* Jack Shafer explains why the audience for cable news has peaked. (Reuters)
* Co-owner of major Pentagon propaganda contractor admits he tried to discredit USA Today journalists. (USA Today)
* Charles P. Pierce on Times-Pic cuts: I know the Intertoobz are the future, but this just sucks pond water in all kinds of ways. (Esquire.com)
* Publisher: Why we killed our college daily paper for a more digital future. (PBS MediaShift)
* Horse racing writer Tom Pedulla, who was fired from USA Today on Wednesday, got the news in a phone call. (Sherman Report)
* Long Beach Beachcomber’s deal: Get a “feature story” for the price of an ad. (LAObserved.com)
* California Gov. Jerry Brown’s press secretary sends video of crying baby to author of critical editorial. (Sacramento Bee)
A Romenesko reader says the El Paso Times “made waves” with this endorsement of challenger Beto O’Rourke over longtime incumbent congressman Silvestre Reyes, and that “I got a chuckle” over editor Bob Moore’s Facebook post yesterday.
Baton Rouge Advocate publisher David Manship tells his staff that “like you, I was shocked to hear the news” about the Newhouse-owned papers cutting staff and going to a three days a week publishing schedule.
“Our long-term goal is to continue to print and deliver this award-winning newspaper seven days a week, as well as continue to improve our online presence,” he writes. “We will look for ways to increase our presence in the New Orleans area and be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that might come along.”
* Baton Rouge Advocate publisher’s email to employees (theadvocate.com)
Kudos to Sacramento Bee publisher Cheryl Dell for being honest with her staff in a memo about the paper’s new paywall: “At the risk of stating the obvious, we also haven’t developed a communication plan. (That is why you are getting this note after a news story has been reported.)”
* Bee website will charge for some stories (Sacramento Bee)
* McClatchy to begin “robust test” of pay model (JimRomenesko.com)
DATE: May 23, 2012
TO: All Employees
FROM: Cheryl Dell
RE: Sac Bee Story & Charging for Content
Earlier today, we posted a story on our website about The Bee’s move to begin charging some online readers for access to sacbee.com. Ideally, you would have heard this news internally before reading about it on the pages of our website.
That said, we are excited to be testing a model that involves paid access to news content online. Print subscribers have been paying for content for decades and I’m sure we all agree that our content has value. The challenge is finding the model that best serves our market. As you may know, there are many other papers that limit free content on their websites – The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Modesto Bee and the Stockton Record are just a few of the dozens that come to mind – and there are a variety of ways that they handle paid access.
Here at The Bee, we are just beginning to determine which of the many models makes sense for our market. We haven’t made any decisions on pricing; we haven’t made any decisions about what content will be available at which access level and at the risk of stating the obvious, we also haven’t developed a communication plan. (That is why you are getting this note after a news story has been reported.)
In fact, we have just appointed a team to focus on specifics and make recommendations and will keep you posted as we move forward with this project.
As always, thanks for all you are doing to help The Bee succeed. These certainly are exciting times.
Los Angeles Times editor Davan Maharaj, who just started tweeting regularly this month, was hacked this week. “Spam went out in direct mesages from @DavanMaharaj. It was of the “Hello some person is posting horrible things about you” variety,” reports Kevin Roderick at LAObserved.com.
TV fanatic and “Jump the Shark” creator Jon Hein hosted “What’s Worth Watching” on SiriusXM radio for nearly two years before TV Guide magazine said anything about the show’s name.
Jon Hein, host of "Fast Food Mania" and "Jon Hein's TV Show"
Then “I got a letter saying that they have a trademark on the term, What’s Worth Watching, which they’ve started to use in the magazine,” Hein told his listeners earlier this month.
Hein says the people he dealt with at TV Guide apparently were unaware that he sold his Jump the Shark site to their magazine in 2006.
“I wrote them back and asked if it would be cool” if the weekly show kept its name. “They said they would prefer not because they thought the Twitter feed and the website were confusing.”
So Hein then changed the name of his radio show to “Jon Hein’s TV Show.”
By the way, Hein is also hosting “Fast Food Mania,” which debuts June 3 on Discovery’s Destination America. The Type 1 diabetic will be eating food from Sonic, Dunkin Donuts, Dominos, Taco Bell, Nathan’s Famous and other places.
* No fast-food chain will advertise on “Fast Food Mania” (AdAge.com)
Elmore Leonard liked Detroit Free Press reporter Tammy Battaglia’s piece about a roofer saved from electrocution, so he wrote her a nice letter. “I read your story the other day about the roofer narrowly dodging death and admire the way you wrote it,” the crime novelist told the journalist. “What I admire the most is the sound of your writing, your effortless style.”
* Great moments in journalism fan mail (observer.com)
New Yorker writer and former Washington Post managing editor Steve Coll, who has been on Facebook since 2008, has decided to sign off. One reason:
Facebook is an unprecedented synthesis of corporate and public spaces. The corporation’s social contract with users is ambitious, yet neither its governance system nor its young ruler seem trustworthy.
He also points out:
[Mark] Zuckerberg’s business model requires the trust and loyalty of his users so that he can make money from their participation, yet he must simultaneously stretch that trust by driving the site to maximize profits, including by selling users’ personal information.
People who quit Facebook have to give a “reason for leaving” before getting the social media site’s official OK to cut ties. “Unfortunately, ‘inadequate citizen rule’ or ‘doubts about corporate governance’ are not among the choices,” writes Coll. “From the available list, I went with ‘I don’t feel safe on Facebook.'”
You’ll notice at the end of the story that it has over 2,000 Likes on Facebook.
* Leaving Facebookistan (New Yorker)
Like the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Newhouse’s Alabama newspapers will only be printed on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays starting this fall. “The change in organizational structures across all departments will lead to a reduction in the overall size of the workforce. Details are still being worked out.”
Cindy Martin, president of the new digitally focused company, says: “There are always painful choices when you begin a process that will lead to people losing their jobs. But at the same time, we must position ourselves to be sustainable businesses going forward. The new companies we launch in the fall, we believe, not only achieve that, but will serve our growing audiences and advertisers better than ever before.”
Newhouse’s Alabama Media Group includes the Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mobile, and the Huntsville Times.
Birmingham News business reporter Marty Swant is live-tweeting the newsroom meeting.
* Newhouse’s Alabama papers to publish three days a week, cut staff (Al.com)
* Earlier: New Orleans Times-Picayune to cut staff, publish three days a week