MediaFile

Sony’s Sir Howard Stringer makes fun of News Corp hacking scandal

On the same day that James Murdoch was fighting for his career at a parliamentary hearing on Thursday in London, Sony’s CEO Sir Howard Stringer was making fun of the whole situation an ocean away.

At a fancy breakfast hosted by News Corp’s Wall Street Journal in New York (where Sirius XM’s CEO Mel Karmazin was in the house), Stringer was the guest of honor.  WSJ editor Robert Thomson kicked off the Q&A session introducing Stringer, who later took the opportunity to show off one of Sony’s new products, a pair of binoculars that can be used to record video or pictures in 3D. That’s when Stringer seized the moment to turn the breakfast into an impromptu roast about News Corp’s woes.  Wielding the binoculars, he said:

“These are 3D binoculars. I venture it got good reviews. The Wall Street Journal will equip all their reporters with this. And if you think hacking the Royal Family is fun with phones, this is the ideal device. If you stay at the Hotel InterContinental Hyde Park, you can actually gaze into Buckingham Palace with these. I am telling this to (Thomson), wherever you are. Did you leave already? This is for you. This is for you. Video recording or stills.”

When I caught Stringer on the sidelines after the event, he admitted his stand-up routine “was a bit dangerous.”

The Journal’s twisted self-defense

By Gregg Easterbrook
The views expressed are his own.

Today’s Wall Street Journal in its lead editorial declares Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation all but saints walking on Earth, claiming “politicians and competitors are using the phone-hacking years ago at a British corner of News Corporation to assail the Journal and perhaps injure press freedom.”

If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, press freedom is the last refuge of tabloid gutter-dwellers. But note two corruptions in that single sentence of the Journal’s embarrassing editorial.

First, casually the Journal acknowledges the scandal’s initial charge is true, referring to “the phone-hacking years ago at a British corner of News Corp.” Just last week, Murdoch was vehemently saying in the Journal’s pages that some of the accusations were “total lies.”

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:

Newspaper circ slides — yet again

The organization that keeps up with newspaper circulation released another bleak round of numbers this morning. For the 602 daily newspapers that reported into the Audit Bureau of Circulations, total daily circ plummeted 8.7 percent while Sunday circ for 548 papers fell 6.5 percent for the six months ending March 2010 compared to the same period last year.

There is a familiar phrase echoed to explain the numbers, the same phrase used to describe advertising results: the declines are moderating! At least compared to the six months ending September 2009, when circulation was in a nosedive, with daily  down 10.6 percent  and Sunday down 7.5 percent.

Sure, some of that is self-inflicted by publishers weeding out certain types of circulation like those freebie copies you might pick up at a big box retailer. But a big chunk of the loss  isn’t by choice. The reality is that readers are choosing to go elsewhere.

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.

The Wall Street Journal — now for ‘professionals’

The Wall Street Journal, ever on the hunt for new ways to please its readers and new ways to make money (and what, we ask, is wrong with that?), will launch a new, pricier version this November. Called “The Wall Street Journal Professional Edition,” it is designed for business readers who want more than what the daily newspaper and website provide on their own.

Essentially, it is the Journal’s daily offering, with reports from Dow Jones Newswires and a reservoir of news and information from Factiva, the news archive that Dow Jones owns — and a bunch more stuff:

    Information from more than 17,000 global sources, some of which are not available to the public. A one-year archive of Factiva’s global business sources and a two-year archive of wsj.com content. More than 30 industry pages, managed by Dow Jones editors Six industry sections managed by Journal editors who select news and information for readers on pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy, media and marketing, telecommunications and technology. Personalized homepages and news alerts for when things break.

Dow Jones plans to sell the edition to businesses, which would make it available to employees through “site licenses” (ie, your business buys a license that makes the professional edition available to X number of people for a price to be determined). In January, it will be available to people for $49 a month, or just under $600 a year, said Clare Hart, head of Dow Jones’s Enterprise Media Group, which oversees Dow Jones Newswires, Factiva and Dow Jones Indexes.

Wall Street Journal vs USA Today — Part II

Earlier this week I brought you the brewing circulation tussle between USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, and which paper will be able to claim to be the largest one in terms of circulation. You can read that here, but for the recap, here are the main points:

    Editor & Publisher reports: USA Today was set to report that circulation fell “17% to 1.88 million for the six months ending September 2009, a drop of about 390,000 copies. The decline could also threaten USA Today’s position as the No. 1 newspaper in the country by circulation.” The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press report that the Journal would be the largest paper by circulation, according to the Journal. USA Today responds, “We are confident that even with this latest economic impact, USA TODAY will remain the nation’s number one newspaper in total print circulation when the ABC statements are released October 26th.”

As I wrote at the time, it seems that the Journal is counting print and online subscriptions together, and why not? Both are made up of paying subscribers. USA Today, of course, is counting printed newspapers.

We won’t know until their circulation numbers are published on October 26 what the final, comparable figures would be. But today, the Journal revealed its latest numbers:

WSJ vs USA Today: Who has the biggest paper?

USA Today and The Wall Street Journal aren’t waiting for Oct. 26, the day North American newspapers report their latest circulation numbers, to begin tussling over which one has the biggest paper.

Editor & Publisher made the first move on Friday when Jennifer Saba reported that USA Today was set to report that circulation fell “17% to 1.88 million for the six months ending September 2009, a drop of about 390,000 copies. The decline could also threaten USA Today’s position as the No. 1 newspaper in the country by circulation.” The news came in a memo from USA Today Publisher, David Hunke, to his workers.

Spicy stuff, considering that when we write about its owner, Gannett, we say it is the largest U.S. newspaper publisher that publishes USA Today, the largest newspaper by circulation.

The New York Times tries local news, far away

If you read often enough about the supposed death of the newspaper business, you would think that the nation’s newsrooms are increasingly depopulated, barren places, with darkened offices and empty cubicles… the occasional tumbleweed blowing past. (Actually,  large stretches of Tribune Co’s New York bureau look just like that, as I saw earlier this year).

In San Francisco, Chicago and other metropolitan centers, you would be wrong. It’s true that both cities bear unfortunate marks of how rough the advertising decline, rise of the Internet and financial crisis have treated their news operations: Hearst was toying with shutting down the San Francisco Chronicle, and Chicago’s leading daily papers, the Tribune and the Sun-Times, are owned by bankrupt companies. Improbably enough, both are turning into hot spots for local news competition.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are fighting over San Francisco, and a private equity guy has teamed up with KQED and UC Berkeley to try a nonprofit local news experiment. And now, the Times reported on Wednesday, it is targeting some other cities, including Chicago. Here is an excerpt from reporter Richard Perez-Pena’s writeup on the Times’s decoder blog:

Help a starving business reporter

They moved your markets. Now you can move their bank accounts.

The Society of American Business Editors and Writers, or SABEW, is hosting an event next week at Columbia University’s School of Journalism to help business journalists who have lost their jobs or found themselves in other tough straits because of the biggest story on every business reporter’s beat — the financial crisis. Here is the text of the invitation:

Former Wall Street Journal Managing Editor and ProPublica founder Paul Steiger, and New York Times Business Editor Larry Ingrassia invite you to join them at an event to benefit business journalism and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW).

SABEW needs your support to help displaced business journalists and train business journalists for the digital age and new media landscape. Among SABEW’s programs are a revamped job listing site, a market for freelancers to find work, a mentor program for displaced journalists, teletraining on multimedia and business journalism topics, scholarships to attend conferences and training, and a revamp of our website to provide more robust services to members.