Monday, August 31, 2009

Bankruptcy for Financially Squeezed Orange County Register Looms

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Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom Communications, which owns eight television stations and 31 daily newspapers, including The Orange County Register, is expected to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, handing control over to lenders who hold approximately $770 million in debt.

The Register has an average daily circulation of 230,877 and Sunday sales of roughly 300,000 for the six months ending March 31, 2009, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  The Hoiles family has been majority owners of Freedom Communications for more than 70 years.

Freedom suspended its dividend a year ago and in June 2009, announced an across-the-board 5 percent salary reduction for employees.

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Ex-Med Head Scores $10m Libel Verdict Against St. Petersburg Times

Official seal of City of St.Image via Wikipedia
A six-member Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court jury has socked the Times Publishing Co., parent of The St. Petersburg Times, with a $10 million libel judgment in a case brought by Dr. Harold Kennedy, former chief of medicine at Bay Pines VA Medical Center.

Following a five-day trial, the four-women, two-man jury awarded Dr. Kennedy $5.1 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages based on three articles that appeared in The St. Petersburg Times in December 2003, written by staff writer Paul de la Garza, who died at age 44 of a heart attack in 2006. The court excluded  de la Garza's reporter's notes as evidence for the defense.

The offending articles involved Dr. Kennedy's re-assignment from chief of medicine to his cardiology subspecialty. Dr. Kennedy presently resides in St. Louis and consults for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, according to his attorney.

The newspaper plans to appeal the verdict.
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What Would Brokaw Say?

WASHINGTON - MARCH 24:  School teacher and dau...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
NBC, the network of Huntley & Brinkley, John Chancellor, and Tom Brokaw, has hired Jenna Hager as a part-time correspondent on the "Today" show.

Before marrying Henry Hagar on her parents' Texas ranch in May 2008, the 27-year-old "Today" newshound was better-known as Jenna Bush, daughter of President George W. Bush, whose news media background involved getting busted as a teen for using a fake id to purchase alcohol.

Besides her "Today" correspondent duties, Hager will continue to work as a teacher in the Baltimore school system.  She will not cover politics, but will report on issues such as education, according to "Today" honchos, and will work out of NBC News' Washington bureau. 

Hagar initially appeared on "Today" two years ago to promote her book, "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope," about an HIV-infected single mother. She has written two books, matching the number her father has read. Landing her first television job on "Today" in NBC News' Washington bureau is a good opportunity for Hagar were she to decide to pursue a broadcasting career in a higher-profile major tv market down the line.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Gannett's Journal News Bad for Business (Reporters)

Gannett Co., Inc.Image via Wikipedia
Included among the latest round of 50 layoffs at Gannett's Journal News in Westchester County, N.Y. is the entire business editorial staff.

In the face of sagging ad revenues, the once 14-member business reporting staff was wiped out. Experiencing the recession is even tougher than covering it.
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'The View' From the Gutter

Official congressional portrait of former cong...Image via Wikipedia
Rod & Patti Blagojevich will appear on Barbara Walters' gabfest, "The View" on Sept. 9.

It's a return appearance for the 52-year-old impeached former governor of  Illinois, who was on the show last January. He is promoting his book, "The Governor."  Patti B. recently was a contestant on the NBC reality show, "I'm a Celebrity--Get Me Out of Here."

Blagojevich is under indictment following his arrest by FBI agents in December 2008, on corruption charges ranging from purportedly accepting campaign contributions in return for official actions and allegedly offering for personal financial gain the appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he was elected president. The Illiniois Senate voted 59-0 to impeach Blagojevich on Jan. 30, 2009.

Patti and Rod are making a joint appearance on The View, and Rod, if convicted,  may soon be making an appearance in the Joint. ABC, which airs "The View," is owned by the Walt Disney Co., which may explain this "Goofy" booking decision.

Viewers eagerly await the "hair-off "challenge  between panelist Whoopi Goldberg and the former governor.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Surge in Enrollment in Journalism Schools--Huh?

