MediaFile

L.A. Times staffers fume over front-page ad

The decision by the Los Angeles Times to run a front-page ad that looks like a news story has raised eyebrows in media circles. LAT staffers, meanwhile, are raising their pitchforks.

Horrified by what they see as a deceptive blurring of the line between paid advertising and news stories, some 100 employees at the paper have signed a petition to Publisher Eddy Hartenstein “strenuously” objecting.

“This place already had horrible morale problems with decimating layoffs, but now to have our publisher whore out the front page is more than we can stand,” one editorial staff member told Reuters. “It blurs the line between paid content and content that our reporters are producing.”

The ad, which runs down the left column of the front page, is for the new NBC police drama “Southland.” It’s topped with the headline: ”Southland’s Rookie Hero,” followed by the sub-head “A ride-along on an officer’s first day.”

The ad is surrounded by a black border and has the NBC logo and word “advertisement” above it, but resembles a news story.  Along the bottom of the front page is a more conventional, banner-style ad for the show, announcing that it premieres tonight.

McClatchy will make $200mln from digital this year

McClatchy Chief Executive Gary Pruitt shared some details of the newspaper publisher’s operations in his speech on Tuesday at the Newspaper Association of America’s annual meeting. Here’s what he said, based on a transcript posted at the NAA’s website:

At McClatchy, 15% of our advertising revenue today comes from online. McClatchy, a company founded before the advent of electric lights, will generate nearly $200 million dollars in digital revenue this year at a higher profit margin than our print business.

What significance is this?

    Fifteen percent is above the average newspaper publisher’s take from digital $200 million would be almost enough to run The New York Times’s newsroom operations for a year. Not bad.

Higher profit margins than print? We know Gary is a big fan of pop music to highlight his industry presentations, and that he likes the Rolling Stones in particular. Maybe “Time Is on My Side” would be a decent choice for those kinds of numbers.

GlobalPost memo says overseas news doing well

Newly launched international news service GlobalPost.com had a good first quarter and sees positive signs for the rest of the year, including coming in under budget and raising more money to finance its operations. That’s not bad, and looks all the better considering how the news business is under assault these days. Oh, and it aims to be cash-flow positive by the fourth quarter of 2011.

Here is a quick reminder of what GlobalPost is, lifted from a story I wrote about it earlier this year:

With 65 correspondents in 46 countries, GlobalPost will have its own website and sell news to papers whose readers want in-depth, analytical stories that supplement what they get from news wires such as The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg.

EW Scripps CEO: Storytellers are journalism’s future

I spoke late last week with the chief executive of EW Scripps Co, the company that got its share of hisses and boos for shutting down the Rocky Mountain News this past February.

Rich Boehne, a journalist back in the day, is in charge of navigating a chain publisher of U.S. newspapers through the most difficult time that it ever has had, not to mention all the employees of the papers that the company owns. And let’s not forget the local television stations that Scripps also operates.

Boehne and I talked about the future of newspapers for a story that I was working on about the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s 2009 report on the state of the news media. I included some of his remarks in a story that I wrote about ideas that the report had for saving newspapers, but our conversation ranged beyond the story at hand.

The state of the news media? Not so hot

The Project for Excellence in Journalism published its sixth annual State of the News Media report on Monday. The report, at 800 pages and 180,000 words, is a monster. The news media that it’s analyzing, however, is turning into something quite a bit smaller.

The group, along with its chief, Tom Rosenstiel, has provided a snapshot of where the news industry is today, though with an industry so large, a snapshot this size is impossible to condense into one little blog, let alone a story for the wire. If you’re looking to wallow, dig in to the specifics, follow this link.

Here, meanwhile, are some of the introductory remarks and top findings of the study, mostly in the study’s own words. Warning: These findings are not suitable for your friends in journalism who are struggling to maintain their sense of self-worth.