Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Haakenson out

Joe Haakenson, the Sports Editor for the Long Beach Press-Telegram, was let go Friday.

Haakenson, a nearly 25-year veteran of the news industry, was reportedly offered a transfer to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune with a 15-percent pay cut, but declined.

Sports editing duties at the Press-Telegram will now be performed by the P-T's Executive City Editor John Futch, who also currently serves as the paper's Photo Editor.

Members of the P-T Sports Department were informed of Haakenson's departure during a Friday afternoon meeting.

Guild representatives met with P-T management immediately following the meeting and were told that Haakenson's departure would not impact any Guild member positions beyond a change in work flow and readers would see no change in coverage.

During the meeting, P-T management also confirmed reports that a plan was in the works by the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, a nine-paper Southern California cluster of Denver-based Affiliated Media daily papers which includes the Press-Telegram and the Los Angeles Daily News, to purchase new photography equipment for photographers LANG-wide. If approved by Denver, the capital expense plan would begin implementation by LANG management sometime after July 1 and be instituted in several phases at the various LANG papers.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bankruptcy may spur growth, profits

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told his annual meeting that it "blows your mind" how quickly the newspaper industry is losing the fight for readers and advertisers.

Despite dire warning from Berkshire Hathaway, many in the industry say that bankruptcy, and the attendant release of enormous debt structures, will enable many newspapers to preserve, and even grow advertising revenue.

In this article from Reuters, experts like Alan Mutter suggest that reinvestment will allow titans like MediaNews to reverse declining fortunes.

"These companies are trying to come up with new products beyond yesterday's news in tomorrow's paper," said newspaper consultant Alan Mutter. "They get that the business is declining and wasting."

He pointed to MediaNews Group, which recently introduced a glossy lifestyle magazine to supplement its 54 dailies and their circulation of more than 2 million.

"The fact is, that's something they could not have done before bankruptcy," said Mutter.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eve of destruction

Sumner Redstone, Chairman of Viacom, says newspapers are not only dying, they're dead. And in two years, they'll be extinct.

According to BusinessWeek, the comments came as part of a dig at News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch.

“He lives in ink, and I live in movies and television,” Redstone said. “Ink is going to go away, and movies and television will be here forever, like me.”