Recent Event Highlights: [Guardian] Subs depart from Brighton Argus, [Guardian] 'Newsquest makes a lot of money' boasts Gannett finance chief, [J.co.uk] Planned closure of Birmingham Press and Free Press puts 12 jobs at risk, [Paper Cuts - US] The State: 5, [E&P - US] Newest Tribune Reorganization Plan Gets All the Big Boys On Board. Uh, Not You, Junior, [J.co.uk] Media Release: BBC axes deputy director general post and Mark Byford, and 216 more...
Created by Journalismcouk on Aug 2, 2010
Last updated: 10/19/10 at 04:15 PM
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Owner: The McClatchy Co.
Effective: Oct. 12, 2010
About five newsroom employees were laid off on Oct. 11 and 12. Can you help with the details? Leave a comment or e-mail me at email@example.com. E-mailed tips are anonymous.
Source: Paper Cuts tip
The Chicago Tribune is holding an American Idol-esque contest - for its Sunday comics.Editor & Publisher reports that for the last several months, the Chicago Tribune has run a Comics Carousel in its Sunday comics pages. What is a Comics...
So the great IPC yard sale continues, with titles flying around the country to a variety of smaller publishers. This was obviously Sylvia Auton’s mission on her return from the states, but although we can see the results, we don’t yet have an idea of the overall strategic picture. Are IPC hoping to become leaner, [...]
Owner: The McClatchy Co.
Effective: Oct. 15, 2010
Twenty-nine employees, including the sports editor, two photographers, an artist and a newsroom assistant, accepted buyout offers or were laid off. “The challenges continue to be in the economy,” president and publisher Cheryl Dell said in a memo “We are going to move forward and in order to do that we need to position ourselves so that when this recovery does happen we’re in a position to respond.”
Source: Sacramento Business Journal via Paper Cuts tip
Owner: Gannett Co. Inc.
Effective: Sept. 19, 2010
Printing has been outsourced to a Gannett facility in San Jose, Calif. Nine full-time and six part-time employees were laid off.
Source: The Salinas Californian via Gannett Blog
Owner: Lee Enterprises
Effective: Sept. 27, 2010
Illinois statehouse reporter Mike Riopell was laid off a month before the general election.
Can you help with the details? Leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailed tips are anonymous.
Source: Peoria Pundit
Thanks to The Guild Reporter for alerting us to the case of Wang v. Chinese Daily News, a not-so-routine class-action lawsuit in which the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that reporters at the Los Angeles Chinese-langugae paper were entitled to overtime pay. The paper's owners had argued, as newspapers do, that its journalists had jobs that demanded creativity, imagination, etc. -- all the standards that make a worker exempt from overtime.
Nonsense, the three-judge panel ruled: “CDN articles may be characterized as ‘standard recounts of public information [created] by gathering facts on routine community events."
Hmm, sounds like a lot of community papers out there. That's what the Newspaper Guild's General Counsel Barbara Camens thinks, too. "This is a great precedent for us,” she tells the Guild Reporter. It "confirms," she adds, that most reporters at small and mid-sized papers are covered by the federal wage and hour law. Read more at E&P's home site.
From Journalism.co.uk: RBI is to close specialist beauty industry title Health and Beauty Salon. RBI said “difficult trading conditions” and falling advertising revenues were behind the decision, which will see the last issue of the monthly title published on 28 October.
Closure will result in loss of two editorial positions and one sales position
Owner: Morris Communications
Effective: Sept. 22, 2010
Twenty-six employees, including eight from the newsroom, were laid off. Publisher Lucy Talley said the layoffs were made in conjunction with budget planning for 2011.
Source: The Florida Times-Union via Paper Cuts tips
Further to my postings here and here, more news of IPC Media magazine sales.The company is reported, by Media Week, to be finalising the sale of three specialist magazine brands to publisher Chelsea Magazines.They are World Soccer (which had an average circulation of 40,000 in 2009), Racecar Engineering (which claims to be the world's leading technology publication for motorsport) and Classic Boat (which had an average circulation of 12,000 last year).News of the sell-offs, which may involve as many 28 magazines, was preceded by the announcement that IPC's chief executive for just 20 months, Evelyn Webster, is stepping down to be replaced by IPC's former chief executive Sylvia Auton.IPC MediaMagazinesMedia businessMedia downturnRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Owner: MediaNews Group
Effective: Oct. 18, 2010
Printing will be outsourced to a Bay Area Newspaper Group plant in Concord, Calif.; “approximately” 30 employees will be laid off. The paper’s contract to print 80,000 copies of USA Today also will soon end. Independent Journal publisher Matthew F. Wilson said the move would save the paper hundreds of thousands of dollars and allow the paper to print 40 full-color pages.
