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4 reasons the New York Times Company won’t be sold anytime soon

New York Times Sales
We learned last week that Michael Bloomberg would like to buy the New York Times Company. He even spoke to Chairman Arthur Sulzberger about it a couple of years ago. So what else is new? Rupert Murdoch covets the Times as well.

The only live question is whether the Sulzberger family would sell.  Through a spokesman Sulzberger said Friday, as he has many times before, that the company was not on the market whatever the offer.

Case closed?  Not quite.  The Wall Street Journal was not for sale until Murdoch’s News Corp. made the Bancroft family an offer — 67 percent above their shares’ trading value — they felt they could not refuse.  Nor did any but the inner circle know the Graham’s Washington Post was for sale until Jeff Bezos bought it in August 2013. Ditto, the Chandler family’s late-1990′s surprise decision to sell Times Mirror to Tribune.

With that one qualifier, I think the Times’ and the Sulzbergers’ situation are so different that a sale anytime soon would be extraordinarily unlikely.

For a seconding expert opinion, I checked by phone with Alex Jones, executive director of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard, and co-author with his late wife, Susan Tifft, of the definitive book on the Times, The Trust.

“If anything has changed, and some members of the family (are willing to sell), I’m not aware of it,” Jones said, “and I think I would be aware of it.”

The structure of the family trust is the heart of the matter, he added.  “It would be almost impossible unless there was unanimity” among family shareholders to sell the company to an outsider.  Even were there a block of dissident family members, Jones said, stock in the Trust would have to be offered first to the other Class B Trust shareholders before it could go to anyone else.

So that’s a big difference.  The Bancrofts were divided on whether to sell in 2007 but those in favor persuaded some holdouts and outvoted others to accept Murdoch’s offer.

Also no Bancroft family members were still working in management.  The opposite is the case at the New York Times Co, where Sulzberger’s cousin Michael Golden is vice chairman.  Spokesperson Eileen Murphy told me that besides Sulzberger’s son, Senior editor for strategy Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, five other cousins of his generation are in management track jobs at the company.

Circumstances were very different at the Washington Post as well.  The newspaper was losing money with fast-declining revenues.  It had become a small part (about 14 percent) of a much larger company with several very profitable divisions.  Chairman and CEO Donald Graham said he could not justify to shareholders carrying the Post, and making big investments in its digital reinvention, at the expense of the rest.

So Graham and his niece, Post publisher Katharine Weymouth, concluded that the paper needed the infusion of capital and new ideas that Amazon tycoon Bezos could provide — “runway” as Bezos later described it.

The Times as a company is practically the reverse.  As a strategic decision, it has sold all other holdings to concentrate on the New York Times, its digital versions and its international extensions.

Public New York Times shareholders know the score, and while the stock has fallen after a rocky third quarter earnings report, it trades up slightly from its value when the Post was sold 18 months ago.

The newsroom buyouts and layoffs late last year were read in some circles as a sign of major trouble. But the impact of a shave of less than 10 percent of the newsroom budget is not a huge event financially for the company.   Further, the Times has indicated a number of those positions will be reallocated to hiring for digital expansions.

With fourth quarter and full-year results due February 3, the company’s prospects as a business are mixed. Through three quarters, it was showing a 1 percent revenue increase and operating at a tiny net loss (though quite profitable on a cash flow basis).

The Times has shifted its revenue balance away from print advertising, booking big increases in circulation revenue with its digital paywall and smaller ones by growing digital advertising.  Its balance sheet is healthy with $300 million more in cash on hand than debt.

Management’s discussion of the third quarter results did indicate slowing in the potential for another wave of circulation revenue growth and a dilemma as the Times experiences  lower revenue per customer as the reader/subscriber base shifts from print to digital and now to mobile.  But those are challenges are way less severe than the company faced in 2009 when it sought a high-interest loan (with options to buy company stock) from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu.

After the fact of the Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal sale it came out that Dow Jones CEO Rich Zannino, while putting a positive spin on results and strategies publicly, was advising the Bancrofts privately that they would never get a better offer and should take it.

Years down the road, Times CEO Mark Thompson or a successor might make a similar recommendation to Sulzberger, Golden and the rest of the family.  But not now.

