The backstory on native advertising


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    By Steven Waldman Back in antiquity (five years ago), when I ran a popular Web 1.0 content site called Beliefnet, we used to cockily predict to investors that our advertising rates were going to rise every year. We knew this because the prestigious market researchers told us so. And their logic seemed flawless: More and more ad dollars were going to shift online,...

The NYT’s new paywall products flounder


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    By Ryan Chittum The New York Times' expanded paywall offerings are off to a poor start, and its three-year run of higher circulation revenue may be at an end. The Times' digital-subscription strategy has been a huge success since it launched in March 2011, tallying 799,000 subscribers by the end of last month. But the high growth rates for the $195-a-year product, which...

Bloomberg struggles to break out of the box


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    By Dean Starkman When Justin Smith arrived from The Atlantic to last fall to take over the sprawling media group at Bloomberg LP, the move was greeted by hosannas in the media and journalism circles. Here was the young, digitally savvy executive credited with playing a crucial role in pulling a 156-year-old monthly from the brink of extinction coming to an...

How Forbes got to $475 million


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    By Ryan Chittum Integrated Whale Media Investments of Hong Kong is now the majority owner of Forbes Media, valuing the company at a whopping $475 million.  What the buyers get is a dwindling print magazine, digital growth, and the Forbes brand, which has been seriously diluted in the last four years. It's hard to imagine an American investor paying half...

Murdoch moves on Time Warner


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    By Ryan Chittum Seven years ago, when Rupert Murdoch stunned the media world by bidding for The Wall Street Journal, its parent company turned him down flat. Investors didn't buy the rejection, and Dow Jones stocks jumped immediately to just under Murdoch's unsolicited $60-a-share bid. Three months later, the Bancroft family signed over the company, and the rest is...

A $52 million loss, but a good year for The Guardian


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    By Ryan Chittum It's quite something to note that a company that lost $52 million last year had a very good year. But so it is with The Guardian, which is unique among major news organizations because it's effectively a trust-fund paper—owned by a company whose sole objective is not to make shareholders happy but to make sure The Guardian operates in perpetuity....

A Fourth of July inflation bugaboo


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    By Ryan Chittum The press loves itself a good story about rising prices, particularly if it's about the cost of food going up. We see this just about every year with the flurry of stories based on an annual farm bureau press release that tallies up the cost of Thanksgiving dinner. When it's up big, it's evidence of impending hyperinflation...

The Loomis era


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    By Dean Starkman Carol Loomis' extraordinary career is being celebrated around the media world on word of her retirement after 60 (that's six-oh) years at Fortune. As many, including the magazine's managing editor, Andrew Serwer, have noted, people just don't work at the same place for that long, or even a sixth that long, very much anymore. Her career, starting in...

The Journal’s BNP Paribas ‘blunder’


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    By Ryan Chittum Was BNP Paribas's $8.9 billion settlement with the Justice Department caused by a long-running criminal conspiracy or was it just a boo-boo? The Wall Street Journal implies it was the latter in a confusing page-one story headlined "Big Bank's $9 Billion Blunder." From 2002 to 2012, the French banking giant laundered hundreds of billions of dollars for Iran, Sudan,...

Rupert Murdoch and News Corp.’s woes will continue


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    By Ryan Chittum Rupert Murdoch has known since sometime last year that he is a suspect in the investigations probing the systemic corruption at his British tabloids. Which is why the $18 million he paid Rebekah Brooks when she resigned in disgrace from News Corp. and the tens of millions of dollars more he poured into her legal defense may be the...

A reply to Clay Shirky


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    By Ryan Chittum NYU's Clay Shirky calls Ken Doctor and me shills and nostalgists for our respective coverage of Aaron Kushner's investment in The Orange County Register, and goes on to write that the "toxic runoff from CJR and Nieman's form of unpaid PR is poisoning the minds of 19-year-olds." Young journalism students are still concerned about print's future, Shirky writes, because...

A reply to Clay Shirky


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    By Ryan Chittum NYU's Clay Shirky calls Ken Doctor and me shills and nostalgists for our respective coverage of Aaron Kushner's investment in The Orange County Register, and goes on to write that the "toxic runoff from CJR and Nieman's form of unpaid PR is poisoning the minds of 19-year-olds." Young journalism students are still concerned about print's future, Shirky...

A rockstar of the paywall set


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    By Dean Starkman LONDON—The New York Times' efforts to adapt to the digital age gets all the attention, for better and for worse. But actually, the most successful English-language news organization in navigating the transition from a print-centered to a digitally oriented operation is the Financial Times, the UK-based business paper. And if there's a man behind the curtain, it would...

Why the Orange County Register’s bold experiment hit the skids


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    By Ryan Chittum Aaron Kushner's massive investment in The Orange County Register—one I argued a year ago was "the most interesting--and important--experiment in journalism right now"—has gone all pear-shaped. The Register is laying off or buying out up to 100 journalists from its massively expanded newsroom and reducing page counts by a quarter, "to align our cost structure with what we...

In Eastern Ukraine, one journalist turns on another

    By Maxim Eristavi Paul Ronzheimer has covered the violent protests in Tahrir Square, Istanbul's Taksim Square last year, and the worst of the Maidan massacres.  But the most dangerous assignment of all, he says, was Eastern Ukraine—especially after Dmitriy Steshyn, a reporter for the Russian daily, Komsomolskaya Pravda, wrote a Facebook post accusing him of "spreading lies" and publicly called...

Market power and the media baron


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    By Ryan Chittum No one should be surprised that Amazon is employing anticompetitive tactics in its negotiations with the book publisher Hachette. As Brad Stone shows in his definitive history The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, that's just how Amazon does business, particularly as it has grown in size and importance. As it happens, Amazon's founder, chief...

The New York Times can’t abandon print—yet


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    By Ryan Chittum Everyone in the news business feels a sense of urgency these days, as well they should.  But there's urgency, and then there's panic. The Times' innovation report, which made a splash when it was leaked during the controversy surrounding Jill Abramson ouster, at times overstates the precariousness of the Times' digital position and smacks of the latter....

Management isn’t journalism’s strong suit


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    By Ryan Chittum Newsrooms have long hired and promoted based on journalistic chops, and often that alone. The problem, of course, is what makes for a great reporter doesn't necessarily make for a great boss. In all the to-and-fro about why The New York Times fired Jill Abramson no one questioned her journalistic ability. Her management style was said to be the issue,...

Management isn’t journalism’s strong suit


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    By Ryan Chittum Newsrooms have long hired and promoted based on journalistic chops, and often that alone. The problem, of course, is what makes for a great reporter doesn't necessarily make for a great boss. In all the to-and-fro about why The New York Times fired Jill Abramson no one questioned her journalistic ability. Her management style was said to be the issue,...

Reader revenue and the great newspaper ad bubble


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    By Ryan Chittum Newspaper advertising will almost surely fall to the lowest level on record this year, as ads continue to migrate to the Web. Meanwhile, reader revenue--subscriptions and newsstand sales--is the industry's rare bright spot, with circulation sales rising the last two years thanks to digital-subscription packages. Even before the paywall movement took hold three years ago, circulation revenue was fairly...