"E & P Reports" from Editor & Publisher Magazine hosted by Mike Blinder

Mike Blinder

Each week, Editor & Publisher Magazine (E&P) produces a Vodcast of timely interviews with newspaper, broadcast, online and all forms of news publishing and media industry leaders. E&P has been publishing since 1884 and is considered the "bible" and "authoritative voice" of the North American newspaper industry. Each episode is hosted by Publisher Mike Blinder. A video version of "E&P Reports" is also available on YouTube or on the E&P Website at: http://www.EditorandPublisher.com/vodcasts read less
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Episodes

226 A frank discussion about public media with industry expert Tom Davidson
4d ago
226 A frank discussion about public media with industry expert Tom Davidson
Recently, Public Media Consultant Tom Davidson wrote an op-ed published in “Current,” the industry’s quarterly trade magazine, “decrying the lack of awareness in public media about Press Forward, the $500 million foundation effort to reinvigorate local news.” Since then, National Public Radio (NPR) published its own white paper to support public media, and the Public Media Content Collective (formally the Public Radio Program Directors Association) added a panel to their fall conference that addresses the same issues. However, Davidson still sees a major disconnect within public media on how the industry itself sees its place within the local news media ecosystem, which can impact accessing the ever-increasing national philanthropic support of local journalism. Davidson believes: “It starts with understanding that serving a tiny portion of your market (and the wealthiest, whitest portion of your market) isn’t going to work” when it comes to proving the value you provide within a society being impacted by “news deserts” and “ghost papers.” However, Davidson sees hope for a change within the public media world, as some broadcast outlets are acquiring local newspapers and others are expanding their news operations to serve a broader, more cumulative audience within their local markets. In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we go one-on-one with well-known digital media consultant, Knight fellow, professor of journalism, Gannett’s past director of new product development and past senior director of public broadcasting, Tom Davidson, who “pulls no punches” during this frank discussion on the challenges that public media faces today and how it can continue to be a viable, self-sustaining part of local journalism.
225 Jeff Jarvis and Steven Waldman debate the hard questions facing the news media industry.
Feb 18 2024
225 Jeff Jarvis and Steven Waldman debate the hard questions facing the news media industry.
On February 4th, 2024, the president of Rebuild Local News and co-founder of Report for America, Steven Waldman, penned an op-ed for E&P Magazine entitled “In defense of (some) old media. Writing off legacy media will lead to bad public policy.”  In the very first sentence of the piece, Waldman took aim at the January 24th, 2024 article, “Is it time to give up on old news?” which was penned and published by Jeff Jarvis, author and former professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. In the article, Jeff Jarvis stated, “Giving more money to old media is throwing good after bad.” Jarvis stated, “The old news industry has failed at adapting to the internet and every one of their would-be saviors  —  from tablets to paywalls to programmatic ads to consolidation to billionnaires  —  has failed them. Hedge funds have bought up chains and papers, selling everything not bolted down, cutting every possible cost and taking every penny of cash flow home with them. The one thing the old companies are still investing in is lobbying.” Within Waldman’s editorial, he countered by stating that he disagrees that it’s time to dispense with “legacy” or “old” media by writing, “First, even generalizing about 'old media' is absurd. That category includes about 7,000 local news entities of different shapes, sizes and ownership structures, including most Black and Hispanic newspapers.” Waldman also said, “So the real problem must be the big city dailies. Except in his piece, Jarvis (who is an old friend) noted that The Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune and Advance publications (Newhouse family) in Alabama ‘seem to be surviving or better.’ So ‘old media’ is pathetic ...  except for the ones that aren’t. And we should only invest in nonprofit media ... except for the for-profits we like.” In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we bring together two well-known media experts, Steven Waldman and Jeff Jarvis, in one interview. These two gentlemen have publicly disagreed on major issues and have been getting the lion's share of exposure in representing the news media industry to the national press. They are becoming high-profile advocacy spokespeople on opposite sides of several current, significant legislative matters debated at state and federal levels.   Topics discussed include: ·      The reasons behind recent major media company layoffs (such as the LA Times, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated) and shutdowns (like the 10-month start-up to shuttering of the Messenger). ·      The impact of corporate and hedge fund newspaper ownership on local communities and what can or should be done to give others a chance to own these local titles. ·      Public media’s entrance into local newspaper ownership and how this may become the norm in the coming months. ·      Addressing the “hard questions” about current legislation and whether the government should or should not become involved in helping save legacy media. ·      And more.
