Los Angeles Times


Tribune Publishing pleads its case with investors; share price falls further

Tribune Publishing hosted a brief “investor update” call Tuesday, making more explicit its earlier statements that the Los Angeles Times was under-performing financially and dragging down company-wide results.

The market remains skeptical that Tribune Publishing’s house is in order — shares were down another 5.5 percent for the day at close Tuesday, a decline of more than 22 percent so far this week.

CFO Sandra Martin opened the call saying newly installed publisher Tim Ryan had “recast” revenue and expense predictions for the balance of the year, determining that the revenue forecast was over optimistic and estimates of likely savings were wrong.

Publisher Austin Beutner, fired two weeks ago, was not mentioned by name.  However, CEO Jack Griffin said that the decision to replace him with Ryan, who had been publisher of the Baltimore Sun since 2007, was “highly considered” by the company’s board of directors. Read more

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Tribune Publishing shares plummet 20 percent after company adjusts its 2015 forecast downward

Tribune Publishing shares were down more than 20 percent in midday trading on Monday after the company pulled back from an earlier forecast for revenues and earnings — and largely blamed its Southern California papers for the problem.

In an unusual press release issued after markets had closed Friday, the company said EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) for the year will probably be about 13 percent lower than it had said in August.

The release goes on to quote CFO Sandra F. Martin as saying:

Revised guidance reflects lower forecasted revenue estimates for the year, concentrated in Southern California. Expense mitigation efforts partially offset this decline, but are expected to be unfavorably impacted by the delay of implementation of these efforts, principally in Southern California.

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The L.A. Times had some fun with social cards at last night’s debate

After the last GOP debate, we spoke with The Washington Post about its decision to use social cards to illustrate some notable zingers from the candidates. Last night, the Los Angeles Times brought its own social card game to Twitter.

Alexandra Manzano, director of audience engagement, said the Times hoped to do these during the last debate but didn’t get them together in time. Before last night’s debate, they collected drawings of the debaters from editorial cartoonist David Horsey. Horsey was also at the debate live-sketching and tweeting.

The idea, Manzano said, was “how can we create content that was made for social rather than just pushing traditional content to social?”

Here’s a sampling:

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On Wednesday night, the Times mostly focused its social efforts on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Read more


L.A. Times op-ed on online corrections: ‘There’s a stunning lack of transparency’

Los Angeles Times

On Tuesday, former Circa Editor-in-Chief Anthony De Rosa wrote about the problems of making post-publication changes, and not noting those changes, in digital journalism. Even if corrections are added, De Rosa wrote, there’s often no substance.

Rarely do corrections or clarifications carry any kind of explanation: how the reporter got the wrong vote count for an important bill; why the editor decided that the penultimate paragraph wasn’t really necessary. There’s a stunning lack of transparency.

De Rosa also offers a few things that would help readers keep up with corrections, including a track changes button and a follow function that would notify readers who’ve signed up for notifications of any changes made.

Last May, Craig Silverman (now BuzzFeed Canada’s editor in chief) led a News University Webinar on corrections called “Online and Social Media Corrections: When, Why and How.”

Screen shot, News University

Screen shot, News University

Silverman spoke about writing corrections, creating a corrections policy and he included some best practices for social media. Read more

Louise Brown walks down King Street during a Black Lives Matter march, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The event honored the Emanuel AME Church shooting victims. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

The ‘Black Twitter’ beat raises questions of cultural competency and audience engagement for newsrooms

In her memo to Los Angeles Times staff about new hires and coverage strategies designed to tap into diverse communities, managing editor S. Mitra Kalita included a tweet-worthy phrase about the hire of Dexter Thomas, a writer assigned to cover Black Twitter: it really is “so much more complicated than that.”

It’s a phrase that should give newsroom leaders pause before they reconfigure their social media and audience engagement strategies without considering the historical context and demographic trends that underpin such a decision. There’s no portal to Black Twitter. No special password. The phenomenon is people-centric, with highly active Black users tweeting about issues of concern in our communities — just like many of Twitter’s other 236 millions users.

