Friday, October 30, 2009

Time (Inc.) A-Wastin' Away

TIME Magazine; Person of the Year, Greg's Art ...Image by Tony the Misfit via Flickr
How does one go about slashing $100 million in operating costs? If you're the Pentagon, you purchase one less defective long-range bomber; if you're the New York Yankees, you take a pass on signing an A-level free agent pitcher.

If you're Time, Inc., apparently, you decimate your publishing empire.  The publisher of Time, People, Fortune, and Entertainment Weekly, among other periodicals, won't comment officially, but reportedly, approximately 540 employees will be pink-slipped next week. The estimated 6 percent reduction in the media conglomerate's workforce worldwide of 9,000 employees, follows a 6 percent cutback in personnel by the company last year, when it took a $176 million charge against earnings.

Many of the company's journals are covered by a Newspaper Guild agreement that requires initially seeking buyout volunteers before commencing layoffs. Still, the mass termination is expected to dwarf Conde Nast, the struggling magazine empire that recently let go more than 450 employees.  In recent years, Time, Inc. has shutdown several magazines as a cost-savings measure, including Cottage Living, Business 2.0 and Southern Accents.  As reported previously by "TUOL," Time will reduce the frequency of Fortune magazine from 25 issues annually to 18, to trim costs further.

Time no longer marches on; it limps badly.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

SJC To Decide How 'Open' Mass. Open Meeting Law Should Be

John Adams Courthouse, home to the SJCImage via Wikipedia
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts next week will hear arguments in District Attorney for the Northern District v. Wayland School Committee (SJC-10406), which turns on how broadly to interpret the exceptions to the Commonwealth's Open Meeting Law (M.G.L. c. 39, sec. 23B).

As reported by attorney and  blogger Bob Ambrogi (, who submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Assn., the case involves an out of view school committee meeting that addressed the performance evaluation of the school superintendent.  The closed door session was deemed lawful by a trial judge, who relied on an exception in M.G.L. c. 39, sec. 23B that allows officials privately to "conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel, to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with nonunion personnel."  The judge reasoned that evaluation of the superintendent came within this exception because the superintendent's contractual compensation is influenced by the committee's evaluation, so that the evaluation is thereby part of the contract negotiation.

The lower court's ruling ignores a more germane exception under the statute that permits excluding the public so that officials can "discuss the reputation, character physical condition or mental health rather than the professional competence of an individual [emphasis supplied]." The exception suggests an airing about an individual's professional competence should occur in open session.

If the SJC upholds the lower court's interpretation, it will make the "contract negotiation" a catch-all exception and closed-door meetings by elected officials will be considerably harder to pry open.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Massive Layoffs Rock Forbes Magazine

Forbes Building on Fifth Avenue in New York CityImage via Wikipedia
Rumors are still flying, the dust has yet to settle, and management isn't talking at Forbes, the bi-weekly business magazine founded in 1917. Given the numbers being bandied about of editorial employees who were axed this week because of the recession-induced loss of advertising pages and circulation, it's really just a matter of whether to characterize the layoffs as  "catastrophic" or "cataclysmic."

Of  Forbes' approximate 200 editorial employees, The New York Times blogger David Carr reported from 40 to 60 may have been terminated. The Media Jobs Daily blog confirms 27 editorial layoffs, but suggests that including cutbacks on the business side of the fortnightly publication places the number of lost jobs at close to 100.

Bureaus are feeling the impact of the reduction, with London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo bureau chiefs purportedly among the casualties, along with New York's Senior Editor. Ad pages at Forbes  have allegedly declined by at least 30 percent over the first three-quarters of this year, compared to what already were paltry figures in 2008.

No word on whether Forbes may follow the lead of its competitor, Time, Inc.'s  Fortune, which faced with a 35 percent drop-off in ad pages, is reducing the frequency of its publication from 25 to 18 issues annually.

