Wall Street Journal snags another hotel chain

DOWJONES-NEWSCORP/Under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch’s  News Corp, the Wall Street Journal has made no bones that the New York Times is enemy No.1. But that hit list doesn’t stop at the Gray Lady. From time to time, the Journal pivots to set USA Today in its crosshairs — and its latest actions mark a move in that direction.

The most recent flag the Journal captured involves Choice Hotels. Earlier this week, the Journal announced it will become the “preferred newspaper”  beginning in January for guests at more than 3,700 Choice Hotel properties including Comfort Inn, Quality Inn and Clarion Hotel. What was the “preferred newspaper” before the Journal swooped in? That would be USA Today.

USA Today begs to differ. A spokeswoman for the paper emailed the following: “USA Today remains a preferred vendor for Choice Hotels in 2011.”

It’s a  matter of semantics because guests have to request copies of newspapers. According to the Journal, the paper will be delivered as a “complimentary amenity” to guests who ask for it come Jan. 1.

There’s some history here. In April 2009, Marriott Hotels announced it would no longer automatically drop newspapers at the doorsteps of guests. Instead, it made copies of USA Today,  the Journal and other local metros  available upon request. What seemed like an innocuous, eco-conscious move on the part of Marriott only served to hurt the circulation of USA Today, which  built a large part of its circulation on hotel-distributed copies.

New York Times introduces film club

Nothing else seems to have helped newspapers reflect the stronger economic recovery of the rest of media. Old films can’t hurt.

The New York Times forged another path to the club-based membership service — a trend that has grown in popularity among newspapers. Today the newspaper debuted the New York Times Film Club, created for “an audience passionate about movies,” according to the press release.

Membership to the club affords you two red-carpet screenings of remastered Hollywood classics as well as six preview viewings for upcoming releases. The yearly membership costs $100 for individuals and $175 to add another person.

Top 10 newspaper websites in May

Keeping track of how many people visit websites is something that should have been hashed out long ago. Yet for years keeping tabs on such matters has produced results that can vary wildly for each site depending on who is doing the measuring.

Nielsen Online and comScore,  for example, are two companies that rely on panels of people to determine the popularity of a website and are often criticized for under-counting visitors.  Many critics claim that panels barely account for people’s Internet habits at work since often companies do not allow outside software to be installed on work computers. (Nielsen and comScore require panelists to install software on their computers.)

This has been a problem for newspapers websites since many read the news during the work day hours.

WSJ to NYT: We meant to rip you off!

Season four of Mad Men can’t start soon enough. Till July 25, all we have is the ad-related brawl raging between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. 

Yesterday, the Times accused the Journal of ripping off one of their ad slogans: “Not just Wall Street. Every Street.”

Indeed, the Journal meant to do exactly that, according to the following letter from Dow Jones Senior Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Jehn to Richard Samson of the New York Times legal department.

NYT Poised to Unleash Lawyers on WSJ

The New York Times vs. The Wall Street Journal is the newspaper war that just keeps on giving. The latest salvo fired, for those keeping track of such matters, comes from the New York Times and it involves a cease and desist order. 

The people behind the Grey Lady are none too pleased that the Journal has been using in its advertising the phrase “Not just Wall Street. Every Street.”  (Known from here on out as  ”The Slogan.”)  Apparently The Slogan is trademarked by the New York Times.  Who knew?

The New York Times is giving the Journal three days to pull The Slogan before it goes full-on legal.  The Journal declined to comment. The letter follows:

Rats! The New York Edition

murdochThis morning New Yorkers finally got a glimpse of The Wall Street Journal’s New York edition, a standalone section that promise to offer an alternative to the coverage of Gotham. “A national newspaper with a New York heart,” was the way Les Hinton, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, described the new edition during a breakfast for advertisers and media this morning.

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, today’s “Greater New York” featured 16 pages of full color advertising and editorial touching on topics from the goofy (rats mobbing the tony Upper East Side) to the useful (a potential bounce back in commercial real estate rents).

On the advertising side, Wall Street Journal Chief Revenue Officer Michael Rooney said that the New York edition has netted eight new advertisers, including American Ballet Theatre and Gagosian Gallery.  Keep in mind, though, the paper offered discounts and bundled buys with its sister publication the New York Post for as little as $19,000 for two full page ads to a handful of New York-area local business new to both papers.

Dear newspapers: Happy holidays from John Janedis

New York TimesTake heed and rejoice, you hard-working newspaper elves. Someone on Wall Street thinks that some newspaper companies aren’t dancing quite as close to the abyss as conventional wisdom says.

Wells Fargo analyst John Janedis, never known for going too easy on newspaper stocks, raised his rating on USA Today publisher Gannett to “outperform” and his rating on The New York Times to “market perform.”

His explanation: “After years of downward revenue estimate revisions, it appears as though the newspaper ad market is improving more quickly than we previously anticipated, particularly in December. Given current trends, we now expect approx. high single digit decline in overall newspaper advertising in 2010.”

Chicago news co-op launches, will feed New York Times

It’s a good thing when the journalists write press releases. Today’s launch of the Chicago News Cooperative is something that we can share with you pretty much by cutting and pasting the press release. Unlike the jargon-filled missives from many companies, this is easy to read.

A few points first: The CNC is a new nonprofit reporting organization supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and comprises former Chicago Tribune journalists and other editorial staff. This is the latest foundation-sponsored news operation, a way that growing numbers of experts say could point the way to the future for financing U.S. journalism. After all, advertising isn’t working out as well as it used to, and people keep dropping their print subscriptions to read it for free online.

A report out this week from former Washington Post editor Len Downie Jr and Columbia professor Michael Schudson approaches this topic and even suggests a U.S.-style BBC to make sure that journalism doesn’t disappear just because Wall Street investors and advertisers don’t like the declining profits and circulation they’re seeing at your hometown paper.

Get ready to pay for Newsday

Newspapers often resemble a melting iceberg full of milling penguins when they talk about whether and how to make people pay for their news online. Newsday, the former Tribune-owned daily paper that serves New York’s Long Island, has left the iceberg. Here is the paper, in its own words:

Those who are not customers of Optimum Online or the newspaper – both owned by Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp. – will have to pay a $5 weekly fee. However, nonpaying customers will have access to some of’s information, including the home page, school closings, weather, obituaries, classified and entertainment listings. There also will be some limited access to Newsday stories.

Newsday described the move as one that would create a “pioneering Web model,” combining the newspaper’s newsgathering services with Cablevision’s electronic distribution capabilities. About 75 percent of Long Island households are Newsday home delivery or Cablevision online customers or both, according to Newsday. Optimum Online customers total 2.5 million in the New York area, the paper said.

Flu and Twitter mark Web 2.0

Twitter love was in full bloom at the Web 2.0 conference on Wednesday, with Microsoft and Google each announcing deals to partner with the microblogging service.

But marring the Twitter hoopla were no-shows from two of the event’s highest-profile speakers.

A day after Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz skipped the company’s quarterly earnings conference call (because she had “come down with something” as CFO Tim Morse explained), Bartz skipped the Web 2.0 conference, where she was scheduled to kick off Wednesday’s events with a 30-minute talk.