Charles Pinyan, who submitted this headline from a recent issue of the Allendale (NJ) Town Journal, writes: “I guess they plan to take a long time reflecting on any decisions they make.”
Columbia Journalism Review publisher and editor-in-chief Liz Spayd announced this morning that the magazine is going from bimonthly to two “special issues” per year and focusing on its digital side. Here’s a memo about the changes from Columbia Journalism School dean Steve Coll:
Dear J-school Faculty, Staff and Students,
I write to share some news with you about Columbia Journalism Review.
C.J.R. is and will be for years to come a flagship of our school and an influential source of reporting, narrative writing, criticism and insight about our profession. During the last several years, the school has recommitted itself to this mission-driven enterprise by bringing the magazine back to a beautiful newsroom in our building and investing in a redesign by Mario Garcia, as well as an expanded digital strategy.
After a rigorous strategy review conducted over the summer, we have now decided on changes designed to better realign our resources with our audience. We intend to significantly increase our investments in C.J.R.’s digital operations while shifting the print magazine schedule from bimonthly to two special issues a year. We will also begin a transition from a subscription to a membership model that will continue to provide digital and print access.
This digital-first approach will allow us to engage with our readers in new ways, improve our technology and reach a broader audience than ever before. Our goal is influence and impact, so we must invest in readership growth. Our experience during the last several years tells us this means investing more aggressively in digital. Our strategy also calls for investments in print issues that are ambitious and deeply reported, focused around the compelling issues that are reshaping our profession.
Our turn coincides with new leadership on C.J.R.’s outstanding board. Reuters’ editor-in-chief Steve Adler is taking the chairmanship, succeeding Neil Barsky, the founder of the remarkable Marshall Project. We feel we are moving from strength to strength there.
In her two years as Editor and Publisher of C.J.R., Liz Spayd has turned the enterprise in exciting and influential new directions. The Journalism School remains committed to C.J.R. and its mission and we hope to continue down on our recent trajectory of substantial audience growth.
Dean Columbia School of Journalism
A staffer from a Morris Communications newspaper writes: “This xenophobic editorial position was mandated to run in Morris Communications newspapers across the chain. …Sometimes [Morris CEO and founder] Billy Morris (the senior) will insist that we run his editorials. But he signs them. This is the first time that it has happened in this manner since I came here.”
Morris owns the Florida Times-Union, Savannah Morning News, and ten other daily newspapers.
To: [Morris Publishing Group editors]
Subject: ATTENTION: Cline OPINION Piece on Migration/Refugee Crisis
Mr. Morris asks that each MPG newspaper run the attached editorial on American responsibility toward Mideast migrants/refugees. You should run it as your own editorial (not a column or op-ed), or produce your own editorial BUT MAINTAINING THE SAME POSITION.
The editorial is for immediate release.
Please let me know if you have any questions. And please mail me a copy of the editorial as it appears in the newspapers.
Vice President of Audience
Morris Publishing Group/Morris Communications
A Romenesko reader writes: “I am not eligible for the early retirement buyout, but several of my colleagues are. They feel like they are now being pressured to take it, even though it’s supposed to be completely voluntary.
“They also see this line as a veiled threat: ‘If we don’t achieve our goals, we will need to re-evaluate where we stand and we can’t rule out implementing other actions in the future.’”
From: Harmon, David
Sent: Friday, October 02, 2015 11:11 AM
Subject: Voluntary early retirement program follow up
Good afternoon –
I wanted to remind you that the deadline to accept this offering is by 11:30 PM (EST), Monday, October 12, 2015. We thank those of you who have considered this offering and turned in your acceptance early.
We hope that those of you who have not accepted are giving careful consideration to this offering.
In addition to being a benefit for those who want to retire, our early retirement program will help us reduce costs in the long term and provide savings. If we don’t achieve our goals, we will need to re-evaluate where we stand and we can’t rule out implementing other actions in the future.
As mentioned earlier – the program is completely voluntary. We will finalize acceptances after the 45-day consideration period has closed, which is Oct. 12, 2015.