Previously, Forbes slashed 50 positions when it merged its print and Web operations. Unsolicited advice to Steven Forbes  from "TUOL": It may be time to start contacting the "Forbes 400" and the billionaires list the magazine routinely features with hat-in-hand.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Craigslist Not a Pimp; Federal Judge Tosses Sheriff's Suit

CraigslistImage via Wikipedia
A federal court has sided with Craigslist, the online classified advertising colossus, by dismissing a lawsuit brought by Cook County (Ill.) Sheriff Thomas Dart that accused the forum of promoting prostitution in its erotic services listings.

Judge John F. Grady of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois relied on a provision of Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, better known as the Communications Decency Act (47 U.S.C., sec. 230(c)(1)) in ruling for the defendant in Thomas Dart, Sheriff, v. Craigslist, Inc. (Case No. 09-C-1385).  Specifically, Section 230(c)(1) states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Sheriff Dart alleged many of the ads appearing in the erotic services section use code words that in fact involve payment for sexual services. Craigslist expressly warns users that soliciting prostitution is prohibited and has begun charging posters of erotic services ads.

Congress enacted Section 230(c)(1) to encourage Internet Service Providers to police themselves by shielding them from liability for content they did not create. Without such a provision, online speech could be chilled.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Social Media in the Ether

Facebook, Inc.Image via Wikipedia
The Associated Press reports that Facebook, with its widespread growing popularity--more than 300 million users worldwide--is looking to expand further beyond, as in The Great Beyond.

If friends or family make such a request to the five-year-old social network, then Facebook will memorialize profiles of users who have died. Unlike regular Facebook profiles, the profiles of deceased "members" will not include contact information and will only be accessible via search to the decedent's confirmed friends.

Another way to tell if the Facebook profile is of a deceased individual: if you "poke" him, he doesn't move.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, October 26, 2009

NY Times Reportedly Close to Unloading Worcester daily

Telegram & Gazette BuildingImage by bunkosquad via Flickr
A beverage mogul and a long-time former editor may be in line to purchase the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette from The New York Times, according to the Editor & Publisher Web site and an article in the Worcester daily.

Ralph D. Crowley, 58, CEO of Polar Beverages Corp., and 63-year-old Harry T. Whitin, who spent 16 of his 44 years at the Telegram & Gazette as Editor in Chief before retiring last spring, have been negotiating with The New York Times and are hopeful they can complete a deal to acquire the paper within two weeks.

No dollar amount has been disclosed.  The Times  has previously threatened to shutter the Worcester daily, which has taken serious hits in circulaton and advertising revenues, as have many newspapers nationwide.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Extra, Extra: Readers Abandon Newspapers in Droves

Front page of the New York Times on Armistice ...Image via Wikipedia
The bad news just keeps coming for print journalists.  An analysis of data from the industry-funded Audit Bureau of Circulations finds newspaper readership has plunged to pre-World War II lows.

Following an average 11 percent drop in circulation over the past six months, circulation figures are approximately 39.1 million, which translates into fewer than 13 percent of the U.S. population buying a daily newspaper. The figures are worse than the 41.1 million papers sold in 1940, the first year circulation figures were tracked by the Newspaper Association of America.

Sunday newspaper sales are even more troubling--40.9 million, down an average 7.5 percent over the past six months, and the lowest figure since 39.9 million in 1945. Whereas 28.5 percent of American homes saw a Sunday paper in 1945, today, only 13.5 percent of homes receive the Sunday paper.

The latest study should make the ink-stained more wretched than ever.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, October 23, 2009 Watchdog of Democracy?

Mel Gibson's mugshot from his July 28 2006 arr...Image via Wikipedia
First Amendment groupies, clamoring for gutsy journalists to follow the path burned by John Peter Zenger and other ink-stained giants, need look no further than Harvey Levin, founder of, the Web site whose contribution to a free press includes "Beach Bums," featuring close-up photos of celebrity tuchi frolicking in skimpy bathing suits.

