December 31, 2009

Posts on Advance pull in most eyes in 2009

The new year is just hours away so let's take a quick look back at my main blogging outlet, Inside Out. Knowing where I was sometimes helps me figure out where I'm going.

This post also is inspired by a post on the slowly blooming  back into life Gannett Blog. I told Jim Hopkins I would be borrowing the concept behind his post Tops of '09: Layoffs, a memo, Wausau -- and buck$
and he graciously said:
"Copy away! Once you've got an archive of posts, there's no reason not to recycle them in imaginative ways."

Most traffic comes to the main page, where two to four posts usually wait.

Google and FriendFeed send the most traffic my way, but the Free From Editors sends me a lot of readers. That makes sense since Jim of L-Town often writes about The Flint Journal, letting former employees know what's up.

I'm not surprised that the most read posts of the year concern changes at Advance Publications, Advance and the Newhouse publishing empire. Those are the posts that generated the most feedback here, on Twitter, Facebook and in my inbox. Certainly, 2009 and was a big year of change for the Newhouse media world.

Advance mirrors industry: Change, change, change

Editors and publishers left the organization, pensions and salaries were cut, and publishing schedules changed or totally shuttered. A long-time perk - "life-time job guarantee" - for Newhouse newspaper employees ends Feb. 5.  That spurred lots of talking and another round of buyouts in Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, New Jersey and other states home to news organizations owned by the Newhouses.

Advance Internet changes

Changes at the web side of Advance started in January with the leaving of longtime employees, including Jon Donley who left his editng role at  Surprisingly, two Newhouse newspaper employees moved to Advance Internet after taking buyouts from the New Jersey Star-Ledger. (Hassan Hodges is tech guru at; John Hassell is vice president of content at Advance Internet.) Changes continued throughout the year, including another editor leaving (Booth from

Publishing less

In my backyard - - three Newhouse daily newspapers dropped to three times a week publishing schedule in June, and slashed staffs. The Flint Journal, The Saginaw News and Bay City Times now operate as Booth Mid-Michigan.with one publisher and executive editor. Some other editing functions were combined, although for now each newspaper has its own print edition and some local staff.

Staffing an issue

Most read post of the year was one on staffing the new setup: Why is Valley Publishing seeking help?  Did I mention that Valley Publishing was the core company for the three news organizations for an area the group promotes also as the Great Lakes Bay Region? I'm still looking for the Great Lake in the Flint, Michigan, area.

Wisely, the Flint news organization noticed it cut too deeply and has brought back some long-time employees like Jennifer Kildee in the features area and Bruce Gunther and Brendan Savage in sports. The revolving door continues, with reporter Elizabeth Shaw leaving in January and assistant Community editor Katie Bach replacing her husband as public relations manager at the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Michigan changes hit pocketbook

The second-most read post was Michigan newspapers announce changes, written March 23. That post included news about the mid-Michigan changes, salary and benefit cuts for all employees at Michigan's Newhouse newspapers and changes to operations in Ann Arbor.

In July, Newhouse closed the Ann Arbor News and opened a new organization that focuses mostly on its web effort, yet still delivers two print editions a week, opened. I've gathered some of my posts and others on the changes in Ann Arbor media.

More top-read posts

The next three most-read posts are:
Why May for Advance pension changes?
Ex-publisher sues newspaper
Two more publishers leaving newspapers

Girl Scouts get social

Some of my posts about how Girl Scouts are doing social networking also drew readers. I talked about Girl Scouts tweeting and on Facebook.

I've been helping a number of Girl Scout organizations get up to speed on the Internet. (Yes, I know some of you are laughing since you know I started that effort back in 1994. Some things never change; some things always change.)

Getting personal

Of course, this is a blog written by a person so some of the more popular posts are about personal things and confessions. There's my Advance addiction, my grandfather's hatred of key-turners, and my daughter's breast cancer.

(Quick update: She's doing very well, just finished a round of physical therapy, nearing the end of the year-long chemo and back to work. My husband and I just returned from a visit to see her in Tennessee.)

Thanks for reading ... see you in 2010.

December 16, 2009

Buyout offers popping up at Newhouse newspapers in Alabama

Media of Birmingham and Lagnaippe both report that more employees at the Newhouse news organizations in Alabama are weighing buyout offers. The offers to non-union employees are capped at six months for those at the Mobile Press-Registrer, Huntsville Times and Birmingham News.

Lagnaippe  has details about the Mobile Press-Registrer; Media of Birmingham has more details about the Birmingham News and a mention about the Huntsville Times.

And yes, Victor Hanson III retired as publisher of the Birmingham News. He had announced his leaving in late September. An article and a Tom Scarritt column marked his leaving Dec. 1. His retirement means that for the first time in nearly a century a Hanson does not lead the newspaper.

Hanson, who plans to head back to college, told The Birmingham News he is proud of having led the Birmingham News Co.'s expansion into direct mail, specialty publishing and advertising services to broaden its revenue stream.
  "We intentionally developed the talent and focused on the need our clients had to reach the market in ways beyond the printed product," Hanson told the News.
No update on what's happening with the lawsuit by the ex-publisher of The Press-Registrar.. But  Lagnaippe questions the accuracy in the reporting of Howard Bronson's exit from the news organization.
"... did the paper intentionally print a lie when it told readers Bronson had retired?"In
In the lawsuit, Bronson claims he was forced out after 18 years and despite what he believed was a lifetime job guarantee.

Although  the Lagnaippe writer admits that he does not know what the reporters, and perhaps even the editors, were told about Bronson's departure, he suggests that the news organization needs to tell the truth about its affairs to maintain the public's trust.
.".. it seems if Bronson was fired, someone in the corporate chain determined that a lie should be printed, which destroys the paper’s credibility.

"Either that or Bronson did retire and then forgot and decided to sue, which would make him insane or crazy, or both. (From the Department of Redundancy Department.)

"If a newspaper lies in print about its internal business, to my way of thinking that’s no different than lying about any other story. The credibility’s in the crapper, and that’s really what matters in the news biz.
Mistakes are one thing, but fabrication is another. I hope if it did happen, someone at the P-R will have the cajones to own up to it."

Wow.  No mincing of the words in that column. By the way, as long as you're cruising that site check out the words on the P-R's circulation report.

