Archive for December, 2007

And they’re out of there — Part 2

December 31, 2007

Another version of the farewell edition of the Cincinnati Post, courtesy of a Gannett Blog reader.

Des Moines reporter: ‘Get outta our town!’

December 31, 2007

From the Des Moines Register‘s YouTube Iowa Caucus channel: This tongue-in-cheek tune was written as an alternate take on caucus frenzy. The paper’s Kyle Munson sought a local musician to produce the song. Jason Walsmith of Des Moines rock band, the Nadas, was game, and suggested a title and melody. The pair hashed out the lyrics. Singer-guitarist Walsmith performed the song in the middle of the Register‘s newsroom:

It’s official: GCI is No. 2 worst news stock of ’07

December 31, 2007

In a damning Wall Street referendum, Gannett shares just closed at $39, down 35% from a year ago, Google Finance says on this, the last trading day of 2007. The nation’s top newspaper publisher now holds the dubious distinction of having the year’s second-worst performing stock among major publishers I track. (McClatchy was the worst.)

The terrible year-end showing wasn’t a surprise. But here’s the bottom line: Wall Street’s growing disenchantment cost stockholders billions in equity. GCI’s falling share price was likely at least one factor in CEO Craig Dubow‘s decision to ratchet up job cuts in the year’s second half, when much of the loss in stock value occurred (see chart, above). And given current trends — i.e., no shift in Dubow’s thinking about breaking up Gannett — it’s hard to see GCI shares going anywhere but further down. That points to yet more job cuts in 2008 — something Dubow (above) already promised Wall Street media stock analysts in this statement after the UBS media conference on Dec. 5.

The complete 2007 stock performance rankings:

Note: I’m not including two of the better-performers from earlier in the year — Dow Jones & Co. and Tribune — because those shares no longer trade after both companies were sold earlier this month.

Compare the performance of the news stocks above to:

[Chart: Google Finance; Dubow photo, Gannett]

Reader: ‘Complete loss’ over Craig Dubow

December 31, 2007

From a comment just left on my post noting that Gannett’s shares finished 2007 down 35% — the second-worst performance among major newspaper publishers I track: “I am at a complete loss as to why, after the stock has taken such a dive in 2007, [CEO Craig] Dubow still has his job while hundreds around the company lost theirs. Just so sad. . .”

[Image: Flickr member WineVines]

And they’re outa there!

December 31, 2007

This is the best image I can find so far showing the farewell edition of the Cincinnati Post, which ended 126 years of publication early this afternoon. The loss of any newspaper is a tragedy.

For anyone wondering about the last main headline: “-30-” has been used to signal “the end” or “over and out” since the Civil War, Wikipedia says, when telegraphers tapped “XXX” to end transmissions. (Tellingly and alarmingly for an industry that can’t keep up with new media, I found this photo on Flickr member ctrent’spage. I couldn’t find it on the websites of the Post or the Cincinnati Enquirier.)

Hot Off the Press: Statesman Journal

December 31, 2007

This is today’s Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore.; click on the image for a bigger view. Newspapers have published lists of the year’s top 10 news stories virtually since Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type printing — and I saw plenty when I scanned Gannett front pages this morning. I’m surprised Statesman Journal editors didn’t include in print a link to an online poll asking readers for their top news picks of 2007. (Of course, the paper may have done that earlier. But then why not reflect that somewhere today?) In any case, the Journal went with The Associated Press’s list, which ranked as No. 1 the Virginia Tech massacre in April that left 32 people dead.

And speaking of Virginia Tech: When I searched the Journal‘s website for stories related to that campus tragedy, the paper served up some tasteless text advertisements (see screen shot, below). First off, the ad is misleading; these are Tiffany-style lamps — not originals. And why stop with lamps? Why not serve up some funeral home ads, too?

Statesman Journal staffers: I’m always looking for correspondents. Use this link to e-mail your contact information. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the sidebar, upper right. Or leave a note in the comments section, below.

The Journal at a glance:

  • Publisher: Brian Priester
  • Executive Editor: Bill Church
  • Founded: 1851
  • Joined Gannett: 1974
  • Employees: 415

[Image: Newseum]

A moment of silence, please, for the Cincy Post

December 31, 2007

It’s a miserable day when a newspaper goes out of business. But that’s what’s happening this afternoon in Cincinnati, leaving a dwindling number of U.S. cities with more than one paper. The Cincinnati Post, in a joint operating agreement with The Cincinnati Enquirier, publishes its last edition as it falls victim to forces that killed off scores of other afternoon papers. Owner E.W. Scripps “explored ways to continue publishing — as a free daily, as a website or with a new business partner,” The New York Times says today, “but decided in July to shut both the Cincinnati and Kentucky versions of the paper, which had suffered a combined circulation decline to 27,000 from a peak of 275,000 in 1961.”

With the Post ending its 126-year run, fewer than 10 cities will have two or more daily newspapers. In Detroit, Gannett publishes the Detroit Free Press in a JOA with MediaNews Group‘s Detroit News.

Department of This Really Sucks: The Post‘s 52 employees were given severance packages, but only one was offered another job within Scripps, the NYT says.

[Image, this morning’s Free Press, Newseum]

Monday Recap: Pink slips, and robots

December 31, 2007

Gannett Blog posts you may have missed last week:

Is there a NYT-Bloomberg merger in the future?

December 30, 2007

That’s the “pure conjecture” offered by Wall Street Journal outgoing Managing Editor Paul Steiger in a Page One story tracing how newspapers got in the jam they’re in — and how they might get out. Steiger mentions the entrepreneurs who’ve just taken over two big media companies — Rupert Murdoch at WSJ parent Dow Jones & Co., and Sam Zell at Tribune Co. Then Steiger wonders whether another entrepreneur might come to the rescue of the New York Times Co.

“Assuming that New York Mayor and Bloomberg LP owner Mike Bloomberg isn’t U.S. president-elect a year from now,” Steiger wrote yesterday, “would he and Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. consider putting their two enterprises together?”

That would leave only Gannett among major newspaper publishers without a publicly stated exit strategy for its unhappy shareholders. Of course, that begs the question: Who would Gannett turn to? Steiger doesn’t address that question; indeed, his story never mentions GCI once.

[Image: this morning’s Times, Newseum]

Hot Off the Press: Florida Today

December 30, 2007

This is this morning’s Florida Today; click on the image for a bigger view. The paper’s executive editor, Terry Eberle, tied for Editor of the Year in the Best of Gannett awards this year. That catapulted him and Today into that Gannett fishbowl where rival GCI editors watch (sometimes hopefully) for signs of a screw-up. (This reminds me: When editors get together in the bar at the Ritz-Carlton at Tysons Corner, do they wear all their President’s Rings — or just the most recent one?)

Eberle wrote not long ago about how new technologies like text-messaging are shaping decisions by editors to publish once-verboten stories — like news about bomb threats at public schools.

Florida Today at a glance:

  • Publisher: Mark Mikolajczyk
  • Executive Editor: Terry Eberle
  • Founded: 1966 (by Gannett’s Cape Publications)
  • Employees: 600

Florida Today staffers: I’m always looking for correspondents. Use this link to e-mail your contact information. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the sidebar, upper right. Or leave a note in the comments section, below.

[Image: Newseum]