Archive | February, 2012

RIP, Rocky Mountain News

27 Feb


ON FEB. 27, 2009
, the Rocky Mountain News ceased publication.

I’ve cobbled together some reading from around the web:

Non-newsroom Bargaining: Session Six

27 Feb

THE NON-NEWSROOM UNIT of the Denver Newspaper Guild and Denver Post representatives met Feb. 23.

The amount of sick leave and unpaid time off provided in the current contract was discussed. Guild representatives explained that five days of sick leave per year isn’t always enough, especially when an employee has a long absence and uses all five days before short-term-disability pay begins. The fact that a lot of people are saving their floating holidays until the end of the year in case they need them for additional sick days was discussed.  Also, the number of available unpaid family emergency days (currently two) was discussed.

Management representatives explained their desire to change the full-time work week for some employees from a set 40 hours to 35 to 40 hours. They explained that advertising support work — including sales support, ad design, layout and insert ops — is seasonal with busy and slow times of the year. The Post would like the ability to schedule fewer hours during slow periods.

Guild representatives explained that they believe there is enough work year-round to keep people in those areas busy. The issue will continue to be discussed in future bargaining sessions.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for March 7.

Kathy Rudolph
Sam Johnson
Maureen Shively
Michelle Miller
Tom Peterson
Laurie Faliano
Paulette Shrefler
Tony Mulligan

Newsroom Bargaining: Session Six

24 Feb

DENVER POST NEWSROOM Guild representatives and management met Feb. 23 in collective bargaining talks.

We spent the entire meeting discussing what criteria should be used in the event of staff reductions.

Previous sessions have focused on the concept of developing performance appraisals and how appraisal criteria could be dovetailed into some kind of ranking form used in the event of layoffs. During Thursday’s session the management team provided examples of performance appraisal forms used by the Bay Area News Group (and here’s a link to the Pacific Media Workers Guild). We will continue to consider performance appraisals.

The Guild asked to broaden the discussion to explore a range of options on the bigger issue of how the company would handle layoffs. The management team is willing to talk through other options, but their stated goal remains the same: employees working at The Post after layoffs are the ones best able to do the remaining work — whatever that may be. We spent the remainder of Thursday’s meeting brainstorming other options.

We are scheduled to meet again March 5.

Feel free to leave your comments below or speak to any of the bargaining committee members.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

Newspapers Continue Decline As Presidential Campaign News Source

23 Feb

THE PEW RESEARCH Center for People & the Press released a study Feb. 7, Cable Leads the Pack as Campaign News Source, which offered up the not terribly surprising news that fewer people get campaign news from newspapers:

Pew Research Center

With a contested primary in only one party this year, fewer Americans are closely following news about the presidential campaign than four years ago. As a consequence, long-term declines in the number of people getting campaign news from such sources as local TV and network news have steepened, and even the number gathering campaign news online, which had nearly tripled between 2000 and 2008, has leveled off in 2012.

and …

In contrast to cable, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press’ 2012 campaign news survey, conducted Jan. 4-8 among 1,507 adults nationwide, finds broad declines in the numbers getting campaign news from newspapers, and local and network TV news. Just 20% say they regularly learn something about the presidential campaign or candidates from their local daily newspapers. In 2008, 31% said they got campaign news from their daily newspaper and 40% did so in the 2000 election cycle.

Bear in mind they’re talking about the presidential campaign — if I can find some data on local campaigns and media sources I’ll post it.

Pew Research Center

One thing that was somewhat surprising is that a “relatively limited audience” gets campaign information from social networks:

Many of the newest internet tools for getting campaign information, including social networking, are being used by a relatively limited audience. One-in-five Americans (20%) say they regularly or sometimes get campaign information from Facebook and just one-in-twenty (5%) say the same about Twitter. Even among Facebook and Twitter users, most say they hardly ever or never learn about the campaign or candidates through those sources.

However, in a post titled Why newspaper advertising still matters, Campaigns & Elections says from 2002 to 2010, political advertising in newspapers increased substantially:

Need more proof that newspapers have made a comeback when it comes to political news and advertising? In the 2002 elections, the newspaper industry collected a paltry $35 million for political advertising. It’s likely that more money was spent on bumper stickers that year. But fast forward to 2010 and the newspaper industry increased their take nearly tenfold to over $300 million in political ad sales.

I couldn’t find the study they cite online so the numbers are a little lacking since there’s no context — I’d like to know the percentage of newspaper political ad sales in relation to overall political spending.

There are more interesting graphs on the Pew story, so click on through.

Old Dogs, New Tricks And Crappy Newspaper Executives

20 Feb

DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA CEO John Paton addressed the Canadian Journalism Foundation in Toronto on Feb. 16.

From Digital First, Feb. 18, 2012:

>snip<

And now, like many of you, I am struggling hard to teach this old dog new tricks.

Struggling to accept that much of what we know is no longer valid.

And trying to come to grips with the fact that crappy newspaper executives are a bigger threat to journalism’s future than any changes wrought by the Internet.