Levin will battle the L.A. Sheriff's Dept. in court over what he believes is the law enforcement agency's violation of state and federal laws when it secured a search warrant and obtained telephone records as part of the Sheriff's inquiry into leaked information concerning the 2006 DUI arrest of "Lethal Weapon" star  Mel Gibson in which the devout Christian Australian actor-director-hunk launched into an anti-Semitic rant against his Jewish arresting deputy. broke the story about "Braveheart's" indecorous behavior, which contradicted the Sheriff Dept.'s spokesperson, who claimed Gibson's arrest occurred without incident.  The L.A. lawmen deny they engaged in illegal activity, noting that they lawfully obtained a warrant signed by a judge and vetted by a prosecuting attorney.  Media lawyers and a bevy of editors are not so sure, decrying the Sheriff rummaging through a "journalist's" phone records as an abuse of power contrary to the tenets of the First Amendment.

Who would have guessed that the moving force behind a Web site that today features stories about Jon Gosselin, Michael Jackson and Kanye West is all that stands between a vital free press and a police state?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Chamber of Hoaxes: Reuters, CNBC Duped by 'Yes Men'

Chamber of CommerceImage via Wikipedia
When "TUOL"'s humble servant toiled in journalism school, the credo of the news profession was: "Get it first, get it fast, get it right."  In the wake of a left-wing activist group's Chamber of Commerce climate-change ruse that ensnared CNBC, Reuters, and Fox Business News, today's  modified media credo might be: "Two out of three isn't bad."

The "Yes Men" took credit for the pseudo-story that claimed the Chamber of  Commerce had reversed its long-standing position of opposing climate change legislation, but wanted such legislation to include a carbon tax. The ruse involved printing the policy change announcement on an authentic-looking press release with the Chamber logo that included the names of press contacts, including "Erica Avidus," staging a press conference in a rented room at The National Press Club with a lectern boasting the Chamber logo at which phony reporters from the "Expres News" and "Herald Tribune" took their place among the press corps, and setting up a fake Website,, rather than the actual site,

It wasn't long before the purportedly cynical, dogged press took the bait. A CNBC anchor cut away from reading a story to announce "breaking news," switching to CNBC reporter Hampton Pearson reading from the faux Chamber press release. Soon after, Pearson issued a second report in which he branded his previous bulletin a hoax. For good measure, another CNBC journalist questioned whether the White House was involved in the deception.

Not to be left out, Fox Business News flashed its "breaking news" graphic to announce the new-found Chamber support for the climate change bill, only to retract its scoop moments later, acknowledging that it had learned in contacting the Chamber [checking with a source, what a novel idea!], apparently the group had not changed his stance on the environmental legislation.

Meanwhile, Reuters news service sent a bulletin announcing the Chamber no longer would oppose climate change legislation before following up with a "never mind" retraction a tad late, as The Washington Post and The New York Times respective Web sites already had posted the breaking (broken?) story.

Before  sympathy begins to well up for the red-faced news media that allowed its competitive juices to overwhelm its judgment, let's be clear that there were plenty of indicators suggesting the Chamber story stunk like a three-day old flounder smothered in limburger sauce that the press ignored.  For example, the phony press release misspelled Chamber President Tom Donohue's name, the press contact did not work at the Chamber--or even exist--as "Avidus" from the Latin, means greedy.

The spectacle of the press conference engineered by the Yes Men with the assistance of two other groups, the activist AVAAZ Action Factory and the environmental Web site,, quickly devolved into competing press conferences as an actual Chamber representative arrived on the scene and told the assembled press that the event was fraudulent, while the Yes Men/Chamber poseur, Andy Bichlbaum (not his real name) a/k/a Chamber spokesperson Hingo Sembra (nope, that's not his name either) challenged the Chamber rep,

One wonders if the press might have been a bit more suspicious had Bichlbaum/Sembra arrived at the press conference via balloon.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Columbia J-School Releases Report on How to Salvage the Profession

Columbia University's journalism buildingImage by miniature via Flickr

An emphasis on local "accountability journalism" and a melange of foundation funding, nonprofit options, and open access to information are part of the recipe for the "Reconstruction of American Journalism," according to a report sponsored by Columbia Univ. Graduate School of Journalism.

The report, prepared by Columbia J-Prof. Michael Schudson and former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., is optimistic about online journalism opportunities. A shortened version will appear in the November/December issue of Columbia Journalism Review.