Missouri School of JournalismImage via Wikipedia
According to the editors of the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), student enrollment in journalism schools is skyrocketing at the same time the profession is hemorrhaging jobs.

Columbia U.'s  Graduate School of Journalism saw a 38 percent boost in applications for its class of 2010, the CJR article notes. Likewise, U. of  Maryland experienced a 25 percent increase in applications to its journalism program, Stanford, 20 percent, and NYU, 6 percent. Meanwhile, 5,000 journalism jobs were lost in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center.

CJR's editors are just as puzzled as this blogger about the underlying reasons for the burgeoning ranks of j-students. The fear at "TUOL" is that the surge is attributable to the evolving definition of "journalist," so that j-students are hoping to emulate the celebrity and wealth of Erin Andrews and Arianna Huffington, rather than signing up to acquire the shoe-leather sagacity of Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill or Walter Cronkite.

J-school grads and enrollees are invited to explain to "TUOL" why they booked a cabin on the sinking ship known as the U.S.S. Journalism.
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Shout Out to Salon

Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security.Image via Wikipedia
Despite its "I told you so tone," "TUOL" recommends reading Gene Lyons' "The media can't handle the truth" in Salon ( Column takes mainstream press to task for gullibility in its "shock" over political untruths from the Bush Administration, such as Homestead Security honcho Tom Ridge's recent revelations concerning pressure from Vice President Cheney and others to ratchet up the terrorism alert levels on his pantone protection chart for politically motivated reasons. Lyons heaps praise on skeptical bloggers--such as himself--who doubted Colin Powell's WMD pitch to the U.N., Condi Rice's "no warning about 9/11" claim, and on and on.

Lyons' condemnation of the play-it-safe herd mentality of the Washington press corps and punditry pales in comparison to Upton Sinclair, author of  the muckraking expose about the press, The Brass Check (1919), and quoted by Lyons. Sinclair said: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Judge Sheds Light on Fed Reserve Bailout Practices

Judge Loretta A.Image via Wikipedia
Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled in favor of Bloomberg News' Freedom of Information Act(FOIA)  request to the Federal Reserve Board, ordering the Fed  to turn over bailout-related documents that name the recipient financial institutions and set forth the assets of, and  the collateral offered  by, the firms that received the government loans.

In her 47-page decision in Bloomberg LP v.  Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Case No. 08-cv-9595), Judge Preska ordered the Fed to search for additional documents at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which administers the lion's share of the bailout loan programs, and to produce records previously identified to Bloomberg by the Fed within five days. Judge Preska rejected the government position that compliance with the FOIA would harm shareholders and competitively disadvantage the identified financial institutions, writing: "the risk of looking weak to shareholders is an inherent risk of market participation."

The Washington, D.C.-based defendant is a key player in setting monetary policy and regulates certain banks. The Federal Reserve System embraces 12 regional banks, including the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Bloomberg filed its FOIA request in May 2008, to learn more about the destinations of the emergency $2 trillion in taxpayer-funded loans doled out by the Federal Reserve Board.

No word on whether the government will appeal her ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
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Liberal Lion's Senate Reign Ends After 46 Years

{{w|Ted Kennedy}}, Senator from Massachusetts.Image via Wikipedia
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the third-longest serving U.S. Senator in the nation's history, died Tuesday night of brain cancer. He was 77.

Loved and respected by his colleagues, to the public, he was both the most revered and most reviled member of the Senate. Whatever one's viewpoint, without question, Sen. Kennedy delivered for his constituents.

This blogger covered Kennedy's N.H. presidential primary challenge of President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and remember Kennedy's concession speech at his headquarters in a former Manchester department store. Although his remarks were inspirational to his supporters, one could almost sense the personal relief he felt while delivering it.

Rest in Peace.  February 22, 1932--August 26, 2009.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boudoir Queen to Love: 'See You in Courtney'

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 26:  Musician Courtney...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

On her Website,, 45-year-old Courtney Love, lead singer of the alternative rock band Hole and widow of Nirvana rock icon Kurt Cobain, describes herself as an amalgam of musician, actress, songwriter, activist, celebrity, provocateur. Add to that list: libel defendant.

