Friday, February 27, 2009
An article in the February 13, 2009 edition of the Business Journal says the former publisher of the Raleigh News & Observer, Frank Daniels, offered to buy the paper from parent company Landmark Communications for $45 million. When the paper was on the offering block, the asking price was $75 million.
Since then, the company pulled the paper off the market due to the slumping economy, despite its successful sale of its Weather Channel property to NBC-Universal.
Coverage also available from the Greensboro Telegram.
Daniels is the former publisher of the News & Observer daily newspaper in Raleigh. The News & Observer company was owned by the Daniels family for over 100 years before the daily newspaper was bought by McClatchy Newspapers in 1995 for $373 million. The Daniels family bought later The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines after selling the Raleigh publication.
According to the TBJ article, Daniels and a North Carolina ownership group that included some of his relatives made an offer of $45 million for the Greensboro News & Record. Some of the potential buyers in the group included unnamed local investors in Guilford County.
A call to former mayor Jim Melvin of Greensboro last year by The Greensboro Telegram to confirm that a group of local investors was looking at buying the News & Record also did not reveal any of the potential local buyers. There had been speculation last summer that a group of investors in Guilford County were in talks to buy the News & Record.
"I was thinking we could get Greensboro for a low price and we began looking into it," Daniels said to the TBJ.
Maybe they should've taken the deal.
Comparing us to the Rocky is like saying that because one investment house failed, all investment houses are going to fail. If you look into the Rocky Mountain News' situation, you'd discover quickly that it isn't anything like the N&R's.
Is he right...or is he living in denial?
The Scripps-published daily threw in the towel in the face of a rocky economic climate and dwindling advertisers, among other reasons. This leaves Denver without one of two major dailies. Scripps also owns the competing Denver Post.
Triad newspaper execs, I have one major message for you...and let it resonate:
WAKE THE $#%&!@ UP!
Because one of your publications may be next. Will it be the N&R? The Enterprise? The W-S Journal?
It is sad that the academic field I worked so hard in school to learn about...is dying. Newspapers are...dying. The Rocky Mountain News...has died today.
Watch this video.
Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Greensboro local Ryan Shell, author of the blogsite Greensboro Politics, has retooled his personal website to include a regular discussion of public relations and marketing. A media relations manager for Truliant Credit Union, Shell is already discussing media campaigns and crisis management, among other items.
Want to know something about crisis communication?
Many of you may know I work for US Airways; I work nights in the reservations center in Winston-Salem. I was on my way to work the afternoon Flt. 1549 went down in the Hudson River. Our Winston-Salem center handled the family assistance calls that came in right after the incident occurred. And while I haven't publicly discussed the events of that day, and my small role in it, watching our media relations team in action was nothing short of stunning.
That's crisis communication.
Last night, I had a unique opportunity to attend a recognition ceremony in Charlotte for those involved, including the crew of 1549. It was incredible to be in that room.
I'm just a front-line employee making $9 and change, but to be in that room for those few hours was an experience I will never forget. I've always been around things that fly, and even when I covered the industry in Washington, last night's event ranked right up there with the many unique aviation-related experiences I've had.
I'll have more info on this in the days to come. I'm also trying to secure an interview with local flight attendant Donna Dent, one of the crew members on board 1549.
"the practice of trashing the local paper has been true in every market I've worked. As counter-intuitive as it might seem, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Good journalism often upsets people...Bad journalism certainly upsets people, too. We're not perfect, and we try to correct our mistakes when we can. But the good far outnumbers the bad. When you're the only daily paper in town, you are a target because some people feel as if they don't have another choice. And when much of what you cover is based on conflict, people occasionally have reason to have conflict with you, too...None of this is an excuse not to try to delight readers. It's a recognition that you can't please everyone and that ultimately you have to do what you think is right."
Considering the amount of scrutiny following the coverage of the Scott Sanders trial, et. al., does this ring true? Agree or disagree?
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
See this excerpt:
According to a March 2008 federal regulatory filing, Marshall N. Morton, Media General’s president and chief executive officer, received executive compensation valued at more than $2 million in 2007. Morton received a base salary of $925,000. A large portion of Morton’s compensation came from the value of stock and option awards. The awards, granted Jan. 31, 2007, had a total value that day of $783,826, according to the filing.
