Colorado Shooting-Batman Mythology

21st Century Fox gets back into the newspaper business

Good morning. Here are 10-ish media stories.

  1. Another tough year for newspapers? Gannett’s earnings report showed weak national advertising and “just how unequal the local broadcast and local newspaper businesses have become.” Circulation “is a relative bright spot, though overall it was down slightly.” (Poynter) | A “a well-programmed computer could have done better” than I did in yesterday’s morning roundup, Alan D. Mutter writes. The post highlighted the report’s statement that circulation revenue increased at local papers. “[I]n his haste to crank out a story, the author evidently relied on the bafflegab in Gannett’s press release, instead of looking at the several pages of detailed financial tables appended to it.” (Reflections of a Newsosaur)
  2. Alan Murray leaves Pew to edit Fortune: Pew “will promptly begin a search for the new president” of Pew Research Center.
Read more

If Gannett is a bellwether, 2014 will be another tough year for newspaper advertising

the sign for Gannett headquarters is displayed in McLean, Va. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, file)

Since the Newspaper Association of America stopped reporting quarterly revenue results last year, I have looked at Gannett’s numbers as a reasonable proxy for the industry. Here are three takeaways from yesterday’s second quarter earnings report and conference call with analysts.

  • National advertising was terrible in the second quarter (down 16.3 percent compared to the same period in 2013) for Gannett’s publishing division. Despite a small gain in digital advertising and marketing services, overall advertising was down 6 percent.CEO Gracia Martore told analysts she had heard of similar weak national results from friends in the industry, as have I.  One explanation, on top of the stop-and-go economic recovery — the World Cup was an attractive advertising opportunity for big companies, and they pulled from print budgets to go heavy in social media.
Read more
1 Comment

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Providence Journal sold for $46 million

WPRI | The Providence Journal

The Providence Journal has been sold to New Media Investment Group Inc. for $46 million, Ted Nesi reported Tuesday.

The deal, which includes the paper’s production facility but not its headquarters, is expected to close “sometime in the third quarter,” The Journal reports.

Longtime owner A.H. Belo Corporation put the paper up for sale in December, after substantial declines in both circulation and advertising, as Nesi reported. The Journal’s average Sunday circulation was 105,810 in September, down 11 percent from the previous year. And advertising revenue fell 66 percent since 2005, dropping to $46 million in 2012. In April 2013, Karen A. Bordeleau took over as executive editor, replacing Thomas E. Heslin, who resigned due to health reasons.… Read more


AJC’s rapping political reporter plans to keep his day job

Atlanta Journal Constitution | Gawker

Yo, yo, everybody listen up: you’re about to get an infusion of electoral knowledge, East Coast style. This reporter’s colleagues call him Rap Master Malloy, and he’s bringing you election news with a Wu-Tang beat.

That’s right — Daniel Malloy, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Washington correspondent, who’s known alternatively as MC Malloy, took some time last night to record his second political rap in 2014. The track dropped today, to the amusement of Malloy’s colleagues and not a little bit of snark from the Internet.

In a post, Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan declared “there is absolutely no reason for this to exist.” Malloy tweeted the article, declaring “this is truly the highest honor.”

The rap, which exhorts Malloy’s readers — or fans — to go vote, details some anecdotes from his campaign coverage.… Read more


Newspaper tries to keep publishing in fire-pounded region

The Wenatchee World | Methow Valley News (Facebook)

While Washington state’s Methow Valley is being ravaged by wildfires, the Methow Valley News is trying to keep publishing. That’s complicated, because its working from a region where few have electricity.

Publisher Don Nelson obtained a generator after his partner, Poynter Editing Fellow Jacqui Banaszynski, put out a call on Facebook and Twitter. Two former coworkers arranged to get him one, Banaszynski writes in an email.

Now, “Reporters have been out gathering stories with pen and paper and bringing or phoning them in so office staff can type them in on a cell phone with Internet service to get stories on the paper’s Facebook page,” Rick Steigmeyer reports in The Wenatchee World. … Read more


Here’s the storyline behind The Washington Post’s Storyline

When Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron congratulated the team of writers and editors behind Storyline after its launch Tuesday morning, he was addressing journalists who’d been spending a lot of time at work.

