Newsonomics: Now it’s Facebook that’s facing unwanted attention

Attention. Attention! The digital cognoscenti long ago figured out that consumers of “digital” services paid not in dollars but in attention. We laughed about the monetizing of eyeballs. We joked about the devilish bargain we’d made with “the platforms,” even as some conjectured that those platforms might become so big and powerful that few publishers or brands would maintain their own big expensive sites and apps. But now, as we see hatred and division multiply across North America and Europe, instigated by malicious use of the technology that was supposed to make us freer and better, we’re paying a different kind of attention. Late, but better than never. We, as consumers of news and information, have become increasingly uncomfortable with the unasked-for attention as every twitch and touch of our screens is captured. It was one thing to feel increasingly unsettled about how platforms gathered up our individual actions for Continue reading "Newsonomics: Now it’s Facebook that’s facing unwanted attention"

Newsonomics: Newsprint tariffs are a Black Swan event that could speed up the death of U.S. newspapers

People have been forecasting the “death of newspapers” for more than a decade now. They see a kettle of vultures amid the ever-darkening clouds of print advertising collapse, slowed digital advertising, and the difficulty of signing up new digital subscribers. Now the battle is heating up on Capitol Hill over tariffs that the Trump administration imposed on Canadian groundwood paper earlier this year. The tariffs increase the cost of newsprint by as much as 30 to 35 percent, though the impact on publishers is highly uneven, with some chains in better shape and the dwindling independents most at risk. The predictable impacts already in motion: more newsroom layoffs, thinner (and reshaped) print products, fewer Sunday preprints, and an overall further diminishing of the value proposition newspapers are offering their readers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will reduce its printing days from seven to five next month. The Nevada Appeal in Carson City, Continue reading "Newsonomics: Newsprint tariffs are a Black Swan event that could speed up the death of U.S. newspapers"

Newsonomics: Atlantic Media’s Quartz sale is as quirky and quartzy as the site itself

Give David Bradley new credit for publishing innovation. The Atlantic Media owner built his company into one of the country’s highest quality journalism companies, embracing the possibilities of digital far better than most of his peers. Over a couple of decades, he and his team assembled a group of high-performing B2C and B2B companies. Now, as he works to disassemble the group, characteristically, that process is breaking new ground too. Late Sunday night, Atlantic Media announced quite a non-traditional buyer for its six-year-old business news outlet Quartz. “Quartz is being sold to Uzabase, a Japanese business media company,” Quartz’s own headline put it, having to explain the non-household name. The company itself laid out the deal more grandly: “UZABASE Reaches Agreement To Acquire The Global Business News Outlet QUARTZ; Quartz to combine with Uzabase’s business news service, NewsPicks, to create leading global business media platform.” The deal — valued Continue reading "Newsonomics: Atlantic Media’s Quartz sale is as quirky and quartzy as the site itself"

Newsonomics: What’s next for the L.A. Times, and a few other questions of the moment for the news business

How do we respond to tragedy? That question is never far from the work of journalists, and Friday’s Annapolis Capital Gazette assault only made it more intimate, with journalists becoming one with the story they’ve covered time and again. Numerous journalists responded to the murder of five of their own by restating the truths of local journalism. The humorist Dave Barry (“Sorry, I’m not feeling funny today — my heart aches for slain journalists“) captured it as well as anyone:
There are over 1,000 daily newspapers in the United States, most of them covering smaller markets, like Annapolis or West Chester. The people working for these newspapers aren’t seeking fame, and they aren’t pushing political agendas. They’re covering the communities they live in — the city councils, the police and fire departments, the courts, the school boards, the Continue reading "Newsonomics: What’s next for the L.A. Times, and a few other questions of the moment for the news business"

Newsonomics: GateHouse’s Mike Reed talks about rolling up America’s news industry

The news shocked long-time newspaper observers two months ago: “Tampa Bay Times to be sold to GateHouse Media in $79M deal.” Had GateHouse devoured yet another storied publisher? No: It was a FloridaPolitics.com April Fool’s prank played out to a near-incredulous audience. Mike Reed, the CEO of the New Media Investment Group that runs GateHouse, spent much of his April 1 responding to the confusion among the company’s shareholders and employees. The news wasn’t real, but it was believable: GateHouse’s acquisition appetite has seemed insatiable. The company now owns more daily titles than any other U.S. publisher, or for that matter, any newspaper publisher anywhere. In total, it owns 146 dailies — more than 10 percent of the U.S. total. That total itself may amaze some, though it well could be doubled, creating the first real national roll-up of U.S. dailies. In fact, with Continue reading "Newsonomics: GateHouse’s Mike Reed talks about rolling up America’s news industry"

Newsonomics: GateHouse Media thinks services for small local businesses can help replace long-gone advertising

GateHouse Media claims to serve 219,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in its hundreds of markets. Like most of its newspaper chain peers, GateHouse expanded its ad selling to “marketing services” more than a half decade ago. Unlike those peers, the company now aims to move profoundly beyond selling ads. Mike Reed, CEO of GateHouse parent New Media Investment Group, lays out the strategy in our interview below. (Here’s my full, much longer interview with Reed.) He makes the case that America’s burgeoning base of 29 million smaller businesses — those with 20 or fewer employees — want a one-stop shop for help with everything from financing to IT to human resources. The company’s UpCurve division leads this new charge. For the first quarter, UpCurve generated $19.4 million in revenue, an increase of 36 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017. Yet it’s a small revenue — Continue reading "Newsonomics: GateHouse Media thinks services for small local businesses can help replace long-gone advertising"

Newsonomics: McCormick Media’s back in the Tronc game, as eyes turn to the TRNC ticker

Since Patrick Soon-Shiong has resolved his “transition issues” with Tronc and has finally taken formal ownership of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, many eyes turned toward the NASDAQ at market open today. Their focus: TRNC. What will happen to the price of Tronc shares as investors, a good number of speculators among them, assess the post-L.A. Times value of a major daily newspaper chain effectively halved in the deal? Current investors certainly have keen interest, but they are not only ones looking for signs of new valuation. Even as Tronc dispatches its California holdings, sources tell me that the company has been talking to potential acquirers of the nine other Tronc properties. Those properties include the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant and two big Florida properties in South Florida and Orlando. As I’ve reported, there’s impetus Continue reading "Newsonomics: McCormick Media’s back in the Tronc game, as eyes turn to the TRNC ticker"