Archive for December, 2006

GCI backs off in Indianapolis over advertorials

December 29, 2006

The Indianapolis Star and the Newspaper Guild-CWA had been battling over the company’s request that newsroom staffers write advertorial copy.

The Indianapolis Business Journal says the stalemate ended Dec. 20 “when management conceded that, for the immediate future, editorial staffers would not be required to write ad copy. But management refused to rule out eventually raising the issue again.”

Here’s what grabbed the attention of Gannett Blog in the Journal story: “Asking news employees to write ad copy is a new move by Gannett. It’s unclear how many of Gannett’s more than 90 daily newspapers might be considering a similar initiative.”

Any Gannett Blog readers have an answer?

Notes from the trenches

December 20, 2006

Fascinating debate here on a photographers’ forum about the new Information Centers.

GCI said still in Tribune ‘hunt’

December 16, 2006

The Chicago Tribune reports that GCI, “the only newspaper industry rival to have so far put in a preliminary bid for the assets of Tribune Co., remained in the hunt on Friday.”

The newspaper, citing “sources close to the matter” that it did not identify, said GCI representatives visited Chicago for a second round of due-diligence presentations by Tribune executives. “It specifically sought information on the Los Angeles Times and Newsday, Tribune’s paper in New York, these sources said,” according to the Tribune report.

Papers to shrink, audience to grow older

December 13, 2006

The Poynter Institute’s Rick Edmonds offers a detail about the Information Centers that I haven’t seen before.

“As the information-center program matures, the print paper will become smaller, and will be targeted at a 45-year-old-plus audience that is typically middle- and upper-income with post-high school education,” he writes.

Of course, that’s been happening for years — which is why the Information Center initiative is so crucial.

Edmonds write after the recent Wall Street media conference, where GCI was a participant.

File this under ‘never mind’

December 11, 2006

GCI today denied that it plans to sell Newsquest, according to this Reuters story and this company statement.

I don’t see any equivocation in the GCI statement — nothing about “no plans at this time” to sell — so I tend to believe Newsquest isn’t going anywhere soon.

Report: Gannett may sell Newsquest

December 11, 2006

Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper says GCI is set to review Newsquest, a move that could lead to its disposal for up to $2.9 billion, this Reuters story says.

MarketWatch has a few more details, saying “Credit Suisse is expected to advise the American company on a review.”

It will be interesting to see how Wall Street reacts when it gets its first chance Monday morning.

Tearing down the ‘Chinese wall’

December 4, 2006

The Washington Post today writes about Gannett’s new seven-desk newsroom initiative through the experience of the Fort Myers News-Press. This is a story I expect will generate a lot of comment.

It’s this passage, about breaching the traditional Chinese wall separating news and advertising, that will likely generate the most chatter: “Next spring, the paper plans to run a large story on a topic it would not identify. It did, however, say that the reporter on the article will accompany News-Press ad salespeople on trips to advertisers as the paper seeks a sponsor for the article. The logic: The reporter understands the project and can explain it best to potential advertisers. Though the reporter will be in sales meetings, he or she will not be part of the sales pitch. Nevertheless, the practice violates one of journalism’s fundamentals — maintaining a leakproof wall between the news and business sides of a newspaper.”