224 No more downsizing, as Gannett is hiring locally at all levels.
Feb 14 2024
224 No more downsizing, as Gannett is hiring locally at all levels.
As reported by E&P in May of 2023 (“Ghost papers: Journalists find themselves alone or with just a few left in the newsroom”), UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media’s Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics, Penelope Muse Abernathy stated, “Although the exact number is hard to pin down, we estimate, based on news accounts and industry data, at least 1,000 of the 7,200 newspapers still published in this country — and perhaps as many as 1,500 — have lost significantly more than half of their newsroom staff since 2004. As a result, they have become ‘ghost newspapers’ with drastically curtailed reach and journalistic missions.” The article mentioned Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa, who became the last remaining journalist at the St. Cloud (MN) Times, a Gannett-owned news brand that has served this city of nearly 70,000 since 1924. Gaafarelkhalifa told E&P that he found the responsibility and demands of his job as the last employee to be so overwhelming that it took a toll on his physical and mental health. So he publicly announced that he’d be taking some time off from the job — not to shame his employer, but to be transparent with the public about his leave. E&P has also reported on other communities that have suffered from downsized Gannett newsrooms, like Hutchinson, KS, a city of over 40,000 that had the family-owned, Pulitzer Prize-winning Hutchinson Newsfor years. Gannett bought the newspaper from the Harris family in 2016 and laid off most of the news staff, creating such a void that a local high-school junior, Michael Glenn, became frustrated with their coverage. In 2023, Glenn recruited a team of journalists and started the competing Hutchinson Tribune, where some days he out-reports the Gannett property ten to one on local stories. However, things at Gannett seemed to be changing recently, with more and more announcements of local reporters, managers and sales reps hired at the United States’ largest media company. On this episode of “E&P Reports,” we get the inside story on Gannett Media’s major hiring frenzy from their chief content officer, Kristin Roberts, and chief revenue officer, Jason Taylor. We learn about what is being called their “turnaround plan,” which has created hundreds of new local news media industry jobs in dozens of their markets across the U.S. Both Taylor and Roberts directly address the negative reporting that has been pointed at this media empire and how they are both bullish on the company’s plans to continue serving their readers and advertisers.
223 An inside look at The Messenger — from startup to shut down — 10 months and 50 million dollars later
Feb 7 2024
223 An inside look at The Messenger — from startup to shut down — 10 months and 50 million dollars later
Darren Samuelson, a seasoned journalist known for his insightful political reporting, first made his mark at Politico, a Washington-based digital newspaper company founded by American banker and media executive Robert Allbritton. During his nearly 10 years there, Samuelson demonstrated a keen ability to dissect complex political issues and provide readers with comprehensive analysis. After establishing himself as a respected figure in journalism, Samuelson embarked on a new chapter in his career after being recruited in April of 2023 by The Messenger, a 50 million dollar digital news startup founded by part-owner of The Hollywood Reporter and The Hill, Jimmy Finkelstein. For 10 months, Samuelson focused on his work as part of a team of over 200 journalists with a mission to become a national, politically-centered news brand that would cover politics, business, entertainment and sports. Finkelstein stated in his first interview that he was creating an alternative to a national news media that he says has come under the sway of partisan influences. The site would be free and supported by advertising revenue, which he projected would be over 100 million dollars at the end of the first year. But alas, that did not happen as news reporting began to reveal The Messenger facing major financial headwinds just 10 months after startup. Axios posted a story on January 4th, 2024, that The Messenger was seeking an additional 20 million dollars to remain in business. A few weeks later, on January 31st, the news media industry learned that The Messenger was shutting down when Finkelstein emailed its 300-plus employees, stating, “We exhausted every option available.” He went on to state that he was “personally devastated.” In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we go inside the newsroom of the now-defunct digital news startup, The Messenger, by going one-on-one with their former senior editor, Darren Samuelson. We learn first-hand about The Messenger's initial 50 million dollar mission to become the unbiased, new national news source and how the hundreds of journalists reacted to their recent firings just 10 months after startup.
222 An inside look at the LA Times with Guild President, Matt Pearce
Jan 31 2024
222 An inside look at the LA Times with Guild President, Matt Pearce
On Tuesday January 23, 2024, one of the 100-plus reporters who was laid off via Webinar from the Los Angeles Times, stated it was “like a drive-by,” as it was clear that very few at this iconic 142-year-old newspaper had any idea, that in a matter of minutes, they were told that more than 20% of their staff was to be let go. And when events like this take place within a unionized newsroom, the workforce looks towards their guild leadership for help and support. Those tasks fell quickly on the shoulders of Matt Pearce, an 11-year veteran reporter at the Times and for past 4-years President of the Media Guild of the West, a chapter of the NewsGuild-CWA, representing over one-thousand journalists at the Los Angeles Times along with the Dallas Morning News, Arizona Republic, Southern California News Group, Austin American-Statesman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Phoenix New Times and Desert Sun and other properties. It was only five years ago when the news team cheered when they were introduced to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the American transplant surgeon, billionaire, businessman and bio scientist who returned the paper to local ownership after 18 years, when he purchased for $500-million dollars, the Times, along with the San Diego Union-Tribune, from Chicago-based tronc. 2018 reporting directly after the deal was announced, stated that Shiong had “grand plans to restore the Times to greatness, stating: ‘The legacy of this paper is important to save, so what price is that worth?” Shiong announced the hiring of well-respected executive editor, former Wall Street Journal and Time Inc. Exec Norman Pearlstine along 80 new staffers, that including New York Times columnist Sewell Chan and former Slate editor in chief Julia Turner. It was later reported in The Wall Street Journal hat Shiong by investing strongly in news assets would easily achieve profitably by massively growing their digital subscriber base. In 2019 Shiong proclaimed: “I have made a decision to invest what it will take to make sure that the Los Angeles Times remains a viable business for at least another 100 years. When we get to five million ultimately, that will make that possible.” In July of 2023, the digital subscriber base was reported at slightly over 500-thousand, when the Times announced the launching of De Los, a new brand focused on identity and culture targeted to English-speaking Gen Z and millennial Latinos in the U.S. However, on January 23, 2023, it looks like this new venture will cease, since the union’s negotiated “first in, first out” departure strategy reportedly resulted in that a large portion of those layoffs, included newly hired diverse staffers. In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we finally get an inside look at the newsroom of the LA Times, just a week after the surprising firing of over 20% of their unionized workforce from News Media West Guild president, Matt Pearce. We learn about how the firing process took place via Webinar, how the Union reacted to the unexpected downsizing, and what they are doing now in retaliation.