Downie must have experienced an epiphany to advocate, in part, for government assistance to shore up the journalism profession. When he was an editor at the Post, he refused to vote in elections because he believed it compromised journalistic objectivity to appear beholden to candidates or a political party.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Times, They Are A-Laying Off...

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...Image via CrunchBase
Bloodied by the precipitous decline in advertising revenue that has beset the newspaper industry, The New York Times will slash its newsroom staff by 100.

The reduction, which amounts to 8 percent of newsroom personnel and will result in a newsroom staffed by 1,150 reporters and editors, will be accomplished initially by voluntary buyouts, followed by layoffs until the 100 slots are eliminated. Union and non-union workers agreed to a 5 percent pay cut earlier this year to stave off layoffs, which have arrived nonetheless.

The newsroom already was reduced by 100 positions last year, mostly through buyouts. The business side of the The Grey Lady also lost 100 staffers last spring and now employs about 1,850.  The shrinking payroll at the Times is in response to the steep drop-off in ad revenues. 

The New York Times still has the largest news staff of any newspaper in the country. This development can't be good news for The Boston Globe, which is owned by the Times.  The offers of two prospective buyers of the Globe were rejected by the Times, which told Globe staffers last week that it couldn't guarantee that the Globe would not experience additional staff layoffs.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Yorker Mag Faces $45m Libel Suit from New Guinea Tribesmen

The New YorkerImage via Wikipedia
Two tribesmen from the Independent State of Papua New Guinea have filed an amended 30-page defamation lawsuit against the publisher of The New Yorker and the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of  the article "Vengeance is Ours," that appeared in the magazine in April 2008, according to Forbes Magazine.

The amended complaint, filed in the New York Supreme Court by attorney Jack Litman, who represented "Preppie Murder" defendant Robert Chambers, seeks $45 million in damages, and cites 24 allegedly false passages in the article that purportedly defame the plaintiffs.The case is Henep Isum Mandingo & Hup Daniel Wemp v. Advance Publications, Inc. & Jared Diamond (Case No. 09-105519).

The complaint contends that the magazine failed to fact-check the article about events that allegedly transpired in the nation that is part of Oceania, though The New Yorker counters that an editorial staffer vigorously fact-checked Diamond's account.  According to the complaint, Diamond's article alludes to a three-year-long clan war that killed 30 and purportedly was sparked by the presence of a pig in a garden, while the complaint alleges only four people died in the three-month long struggle that was caused by a card game.

Wemp & Mandingo allege the article falsely portrays them as sanctioning prostitution, encouraging rape, and being complicit in several murders, which the plaintiffs claim has made them targets of anger from their fellow tribesmen and prevented them from attaining gainful employment.

The defendants denied the allegations against them in their Answer to the Original Complaint.  Unfortunately for the defendants, Papua New Guinea abolished sea shells as its official currency in 1933, so were Wemp and Mandingo to prevail, it will cost Tne New Yorker several million "clams."
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, October 16, 2009

Does 'C' in CNN Stand for Conflict of Interest?

Cnn.Image via Wikipedia
Kudos to's "TVNewser" blog for uncovering an unsavory connection between stalwart GOP consultant and frequent CNN commentator Alex Castellanos and America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an insurance industry trade group and major naysayer to Democratic health care reform proposals.

Seems that Castellanos, who has often criticized the public health option and Democratic health coverage schemes during CNN appearances, has purportedly placed more than $1 million in  TV advertising on AHIP's behalf through his National Media consulting firm, according to Media Matters.

TV Newser reports that CNN, which heretofore has not disclosed Castellanos getting healthy and wealthy through his link to AHIP, will identify the relationship in any future appearance by him on the network.

Rx for CNN: Heal thyself and do some legwork.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

'Govenator' Expands California Anti-Paparazzi Law

Cropped image of Arnold Schwarzenegger.Image via Wikipedia
Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a target of celebrity photographers during his Hollywood days, signed a bill this week expanding his state's 11-year-old anti-paparazzi law that extends liability to the media outlets that pay for and publish the candid pictures.

