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Daily Archives: August 8, 2012

* Mark Bittman: A note to my readers (nytimes.com)
* Earlier: Dubner’s surprised that Bittman would write this (freakonomics.com)

Here’s what CEO Bob Hall sent to Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News employees today:

To All employees:

This is my periodic update to keep you informed about your company and our future. As you heard me say many times, these are challenging days for the media industry, our newspapers and Philly.com. I am still optimistic about our future, but fully recognize that we will need to make substantial changes in the way we do business to succeed in a very competitive and economically challenging marketplace.

We have completed the relocation of our offices to 801 Market Street. The facilities have turned out great. We have a wonderful environment to produce outstanding products and become a more efficiently operated company. We were fortunate to be able to sell the Tower building, move to new facilities, and reduce operating costs substantially. Many people in various departments did an outstanding job in preparing and executing the move with only minimal issues. Some of your colleagues worked tirelessly around the clock in order to make the move seamless for all of us. Unfortunately, as you know, we did lose some of our employees in Security and Building Services because our landlord provides these services for all tenants. We tried to make the best of these reductions in force and offered buyouts and severance far in excess of our contractual obligations, thereby assisting these employees with their transition.

As our financial results are extremely important to all of us, let me give you an update. First, I received a number of questions about the results for 2011 that I had previously reported. The audited net loss for our company in 2011 was in excess of $17,000,000, largely due to the continuing decline in revenue. These revenue losses have continued this year for the industry (as widely reported by the media) and our company has experienced the same trend. For the first six months of 2012, our revenue is down by $16,000,000 from the same period last year. This has created a net loss, even after substantial expense savings. Throughout the industry, many newspapers have started to discontinue print editions during the week. This unfortunate trend has already impacted newspapers in New Orleans, Alabama, Detroit, Oregon and within the Gannett and Newhouse newspaper groups. We must work together to reverse this trend, making necessary and very difficult changes to insure that our newspapers and company survive./CONTINUES Read More

* Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News owners “>are seeking $8 million in cost cuts from the papers’ Guild unit through wage cuts of up to 13% and buyouts. The union leaders’ response:

We understand that revenue is down, but also question why a group of successful local businessmen did not anticipate this possibility when they bought the company in April and pledged to invest “patient capital” and revitalize the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com.

[CEO Bob] Hall said management and all the unions need to work together as partners to achieve these savings and ensure ongoing survival of the papers, the company and our jobs. What Mr. Hall knows, and what you know, is that unlike the other unions whose contracts expire Oct. 8, 2012, the Newspaper Guild contract is in force through Oct. 8, 2013.

We are in no hurry to bargain a concessionary agreement and cause more pain on our members and their families. We are not interested in being used as the company’s bargaining chip with the other union workers who help produce and deliver our newspapers.

The papers’ new owners took over in April.

UPDATE: Read CEO Bob Hall’s letter to Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News employees.

A total of $28 million in cuts proposed at Philly papers (phillymag.com)

* Critic: What exactly is Aaron Sorkin mad about, and is his anger justified? (cagle.com)
* More on the NAHJ tweeting flap at last week’s UNITY conference. (cjr.org)

Matthew Boyle

* How the Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle can improve his TV appearances. (Fishbowl DC)
* Judy Woodruff is named recipient of the 2012 Gaylord Prize for Excellence in Journalism and Mass Communication. (TulsaWorld.com)
* A preview of New York magazine’s new women’s interest website. (capitalnewyork.com)
* Will the iPad Mini save the newspaper industry? (Wasn’t the iPad “classic” supposed to do that?) (ipad.blorge.com)

UPDATE: The photo that appears on the cover of the current Newsweek was first commissioned by and shot for Harper’s Bazaar in 2006, reports eater.com’s Raphael Brion. (It ran in the June issue that year.) “Newsweek slightly changed the model’s lip and nail colors, presumably to closer match the title logo,” notes Brion.