221 Hussman announces four $25k prizes for best in fair and impartial reporting.
Jan 27 2024
221 Hussman announces four $25k prizes for best in fair and impartial reporting.
As publisher of the Chattanooga Times in 1877, Adolph Ochs (who would later purchase the New York Times) added a slogan to the paper's masthead: "To give the news impartially, without fear or favor." This quote remains on top of current issues of the Chattanooga Times Free Press today, now owned by WEHCO Media. WEHCO, a fourth-generation, family-owned, 115-year-old newspaper company, is under the leadership of the founder's grandson, Walter E. Hussman, Jr., who proudly prints that exact phrase on the top page 2's Statement of Core Values, within their flagship paper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. At the bottom of the space, Hussman displays a quote from his father, the late Walter Hussman, Sr.: “A newspaper has five constituencies, including first its readers, then advertisers, then employees, then creditors, then shareholders. As long as the newspaper keeps those constituencies in that order, especially its readers first, all constituencies will be well served.” Hussman explained that he began displaying those values in each edition in 2017 because of his increasing concern at the loss of public trust in news reporting. He cited a Gallup Poll with the Knight Foundation that surveyed 20,000 people in all 50 states, revealing this lack of trust was worse than ever and at record lows. Gallup now does the same yearly poll, which recently showed that confidence in newspapers was down to 16% — a new record low.  “Our family thinks a center to explain the virtues of impartiality, fairness and objectivity in news reporting is greatly needed,” states Hussman. “Hence, this is our reason to trademark the name 'Center for Integrity in New Reporting.' And we decided the first thing to do is reward the best examples of that in news reporting across all news media, print, broadcast, cable television, and digital.” With this in mind, Hussman is announcing that the new Center is hosting the inaugural "$100,000 of Awards for News Reporting," which consists of four individual $25,000 awards (print, broadcast, cable & digital), for "The most fair, impartial, objective news reporting that has the courage to not fear and the discipline to not favor."  The Newspaper Association Managers organization will judge entries. The call for entries begins on Monday, January 29th, 2024. Entries can be submitted online at JournalismAwards.unc.edu (Note: This link will be live on 1/29/2024). Questions can be sent via email to JournalismAwards@unc.edu. In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we chat with WHECO Media CEO Walter E. Hussman, Jr. about his fourth generational family commitment to supporting fairness in journalistic reporting and how those tenets have motivated their family foundation to offer $100,000 in cash prizes to recolonize the best in fair, impartial and objective news reporting.
220 Word in Black's journey from a pilot project to a public benefit corporation
Jan 21 2024
220 Word in Black's journey from a pilot project to a public benefit corporation
The Word in Black website states a mission: "To be the most trusted news and information source for, about, and by Black people.”   Founded on June 7, 2021, just after the entire world witnessed the tragic death of George Floyd, 10 of the nation's most prestigious Black legacy newspaper publishers joined together to launch a collaborative online news presence to work together to serve their local readers and combine their resources and content into a single branded platform.   Word in Black was initially incubated inside the Local Media Foundation (LMF), a 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with the Local Media Association. As of January 1, 2024, as part of the original plan, the foundation has sold the assets to Word in Black's newly formed public benefit company. It will continue to provide support as a shareholder in the new entity.   Today, Word in Black boasts a newsroom with 10 full-time journalists and freelancers covering topics including health, education, finance, climate justice, religion and more — all outlined in their recently published Impact Report.   The 10 founding newspapers include: ·      AFRO News ·      The Atlanta Voice ·      Dallas Weekly ·      Houston Defender ·      Michigan Chronicle ·      New York Amsterdam News ·      The Sacramento Observer ·      The Seattle Medium ·      The St. Louis American ·      The Washington Informer    In this episode of "E&P Reports," we explore Word in Black. This three-year-old online news collaboration includes 10 of the most prestigious Black newspapers in America that announced its transition to public benefit company status. Appearing along with Nancy Lane, co-CEO of the Local Media Association, whose foundation helped incubate the project, are founding members: Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper, CEO and publisher of AFRO News, Elinor R. Tatum, publisher and editor-in-chief of the New York Amsterdam News and Patrick Washington, CEO/co-Publisher of the Dallas Weekly.