December 15, 2009

Advance rearranging top jobs; Arwady moving on

Two publishers with long-time ties to Michigan, face major changes this month in Advance Pubications.

Larry McDermott, publisher of The Republican in Springfield, Mass., since 1999, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the year. George Arwady, publisher of The Star-Ledger of Newark, will assume the duties of publisher at The Republican. Penn Jersey Advance President Richard Vezza will also take on the role of publisher at the Star-Ledger.

The Republican, Star-Ledger and Penn Jersey Advance are part of the Advance Publications.

McDermott and Arwady have the Michigan ties. McDermott, 61, was publisher of The Bay City Times when he was named executive editor of the Springfield newspaper in 1991. Arwady worked with the Kalamazoo Gazete, Muskegon Chronicle and Saginaw News in Michigan.

Arwady, 62, was publisher of the Kalamazoo Gazette before going to the Newark newspaper in 2005. The Brooklyn native grew up in New Jersey and spent 34 years of his newspaper career in Michigan. The Republican is the fifth news organization he will run for the Newhouse's Advance Publications.

Arwady was editor and publisher of the Muskegon Chronicle from 1980-88, where he helped start "New Muskegon," an organization designed to give the comunity a boost. Another big project was trying to convince Muskegon to publicly fund a cross-lake ferry project in 1987. The public turned down the proposal.

Arwady also was editor of The Saginaw News, where in June 1977 he started a weekly "Tell it to the Editor" soundoff column for readers.

Verzza, 61, joined Penn Jersey, which is three daily newspapers and a chain of weekly newspapers in New Jersey, and The Express-Times in Pennsylvania in 2000. The long-time New Jersey journalist will continue in that Penn Jersey position, according to an article on

A number of journalists recall working with McDermott in a story over on Plus, find details about the careers of McDermott and Arwady. Arkansas State University also  posted a good bio when McDermott closed out the Journalism Alumni Speaker Series in November 2008.

Read some of McDermott's recent columns on, including one on a subject dear to his heart: Open meetings.

(Thanks for all who alerted me to this news as I spent the day offline, chatting face-to-face with a friend and struggling to find some perfect presents.)

Updated Jan. 5, 2010: to include Arwady's memo:
Dear Star-Ledger Colleagues:
Effective at the end of the year, I will be leaving Newark to assume the publisher responsibilities at The Republican, our company's newspaper in Springfield, MA. Your new publisher will be Rich Vezza, president of Penn-Jersey Advance Newspapers.
Rich, who is well-known to many of you, has been responsible for our company's daily newspapers in Jersey City, Gloucester, Bridgeton and Salem, N.J., as well as the daily in Easton, PA. He also has headed the company's NJN weekly newspapers, which include the Hunterdon Democrat, the Somerset Reporter, the Suburban News and the Independent Press. In his new position Rich will be seeking additional ways in which those newspapers can work together with The Star-Ledger and the Times of Trenton, as well as with our affiliate website, Each newspaper will retain its individual identity, while seeking collaboration that will help us weather these extremely challenging times for all newspapers.
 I know Rich well. He's a real Jersey guy, having spent a lifetime working in New Jersey newspapers, both in news and business operations. He's a straight-shooter with a great sense of humor who will fit in well here. I'm sure you'll give him the same full support and cooperation that I've enjoyed over the past 5 years.
 I want to express my great appreciation and admiration for all of you and your work here. The Star-Ledger is a great newspaper, and I'm proud to have worked with you to help keep it strong through these very challenging times. I always will value your friendship, and treasure our accomplishments here together.

Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart.
George Arwady

December 11, 2009

An intro to Facebook and Twitter for nonprofits

An overview

December 9, 2009

More buyouts offered at Advance newspaper in Alabama

The word spread via Twitter, email and chat but Media of Birmingham tracked down the details: All employees at the Birmingham News in Alabama were offered buyouts today. It is the third round of buyouts at the newspaper still seeking a replacement for its retiring publisher.

Several foks have said that  full-time employees were offered two weeks of pay for every year of service, while part-time employees would receive one week of pay for every year of service. Both are capped at 6 months.

And while we're talking about a Newhouse - Advance operation in Alabama .... I missed the Dec. 2  Twitter announcement but Media of Birmingham did not. The editor of, the Advance site for the Alabama news organizations, ended his 10-year stint with the company. Ken Booth is off seeking new ventures, directions, .... though a Tweet today indicates the web is still a big focus.
"Some familiar old concerns of SEO, site updates and user feedback plus new concerns of fulfillment, e-commerce and inventory. I love it."
Media of Birmingham has a few details on Booth's plans.

Close by, a new vice president of advertising for the Mobile Press-Register was named. Vicki Barrett  also oversee advertising for the Mississippi Press in Pascagoula. VBarrett had the same post at Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss.

From a story once posted on
"Vicki is a consummate sales executive with tremendous energy, as well as a natural-born leader," said Press-Register Publisher Ricky Mathews, formerly publisher at the Sun Herald. "She will be an asset to the Press-Register as we strengthen our newspaper and our multimedia capabilities."

 ".... She was an instrumental part of helping our newspaper recover from Hurricane Katrina. Her approaches will help us serve our advertisers with innovative products and services like never before. This has never been more important than in these tough economic times."
 She replaced  former advertising director Larry Wooley, who retired.

Still looking for updates on buyouts and closings at other Advance organizations. Feel free to send me a link or an email. We're just about done with another round of checkups for my daughter, who hopefully will get from Detroit to Knoxville sometime today. But that's another post - need some sleep first.

December 7, 2009

New editor at Advance's Oregonian

Editor Sandy Rowe told The Oregonian staff today that she's stepping down after 16 years, 5 Pulitzer prizes and, as one reporter said "a pretty damn good run journalistically."  She told staff members she made the decision over Thanksgiving weekend, while wrestling with the 2010 budget.

"Doing this preserves other jobs," she told staff. (The Oregonian had warned that at least 70 buyouts were necessary to prevent layoffs. One published list shows not enough signed up.)

Executive editor Peter Bhatia will replace her, effective Jan. 1.

You can read the memo announcing her resignation and Bhatia's promotion on the, the online home for the Advance Publications newspaper.