Morton’s change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation was valued at $808,933, the filing said.
Morton’s remaining compensation of $276,377 included the use of a personal car, certain club memberships, home-security devices and values of tickets and refreshments to company-leased stadium boxes.
In January, Media General reported a net loss in the fourth quarter of $85.5 million, or $3.86 per share, compared to net income of $9.6 million, or 43 cents per share for the same time period a year ago.
I don't think the word disgusting even comes close.
The Business Journal reports local NPR affiliate WFDD raised $70,000 in three days of on-air fundraising. The article says it marks the third year WFDD has held a pledge drive in February.
The station is attempting to raise about $646,000 in membership revenue, which accounts for about half of the station’s operating budget, the Business Journal reports.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Reporter (posted 2/18/09)
Even if you have limited experience (including college newspaper, internship), if you can demonstrate strong reporting, writing, grammar and communications skills and have a passion for intensely local coverage, we would like to know more about you. Cover everything from city and county governments to festivals and nonprofits, to public safety to schools and beyond; providing plenty of behind-the-scenes human interest features; identifying and examining trends; writing about people – what they do, how they do it, why the do it, how well they do it, the agony and the ecstasy and everything in between of life. College degree (journalism or related) preferred. Send a letter telling why you want this job, your resume and your best six clips to Joe Feeney, city editor, The High Point Enterprise, P.O. Box 1009, High Point, NC 27261, before March 9.
Do you think they'd hire me back?
What's stunning is this quote from John Robinson at the News & Record:
Nearly any action taken by Robinson and the News & Record is criticized roundly in letters and blogs. A familiar refrain, commented by Doug Johnson in response to Robinson’s November post about buyouts, is “Keep doing the same old thing. You will get the same old result!” But the editor does not blanch in the face of criticism. He even argues with commenters on his own blog. “There are three things every man thinks he can do better than anyone else,” Robinson says, straining to remember a quote by Mark Twain. “These are stoke a fire, make love to a woman and edit a newspaper.”
I'm...not even going to attempt to comment on this one.
Triad Media Watch obtained a copy of the letter sent out to employees yesterday:
Dear Fellow Employees,So far in 2009, economic and corporate earnings reports have been worse than expected. Consumers and businesses continue to reduce spending, which is causing the advertising market to weaken further. The contracting economy and uncertain outlook require us to be even more cautious than we already have been regarding our revenue expectations for 2009. Despite aggressive sales initiatives and significant cost reductions, I regret to report that we need to build in additional expense savings to offset the revenue shortfalls our divisions anticipate.
During the remainder of this year, each of us will take a mandatory 10 days off according to the schedule below, and our pay will be reduced commensurately. The company is also asking its unionized and other employees under contract to agree to participate in furloughs in lieu of layoffs. Furlough days do not have to be taken consecutively, but they must be taken one full day at a time. The days can be taken effective immediately and must be scheduled with your supervisor to minimize business disruptions. Furlough days can be accelerated as long as you have approval. On furlough days, you should not participate in work-related activities.
4 days between today and March 29, 2009
3 days between March 30 and June 28, 2009
3 days between June 29 and September 27, 2009
When non-exempt employees take a furlough day, the reduction for that day's pay will be made at that time. For exempt employees, furlough pay reductions, amounting to the equivalent of 10 days spread over the first three quarters of 2009, will be automatically deducted from their paychecks. The reduction will be spread to equal four days in March and six days between March 30 and September 27. A Q & A regarding this program will be posted to theMeganet today, and your HR representative is also available to answer questions.
I understand and regret the financial hardship this will cause. In recognition of the particular hardship of the four days that must be taken in the relatively short period between now and March 29, 2009, we are instituting a program whereby employees may request an advance on all or part of their pay reduction for that period. Any advances will be repaid to the company over the remaining nine months of 2009. Employees seeking this option should contact their HR representative to fill out the appropriate forms, which will include the equivalent of an IOU to the company.
These are unprecedented times. Your loyalty and hard work are very much appreciated as we work together to weather the economic turmoil in our country and our industry. We believe the prudence of our actions now will help us navigate to more prosperous times.