219 Media sales icon Chris Lytle shares tried and true insights that still apply today.
Jan 13 2024
219 Media sales icon Chris Lytle shares tried and true insights that still apply today.
Chris Lytle, best-selling author of "The Accidental Salesperson" and "The Accidental Sales Manager," walked into an am radio station in 1972 with a political science degree, hoping to secure a news reporting job. The manager stated that the newsroom was full and offered Chris a sales job, which he accepted. That changed the course of his career forever. Ten years later, after mastering the art of media sales, he started his own consulting business, Instant Sales Training. It has helped thousands of reps excel and hundreds of media companies grow their top-line revenues through decades of industry change and disruption. Chris states on his website that he has a mission to "make successful people and companies even more successful." He advises you to "choose to become an expert. Become known for what you know and not just what you sell, and watch your sales, customer retention and referrals go through the roof."  After conducting more than 2200 seminars throughout the English-speaking world through the decades, Chris is still a sought-after speaker, trainer and consultant who continues to produce weekly sales training materials accessed by thousands online. In this episode of "E&P Reports," we go one-on-one with media sales training icon Chris Lytle, who advises on the traits, abilities and techniques that will continue to help produce winning salespeople and sales teams, within any media company. Chris also comments on how today's media consolidation has helped move the local sales process from a winning consultive approach to a reversal back to "commodity selling."
218 A new film tells a story of how hedge funds are destroying local journalism.
Jan 6 2024
218 A new film tells a story of how hedge funds are destroying local journalism.
Rick Goldsmith’s website: New Day Films states that his mission as a filmmaker is to “tell stories that encourage social engagement and active participation in community life and the democratic process, and to stimulate young minds to question the world around them.” And when one watches his latest work: “Stripped for Parts: American Journalism at the Crossroads,” a 90-minute documentary that tells the tale of how hedge fund Alden Global Capital’s entry into the news publishing industry has dismantled local newspapers “piece by piece,” creating a crises within the communities they serve, leaving “news deserts” and “ghost papers” in their wake. A posted synopsis about the film by Goldsmith, states “Ours is a cautionary tale: What is lost when billionaires with no background nor interest in a civic mission, who are only concerned with profiteering, take over our most influential news organizations? What new models of news gathering, and dissemination show promise for our increasingly digital age? What can the public do to preserve and support vibrant journalism? Stripped for Parts addresses these questions and more. “Democracy dies in darkness” and the stakes could not be higher.” In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we go one-on-one with twice Emmy nominated, documentarian Rick Goldsmith to learn why he spent more than 2-years creating his latest work: “Stripped for Parts “a film that tells the tale of how newspapers business model is faltering, not just because of the loss of advertising and digital disruption; but also to capitalist greed, as hedge funds and corporate America buy them, sell their assets and leave the communities they serve without their local “voice” and a final check on power.
217 The future of “big tech” compensation, now that Google's $100 million deal with Canada is law
Dec 31 2023
217 The future of “big tech” compensation, now that Google's $100 million deal with Canada is law
In late November, the entire news publishing industry was surprised to hear that Canada's government reached a deal with Google for the company to contribute $100 million Canadian annually to the country's news industry to comply with Canada’s Online News Act (Bill c-18), requiring tech companies to pay publishers for their content. Actual verbiage on the government's website pages that describe the bill read, "News outlets play a vital role in maintaining a healthy democracy. News and journalism serve to inform communities, drive civic engagement, and counter the rise of disinformation. Our news industry fosters an informed citizenry by providing them with critical information that helps them fully benefit and participate in a democratic society. The Online News Act aims to ensure that dominant platforms compensate news businesses when their content is made available on their services.” In March 2021, Australia became the first country to use competition law to push Google and then Facebook to pay for news. With Canada’s new law in place, other countries like Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and New Zealand are expected to "follow suit." And, of course, the U.S. Congress is currently considering passage of S.673, The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), a bill sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). In California, debates continue on AB-886, the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA). This bill would require big tech companies to pay publishers a "journalism usage fee" each time they use local news content and sell advertising alongside it. In turn, the bill requires news publishers to invest 70% of the profits from the usage fee in journalism jobs. In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we chat with Paul Degan, the president and CEO of News Media Canada, and Danielle Coffey, the president and CEO of the News/Media Alliance, about "big tech" compensation to North American news publishers, now that Canada's Online News Act goes into law, requiring Google to pay 100 million Canadian dollars a year to the Canadian news media industry, and the current complexity of two similar bills being considered by the California legislature and the U.S. Congress.
216 Shannon Kinney’s entrepreneurial advice
Dec 16 2023
216 Shannon Kinney’s entrepreneurial advice
Shannon Kinney is the founder and client success officer of Dream Local Digital, a digital marketing agency headquartered in Rockland, Maine. Dream Local Digital works with newspapers, media companies, ad agencies and directly with small to medium-sized businesses on all aspects of their online marketing plans. Kinney is also a news media digital pioneer who has held start-up positions at some of the industry's most iconic legacy brands, such as the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, over the past 25 years. She was also on the cusp of helping move traditional classified advertising into the worldwide web. Kinney worked in the late nineties at Cars.com and later as Senior Director of Classifieds of Knight Ridder. She has also helped develop new industry initiatives as a Local Media Association board member. Today, hundreds of media companies turn to Kinney and her "honey badgers" team for advice, training and product development, helping thousands of businesses acquire essential multimedia solutions. Recently, Kinney issued a list of "tips" from her "entrepreneurial journey" in a newsletter. She offers valuable advice to anyone who wishes to do business in a disruptive environment. She also points out how some of her frustrating experiences trying to get legacy media companies to adapt will offer hard lessons for anyone who resists change. In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we chat with respected media executive Shannon Kinney about the entrepreneurial advice she offers that is derived from her 25+ year journey, starting as an integral part of legacy media's early adoption of the digital world to today's massively complex multimedia ecosystem.