The dogged freelance photogs who sell unauthorized snapshots of celebrities engaged in familial or personal activities could be criminally liable and subject to a maximum $50,000 fine under the new law. Media outlets (listen up, TMZ and National Enquirer) that initially publish paparazzi photos aware that the photos in question were improperly obtained are also liable under the amended anti-paparazzi statute.

Pursuant to Calif. Civ. Code Sec. 1708-1725, it is illegal for photographers to trespass, physically and constructively, to capture on film celebrities engaged in familial or personal activities in a "manner that is offensive to a reasonable person."

The amendment to the statute, which takes effect in January 2010, media advocates argue, could encourage timidity and hinder legitimate journalism outlets in the newsgathering process.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Martha Stewart's Body + Soul Target of Lawsuit

NEW YORK - JANUARY 11:  Business magnate, TV h...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Kiki Paris, a 53-year-old former ad executive for Martha Stewart's Body + Soul magazine, has sued the company for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. c. 126) over its treatment of her following serious injuries she sustained in a motor vehicle accident in May 2008.

Neither  the magazine's founder, Jan Bruce, nor Stewart are named defendants, though Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is a party. The suit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims that Paris was wrongly terminated. According to Paris, she suffered several broken vertebrae and had to wear a metal halo ring around her head from the motor vehicle accident. Paris alleges that her employer forced her to take a leave of absence, but pressured her to work from home by making phone calls and sending Emails, despite her incapacitation. Paris was terminated three weeks after she attempted to resume working from her home.

Wonder if Stewart suggested that Paris tastefully secure her detached vertebrae with Fall-colored ribbons?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

UPDATE: BusinessWeek Joins the Bloomberg Empire

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11:  Editor-in-Chief of Bus...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
BusinessWeek, the venerable 80-year-old magazine favored by corporate executives that has suffered declines in circulation and advertising lineage, has been unloaded by textbook publisher McGraw-Hill Cos. to Bloomberg LP. (See "TUOL" post 7/14/2009.)

Terms of the purchase, which is expected to be finalized in December, were not disclosed. Bloomberg's principal content officer, Norman Pearlstine, will become chair of BusinessWeek.  Advertising revenue at the periodical declined by one-third over the first three quarters of 2009, according to Publishers Information Bureau, though the magazine still offers Bloomberg a crack at a high-powered subscription list of more than 900,000 and an international readership of more than 4.7 million, according to the magazine's Web site.

How BusinessWeek will co-exist with Bloomberg Markets magazine has yet to be publicly discussed.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

UPDATE: Court Exiles Stalin's Grandson's Libel Suit

Joseph Stalin, cartoonImage via Wikipedia
The Associated Press reported yesterday that Yevgeny Dzhugashvili's defamation suit against the Novaya Gazeta newspaper for publishing an article April 22, 2009, that branded Yevgeny's grandpa, Josef Stalin, a "bloody cannibal" who sent thousands of his fellow Soviets to their deaths has been dismissed. (See "TUOL" post 9/9/2009.)

The Gazeta's article, which was based on a review of declassified Soviet documents, prompted the libel suit that was prosecuted by Stalinist Leonid Zhura, who encouraged Yevgeny to pursue the claim to clear the name of Stalin, whose reign over the Soviet Union lasted 25 years.

Yevgeny has five days in which to file an appeal.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Twitter & Facebook Use Skyrockets; MySpace Swoons

Image representing MySpace as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
According to an Internet monitoring company's recent study reported in Computerworld magazine, site visits to Twitter last month climbed 1,170 percent compared to September 2008, figures, while social networking leader Facebook boosted its market share boosted by 194 percent.

The report by Experian Hitwise found Twitter, the fourth most visited social networking destination, capturing 1.84 percent of the social media market in September 2009, among the nation's 155 largest  social networking sites. Facebook continues to dominate the field, capturing just shy of 59 percent of all U.S. social network hits in September 2009, compared to roughly 20 percent at that time last year. Meanwhile, MySpace is losing traction. Though still the second largest social networking site with a 30.26 percent share of the domestic market, MySpace, when matched against its industry leading share in September 2008, dropped 55 percent in the latest report by Experian Hitwise.