Disclosure:  Arthur Gregg Sulzberger is a member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board, and I spoke with him at some length at the group’s annual meeting here earlier this month. He struck me as smart, current, grounded and fully engaged in the next steps in transforming the company.  As his responsibilities increase, all the more reason to think family control is here to stay for the long haul. Read more

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Washington Post looks toward national audience with Kindle Fire app

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Washington Post looks toward national audience with new Kindle Fire app

    This is important: It will not provide local news. Updates every day at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Free for six months, a buck for the next six months. (WP) | Post people said owner Jeff Bezos "had made it clear, through meetings with executives and through feedback on ideas and proposals, that The Post’s broad strategy should shift toward growing its national and international audience — in direct contrast to its previous mission of narrowing its focus to local news." (NYT) | The Post also launched "BrandConnect Perspective" Thursday, a native advertising initiative for opinion pieces. First up is Bayer, with "Modern Agriculture is Based on Sound Science." (WP) | Related: Former Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli's North Base Media is an investor in Inkl, a "Spotify for media content." (StartupSmart)

  2. Bill Cosby and the media

    "I think if you want to consider yourself to be serious, it will not appear anywhere," he warns Brett Zongker after declining to comment on rape allegations. (AP) | Ta-Nehisi Coates: "I would not dismiss all journalists who've declined to mention these allegations as cowards." (The Atlantic) | Cosby, Terrence Howard, R. Kelly: "a lot of arts writing is PR driven, and talk of arrests and assaults is off-message," Bill Wyman wrote earlier this month. "But that doesn’t excuse the straight news sections’ inability to relate the basic facts of these cases." (CJR)

  3. Reuters lets Jack Shafer go

    “I’m fine,” the media columnist told Poynter. “My philosophy is that the job belongs to the employer. When they want to do something else with the money, that’s their prerogative.” (Poynter) | "Ours is a great business," Shafer tells Peter Sterne. "I’d take your job." (Capital) | Thomson Reuters plans to eliminate as many as 55 editorial jobs. (BuzzFeed)

  4. The Uber stories continue

    Michael Wolff invited BuzzFeed EIC Ben Smith to the dinner for "influentials" where a company executive mused publicly about spending a million bucks to dig up dirt on a critical journalist. The night "was a convivial evening" and "Smith's portrait is at odds with the event," he writes. (USA Today) | Dylan Byers: "it's troubling to watch the digital lynch mob on Twitter promote the idea that a man should be fired from his job because he floated an idea, however unsavory, over dinner." (Politico) | Silicon Valley publications are in a tight spot with this and similar stories because "many of these publications make a significant portion of their revenue from live events and conferences that feature appearances by the big-name tech executives they cover. Some publications also rely on investments from venture capital firms that have stakes in the start-ups they cover." (NYT) | What Uber drivers make. (BuzzFeed) | U.S. Sen. Al Franken writes the company, asks whether it disciplined the blabby executive, Emil Michael. (Al Franken) | Uber's more guarded about customer data when New York's taxi commission wants it than, say, when it wants to blog about "Rides of Glory." (Capital)

  5. MailOnline will rip off Daily Mail's name

    Kidding, kidding, they're part of the same publication. MailOnline has massive traffic but profitability eludes. So it will become DailyMail.com in the U.S. to help bridge the brand gap. CEO Jon Steinberg plans to goose sales of native ads, which MailOnline reporters create. (WSJ)

  6. It's Old Newsboys Day in St. Louis

    Volunteers sell a special newspaper this morning around town to help raise money for local children's charities. Here's where you can find a newsboy: (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  7. Media orgs are obsessed with intersections

    Erik Wemple takes apart the cliché. (WP)

  8. Watch your pens around Josh Mankeiwicz

    The NBC News reporter bombs a lie detector test when asked about stealing office supplies. (NBC News)

  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare

    A Depew, New York, resident tries to tunnel out. More snow is falling. Also, the band Interpol is stuck. (Courtesy the Newseum)

    buffalonews-11202014-2 

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Anthony DeMaio is now publisher of Slate. Previously, he was president of national sales there. (Politico) | Chelsea Janes will cover the Washington Nationals for The Washington Post. She covers high school sports there. (Washington Post) | Sophia Papaioannou is now editorial director at HuffPost Greece. She hosts "360 Degrees". Nikos Agouros is now editor-in-chief of HuffPost Greece. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of VimaMen. (Huffington Post) | Steve Unger will be interim CEO at Ofcom. He is director of strategy, international technology and economy there. (The Guardian) | The Associated Press is looking for a supervisory correspondent in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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Correction: This post originally said the Post's Kindle app would cost $1 per month after a trial period. Six months' access will cost $1 after the trial period. Read more