215 Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins. A one-on-one with the SPJ’s new president.
Dec 10 2023
215 Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins. A one-on-one with the SPJ’s new president.
Recent reports concerning the future of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) have stated, with one September post from NiemanLab saying that both membership and revenues are so low that the organization is set to "end the year $391,000 in the red," according to an audit prepared by an external accountant and dated August 2023. The same article by Sarah Scire featured the sub-head, "If we don’t change our thinking, the next incoming president will be the last president.” That new president was sworn in at the October 1, 2023, annual convention in Las Vegas. She is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, journalism professor and associate dean for the Center for Media Design at the Santa Monica College, Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins. Hopkins also made history on that date as the first black woman ever to be elected to that post. Hopkins feels confident that the financial issues reported are not insurmountable, stating during this interview with E&P Publisher Mike Blinder, "I can firmly and unequivocally say that I will not be the last president of the SPJ. All of the journalism organizations across the country are facing financial situations. We have the benefit of having a foundation that was created to be in support of the society. That foundation has $12 million in the bank." She continued, "We are on our way to 'righting the ship,' and I can firmly say that will happen before the end of my term." Diversity within the SPJ and the journalism industry is another goal of Hopkin's. As quoted in the press release announcing her presidency, "I hesitated to join SPJ for several years because I just didn't see anyone who looked like me in leadership positions. It made me feel like I didn't belong in the organization. But I decided to be the change that I wanted to see in SPJ," she said. "Representation matters, and I hope to show through my leadership and diverse board of directors that there is a place for everyone at SPJ." In this episode of "E&P Reports," we go one-on-one with newly sworn-in Society of Professional Journalists President Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins to discuss how she plans to keep the organization prospering during a time of lagging membership and conference attendance, as well as her plans for SPJ's success. We also hear her views on the news media ecosystem as a whole and how we can define what is journalism in a world of disinformation and "fake news."
214 Marty Baron discusses his new book, his experiences at The Post and his views on news media today
Dec 2 2023
214 Marty Baron discusses his new book, his experiences at The Post and his views on news media today
Martin (“Marty”) Baron may be best known in pop culture as a character played by actor Liv Schreiber in the 2015 Academy Award Winning film “Spotlight," which re-told the story of the Globe's 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporting on the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals. But many in our industry followed Baron closely years later when he moved from the Globe to The Washington Post, succeeding Marcus Brauchli in 2013 as executive editor. Shortly after the move, the Graham family announced they were selling the Post to Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. During the following years, under Baron's leadership, The Post received 10 Pulitzers — four for national reporting, two for explanatory reporting, and single wins for investigative reporting, criticism, feature photography and public service. Some of the major stories the Post broke included coverage of the US Secret Service's security lapses, revealing Roy Moore’s sexual misconduct, plus constant, ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign and subsequent four-year administration, exposing many miss-truths and scandals. It is no wonder that Trump was quoted in 2018 as saying, "I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” singling out The Post for writing “bad stories even on my very positive achievements.” His new book, "Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and The Washington Post," opens with Baron telling the tale of his dinner at the White House. Donald Trump invited Baron, two other senior executives, and Bezos, intending to get The Post to tone down their coverage of his presidency and be "more fair to him." Baron describes Trump as "fundamentally a transactional individual, and if he granted us the favor of dinner, he would expect something in return." But this book is not written as a personal memoir like Ben Bradlees’s “A Good Life.” "Collision of Power" focuses on his experiences managing The Post's newsroom during an extraordinary time. Washington was under Trump's influence, and the news publishing industry was changing from a legacy media world to one of social media, blogging and other digital disruptions. In this episode, we go one-on-one with industry veteran Marty Baron, where we discuss his recently released book, "Collision of Power,” which offers an inside view of his time as executive editor of The Washington Post under Bezos' ownership and during Trump's presidency. We also hear his thoughts on managing a newsroom in today's challenging news media ecosystem.
