Terry Kroeger, CEO of Warren Buffett’s BH Media Group, sent employees his annual beginning-of-the-year letter on Thursday. He told them that “we again outpaced our industry with not only solid earnings performance, but with another year of great journalism and community leadership.” He did not give profit figures. BH Media owns 71 newspapers, including the Buffalo News, Omaha World-Herald and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
More from his letter (with my intro heds, not Kroeger’s):
Hide your vacationing neighbor’s paper
Contribute news tips
Use a ladder, not a padded chair
Help us manage our costs
Don’t go out of bounds
– Andrew Ross Sorkin talking to Tony Robbins
New York Times “Your Money” columnist Ron Lieber wrote a good piece on Saturday about the “slippery tips on annuities” in Tony Robbins’ new book. Lieber notes that “the word that people in technology circles use for coming-soon offerings like Mr. Robbins’s best-of-everything annuity is ‘vaporware.'”
On Wednesday afternoon, the Times posted a video interview with Robbins. Unfortunately, Andrew Ross Sorkin – not Lieber – “quizzed” the best-selling life coach/motivational speaker; there wasn’t a single question about Robbins’ “slippery tips,” or anything else in Lieber’s tough column. Update: Sorkin says his interview with Robbins was taped in mid-November. Lieber tells me he hasn’t watched it yet, and that “I have nothing but admiration for what Andrew has brought to the New York Times.”
* Slippery tips on annuities from Tony Robbins (nytimes.com)
* Tony Robbins reveals his secret to Andrew Ross Sorkin (nytimes.com)
* How Sorkin blew his “boot-licking interview” with Robbins (gawker.com)
Gawker Media chief operating officer Scott Kidder sent this memo to his employees shortly after noon today:
I want to send a note to let you know that the NYPD has advised us that they’re increasing patrols of media companies in light of some of the activity in Europe — and so you may see an increased police presence outside 210 Elizabeth Street.
There is no specific (or general) threat against Gawker. And for the record, if we received any specific threat, we’d share that with you.
We continue to evaluate our security, both in the current and new office. If you have any specific concerns, please feel free to speak to your department head, Heather, and / or myself.
* Where your favorite Gawker writers sit these days (theawl.com)
A Romenesko reader writes: “So far, none of GateHouse Media’s newly acquired Halifax employees have received paychecks. I suspect it’s just a tech glitch and ultimately not going to be a crisis, but it sure starts our new employment with a bang! Here’s the email we got from corporate this morning.”
As many of you are now aware, there has been a problem with the bank transfer of your first GateHouse payroll cycle.
We are working diligently with the bank to release the funds that are literally sitting there waiting to be distributed to you.
Rumors may abound, but please understand that every step of the process – including a confirmation from the bank that funds were ready to be released this morning – had been checked prior to this first payroll distribution. The preparation for this cycle was verified and re-verified by the folks involved on the GateHouse and Halifax side. We are still awaiting an answer from the bank as to why there has been a delay.
Regardless of the reasons, there are no excuses. Please accept my apology for this delay and any problems it may have caused.
I promise to keep you posted on the developments as we learn about the problem and our solution.
Senior Vice-President – Publishing / Group Publisher
Local Media Group Inc.
* November 2014: GateHouse parent pays $280M for Halifax’s 36 newspapers (jimromenesko.com)
A second memo about the late direct-deposits is posted after the jump. Read More
Activist investor Carl Icahn is seeking two seats on Gannett’s board and wants to prevent the company – he owns about 6.6% of it – from installing defenses against potential takeover bids. Gannett CEO Gracia Martore sent this letter to employees after the news came out Thursday morning:
From: A message from Gracia Martore
Date: January 22, 2015 at 8:54:17 AM EST
To: Gannett Communications
Subject: Gannett Responds to Icahn Actions
Today, investor Carl Icahn, who with affiliates owns approximately 6.6% of Gannett shares, disclosed that he has nominated two candidates for election to Gannett’s Board of Directors at our 2015 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. Mr. Icahn also proposed certain non-binding corporate governance provisions at both Gannett and at our Publishing company following its upcoming spin off.
While we welcome constructive input from our shareholders, our Board strongly opposes Icahn’s overreaching agenda and will not be deterred from continuing to serve the best interests of our employees, our customers, and all of our shareholders. The press release Gannett has issued in response to Icahn’s actions is attached for your reference.
While we don’t know how Mr. Icahn will conduct himself, there is likely to be press coverage of his comments about Gannett in the weeks and months ahead. I urge you not to be distracted by whatever he chooses to say about our company. Gannett is in a very strong position, and the best thing we can all do is to stay focused on our business and our day-to-day responsibilities. As always, any media inquiries should be directed to Jeremy Gaines at (703) 854-6049.
Thanks to your hard work and unflagging dedication, we have successfully reshaped and revitalized our company to better compete in today’s multi-platform media landscape. We look forward to further enhancing the competitive positioning of our Publishing company and our Broadcasting/Digital company following completion of the separation later this year.
We deeply appreciate the great work you do every day for Gannett.
* Activist investor Carl Icahn wants two seats on Gannett’s board.(nytimes.com) | Icahn’s letter to Gannett CEO Gracia Martore (gannett.com)
* ESPN sues Notre Dame over police records involving athletes and campus crimes. (ap.org) | (southbendtribune.com) | (ndsmcobserver.com)
* China is harassing and jailing its citizens who assist foreign news outlets. (washingtonpost.com)
* A struggling newspaper in Montpelier is hoping to get money from Vermont’s capital city. (sevendaysvt.com)
* Bill Gates is guest-editing The Verge in February. Editor-in-chief Nilay Patel writes: “Bill is difficult to engage in small talk, but he’s eager and willing to engage in difficult issues like income inequality and regulatory challenges in developing countries.” (theverge.com)
* “Not every good or successful tweet requires an embedded photo,” and other things the New York Times social media desk learned in 2014. (niemanlab.org)
* Times columnist Tom Friedman says he’s “never been a fan of global conferences to solve problems.” He attends a lot of them, though. (gawker.com)
* Jay Rosen‘s “full stack” newsroom would be populated by anti-Halperins. (Mark Halperin’s stock-in-trade, says Rosen, “is conventional wisdom, packaged for easy consumption.” (pressthink.org)
* Today’s journalists are too busy for a sit-down lunch. (Standing at a food truck does the job.) (nytimes.com)
* “I guess tumors of the head are a thing for film critics: Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel … and me,” writes Christopher Lloyd. “Not that I would ever compare myself to those giants. Except tumor-wise.” (Captain Critic)
* The blogger who broke the news about Steve Scalise speaking at a white nationalist conference is “pretty freaked out” after discovering that his home Internet line was cut. (dailydot.com)
* Newsman Dave McConnell started at WTOP radio 50 years ago this week; he has no retirement plans. (wtop.com)
* Daily Dot’s 17-year-old tech reporter “is kind of mature beyond his years.” (capitalnewyork.com)
* College students on what’s difficult about being a journalist on campus. (collegemediamatters.com)
* Larry Wilmore‘s new Comedy Central show “might get a lot more people thinking differently. But not in the way Colbert chose.” (splicetoday.com)
* A Chicagoan who shoots videos of half-naked women on El platforms compares himself to Hugh Hefner. (dnainfo.com)
* Of course, BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith wants the Dems to meet in Brooklyn. (He lives there.) (billypenn.com)