Digital First Media

Digital First Media editor in chief to exit

Dave Butler, editor in chief of nationwide newspaper chain Digital First Media, announced on Wednesday that he plans to retire sometime this fall.

In a memo to senior editors of Digital First Media, Butler said his departure was motivated by “personal and professional reasons” and made reference to a thwarted sale of the company that might have seen him replaced by new managers.

“As many of you know, I turned 65 in June and my wife Kate has been spending much of her time working out of AP’s headquarters in New York,” Butler wrote. “Like many of you, we had expected that the company would be sold and that new management would come — and I would go out! Well, that obviously didn’t happen so I have been reflecting on what to do and concluded that for personal and professional reasons, now is the right time to go.”

In the memo, Butler said he will assist in the search to find a new head editor for the company, the second-largest newspaper group in the United States by circulation. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments
Salt_Lake_Tribune_marquis-250

Intrigue in Utah — Will the Salt Lake Tribune be sold? Or even closed?

Jim Dabakis inside a downtown Salt Lake City coffee shop.  (AP 2011 file photo/Lynn DeBruin)

Jim Dabakis inside a downtown Salt Lake City coffee shop. (AP 2011 file photo/Lynn DeBruin)

Politician and blogger Jim Dabakis got his Utah constituents and others talking last week when he reported that the Salt Lake Tribune will soon be sold.

Dabakis also worried that such a sale could be a step toward an eventual closing or put the paper under the control of its Joint Operating Agreement partner and competitor, the Deseret News, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There are good reasons for media watchers nationally — not just Salt Lake City residents — to watch how the drama plays out:

  • The JOA is one of only five remaining agreements after the Charleston (WVa.) Gazette and Mail announced today that they are merging editorial operations and will print a single paper.
Read more
Tools:
0 Comments
Gannett

New day for Gannett newspapers — they’re on their own

The 19,600 employees of Gannett newspapers coming to work Monday will be working for a new company — untethered from growing and prosperous television stations and digital ventures.

Retaining the Gannett name, the spin off company has well defined plans for digital transformation and for expansion by acquisition.  Its reception by Wall Street is less certain, but it is sweetening the case by promising a substantial dividend — 64 cents on shares trading around $15.

Gannett executives telegraphed the acquisition strategy in the company’s most recent earnings call and has since bought 11 titles in Texas and New Mexico, in which it already had a partial stake, from Digital First Media.

More is on the way, the company said in a presentation to investors last Monday.   Read more

Tools:
0 Comments
former-journalists-100

Opinion: Journalism companies are dead. Long live journalists.

We’ve talked endlessly about the future of journalism. It’s time to talk about the future of journalists.

The Orange County Register’s new owner thought the way to turn the paper around is through better reporting to lure new and former readers to a revived product. He has since stepped away from managing the paper. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Orange County Register’s new owner thought the way to turn the paper around is through better reporting to lure new and former readers to a revived product. He has since stepped away from managing the paper. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

People who observe and report on others’ lives have a built-in sense of shame about navel-gazing. Maybe that’s why, amid all of the study and conversations about the future of journalism and business models, remarkably little attention has been paid to the plight of individual journalists.

They have the skill sets to do this work and the passion for it. In theory, there could be journalism without traditional media companies as we’ve known them, but there won’t be without people who do the job of journalism. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments

Gannett acquires 11 Digital First Media properties

StreetInsider | York Daily Record

Newspaper giant Gannett today announced it was acquiring 11 properties from Digital First Media, including the El Paso Times, The Alamogordo (New Mexico) Daily News and the York (Pennsylvania) Daily Record.

The acquisitions come shortly before before Gannett splits into two companies — TEGNA, which will retain the company’s broadcast properties, and Gannett, a spinoff publishing division.

The acquisition of the Digital First Media properties is in line with thinking articulated by Ken Doctor that the media company was planning to sell off its assets in piecemeal fashion after a reported deal with equity firm Apollo Global Management failed to materialize. He also reported that Gannett would acquire papers in Pennsylvania and New Mexico.