213 Unpacking the Medill "State of Local News" report
Nov 25 2023
213 Unpacking the Medill "State of Local News" report
In mid-November, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University issued its annual  "State of Local News Project" report, which now counts 6,000 newspapers in the United States, which comprises approximately 1,200 dailies and 4,790 weeklies. This year, the study also reported on 550 digital-only local news outlets, 700 ethnic media organizations and 225 public broadcasting stations producing original local news. The report's executive summary stated, "There was both good news and bad news for local journalism this past year. The good news raised the possibility that a range of proposals and programs could begin to arrest the steep loss of local news over the past two decades and, perhaps, revive journalism in some places that have lost their news. The headlines on the bad news resoundingly conveyed the message that urgent action is needed in many venues — from boardrooms to the halls of Congress — and by many, including civic-minded organizations and entrepreneurs." Some of the report's key findings include: There are now 204 counties with no local news outlet. Of the 3,143 counties in the U.S., more than half, or 1,766, have either no local news source or only one remaining outlet, typically a weekly newspaper. The loss of local newspapers ticked higher in 2023 to an average of 2.5 per week, up from two per week last year. There were more than 130 confirmed newspaper closings or mergers this past year. Since 2005, the U.S. has lost nearly 2,900 newspapers. The nation is on pace to lose one-third of all its newspapers by the end of next year. About 6,000 newspapers remain — the vast majority of which are weeklies.The country has lost almost two-thirds of its newspaper journalists, or 43,000, during that same time. Most of those journalists were employed by large metro and regional newspapers.There are about 550 digital-only local news sites, many of which launched in the past decade, but they are primarily clustered in metro areas. In the past five years, the number of local digital startups has roughly equaled the number that shuttered.Based on the demographics and economics of current news desert counties, Medill’s modeling estimates that 228 counties are at an elevated risk of becoming news deserts in the next five years. Most of those “Watch List” counties are in high-poverty areas in the South and Midwest, and many serve communities with significant African-American, Hispanic, and Native American populations.  New this year was a "Bright Spots" map that showed the local news startups in the U.S., highlighting 17 outlets they labeled “with promising new business models for the future.” In this episode of "E&P Reports," we un-pack Medill's 2023 "State of Local News" report with co-authors Senior Associate Dean Tim Franklin and Visiting Professor Penelope Muse ("Penny") Abernathy as we investigate their latest findings and methodology, as well as what this data means when it comes to the future of local journalism in the U.S.
212 A 16-year-old launches a news site that is out-reporting the local Gannett "ghost paper."
Nov 11 2023
212 A 16-year-old launches a news site that is out-reporting the local Gannett "ghost paper."
On September 11, 2023, Jason Sethre, publisher of the Fillmore County (MN) Journal, posted an op-ed with the headline: "One Moment, Please… Hutchinson News in Kansas or Minnesota?" Within the piece, he reported that subscribers to the Hutchinson (KS) News were greeted one day with a front page showing a group of senior citizens having an outing on a lake in Hutchinson, Minnesota, with a headline of a story showing how the Hutchinson Senior Center keeps seniors busy with an array of activities… in Hutchinson, Minnesota. With a sartorial slant, Sethre wrote, "Apparently, The Hutchinson News in Hutchinson, Kansas, covers stories about what's happening in Hutchinson, Minnesota — 628 miles away.”  However, he explained to his readers how once-thriving newspapers, bought by large corporations (in this case, Gannett), have downsized operations so much that there is minimal local reporting, and mistakes such as this made by an out-of-town editor can happen. Sethre wrote, "For the community of Hutchinson, Kansas, it's an absolute disaster with what has happened to their local newspaper. Gannett bought the newspaper from the Harris family in 2016 and ran it into the ground rather quickly. They laid off nearly all the staff that made this once Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper.” He added that staff "live in other states and write about what is happening in a community in which they have no connection. The designers working on the publication layout don't live in that area either. The story on the front page of The Hutchinson News that had nothing to do with Hutchinson, Kansas, is the result of a media company that is completely disconnected from the communities they serve. And this is one of the many problems with newspapers owned by corporations. They don't care about the communities they serve. They only care about satisfying shareholders.” However, all is not lost for the citizens of Hutchinson, Kansas,  because 16-year-old high school student Michael Glenn has launched a new online-only news publication — The Hutchinson Tribune, which now covers important meetings, elections, culture and even high school sports for this community of over 40,000. Using Substack for a CMS, the Tribune now offers the news people crave, plus provides a subscription plan for expanded content for as low as $8 a month. In addition, Glenn has recruited several adult reporters to submit content to the venture. Is there a benefit to visiting this new site for a Hutchinson resident who craves a local journalistic voice? On the day of this posting, the Gannett-owned Hutchinson News (HutchNews.com) had only six stories posted within one week that reported on a local city issue or included a local Hutchinson source or event. The new Tribune site had 27 articles, two op-eds and seven local sports pieces. Plus, if you click on any local headline on the news site, you hit the Gannett hard paywall, asking for just 23 cents a week to get the two weekly issues of the printed paper, see USA Today's digital crossword and see all the "features" of an undefined "Essential Digital."  For an additional $1, you can get six months of site content and the newspaper's digital replica as well. However, all the stories on HutchTribune.com can be accessed up to the 1st four paragraphs. However, each page has a plea to subscribe and contribute to support the site. In this episode of "E&P Reports," we go one-on-one with 16-year-old Hutchinson, Kansas high school student Michael Glenn, who became frustrated when his local Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, The Hutchinson News, was sold to Gannett and downsized over a few years to a "ghost paper" of two local employees, with most content being generated from out of state. So, in the summer of 2023, Glenn recruited a team of journalists and started the competing Hutchinson Tribune at HutchTribune.com, which now out-reports the HutchNews.com site 36 local stories to six (on the day of this posting).