Here's what some others are saying:

Here's a copy of the emails sent to staff by Sandy and Chris:
I today announced I am retiring as editor of The Oregonian. This was a tremendously difficult decision but I am confident it is sound. You deserve to know why.
When we first announced the buyout and possibility of subsequent layoffs, many of you wanted to know staffing targets, how and when we would decide about layoffs and what departments would be most affected. Reasonable questions, all. I responded we would not know the staffing target until we had a new publisher and a final budget and we wouldn't start planning layoffs until the buyout was completely closed. I also said we would protect more content-producing jobs by reducing the number of editors. I did not realize at the time that statement would drive my own decision.
Led by Chris (Anderson, publisher), in early November we went back into the budgets, determined to ensure the company's profitability in 2010, the essential ingredient to retain jobs and turn our focus from cutting to building.  At that point it became clear we would have to shed about 70 jobs total from the newsroom staff.  As we have gotten much smaller as a newsroom, it is also clear we have too many editing positions concentrated at the top of the organization. 
Over Thanksgiving I wrestled with the number of layoffs we would need and determined it was best to start by removing my own salary from the budget. I informed Chris of my decision last week. Doing this preserves other jobs.
The biggest single timing consideration for me is my conviction that we are indeed right on the brink of having both financial soundness and great opportunity for the future. That is the good news. The economy is starting to turn and Chris and his leadership team are putting all the pieces in place to take full advantage of our strong market position and growing online opportunity. It won't be easy, but by this time next year, I predict this company will be in a modest growth position.
In News, I have no doubt you have the leadership within yourselves and in this room to meet the future with vigor and commitment. I am very proud of that. The superb work you have done and the public service we provide through our journalism has never been attributable to the editor or a small handful of people. It is from all of you. Yes, we are smaller than we have been and many talented colleagues have left, but look around you at the talent still here, ranging from veteran Pulitzer Prize winners to young super-talented digitally savvy journalists.
You will not lose the passion that drives you and in that, too, I take great pride. What you do is worthy, often inspired, and has never been more needed than it is today. Amid the noise of the media marketplace, more than ever the fight is to be the trusted source of local news and information. That is what you do so well, and you will win that fight -- on any platform the market chooses.
I will miss you a great deal, but that is overshadowed by the gratitude I feel for the good fortune of having worked with you and every day having fun, laughing, struggling and, ultimately achieving tremendous things together.
I cheer you and wish you Godspeed on these important next steps in the journey.

Dear colleagues,

Today we are making a very important announcement about the transition of leadership in our newsroom.  Sandy Rowe is retiring effective December 31.  Peter Bhatia, our executive editor, will become editor of The Oregonian on January 1.

Attached is a news release that will be posted on this afternoon.

This was a difficult decision for Sandy, but it is one she felt good about making — and which she made in the best interests of our company.  I support Sandy’s decision.  I know you will join me in recognizing her enormous contributions to the company and to our community.  Thankfully, she will continue to contribute to Portland, to Oregon and to the national and international journalism community.

I’m also pleased to announce Peter’s promotion.  This is the best of both worlds — continuity in the newsroom while bringing the inevitable different perspective that comes with a change in leadership.  Please join me in congratulating Peter as well.


And the official announcement from

Sandra Mims Rowe, editor of The Oregonian since 1993, announced Monday she will leave the newspaper at the end of the year.

Rowe, 61, said she came to her decision over the Thanksgiving holiday as she contemplated planned staff cuts necessitated by difficult economic times. "It feels like it is the right decision," Rowe said. "We have a slimmer organization. We need fewer people overseeing it."

N. Christian Anderson, recently named publisher of The Oregonian, saluted Rowe's contributions to the paper and the state. "Her strong leadership changed the face of The Oregonian, leading us to new levels of journalism and service to the region," Anderson said.

Anderson named Peter Bhatia, long-time Oregonian managing and executive editor, to replace Rowe at the helm of the newsroom. "Peter Bhatia will carry on strong leadership and commitment to outstanding journalism," Anderson said. "His passion for and knowledge of Oregon and the metropolitan area are important qualities that will serve Oregonian readers well in the future."

Before 1993, The Oregonian had won two Pulitzer Prizes in its long history. It won five under Rowe's tenure.

"Sandy is certainly a giant in our business, someone who has tremendous respect from the other editors around the nation," said David Boardman, executive editor of The Seattle Times. "She's shown a great gift for hiring top talent. And she was able to muster resources that the rest of us were in awe of."

The Oregonian newsroom swelled in size under Rowe, growing from about 280 when she began to more than 400 at the peak. Under her watch, Oregonian journalists followed eastern Washington potatoes to Asia to illustrate the globalized economy; they hectored state leaders to shut down a decrepit mental hospital, they reconstructed the tragic ordeal of a family stuck in a remote, snowbound corner of southwestern Oregon; and they told the story of a high school boy coping with extreme challenges.

All of those efforts won Pulitzer prizes. A 2000 series on abuses within the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service won the Pulitzer for public service, journalism's most prestigious prize.

"She's the most inspirational editor I've ever met," said Amanda Bennett, who was hired by Rowe as a managing editor and is now executive editor in charge of enterprise stories at Bloomberg News. "She stood behind the newsroom when there were all kinds of complicated, investigative things we were working on."

"She transformed that paper from a good paper to probably the best paper of its size in the country," said Rich Oppel, former editor of the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas.

Advance Publications, owner of The Oregonian, hired Rowe away from the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., of which she had been named editor at age 31.

"When Sandy came to The Oregonian, many who knew her said we were getting the best newspaper editor in the country," said Advance Publications President Donald E. Newhouse. "Time has proven those admirers to be clairvoyant." 

"Sandy has succeeded on so many fronts," Newhouse said. "As a community spirited journalist, as an innovator, as a brilliant story editor capable of shaping ideas and content into successful packages, and as a constant advocate for quality no matter what the resources at her disposal."

More than the prizes and trophies, Rowe said she's proudest of the staff she's built. She figures she has hired well more than half the current news staff.

"It is the most lasting contribution I could have made to this newspaper and this community I love," she said.

For all its success, The Oregonian has been beset by the same double-barreled dilemma facing nearly every daily newspaper in the country – declining circulation and revenue, the latter made worse by the economic downturn. The paper has downsized, cut salaries and benefits. After a series of buyouts and an expected layoff early next year, the newsroom staff will shrink to pre-1993 levels.