Some online reaction to the Times memo reflected concerns of corporate media surveillance. Read more


Los Angeles Times has added a reporter to cover Black Twitter

Los Angeles Times Managing Editor S. Mitra Kalita announced in a memo to staff on Monday that the Times has added a reporter to cover Black Twitter.

Dexter Thomas joins us today to cover Black Twitter (which really is so much more complicated than that). He will work closely with the newsroom and #EmergingUS to find communities online (Black Medium to Latino Tumblr to Line in Japan) and both create stories with and pull stories from those worlds. Dexter is from San Bernardino and is a doctoral candidate in East Asian studies at Cornell University. He has taught media studies and Japanese and is writing a book about Japanese hip-hop. He began working in digital media at UC Riverside as a student director of programming at KUCR-FM (88.3), independently producing podcasts, music and news programs.

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5 things John Carroll taught me about great investigative projects

John Carroll speaking in this 2003 file photo. At middle is Todd Merriman, who was the senior editor/news of The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Kathleen Carroll, right, executive editor of The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

John Carroll speaking in this 2003 file photo. At middle is Todd Merriman, who was the senior editor/news of The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Kathleen Carroll, right, executive editor of The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

When John Carroll visited me and Poynter in January 2013, he was a trim, vigorous retiree in his early 70s. So the news Sunday morning that he had died of a degenerative brain disease, diagnosed earlier this year, hit me hard.

On reflection, among many generous mentors, John may have been the most important to me. As the obituaries noted, he had uncanny skill at commissioning and editing big investigative projects, which won multiple Pulitzers for four different newspapers.

I don’t know that John ever gave a full “how-to” account of his approach, but here are five principles that stuck with me gleaned from the time I worked for him at the Philadelphia Inquirer and conversations later in our careers. Read more

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Angel Rodriguez moved from digital to print and now uses both skills at the L.A. Times

The cover of Sunday's Los Angeles Times sports section, courtesy Los Angeles Times

The cover of Sunday’s Los Angeles Times sports section, courtesy Los Angeles Times

About a month ago, the sports department at the Los Angeles Times was fully-staffed, ready for a day that included a horse race, a basketball game and a boxing match.

“It looked like a Tuesday,” said Angel Rodriguez, sports editor. By 3 p.m., the Times’ coverage of the Kentucky Derby began. At 5 p.m., the Los Angeles Clippers started playing the San Antonio Spurs in game seven of the NBA Playoffs. By 9 p.m., Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquio started their fight.

By midnight on Sunday, the L.A. Times sports pages had 7 million pageviews and 2 million unique visitors — a daily traffic record for the sports department.

Rodriguez doesn’t take credit for the record-breaking traffic. Read more

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‘Investigative reporting is obviously alive and well’ and other observations from first-time Pulitzer jurors

Pulitzer Medals. (Photo from Columbia University)

Pulitzer Medals. (Photo from Columbia University)

This year, several first-time Pulitzer Prize jurors came from online news organizations and platforms, including Quartz, Twitter, Trove, The Marshall Project and The Texas Tribune. I spoke with three of them about their experiences judging the Pulitzers. They can’t talk in specifics about entries, but they did talk about what the Pulitzers say about journalism, the role of social media and what they’d like to see next.

1. On what makes for powerful work and where that work is coming from:

“I think the winners this year validate the fact that important, game-changing journalism is being produced regardless of the medium, and that newspapers — even those facing dwindling resources — are continuing to emphasize the most important kind of reporting, work that exposes injustice,” said Emily Ramshaw, editor of The Texas Tribune. Read more

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Career Beat: S. Mitra Kalita joins the Los Angeles Times

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

  • S. Mitra Kalita will be managing editor for editorial strategy at the Los Angeles Times. She is executive editor-at-large at Quartz and an adjunct faculty member at Poynter. (Poynter)
  • Matt Saal will be executive producer at Bloomberg TV. He is an executive producer at MSNBC. (Email)
  • Mike Bruno is now senior vice president of digital content at Billboard. Previously, he was vice president of digital content there. (Email)

Job of the day: BBC News is looking for a news writer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more

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