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Why NYT journalists are essentially stuck in China

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Why New York Times journalists can’t leave China

    The country's visa backlog puts people currently stationed there "in an unenviable professional position: Should they leave their posts, they can be pretty sure at this point that their editor won’t be able to replace them." (WP) | "At a news conference in Beijing alongside President Obama, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, appeared to draw a link between unfavorable coverage and access for reporters, saying that the visa problems of news organizations were of their own making." (NYT) | NYT editorial: "A confident regime that considers itself a world leader should be able to handle truthful examination and criticism." (NYT)

  2. Washington Post appends multiple editor's notes to Zakaria columns

    David Folkenflik noticed they were up. (@davidfolkenflik). | Notes are on four of the six columns flagged by the mysterious media critics @blippoblappo and @crushingbort (1, 2, 3, 4). One didn't take a note. One article is archived. | Washington Post editorial page Editor Fred Hiatt says Zakaria "will remain on his op-ed roster." (The Daily Beast)

  3. Jeff Bezos, weaver of metaphors

    After he invested in Business Insider, the Amazon boss (and Washington Post owner) told Henry Blodget "you are just a little flame. And the flame has been kindled, and it’s in the palm of your hand, and all around you, these big winds are swirling. And if you’re not paying attention, they can snuff that flame out, immediately.” (Re/code)

  4. Chicago Tribune won't rush to replace Jane Hirt

    Its managing editor announced yesterday she would step down. (Chicago Tribune) | "No deadline has been set to name a successor." (Robert Feder)

  5. Morning shows are your home for political ads

    "The nation's marquee network morning shows — 'Good Morning America,' 'Today' and 'CBS This Morning' — attracted more U.S. Senate race-focused ads during the 2014 midterm elections than any other television programs." "GMA" showed "nearly 30,000 U.S. Senate-focused ads during the 2014 election cycle." (The Center for Public Integrity)

  6. Your Twitter experience is going to change

    The company is "exploring ways to surface relevant Tweets so the content that is interesting to you is easy to discover – whether you stay on Twitter all day or visit for a few minutes," VP of product Kevin Weil writes. (Twitter Blog) | "There’s a dilemma at the core of Twitter’s growth problem: The very features Twitter power users love about the platform — retweets, favorites and hashtags, its distinct vocabulary — are the ones that make the service so inscrutable to the newcomer." (Digiday) | Related: "Twitter said it could generate long term margins of 40 to 45 per cent – higher than the forecast for margins of 35 to 40 per cent it made during its initial public offering last year – partly because of a greater use of targeted advertising than it had predicted." (FT)

  7. Jian Ghomeshi showed the CBC a video of an injured woman

    The video, on the former CBC radio host's phone, "shows bruising to the woman’s body (she is partially covered in the video) and information provided to CBC that weekend, including text messages Ghomeshi had on his phone, refer to a 'cracked rib,'" Kevin Donovan reports. "A large bruise could be seen on the side of her body." (Toronto Star)

  8. A new job description

    "Journalism: a fancy word for the industry in which stock photos are resized." (Gawker)

  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare

    The Washington Post's Express illustrates the U.S.-China climate change deal. (Courtesy the Newseum)
    express-11132014 

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Alan English is now publisher of The (Shreveport, Louisiana) Times. Previously, he was general manager there. (Gannett) | James O'Byrne is now vice president of innovation for NOLA Media Group. Previously, he was director of state content there. Marcus Carmouche is now director of sports at NOLA Media Group. Previously, he was sports manager there. John Roach will be sports manager at NOLA Media Group. Previously, he was a sports managing producer there. Mark Lorando will direct state and metro content for NOLA.com. Previously, he was director of metro content there. (NOLA.com) | Meredith Artley is now editor-in-chief of CNN Digital. Previously, she was managing editor of CNN.com. Andrew Morse is now general manager of CNN Digital. He is senior vice president of CNN U.S. Alex Wellen is now chief product officer at CNN Digital. Previously, he was vice president of business, products, and strategy there. (Email) | Job of the day: Cox Media Group is looking for a digital content editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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Men’s Health demonstrates how not to talk about sports with anyone