Rowe will be the second senior executive to leave The Oregonian in 2009, following long-time Publisher Fred Stickel, who retired last month.

Rowe said she's confident that under Anderson's and Bhatia's leadership, the Oregonian will weather the storm and continue to fill its vital role.

"Even after deep newsroom cuts dictated by the brutal financial conditions of the recession, The Oregonian has a news staff of more than 200, substantially larger than any in the state," Rowe said. "I am increasingly proud of our public service and accountability journalism even with that smaller staff. The market really depends on The Oregonian to do those kinds of stories, whether it concerns the police, politics, public policy or business."

While at The Oregonian, she served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board. She and Bhatia together were named editors of the year by Editor & Publisher magazine in 2008.

Bhatia said he is "thrilled and humbled" to be succeeding Rowe.

"Sandy created an environment here for all of us to do our best work," Bhatia said. "Her legacy here is about journalistic excellence, about telling stories in the best way possible, about getting to the bottom of wrongdoing and malfeasance by public officials and others, and of being the eyes and ears of the public, and caring first about that public."

Rowe and her husband, Gerard Rowe, will remain in Portland. She said she will retire from The Oregonian but hopes to get involved in education, leadership and other capacities "that could contribute to the economic and educational vibrancy of this great state."

-- Jeff Manning

    Another Booth editor leaving

     The pressure is on as one more newspaper editor in Michigan's Advance Publications family ends her career.

    Eileen Lehnert, edtior of the Jackson Citizen Patriot,announced she's leaving at the end the end of December.. That's led to a reshuffling of assignments with:
    • Publisher Sandy Petykiewicz also becoming editor and directing the newsroom’s strategic efforts.She was editor before becoming publisher (1987-1999).
    • Sara Scott, now day editor, moving into associate editor for content and responsible for the day-to-day news gathering and content generation 
    • Jerry Sova, now web/news editor, becoming an associate editor for online and print production.
     That leaves Rebecca Pierce, editor of the Kalamazo Gazette, as the only Booth Newspaper editor in the same job throughout 2009. Back in May in a post on Mike Lloyd ending his career at the Grand Rapids Press, I counted three of eight editors unchanged. But Paul Keep took Mike/s spot, leaving the Muskegon Chronicle. A new editor was named.
    Ann Arbor News editor Ed Petykiewicz, 57,  announced his retirement in late March, just before we learned the Ann Arbor News would close in July.

    John Foren, who became Flint Journal editor on Jan. 13, 2009, and Paul Chaffee,, publisher/editor of The Saginaw News, left this summer when Advance changed the structure and publishing schedule of those two newspapers and The Bay City Times. The Bay City Times editor, John Hiner, 48, stepped into an executive editor role, overseeing the Journal, News and Times.

    How many jobs to replace 1 newsroom post?

    That headline sounds like the start of a joke, doesn't it? Instead, it's what I took away from a column about a former Saginaw News news editor who is an internship director, news writing instructor, student newspaper advisor, free-lance writer and free-lance editor. Brian Hlavaty explains his shift from one job to many in part of the continuing series on Poynter Online - Ask the Recruiter

    Despite that, he remains upbeat and "sleeps better:
    "Having your life ripped apart and rearranged is not necessarily a bad thing. I feel an enthusiasm and a freshness each day that I had not expected."

    A little video to go with 'Copy Editor's Lament"

    An all volunteer crew of journalists put action to Christopher Ave's Copy Editor's Lament's - also known as the Layoff Song. The journalist/musician first posted the song in March 2009, posted revised lyrics in October. You can get more insight into why in a Poynter Institute posting. And though Christopher is still working as a political editor in St. Louis - never was a copy editor - he's also combining his love for stories and music in Music for Media business.

    Yes, I wrote about the song before but now there's a video :) Enjoy

    November 27, 2009

    Taking time to say yes to me

    I keep finding word arrangements about being busy that remind me we all have 24 hours a day to fill, that each of us can choose what to do with that time and when we say we are too busy to do something what we really mean is we choose not to do that something right now.

    I have been rushing, gathering information for a research committee, gathering still more information for the required government forms that guarantee help for a trapped Alzheimer patient, gathering more words for so many projects that overwhelm me at year's end. Each is the right thing to do.

    I have been teaching, uncomfortable with requirements imposed by others but bolstered by evaluations that illustrate the majority leave the workshops, the lessons, the classrooms with at least one actionable plan likely to impact the lives of at least three more.

    Yet, surely even what is right can sometimes be too much. There is a need to step back, to reflect, to move on.

    Perhaps it is watching the Yes Man movie with family, watching what happens when someone believes he can only say yes, watching how a constant stream of yeses becomes unbelievable.

    Or perhaps it was listening to someone explain what this blog is to a class of eager journalists who wanted to learn a complex subject in 60 minutes or less.

    Or perphas it was listening to me, explaining what I am doing, to one more person.

    I listen to  "Ghost Riders in the Sky," but substitute ghost writer each time the phrase comes around in the Mary McCaslin version that fills the room where I am sorting through commitments, deciphering the thoughts of others for their blog posts.

    There is much to tell about changes in Oregon, Alabama, New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, Michigan. There is much to say about the journalism experiments unfolding in Michigan and elsewhere. There is much to say about things I sometimes share here - the health insurance proposals, the debate over when to start/stop/do mammograms, and journalists without jobs finding alternatives.

    Just not now - or at least just not now by me. The "gone fishing/gone farming" sign is hung on the virtual office door.

    November 11, 2009

    Detroit Daily Press launching inch by site

    Detroit's newest daily newspaper, the Detroit Daily Press, launched a Facebook page and is showing signs of launch.

    The Detroit, Michigan, newspaper has set up its headquarters in a building that once housed the Royal Oak DailyTribune.and hired staff who once worked for the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Oakland Press and other Michigan newspapers.  

    A posted photo says the sports team includes Dave Holzman, Daved Cintron, James Briggs, Hawke Fracassa, Jason Pinter, Peg McNichol, and Wendy Clem. But on LinkedIn, Wendy Clem says she will cover Wayne County. LinkedIn also says Allan Gilles is senior graphic designer. Another poster at a Detroit site says the just-released commemorative issue also has Rob Parker's byline there.

