Allbritton Communications Company

WaPo’s new publisher has ditched the BlackBerry

Fred Ryan is now an iPhone guy.

“What you may have heard is I’m so clumsy typing with my thumbs that I held on to my BlackBerry,” The Washington Post’s new publisher said in a phone call. These days, “I am purely iPhone — and, of course, Fire Phone,” he said, referring to the handset recently launched by Post owner Jeff Bezos’ other company, Amazon. (“You need to order one!” he said.)

As in previous interviews about his new job, Ryan, who previously was CEO and president of Politico and COO and president of the Allbritton Communications Company, declined to outline a specific strategy for how the Post would make money as print revenue declines and digital ad revenue fails to fill the gap. “I have not gone through the ad split or seen the specific numbers,” Ryan said.

Ryan in 2014. (John Shinkle/Politico)

Ryan. (John Shinkle/Politico)

Asked to speak broadly, he said, “You have to approach this from all sides. Certainly the editorial side, but also the business side, expecting it’s going to be a time of change, and change that we’re still yet to see in the media industry.”

Everyone at the Post, he said, must “be prepared for that: The way we do business, the way we reach our readers and consumers will continue to change dramatically.”

The Post has launched a number of digital initiatives and products since Bezos bought it last August. (Ryan, who told Joe Pompeo he still starts his day with the paper’s print edition, says he “absolutely” has explored its digital offerings: “I go on from there,” he said.)

Many of those ventures have been aimed at a national audience, such as its opinion venture, Post Everything. But what about the region the news organization has traditionally covered?

“There has been a strong national growth strategy, but that does not preclude winning local coverage at all,” Ryan said. “Covering Washington, D.C., incredibly well and being the dominant news sorurce for Washington is not fundamentally at odds with having a huge national and international forotprint.”

I asked Ryan about his comment that “a key for Wapo is winning the morning,” as media reporter Erik Wemple tweeted during Ryan’s first meeting with the newsroom.

“The morning is a very important time for all of us, but certainly to get our bearings and to learn what happeneed overnight,” he said. “I believe it’s a very important time to connect with readers.” Ryan said the Post has already launched “some impressive morning products” and declined to say whether he planned to urge it to launch more.

“Well, the one thing I said in the newsroom is I think we will all have a common vision, and we’ll all have a culture of innovation, but when it comes to launching new products, new blogs, we’re not going to telegraph the things that we’re doing because there are so many eyes watching,” he said.

I also asked him whether he planned to urge the Post to spell its name in all-caps, as he reportedly did with Politico’s.

“I think the Post name looks just fine,” he said.

(Post style on Politico’s name probably won’t change, either: Post copy editor Bill Walsh tells Poynter the paper’s style is to “capitalize only the first letter unless each letter is pronounced as a letter.”)

Disclosures: Wemple and I both worked for Allbritton. I never worked directly with Ryan, though I was strongly in favor of a style decision our publication,, made, to not capitalize Politico. I strongly dislike all-caps names except when writing about GWAR, a band that doesn’t come up that often on my current beat.

Correction: This post originally included a line that demonstrated how easily I fell for an April Fool’s joke. While Politico has traditionally sought to “win the morning,” it did not seriously instruct reporters to “Win the Dawn.” Read more

The website Capital New York will relaunch in December, Politico publisher Robert Allbritton said. ( Oshiro)

Capital will relaunch in December, paid services coming next year

Politico | Capital

The Web publication Capital, which chronicles power and media in New York, will relaunch Dec. 3, Mike Allen reports in Playbook. Politico Publisher Robert Allbritton announced in September he had purchased Capital and intended to use it to “do in New York what we did in Washington with POLITICO.”

“Capital will maintain a robust free site, but the majority of Capital coverage will be exclusive to Pro subscribers. There will be three Pro subscription services available around Capital’s core coverage areas. City Hall Pro, Albany Pro and Media Pro will bring subscribers minute-by-minute reporting, comprehensive analysis, customizable news alerts, exclusive early-morning newsletters and subscriber-only events. These Pro offerings will be free until early next year.