Source: Editor & Publisher
Owner: The McClatchy Co.
Effective: Sept. 22, 2010
Twenty positions were eliminated through layoffs and attrition. Publisher Ann Caulkins said no newsroom employees were laid off. All full-time employees will be required to take a weeklong unpaid furlough by the end of the year.
Can you help with the details? Leave a comment or e-mail me at email@example.com. E-mailed tips are anonymous.
Source: Charlotte Observer via Paper Cuts tips
Orkney Today, a weekly paper launched seven years ago, is to close in December.The publisher, Orkney Media Group (OMG), announced the closure in a posting on the paper's website, explaining that it was due to falling advertising and circulation revenue.It said: "The company has reluctantly concluded that the newspaper is non-viable following unsustainable drops in advertising revenue and circulation over a number of years."Orkney Today was launched in October 2003 by a local businessman and taken over by OMG in 2007, which already published the 150-year-old rival title, The Orcadian.Orkney Today's sale averaged 4,797 during the first half of the year, down by 9.7% on the previous year. The Orcadian fared better with a weekly sale of 9,297, down 2.5% year on year.Sources: holdthefrontpage/Press GazetteRegional & local newspapersScotlandMedia downturnMedia businessNewspapersRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Now that's a headline I didn't expect to write. For so long Japanese newspapers appeared to be immune to the difficulties faced by the printed press in other advanced economies.But the situation has changed, due to a 42% decline in advertising spending over the past decade, which has been exacerbated by the global downturn that has hammered the Japanese economy. The shrinking revenues coincide with a scramble by Japanese publishers to make their online editions profitable and attract a new generation of readers in an ageing society."Newspapers are seeing a crisis coming," says Shinji Oi, a professor at Nihon University. "Japan has yet to see the major newspaper bankruptcies and financial troubles that we have seen in the West. But newspapers' business fundamentals are definitely deteriorating."Overall circulation has slipped by only 6% in the 10 years to 2009, with the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper boasting the world's biggest sale of more than 10m copies a day.Newspapers also remain the preferred source of news in Japan, with total circulation standing at a robust 50.4m daily sales in 2009.With home-delivery subscription strong, armies of sales staff are always on the lookout for potential new subscribers, offering inducments to new customers such as laundry detergent or tickets to sports games.Demand for fresh news is met with constantly updated editions throughout the day, with so-called "yomawari" (night watch) reporters doorstepping senior figures until the early hours to generate fresh headlines for their morning editions.But an apparent failure to capture a younger generation that has grown up with the internet and the concept of free, up-to-the-minute news could prove costly in a greying society.A survey by the Japan Press Research Institute found that most people under 40 regard an average £25 monthly newspaper subscription fee as too expensive.Meanwhile, according to Takaaki Hattori, a media law professor at Rikkyo University, a perceived deterioration of quality in pursuit of sensationalism has disappointed readers.He said that serious journalism was costly and Japanese media had sought to cut editorial spending at the expense of quality reporting (now where have I heard that before?)And here is yet another similarity with the situation in Britain and the US - the charging-for-content dilemma. Major Japanese newspapers have shied away from establishing full-blown net editions due to reader resistance to pay for news.Though most publishers have adopted a wait-and-see approach to devices such as the iPad some titles, such as the Nikkei business daily and the Sankei Shimbun have launched apps.At the vanguard is the Nikkei, which became the first major Japanese paper to launch a full-scale online edition, featuring free and paid-content sections with stories and analysis.Since its launch in late March, it has acquired roughly 440,000 subscribers, including some 70,000 paid readers by July. But the readership is only a fraction of the print edition's 3m circulation.Source: AFPNewspapersJapanMedia downturnAdvertisingDigital mediaCharging for contentGreenslade on AsiaRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Japan's newspapers, thus far healthier than their western counterparts, are now heading towards crisis, the Agence France-Presse reported. Although the country boasts the world's top selling daily, the Yomiuri Shimbun with 10 million copies a day, and newspapers remain the...
