Journalistic Practice

At Sam Zell's Tribune, tales of a bankrupt culture

David Carr, New York Times

In January 2008, soon after the venerable Tribune Company was sold for $8.2 billion, Randy Michaels, a new top executive, ran into several other senior colleagues at the InterContinental Hotel next to the Tribune Tower in Chicago.

Mr. Michaels, a former radio executive and disc jockey, had been handpicked by Sam Zell, a billionaire who was the new controlling shareholder, to run much of the media company’s vast collection of properties, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, WGN America and The Chicago Cubs.

After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. The group sat dumbfounded.

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Another mag leaves the shelves - Heeb Magazine goes web-only

Eric Kohn, Wall Street Journal

This morning, “Heeb” publisher and editor-in-chief Josh Neuman announced on the magazine’s website that the snarky Jewish publication has ceased production of its print edition. This should come as no surprise to anyone following the slow demise of print media around the world, but longtime Heeb readers will still take note of the shift as a bittersweet moment. Since 2001, the magazine has constantly challenged modern notions of American Jewry with a savage wit and an appetite for controversy, which it satisfied in nearly issue. As a cultural statement, Heeb managed to be both profound and profoundly lowbrow — “Mad” magazine with more circumcision jokes.

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Philadelphia newspapers sold to lenders

Christopher K. Hepp and Harold Brubaker , Phladelphia Inquirer

Brian P. Tierney, CEO of Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C., announced Wednesday afternoon that the company that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and has been sold to its senior lenders.

The $139 million deal includes a $39.2 million in debt and $69 million in cash equity, plus the value of the company's real estate, estimated at $30 million for the purposes of the bankruptcy auction.

"Brian Tierney was extremely gracious in defeat. He pledged his support for a smooth transition. The senior lenders were very grateful," said Ben Logan, a lawyer for the committee of unsecured creditors.

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Police seize photos from student newspaper in Virginia

Jordan Fifer, , Roanoke Times

ROANOKE, VA - At least half a dozen police officers and the Rockingham County commonwealth's attorney raided the offices of James Madison University's student newspaper Friday, confiscating hundreds of photos of an off-campus riot last weekend, the paper's editor said.

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Independent media feel the 'heat on the street' in Vancouver

Dave Zirin, National Public Radio

As Canadian officials react to increasing public opposition to cost overruns and local impacts of the Vancouver Olympics, the independent media seems to be paying the price. Just as Democracy Now's Amy Goodman was held in November for trying to cross the border for reasons that had nothing to do with the Olympic Games, Martin Macias, an independent media reporter from Chicago, was detained and held for seven hours by Canada Border Services agents before being put on a plane and sent to Seattle. Macias, who is 20 years old, is a media reform activist with community radio station Radio Arte where he serves as the host/producer of First Voice, a radio news zine. Macias described a chilling scene of detention and expulsion. "I was asked the same questions for three and a half hours in a small room. They told me I had no right to a lawyer. I went from frustrated and angry to scared. I didn't know what the laws were or how the laws had been changed for the Olympics...why the crackdown?"

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Seattle journalist launches Olympia Newswire to cover legislature

Rosette Royale, Real Change News

Olympia Newswire launches this week. Join its Facebook fan page for updates.

This week, when Washington State legislators start work on the first day of the State’s legislative session, a new group of journalists will be there covering the news. Newly launched by independent journalist Trevor Griffey, Olympia Newswire is an independent, non-profit news collective, whose small staff of experienced reporters will push back against a steady erosion of the Olympia press corps.

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Doing journalism in 2010 is an act of community organizing

Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review

Nothing frustrates me more than watching journalists who've lost their newsroom jobs entering the blogosphere... with no clue as to what they should be doing online. Too few emerging online journalists understand that the function of news publishing has changed in the Internet era. Simply reporting the news, however you might define that, is no longer enough, not when you are publishing in such a competitive environment. The journalists who succeed online are the ones who understand that they are no longer simply reporters... they've become community organizers.

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Amy Goodman and Canada's Olympic paranoia

Dave Zirin, Huffington Post

When it comes to independent, agitational journalism, the standard is Amy Goodman and her radio/television institution, Democracy Now! Goodman and her staff often finds themselves accosted by officials, foreign and domestic. This happened again on Thursday. But it didn't happen in East Timor or Burma. Goodman was detained by our neighbors to the north.

Canadian border officials held Goodman in Vancouver for 90 minutes when she attempted to enter Vancouver to attend events launching her new book, Breaking the Sound Barrier. But the Canadian Border team didn't care what she was there to do. They wanted to know what she was going to say. They demanded to see her computer and notebook. They searched her car. They returned her passport with papers demanding she leave the country within 48 hours.

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Philippines now seen as most dangerous place for journalists

Alcuin Papa, Philippine Daily Inquirer

With the deaths of at least 12 journalists in Monday’s massacre in Maguindanao, the Philippines has earned the dubious distinction as the world’s most dangerous place for journalists to work, according to an international media watchdog.

In a statement on its website, the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said the country effectively supplanted Iraq, where an armed conflict has been raging, as the most dangerous place for journalists.

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Gay and lesbian newspaper shut down

Kristi E. Swartz, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Washington Blade, Southern Voice and a handful of other gay publications natiowide have closed their doors after a long-time financial battle to stay afloat.

The publishers closed the papers over the weekend, the newspaper's editor, Laura Douglas Brown, confirmed to the AJC on Monday.Employees arrived at the newspaper's offices off of Briarcliff Road early Monday to find a door locked and a sign posted on the front:

"It is with great regret that we must inform you that effective immediately, the operations of Window Media LLC and Unite Media LLC have closed down."


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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey