Monthly Archives: October 2013

In January of 2012, the Sun-Times announced it would no longer endorse political candidates. “We have come to doubt the value of candidate endorsements by this newspaper or any newspaper,” the paper said, “especially in a day when a multitude of information sources allow even a casual voter to be better informed than ever before.”
The paper is now rethinking it’s no-endorsements stance.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports the Sun-Times “will start endorsing candidate again” and that “the company will formally announce its decision in a few weeks.”

My source in the Sun-Times building says Crain’s jumped the gun. “It’s not a done deal,” I’m told, “but yes, we are considering it.”

* Sun-Times to endorse candidates again (
* January 2012: Why we will no longer endorse in elections (
* January 2012: Chicago Tribune will still endorse candidates (

KXL-FM’s billboard in Portland’s Chinatown

AAJA: “We’d like the station to issue a formal apology to the public it’s supposed to serve.”
KXL radio: “The station has publicly apologized now many times.”

* Asian American Journalists Association calls for radio station to apologize (
* Chinatown billboard will be changed after complaints (

“Here’s something funny from the New York Times,” writes Romenesko reader David Maass. “The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian C. York changed her twitter handler for Halloween to Chillian J. Yikes. And the NYT quoted it as such.” (Maass is EFF’s media relations coordinator.)


* What would Mr. Roper say? ( | (@jilliancyork)




* An examination of climate denial letters in top U.S. papers (

The financial journalist who alerted me to this tweet writes: “Could you imagine them hiring the US Treasury spokesman to cover the US Treasury? Very odd, if you ask me.”

USA Today publisher Larry Kramer sent this memo to his employees after getting the latest circulation numbers from the Alliance for Audited Media:

From: USA TODAY Publisher
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:53 AM
Subject: Digital usage numbers spur overall circulation growth for USA TODAY

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to share some exciting news. LOGO According to the latest Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) report released today – USA TODAY returns to the number one spot in total daily circulation in the United States.

Our circulation number now exceeds that of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Total USA TODAY daily circulation grew to 2,862,229 for the period ending September 30, 2013. This increase is led by the first time inclusion of USA TODAY tablet and mobile phone app usage figures, as well as increased use of The Point.

The upward trajectory of USA TODAY’s digital growth matches the shift in habits of consumers wanting their news on-the-go. It’s important to note that the September 30th AAM report does not include circulation increases from our pilot partnership with U.S. Community Publishing. The next report will include the significant circulation increase from the local editions of USA TODAY in partnership with The Indianapolis Star, The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, NY, Post-Crescent in Appleton, WI and The News-Press in Fort Myers, FL. Over the past year, we’ve made tremendous efforts to grow our audience through an increased digital presence and through partnerships with our local media partners. And the good news is that our strategy is working – we are growing audience and market share.

We’ve talked often about managing our transition and this is an excellent example of the progress we’ve made as a brand. As news consumption habits continue to change, we remain focused on giving our on-the-go audience the compelling content they desire. Whether they choose to connect with us via print, desktop or mobile, our rising audience numbers prove that we’re engaging more consumers every day. These numbers are a direct result of your hard work. Please take a moment to celebrate your success. We are making great strides in managing our transition and I could not be prouder of our efforts.


New Mexico weekly’s fine-print prediction from October 24
M.E. Sprengelmeyer emailed the above image and this note at 10:29 p.m. Wednesday: “The Red Sox win in six games? That’s old news in our paper. We reported it in the fine print under the lottery results in the Oct. 24, 2013, edition of The Guadalupe County Communicator, Santa Rosa, N.M. (In case you’re wondering, the rest of the line says: ‘But we’re not happy about that.’)”
* Earlier: Sprengelmeyer saves a weekly in New Mexico by expanding (

