November 2, 2016

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The New York Times is offering “Election Night Live” (as opposed to “Election Night Dead?”) to those who pony up $250 for a visit to the paper Tuesday evening.

Top editors and reporters will tear themselves away from what is normally as hectic a night as you’ll find in a major newsroom to illuminate matters — and turn a buck for the company.

They will include Executive Editor Dean Baquet, Senior Political Editor Carolyn Ryan, Editorial Page Director James Bennet, columnists Frank Bruni and Maureen Dowd, reporters Maggie Haberman, Michael Barbaro, Yamiche Alcindor, Nicholas Confessore and Jim Rutenberg.

Discussion topics will include “The Angry and Disenfranchised” (who probably won’t be in attendance), “Election Day 2016: How Did We Get Here?” and “The First 100 Days.”

“All guests are invited to our Election Returns Party at The Times Center as the final election results unfold with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.” Perhaps if you’re really solicitous, you can convince them to let you hover over the traditional scrum of editors as they massage a reporter’s lede on the primary news story after deciding when to call the race.

If this doesn’t float your boat, and you prefer to stay home that night with your TV remote, you can inquire about “Times Journeys” namely the paper’s “small group tours and cruises.”

From $6,595 there’s “Hiking the Pilgrims’ Footsteps at El Camino de Santiago” (11 days, limited to 20 guests) with Times reporter Jim Dwyer; “A Hike Around Mont Blanc” with former correspondent Christopher Wren (9 days, from $6,295); “The Canyons of the Southwest, in Deep and in Depth” with reporter Jim Robbins (8 days, 16 guests, from $5,295) and “Galapagos: Evolution in Action” with reporter Dennis Overbye (11 days, 15 guests, from $6,595).

The Times won’t survive and thrive as a result of treks to the Galapagos and massages at elite hotels on South Pacific islands. It will make it with actual journalism experiments like “The Daily 360,” or “immersive videos” drawn from actual news, “allowing you to look left, right, up, down and behind you.”

Those were introduced yesterday with a tale from conflict-ravaged Yemen, with images from Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Tyler Hicks. (Daily 360)

The smart folks at the paper surely know that’s the way to go, even as they schmooze readers and advertisers over cocktails on election night or hike to the shrine of the apostle St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, “from $6,595.”

A horribly botched deal

If corporate boards had spine, they’d rise up over the ineptitude displayed as Gannett and Tronc fenced over an arguably needed Gannett takeover. Ultimately, bankers balked at a price that was too high, Gannett walked and they each came away looking poorly.

“Trick or Tronc: Former Tribune Company plummets after Gannett bails from merger.” (Forbes)

As Bloomberg puts it, “Tronc Inc. Chairman Michael Ferro played hardball with Gannett Co. and in the end, all shareholders got was a lousy name change. Over the past six months, Ferro frustrated investors by throwing up roadblock after roadblock to a deal with the owner of USA Today. From implementing a poison pill to doling out equity to a business associate to abandoning the esteemed Tribune Publishing name in favor of something that sounds like a person blowing their nose, it seemed no tactic was off limits.”

The Wall Street Journal is no less critical. “For shareholders in Tronc, a $15-a-share all-cash deal looks pretty good right about now. That was the amount Gannett offered back in May when it made its second attempt to get the company, formerly known as Tribune Publishing, to agree to a deal. After Gannett said Tuesday it is ending its discussions to buy Tronc, shares of the owner of Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times slid 12.4% to $10.54 a share. They have fallen 38% since a report Oct. 27 that some banks financing the potential takeover had dropped out.”

What will Hulu hawk?

“Hulu announced that Disney and 21st Century Fox — the two companies that jointly operate Hulu — will have channels from Disney and 21st Century Fox in the new subscription service they plan to launch next year. That’s not news — that’s just stating the obvious, in a press release.” (Recode)

“The real news” will be what Disney and Fox channels will be offered at what price. Peter Kafka says “that both Fox and Disney will include some of their most essential channels — ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Fox News, Disney, etc. — in the base Hulu package, and then provide some of the others as add-ons.” That base figures to be around $40 a month.

A question for Trump reporters

Here’s a question for Trump beat reporters to ask: “Donald, you ever pay the $800,000 a court ordered as a result of your vindictive lawsuit against a Trump University plaintiff?”

Tarla Makaeff was the named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit brought against him and the school, claiming he’d defrauded many via bogus promises of making money in real estate. He countersued her for defamation, but that brought a judge’s ruling that he’s violated a so-called anti-SLAPP statute that aims to penalize the wealthy for gratuitously seeking to silence critics.