>snip<

The Journal Register Company – the Company I took over two years ago – and, more recently, MediaNews Group –which we now both run under Digital First Media – could be the poster kids for what ails the US newspaper industry.

We count our products in the hundreds.

Our employees in the thousands – ten thousand actually.

Our audience in the millions – 57 million actually.

And our revenues are counted in the “Bs” as in billions.

And, it is profitable. With better margins than an average Dow Jones listed company.

We have titles pre-dating the American Revolution and can stretch our lineage back to at least one predecessor title co-founded by Benjamin Franklin. Well, just about stretch if we stand on a high stool.

Another title was around to publish George Washington’s obit.

And our core mission is enshrined in the nation’s Constitution.

And none of the above will save it or other companies like it – unless we and our industry profoundly change how we do business.

>snip<

Because change we must.

And if we are going to change we are also going to have to admit that the Print model is broken. Don’t believe me – then read any of the newspaper company Chapter 11 filings in the United States or Clay Shirky.

If you haven’t read Shirky’s essay Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable and you are in the newspaper business then brother let me tell you – you are not paying enough attention.

His message is simple:

“If the old model is broken, what will work in its place? The answer is nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the Internet just broke.”

And his message is clear:

You don’t tinker or tweak a broken model. You start again anew. And I would add build upon our foundations.

To do this you have to let go of those things we once held true. Like:

– We are the gatekeepers of information.

– That we are the agenda setters and that we decide what news is and what is not.

– And that we keep the Outside world outside and only let in the chosen few – people like us.

So, if we can admit the Print model is broken what else must we recognize isn’t working anymore.

I think it is this:

As career journalists we have entered a new era where what we know and what we traditionally do has finally found its value in the marketplace and that value is about zero.

Our traditional journalism models and our journalistic efforts are inefficient and up against the Crowd – armed with mobile devices and internet connections – incomplete.

Our response to date as an industry has been as equally inefficient and in many cases emotional.

“You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone” is not much of a business model.

>MORE

Non-newsroom Bargaining: Session Five

16 Feb

DENVER NEWSPAPER GUILD and Denver Post representatives met Feb. 15 and continued discussion over the role seniority plays in layoff order and employee evaluations. No other subjects were discussed.

The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for Feb. 22 and 23.

As always, sound off in the comments section below.

Kathy Rudolph
Sam Johnson
Maureen Shively
Michelle Miller
Tom Peterson
Laurie Faliano
Paulette Shrefler
Tony Mulligan

Poll: SI Cover Model On The Denver Post’s Website

16 Feb

THERE WAS SOME chatter in the newsroom about The Denver Post featuring a photo of Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Kate Upton (“SI Covergirl Kate Upton,” also “SI Swimsuit Launch Party”) in the Media Center  >>Photo Blogs carousel on the website.

I did a very non-scientific survey of the front pages of some newspaper websites across the country to see who else was featuring it:

So, it seemed a natural for a poll …


Feel free to expound on your vote by leaving a comment below.

Newsroom Bargaining: Session Five

15 Feb

THE DENVER POST Newsroom Guild representatives and management met Wednesday, Feb. 15, to continue collective bargaining talks.

We spent the entire session discussing what criteria could be used in the event of a layoff. We looked in more detail at the factors used by the San Jose Mercury News (mentioned in the Feb. 10 bargaining update, which also has some great comments). One major concern on the Guild side of the table is that any criteria used for layoffs needs to be as objective as possible.

We also discussed how any factors used for layoff criteria need to be mirrored in regular performance reviews. Both sides agreed that regular reviews, if done correctly, can give both managers and employees a more objective and honest understanding of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as expectations.

We then decided that, rather than getting into details about criteria for layoff, we should first focus on criteria for performance appraisals — and a system to implement them — that would be the foundation for any kind of layoff scenario.

Please be aware that the layoff criteria option we have been discussing is one of several options we will explore during bargaining. No one, on either side of the table, has signed off on anything yet.

Our next bargaining session will be Feb. 23.

As always, sound off in the comments section below.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

Ed Moss Appointed President And CEO Of The Denver Post

14 Feb

From The Denver Post, Feb. 10, 2012:

Digital First Media named Ed Moss, the former publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, as The Denver Post’s new president and chief executive on Friday.

Moss also was named an executive vice president of Digital First Media, responsible for MediaNews Group’s operations in Colorado, Texas and New Mexico. MediaNews owns The Denver Post.

>MORE

Non-newsroom Bargaining: Session Four

11 Feb

DENVER NEWSPAPER GUILD and Denver Post representatives met Feb. 10. The role seniority plays in layoff order was the only subject discussed.

Management explained that they believe the use of seniority as the only factor in layoff order can result in the retention of employees who are not the ones best able to do the remaining work. The Post would prefer to have something similar to the layoff language in the Guild contract with the San Jose Mercury News that uses several factors, including seniority.

Guild representatives expressed concerns about using a layoff system other than straight seniority order.

The issue will continue to be discussed at a later date.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Kathy Rudolph
Sam Johnson
Maureen Shively
Michelle Miller
Tom Peterson
Laurie Faliano
Paulette Shrefler
Tony Mulligan