Marshall N. Morton
President and Chief Executive Officer
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Area bloggers are letting Robinson know quite clearly of their dissatisfaction at the way the initial stories were reported. Coupled with the CBS-2 story that aired the other evening that caught flack with many bloggers, it is almost a situation of stressing the "citizen" in citizen journalism.
Tony Wilkins is probably the best place to start. "Follow him [Robinson] as he dosey does his way gracefully around the room trying to explain how a newspaper could “error” at this stage of the story, equating the N&R to Bill Buckner’s error at first base in the World Series of 1986."
Robinson's blog: "Casual? You're in error if you think I'm casual about it. I also understand that mistakes happen and that attorneys point out anything and everything that will help their case. The mistake was acknowledged. You are thinking it is going to have a big impact on the trial. Fine. Let's see."
Ed Cone: "But is it really a "clear case" of collusion in order to prejudice potential jurors?"
Jerry Bledsoe, commenting on Guarino's blog:
The N&R headline—“Case that led to Wray exit goes on trial”—is simply false. The lead of the story also is false. The incident for which Sanders is facing charges had absolutely nothing to do with Wray’s resignation. He didn’t even learn about it until the indictments more than a year and a half later. It is outrageous behavior on the N&R’s part.
The front page story today was equally outrageous. It ties Sanders' case to the supposed surveillance of black leaders that never happened. It allows Mitch Johnson to say, “The person who was managing the process was Mr. Sanders.” Sanders was an assigned detective. Detectives don’t manage. In the criminal case during which black leaders were incidentally recorded, the manager was Vice & Narcotics Capt. Rick Ball.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
See this post from Holder's Troublemaker blog.
Specifically, many are having a tough time stomaching this report from anchor Frank Mickens. They accuse Mickens and CBS-2 of extreme bias as it relates to both this case, and the ongoing troubles down at City Hall and its involvement with the Greensboro Police Dept.
A commenter over at the Troublemaker writes:
Compare Fox 8 and WFMY's coverage of this case. One reports and one attempts to sway your thinking in the court of public opinion. Look at both and decide who is reporting and who is dividing the community.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Bob and Wendy held signs in an impromptu demonstration on W. Wendover Ave. near the Costco in Greensboro, saying "Honk for Bob & Wendy," "Radio Stimulus Here," and "Kids Hungry, Need Jobs." The demonstration attracted attention from passersby honking and on-air coverage from NBC-12 and News 14 Carolina.
Campbell attributes the firing to the decline in local ad revenues. He said ad sales among many local radio stations are down 40 percent.
The duo said they hope to be working again soon in some sort of capacity.
Friday, February 13, 2009
So I'm wondering about this debate about bringing back the fairness doctrine by some in Washington. And if there is a potential market for progressive talk radio in the Triad.
I'm for freedom of speech and freedom of expression, so I don't think that forced equal time by the government is the right way to go. But I will say that I do often desire to hear other thoughts and opinions on the radio. Would Air America or other progressive outlets find a niche here in this area? Is there a market for other viewpoints on local radio in this area?
Wonder if brass from both publications will heed the words from the comments left here over the last few days relative to the overall survivability of newspapers.
Awards will be announced April 5 in Las Vegas, and will be broadcast on CBS.
You may have gotten the word already -- but earlier this week Paxton Media Group informed employees that the printing of the paper and related operations will be done at the Durham Herald Sun, effective March 2. A friend I have who works over there said that will result in the elimination of approximately 40 jobs at HPE [High Point Enterprise]. In all, he estimates over 70 layoffs have occurred since Paxton took over the operation fully some five years or so ago.
Pathetic -- and downright sad for those who have lived in the area and given HPE so much for so long. "Your Community, Your Newspaper" my arse!
I'm saddened, but I'm not surprised.
TMW also learns of a new addition to CBS-2 WFMY's weather team this week. Grant Gilmore comes to the Triad by way of Macon, Ga., where he reported the weather for a Gannett-owned station there.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Meanwhile, High Point University has launched a new Web-only radio station.
The new station, http://hpuradio.com, will broadcast round-the-clock online during the academic year, with live DJs from 4 p.m. to midnight.
Best of luck to both stations.
Signature is produced by Mann's flagship, Our State Magazine. The irony is that some of the editorial staff who worked on Signature will move to Our State, but five won't, including Signature's editor Vicky Jarrett.