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. CNN will cut 300 jobs: About 130 people have taken buyouts, and 170 more will be laid off, Brian Stelter reports. Parent Turner Broadcasting plans to lay off 1,475 people. (CNN) | “Turner said it was adding 150 employees in growth areas.” (NYT)
  2. How not to talk about sports with anyone: Men’s Health tweeted an image of a woman holding a foam finger under the legend “How to Talk about Sports with Women.” The link led to a slight Teresa Sabga story called “The Secret to Talking Sports with Any Woman.” The mag apologized on Twitter: “It missed the mark and the negative feedback is justified. We’ve deleted it.” (@MensHealthMag) | A brief selection of reactions: “is this a joke?” (@AishaS) | “hi @MensHealthMag, you don’t know me, but i run @ESPNMag’s annual analytics issue. also, i have a vagina!” (@megreenwell) | “The article (article?) itself is 100 words of non-advice.” (The Daily Dot)
  3. College rescinds George Will’s speaking engagement: Scripps College uninvited Will from speaking at the all-women school. Will wrote a stupid column about sexual assault earlier this year. “They didn’t say that the column was the reason, but it was the reason,” Will told Brad Richardson. He was due to speak at the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program, which aims to “bring speakers to campus whose political views differ from the majority of students.” (The Claremont Independent) | The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dumped Will’s column last June. “The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it,” Tony Messenger wrote. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) | An all-male cast of editors handled the column. (WP)
  4. L.A. Times says Aaron Kushner owes it millions: It stopped delivering the Orange County Register (and the now-shuttered Los Angeles Register) in L.A., telling Gustavo Arellano the Register “has, for more than a year and a half, been consistently late in paying money it owes The Times for services rendered.” (OC Weekly) | “The shame about the U.S. economy in the 2000s is that it’s been marked by a dearth of Aaron Kushners.” (Forbes)
  5. Scammers target Denver Post subscribers: “The notices offer one-year renewals to The Denver Post for the low, low price of only $489.95, which equates to 410 percent more than the actual current amount for The Post’s All Access Plus digital replica subscription and about 71 percent more than a new seven-day print subscription.” (The Denver Post) | Subscribers of several McClatchy papers, including The Sacramento Bee and the Charlotte Observer, have also been hit. (Sac Bee) | OOF: “Criminals should get -30- to life.” (@jfdulac)
  6. Amazon will help spread Washington Post content: A Kindle app, free for those who buy a certain model and paid for those who buy others, “will offer a curated selection of news and photographs from the daily newspaper in a magazine-style, tablet-friendly format.” (Bloomberg Businessweek) | “[I]f it increases the Post‘s reach (either for readers or advertisers, or both) and it doesn’t cost Amazon or Bezos too much, then it is a slam-dunk.” (Gigaom) | “Honest question: How many of you are listening to U2’s new album because Apple forced it into your iTunes library?” (@dylanbyers) | (Honest answer: I gave it many chances but still can’t recall most of the songs.) | Marginally related: Margaret Sullivan looked at whether NYT has covered Amazon v. Hachette fairly. (NYT) | FLASHBACK: Times reporter David Streitfeld on Amazon: “They don’t care if they’re liked, or even if they’re understood. That makes them challenging to write about.” (Poynter)
  7. Lessons from The New Yorker’s Web redesign: “Right on down to the font choice and page breaks, every decision we made, we first asked ourselves, ‘How will this affect whether or not people will read a story from beginning to the end?’” NewYorker.com Editor Nicholas Thompson tells John Brownlee. (Fast Company)
  8. A meh-moir: An oral history of the NYT’s Meh List. “[N]o one lived it like Mark Leibovich, who developed a sixth sense for meh.” By Samantha Henig, with additional reporting and user experience by Jon Kelly. (Poynter)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Asheville (North Carolina) Citizen-Times greets autumn, beautifully. (Courtesy the Newseum.)

    asheville-10072014 

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: 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) | Mike Grunwald will be a senior staff writer at Politico magazine. He is a senior national correspondent for Time magazine. (Playbook) | 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. (New Haven Register) | Colleen Noonan has been named vice president of marketing and creative service for the New York Daily News. Previously, she was a digital media and marketing consultant at Pitney Bowes. Melanie Schnuriger is now vice president of product development for the New York Daily News. Previously, she was general manager of fashion and beauty for Hearst Digital Media. Kristen Lee is director of digital development for the New York Daily News. Previously, she was digital integration editor there. Brad Gerick is now director of social media for the New York Daily News. He has been social media manager and regional editor for Patch.com. Zach Haberman is now deputy managing editor for digital at the New York Daily News. Previously, he was digital news editor there. Cristina Everett is now deputy managing editor for digital entertainment at the New York Daily News. Previously, she was senior digital entertainment editor there. Andy Clayton is now deputy managing editor for digital sports at the New York Daily News. Previously, he was senior online sports editor there. Christine Roberts is mobile and emerging products editor at the New York Daily News. Previously, she was an associate homepage editor there. (Email) | Job of the day: BuzzFeed is looking for a National LGBT Reporter. Get your résumés in! (BuzzFeed) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org
    Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org.

