Saturday, January 16, 2010

Week in Review

Short reads on a Saturday morning:

• It's hard to keep up with the number of layoffs being seen in the newspaper industry. Even Romenesko, which normally keeps up with these types of things is, I fear, getting a little bored with linking to the news.  But for the record, here are some of the headlines: Star-Telegram plans 28 layoffs; New layoffs at ADN (Alaska Dispatch); State newspaper lays off more staff; Layoffs To Hit West Michigan Newspapers; Sacramento Bee to cut 25 more jobs; Los Angeles Times to cut 80 jobs (OK, I cheated with this one as it was announced last week).

• Just in time to report on all the layoffs within its industry focus, Editor & Publisher has risen from the dead, but minus its editor Greg Mitchell and reporter Joe Strupp. Mark Fitzgerald, previously editor-at-large, was named to the editor post by the new owner, boat publisher Duncan McIntosh Co. Inc.

• Late Friday the WSJ reported that Media News Group Inc. said it plans to seek bankruptcy protection. The owner of such newspapers as the San Jose Mercury News said it had reached an agreement with its lenders for a streamlined bankruptcy.  As a result, most of the new stock will be in the control of a group of investors led by Bank of America. Dean Singleton will retain control of the company through a special class of stock.
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• Tablet rumors continue to dominate the Apple fanboy universe. So wanting to have a leg up on all the other rumormongers, Gawker Media's "Scavenger Hunt" offered its readers $100,000 to the person who could provide concrete details of the elusive media savior. Apple, in return, set its lawyers on the daring web site. "We believe you and your company have crossed the line by offering a bounty for the theft of Apple's trade secrets," Michael Spillner, a lawyer for the company, said in a letter to Gabriel Snyder, editor-in-chief of the Gawker Web site.  It's nice to have a group of aggressive lawyers on your side of the table. Last time I was in that situation was at McGraw-Hill. (When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way!)

• As with the Iran protests from last year, Twitter and blogging were essential in the early moments of reporting the massive earthquake in Haiti this week. Major media firms have now made standard the practice of launching temporary blogs themselves in order to report the news, or to pass on news and rumors that originated in other blogs written closer to the scene. As could be expected, by week's end Brian Williams had made his appearance in Haiti signifying the end of the real story and the beginning of the exploitation (and then there was TV's Pat Robertson to give his two cents).

• Finally, three men have been arrested in connection with the murder of Cypriot media magnate Andy Hadjicostis, police said on Thursday. The CEO of Dias Media Group, which runs a TV and radio station, as well as a newspaper and several magazines, was gunned down outside his home in a Nicosia suburb.