    Meanwhile,  Bruce McLauglan, a former Detroit News editor, who took up motorcycle racing at age 39, is the managing editor who is taking resumes (and reminds a Faceback poster that competition is tough.)

    Brothers Gary and Mark Stern had announced back in June that they would launch the daily newspaper, just a few months after the Detroit newspapers and 10 days after three other Michigan newspapers went to three days a week. As Ken Doctor wrote then, even the title is a rebuke.

    Those who subscribe by Dec. 27 can get the daily newspaper for $3 a week. Regular price is $3.75. The goal: 150,000 subscribers.

    Hat tip to Bill Shea who  posts an update and says watch for more on Friday on Crain's Detroit site as there's a press conference scheduled.

    Click on Detroit has some more details on Friday's press conference and background on the brothers who are behind the new publication.

    The Detroit Daily Press was published July 22-Nov. 22 1964, and again in 1978 when the former Detroit newspapers went on strike.

    Ca$hing out: Blogging for bucks not easy

    This money stuff is so frustrating, so hard to understand, to decipher. I'm starting to think it might be part of the way I'm wired, a trait shared by others who once made journalism a big part of their lives.

    I started the day reading a post "Tacky or not, here come the ads." I thought it was an unnecessary post, but the writer wanted to warn his audience he'll be promoting his books in his blog. I think there's no better place to post, to promote what you write then your own blog. Still it was interesting to read Joel Thurtell's struggles with other forms of advertising, a donation button and self censorship. The feelings center around what do you owe the person who is paying.

    Then up pops up Jim MacMillan, a pretty smart guy/journalist/teacher, who shares what many are learning the hard way about blogging for bucks: It's not enough to blog, you need a plan.

    MacMillan shares the insights he picked up at PhIJI, the Philadelphia Initiative for Journalism Innovation at Temple University in a a post Independent journalism – meet practical business practices

    First, a confession from MacMillan:
    "Until now, I had been both following and preaching the blogger’s if-you-build-it philosophy, which led me to only marginal monetization. I thought that if I had a sharp platform with worthwhile content, I needed only to develop and audience and the revenue would follow. I gathered followers, generated publicity and even some accolades, but I haven’t made a lot of money; barely a fraction of my previous newsroom paychecks."
    Then, a quick summary of the presentations with these conclusions:
    • Business planning is like story planning: We must identify goals and stakeholders, consider scalability, and constantly evaluate and adapt. Next, journalism entrepreneurs need to learn to articulate and pitch a sustainable value proposition that makes sense.
    • Identify unmet needs, and find an audience that will pay someone or something to meet that need.
    To stay up with the Temple University series, add to your bookmarks: I'd also suggest reading MacMillan as he struggles to figure out how to become an independent journalist with a paycheck big enough to cover what's necessary. His blog is Future of News.

    I could send you off to some other blog posts about money or share some links of local journalism efforts, some grant funded and some hope funded. I could send you off to more posts on conferences or Tweets about reports about finding ways to pay for journalism, for journalists, for news. 

    Would it matter?

    November 9, 2009

    Pulled quote: Words transform nothingness

    The right word makes such a difference. It helps us acknowledge something vague as something concrete.
    'Words do not label things already there. Words are like the knife of the carver. They free the idea, the thing, from the general formlessness of the outside. As a man speaks, not only is his language in a state of birth, so is the very thing he is talking about.'
    --Eskimo saying
    From Working with Words
    Words are not always enough.  I sometimes find that I need a doctor to agree that I'm sick. A listen to the congestion, a peek at the inner ear, a swab of the throat - those gestures grant permission to collapse under covers.

    At first, I want to explain away fatigue and other symptoms by attributing all to multiple sclerosis. Doesn't every treatment for a flareup end up with a few days of weakness? Of tiredness? Who needs a doctor for that!

    Fortunately, the the sign that I'm on the road to recovery is easier to read. When I yearn for the shampoo bottle, I know wellness is near.

    Deadly bullet points? Mid-Michigan Battle Decks ‘09

    deadly bullet pointsHow quick are you on your feet in a presentation before people you don't know well? Or is it harder to be quick when you're presenting to people you know? Can you react quickly when the wrong slide comes up on the screen? Does your speech echo the bullet points or are people reading something different?

    If you're good, consider a national contest called PowerPoint Karaoke or Battle Decks that is coming to East Lansing on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. The idea behind Battle Decks is that you get up in front of a group to do a PowerPoint presentation that lasts about 5 minutes — with the kicker being that you have no idea what is in the deck you are presenting. Some of the slides may be serious quotes, another could be an Excel spreadsheet graph, some could be silly pictures. Get the details, including the prizes, in Mid-Michigan Battle Decks ‘09

    I won't be there, although I am feeling very good about surviving a presentation I did last week. I tried to find a substitute since I wasn't feeling good and am trying to follow my doctor's advice to avoid people. I knew something was wrong when I arrived to a nearly full parking lot. What a joy to learn I was told the wrong time for the class - it started in 15, not 45, minutes. Fortunately, there was an experienced expert to help set up the projector and computer. I started on time, finished on time and left with mostly satisfactory evaluations. Oh yeah, I should have listened to the doctor.

    November 6, 2009

    Building a better journalist disappoints

    The goal was to become a better journalist by attending a daylong session. But Matt Davis left unimpressed. or maybe it was left disappointed.

    Part of the disappointment came from learning what happened after a three part investigative story on how there was a documented evidence of a cover-up in a case where a police officer sexually assaulted a woman while on duty.

    Yes, despite the investigation, the published report the two key figures are still working in their departments.

    There's more on some other breakout sessions in a column you'll enjoy. Byron Beck misses having an editor, Jack Hart shared some writing stories and the comments help.

    Conde Nast hires crisis intervention expert

    Things are getting serious. The New York Post reported that Conde Nast is hiring a crisis intervention expert. bUT I must admit that the Gawker report and comments on the hiring of the man who calls himself a "confrontational debate specialist" and "one of the most utilized consultants" are just a bit more fun to read. That piece identifies a picture of Scrooge as chairman S. I. Newhouse.

