Articles about "Digital First Media"

Thunderdome hosts informal job fair for employees

For most of the staff at Digital First Media's Project Thunderdome, Thursday will be the last day at work.
But over bagels and coffee Wednesday morning or a drink Wednesday evening, they might meet their next employer. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thunderdome's hosting an informal networking event in New York to help connect their journalists with new jobs. The event will also feature a space to engage in an online chat with the 12 staff members located around the country.

Mandy Jenkins, Thunderdome's managing editor, said in a phone interview with Poynter that most of the major media organizations in New York will have someone at the event.

For Jenkins, who worked at the now-defunct TBD, this is her second time to be laid off.

"I have never seen people in such good spirits when they're being laid off," she said. (more...)

Digital First names David J. Butler its editor-in-chief

Digital First Media
David J. Butler is the new editor-in-chief of Digital First Media, the company announced Friday. In 2011 MediaNews (which later placed its newspapers under DFM's management) put Butler in charge of its Bay Area News Group properties, including the San Jose Mercury News, which he still edits.

Butler succeeds Jim Brady, who announced he would leave DFM after it cut its Thunderdome project. The company's papers "have informally been shopped around since the start of this year," Rick Edmonds wrote earlier this month.

Butler will remain editor of the BANG newspapers, the company says in a release.

I've worked with Brady in the past, and he's on Poynter's National Advisory Board.

Salt Lake Tribune lays off employees, cuts print features

The Salt Lake Tribune
The Salt Lake Tribune laid off eight employees Thursday and announced it would reduce some of its print offerings, including its standalone religion section.

Seven full-time employees and one part-time employee lost their jobs, Tony Semerad reports. The cuts "come after the paper lost four other newsroom positions through attrition in the past six weeks and let 19 staffers go in September."

It will also stop publishing its Faith section as a standalone section, and "Ensuing weeks may bring smaller Tribune offerings of outdoors and business coverage, as well as weather data, comics, TV schedules and puzzles." Religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack will stay with the paper and Robert Kirby's column "will also find a new home," Semerad writes.

Digital First Media exempted the Tribune from its plans to install paywalls at newspapers. It competes in Salt Lake City with the Deseret News. DFM is said to be shopping its newspapers.
Technology background, News text in perspective

What went wrong at Digital First Media — and what’s next?

The announced shutdown of Digital First Media’s national newsroom Wednesday and the probable sale of its 75 daily newspapers later this year is a significant jolt to those who believe a viable business model for rapid transformation of legacy operations … Read more


Jim Brady will leave Digital First Media

Digital First
Jim Brady has "chosen to move on" from Digital First Media, CEO John Paton writes in a blog post. Paton confirms earlier reports that DFM is disbanding its Thunderdome project, which Brady championed.
Going forward, some of what happens at Thunderdome today will continue; some of what Thunderdome does will be redistributed to our staff in the field to continue and some will be stopped.

Over the coming days and weeks DFM Editor-in-Chief Jim Brady and Project Thunderdome Editor Robyn Tomlin will be putting those changes into effect.

While our Company will continue to invest heavily in digital development, increasingly our focus will be in local where we are the news and information leader in our markets.

Tomlin is also leaving, Paton writes. DFM Digital Transformation Editor Steve Buttry writes in a blog post that he's leaving, too.

Tomlin told Poynter's Jill Geisler that staffers have known for about a week that the end was nigh, and its office has become "a job placement center."
According to Tomlin, she and Brady have been on the phones, working their wide network of contacts to let other organizations know about the soon-to-be-available talent on their team.
DFM Managing Editor Mandy Jenkins tweeted a picture of today's all-hands meeting: Here's a list of Thunderdome staff. Disclosure: Brady was my boss at and is on Poynter's National Advisory Board.

Earlier: Digital First Media axes ‘Thunderdome,’ may sell its newspapers
Robin Tomlin_Poynter

Inside the Thunderdome newsroom: heartbreak and hustle

From leadership literature to commencement speeches, the message is: Don’t fear failure. It’s a gift that makes us stronger and wiser.

But that’s a heck of a lot easier to say — and believe — when you’re looking at … Read more

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Digital First Media axes ‘Thunderdome,’ may sell its newspapers

CJR | Nieman | The Washington Post | Storify Digital First Media will shut down its news hub in New York and may soon sell its newspapers. Local editors will have a phone call with management Wednesday morning at 11:30, and an all-hands meeting is scheduled for staffers at 12:30 p.m. in New York. Dean Starkman reported Tuesday night that DFM plans to cashier its Project Thunderdome, a national newsroom for the company's many newspapers, and lay off about 100 employees, including "higher-level executives." Ken Doctor writes that Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund that owns most of DFM, is "readying its newspaper properties for sale."
They’re not yet on the market, but expect regional auctions of DFM properties (with clusters around the Los Angeles area, the Bay Area, New England, Philadelphia, and Texas) — unless Alden can find a single buyer, which is unlikely.
A "person familiar with the matter" told Starkman "the cuts are part of an ongoing strategy to take out about $60 million annually in expenses of about $1.15 billion in total costs, while reinvesting in its digital business, investments eventually expected to add $100 million a year to company expenses." A DFM spokesperson has not yet replied to Poynter's request for comment. DFM Digital Transformation Editor Steve Buttry is expected to leave the company, a source tells Poynter. Buttry was directing DFM's Project Unbolt, which "aims to address the problem of digital efforts at the mercy of existing newspaper infrastructure," Sam Kirkland wrote in January. In The Washington Post, Paul Farhi writes the cuts are "a setback for DFM, whose chief executive, John Paton, has been a leading proponent of transforming print-centric newsrooms for the digital era." Last summer Paton gave a speech called "How Bad CEOs and Worse Editors Are Using the Past to Kill Our Future." In it, he announced DFM had an operating profit and said, "if you don’t see the kinds of tough decisions to cut expenses in what is not growing –print – and increased spending in what is growing – digital – then get out because your company is surely dying." (more...)
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ONA introduces 5 ethical challenges of social news gathering at SXSW

A working group formed by the Online News Association has identified five key challenges facing those who gather news via social media. Board members Eric Carvin of AP, one of the working group's founders, and Mandy Jenkins of Digital First Media explained the challenges at South by Southwest Interactive on Sunday. Here's a quick look at what they covered. (more...)
Digital tablet on newspaper

How Digital First Media hopes to transform workflow, culture of ‘newspaper factories’

Digital First Media has unveiled plans to transform its newsrooms and put its money where its name is. “Project Unbolt” aims to address the problem of digital efforts at the mercy of existing newspaper infrastructure.

The first of Digital First’s … Read more


‘Mean Girls’ reporter lands at sister paper to the one that fired him

Isaac Avilucea is now covering courts and schools at The (Torrington, Conn.) Register Citizen.

The North Adams Transcript fired Avilucea in October after he quoted a high-school athlete saying her old school was like “the movie ‘Mean Girls.’ ”

The Transcript is owned by MediaNewsGroup. The Register Citizen is owned by 21st Century Media, formerly known as Journal Register Company. Both companies are managed by Digital First Media. In an email to Poynter Thursday, Avilucea said he was at his "14-day anniversary" at the paper. "So I still have time to break my record," he wrote. He was at the Transcript for 18 days.
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