Dawn Simorangkir, an Austin, Tex.-based fashion designer who operates the "Boudoir Queen" line of clothing, sued Love in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging defamation, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and tortious interference with economic advantage(Dawn Simorangkir a/k/a Dawn Younger-Smith a/k/a Boudoir Queen v. Courtney Michelle Love and Does 1-25 inclusive, Case No. BC41059).

Love has the distinction of being the first celebrity to be sued for defamation over her alleged Tweets. Simorangkir claims her reputation was impugned by Love on the singer's Twitter account, MySpace blog, and on the plaintiff's feedback page at Love has filed a motion to strike the lawsuit under California's anti-SLAPP law.

The plaintiff alleges Love failed to pay her for custom designed clothing, which Love disputes. As the dispute grew more acrimonious, the plaintiff alleged that Love fired off a series of libelous statements, such as purportedly calling her a drug addict, prostitute, and a "nasty, lying hosebag thief," and allegedly Tweeting: "oi vey, don't f*** with my wardrobe or you will end up in a circle of corched eath hunted til your dead."

Well, presumably, it was a first draft.

Of course, the plaintiff must prove not only that these comments are attributable to Love, but also that they are false and caused harm to her reputation, which requires that others believed the statements at issue. Were the Boudoir Queen to prevail, any judgment would doubtless put Courtney in a real Hole.

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Cramer Backs Beck: Sponsors Will Return

Expect this item to reduce embattled Fox TV personality Glenn Beck to tears--CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer thinks Beck is a "nice guy" and predicts that the mass exodus of advertisers who considered Beck radioactive after he called President Obama a racist (see "TUOL" post 8/24/09) will end and the sponsors will return to the fold.

Of course, Cramer, a 54-year-old former hedge fund manager and co-founder of, also predicted that global investment banker Bear Stearns (R.I.P.) would weather the economic downturn ("Don't move your money from Bear"). In March, Cramer was eviscerated by Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who blamed Cramer for doling out ersatz financial advice to viewers and missing the boat on the malfeasance being committed by Wall St. denizens. Cramer made his "nice guy" assessment of Beck, recalling how he was a listener, and once appeared on the 45-year-old Beck's talk radio show in Philadelphia.

Beck and Cramer in the same cramped radio studio is hard to envision. Beck and Cramer and 12 others of their ilk shoulder-to-shoulder in a Volkswagen Beetle in the center ring at Ringling Bros.--that's easier to imagine.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Pentagon Press Screening: In Bed to Embed?

The base area of The Pentagon, Washington DC, ...Image via Wikipedia

At the Pentagon's direction, PR mavens The Rendon Group are examining the backgrounds of journalists seeking credentials to embed with U.S. forces in Afghanistan, evaluating the reporters' work as "positive," "negative," or "neutral" to the military's objectives.

Stars & Stripes reports that the Pentagon employed similar vetting practices regarding journalists in the Iraq conflict. The Washington, D.C.-based Rendon Group , beneficiaries of a $1.5 million Dept. of Defense "news analysis and media assessment" contract, helped to create the Iraqi National Congress. Military officials insist journalists will not be denied credentials based on the Rendon-compiled profiles, and contend that the process is being performed so that the military can know something about the reporters with whom they are working.
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EFF Seeks to Protect ID of Blogging Development Opponents

Subpoena and Summons ExtrordinaryImage by A Gude via Flickr

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and local counsel want to quash subpoenas that would identify anonymous bloggers who are critical of a Chicago development project.

In Fix Wilson Yard, Inc. et al v. City of Chicago et al. (Docket No. 2008-CH-45023), the EFF wants a Cook County Illinois Circuit Judge to toss six subpoenas to Google aimed at Websites including and, sought by defendant firms linked to Chicago developer Peter Holsten. The subpoenas want the identities of anonymous online critics of the Wilson Yard project and its chief sponsor, Alderman Helen Shiller.

