Newsonomics: In the Consolidation Games, enter the bankers


This post is by Ken Doctor from Nieman Lab


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The bankers are now hired. Is the early 2019 newspaper chain M&A face-off now getting serious? It’s reminiscent of an earlier brand of warfare. Newspaper chains — all cutting desperately, each facing a shortening deadline to make a “digital transition” — line up their dealmaking armies, swords sharpened if not yet crossed. Gannett, having rejected the hostile takeover bid of Alden Global Capital, has decided to hire Goldman Sachs to advise it on the next rounds of dealmaking, I’ve learned. Goldman participated in Thursday’s Gannett/Alden meeting, alongside Greenhill, its ongoing deal-advising firm. As that meeting happened, Alden, with its banker Moelis, filed an alternative slate of directors for election at Gannett’s upcoming annual meeting. That action, though, is just another uncertain indicator of whether it’s Alden’s true intent to acquire Gannett, a number of insiders have told me. As Bloomberg’s Brooke Sutherland summed up well in her lede on
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CNN’s Stelter Grills Jill Abramson Over Plagiarism: ‘That’s Word for Word Stealing Other Peoples’ Work’


This post is by Aidan McLaughlin from Mediaite


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CNN’s Brian Stelter interrogated former New York Times editor Jill Abramson on her book Merchants of Truth, making for a stunning interview in which the two sparred over the allegations of plagiarism made against her. “Wouldn’t these examples meet the Times definition of plagiarism?” Stelter asked on Reliable Sources, after noting that he worked with Abramson when he was a media reporter at the Times. “It would meet the Times definition of things that should be promptly corrected,” Abramson replied. “And sometimes, you know, a quote isn’t attributed correctly in the newspaper and that’s corrected. That’s what I have endeavored to do here.” “I would never purposefully take credit for the work of another journalist or writer,” she continued, arguing she simply missed out on attributing “a few” passages in the footnotes. “But even if I include a footnote, I still can’t steal their words, word Continue reading "CNN’s Stelter Grills Jill Abramson Over Plagiarism: ‘That’s Word for Word Stealing Other Peoples’ Work’"

The New York Times is getting close to becoming a majority-digital company


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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The dream for any newspaper seeking to last longer than print itself is to transition its business model into digital. The New York Times is almost there. The Times announced its fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financials this morning, and there’s a lot of good news. (One quick heuristic I like to run with newspaper company earnings reports is searching the press release to see the ratio of “digital” mentions to “print” mentions. Today: 40 to 17.) The most important: The Times generated $709 million in digital revenue in 2018, putting it ahead of the ambitious goal it set out back in 2015 to hit $800 million in digital revenue by 2020. They’ll make that with little trouble — barring economic collapse, civil war, and so on. Flush with confidence, Times CEO Mark Thompson laid out a new goal: “to grow our subscription business to more than 10 million subscriptions
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NY Times Torches Facebook With Brutal Anniversary Video: ‘Here’s to Another 15 Years of Privacy Invasion…’


This post is by Caleb Ecarma from Mediaite


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To celebrate Facebook turning one and a half decades old, the New York Times opinion section released a critical video highlighting the platform’s long history of major PR nightmares. The video, which was edited to look like a typical pre-made Facebook birthday video highlighting one’s interactions with a “friend” on the platform, warned that the continuation of the social media site could lead to more “violence,” “revenge porn,” and “disinformation.” “Hey Mark [Zuckerberg], 15 years ago, you invented Facebook,” the video script read — accompanied by an upbeat soundtrack. “You know after your website for ranking students on their looks was shut down. From then to now, leaving Facebook in droves. 2.2 billion people together. So what Continue reading "NY Times Torches Facebook With Brutal Anniversary Video: ‘Here’s to Another 15 Years of Privacy Invasion…’"

Newsonomics: The 2019 newspaper consolidation games continue


This post is by Ken Doctor from Nieman Lab


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Alden’s going to snatch Gannett! No, Gannett’s going to turn the tables and buy Alden’s Digital First Media! But wait, Gannett will reject Alden — is that a real offer? — and turn its attention to merging with Tribune! No, Tribune — having dispatched its CEO Justin Dearborn to clear the way for a deal — will buy Gannett, or accept the kind-of offer from Gannett to buy it, which it rejected last year? But, then, there’s McClatchy in the wings, having been spurned by Tribune at the holidays and now angling for a new deal with Tribune, or Gannett, or maybe someone else! So go the fortunes of four of the six largest U.S. daily newspaper companies. The journalists’ Twitter is alight with Game of Thrones metaphors, but I think that’s misplaced. The action seems more Bravo-esque. Or, more prosaically, as one newspaper company exec told me Continue reading "Newsonomics: The 2019 newspaper consolidation games continue"

Trump Takes Credit for the Term ‘Fake News’; Feels No Responsibility for Fallout


This post is by Ken Meyer from Mediaite


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In Donald Trump‘s extensive interview with New York Times, the president boasted about how he supposedly invented the term, all while dismissing the idea that his anti-media rhetoric has authoritarian connotations taking root around the world. Trump made a lot of news when he spoke to Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker, denying he ever spoke to Roger Stone about WikiLeaks while he also suggesting he’ll declare a national emergency to get the funding for his border wall. Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger was also involved in the interview, and his questions focused on Trump’s attacks on the press and how they’ve been emulated by oppressive foreign governments. From the Times.
“I do notice that people are declaring more and more fake news, where they go, ‘Fake news!’” Trump said. “I even see it in other countries. I don’t necessarily attribute that to me. I think I Continue reading "Trump Takes Credit for the Term ‘Fake News’; Feels No Responsibility for Fallout"