* Norm Pearlstine resigns as Bloomberg chief content officer and returns to Time Inc. (
* A new report says USA Today is the most widely circulated weekday paper in the U.S. (
* New York Times Co. reports a quarterly loss after the sale of its New England Media Group. (
* Ken Doctor has eight reasons to feel optimistic about the future of newspapers. (
* College papers are starting to focus on digital. (
* San Francisco Chronicle says it will avoid using “Redskins.” (
* Glenn Greenwald: Our new site will be up and running reasonably soon. (
* Former Village Voice editor-in-chief Tony Ortega is named Raw Story executive editor. (
* At Time Warner, all parents of new children have the option of 10 paid weeks off – except biological fathers. Josh Levs is challenging that. (
* Philadelphia Inquirer’s associate publisher resigns. “The current governance and ownership structure … has made it impossible for me to complete my duties with traditional autonomy and independence,” he says. (
* Ohio woman is charged after running over a TV reporter working on an investigative story about stolen packages. (
* D.C. TV reporter is attacked by a woman while covering a home invasion. (
* Editor & Publisher announces the winners of its 2013 EPPY Awards. (
* Time Inc. magazines’ content is coming to Flipboard. (
* Andy Carvin: NPR has accepted my buyout request. (
* Literary critics “have been surprisingly reluctant to embrace the tweet.” (
* LivingSocial apologizes for decorating a Halloween “greed” room with dreidels, reports the Washington Post, whose owner has invested in LivingSocial. (

Chicago Tribune publisher Tony Hunter told his employees Wednesday that the paper had an “outstanding” third quarter and that “we are positioned to exceed our financial plan for 2013,”trib but … the company is now working on plans for 2014, and they “will include cost reductions to offset revenue declines and investments in growth opportunities.”

In late September, it was reported that Tribune CEO Peter Liguori ordered his newspaper publishers to come up with $100 million in budget cuts.

* Chicago Tribune braces for cost cuts ( | (

Hunter’s memo is after the jump. Read More


* UK’s Metro issues Lou Reed correction for claiming he worked with Lulu (
* Lulu is a collaborative album between Lou Reed and Metallica (
* Great voices of the ’60s: Lulu and Dusty Springfield (

h/t @stewartwood

Consumer Reports is struggling to change as it faces new competition. Can it reverse this downward trend?

A memo to Consumer Reports top managers in February of 2012 was blunt: “CR is not growing revenues or subscribers, and we are losing money. We must right the ship.”

The ship began veering off course in 2011 after many blockbuster years.

Consumer Reports and Consumers Union, the policy and action division of the magazine, showed a hefty profit of $21,414,103 for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2008. The next two years were profitable, too — $6.9 million and $912,031 — but the declines caused concern.

The bad news came in June of 2011, when Consumer Reports reported a fiscal year loss of $3,502,757. A new chief operating officer, Laurence Bunin, was brought on board five months later to try to fix things.

“He was there to shake things up,” says an employee who, like most people interviewed for this story, requested anonymity.

Jim Guest, chief executive since 2001, “realized he had real problems with the business, and for the first time, he turned the reins over to someone in a way I’d never seen him do before,” says a longtime employee. “With Bunin, he really handed over the keys to the kingdom and said, ‘Go for it!'”

“We need to get used to living with change,” Bunin wrote in a memo shortly after taking the CR job. “Change is never easy – and we don’t expect this to be easy.”

The memo, titled “Next Steps,” outlined the nonprofit company’s goals, including: “Build a more compelling and differentiated brand,” “right-size and realign staff levels across the organization,” and “return to healthy operating finances, meaning positive, growing margins.”

He warned that there would be layoffs at a place that rarely let people go.

“We are currently losing money,” Bunin wrote his senior managers. “This is not acceptable going forward and we are going to have to reduce expenses. The lion’s share of our expenses are staff.”

Consumer Reports doesn’t sell advertising and relies on print and web subscriptions ($29 and $30, respectively) and fundraising to pay the bills at its offices in Yonkers, New York. “CR magazine subscriptions [revenues] were $98 million in 2008,” Bunin’s memo reported, “and will be about $10 million less than that in 2012. In the same period, CR newsstand revenue has declined from $7.9 million to $4.5 million.”

Why the decline? “There are many more new competitors who are doing interesting things,” the memo said./CONTINUES Read More