Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Morning News

Hewitt's prescription for the LAT LAObserved
First, shift massive resources to the online edition. There are hundreds of reporters at Spring Street and various affiliated locales, but their story quota is, what, three bylines a week? Redirect 50% or more of these staffers to producing two stories a day and fire those who can’t produce. 3,000 to 4,000 words a week isn’t at all difficult, but it does require the work ethic of a college student.

MediaNews profit margin at 3.5% Peninsula Press Club
Denver-based MediaNews Group, owner of all of the paid dailies in the Bay Area except the Chronicle, reports that it had net income of $12.95 million on revenues of $372.46 million for Q4 2006 -- a 3.5% profit margin. That's up from 2.2% for the same quarter last year.

Newsroom spending raises U.S. newspaper profits Reuters
U.S. newspapers that spend more money on their newsrooms will make more money, according to a study released on Wednesday, which questioned the wisdom of the media industry's trend of cutting jobs to save costs. The authors of the University of Missouri-Columbia study, which was based on 10 years of financial data, said news quality affects profit more than spending on circulation, advertising and other parts of the business.

View from inside LAObserved
I'm a former editor at the Times, most recent gig being Listings Editor -- the last one to work directly for the Times itself rather than Tribune Media, controller of the Web site, and I have to finally comment on some of the happenings. I've been amused and not incredibly surprised that the 'Spring Street Committee's conclusions about the web operations and new web chief's directive, because in a crucial way it's backwards:

Protecting this newspaper's free speech Santa Barbara News-Press
It's been a sorry spectacle to witness some of my former colleagues humiliate themselves in front of the News-Press building over the last days. How desperation can reduce former journalism professionals to banging kitchen utensils to make noise is worthy of a UCSB psychology study. In betraying the principles of their past craft, they appear to want to shut down the paper's free speech, as well as hurt the livelihoods of 200 News-Press workers and their families.

AP Warms Up to Blogs Media Shift
There’s something bland and homogeneous about an Associated Press wire story. Just the facts, ma’am, in classic inverted pyramid style. The satirical newspaper The Onion has made a mint mocking the news wire style, and the blogosphere has targeted the AP and Reuters for hidden agendas in their oh-so-perfect objective style.

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