* Here’s where Newsweek got the food porn cover photo (eater.com)
* Earlier: OK, Barry Diller, you can now kill Newsweek’s print edition (jimromenesko.com)

Willamette Week: “The Oregonian as a daily newspaper is facing a final deadline. …Soon, the newspaper may no longer be publishing every day of the week.”

Oregonian publisher, N. Christian Anderson III: “I have not told people that we’re changing our publishing schedule. Nor have I hinted at that. Any characterization to the contrary is simply incorrect.”

* The Oregonian may not be a daily newspaper much longer (Willamette Week)

Credit: Hannah Stonehouse Hudson

Wisconsin photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s Molly Guthrey:

I am not a posed photo person. My photos are always in the moment, translating what I see in my heart and mind and showing it to others. I never thought that this many people would see the same thing.

In this photo, people have said they see everything from pure love to hope for the world. They see peace, kindness, the relationship between man and dog. Two women, both whose husbands died from cancer, said they never thought they’d see love again, but this photo showed them love. People are leaving me messages, crying and opening up about dogs they’ve lost, spouses they’ve lost. Women are also asking me if John is single!

I know this is not about me — it’s about a guy who loves his dog — but I am in complete awe that my photo has had such an impact.

* One man, one dog, one Facebook photo that has touched thousands of hearts (twincities.com)
* “The story behind the photo is touching” (duluthnewstribune.com)
* Read comments about the photo on Stonehouse Photography’s Facebook page

Joseph “The Shark” Lopez, one of Drew Peterson’s lawyers, is blogging about the former cop’s murder trial for the Sun-Times.

Drew Peterson

“He approached us,” Sun-Times editor-in-chief Jim Kirk tells the Chicago Reader’s Michael Miner. “Don’t know what kind of permission he received from Peterson, but I’m assuming he got it. We debated internally whether there were reasons not to run a blog from him, and at the end of the day we couldn’t come up with one. Obviously we read it carefully and would reconsider if we thought he were about to cross any lines.”

Chicago press critic Steve Rhodes is appalled:

Is there any concern by the Sun-Times that they are being used by a defense lawyer who would love to influence the jury?

Does the Sun-Times believe they are contributing in any way to the pursuit of justice – or were their internal discussion focused more on page views?

It’s just horrid.

Rhodes has more questions: “Does the Sun-Times get to edit Lopez’s posts? Or his slant considered more valuable to readers than a proper vetting? Does it question Lopez’s characterizations the way an editor would with a reporter? Does the Sun-Times ever ask Lopez what he’s holding back?”

* Is this trial a joke? (Chicago Reader)
* Rhodes blasts Sun-Times for “Shark” blog (beachwoodreporter.com)
* Read Lopez’s “Swimming with the Shark” blog (suntimes.com)
* Earlier: “Shark” joins Peterson defense team amid shakeup (CNN)

I reported back in January that the owner of newspapers.com had put the domain name up for sale and was hoping to get as much as $1 million for it.

How did that turn out?

John Cribb, managing Director of Cribb, Greene & Associates, which tried to sell the name for newspapers.com owner Francis Diederich, tells Romenesko readers:

We received one six figure offer but it was not particularly close to what our client had in mind. He has elected to keep and develop newspapers.com.

The Madison, Wisconsin man’s site looks pretty much the way it did when the it went up for bid eight months ago, a bare-bones newspapers search directory. Diederich, who has owned newspapers.com since the mid-1990s, “turned down big money for it in the old days,” Cribb told me in January.

* Earlier: Anyone want to buy newspapers.com domain name? (JimRomenesko.com)

Peter Kafka reports Answers.com has signed a letter of intent to buy About.com from the New York Times for $270 million. “The paper has been looking to get rid of the struggling Web site, which produces high-volume, low-cost content,” he writes. “The deal hasn’t closed yet, and I’m told that Answers’ backers — PE firms Summit Partners and TA Associates — are trying to line up financing.”

The Times bought About.com from Primedia for $410 million in 2005.

* New York Times set to sell About.com for $270 million to Answers.com (All Things D)