Rounding out the top five domestic social networking sites, the five-year-old Tagged climbed 47 percent to capture a 2.38 percent market share, while fading came in at a market share slightly more than 1 percent, a 40 percent decline over its 2008 position.

Facebook has more than 300 million users, which translates into a lot of  "poking.".

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Dobbs in the Fox Hunt?

CNN: LIVED EXPERIENCE EDITIONImage by margemont.robinson via Flickr
The New York Times reports that Lou Dobbs, host of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," dined with Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes last month, hinting that a possible move to the Fox Business Channel might be in the offing for the 64-year-old Texas-bred Dobbs.

Dobbs, who has been highly critical of the Obama Administration, joined CNN in 1980, left in 2000, before returning to the cable network in 2001. Fox Business Channel recently lured investigative reporter  John Stossel away from ABC.  Ancient radio shock jock Don Imus, another recent arrival, now airs his morning show on the Fox Business Network.

Were Dobbs to emigrate to Fox from CNN, the staunch libertarian Stossel presumably would welcome him with open arms. On the other hand, "TUOL" is wary of the "broken borders" between cable news networks and not sure Fox should employ a CNN immigrant such as Dobbs in a high-profile talk show, instead of giving one of its own a chance.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Taking a Shortcut to Irrelevance?

Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionImage by cytosine via Flickr
The Associated Press reports that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has decided not to endorse candidates as part of its election coverage.

The editorial board purportedly is taking marching orders from its readers, which it claims don't need the newspaper to tell them for whom to vote, but rather, to provide information about the candidates' backgrounds, accomplishments and policy aims.

"TUOL" isn't buying it.  It looks like timidity, a newspaper afraid that it might alienate a shrinking readership base by supporting a candidate and being branded "liberal" or "ultra-conversative."  Newspapers attend political gatherings and interview candidates 1 on 1 with the proxy of  readers. These readers have an obligation as citizens to inform themselves about the officials they elect, and should be able to look to their newspaper's editorial board's choice for guidance, not fiat.

The Journal-Constitution apparently is willing to shrug its shoulders--along with its responsibility--and leave it to bloggers, partisan and non-partisan, to carry on its duty. The Journal-Constitution is the flagship paper of Cox Enterprises, Inc.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vegas Crapshoot: Station Says Rivals Disguised Ads As News

A similar view of the Strip at nightImage via Wikipedia

KVBC-TV Channel 3 Las Vegas has lodged a complaint with the FCC against its rival stations, KVVU-TV Channel 5, KTNV-TV Channel 13, and  KLAS-TV Channel 8, accusing them of disguising paid advertising as "news stories."

The Las Vegas Review Journal has reported that the alleged infraction, which would violate the FCC's sponsor identification rules, involves Arrowhead Advertising and United Dodge Chrysler Jeep.  According to KVBC's complaint, its competitors during May-June 2009, aired news stories about the liquidation of vehicles by a dealership that Chrysler Corp. had dropped without disclosing that the franchise had purchased spot schedule advertising.

 The targeted KVBC-TV rivals have denied the allegations, as has Arrowhead Advertising, which implied "sour grapes" might be behind the complaint. According to Arrowhead, Channel 3 was excluded from the ad buy because of  poor ratings for its newscasts.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Font Bureau Sues NBC: Network Not Its Type

As if NBC didn't have enough problems, what with poor prime time ratings, occasional flare-ups of Celebrity Apprentice, and its best franchise down to its last option--"Law & Order: Traffic Division"--along comes The Font Bureau with a $2 million trademark and copyright infringement suit over the network's alleged misuse of registered typefaces to promote The Jay Leno Show, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

The Font Bureau, a national typographic design firm whose typefaces have been featured among clients such as Apple, Microsoft, and The New York Times, alleges that NBC paid only for a license to install on a single computer certain of its registered typefaces, but purportedly wrongly copied the limited fonts on numerous other computers and employed typefaces for which it allegedly had not obtained licenses from the design firm. Some of the protected typefaces allegedly purloined by NBC include Interstate, Antenna, and the wonderfully named Bureau Grotesque, whose use should be confined to government publications.