Mann says Elizabeth Hudson, former senior editor of Our State, will be the new editor of Our State, which will now include elements of Signature.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
More on the survivability rate of newspapers...this one from Jon Lowder of Winston-Salem, who has some choice words on the possible pre-imminent downfall of the Winston-Salem Journal:
Sadly the newspaper industry is making the same mistake that the music industry made, only 10 years late. They aren't recognizing the market for what it is. They aren't realizing that whether or not there's a printed form of journalism is irrelevant. Paper is a delivery vehicle, same as the airwaves and the internet. They also need to understand that if they pursue the whole watermark thing all they are going to do is minimize their own exposure and tick off their customers. What's important for them to understand is that instead of building walls around their news gardens they need to learn how to take their expertise and their (diminishingly) unique place in society and use every tool available to reach their audience.
I wholeheartedly agree, Jon.
You folks may want to scribble in your calendars tonight's episode of the Charlie Rose Show, in which he'll discuss the future of newspapers. Guests include Walter Isaacson, Mort Zuckerman and Robert Thomson (thanks to The Logistician for passing that on).
Winston-Salem Journal cuts two workers in newsroom
Two journalists in the Winston-Salem Journal's newsroom were let go yesterday as part of the newspaper's cost-cutting moves. One was on the newspaper's design team, whose members create graphics and lay out and design pages. The other was Ed Bumgardner, a longtime music critic and features writer.Like many newspapers and companies in other industries, the Journal has been trying to reduce costs as revenues drop during an extremely difficult business environment.
More coverage from YES! Weekly, Life in Forsyth blog.
This is EXACTLY what we continue to talk about and focus on here at TMW...the localism is disappearing among our local media.
Ed, we wish you the best.
The Kernersville News, a tri-weekly community paper right here in the heart of the Triad, is hiring! According to the classified ad published in local newspapers, publisher John Owensby is looking for a reporter.
Or at least he was. “We got quite a bit of a response,” Owensby says. “More of those were younger folks, but we typically get that in our industry. It tends to gravitate towards the younger grads. But we looked at everyone and anyone, and we feel we got a responsible person to fill that spot.” Owensby says he is not naive about current economic conditions, but “Kernersville has always been, relatively speaking, a stable market and we have always been rather entrepreneurial in the way we pursue business. Scrounging is nothing new for us — that’s the way we work.” So count one journalism job against the hundreds our state has lost in the last year. And chalk one up for the Kernersville News.
It's something that hasn't happened around here in a long time...a local publication hiring. And yes, I'll admit...I applied for the job.
Good for Owensby in bucking the trend. Obviously the K-N has a niche and is surviving. Good for them.
Sinclair-owned ABC45 (WXLV) and My48 (WMYV) appealed to the FCC and will switch over from their analog signals to all-digital. Remaining area stations, per an act by Congress only days ago, will make the switch over in June.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Thanks to Ed Cone for providing links to this dynamite story...local television stations nationwide are financially hurting. Ad revenues are down, viewership is down, layoffs are growing among small, mid and large media companies. Stations that are surviving are getting creative, attempting to integrate their stations to their full significance on the Internet.
It is immensely troubling, especially for an industry that I went to school for some years ago, and for an industry that is very public and has a duty to its viewers/readers/listeners.
Journalism should not be allowed to die like this.
We're watching the unfolding of a case study in action--this time, it is the very public merger of Wells-Fargo and Wachovia.
And while Triad Media Watch is not necessarily a public relations blog, our local media still has a responsibility to cover the business end of this merger, for it affects a great number of people in the Piedmont Triad, from employees to shareholders to customers.
Undoubtedly, you've been made aware of the recent stories involving WF's shuttered employee recognition event that was due to occur in Las Vegas. WF is a recipient of Washington welfare--err, bank bailout money. It is causing one major crap-storm on a new blog unveiled in early January to discuss the ongoing merger completion efforts by WF and Wachovia.
Damage control doesn't even describe the anger among many who are affected by this corporate marriage. Employees of WF ask what the fuss is all about. Other employees blame the business media for blowing it out of proportion. Some employees blame the company for taking the event to Las Vegas and not having it in San Francisco, WF's corporate location. Shareholders are up in arms. And customers like us (and I have a dollar or two [literally] in both banks) are left to wonder what the future holds for this merger.
