New York Times’ Dean Baquet: ‘We Will Fix The Things The Buyouts Broke’

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New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet issued a memo on Tuesday in which he admitted that last year’s buyouts hurt the company in many ways. But he vowed to fix those things in 2015:

“By any measure, 2014 was a dramatic year — a sudden leadership change ending with the departure of treasured colleagues. But those headlines belie what you all accomplished for readers and the world.

“We will fix the things the buyouts broke. We will look internally to fill important jobs. We will carefully and judiciously make a few outside hires. I know it seems incongruous to hire after reducing the staff. But if we stop bringing in new talent we run the risk of missing a generation of future stars.”

Indeed, 2014 was a tumultuous year for the company as the paper abruptly fired Baquet’s predecessor, Jill Abramson. The year also saw some 100 staffers taking buyouts or being laid off, thus robbing the Times of decades of institutional knowledge and hurting morale in the process.

While Baquet was optimistic about the future of the Times, he also noted that he couldn’t guarantee that further cuts wouldn’t occur, underscoring the fact that the paper still faces competitive challenges ahead.

The Times has largely staked its future on providing news digitally. But as the news becomes increasingly commoditized, it will become more difficult to profit from it and the company may well find itself facing the same financial problems it did just a few years ago.

Read the full memo here.

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Hillary’s “People” Cover Flops

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It’s been a rough year for Hillary Clinton on the sales front. First it was her book “Hard Choices” that failed to sell despite a massive P.R. campaign, and now, as Adweek reports, the June 16 issue of People Magazine, featuring Clinton on the cover, was the worst selling issue of the year.

The Clinton cover sold just 503,890 copies, which is well below the magazine’s average of 700,000-plus. The best-selling issue was a tribute to the late Robin Williams on August 25, which sold over one million copies.

 

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

CNN President Jeff Zucker Insists HLN Is “Not For Sale”

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Mediabistro reports that HLN held an all-staff meeting Wednesday in Atlanta to discuss the future of the troubled network. The meeting was led by HLN general manager Albie Hecht, with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker also present.

Jennifer Westhoven, who covers the economy, business, and money for HLN, tweeted out Zucker’s statement about the network.

The tweet was in reference to this past summer’s negotiations with VICE media about a partnership that would have largely turned control of HLN programming over to VICE. Those talks ended when the two sides couldn’t agree on VICE’s valuation.

Even though the talks ended months ago, VICE founder Shane Smith apparently still has his eyes on the network, telling Jeff Jarvis at the Paley Media Council that HLN is a “distressed media asset,” and that VICE could do a better job with it than the current management.

Zucker reacted angrily to Smith’s comments, calling him an a*****e, but Smith is right. HLN’s ratings have plunged, with the network firmly lodged in a distant fourth place in the cable-news ratings.

With VICE flush with investor cash, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take another run at HLN. Even though Zucker says the network isn’t for sale, it’s not entirely his decision to make.

 

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

Photo Credit: Fortune Live Media (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Chuck Todd Admits MSNBC Has A “Liberal Perspective,” Says Fox News Feels “More Campaign-y”

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During an interview with HuffPost Live, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd admitted that MSNBC’s evening line-up has a “liberal perspective,” while Fox News, due to Roger Ailes background, feels “more campaign-y:”

“I think it’s a little bit different because, look, I’ve always thought the Roger Ailes political past sort of makes it, because he actually worked as an operative, it always feels a little more campaign-y than what gets accused on the MSNBC side. I certainly think at night there’s certainly a liberal perspective [and] a conservative perspective. I think in the daytime both channels would argue that there’s a lot more straight-forward reporting during the daytime, and I think there’s a lot of evidence to support that.”

Todd’s “campaign-y” comment was a veiled reference to the liberal charge that Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party, while ignoring the balance that Fox offers on its shows when discussing politics. Todd also conveniently left out the fact that Hardball host Chris Matthews worked for former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill for six years and has openly declared his allegiance to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Which network is more campaign-y again?

If Todd had answered the question honestly he might have said that Roger Ailes is a master programmer, as compared to MSNBC’s Phil Griffin, and that he is the reason that Fox has been the top rated cable news network for the last 12 years. He would have also said that MSNBC’s ratings are so bad that the future of liberal television is now in doubt. But that level of honesty was apparently too much for Todd to handle.

 

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

It’s A $70,000 Ticket To Fly To Asia With Obama

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News gathering can be an expensive operation at times, especially when it comes to gathering it overseas. But the latest cost estimate to accompany President Obama on his upcoming trip to Asia has blown the minds and the budgets of many news organizations.

According to The Washington Post, the cost of a ticket to ride on the press charter that follows Obama throughout Asia will be a heart-stopping $60,000 per person. That’s just for the flights. It doesn’t include the cost of hotels, meals, and shared “ground costs,” which include rental of a hotel ballroom to serve as a press filing center. That could add another $10,000 to the cost, bringing the total to a whopping $70,000 per person.

If the prices hold—the White House Correspondents Association is working hard to lower them—it will be the most expensive press-plane fare ever.

To be fair, President Obama isn’t entirely to blame for the outrageous prices, though his lame-duck status does play a role. The cost of the press charters is determined by competitive bidding among air carriers, and is based on how many people sign up to travel. The more who sign up, the lower the average cost, and in this case, with just 51 people signing up, the costs soared.

Another possible reason for the low demand to be on this trip is the general lack of access to Obama during these types of trips. This leads some news organizations to skip it altogether or to try to find a cheaper alternative to covering the trip.

Whatever the reason, it’s a lot for the media to swallow during a time that budgets are being slashed and reporters laid off.

Obama’s relationship with the press is already on thin ice; this latest development will only serve to add to his press woes.

 

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

Photo Credit: whitehouse.gov

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom