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Daily Archives: August 13, 2013

* Sources say the paywall’s demise was announced to staff on Monday (sfappeal.com) | (sfweekly.com)

UPDATE:

Statement from Jeffrey Johnson, Publisher, and Joanne Bradford, President, San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate.com

We are now publishing content from the San Francisco Chronicle on SFChronicle.com and SFGate. Our goal is to offer readers as many choices as possible to access our content when and how they want it. SFGate will continue to provide readers with a broad spectrum of content as well as all Chronicle reports and columns.

The SFChronicle.com site will continue to provide readers with an online version that replicates a newspaper experience and reflects the changes in the news throughout the day. We will continue to increase the unique assets that distinguish SFChronicle.com including design features, utility and unique offerings to subscribers that differentiates it from our other content platforms.

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong, whose firing of Patch creative director Abel Lenz during a conference call has been heard by nearly 1 million people, sent this to his employees Tuesday afternoon:

AOLers –

I am writing you to acknowledge the mistake I made last Friday during the Patch all-hands meeting when I publicly fired Abel Lenz. It was an emotional response at the start of a difficult discussion dealing with many people’s careers and livelihoods. I am the CEO and leader of the organization, and I take that responsibility seriously. We talk a lot about accountability and I am accountable for the way I handled the situation, and at a human level it was unfair to Abel. I’ve communicated to him directly and apologized for the way the matter was handled at the meeting.
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My action was driven by the desire to openly communicate with over a thousand Patch employees across the US. The meeting on Friday was the second all-hands we had run that week and people came to Friday’s meeting knowing we would be openly discussing some of the potential changes needed at Patch. As you know, I am a firm believer in open meetings, open Q&A, and this level of transparency requires trust across AOL. Internal meetings of a confidential nature should not be filmed or recorded so that our employees can feel free to discuss all topics openly. Abel had been told previously not to record a confidential meeting, and he repeated that behavior on Friday, which drove my actions.

We have been through many difficult situations in turning around AOL and I have done my best to make the best decisions in the long-term interest of the employees and the company. On Friday I acted too quickly and I learned a tremendous lesson and I wanted you to hear that directly from me.

We have tough decisions and work to do on Patch, but we’re doing them thoughtfully and as openly as we can. At AOL, we had strong earnings last week and we’re adding one of the best companies in the world to the team. AOL is in a great position, and we’ll keep moving forward. – TA


Former Boston Phoenix executive editor Peter Kadzis says of the gray day that the 47-year-old weekly paper closed: “At the moment — and still in retrospect — it had a dream-like quality. There was that pull between the unconscious (can this really be happening?) and the conscious (yes, it is!). phoenixhed

Peter Kadzis

Peter Kadzis

“There were a few tears. A lot of sniffles. A general feeling of numbness.”

He recalls writer Chris Faraone lighting a strong joint — “that provided a flash of levity” — and then about a dozen staffers heading to the An Tua Nua bar for drinks.

The rest of the day “was pretty depressing,” says Faraone. “I think I was there [at the bar] last, and that was probably like 7 or 8 at night. The great detail, of course, is that An Tua Nua just closed too. Like a fucking plague over there.”

The Phoenix folded on March 14, five months ago tomorrow. Here’s what some of the alt-weekly’s staffers are doing now and their thoughts on the paper’s demise.

Carly Carioli, who was editor-in-chief, writes:

My two biggest concerns in the aftermath of the Phoenix closing were 1) to give the editorial staff a way of communicating directly with each other outside of the paper; and 2) to do everything possible to help people get new gigs. As a group, we quickly put together a google doc where we all shared job openings, contacts, headhunters, and agencies. It was a real collective networking effort, and I think there were at least a few jobs that came directly out of that.

Carly Carioli (credit: Boston Globe)

Carly Carioli

That Google doc was titled “FUck you we used to be the Phoenix.” (Yes, it’s FU, not Fu.)