The EFF contends that identifying the online critcs has no bearing on the litigation, which involves land-use ordinances, and abridges the First Amendment rights of the anonymous opponents of the project.
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Mainstream Media Given 'Digit' by Local Advertisers

Braun HF 1, Germany, 1959Image via Wikipedia

According to a report in Inside Radio, BIA/Kelsey's Local Commerce Monitor revealed that 77 percent of local businesses employ some form of digital marketing, compared to only 69 percent for mainstream media.

The latest Kelsey report marks the first time that digital media has outstripped its radio, television, and print counterparts. The study found four of every ten advertising and promotional dollars being steered to digital media, twice last year's figures. Overall, local advertisers in the past year decreased promotion and advertising by 24 percent to $2.1 billion, from $2.7 billion.
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Defecting Advertisers Give Glenn Beck Something to Cry About

BeckImage by fsgm via Flickr

Fox Tv talkmeister Glenn Beck, who on a July 28 Fox telecast branded President Barack Obama a racist with a "deep-seated hatred for White people," has purportedly been abandoned by 33 sponsors, who asked Fox that their ads not appear on his program.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Beck's program attracts an average audience of 2.4 million. Sprint, CVS Caremark, Walmart and Clorox Co. are among the companies that distanced themselves from Beck's program. Clorox, maker of bleach and household cleaners, contends it has abandoned advertising on political talk shows of all stripes, a blow to Beck, whose viewers are "whiter than white."
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Trib Gets Cash, Cubs Get Ricketts

CHICAGO - JULY 06:  Baseball fans gather in fr...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Tribune Co. may still be mired in bankruptcy, but at least it has unloaded a "curse."

The parent company of The Chicago Tribune has sold the Chicago Cubs, the lovable denizens of Wrigley Field who last won a World Series in 1908, for a reported $845 million, while retaining a 5 percent ownership interest. Pending approval by Major League Baseball and a federal bankruptcy judge, the Cubbies' new owner is the billionaire Ricketts family, who founded what is now the TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. online brokerage firm.

Included in the sale is a 25 percent interest in Comcast Sportsnet Chicago and the ivy-covered Wrigley Field on Chicago's North Side. The Tribune Co., currently owned by billionaire real estate mogul Samuel Zell, paid $20.5 million for the Cubs when they purchased the franchise from the Wrigley family in 1981, but the media conglomerate, which owns The Los Angeles Times and The Hartford Courant, among other newspapers and television stations, is gummed up by a debt load of more than $13 billion.

A component of the sale involves the Cubs voluntarily entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a means of separating itself from the debts of the Tribune Co. It remains to be seen whether the new ownership will be able to exorcise the curse placed on the Cubs by the owner of a goat that was denied entry to Wrigley Field years ago.
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Life Coach: The Blair Pitch Project

Cover of "The Blair Witch Project"Cover of The Blair Witch Project

Janet Cooke, Stephen Glass, R. Foster Winans. No litany of the list of charter members of the journalists' Hall of Shame was ever complete without including Jayson Blair.

The former New York Times wunderkind published his memoir in 2004--Burning Down My Masters' House: My Life at the New York Times, in which he accused The Grey Lady of racism and attributed the ethical missteps that led to his resignation from the Times in May 2003, to substance abuse and bipolar disorder. A 28-member task force of Times staffers and outside journalists examined Blair's body of work at the Times and uncovered 36 national stories written by Blair between October 2002, and May 2003, rife with alleged fabrications and instances of plagiarism. NYT Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd resigned because of the imbroglio.

After maintaining a relatively low profile over the past five years, Blair has re-surfaced as a life coach in Ashburn, Virginia. According to his Website (, he focuses on career assessment, attention deficit disorder, developmental disorders and substance abuse problems. Blair works for Ashburn Psychological Services where he receives praise from his superiors for his ability to connect with patients.

In this case, one hopes the adage "old habits die hard," does not apply, as clients dissatisfied with their lives should not be counseled to make up a new one.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

News Media Presses to Keep Public Speeches Public

WASHINGTON, D.C. - JANUARY 20:  White House Pr...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

"Off the record," "not for attribution," "background," "deep background." The lexicon employed by journalists in their dealings with news sources is increasingly muddled and meaningless in the blogosphere and Twitterville.

Still, the Sunshine in Government Initiative has rallied print and broadcast journalists in Washington, D.C. and nationwide to attempt to eliminate the growing trend of government officials couching their remarks in public forums as "off the record."

More than 6,800 journalists sent a letter to more than 600 press secretaries within Congress and the Obama Administration calling for an end to the practice of going off the record in the presence of large audiences. The Daily Gallery, Radio-Television and Periodicals Congressional press galleries backed the letter. Signatories include The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, the Society for Professional Journalists. American Society of News Editors, and Radio-Television Correspondents' Association.

Aimed principally at federal agency and Congressional staffers, the initiative believes "background" briefings should be confined to one-on-one settings between a reporter and a government news source designed to encourage transparency in the daily operations of government.

By the way, this post is on "extremely deep background," so you can't use it.
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Longing for Burma Shave Billboards

ADULT SUPERSTORE.Image by jason0x21 via Flickr

U.S. District Court Judge for the District of South Carolina Cameron McGowan Currie has ruled that a state law that prohibited billboards displaying adult-oriented businesses within a mile of public roads constitutes an unconstitutional prior restraint on the First Amendment.

The statute, which took effect in February 2006, and required compliance within three years, was challenged as a violation of free speech by the Lion's Den Adult Superstore in Orangeburg County, which boasted four billboards advertising the adult bookstore along Interstate Highways 26 and 95 between Columbia and Charleston.

Judge Currie issued a permanent injunction against the removal of the billboards by state officials. Last week, a federal judge in Kansas approved an agreement between Lion's Den and the Attorney General's office concerning a similar statute under which the AG acceded not to enforce highway sign size and content restrictions (see "TUOL" 7/2/09).
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Judge Orders Google to ID Model-Trashing Blogger

Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

New York Supreme Court Judge Joan Madden has lifted the cloak of anonymity to reveal the identity of a blogger who featured Vogue cover model Liskula Cohen in five derisive posts in August 2008, on a blog entitled "Skanks in NYC."

In January 2009, Cohen petitioned the court for pre-action discovery from Google to uncover the author of the postings that characterized Cohen as a "psychotic, lying, whoring...skank." In her ruling ordering Google or Blogspot to provide Cohen with the name, address, email, IP address, and phone number of the blogger, Judge Madden held that Cohen had established an underlying legitimate defamation claim to warrant enforcement of her subpoena (In the Matter of the Application of Liskula Cohen for an action pursuant to Sec.3102(c) of the Civil Practice Law and Rules to compel disclosure from Google, Inc. and/or its subsidiary, Index No. 100012/09).

Cohen alleged the postings, along with photos of her, captions, and commentary were defamatory per se because they falsely portrayed her as promiscuous and unclean. Counsel for the blogger argued the comments were rhetorical hyperpole, opinion, and vague insults that were not actionable as defamation.

Judge Madden found the use of words such as "skanky," "ho," and "whoring," when accompanied by photos of Cohen, "carry a negative implication of sexual promiscuity."

The fashion model was pleased with Judge Madden's ruling, but rumors that she planned to regurgitate her victory dinner are unfounded.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Newsday Faulted for Rejecting Tennis Channel Ad

U.S. OpenImage by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

Newsday is being slammed for turning down an ad from the Tennis Channel that is highly critical of Cablevision, Newsday's parent.

The ad, which appeared in The New York Times, New York Post, Bergen Record, and Westchester-Rockland Journal News calls out Cablevision for its limited coverage of the U.S. Open and encourages readers to subscribe to DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, or another Cablevision competitor. The ad reads: "Thanks for nothing Cablevision. You've dropped the ball by preventing your subscribers from seeing Tennis Channel's round-the-clock coverage of the U.S. Open."