Some members of the team were in the office until 9 p.m. Monday night making final preparations. Jim Tankersley, the site’s editor, got in the office at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s fair to say that we worked many a night and weekend to get this where it is,” Tankersley said.

The site, which aims to answer big questions about public policy, bears some similarities to initiatives like FiveThirtyEight, The Upshot, QED and Vox, which was founded by Post alumnus Ezra Klein. This morning, Michael Calderone wrote in The Huffington Post wrote that the site was another salvo in the continuing “wonk wars.”

But what distinguishes Storyline from these other explanatory sites, Tankersley said, is its ambition to put public policy questions into context with powerful personal stories.… Read more

Purple Hello Nametag

Taft Wireback, Xerxes Wilson and even more great bylines

On Friday, I wrote about some great bylines, including Valerie Wigglesworth and Holly Hacker. The story came out of a post I wrote about a Comedy Central show that played a game of “NPR Anchor or Minor Star Wars Character,” last week. Throughout the weekend, I heard even more great names and thought it was time for another post.

Here they are:

Frank Bi is a news developer at PBS NewsHour. Because of the way Newshour configures its emails, well, see for yourself.

Clifford Fewel left this comment with the story. Like Holly Hacker who works with data, Fewel has also been well-cast.

“We are self-syndicated automotive writers Clifford and Mary Fewel (cq), aka AutoCouple. People ask us what our REAL last name is. Fewel is Welsh and before Ellis Island was spelled Fewyll and pronounced FEH-weck.”

Jake New, a reporter for Inside Higher Ed, is also in the right business.… Read more


Eighteen months after dropping AP, Tribune happy with Reuters

When newspaper ad revenues were in free fall in 2008, there was much angry complaining among editors about the high cost and inflexibility of the Associated Press service. At a gripe session in Washington, one editor compared the cooperative to the USSR’s politburo.  Threats to quit were common.

In the end though, AP cut its rates, offered several levels of service and has retained the great majority of its newspaper members (who also own the cooperative and hold most its board seats).

But there was an exception.

Starting in 2009, Chicago Tribune editor Gerould Kern quietly began working with Reuters to build an acceptable substitute service.  Kern told me the Chicago Tribune ran its last AP material in March 2012.  With six other Tribune papers (but not the Los Angeles Times), it dropped AP entirely at the start of 2013.… Read more


Alan Murray: Fortune ‘feels like a calling’

Murray in 2008, when he was an executive editor of The Wall Street Journal. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In a memo to Pew Research Center staffers this morning, President Alan Murray said he hadn’t pursued the job of Fortune editor. He was named to the post this morning.

The magazine was “one of only two places I applied to work after finishing my graduate degree,” he writes, saying the opportunity to go there “feels like a calling, and it is one I find impossible to resist.”

Pew “will promptly begin a search for the new president” of the research center, Pew Charitable Trusts President and CEO Rebecca Rimel told Poynter this morning. Jim McMillan will act as president during the search, Murray writes.

Memo:… Read more


Advice from journalists of color: ‘Don’t sacrifice who you are for where you want to go’


Buzzfeed writers Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton asked 20 writers of color for advice for their counterparts who are just beginning their careers in an article published today.

Mostly, the responses emphasized the importance of hard work and building a professional reputation marked by attention to deadlines, creative storytelling and persistence. Among the pieces of advice:

-Jenna Wortham, a technology reporter with the New York Times, said the best reputations are cemented by quality bylines.

“That is how you earn respect and get plucked for the best jobs — with bylines and pieces that can’t be ignored. And reputation matters more than anything; maintain credibility at all costs. Trust your gut, and be yourself. Don’t sacrifice who you are for where you want to go.”

-Mychal Denzel Smith, a contributor at The Nation magazine, wrote that hustle — writing and networking and being seen — is more important than talent, which is “a fluke.”