    The Post article says CEO Charles Townsend and Chairman S.I. Newhouse, Jr. hired Washington, DC-based crisis manager and media coach Michael Sheehan to help with PR.

    Sheehan has coached Democratic presidential candidates, including Barack Obama and "handled AIG during its near-death experience and JP Morgan in its acquisition of Chase." The magazine branch of Advance Publications has folded six magazines, including Gourmet and Cookie, and fired at least 460 employees.

    The Post article also points out the rising influence of the Lucky publisher in the Newhouse family of publications. staff meeting leads to stat reveal

    There was this Tweet: just held a full staff meeting after three months in operation. We're a hit. Literally: 1.5 million unique visitors to our site

    which led to this: is averaging 170,000-180,000 average weekly unique visitors; 30,000-40,000 average daily unique visitors.
    which led to this: has more than 22,000 readers and growing subscribed to its daily e-mail newsletter.: "
    which led to this:
    Summary: has created a sustainable business model that is working.
    Meanwhile, Michigan media again goes under the microscope, this time at Convergence and Society: The Changing Media Landscape (#cconf09) Doug Fisher writes more about this panel and others.


    Class party: Words expensive to buy

    Amazing. A Michigan writer is learning that his words may be too costly to buy. The New York Times would charge Joel Thurtell more for reprint rights then it paid him to write a story. Details in Class party

    November 5, 2009

    Columnist: moving into top lists

    The progress of, the central home for Michigan newspapers affiliated with Advance Publications, climbing the charts is part of a column on The changing face of news media

    Candace Beeke, editor of the Business Review West Michigan, shares that reaches "1.77 million unique users per month — making it the largest news site in the state."

    She also writes that "the Web site is now in the top 30 for newspaper sites in the country, according to Neislen's Internet ratings."

    Oh, and she's looking for feedback on's new look, how people use online news and how your news preference is changing.

    Oregonian editor: Not enough taking buyout; 70 must go

     A memo from Sandy Rowe, editor of the Oregonian, warns that not enough employees have signed up for a buyout from the Advance Publications newspaper.

    Williamette Week published the memo under the headline Layoffs Are "Inevitable"

    Rowe says 70 positions need to be eliminated but "only 25 full-time staffers and 6 part-time have either accepted the buyout offer or have indicated to us they are going to sign the paperwork" by the Nov. 9 deadline.

    Among those going is the person behind the Portland Arts Watch, who posted "The first words of a long good-bye" online.

    The Oregonian newsroom is rearranging its structure
    to cope with new staffing levels and news requirements.

    Other Advance Publications employees weighing buyout offers include those at the Star-Ledger (50 must go), Staten Island Advance (40 must go) and Times-Picayune.

    Another Newhouse newspaper says 40 must go

    The 'Staten Island Advance' offers a buyout and warns layoffs coming if 40 employees at the New York newspaper don't accept the offer by Dec. 21.

    The offer includes
    two weeks' pay for every year of service up to six months of salary, along with medical coverage.

    The Staten Island Advance is part of Advance Publications.

    New blog (to me) leads to inspiring story, inspiring site

    Gosh, Google Reader figured out I might be interested in blogs about multiple sclerosis. Not sure if it is because I've already subscribed to so many or the words in my blog. So over on MS News Updates: I learn about a new web site using storytelling and also a story about using adaptive devices.

    makers of Rebif and Cladribine and behind MSLifelines, an online support group/website with nifty journals, symptom trackers and information, now is using storytelling by 5 people diagnosed with MS in the 2000 to distribute information and tips. The best part - the company is paying the five bloggers - to be a part of How I Fight MS.

    MSLifelines has featured stories before, so what's different here is that there is ongoing storytelling by the individuals.

    Also shared on the site was an article about a woman with MS who leads city tours for government officials via wheelchairs. The Star Ledger’s Oct 15th Middlesex County Newswrites about Jackie Jackson and her learn by doing tours.

    November 3, 2009

    Save journalism? Or save democracy?

    Bill Mitchell of Poynter shares some of the conversation from last month's Community Conversation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Four things people miss about newspapers and what can be done about it

    You've heard some of the people and conversations before. Mitchell sums it up:
    "Much of the discussion involved the role a newspaper plays in facilitating in-person discussion -- in homes as well as broader communities -- in ways that online news might not. Other gaps mentioned by the group included newspaper-as-common-document for the community, the story-telling form of a newspaper article and a popular re-use of newspaper delivery bags."
    Interesting conversation about what happens when newspapers stop "creating the space journalism occupies" and its effect on narrative commitments. Will it jar as black-and-white movies do for some teens?

    I've been wrestling with journalism and democracy, so the comeback to's We're here to save journalism added another round. Do we need journalism to save democracy?

    You can read an earlier update on the forum or look at the post to get an idea of what was to happen.

    Another Michigan publication switching publication plan

    Editor & Publisher says another Michigan newspaper will drop its Monday edition in 2010. The 'Huron Daily Tribune' will publish a Saturday newspaper to meet the customer's demand "for more timely coverage in print of important events, like local sports and breaking news from Friday evening." That quote is from Mark Aldam, senior vice president and group publisher for Hearst Newspapers.

    The Huron Daily Tribune also will move printing to its Midland production facility, which also prints the Midland Daily News.

    Moving on, moving up

    A former Flint Journal employee, Carol D. Rugg, will become vice president-communications at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in January.  She left the newspaper's lifestyle section in 1985.

    One year later: Journalist to lobbyist

    For 12 years, David Reinhard was an editorial columnist for The Oregonian. He's spent the last year getting surprised in his new job as a lobbyist. The former journalist talks about what he misses and what is different in his new role in The education of a Salem lobbyist

    If you believe the photo bylines and ignore the text byline, you can still read what Reinhard thought he was moving from and to in "And one more thing: David Reinhard says thankyou and goodbye."

    "I want to be part of a team that shares a common goal and commitment. I want to work with folks who share my basic values. I no longer want to be the odd man out."
    Or maybe the last one out of the newsroom?

    Technology 'ruins' night for political geeks - columnist

    Many Michigan ex-journalists will need to adjust to something different tonight - an election night without waiting for results, an election night without pizza, an election night outside the newsroom.

