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Daily Archives: August 5, 2013

express

* Earlier: WaPo’s Express puts out a great Snowden/panda cover (jimromenesko.com)

Also:
* WaPo deal makes it more likely NYT will sell to Bloomberg (nationalmemo.com)
* Media observers claim WaPo sale further devalues newspapers (thewrap.com)
* “The Grahams flat-out loved that paper,” says ex-WaPo staffer Rem Rieder What was Bezos thinking? asks Politico’s John Harris (politico.com)


Here’s what Washington Post Guild unit co-chair Freddy Kunkle wrote on the union’s closed Facebook page:

Friends,

Many of you are wondering what the sale of the Post will mean for the union. Although there are still many questions that will need to be cleared up, it appears that the sale will not affect the Post’s relationship with the Guild.

- Photo from a Post union rally on July 25

– Photo from a Post union rally on July 25

Filings with the SEC say the new owner – Nash Holdings, LLC, which is presumably Jeff Bezo’s Delaware partnership — has agreed to honor all existing collective bargaining agreements and pension liabilities. The new owner also agreed to maintain all base salaries for at least one year.

Katharine Weymouth, in her FAQ’s, also says that she and the new owner “look forward to working with” the Post’s unions.

Put that all together with assurances from Don Graham and Katharine that there will be no immediate change in management, staff or operations, and it appears as if there is likely to be no change in the Post’s relationship with the Guild.

The only wild card here is that our two-year contract expired on July 26, and the Post, as allowed by the contract, has given notice that the contract’s provisions will be terminated on Aug. 9. So there is no collective bargaining agreement for the new owners to honor. Yet many of the terms also remain in effect as we continue negotiating toward a new two-year contract.

So right now, we intend to stay the course by working toward a new labor agreement and hope, based on all of the above, that the new owners are just as eager to reach a new and fair contract with us.

Best,
Freddy

* July 25: Washington Post union members rally for a new contract (newsguild.org)

-- Graphic from Gawker

— Graphic from Gawker’s Jim Cooke

* Jeff Bezos is buying the Washington Post (gawker.com)
* How Washington Post staffers reacted to the news (nymag.com)
* James Fallows: “This is a moment that genuinely surprised me” (theatlantic.com)
* Bezos fits the profile of the classic newspaper owner (theguardian.com)
* Jack Shafer: How could I have missed Bezos as a potential WaPo buyer? (reuters.com)
* Coverage of the sale from the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal


UPDATE: Donald Graham explains how the deal came together. (washingtonpost.com)

bezosThe Washington Post has been sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million in cash.

The newspaper purchase will not include money from Amazon.

From the Post’s story:

The deal represents a sudden and stunning turn of events for The Post, Washington’s leading newspaper for decades and a powerful force in shaping the nation’s politics and policy. Few people were aware that a sale was in the works for the paper, whose reporters have broken such stories as the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate scandals and disclosures about the National Security Administration’s surveillance program in May.

Bezos, who called the Post “an important institution,” tells Post media reporter Paul Farhi: “I don’t want to imply that I have a worked-out plan. This will be uncharted terrain and it will require experimentation. …But the key thing I hope people will take away from this is that the values of The Post do not need changing. The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.”

Bezos says he’ll have existing Post management handle the paper’s daily operations. “I have a fantastic day job that I love,” he says of his Amazon duties.

* Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos (washingtonpost.com).
* The best tweet and graphic about the deal (jimromenesko.com)

Here’s what Post Co. chairman Donald Graham told his employees:

I have a most surprising announcement. Our company is making it public right now that we have sold The Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. To be clear, the buyer is not Amazon, but a company owned by Jeff personally. The price is $250 million and what we are selling includes the weekly papers called for shorthand The Gazettes and Robinson Terminal…

This leaves me with two questions: why are we selling and why to Jeff? The first question is much the harder.

All the Grahams in this room have been proud to know since we were very little that we were part of the family that owned The Washington Post. We have loved the paper, what it stood for, and those who produced it.

But the point of our ownership has always been that it was supposed to be good for the Post. As the newspaper business continued to bring up questions to which we have no answers, Katharine and I began to ask ourselves if our small public company was still the best home for the newspaper. Our revenues had declined seven years in a row. We had innovated and to my critical eye our innovations had been quite successful in audience and in quality, but they hadn’t made up for the revenue decline. Our answer had to be cost cuts and we knew there was a limit to that. We were certain the paper would survive under our ownership, but we wanted it to do more than that. We wanted it to succeed.

JEFF BEZOS’S LETTER TO POST EMPLOYEES IS AFTER THE JUMP.
Read More

The Press of Atlantic City was recently sold by ABARTA to Warren Buffett’s newspaper division.press A Press memo says ABARTA bigwigs are stopping by the paper today to thank employees for their work. One staffer tells Romenesko readers: “Some of us think the tone at the end [of the memo] is a little lordly, considering we haven’t had a raise in five years, a couple dozen were laid off when printing was outsourced to a competitor, and about 1/8th of the staff was cut earlier this year.”