“It was also immensely helpful to have a network of Phoenix alumni to turn to,” says Carioli. “There were dozens of friends and strangers who reached out or responded to cold-calls on behalf of our staffers. Some were in a position to offer freelance assignments, others were able to give tips on unlisted job. There was a long-ago former art director who ended up hiring two of our best people.”

He adds: “I was one of the very lucky ones — I was talking to potential employers within 24 hours of the announcement that we were closing. And ultimately I started at [the Globe’s] Boston.com the day after I left the Phoenix.”

In late July he resigned and joined Boston magazine as executive editor./CONTINUES Read More

- Spotted at University of Oregon's football facility.

– Spotted at University of Oregon’s football facility.

The New York Times reported earlier this month: “Nike and its relationship with [the University of] Oregon are obvious early and throughout. One small logo outside the Ducks’ locker room featured the university’s mascot, wearing a top hat adorned with a dollar sign. Oregon football is often viewed through that lens by outsiders, who derisively have christened Oregon as Nike University.”

The Times, however, didn’t show that mascot with its dollar-sign top hat.

A reader writes: “Statesman Journal’s Danielle Peterson toured Oregon’s Football Performance Center and snapped a pic of the dollar-sign/Duck logo mentioned in [the Times] article.” Peterson tweeted: “This one was in a different part of the building though.”

“Over the last 5 sales days, we have amassed our worst results of the year,” Patch director of U.S. sales Jim Lipuma tells his ad-sales force in a memo he put out today. “We need to come together, right now, and behave as we always have…like winners.”
SMALLPATCH
In a memo sent on Friday, right after AOL chief exec Tim Armstrong’s conference call, Lipuma told his sales team: “We had $36K day yesterday, when we need to be having $100K+ days. I understand why yesterday happened, but we cannot settle for days like this going forward. We’re in the game and swinging. This is not the time for bunt singles.”

The graphics shown below were included in the sales chief’s memos.

Lipuma’s Tuesday memo:

Team,

I realize that the news, last week, came as a surprise and caused each of you a high immediate level of anxiety. I am absolutely empathetic to that fact. When news like this happens, it can certainly set you back on your heels…I get that. With that said, the only thing that really has changed, is your mindset and that is purely controllable by you./CONTINUES Read More

carr

“Our Howie Carr has redefined the TV look,” says Boston Herald Radio. | Read the reactions to Carr’s casual garb. | Read today’s Carr column in the Herald.

* Carr reacts to the guilty verdict in the Whitey Bulger case (myfoxboston.com)


ag* Chicago Sun-Times parent creates a Journatic-like newsgathering operation called Aggrego. Crain’s reports: “Aggrego’s workers, some recruited from Journatic, are beginning to report on suburban events and news despite the fact that Sun-Times reporters already are covering some of those areas.” The Guild’s reaction: “We believe, based on the facts we have, it violates the law. They can’t subcontract out. That’s our work — that’s our jurisdiction.” (chicagobusiness.com)
* The AMA’s American Medical News is folding after losing money in each of the past 10 years. (chicagotribune.com)
* Glenn Greeenwald decides against doing a TV interview with Edward Snowden. One reason: “It would be used just as crass entertainment.” (washingtonpost.com)
* Harvard Business Review reports its highest circulation in its 91-year history. (boston.com)
* New York Times Co. boss Arthur Sulzberger Jr. sells 50,000 shares of the company’s stock. (nytimes.com)
* Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reviews some issues that came in while she was on vacation. (nytimes.com)
* Fired Patch creative director Abel Lenz – axed during a conference call – could have solid grounds for a lawsuit against AOL. (nypost.com) | Nearly 900,000 people have listened to that call since I posted it on Saturday. | Meanwhile, I’m told that the next Patch conference call is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.
* Time’s Battleland blog folds. The time spent producing the national security blog “doesn’t make the sense it did when we launched Battleland early in 2011.” (time.com)
* James Fallows kicks off his American Futures series with a visit to Holland, Mich. (hollandsentinel.com)
* Editors at University of Georgia’s Red & Black will get a bigger voice in corporate decisions. (onlineathens.com)
* Toronto Star puts up a $9.99/month paywall. (thestar.com)