Cablevision acquired Newsday from the Tribune Co. Despite declining ad revenues experienced by mainstream print journalism generally, Newsday declined to comment on why it passed on adding to its net income from the Tennis Channel.

It certainly appears as if Newsday did not want to ruffle the feathers of its new owner Cablevision, and if that's the case, this judge rules a double fault.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Superman and Bizarro Superman Battle in Court

1987 test logo.Image via Wikipedia

Call it the Man of Steel versus the Men of Steal.

Warner Bros. and DC Comics must share the ownership of copyrights of portions of the Superman oeuvre with the heirs of the superhero's creator, Jerry Siegel, ruled Judge Stephen Larson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Eastern Division. The case is Joanne Siegel and Laura Siegel Larson v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., Time Warner, Inc. and DC Comics (Case No. 04-8400).

The plaintiffs are represented by attorney Marc Toberoff, who successfully represented the heirs of the creator of Lassie in a copyright dispute that was a real bitch. Judge Larson's ruling gives the plaintiffs co-ownership of the first two weeks of the Superman daily comic strips, along with part of the backstory of Superman, such as the superhero's origins on planet Krypton and his crash-landing on earth. The defendants are the sole owners of the copyrights involving the term "kryptonite," master villain Lex Luthor, and the tights-wearing hero's ability to fly.

Superman's X-ray vision would have trouble penetrating the judge's 92-page decision.

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Reader's Digest's Latest Chapter Is 11

Yes, you read that correctly.Image by sono salvo via Flickr

Reader's Digest, founded in 1922 by Lila Bell and DeWitt Wallace, will submit a voluntary pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court under a restructuring agreement with its principal lenders.

The bankruptcy move is intended to reduce the publication's debt to $550 million from $2.2 billion. The entire Reader's Digest Association's board of directors, except for CEO Mary Berner, has resigned.

The Pleasantville, N.Y.-based publication's senior lenders include GE Capital, JP Morgan and Bank of America. In 2005, the magazine adopted the slogan: "America in your pocket." Now the magazine's pockets are empty. It would be fitting if the magazine underwent a "condensed" bankruptcy.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Chillin' II--the Sequel

Tanglewood Music Shed and Lawn, Lenox, Massach...Image via Wikipedia

No blogging today as your humble poster is chasing down media law & journalism leads in the Berkshires this weekend. "TUOL" resumes Monday.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

In Union-Tribune There Is No Strength

SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 18:  A copy of the San D...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Three months after new owner Platinum Equity lopped 192 positions off the newspaper's payroll, The San Diego Union-Tribune has announced that the daily will further reduce its staff by 112.

The newspaper is promoting its coverage of local community news and prodding small businesses to advertise at reduced rates through a "micro-zoning" inititative. The Platinum Equity investment firm is one of three prospective purchasers of The Boston Globe that submitted bids to Globe parent The New York Times Co.

At its current pace, the Union-Tribune may soon have the same number of players as the San Diego Padres and would likely be as inept.
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You Gotta Have Friends, But Tweets?

Facebook, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

The news on the tweet, er, street, is that social media monster Facebook, already four times the size of Twitter, outpaced its rival in overall growth in July.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook drew 87.7 million unique visitors in July, a 14 percent boost over its June figures, while Twitter bested its June figures by 6 percent, attracting 21.2 million unique visitors to its U.S. Website. Facebook beat Twitter in new visitors by a 10 to 1 margin.

The estimates compiled by comscore do not include statistics from desktop and mobile outlets Tweetdeck, Tweetie, and Seesmic. Overall, Twitter is outgrowing Facebook on an annual basis because it began from a smaller base of initial users. The Palo Alto, California-based Facebook launched in 2004, while the San Francisco-based Twitter flew onto the scene in 2006.

Poke that.
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