From a correspondent in Bath. PC Answers is being unplugged. “Farewell to Future’s last publication that was actually of any use to computing beginners; PCA was unafraid to recommend newbies try Free/Open Source software as viable alternatives – the non-tech-savvy are now abandoned to official Windows publications, a sterile environment where the iPod is pronounced [...]
All employees at Canadian newspaper the National Post have been offered buyouts as part of a cost-cutting drive, according to reports.
Parent company Postmedia Network has implemented similar measures at the Post’s sister titles.
Full story on the Globe and Mail at this link…Similar Posts:
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MEN: Manchester Evening News launches iPhone news app
One of America's most famous newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer, is to be auctioned off. It follows the collapse of a $139m (£107m) takeover bid for the title and its tabloid stablemate, the Daily Post. The papers' fate will now be decided on 23 September when a cash auction will be held. They have been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since February 2009. A consortium that included an investment firm and a banking group had hoped to buy the papers, but the deal was conditional on reaching various agreements with 16 unions, and it was scuttled by a dispute with drivers over pension arrangements.The papers were acquired for $515m (£332m) by public relations executive Brian Tierney from the Knight Ridder group. His company was unable to staunch heavy losses in revenue.Source: ReutersUS press and publishingNewspapersMedia downturnMedia businessUnited StatesRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Following our study of redundancy and unemployment in the media we asked recruitment experts for advice on breaking into an increasingly competitive industry
It may be no big deal here in Britain - but the fact that the Washington Post is to carry front page adverts is news in the United States. Starting from Sunday, the Post will run a display ad on the bottom of page one. As Wendy Evans, the Post's vice president of advertising, points out: "It's not new in the industry, but new to us."The Post follows similar initiatives at the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. All US papers are facing up to the reality of falling revenues and plunging profits.Source: Yahoo! News/HuffPoWashington PostAdvertisingNewspapersUnited StatesMedia downturnNew York TimesWall Street JournalRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
From Press Gazette The Government is to cease publishing its magazine on international development … International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell wrote to subscribers … this week informing them that the September issue … was to be its last.
David Montgomery has created a new euphemism for getting the boot: a "planned retirement."He has been forced to give up his role as chief executive of the pan-European newspaper group Mecom, because the shareholders no longer believe he knows what he is doing.It's ironic that Monty should have been given the push by the very people he has been so desperate to please by savage cost-cutting.Of course, Mecom didn't put it like that in today's statement announcing his departure, which will not happen until January.Instead, we are to believe that he will "continue to implement the group's existing strategy together with his team, who all enjoy the absolute support and active encouragement of the board."How do you like them eggs? All enjoy absolute support! Clearly, the ceo has very little support indeed from the major shareholders, such as Aviva, Legal & General and Invesco, which collectively own more than 50% of the company Monty founded.They prefer Patrick Tillieux, a former broadcasting executive and the City appears to agree. Mecom's share price jumped by 7% at the news.I'll have to say this for Monty. He is consistent. He got it wrong at Mirror Group and now he's got it wrong at Mecom.Never write him off though. He has had a rollercoaster career, with deep troughs and big highs. I was around to witness several of each. Among the most memorable of low points was his departure as a back-bench executive at The Sun in 1981 soon after Kelvin MacKenzie had become editor and I was beginning my stint as assistant editor.After calling him into his office to tell him that that none of his colleagues liked him, MacKenzie famously concluded: "But I'm not sacking you - I'm giving you six weeks to find another job."Many people would never have recovered. Montgomery did. Four years later he was back at Bouverie Street as editor of the News of the World, picking up the marvellous