Chief People Officer
Earlier on JimRomenesko.com:
* Gannett offers earlier retirement packages to staffers 55 and over
* David Harmon is named Gannett Chief People Officer
California Lawyer, which called itself “the nation’s leading legal magazine,” has been killed by parent company Daily Journal Corporation. Two employees confirmed that the memo below was distributed on Wednesday. I’m still trying to find out how many people lost jobs. Please email me if you have information. UPDATE: A tipster writes: “The toll is seven full-time staff: Editor, a senior editor, associate editor, copy chief, design director, art director and production manager.”
At 9:30 this morning a representative from the Daily Journal Corporation announced to staff that CALIFORNIA LAWYER would cease publication in the print and digital editions, as of the October issue.
Termination for all staff is immediate, as of September 30, 2015. At the close of work today our dailyjournal.com email will no longer function.
Letters to Romenesko
From LOREN WASSELL: Today’s lead (only) editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, like several others recently, bears a footnote:
(This editorial was commissioned from freelance editorialists and edited by the Post-Dispatch editorial board.)
Are other papers also outsourcing their institutional voice? I know freelance and advocacy op-eds are common, but not (in my experience) main page editorials.
I asked the Lee Enterprises-owned Post-Dispatch about the outsourced editorials and got this response from deputy editorial page editor KEVIN HORRIGAN:
Since [former editorial page editor] Tony [Messenger] became metro columnist here in early September, we’ve been using two editorials each week from “Opinion in a Pinch.” That’s a service created by Christian Trejbal and Miriam Pepper for papers that find themselves short of editorial page help. Chris formerly worked for the Bulletin of Bend, Oregon. Miriam was editorial page editor of the Kansas City Star. Like Tony, both were/are active in the Association of Opinion Journalists. There may be others who work with Chris and Miriam, but so far, they’re the only writers who have written for us./CONTINUES Read More
Salem News courts reporter Julie Manganis writes: “I thought you might get a kick out of the name of the person who sent this press release.”
I asked PR man Clifton Flack if he gets many comments about his name, and how he responds to jokes about it. Flack, who works for a firm in Israel, asked: why is Flack insulting for a PR person? I sent him this link, which notes that “journalists sometimes use [flack] in a disparaging way, to describe clueless PR people — a counterpart to the word ‘hack,’ the rhyming descriptor of similar meaning as applied to journalists.” He responded: Hi Jim… amazing, i’m 42 years old and spent half that time in Marketing… I never knew about this I’ve never had a good response when reaching out to journalists, could this be the reason?
I asked PR man Clifton Flack if he gets many comments about his name, and how he responds to jokes about it. Flack, who works for a firm in Israel, asked:
why is Flack insulting for a PR person?
I sent him this link, which notes that “journalists sometimes use [flack] in a disparaging way, to describe clueless PR people — a counterpart to the word ‘hack,’ the rhyming descriptor of similar meaning as applied to journalists.”
Hi Jim… amazing, i’m 42 years old and spent half that time in Marketing… I never knew about this
I’ve never had a good response when reaching out to journalists, could this be the reason?
Romenesko reader Joseph Hauger writes: “This was the original AP news alert, which was corrected less than a minute later.”
Letter to Romenesko
From MICHELLE LEDER, SEC filings expert at footnoted*: There’s part of financial disclosures that we track pretty closely called the “forward looking statements” which is basically where the company lists all of the what-ifs that could cause problems.
Some companies are pretty succinct and others list everything under the sun. We pay close attention because we’ve found companies burying significant disclosures in there. Tribune filed something late Friday, but it did not become available until this morning because the SEC cuts off filings made after 5:30 est and this was filed at 6:50 pm on Friday.
There’s a couple of interesting tweaks to the forward looking statements which I sent out to Pro subscribers. For example, the company introduces the words “revenue softness” for the first time and also adds language about management changes, presumably related to the Austin Beutner firing and fallout.
Here’s what I sent out [about Tribune publishing]:
Tweaks language in its forward-looking statements in a release that provides updated lower guidance on its earnings. The release was made on Sept. 18 but filed at nearly 7 pm est on Friday evening.
Adds the words “revenue softness” and “execution and integration of management changes” as well as “the Company’s success in implementing expense mitigation initiatives” in its long list of forward-looking statements. Also replaces the words “cost management initiatives” with the words “expense mitigation efforts”.
On Sept. 8, the company announced the firing of California Newspaper Group CEO Austin Beutner, which has led to several other high profile departures over the past 10 days.