211 An email cry for help saves this 138-year-old newspaper from extinction
Nov 5 2023
211 An email cry for help saves this 138-year-old newspaper from extinction
Friday, October 13th, 2023, was a scary day for the citizens of Meeker, the largest town in Colorado's Rio Blanco County, nestled on the Rockies' western slope, with a population of slightly over 6,500. It was on this day that Niki Turner and Caitlin Walker, the mother and daughter owners of the area's primary local news source, the Rio Blanco Herald Times, sent out an email with the subject line: "Crisis alert: Save your community paper." Within this ominous message, Niki and Caitlin revealed to their community the harsh realities of local news publishing and their own newspaper's critical financial status. They admitted that the operation only had enough money left to publish two more issues of the weekly newspaper and stated that they would shut down on October 26th. Unlike most businesses (and newspapers) who would fear revealing such a poor bottom line to their customers, these publishers decided that an honest, open, truthful message was the right thing to do as a warning that Rio Blanco would soon be a “news desert,” like so many other small communities throughout the US. Niki and Caitlin informed the public that the newspaper’s reach was at an all-time high, stating that: “Readership numbers continue to grow, with the Herald being read by more than 2,200 people every week. On top of that, 1,600 of you get our weekly email, 3,000 visit the website each week, and we have excellent social media engagement.” They went on to say that: “We will be letting our only full-time reporter go. We are cutting the number of papers we print and distribute to the bone. We are cutting every other extraneous expense we can think of, including our own paychecks. As a last resort, we’ll try cutting the print edition entirely and go digital-only. Then came their plea for help, frankly asking that the citizens of Rio Blanco County "help to save your community newspaper.” On October 19th, Niki penned her weekly printed editorial with the headline: "If a town loses its paper, it's less of a town," a quote borrowed from Al Cross, Director emeritus of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky. She wrote, "When we became aware of a precarious financial situation last week, we went into emergency mode. As 'keepers of the flame' — stewards of a community newspaper that's one of the oldest businesses in the county — and as journalists who believe strongly in the free press and the need for independent local news, we're not willing to go down without a fight." By the end of October, the Herald Times had an additional $33,000 in their bank account from over 200 people donating to the cause, which helped keep "the presses rolling." The October 26th front page displayed a red headline: “This would have been the last edition of the Herald, ever.” The 1st paragraph of the article proudly stated: “The Herald is ecstatic to announce 100% funding, 100% from Community Supporters, through the end of 2023. That is a VERY long way from where we were two newspapers ago. In this episode of "E&P Reports," we go one-on-one with Rio Blanco Herald Times Owner/Editor Niki Turner, who made the difficult choice of offering complete transparency about the newspaper's dire financial situation to the western Colorado citizens they serve. Turner truthfully revealed in an email that the company would cease operation within two weeks unless the community offered their support, which resulted in $33,000 in contributions that saved the weekly publication, which has been printed since 1885, from extinction.
210 Ryan Dohrn’s “ad sales punch list” to maximize revenue into 2024.
Oct 28 2023
210 Ryan Dohrn’s “ad sales punch list” to maximize revenue into 2024.
Ryan Dohrn is an Emmy award-winning, globally recognized media revenue consultant who has worked with hundreds of media companies, trained over 30,000 ad sales reps, and, through his proven sales training methods, has helped create over half a billion dollars in new sales and event sponsorship. Holding a Psychology of Leadership Certification from Cornell University, Dohrn’s resume includes time in promotions and sales at The NY Times Company, Disney, Cumulus, Citadel Comm, Vance Publishing, Morris Publishing, and PennWell.  His latest best-selling book, "Selling Forward," offers proven sales advice and methods to reinvent a company’s approach when “selling to emotionally drained, inbox-dazed, virtual meeting-bored, sales-resistant customers in a post-pandemic fatigued business world.” Dhorn is also the president/founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique revenue strategy, sales training, and coaching firm. Plus, he is the owner/CEO of Niche Media, an organization that hosts events focused on helping publishers generate more multimedia revenue. E&P's publisher, Mike Blinder, is no novice when it comes to media ad sales as well, having spent 20+ years as a sales consultant, trainer and revenue generator for media companies worldwide. Blinder has helped generate over $100 million in new, local multimedia ad revenue through his own proven sales methods. In this episode of “E&P Reports,” sales consultant, coach, and trainer Ryan Dohrn talks one-on-one with E&P's Mike Blinder, offering actionable, real-world advice on maximizing ad sales in 2024. Topics covered in this fast-paced, idea-driven interview include better prospecting for new business, how to find and retain quality sales talent and the best qualities and methods of leadership in today's competitive, ever-changing local media sales ecosystem.