soubriquet "Rommel" (because Monty was on our side). He later edited Today, fell out with Rupert Murdoch, and appeared to be heading nowhere. But he emerged in a new incarnation as a management man in 1992, convincing the banks that he was the person to save the post-Robert Maxwell Mirror Group.He was chief executive for seven years, during which time he began to disembowel the company that owned the Daily Mirror, the paper where he had started his career. When he was forced out in 1999 - passing on his axe to succeeding ceos, Philip Graf and Sly Bailey - he looked down and out again.Not so. In 2000, he founded Mecom, announcing that it would specialise in mergers and acquisitions of newspaper and media companies in continental Europe. Against the odds, he did just that, acquiring along the way Germany's Berliner Verlag, Germany's oldest newspaper, the Hamburger Morgenpost, the Dutch group Limburg, the Norwegian group Orkla Mediaand a controlling stake in the Dutch publishing group Wegener.It may have been the right move. But the timing was all wrong. Advertising collapsed and Mecom has been struggling for the last three years. So will Monty retire? I doubt it. He is like a boxer who doesn't know when he's beaten. Then again, despite his grand Murdochian ambitions, he is only a featherweight.Sources: Reuters/The GuardianDavid MontgomeryNewspapers & magazinesThe SunDaily MirrorTrinity MirrorRupert MurdochKelvin MacKenzieNewspapersGreenslade on EuropeNetherlandsGermanySly BaileyMedia businessMedia downturnAdvertisingRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
themediaisdying: Good piece from @marshallk: How Push Notifications Will Change Twitter http://bit.ly/9aYu3E (+ @ursonate @cindyalvarez @Dwayne_King @aviel)
themediaisdying: @markborkowski talks tough on social media, old school, gadgets and tech : http://bit.ly/bLWHrA
themediaisdying: Shakes head - full page in Metro (and significant inches in Daily Mail and Sun ) for... Buzz lightyear carrot : http://bit.ly/cFZjmn
themediaisdying: How screens will look in the future [drool] : http://youtu.be/g7_mOdi3O5E
themediaisdying: Vox is clsoing down : http://j.mp/9oBMTb (via @steverubel)
themediaisdying: Can't/shouldn't it be both? : Journalism is about people, not technology : http://bit.ly/9GjbXK
From next week Incisive’s Accountancy Age will be published fortnightly instead of every week. (From Media Buletin) I guess the figures just weren’t adding up.
themediaisdying: #ff : Media peeps : @mediaite, @pkafka, @irinaslutsky, @debrawilliamson, @mediaguardian, @jayrosen_nyu, @jeffjarvis, @joihnbattelle
themediaisdying: RT @PatrickSeitz: Has Rupert Murdoch's paywall gamble paid off? : http://bit.ly/cXa3QO
themediaisdying: Analyst: Paywall Subscribers Worth A Quarter Of Print Readers : http://bit.ly/cdZeP4 (via @paidcontent)
themediaisdying: INTERESTING READ : An Apple iPad strategy for newspapers http://bit.ly/bWt5NK (@thewalluk)
Starting today, one of Brazil's oldest newspapers will be available online-only. Due to mounting debts and low circulation, the Jornal do Brasil has stopped publishing a print version, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas reported."Quality. Interactivity. Respect for...
themediaisdying: AP announces editorial guidelines for credit and attribution : http://bit.ly/9nwrxJ
themediaisdying: I think I just shed a tear for the iPad Mac Life App. Serious kudos to the team behind it. Great stuff. http://bit.ly/96Of6E
Salt Lake City, Utah
Owner: Deseret News Publishing Co., which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Effective: Aug. 31, 2010
The News cut nearly half of its newsroom staff: 57 full-time and 28 part-time employees were laid off. According to a story on the paper’s website, operations will be consolidated with a local TV and radio station. The paper’s editor and publisher also are leaving; they were not part of the layoffs.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune via @lcarricaburu
Owner: Gannett Co. Inc.
Effective: September 2010
“About 130″ employees will be laid off by the end of the year; publisher Dave Hunke did not specify which departments would be effected. In an interview with the Associated Press, Hunke called the layoffs and changes to management structure “pretty radical.” “This gets us ready for our next quarter century,” he said.
Source: Associated Press; Paper Cuts tips
Green Bay, Wis.
Owner: Gannett Co. Inc.
Effective: December 2010
Some of the paper’s production will be outsourced to other Gannett facilities by the end of the year; 37 employees will be laid off. “As hard as this is, it is the right thing to do to help secure the long-term future of our business,” publisher Kevin Corrado said in a story on the paper’s website.
Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette
Role will be split into two new posts, digital commercial director and general manager of TMR's business directory site LocalMole
Industrial action over pay and pensions could wreck the climax of the Proms next month. What does Roger Wright, the Proms supremo and controller of Radio 3, have to say?It has been 30 years since a BBC Prom was cancelled because of industrial action. But now the annual music festival could be hit by a strike as the BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, faces the biggest internal crisis of his tenure. Anger at senior executives' wages and concern over plans to change the BBC's pension scheme have created a pay and pensions storm. From union posters showing executives with their pockets stuffed with cash to the sabotage of a live in-house broadcast from Thompson by prefacing it with a test card reading "Mark Thompson pensions = screw you", the mood is darkening.As one BBC staff member says: "There is resentment regarding the pay gap between top and rank-and-file staff. The senior directors just have no idea about the depth of feeling – some of them seem to be removed from the PR disasters that have occurred recently, such as Peter Salmon not relocating to Salford, and there are concerns about a lack of leadership."This is not news to Thompson, who has tried to stem complaints with moves such as senior executives volunteering to work for free one month each year for two years, and undoubtedly he will try to use Friday's MacTaggart lecture at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh international television festival to rally his troops. But the most immediate potential casualty is the hugely popular and successful Proms season. Staff have been balloted by unions and if they vote for industrial action the first date scheduled for a strike is 9 September, two days before the Proms end.Angry audienceThe last time industrial action disrupted the concerts was in 1980, when the first night was cancelled following walkouts over plans to cut five orchestras and 172 jobs. Coincidentally 9 September is when Roger Wright, the Proms director and Radio 3 controller, is due to do a live question and answer session at the festival. The amiable Wright seems unfazed by the prospect of what the union Bectu predicts could be "a blank screen – and no one in the Albert Hall, except a very angry audience."Erudite and self- effacing, Wright is remarkably jovial considering his workload. In a room Wright calls the bunker, by a piano he likes to use, he tells me this year's Proms is going well. "It would be invidious of me to start picking any single one out. But the opening weekend captured people's imagination. As a statement of intent, particularly off the back of the BBC's opera programming, to start with Mahler's Symphony No 8 then [Wagner's] Die Meistersinger and [Verdi's] Simon Boccanegra. To have that for £5 you get a lot. I think that is actually what the Proms is about. It's why the brand is so strong."The Proms cost £9m – funded by £6m from the licence fee and the rest from ticket sales. "The licence fee means you can keep the quality high and the ticket price low, which is the magic formula," says Wright. The range means one night there is a Doctor Who Prom, the next the European Union Youth Orchestra and they are all packed, often with young audiences. "There's so much every night. If there's a question mark for demographics for classical music the Proms is always held up, partly because of price, partly because of the perceived accessibility and informality."The spirit of Lord Reith is alive and well in Wright: "When you get people saying: 'I came to Radio 3 because of Andy Kershaw and now I listen to Composer of the Week,' I think 'Hurrah, public service broadcasting is alive and well.' That sort of serendipity is in the end the thing that's still vital, it's curiosity. I hope that curiosity is at the heart of the Proms and Radio 3 and performing groups. People can fall into the arms of familiar music but having got them there you want to take them to different places." He adds: "The most important thing is audiences care and feel a great sense of ownership about BBC services and they care about the Proms."Ticket exclusive The good news is that the £5 ticket prices will stay at the same level next year, Wright reveals: "They've been that price for five or six years now. They will remain – we haven't told anyone that, but given we've just told you, we'd better make that policy!"But what of Radio 3? The latest Rajar figures revealed a year-on-year fall of around 8% to an average weekly audience of 1.86 million. Although previously Wright has said he "worries" about Rajars, he seems unfazed: "Given that Rajar figures only come out every quarter – and thank goodness we don't have the terror of overnights – there's always the hope and desire that the figures are OK and to that extent they are only one measure of success. They're an important measure, which is why one's keen to get them. But it's been 2 million or thereabouts for the last 10 years. And we're in a very strong position. Radio suits the business of lives, it's a flexible medium."Like the reprieved 6 Music, Radio 3 supports live performance, with 57% of its music not pre-recorded. Wright also highlights the return of Kershaw to Radio 3 in the autumn, "in the way only Andy can", with an ambitious tie-up with BBC1's anthropological global journey Human Planet called Music Planet.What about any changes to Radio 3's schedule? Nothing is on the cards but Wright says: "You always look to see what might have run its course. One of the things that has worked is to make the schedule as navigable as possible." As he says, Radio 3 is "a radio station, not a university of the air". Some listeners have objected that Wright has made the breakfast programme sound more like, well, a breakfast programme. "I think 'Yippee' when I hear that, because that's what it is," he says.Wright is discussing with the BBC Trust the inclusion of the Proms and performing groups in Radio 3's service licence - currently they are not, and this could help protect against budget cuts. The bulk of its £51m budget goes into performances and it has £350,000 to commission new music, making it a major player in the classical music world's future. But with the corporation enduring voluntary redundancies and cuts, it still has to prove that it is being as "cost-effective as possible", he says.The BBC will be making the case for the licence fee over the coming months, and Radio 3 and the Proms are gems to polish in its crown. But Wright, who is renowned for trying to open up music to a wider audience, is careful to ensure they are savoured as national treasures rather than antiques. His latest move to bring in new listeners is an award-winning TV promo that features people hearing Radio 3 when they walk on a giant red spot.Many Radio 3 listeners also listen to Radio 4, but Wright is casting his net wider with initiatives such as a search to find the nation's favourite aria, which captured the public's imagination this year. "We're trying to get people to sample the station and get our regular listeners listening for longer. It's a simple message." While some Radio 3 devotees may turn up their noses at such moves to make the station more welcoming to the uninitiated, Wright is keen to break down barriers: "I'm uncomfortable with the business of musical hierarchies."A keen cricket fan, he deals with most questions with a straight bat, even the inevitable one about his expenses. During the Proms season he stays overnight in a London hotel – and his bills and taxi receipts have made the headlines. He explains: "It's perfectly right and proper that we're as transparent as possible. I'm a public servant and as part of that I have my expenses made public every quarter. I do live a certain way outside London and doing both Proms and Radio 3 there are a lot of late nights and early mornings."I'm not going to camp in Hyde Park, it would probably take me too long to put a tent up anyway. I do sometimes take the bus and the tube, however that can sometimes take a very long time and I don't claim back those tickets. Last night I got home at 1.50am and had to be back in the Royal Albert Hall by 9.15am. I don't want to book central cabs because if you are waiting for Plácido Domingo to sign around 4,000 autographs there's going to be some waiting time. All I can do is have my integrity. Am I complaining about having my expenses public, though? No."The only time the shutters come down is when I ask if there is a contingency plan should the Proms, which are aired live, be hit by industrial action next month. If there is a plan, Wright is not revealing it: "There's a consultation going on. There have been strikes and industrial actions before and we'll deal with the situation in the same way. It's just what you deal with if big live events don't happen for some reason. All you can do is keep talking to people and making sure you're open."Interviewers rarely get much out of Wright if they ask him about his future. With a career that so far has spanned the BBC, the commercial recording industry and performance groups, what does he want to do next? "I don't think about my career in that sense – it's not something I think about. I'm just very happy doing what I do now. As for my ambitions, well, to be on Test Match Special." And presumably to ensure this year's Last Night of the Proms is remembered as an Ode to Joy and not a Work to Rule Britannia.BBCMark ThompsonRadio 3Media downturnRadio industryTelevision industryBBC licence feeBBC expensesBBC TrustPromsBBC Salford moveTara Conlanguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
And, we’d add, hedge fund operators. Tribune Co. has had plenty of them since the disasterous days in 2007 when its management decided to plunge ahead with a sale of the Chicago media giant to “maximize” shareholder value. And judging by developments in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware Friday, plenty more lawyers and hedge funds will enter its planning calendar.
The headline, of course, is that Tribune’s reorganization plan has collapsed. JPMorgan and Angelo, Gordon & Co., who gave the plan its most juice, have walked away. Tribune is threatening to file its own take-it-or-leave-it plan by next Friday – and there’s an ominous new player on the scene.
About a month ago in this space we wondered at the rocketing price of Tribune’s last publicly traded debt, those 2% exchangeable subordinated debentures due 2029 (Pink Sheets: TRBCQ). The debs have soared from a $1.26 on June 29 to $16 yesterday. (No trades were recorded Friday.)
Wonder no more, thanks to excellent reporting by Michael Oneal at the company’s flagship Chicago Tribune. Looking to get in on the increasingly chaotic chase after Tribune’s dwindled but still substantial assets is Aurelius Capital Management, a hedge fund Oneal describes as “litigious.” The fund “has recently established a substantial position by buying into a class of junior bonds in the case,” he writes.
So, at a time when senior creditors are balking at Tribune Co.’s plan that they should come up with $450 million to quiet subordinated creditors who originally stood to get nothing when Tribune exits Chapter 11 – but who, thanks to independent examiner Kenneth Klee’s report, suddenly have at least a plausible case that the 2007 leveraged buyout was a fraudulent conveyance, as the BK lawyers say – here comes another subordinated creditor apparently dedicated to keeping men in blue suits busily employed.