The memo (with my boldfaced text) from the paper’s interim publisher:

Sent: Monday, August 05, 2013 10:47 AM
To: All-Press-Media-Group-Distribution-List
Subject: Abarta visitors today

Folks:

Abarta CEO John Bitzer; Charlie Bitzer, John’s brother and Abarta COO; and Jim Taylor, Abarta board chairman, will be here this afternoon to say goodbye and thanks to you. They do not want to hold a big meeting, but rather have chosen to walk around and talk to you individually.

John and Jim both worked here, and Charlie has been a frequent visitor in recent years, so many of you will recognize them.

I hope you realize how fortunate you have been that this company has been owned by such generous and decent people as the Bitzers and Taylors. Believe me, it could have been otherwise! Today will be your last opportunity to express your appreciation for their 60+ years of support and leadership of The Press.

James W. Hopson
Publisher
The Press of Atlantic City
PO Box 3100
Pleasantville, NJ 08232

* The Press of Atlantic City to be purchased by Warren Buffett (pressofatlanticcity.com)

After working as a photographer and writer for “a great metropolitan daily, I was inspired to create this photo series, ‘If iPhoneographers Replaced Photojournalists in History,’” writes Dave Nuttycombe. “Thought you’d get a chuckle.”

harrys

* If iPhoneographers replaced photojournalists in history (nuttycombe.tumblr.com)
* The story behind the classic “Dewey Defeats Truman” photo (time.com)

oregon
Journalists at the Eugene Register-Guard and other Oregon media will finally get a tour today of the University of Oregon’s new Football Performance Center, which already has been featured in Sports Illustrated and the New York Times.

“We were concerned that if we gave local media (first access), that national media wouldn’t want to come (later),” says the university’s strategic communications czar.

The Register-Guard’s Mark Baker writes:

To carry out its plan, the UO contacted Sports Illustrated and told the prestigious national magazine it could have exclusive first media access to the latest extravagant, multimillion-dollar gift from Knight as long as Sports Illustrated would promise to publish a multi­page spread on it, Weiler said.

When Sports Illustrated hit newsstands and homes on Thursday, the “Leading Off” section in the front of the magazine contained six pages of photographs of the UO facility by Sports Illustrated photographer John McDonough. “Leading Off” normally contains three two-page photos on three different subjects.

* Local media shut out of first tours as part of University of Oregon strategy (registerguard.com)

* Cleveland Plain Dealer’s first day without daily home delivery has a shaky start. (clevelandleader.com) | “We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with The Plain Dealer’s e-edition. We are working to resolve these issues.” (clevelanddotcom)
* Three groups say their bids for the Boston Globe were higher than John Henry’s accepted all-cash offer. (bostonglobe.com) | (bostonherald.com)

via @AntDeRosa

via @AntDeRosa

* A Romenesko reader writes: “For all the navel gazing media we are doing about the ethical challenges of Henry buying the newspaper that covers him, everyone, and I mean, everyone, has missed the most relevant example. Newsday editor John Mancini was fired a few years ago by Cablevision (owners of the NY Knicks) for negative Knicks coverage. This is not a theory, it is fact. I know. I was there. No, I am not Mancini, but I worked there, knew the principals and had access. Tell that story. Anyone who thinks Henry will be ok with critical coverage of his interests is dreaming.” | The Globe’s Red Sox writers are saying all the right things. (cjr.org)
* Tina Brown and Howard Kurtz go at it on Twitter. (thewrap.com)
* Many raised eyebrows over Brown’s claim that she discovered “Breaking Bad.” (twitter.com)
* A 20-year Bloomberg veteran is fired for a headline mistake that was online just briefly. (nypost.com)
* About Newsweek’s new owner: “Few sites are noting that IBT has significant ties to David Jang, the Korean pastor hailed by some of his followers as a messianic figure, a ‘Second Coming Christ.'” (christianitytoday.com)
* Twitter CEO: “You have to abide by the rule of law in the countries in which you operate.” Defending free expression “gets more challenging for us as a company.” (online.wsj.com)
* Pew says 72% of online adults use social networking sites. (pewinternet.org)
* A federal judge tosses a forensic art expert’s libel suit against the New Yorker. (nytimes.com)
* St. Augustine Record editor takes a new position at the paper so he can spend more time with his wife, who has ALS. (staugustine.com)
meh* Politico’s Ben White “freaks out” over Hilary Sargent’s comment about his new Twitter profile photo (left). (storify.com) | He’s apologized and “it’s all good now.” (@lilsarg)
* Ezra Klein: Frank Bruni owes Olivia Nuzzi an apology for his Sunday New York Times column. (@ezraklein)
* A KGO-TV news crew in Oakland is robbed of camera equipment at gunpoint while accompanied by security. (sfgate.com)
* Longtime USA Today music critic Steve Jones is dead at 57. (usatoday.com)
* A New York Times survey asks me: “Let’s say a brain training package was offered by The New York Times that included games designed to improve your attention, memory and problem solving skills. Through a personalized program that tracks your progress, you could exercise your brain and have fun. It would include six games initially, with more games added over time. The brain training package would be available on the web and mobile devices. How interested would you be in trying out this package?” Not very; sorry.
* Tom Hanks cites three reasons to own a vintage manual typewriter. (nytimes.com)
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