So, has he ever paid her attorney fees and costs? His lawyer, Alan Garten, didn’t respond. Rachel Jensen and Amber Eck, San Diego attorneys for the plaintiffs, took a pass by refusing comment.


“Not all Donald Trump supporters are white supremacists, but all white supremacists appear to be Donald Trump supporters. The Ku Klux Klan gave their blessing, officially endorsing Donald Trump on the front page of their latest newspaper edition.” (Daily Kos) Meanwhile, as for the top 100 circulation papers, Clinton has 56 endorsements, Gary Johnson has three and Trump has one.

Is Periscope doomed?

Periscope’s been a hot item on the campaign trail. But will it be around the next campaign?

“Just three years ago, Vine appeared to be a central player in the future of ‘snackable content.'” (Adweek) But Twitter shut down the video app last week,while Vine’s founder on Monday started Hype, another live video app meant to challenge Periscope.

“That Vine’s creators are going directly at what might be a vulnerable area for Twitter — namely, Periscope — is intriguing. What’s more, recent events beg the question: Can Periscope soar for Twitter, or is it doomed to the same fate as Vine?”

Chop, chop, chop

“Thomson Reuters Corp. is eliminating 2,000 jobs worldwide as the news and information provider restructures to focus on growth areas like its risk and legal units.” (Bloomberg) It’s got 50,000 employees, so that’s 4 percent.

Rupert Murdoch must love the Cubs-Indians World Series

“Cubs-Indians Are the Biggest World Series Draw in a Dozen Years.” (Ad Age) And I am the reason why!

“As is to be expected with baseball, older males account for the biggest slice of the World Series’ demographic pie. Per Nielsen, the first five games of this year’s MLB showcase delivered a 12.9 rating among men age 50 years and up, trailing only the 2009 Phillies-Yankees series (13.0) for dominance in the Cialis demo. That said, Fox is seeing a significant uptick in younger males, averaging a seven-year-high 4.9 rating among men 18 to 34, up 36% compared to last season’s Mets-Royals series (3.6).”

“Vice News Tonight”

The challenge to the old guys on NBC, CBS and ABC that’s on HBO opened conventionally last evening with a fairly ho-hum, gun control-focused Tim Kaine profile.

There was an opus on allegations of voter intimidation in Philadelphia and then a pretty naive one on Trump appealing to organized labor, as if many rank-and-file unionists haven’t been solidly Republican for a long time since the Reagan-era “Reagan Democrats” (despite their leaders’ own frequent Democratic endorsements).

It was way stronger on what early on is a clear strength versus the well-watched iconic competition: thoughtfully covering the world outside the U.S. There were solid efforts on the ongoing battle for Mosul, Iraq; a rebel counteroffensive in western Aleppo, Syria and the task of identifying the dead; and a look at the state of nuclear power in Japan and why they’re not harnessing and using using a plentiful and renewable source, namely geothermal energy. But Vice is clearly grappling with how not to cover “what everybody’s talking about,” notably the campaign, even if it can’t necessarily add a ton of insight there.

The morning babble interrupted!

CNN’s “New Day” was heavy with campaign news. Co-host Chris Cuomo said it’s a “war of attrition, who is less bad,” with Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast calling it “a race to the bottom as far as favorability.”

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough, born-again Trump critic, was mocking journalism “lemmings” who mocked him for mocking them for saying Trump had a “ceiling” he couldn’t get above. Got it? Still, he concedes it’s a very steep climb.

As for “Fox & Friends,” there were potty mouthed infants, grandpas dropping their pants and a child outraged at getting a book, not a toy, for Christmas. Huh? Perhaps it was a Freudian slip by DirecTV, but Fox was supplanted on Channel 360 this morning by British-produced “Rude Tube” via Fusion TV.

Return to Channel 202 and CNN and one learned from DirecTV, “We are experiencing temporary technical difficulties. Please stand by. We apologize for the inconvenience.” Click back to Fox but same deal.

Well, don’t apologize, guys. Maybe it was Russian hackers. Whatever. It was off to ESPN highlights of the Cubs win last night, setting up Game 7 in Cleveland tonight. We’ll surely see more of Bill Murray who, “Vice News Tonight” also noted, has been caught on Fox’s broadcast of the World Series, cheering on the Cubs, for far longer than he was on-screen in the latest “Ghostbusters.”

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New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S.…
James Warren

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