Sam Zell’s self-described “deal from hell” to take Tribune private through a complex ESOP and a ton of debt has morphed into settlement talks from hell.
The Filey & Hunmanby Mercury, a paid-for weekly in North Yorkshire, is to close. Its 2,800 buyers will be urged to read a sister title, the Scarborough Evening News, which will carry eight pages of news from Filey in its Saturday edition.No job losses at the Johnston Press papers are anticipated as a result of the closure. The Filey paper's sole reporter will join the Evening News's reporting team.Source: holdthefrontpageRegional & local newspapersJohnston PressMedia downturnMedia businessNewspapersRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
The total advertiser spend is forecast to be up by 8% in October, which would continue the summer's World Cup effect into the crucial final quarter of the yearThere are signs that the recovery in the TV advertising market may continue into the final months of 2010, with 8% year-on-year revenue growth predicted for October.While the market has shown solid double-digit growth for most of 2010, fuelled in part by increased spending around the World Cup, the industry has quietly feared that the recovery might run out of steam in last three months of the year.The last quarter is a critical bellwether of the state of the market because these months were the strongest in 2009, meaning the impact of very weak year-on-year growth comparatives is in effect stripped out, giving a true gauge of advertiser confidence.Total UK television ad spend market is forecast to be up by about 8% year on year in October, according to industry figures, as media buying agencies reach what is known as the advanced booking deadline with TV sales houses for placing advertising campaigns.ITV's family of channels, including its digital services such as ITV2, are expected to outperform the market and be up about 11% year on year. The flagship network ITV1 is expected to be up 11.5%.Channel 4 is also forecast to continue its healthy run, with its main network on target to increase ad sales by 12.5% year on year. Channel 4's portfolio, including digital services such as E4, will be up 12.2%.BSkyB is forecast to perform in line with the market at 8%. Channel 5, which in September is expected to buck the market and report an ad revenue fall, will see the slimmest of growth in October with TV ad sales up 1% at the main network. Channel 5's portfolio, including digital networks Fiver and Five USA, is expected to be up just 0.5%."The fourth quarter was always going to be the litmus test, I think we conclude that TV 'works' and delivers return on investment, so marketers have got back into bed with it," said a senior executive at one media buying agency. "We expect TV to do well v other media in the next year or so."• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000.• If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly "for publication".AdvertisingTelevision industryMedia downturnMedia businessMark Sweneyguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Through the newspaper industry’s economic meltdown, The Washington Post Co. has managed, practically alone among its peers, to retain its very good investment-grade rating on its senior secured debt and the highest possible rating on its commercial paper chiefly because it could count on quarter after quarter of sterling performances by its Kaplan education business.
Contributing about two-thirds of the Post Co.’s revenue, Kaplan has helped The Washington Post’s parent build an enviable balance sheet, indeed. Its debt load of $403 million is just 1.5 times EBITDA -- you heard me, TRBCQ! -- and overmatched by its available cash of $659 million.
But the U.S. Department of Education looks poised to throw a big monkey wrench into that Kaplan cash machine. Equity investors have been spooked for the past couple of weeks, and now Moody’s Investors Services is joining the nervous crowd from the credit side.
As our E&P home site reports, Moody’s Tuesday announced it had put the Post Co.’s A1 senior secured and Prime-1 commercial paper ratings on review for a possible downgrade. (Moody’s defines A1 as “upper-medium grade” investment grade, and Prime-1 is the highest credit rating for commercial paper.)
The review comes a day after the Post Co. disclosed in an SEC filing that certain programs in its Kaplan Higher Education unit would not qualify for Title IV because too few of its graduates are paying down principal or too many have high debt loads. The feds are proposing that at least 35% of graduates must be paying down their Title IV student loans for a for-profit school to qualify for the program.
In its filing, the Post Co. (WPO) said its schools have payback rates ranging from a high of 51% to just 13%.
Moody’s Senior Credit Officer John E. Puchalla explains why that’s not good news:
“The high degree of uncertainty regarding the ultimate outcome on Kaplan and WPO is the primary factor prompting the review of the Prime-1 rating. Kaplan's higher education (KHE) division derives approximately 80% of its receipts from Title IV programs and Moody's estimates KHE generated approximately 38% of WPO's revenue and a higher percentage of EBITDA for the 12 months ended 6/30/10.”