    If you want to read more about this go to http://riversidefamchiro.com

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Jason Rezaian, Yeganeh Salehi

Iran frees one journalist

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Iran frees one journalist: Yeganeh Salehi is out of jail, but her husband, Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian, remains in custody. They were arrested July 22. (WP)
  2. NBC News freelancer arrives in U.S. for Ebola treatment: Ashoka Mukpo is on his way to Omaha. (NBC News)
  3. Another view of The Washington Post under Jeff Bezos: “Only a nitwit would root against the health of the daily newspaper in the nation’s capital,” writes David Carr, who says that Executive Editor Marty Baron‘s paper “is in the middle of a great run, turning out the kind of reporting that journalists — and readers — live for.” (NYT) | The Post set a traffic record in September. (Capital) | Last week Politico wrote that the Post’s new regime had produced “no major digital innovation, no radical new product launch, no change to delivery or presentation, and no promise of any specific plans for the future.” (Politico)
  4. Turkish police fire tear gas at BBC crew: “It had been fired from no more than 10 feet away and could easily have killed anyone it hit.” (BBC News)
  5. Welcome, Bloomberg Politics: The new publication launched Sunday. Its TV show, “With All Due Respect,” bows tonight. | “On the landing page featured pieces are distinctly numbered from one to seven” — hey, wait a minute! (Politico)
  6. FCC slows review of Comcast-Time Warner merger: The agency “cites recent filings submitted by Comcast stating that its acquisition of NBCUniversal has not led to higher prices for NBC national networks and local TV stations, an outcome that runs counter to the FCC’s own analysis.” (Forbes) | “Comcast says that this pause is not necessarily a sign of trouble and that it tends to occur in large transactions.” (The Verge)
  7. British police used anti-terror laws to get newspaper’s call records: The Crown Prosecution Service asked Mail on Sunday for records about its sources for a story about Chris Huhne, a cabinet minister who tried to get out of a speeding ticket. When it refused, police used the country’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and “trawled through thousands of confidential numbers called by journalists from a landline at the busy newsdesk going back an entire year, covering hundreds of stories unrelated to the Huhne case. (Mail on Sunday)
  8. Gary Hart revisited, revisited: Boston University j-school honcho and former Miami Herald Executive Editor Tom Fiedler pushes back against a Matt Bai story that showed the Herald’s hunt for evidence of Sen. Gary Hart‘s infidelity couldn’t have been inspired by his now-famous challenge to the press. A week before the Herald article, Fiedler writes, Hart told him, “I’ve been in public life for 15 years and I think that if there was anything about my background that anybody had any information on, they would bring it forward. But they haven’t.” He also writes: “To me, the question that Bai and others raise shouldn’t be why the news media reported on Hart’s activities, but why it failed to report on FDR, JFK and LBJ.” (Politico)
  9. Matthew Rosenberg can return to Afghanistan: New Afghan president Ashraf Ghani reversed the NYT reporter’s expulsion Sunday. (NYT)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Dave Cohn will take a job at a broadcast network. Previously, he was chief content officer for Circa. (Poynter) | Chris Mooney will start an environmental blog at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a correspondent for Mother Jones. (Washington Post) | Dodai Stewart will be director of culture coverage at Fusion. Previously, she was deputy editor at Jezebel. (Jezebel) | Taffy Brodesser-Akner is now a correspondent for GQ. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York magazine and Playboy. (Email) | Jonathan Shorman will be a statehouse reporter at the Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal. Previously, he was a reporter for the Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader. (News-Leader) | David la Spina is now a photo editor for The New York Times Magazine. He has taught photography at Simon’s Rock College. Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a contributor at The New York Times Magazine. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York magazine and Playboy. Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a contributor at The New York Times Magazine. He has written for Harper’s, Wired and GQ. (New York Times Magazine) | Peter Canellos is now executive editor at Politico. Previously, he had been editorial page editor at The Boston Globe. (Politico) | Renee Rupcich is design director for Nylon and NylonGuys. Previously, she was senior art director of the Condé Nast Media Group. (Email) | Vice Media is looking for a news video editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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Why did the CDC try to embargo Ebola news?

