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