209 Small North Carolina community is now a two-newspaper town.
Oct 14 2023
209 Small North Carolina community is now a two-newspaper town.
Morgantown, North Carolina, the county seat of Burke County, is now a two-paper town. The nonprofit The Paper proudly reports local news online and in a weekly, Saturday-home-delivery, 30-plus-page full-color print product.   Founder and Publisher Allen VanNoppen is no stranger to news media, having spent his first years out of college as a reporter for the then family-owned local newspaper of record, The Morgantown News Herald, and later at the nearby Greensboro (NC) News & Record. Continuing to write a weekly syndicated column, he left his full-time work as a journalist in 1985 to enter the business world, eventually opening a local marketing agency his children now run. However, as he watched the News Herald be bought and sold over the years, finally being corporately downsized by Lee Enterprises, in August of 2022, he started Morganton Media Group, LLC (MMG) with a dba of The Paper. The Paper's website states they’re a “blend of a registered LLC with nonprofit 501(c)3 fiscal sponsors.” And “will be owned by the community through tiered memberships" and "be led by an expert local Board of Directors.” So far, they have hired as their Editor-in-Chief Bill Poteat, a former editor & political reporter for The News Herald, along with others — bringing the newsroom count to eight.  In a recent press release announcing three new hires, The Paper claimed to be "Burke County’s only home-delivered, all-local print and digital newspaper." It also claimed, "The Paper was launched on Feb. 4, 2023, to fill a growing local news desert similar to those seen nationally. Sensational community response, including steady increases in advertising and circulation, coupled with charitable contributions, enabled the addition to the reporting staff.” In this episode of "E&P Reports," we take you to Morgantown, North Carolina,  the county seat for Burke County, where Lee Enterprises' News Herald has been publishing for over 120 years. However, it is now a two-newspaper town, as The Paper, a local nonprofit, is in its 36th week of publishing both print and online. Appearing in the broadcast is Allen VanNoppen, The Paper’s founder and publisher, who speaks to why he decided to start a competing local printed product, how the business is going more than eight months in and what advice he gives to others who may want to start a local, nonprofit, digital and print news operation.
208 Branding is back: The latest Borrell study un-packed.
Oct 8 2023
208 Branding is back: The latest Borrell study un-packed.
Borrell Associates has been tracking U.S. advertising since 2001, providing data that encompasses every facet of local marketing expenditures, including promotions, marketing services, research, public relations, loyalty marketing and digital services. Recently, Borrell released its 2024 forecasts revealing that U.S. local advertising will grow a healthy 4.4% in 2024 to $157.1 billion. On top of that, Borrell’s recent “Business Barometer” showed a strong uptick in local advertiser optimism about the 2023 holiday shopping season and the general economy. There was also good news for legacy media providers, such as newspapers, radio and TV, forecasting a moderation in previous years' declines. Along with the forecast for 2024, Borrell just released the data from their survey conducted in the second quarter 0f 2023, which included advertising insights collected from over 2,000 respondents. One of the major takeaways from this August 2023 report is a major decrease in respondents who consider themselves "novices" at understanding media concepts, thus offering local media companies more knowledgeable buyers within their markets. Some respondents stated that local media companies should “take more time to listen to what the client is asking for” and “come with more creative ideas about their business.” In this episode of "E&P Reports," we break down the data recently released by Borrell Associates in their latest survey, conducted April through June in 2023, entitled: "New Insights About Today’s Local Ad Buyers." Appearing in this vodcast is Borrell Associates' President Jim Brown, who will discuss the latest trends they have uncovered in local advertiser spending, which media types are showing the most demand and how legacy media such as newspapers, radio and TV can capture the predicted 4% increase of overall marketing dollars being invested by local businesses.
207 Checking in with the Chicago Sun-Times/ Public Media merger.
Sep 30 2023
207 Checking in with the Chicago Sun-Times/ Public Media merger.
On January 31, 2022, some would say industry history was made when Chicago Public Media, owners of the PBS affiliate WBEZ announced the acquisition of the iconic, daily tabloid: The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Public Media raised $61 million in multiyear philanthropic commitments for the acquisition and then transitioned the publication to nonprofit ownership. At the time of the announcement the New York Times reported that the merger of: “The hard-hitting tone of tabloid journalism and the measured voice of public radio make for an unlikely combination.” Tim Franklin, senior associate dean of Northwestern University’s Medill journalism school and the former president of the Poynter Institute stated: “It’s kind of hard to overstate how profound this development is. I think in some ways it could be a model for the nation.” Just a few months later, more industry “history” was made with the announcement of the hiring of Jennifer Kho, former managing editor of HuffPost and Guardian US, as the paper’s executive editor. Kho was the first woman and the first person of color to lead its newsroom. Since Kho’s appointment, there have been many changes at the paper, that include the dropping of their paywall for access to all digital content.  A “right to be forgotten” policy, that allows people who have been reported on to seek a review and possibly have stories removed from internet searches. And the addition of twelve Sun-Times’ “Next Voices,” who are guest columnists that were selected from reader submitted entries. In this episode of E&P Reports, we check in with Chicago Public Media, owners of PBS affiliate WBEZ, to find out how their 2022 acquisition of the 149-year-old Chicago Sun-Times is going. Appearing on the program are Jennifer Kho, executive editor for the newspaper and Tracy Brown, chief content officer for the parent company, who discuss their new initiatives, collaborative efforts and how the blending of these two major market brands is working to expand their audience.