On Monday, broadcast journalism student Raecine Williams engaged in a similar conversation from the other end.… Read more

Janet Mock

Janet Mock won’t ‘be thrown into a corner as the trans correspondent’ at Marie Claire

Marie Claire readers are about to see a new name in the magazine’s masthead, one they might already be familiar with. Janet Mock, an author and former editor at, was first in the pages of Marie Claire in 2011, when Marie Claire published the story of her journey as a transgender woman.

Mock will join the magazine as a contributing editor, Marie Claire announced this week. Her first piece, a personal account of the women and girls she’s met while traveling the country on a tour for her book “Redefining Realness,” is scheduled to appear in the print version of the magazine in the fall.

Mock in 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

“I’ll also give my perspective on beauty, and pop culture, and politics, and not just be thrown into a corner as the trans correspondent,” Mock said in a phone interview.… Read more


Pew’s Alan Murray will edit Fortune

Alan Murray will leave his post as the president of the Pew Research Center to become the new editor of Fortune, Fortune announced Tuesday. Current Fortune Editor Andy Serwer “is leaving Time Inc.,” the release says. Murray left The Wall Street Journal to run Pew in 2012.

Pew “will promptly begin a search for the new president” of the research center, Pew Charitable Trusts President and CEO Rebecca Rimel tells Poynter in a statement. (Here’s Murray’s note to Pew staffers.)

Murray’s “experience at The Wall Street Journal gave him a keen understanding of evolving media trends, and he also brought to the job a high level of enthusiasm and appreciation for the unique attributes of the Center,” Rimel says. “His work over the last year and a half has positioned the Center well for the future.… Read more

Earns Gannett

Circulation revenue rises at Gannett’s local papers

Good morning. Here are 10 (OK, perhaps slightly more than 10) media stories.

  1. Gannett had a good second quarter: Broadcast revenue was “almost 88 percent higher in the quarter compared to the second quarter last year.” Publishing advertising revenue fell about 5 percent; circulation was roughly flat, and “At local domestic publishing sites, home delivery circulation revenue was up in the quarter due, in part, to strategic pricing actions associated with enhanced content.” (Gannett)
  2. Washington Post fights the “wonk wars”: The Washington Post’s new “Storyline” project is “dedicated to the power of stories to help us understand complicated, critical things,” Editor Jim Tankersley writes. (The Washington Post) | Michael Calderone takes a look: “It’s unlikely The Post would’ve launched a project like Storyline a few years ago.” (HuffPost) | Tankersley writes that as a college student he was inspired by Richard Read‘s 1998 series about french fries: “Those stories brought the crisis home in a way no textbook or straight news piece could, because at each step, they showed how global trends touched people’s lives and livelihoods.” (The Oregonian)
  3. Why corrupt politicians should avoid Vermont: Vermont has the best-covered legislature in the country, and California has the worst, Pew finds.
Read more
Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 1.03.33 PM

Got writer’s block? 14 writers share how they fight the blank screen

A few weeks ago I wrote about my bout with writer’s block, and how I needed a good “slap” to get over it. That got me thinking: how do other writers get over those moments (or hours) when the blank screen is so imposing?
So I asked for advice from some very good writers whose work appears in print, broadcast and online.

You’ll see that in addition to sharing a gift, they also share an understanding that writing well is the product of discipline and hard work.

I hope their advice helps you the next time the words won’t come. Most of all, I hope they inspire you to write.

Steve Hartman, Correspondent, CBS News

Butch sent me an email asking me to share my thoughts about writer’s block. … Read more

0 Comments falls, rises in consumer satisfaction survey

American Customer Satisfaction Index

Fox News’ website dropped 7 percent in American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual survey of consumer satisfaction, while USA Today’s rose by 4 percent.

It’s the first time in five years that “ users are no longer the most satisfied readers of Internet news,” ACSI’s report, released Tuesday, says.

Reader satisfaction fell for most of the media organizations ACSI surveyed, but “all others” did better: Their aggregate score was up 7 percent. That category includes NPR and BBC, an ACSI spokesperson tells Poynter.

CNN and The Huffington Post share for the lowest satisfaction score, but HuffPost recorded its “first-ever improvement in user satisfaction,” a press release for the report says.

Related: Internet news: Slightly more satisfying than the post officeRead more