Trump Repeatedly Says Giuliani Botched Trump Tower Moscow Comments: ‘Rudy Has Been Wrong’


This post is by Colby Hall from Mediaite


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President Donald Trump created some distance between himself and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in an Oval Office interview he provided the New York Times published Thursday night. The wide-ranging interview covered many topics currently in the news: U.S. foreign policy, the current political stalemate over border security and even his potential political rivals vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. He also spoke at length about the Trump Tower Moscow project which came to light during the legal proceedings of former Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen. During his run for the presidency and early in this current term in the White House, Trump denied any business dealings with Russia as a means to push back allegations that his campaign may have colluded with the country to help win the presidency. As it turns out, he had signed a letter of intent to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow, which Continue reading "Trump Repeatedly Says Giuliani Botched Trump Tower Moscow Comments: ‘Rudy Has Been Wrong’"

Rep. Ilhan Omar Was ‘Sincerely Befuddled’ On Israeli Foreign Policy in Rare Admission of Being Underinfomed


This post is by Pardes Seleh from Mediaite


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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) apologized online for saying “Israel has hypnotized the world” to commit “evil,” adding she did not realize her sentiments would be offensive to Jews. “In all sincerity, it was after my CNN interview that I heard from Jewish orgs. that my use of the word ‘Hypnotize’ and the ugly sentiment it holds was offensive,” the Democratic Congresswoman tweeted early Tuesday morning, agreeing with New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss, who had speculated earlier that “perhaps Ms. Omar is sincerely befuddled and not simply deflecting” with her comments about Israel.

The New York Times politics editor is building trust by tweeting context around political stories


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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You can guess the kinds of complaints The New York Times gets about its political coverage. It’s too biased, too liberal. Too much coverage of the horserace, not enough coverage of the issues. Too much “But her emails!” in 2016 and not enough Trump/Russia. Too much “Racists: They’re just like us.” With a new personal Twitter project, Patrick Healy — the Times’ politics editor and previously a reporter covering the 2004, 2008, and 2016 campaigns — is trying to address some of those concerns by giving people a view into the paper’s decision-making process. Healy “wanted to start engaging with readers about our intentions behind our stories,” he told me, in the hopes that more transparency — about why stories are chosen, why they’re framed a certain way, and what kinds of conversations go on between reporters and editors behind the scenes — can shore up trust in Continue reading "The New York Times politics editor is building trust by tweeting context around political stories"

Newsonomics: Let the 2019 Consolidation Games begin! First up: Alden seeks to swallow Gannett


This post is by Ken Doctor from Nieman Lab


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Alden Global Capital, the most reviled newspaper owner in the business, now wants to buy Gannett, the United States’ largest daily newspaper company. As reported Sunday evening by The Wall Street Journal — and then confirmed via early Monday morning press release — Alden, through its Digital First Media/MNG Enterprise ownership, has offered a 23 percent premium for Gannett. Alden apparently told reporters it had been in recent contact with Gannett about the offer. But later on Sunday night, Gannett’s USA Today told a different tale, with a company source saying “there has been no communication regarding a proposal to the company.” But this morning, an updated version of the story acknowledged Gannett had “officially received an unsolicited proposal to acquire the company.” This may be the first newspaper mergers-and-acquisitions story of 2019, but it definitely won’t be the last. Consolidation (and the cost-cutting that comes with Continue reading "Newsonomics: Let the 2019 Consolidation Games begin! First up: Alden seeks to swallow Gannett"

NYT’s Maureen Dowd Spanks ‘World’s Brattiest 72-Year-Old’ Trump in Scathing Op-Ed


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd did not hold back — at all — in her scathing rebuke of the “world’s brattiest 72-year-old” President Donald Trump. In her most recent op-ed published on Saturday, Dowd contrasts the upbringing of Rep. Nancy Pelosi to that of spoiled Trump. According to Dowd, while Pelosi’s family saw immigrants and those with little as people to uplift into the American dream, the Trump family saw them as “suckers to squeeze.” From the NYT op-ed:

According to The Times’s blockbuster tax investigation, Fred lavished Donald with three trust funds and $10,000 Christmas checks. When Donald was 8, he was already a millionaire, thanks to his tax-scamming father. Fred Trump was hauled before a congressional panel investigating whether he had looted government money through fraud. (One congressman said the patriarch’s chicanery made him “nauseous.”)

By the time Donald was 27, he Continue reading "NYT’s Maureen Dowd Spanks ‘World’s Brattiest 72-Year-Old’ Trump in Scathing Op-Ed"

Former NY Times Editor Jill Abramson Accuses Paper of Biased Coverage: ‘Unmistakably Anti-Trump’


This post is by Ken Meyer from Mediaite


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Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson is bashing the paper for, in her view, eschewing the traditional principles of journalism in favor of an “unmistakably anti-Trump” editorial direction. Fox News’ Howard Kurtz has published a review of “Merchants of Truth,” Abramson’s upcoming book about the business incentives driving the news industry. According to the MediaBuzz host, Abramson slammed her successor, Dean Baquet — saying he’s endangering the Times‘ credibility by boosting their readership by constantly catering to anti-Trump audiences. “Though Baquet said publicly he didn’t want the Times to be the opposition party, his news pages were unmistakably anti-Trump,” Abramson wrote. “Some headlines contained raw opinion, as did some of the stories that were labeled as news analysis.” While Abramson disapproves of Trump’s attacks on the media and says reporters should call him out whenever he says something blatantly false, she also thinks the Times and Continue reading "Former NY Times Editor Jill Abramson Accuses Paper of Biased Coverage: ‘Unmistakably Anti-Trump’"