NPR’s news and entertainment programs experienced over the past decade appears to have flattened, a potentially worrisome development because more stations are carrying NPR’s programs.

Farhi’s sources say there’s talk at the network about dropping “Tell Me More, a show aimed at African Americans and other minorities.

WILL THIS MEAN A PAY FREEZE FOR NPR STARS?

Here are the top-paid NPR on-air people, according to the radio network’s most recent Form 990 [PDF]:

Robert Siegel — $341,992
Renee Montagne — $328,309
Steve Inskeep – $320,950
Scott Simon — $311,958
Michele Norris — $279,909

* NPR sees sharp downturn in advertising revenue (Washington Post)