The case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York is The Font Bureau v. NBC Universal, Inc. & CNBC, Inc. (Case No. 09-04286). NBC could be forced to scrap its marketing materials for its programming if it is found to have infringed on the trademarks & copyrights registered by The Font Bureau, which may prompt a swift out-of-court resolution of the dispute.

"TUOL" agrees that NBC has a problem with the writing on The Jay Leno Show and Saturday Night Live, but wouldn't necessarily have attributed it to the fonts.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Twits & Tweets

The British Broadcasting CorporationImage by fatmanad via Flickr

The BBC has drafted revised editorial guidelines for its journalists, tightening the reins on their use of naughty language and abusive behavior when blogging and on air.

Although the BBC reviews its policies every five years, releasing the standards to the general public is unusual. Among  the latest pronouncements is that BBC journalists and presenters should not include in blog postings any content that they would not be willing or able to repeat on the air.

The proposed guidelines also challenge the use of profanity, suggesting that "bleeping out" may occur even if the naughty language is uttered after the so-called "watershed" hour of 9 p.m. In recent months, things have gotten a bit randy over at the BBC, with one popular broadcaster, Jonathan Ross, telling actress Gwyneth Paltrow during an interview that he would make love to her, though using much coarser language than "TUOL," which suggests that perhaps more than his British upper lip was stiff.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Can St. Louis Rams Avoid the Rush (Limbaugh)?

Meeting Rush LimbaughImage by echobase_2000 via Flickr
St. Louis Business reports that conservative radio talkmeister and Missouri native Rush Limbaugh could become part of the NFL St. Louis Rams' ownership team if his group's bid is accepted.

Limbaugh joined with sports mogul Dave Checketts, whose New York-based company SCP Worldwide submitted a bid to buy the Rams.  SCP already owns the NHL St. Louis Blues and the MLS Real Salt Lake franchise.

The amount of the bid was not disclosed. Forbes estimated the team's worth at more than $900 million not long ago, though the franchise's 0-4 start and basement dwelling in the NFC West division may drive down the purchase price.

Limbaugh has done NFL commentary in the past and may prove to be an active owner.  Hint to opposing teams: if he calls offensive plays, expect a "wide right" formation.  The Rams roster includes a guard named Incognito, a surname that many teammates may adopt if Rush winds up in the owner's suite.  No word on whether players of color are concerned about having to ride on a separate team bus.  CNN commentator Paul Begala pleaded to keep the team doctors' medicine cabinet off-limits to Limbaugh.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

FTC: Bloggers Must Fess Up to Perks

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commis...Image via Wikipedia
Federal Trade Commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to implement rules effective December 1, 2009, requiring bloggers who review products to disclose any payments or freebies they receive from the products' manufacturers.

No concrete guidelines were offered by the FTC concerning how bloggers need to reveal any potential conflicts of interest. The federal agency has not changed its endorsement and testimonial rules since 1980, though this latest vote is the first to subject bloggers to agency rules.

Looks like "TUOL" is going to be shipping some boxes at UPS this week (not an endorsement).
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Foodie Fiasco: Conde Nast Kills Gourmet Magazine

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05:  Copies of Gourmet maga...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Gourmet, America's oldest food magazine, dating back to 1941, will cease publishing before the end of 2009, Conde Nast has announced.

Gourmet joins other high-end Conde Nast periodicals on the chopping block, including Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, and Cookie (a parenting journal, not a nickname for "skanky bride"). Conde Nast, which will continue to publish 19 magazines, including Bon Appetit, is part of the privately held Advance Publications media empire that includes newspapers, cable television stations, news services and the Fairchild business publications.

Although Gourmet still boasted a healthy circulation of roughly 980,000, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, its advertising pages plunged more than 50 percent in the second quarter of 2009, compared to the same period last year. No word on the fate of Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl, though a combined 180 editorial jobs will be lost with the closure of the four magazines.

Gourmet recipes will still turn up on the Web site, which is little solace for "TUOL," which will probably wind up dumping its arugula and balsamic vinegar supply down the disposal.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]