Robert Dickey, soon-to-be CEO of Gannett’s publishing company, hailed the acquisitions in a statement:

We are very pleased to welcome these well-respected media organizations to U.S.

Read more
Tools:
1 Comment

Reuters: Digital First Media has a lead buyer

Reuters

Apollo Global Management LLC is “in advanced talks” to purchase most of Digital First Media’s assets for $400 million, Greg Roumeliotis and Liana Baker report for Reuters:

The potential deal illustrates private equity’s interest in the newspaper industry. Even though newspaper readership is declining, buyout firms say they believe they can squeeze out a profit through cost cuts and new digital offerings.

In September, Digital First Media announced that it was retaining UBS Securities LLC to determine “strategic alternatives for the Company’s business,” which include the possibility of a sale.

Nieman Lab reported in April that Digital First Media was planning a sale of its newspapers following the implosion of Project Thunderdome, a New York-based initiative that aimed to centralize DFM’s national news production. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments

Former Time Inc. CTO joins magazine startup

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Frédéric Michel will be a consultant for Sky Italia. He is Telefónica’s Europe director of public affairs and communication. (The Guardian)
  • Bob Mason is now vice president of hosting at NewsCycle Solutions. Previously, he was chief technology officer at Digital First Media. (Poynter)
  • Gregg Doyel is now a sports columnist at The Indianapolis Star. Previously, he was a columnist at CBSSports.com. (The Indianapolis Star)
  • Mike Stamm is now a senior design technologist at The Washington Post. Previously, he led design technology at The Wall Street Journal. Jessie Tseng is an interaction designer at The Washington Post. Previously, she was a user experience designer at Adaptly. (The Washington Post)
  • Sheena Lyonnais will be a freelance writer.
Read more
Tools:
0 Comments

Digital First Media’s chief technology officer exits

Bob Mason, formerly chief technology officer at Digital First Media, left the news organization last week, a company representative confirmed today.

Mason is now vice president of hosting at NewsCycle Solutions, a newsroom software company, where he oversees cloud computing.

Several higher-ups have left DFM in recent months. On Monday, Matt DeRienzo, DFM’s ‎northeast regional editor, took a buyout, according to the New Haven Independent. In April, the company announced the departure of former editor-in-chief Jim Brady and the cancellation of Project Thunderdome, a news distribution initiative he championed. That month, DFM Digital Transformation Editor Steve Buttry announced he was leaving, as did Project Thunderdome Editor Robyn Tomlin.

In September, the company announced it was “exploring strategic alternatives,” which could mean selling some or all of its 76 daily newspapers and 160 weekly publications. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments

Career Beat: Loren Mayor named chief operating officer for NPR

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • David Gillen is now executive editor of news enterprise at Bloomberg News. Previously, he was deputy business editor of enterprise at The New York Times. (Politico)
  • Loren Mayor is now chief operating officer for NPR. Previously, she was senior vice president of strategy there. (Poynter)
  • Weston Phippen is now a reporter for the National Journal. Previously, he was a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times. Lauren Fox will be a Congress reporter at the National Journal. Previously, she was a political reporter at U.S. News and World Report. (Email)
  • Mark Brackenbury has been named executive editor for the Connecticut Group at Digital First Media. He is managing editor for the New Haven Register.
Read more
Tools:
0 Comments

Digital First Media will explore sale of papers

Digital First Media | The Denver Post | Jim Romenesko

Digital First Media has hired UBS Securities LLC to help it determine what it calls “strategic alternatives for the Company’s business.” That could involve a sale of some or all of the company’s news products, which include 76 daily papers and 160 weekly publications.

The Denver Post headlines the news a bit less gingerly: “Denver Post, other Digital First Media newspapers, for sale.” (Here’s a list of DFM properties.)

Related: “What went wrong at Digital First Media — and what’s next?”

“As employees, the best thing we can do while this review is underway is to keep doing what we have been doing best these past years – producing unsurpassed local journalism; serving our customers’ needs and continuing to boldly experiment with our digital future,” DFM CEO John Paton tells employees in a memo. Read more

Tools:
1 Comment
Page 1 of 512345