It is the responsibility of our local media, particularly, what's left of our local business press, to report any and all happenings with respect to this merger, fairly and openly.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Of course, they also used to at least have some sort of a scroll at the bottom to inform us as to who won among the other categories...we don't even get that anymore.
Who won for best folk artist???
97.1 WQMG-FM led the local fall Arbitron ratings that were released January 23 with a 7.6 share. That was followed by "Hip-Hop" 102 JAMZ (WJMH FM) with a 7.2 share and Clear-Channel-owned WMAG with a 6.4.
The rest of the local area ratings can be found here.
...Late night Saturday and WFMY TV2 is showing CSI:New York and that is one of my favorite non-sports programs. Stella and Mac make a good team. Well, this CSI is going head-to-head with Saturday Night Live and MAD TV and Stella is winning that war in an episode that I had not previously seen.
One of the guys on the CSI:New York team, well his brother Louie is involved with some guys that pulled a Jimmy Hoffa on some kid and just as Louie gets beat up for talking to his brother, who is now a cop with the CSI: New York team, well Louie gets beat within and inch of his life and the scene ends just as Louie is headed to the hospital.
They cut to a commercial and when they come back they(TV2’s board operators) show the same scene all over again. They run the same entire scene again and even though it’s not bad having to see Stella again, Louie gets his but kicked again and he’s headed off to the hospital again and they cut to the same commercials again at the end of the scene we had just watched all over again and when they return from commercial the second time they are running the credits for the show. IT’S OVER!!!!!
It’s 12:30 am on a show that began at 11:30 pm and we don’t have a clue of what happened and how that show ended and thanks to WFMY Channel 2 we probably never will. That stinks….Aren’t their people watching????? Are the board operators sleep walking?????
How did that show end? I have seen this happen before and every time I do, I think this can never happen again.
Did anyone else notice this debacle?????? Come on Channel 2, why can’t you get it right??????
I hate to say it, but Andy makes a good point, I've been noticing a lot of "blips" and "jumps" and "misfired graphics" over at CBS-2 lately.
I know you folks over at Gannett are having issues, but WUSA-9 (the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate in Washington DC) runs a lot more smooth, and a lot more like an O&O (owned-and-operated) station.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
And while round-the-clock "smooth jazz" formats on terrestrial FM stations are being abandoned in increasing numbers in major media markets around the country, WZTK (FM Talk 101.1) continues to build its listeners with its "Smooth Jazz Weekends."
While the Curtis Media-owned station ranked #13 in the latest local Arbitron ratings with a 2.9 share, the weekend-only smooth jazz format appears to be more successful among advertisers than reruns of syndicated talk programming.
Okay, I'm a little biased, but the format is working, and no, I'm not getting reimbursed for this subtle plug.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Overman says in this week's YES! Weekly: “I just feel it’s time to be more of an online presence,” he said. “As much as I love print, it’s time to realize the inevitable. “My goal in the coming year is to expand the Sizzling Seventeen and try to break that elusive twenty barrier.”
Overman calls it is Sizzling Seventeen because he knows of 17 people who regularly read his words.
Add 18 to the list, Ogi.
News & Record's John Robinson picks up the story in his blog, but gets a little curt in the process:
First, I didn't do it.
Second, if a item is free, is it a crime to take as many as you want? (The question is only half serious. I know that newspaper theft is fully a serious matter as is suppression of the ideas and information in the paper.)You think ole' JR feels a little salty because the alternative press is doing the work that the N&R should be doing?
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Some say it gives more time to have coupons sent out, and more spots run locally to help prepare the masses for the transition. It is uncertain how many Triad-area homes would be affected.
The 500-pound gorilla in the area known as Time Warner Cable reportedly will lay off as many 1,250 employees nationwide, this after the media giant posted a $7.34 billion loss for 2008. It is unclear how many employees will be affected in the Triad. It is also uncertain how this will affect employees and operations at the Time-Warner-owned News 14 Carolina.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Classified ad revenues plunged 30%, help-wanted ad revenue plunged 60%, real estate by 50%, and automotive by 46%.