Capital will also roll out its own email newsletter based on Allen’s Playbook: Capital Playbook “will be written by Capital reporters Azi Paybarah and Jimmy Vielkind with POLITICO’s Mike Allen,” Politico’s Mike Allen reports.

In addition to its media-beat scoop monster Joe Pompeo, Capital has hired a squadron of other media reporters including Matthew Lynch, who recently broke the news that Hugo Lindgren was leaving The New York Times Magazine, Nicole Levy, Johana Bhuiyan and Alex Weprin. And Capital co-editor Tom McGeveran said on Twitter last week the company is looking for one more media reporter.

I used to work for an Allbritton-owned publication, the no-longer-extant Read more


Don Graham approached Mike Bloomberg, Eric Schmidt about buying Washington Post

The Washington Post

Jeff Bezos “wasn’t the only billionaire wooed” by Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald Graham and the investment bank Allen & Co., Steven Mufson writes. Others included:

Robert Allbritton, owner of Politico and whose family once owned the Washington Star; Michael R. Bloomberg, who some people believed would want a daily print outlet in addition to his economic-driven subscriber news and data service; David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group and a major Washington philanthropist; and Eric Schmidt, who was chief executive of Google for 10 years.

The asking price in other negotiations reached $600 million, according to people familiar with the talks; for one prospective buyer, the price was significantly higher, according to a person whose advice was solicited by that person.

Bezos got the paper for $250 million. Lots, lots more good stuff in Mufson’s story about the events that influenced Graham’s decision to sell. Read more

Satellite Communications Dishes on top of TV Station

Sinclair to buy Allbritton TV stations for $985 million

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Sinclair will buy Allbritton’s TV stations for $985 million, the company announced Monday. The stations purchased include WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., WSET in Lynchburg, Va., and WCIV in Charleston, S.C.

In its release, Sinclair says it plans to “sell the license and certain related assets of its existing stations in Birmingham, AL – WABM (MNT) and WTTO (CW), Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York, PA – WHP (CBS), and Charleston, SC – WMMP (MNT)” to comply with FCC rules.

Allbritton announced in May it would explore a sale of its TV assets so honcho Robert Allbritton could concentrate on “POLITICO and companies like it,” he wrote in a memo. Politico would not be part of such a sale, Allbritton wrote at the time. The stations, two of which are serve the lucrative swing state of Virginia, were expected to get bids of up to a billion dollars, Keach Hagey reported earlier this month. Read more


Allbritton, Politico’s parent company, considers sale of TV business

Politico| The Huffington Post

Allbritton Communications Co. CEO Robert Allbritton says he has “decided to explore strategic options for our television station company.”

Let me be unmistakably clear to you and potential buyers: there is no chance, none, I will sell POLITICO as part of the deal. My future is POLITICO and companies like it. In fact, my plan is to invest even more in POLITICO and to place additional bets on media companies that meet my definition of successful journalistic and business enterprises. POLITICO continues to carry no debt, funds all investment with operating income and will still turn a profit, again, in 2013. That is the textbook definition of a thriving, sustainable new media company.

ACC, a private company, owns stations in Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, South Carolina and Oklahoma. In Washington, D.C., it owns WJLA-TV, an ABC affiliate, as well as a cable news channel. Politico’s main newsroom shares space with those operations. Read more


Pennsylvania newspaper, TV station team to compete with less frequent Patriot-News

The Sentinel | WHTM
The (Carlisle, Pa.) Sentinel and Harrisburg, Pa., TV station WHTM have struck a content-sharing agreement that they think will give them an upper hand when the competing (Harrisburg) Patriot-News goes to a three-day-per-week print schedule in January.

“There will be a real vacuum for people who like to read the newspaper seven days a week,” [WHTM] President and General Manager Joe Lewin said. “I think the regular subscribers to The Patriot-News feel abandoned, and I know that The Sentinel management sees this as a real opportunity.”

WHTM will provide the Sentinel with weather content, and both news organizations’ stories can end up on both platforms. The Sentinel competes with the Patriot-News in Cumberland County, just west of Harrisburg. Read more


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