    Brad Flory of the Jackson Citizen Patriot, who is still collecting a paycheck from a Michigan news organization, mourns the way technology has changed coverage of voting results in Election nights aren't the party they used to be

    He calls the gathering and waiting of votes a "fairyland for political junkies." Check it out.

    November 2, 2009

    Out front: Do Birmingham publications suffer from a lack of diversity?

    Media of Birmingham uses a new landing page for the Birmingham News to ask Do Birmingham publications suffer from a lack of diversity?

    Two of the eight columnists featured are women, all are white.

    The post prompts comments asking if the columnists match the newspaper's and news site's audience?

    Birmingham News is an Advance Publications newspaper. Media of Birmingham is a networking group in Alabama.

    CEO: Newhouse business journals suffering cold

    Talking Biz Journal pulls some nice quotes out of Whitney Shaw in American City Business Journal CEO talks about the business of business news

    The 40 business journals are doing better then the Newhouse newspapers and magazines because of lean staffs, no printing presses and no debt, Shaw tells the Talking Biz Journal.

    Shaw also puzzles over why newspapers cut back on business coverage when the economy is such so important today, though says he's never studied if his publications benefited from that decision of newspapers.

    Interesting read - more on events, wooing of reporters and editors and more. Head over.

    October 27, 2009

    Oakland Press plays it right; picks up circulation from Detroit, Flint

    OK, no polish 'cause I am busy, busy, busy trying to translate some reports into one easy-to-read report and I have a deadline. But I can't ignore this:

    The Oakland Press took advantage of moves by its  competitors and ended up with more paying customers. In fact, its circulation gains of about 7% pushed the Michigan newspaper into an unusual spot: the third highest increase of all U.S. newspapers with a paid circulation of more than 50,000.

    Now, I do find it rather odd that the Oakland Press has an AP story about that achievement. But, maybe that's another indication of its focus on not trying to be everything to everybody.

    The Oakland Press continued delivering its newspapers seven days a week in its home market while the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News to the east and the Flint Journal to its north dropped home delivery to three days a week. Other changes in the market included elimination of some weekly newspapers by the Observer-Eccentric company and the replacement of the Ann Arbor News with

    The gains came as the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported Monday that average daily circulation dropped 10.6 percent in the April-September period from the same six-month span in 2008.

    The gains came after the Oakland Press cut its staff by 20%, started a citizens journalism program and relied on more free-lancers and bloggers to help cover the community.

    But, it was the continued daily newspaper delivery that is making a difference - if I had more time, I'd track down a few folks who shared on Facebook last week how they've started liking what's in the Oakland Press enough to drop their long-time subscriptions to the Detroit newspapers. (Yeah, I know it's public if it is out on Facebook but I usually get permission first so ....)

    I'd run across that while working on a post on the two executives from the Detroit Media Publication talking  about "What every newspaper can learn from Detroit's bold experiment" at the recent Southern Newspaper Publishers Association News Industry Summit. Paul Anger, editor and publisher of The Detroit Free Press, and Jonathan Wolman, editor and publisher of the Detroit News shared how the new model was developed and how it was impacting business. Now remember, this was a group of publishers so revenue was the focus and ideas included getting more of it from selling content, more print ads on  Mondays-Wednesdays and Saturdays and increasing online reenue. Oh yea, save costs. More later, perhaps.
      Meanwhile, back to the Oakland Press....

      Joe Strupp of the Editor and Publisher wrote:
      The Oakland (Mich.) Press, which saw a 7.26% increase to 68,067 daily from 63,458, attributed much of the upswing to former readers of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.

      "We aggressively pursued the business we knew would be available in Detroit," said Circulation Director John Lazzeri. "We put together a marketing campaign and threw all of our ammunition at the opportunity and as a result got a nice increase."
      The company, whose parent company recently came out of bankruptcy, doubled the number of places where you can buy a copy of newspaper and emphasized its daily home delivery to those in its base county.

      Crain's Detroit Business also reported that the Macomb Daily is benefiting from the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News decision to limit the number of days the newspapers are delivered  and increase its single-copy price.

      By the way, the Detroit newspapers are giving themselves more time to call its new model successful, according to several published reports. Although originally the goal was to have a positive cash flow by the end of this year, the new goal is by the end of 2010.

      Also, look for more reliance on readers to help finance the operations. Traditionally, newspaper revenue has been more reliant on advertising then circulation. But advertising is hard to come by in Michigan, still hit hard with the rippling effect of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford's economic woes.

      Some of that comes from Poynter Institute's Bill Mitchell who interviewed a number of Detroit Media Partnership execs to pull together numbers and explanations last week.    Numbers like readers will provide 40 percent of the news organization's revenue by Jan. 1, 2011 came from the former Detroit Free Press reporter (1972-92) Bill Mitchell.  

      A comment on his post led me to Post Advertising, a blog those explores what replaces the dead model of traditional advertising. Plus, Mitchell does a followup piece on the idea of readers providing more of the revenue.

      OK, back to this circulation piece again.

      On March 30, The Detroit Free Press and News went to home delivery for Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. On June 1, The Flint Journal, Bay City Times and Saginaw News went to the same three days.

      The Oakland Press and Flint Journal coverage areas once lapped in southern Genesee  County and northern Oakland County. But The Journal had started pulling in resources from that area even before its decision to limit the number of publication days.
      Editor and Publisher was told that the Oakland Press put out about 700,000 pieces to "let people know they have a choice."
      "No surprises," he added. "We saw it as an opportunity and took every advantage of it. We expected it to happen. There was no magic, just hard work and aggressive campaigning."

      October 26, 2009

      Anderson named publisher at The Oregonian

      N. Christian Anderson III, former publisher and CEO of The Orange County Register, has been named publisher of The Oregonian.

      The announcement was made today by Wesley Turner, President of Strategic Planning for Advance Publications, Inc., parent company of The Oregonian.

      I think it is classy that Advance waited until the week after Fred Stickel's community farewell to announce the appointment.

      More later.

      October 25, 2009

      Alliteration alert! Britta and Bill battle as 'The Bickersons' raising cash for Girl Scouts

      Alliteration alert! Britta and Bill battle as 'The Bickersons' to help Michigan Girl Scouts Shore to Shore raise funds through a program called That's Entertainment.