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Why did the CDC place an embargo on Ebola news? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first case of Ebola in the U.S. Tuesday. (CDC) | The rollout didn’t follow the CDC’s schedule, though. As AP put it, “The CDC initially embargoed the announcement of the diagnosis until 4:30 p.m. CDT, but then lifted the embargo after several news organizations broke that restriction.” | NBC’s story, for instance, was first published at 4:52 p.m. ET. “Which means, by the way, unless NBC’s standards have changed dramatically recently, which I doubt, that someone at the CDC went on the record about this before the ‘embargo’ lifted,” Ivan Oransky writes. He also notes another problem with the press release: “When you put ‘For Immediate Release’ and ‘Embargoed’ on the same press release about @#$% Ebola, you get the blame for the broken embargo.” (Embargo Watch) | In 2007, Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg got a scoop based on info he got independently and other news orgs had agreed to embargo. (Slate)
  2. Gary Shelton leaves the Tampa Bay Times: The longtime sports columnist “has been the Times’ voice throughout Tampa Bay’s greatest Sports generation.” (Tampa Bay Times) | Peter Schorsch has other names of people who he says are taking buyouts at the newspaper, which Poynter owns. (SaintPetersBlog) | The newspaper announced a cut in staff pay and hinted that layoffs may follow a round of planned buyouts. (Poynter)
  3. Feds settle with Washington Times: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will reimburse the newspaper and former Times reporter Audrey Hudson for some of their legal costs after an agent from the Coast Guard Investigative Service seized her notes while searching her house for “registered firearms and a potato launcher supposedly belonging to Ms. Hudson’s husband.” (The Washington Times) | Alex Pappas wrote about the raid last year. (The Daily Caller)
  4. Graham era officially ends at Washington Post: Katharine Weymouth‘s last day as Post publisher was yesterday. (WP) | Her last masthead. (@jfdulac) | Welcome to work, Fred Ryan! Here’s an article in the publication you used to run that says Jeff Bezos has no discernible plan for the paper. Also, Jack Shafer calls you a “Washington spearchucker who will throw the spears Bezos hands him.” (Politico)
  5. Chinese censors can’t keep up with pro-democracy gestures online: But “Most analysts agree that China’s government will most likely succeed in keeping most of its citizens in the dark, and early signs suggest there will be little tolerance for those who defy the censors.” (NYT)
  6. St. Louis indie journalist’s car robbed after his arrest: When cops arrested Bassem Masri for traffic warrants, they didn’t lock his car. “[M]y clothes, my iPad, my equipment, everything got stolen,” Masri tells Ray Downs. He used the equipment to live-stream from Ferguson protests and is trying to raise money to replace his stuff. (Riverfront Times)
  7. Back when racism was OK in sportswriting: Richard Horgan digs up a lede from a 1954 Daily News World Series gamer by Dick Young about a “Chinese homer.” Ugh: “Ming Toy Rhodes, sometimes called Dusty by his Occidental friends, was the honorable person who, as pinch hitter, delivered a miserable bundle of wet wash to the first row in right field in Polo Grounds some 258 1/2 feet down the block from the laundry.” (FishbowlNY)
  8. Does freelancers’ insurance have a place in a post-Obamacare world?: Sarah Laskow looks at how New York’s Freelancers Union has evolved, from a source of health insurance, to its own insurance company, to the proprietor of clinics. (Capital)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: Berlin’s Die Tageszeitung fronts a poignant illustration about the Hong Kong protests. (Courtesy the Newseum.)