WPO ended Tuesday regular-hour trading up $11.98, or 3.8%, on the day. Monday it set a new 52-week low of $295.56, 46% below the high of $547.58 it hit just last April. Moody's said in its credit review it will consider whether the Post Co. might spend some dough on stock repurchasing to boost the share price. The company said it had no comment on the Moody's announcement.
Caring Business “the most respected title amongst care sector professionals” (begging the question of how many others there are), has quietly passed over to the other side. UBM wish to keep this bereavement private. No flowers, but donations should be sent to the Simon Foster home for the terminally bewildered.
UPDATED 2.10pm: I have received more emails and texts about the departure of the Daily Mirror's long-serving head of news, Anthony Harwood, than I did when Trinity Mirror originally announced its decision to dispose of 200 staff. Most of the correspondence sees his firing as confirmation that the Mirror is a dead duck. It is "the clearest indication yet that the Mirror is no longer a viable or serious news-gathering operation," wrote one.He/she continued: "The reaction among the staff is utter disbelief and shock that such an experienced and talented director of the news operations has been sacrificed."Another emailer wrote: "Well that does it! If they can sack a man with Harwood's experience then it's all over." A third wrote: "Whichever way you look at it, the Old Girl seems to be doomed."Some of the text messages were in similar vein. But not all. And I also received two emails, including a lengthy one from a staffer I trust, that carried a much more balanced and nuanced assessment of the departure.First off, as one expects when dealing with individuals, we have to accept that there are people who like Harwood and those who don't. Similarly, there are those who think him good at the job, and those who think him poor.He is generally admired as a good journalist, having enjoyed a good track record "on the road" in the 1990s and in previous junior news executive jobs. But reporting and junior exec skills do not always translate into leadership skills. My researches suggest that the newsroom has been far from a happy ship under Harwood. Evidently, more reporters were relieved by his leaving than genuinely upset. UPDATE: A person familiar with the situation says my researches are faulty because the majority were upset. I further understand that the weight of messages received by Harwood reflects that fact. That said, I cannot believe overall morale will be unduly affected. After all, it's at rock bottom anyway in view of the current cuts and a continuing uncertainty about the future.Then there is the question of Harwood's value to the Mirror. The paper has hardly been in the forefront of breaking big news in recent years, though Harwood might reasonably say that staff cuts and restricted budgets have made life difficult for him. But the most significant feature of the decision by editor Richard Wallace to let Harwood go is that he axed a man who has been regarded as his friend.Therefore, staff thought him "untouchable" and his going sends out two messages within the paper: even senior executives are not immune from the cull and there is a determination to refresh the paper at a time of massive upheaval (or, as one Trinity Mirror insider put it, "a period of journalistic stasis").In a pared-down newsroom it is obviously going to be important to have a leader with enough sensitivity to get the troops working well. Clearly, in spite of his journalistic credentials, Wallace felt Harwood was not right for that job.All that having been said, the reaction to the Harwood sacking - or "mandatory redundancy", which amounts to the same thing - reveals just how black matters are at the Daily Mirror (and, incidentally, at the Sunday Mirror and The People too).Whatever the financial justification for the cuts - and the belief that technological invention is some kind of panacea - the staff at the three titles can see that their situation is far worse than that for colleagues at News International and Associated Newspapers. They see falling sales. They are suffering from cut-backs. They lack faith in Trinity Mirror's board, most specially its chief executive, Sly Bailey. Journalists routinely whinge about owners and managers, of course. But I detect something altogether different in the emails and conversations since the June cuts announcement.There is a real sense of despair. I noted that also in Wallace's statement yesterday explaining Harwood's departure. "These continue to be very difficult days," he said, "but I am sincerely grateful for the dedication and professionalism everyone continues to show to the Daily Mirror."The underlying message could not be more obvious. Businesses can still make profits when managing decline (so the board and investors go on celebrating). By contrast, newspapers wither and die, so journalists can only wring their hands and make the best of a bad job. A very bad job indeed.Daily MirrorMedia downturnRichard WallaceTrinity MirrorSunday MirrorThe PeopleAssociated NewspapersNews InternationalRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
An exciting wee chart in PaidContent, showing the decline in magazine sales over the past decade. The bairns over there correlate this fall to the point where the interweb achieved popular lift off; up to a point Lord Copper, but Private Frazer would draw your attention to a couple of other seismic shifts. The first [...]