      Learn more about “The Bickersons,” an old-time, live-radio comedy sketch coming to life Oct. 29 in Grand Rapids.

      “That’s Entertainment” event is from 6-9 p.m. at the Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy Street SE, Grand Rapids.

      Bill Iddings, who writes Extra Iddings, and is doing the male role says "we’ll stand next to each other at microphones, and give each a hard time."

      That's because Girl Scouts throughout Michigan are having a hard time making budget at a time when many girls ages 5 to 17 could use the benefits of becoming leaders.

      October 24, 2009

      Michigan city to vote on moving legal notices out of newspapers

      Michigan city officials decided not to wait for more newspapers to switch publishing schemes before seeking an alternative to posting legal newspapers in print products.

      Voters in Trenton, Michigan, will vote Nov. 3 on a proposal to allow legal notices of meetings, zoning changes and other matters to go on the city web site or the city-operated cable channel instead of a newspaper.

      The News-Herald talked to a representative of the Michigan Press Association and city officials in a pre-election article.

      I suspect we'll see more elections like this. What I worry about is how well and often city websites will be updated.

      October 23, 2009

      Goodbye to All That [*updated, unfortunately]

      I meant to share this earlier, but by waiting we get an updated version from a writer in Oregon who is grateful there's a non-journalist/person interested in making a living without words we get more. Read Goodbye to All That [*updated, unfortunately]: "

      "And yet, I am wistful. I love being a journalist, a long-form journalist who goes off, sometimes for weeks, months, looking for and bringing back the stories."

      More then enough links, explaining and good writing to make a click worthwhile.

      Oregon reddit is different, better starting today | Idaho's Portugal - –

      Reddit changed and OregonLive has adapted its presentation and use of a tool that can highlight interesting links in/about Oregon. See Oregon reddit is different, better starting today It's in Idaho's Portugal over on

      (and hey, isn't Idaho's Portual, the title of a blog based in Oregon a wonderful description. There's even a link to why.)

      New York Observer explains "The Si Way'

      The New York Observer takes a long look at what changed in the Newhouse company to make magazines gold in the The Si Way |

      It's a decent big picture overview in light of the layoffs, closures and buyouts in Advance Publications, Advance Internet, Conde Nast and other entites under the Newhouse umbrella.

      October 22, 2009

      Update on Ann Arbor citizen journalism forum, workshop

      A commitment made months ago kept me away from the Citizen Journalism workshop in Ann Arbor but I found some coverage. First, Arbor Update had a post before the event and comments tell you about a low turnout.

      Shawn Smith, who taught (led?) a session,  shared a self-promo toolkit via a Tweet. 
      Read, Listen, Watch.
      Penolope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist
      Gary Vaynerchuk’s Keynotes
      Freelance Switch (+Podcast)
      Seth Godin
       Two Tweets from @TonyDearing:
      At Poynter forum on community news needs. Welcome to the world of traditional, social, partisan and passive news consumers.

      Among the ways the Fifth Estate differs: it sees opinion as more important and values crowd wisdom. put up a video showcasing Kelly McBride of Poynter Institute talking (see below)..

      Lost in clutter? Or a Renaissance woman?

      Am I filling my days with the crack of good writing scrapped from the Internet so that I don't have to face my own to-do lists or figure out the passion I should pursue aggressively in blogging? Did reading the wisdom of others replace racing through romantic novels or living in Cheers/ER/MASH?  Is all of this just a mask hiding what it is that I'm going to do tomorrow?

      Or is my collection of linking, reflecting, sharing something more valuable that I tarnish by refusing to focus or promote or ... Goodness, why haven't I bumped the link blog out of the blog space on any of my many domains since I know the value of an online reputation and an easy URL. Whose permission am I waiting for to move to the next level?

      Yes, I'm still thinking about Louis Gray's Why And Where We Share: Distributing Quality With Impact, Intent

      Perhaps it is the timeliness of his post while I'm still saturated with the new ways Girl Scouts: Leading with purpose. The Girl Scout saturation comes from reading through the two newest national documents, Volunteer Essentials and Troop Module, and my local council's adaptations, while working to create a two-hour introduction to Girl Scouts in southeastern Michigan. New lingo - check-in, group agreements, purposeful leadership, etc. - becomes engraved after leading the class five times in three weeks.

      It comes from being waist-deep in studying research to help the local council's board of directors decide what to do with its properties to further its purpose of developing courageous girls capable of leading with confidence today and tomorrow. What can we learn from the Ten Emerging Truths or the research that led to creating six pathways through Girl Scouts or other studies that will help others decide how to use buildings and grounds wisely, efficiently and respectfully.

      The hue is deepened as I try to finish pulling together first-five-meeting outlines for new Daisy, Brownie and Junior leaders by seeing what other councils and woman have pulled together, reviewing Volunteer Essentials and Troop Module, and reading again two sets of Journeys for each level. (Journeys are books/programs designed to deliver the richness of Girl Scouts in a fun, consistent way.)

      I come back time and time again to the desired outcome of Girls Scouts: leadership.  That's why we camped, sold cookies, made crafts, learned first aid and mastered other subjects years ago. We learned what was comfortable and uncomfortable, growing until we could share what we knew without thinking.

      Check out how many female elected officials or CEOs once were Girl Scouts, pulling in the values and skills of good leaders unknowingly. Then check how many sent their daughters into gymnastics, soccer and volleyball or after-school choir, cheerleading and confidence-building programs led by newer organizations.

      All of that is a reminder that if you don't know where you are going, nowhere is where you go. Or perhaps, the reminder is to stop putting the lit candle under a bushel basket.

      In my comment over on Gray's post on sharing, I thanked him for another explanation that is a thought-provoker. Days later, I see my comment as a plea to understand the randomness of what I share:
      "Even though you do share more then the "average" person, I think you could occasionally share some of your non-tech finds. A post that had exceptionally "good writing, reporting and quality" in your baseball, humor, politics or food entries might expand our horizons. If we are intrigued enough we can subscribe ourselves."
      Followed later by:
      And in that vein of honesty you inspire, I end up feeling so worried about my feed when I go off on a tangent - Girl Scouts, perhaps - I start new Twitter and Google Reader personalities.
       Maybe it is time for a new blog.