    DieTageszeitung_10012014 

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Tamar Adler is now a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. Previously, she was an editor at Harper’s. (The New York Times) | Joanna Coles is now editorial director of Seventeen magazine. She is editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. (AdWeek) | Kris Van Cleave is now a correspondent for CBS Newspath. Previously, he was a reporter and anchor at WJLA. (CBS News) | Chris Cristi is now an evening helicopter reporter at KNBC in Los Angeles. Previously, he was a freelance helicopter reporter for KCB. (TV Spy) | Nerina Rammairone is now deputy editor at TV Guide Magazine. Previously, she was a senior editor there. (Mediabistro) | Michael Fabiano will be director of local broadcast markets for The Associated Press. Previously, he was chief operating officer at Locate Real Estate. (Associated Press) | Job of the day: Gawker is hiring a “Growth Hacker.” Get your résumés in! (Gawker) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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Earns Gannett

Gannett spins off, Murdoch and Time Warner square off

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Gannett will split publishing, broadcast assets: Its acquistion of broadcast companies and the 73 percent of Cars.com it didn’t own make this “the right time for a separation,” CEO Gracia Martore says in a statement. Robert J. Dickey will run the publishing company, which be called Gannett and will hold USA Today and 81 dailies, plus the U.K.’s Newsquest. (Poynter) | Just yesterday, Ken Doctor asked whether Gannett would be the next big media company to split its assets. (Nieman) | Rick Edmonds explained the rash of splits last week. Newspaper groups can “theoretically do better with management whose exclusive focus is on the particular challenges of that industry,” he wrote. (Poynter)
  2. Let us now observe Rupert Murdoch’s mating dance: Time Warner’s “unyielding stance has at least some analysts wondering if an acquisition really is inevitable,” Jonathan Mahler writes. The company is “trying to stir up doubts about the prospects of a combined entity, underscoring the potential for regulatory concerns and playing up the possibility of a culture clash between the generally liberal, purely public Time Warner, and the conservative, essentially family-run Fox.” (NYT) | Both companies announce earnings tomorrow. | Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox “is expected to make an aggressive case for merging with Time Warner Inc during its quarterly earnings call,” Jennifer Saba writes. Time Warner “will be on the hook to explain why it is better off going solo.” (Reuters) | Viacom, CBS and Disney also announce earnings this week. “All major media companies reporting this week are expected to show some weakness in their advertising business,” Amol Sharma writes. (WSJ)
  3. Mobile traffic dropped 8.5 percent during Facebook outage: And desktop traffic increased 3.5 percent. “While we certainly can’t claim that the outage was the cause of that uptick in desktop traffic, the timing is certainly notable,” Josh Schwartz writes, saying there was a “9% increase in homepage direct traffic on sites with loyal homepage followings.” (Chartbeat) | “Four takeaways from Facebook’s outage for publishers” (The Media Briefing) | Vaguely related: Google News launches a center for publishers. Here’s how it says to get the most out of it. (Google)
  4. The newspaper in the “middle” of the Gaza war: Haaretz “has the most potential for bridging across biases and political barriers” in coverage of the conflict, Gilad Lotan writes. (Medium) | “Unfortunately, Ha’aretz is struggling, squeezed both by the general decline of print newspapers and the growing rightward tilt of Israeli opinion.” (Quartz)
  5. Journalism Diversity Project relaunches: A list of journalists for bosses who say they can’t find qualified minority applicants. “Who makes the list? People of color, committing acts of journalism, and pushing the craft forward in the digital age.” (Journalism Diversity Project) | BACK IN 2011: “How a Twitter chat led to an online minority talent bank” (Poynter)
  6. The Washington Post announced its sale to Jeff Bezos a year ago today: Former owner Don Graham “has had a big burden lifted off him and he is very focused on looking forward and not back,” Slate chairman Jacob Weisberg tells Christine Haughney. (NYT) | FLASHBACK: Here’s audio of Graham’s announcement to Post staffers. (Poynter)
  7. Anchor faces charges: KTXL anchor Sabrina Rodriguez was charged with stealing wallets at a Coach store in Folsom, California. (Sacramento Bee) | “Her fiancé is behind bars on drug and arson charges.” (CBS Sacramento) | Rodriguez has taken leave. (KTXL)
  8. Leave James Risen alone: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Committee to Protect Journalists back a petition supporting the New York Times reporter. (CJR)
  9. “Selfie” and “bromance” will get the headlines: But true Scrabble players know the real news is that the Scrabble dictionary now has four new two-letter words. (AP)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Hatzel Vela will be a reporter for WPLG in Miami. Formerly, he was a reporter with WJLA in the Washington, D.C. area. Nina Judar will be beauty director for More magazine. Formerly, she was beauty director for Good Housekeeping. (Meredith Corporation) | Jessica Torres will be deputy editor of Siempre Mujer. Formerly, she was lifestyle editor there. (Meredith Corporation) | Eric Ulken will be executive director for digital strategy for Interstate General Media. Currently, he is product director at Seattletimes.com. (Philly.com) | Jeff Bergin has been named vice president of vertical strategy at Hearst Newspapers. Previously, he was senior vice president of advertising sales at the San Francisco Chronicle. (Hearst.com) | Mark Ellis has been named senior vice president of corporate sales for Time Inc. Previously, he was vice president of North American sales at Yahoo. (Time Inc.) | Kelly Cobiella has been named London correspondent for NBC News. Previously, she’d been a correspondent for both ABC News and CBS News. (TV Newser) | Job of the day: Mozilla is looking for freelance tech reporters for Mozilla Voices. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org.

Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Jessica Torres will be deputy beauty director of Siempre Mujer. In fact, she will be deputy editor. Read more

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Former Washington Post owner offers art collection to employees

The Washington Post

Graham Holdings Company will sell its art collection at reduced prices to Washington Post employees, Philip Kennicott reports. Graham Holdings is the new name of the company that sold the Post to Jeff Bezos last year.

Proceeds from the sale will go to TheDream.US, “a scholarship fund founded by Donald Graham to help undocumented students,” Kennicott writes.

Graham Holdings is moving out of the Washington Post building next month to a space with “very few walls,” GraHoCo spokesperson Rima Calderon tells Kennicott.

The collection “is much like the family: Unflashy and deeply local in its focus,” Kennicott writes.

Artists associated with the Washington Color school—Sam Gilliam, Jacob Kainen, Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, among others—are well represented, as are national figures such as Alex Katz, whose work was originally in the Newsweek corporate collection in New York. When the Washington Post sold Newsweek in 2010 (for $1), the art was not included in the sale. Now those pieces are some of the most valuable on offer.

Graham Holdings recently moved deeper into the home-healthcare and hospice business with its acquisition of a majority share in Residential Healthcare Group. It owns Celtic Healthcare, which also provides homecare and hospice services. And it still owns some media properties, including Slate and Foreign Policy. Read more

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The Day in Digital: Inside the New York Times CMS and the impending Amazon phone

Content management systems are so in this season. Luke Vnenchak has a fascinating look inside Scoop, The New York Times’s “homegrown digital and (soon-to-be) print CMS.”

Jeff Bezos is expected to announce an Amazon smartphone today. How can the company compete with Apple, Android and Samsung? Quartz’s Dan Frommer has some thoughts on the strategy.

The Atlantic’s in good shape, for lots of reasons. Here’s another one, from a Jeff Sonderman tweet during American Press Institute’s summit on video:

Media critics weren’t critical enough of Aaron Kushner’s print-centric strategy at the Orange County Register, Clay Shirky writes, helping to poison the minds of young people who need to understand that print is in a death spiral from which it can’t recover.

“Do you really need another app for sharing photos and videos with your friends?” Ina Fried asks at Re/code as Facebook releases its new Snapchat competitor, Slingshot.

At PBS MediaShift, Dorian Benkoil explores efforts by Chartbeat, Upworthy, the Financial Times and more to measure “what advertisers and publishers really want — people actually paying attention.”

Yahoo revealed its worldwide workplace diversity. Employees are overwhelmingly white and Asian, and 62 percent male.


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David Streitfeld on Amazon: ‘They don’t care if they’re liked’

Around 1998, David Streitfeld gave Jeff Bezos a quick tour of The Washington Post. It really wasn’t a big deal.

“It was a newspaper,” Streitfeld told Poynter. “There wasn’t much to see.”

David Streitfeld looks through books in his basement. (Submitted photo.)

After he ushered Bezos around the newsroom, the two attended a lunch with editors of the Post.

“The editors there thought Amazon was cute, interesting, a frill — not something transformative,” Streitfeld said. “The notion that the Post would one day be owned by the guy with the goofy laugh sitting in front of them was literally inconceivable.”

Streitfeld, though, already knew that Amazon had that potential to be transformative, at least for the publishing industry. He covered the book beat for the Post at the time (in that role, he identified Joe Klein as the author of “Primary Colors”) and discovered Amazon early in his reporting. Then, Streitfeld, who is now a New York Times technology reporter as well as a book lover and collector, saw possibility in a company taking the selling of books into a digital space.

“I was so immersed in that world I saw larger consequences,” he said.

Sixteen years later, Streitfeld broke news about that once-cute company and its negotiation tactics on a major publisher, its authors and their books. Read more

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