Monday, October 10, 2005

Russia: Gaidamak takes over Moskovskiye Novosti

From the Moscow Times: "Moskovskiye Novosti, a flagship of the liberal press from the time of perestroika that is now suffering a deep editorial crisis, has an unexpected new owner. Arkady Gaidamak, a Moscow-born businessman with four passports and a controversial past - especially the arms-for-oil scandal in Angola -, confirmed to Ekho Moskvy radio late Friday that he had bought the weekly newspaper." And Gaidamak is rather close to the Kremlin palace: it means that a new newspaper is controlled by Putin's friends.. Just after he bought the newspaper, Gaidamak said to Kommersant that newspapers don't need to be against the government!

According to Moscow Times, "Moskovskiye Novosti had been owned by Ukrainian media magnate Vadim Rabinovich, who acquired it in July from Leonid Nevzlin, a core Menatep shareholder, who lives in Israel and is wanted in Russia on charges of fraud and tax evasion.

In March 2005, Moskovskiye Novosti descended into crisis after editor Yevgeny Kiselyov, a former television anchor appointed by Nevzlin, fired several prominent veteran journalists. Kiselyov left when Nevzlin sold the paper.

At the time, media industry observers speculated that Rabinovich had paid no more than $1 million for the paper, which also publishes an English edition, Moscow News...

... Since 2002, Gaidamak has lived in Moscow. In May of this year he was elected head of the Congress of Jewish Communities and Organizations, one of the three largest national Jewish organizations."

Source: Moscow Times

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 10, 2005 at 12:51 PM in j. Staff changes, o. Ethics and Press Freedom, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Los Angeles Times: how and why the editor was sacked

Editor & Publisher reveals that in the Oct.10 issue of The New Yorker, media writer Ken Auletta outlines how the newsroom/corporate -- and Los Angeles/Chicago -- conflicts led to the departure of John Carroll as editor of the Los Angeles Times this summer and cloud the future of the newspaper. In another paper, the Wall Street Journal asks: "Is Marilyn Monroe the answer to the hard times at the Los Angeles Times? After five years of sagging circulation and advertising, new managers at the Times are pushing for more coverage of Hollywood and celebrities."

Please find below some quotes from the Auletta's article:

“In Los Angeles,” he writes, Scott Smith, head of Tribune Co.’s publishing division, “is sometimes described as ‘an empty suit.’”

"Carroll's and Baquet (the successor of Carroll)’s drive to make the Times become a great national paper came at the expense of local coverage. Baquet tells Auletta, “We haven’t mastered making the paper feel like it is edited in Los Angeles.”

-- Times editors and reporters were outraged when Tribune did not offer public congratulations after the paper earned five Pulitzers in 2004, then did not send an exec to the awards cerermony.

- An unnamed senior editor describes the conflict between Chicago corporate and Times editors as ?a wrestling match,? with editors urged to adopt the latest ?management fad,? such as free youth papers that could be read on trains, when there are few trains in L.A.

- Carroll calls the current Times ?test case No. 1 of whether a newspaper chain can produce a first-rate newspaper. ... It may be that is simply structurally impossible.?

- Baquet wants to find new readers but does not commit to a youth spinoff, and does not endorse the new mantra about simply giving readers "what they want" as opposed to what editors think are important. "It's not always our job to give readers what they want," he declares."

WSJ reports that new managers at the Los Angeles Times plan to change the paper's reporting. They want more stories on celebrities and Hollywood, shorter stories, more regional reporting and more combination coverage linking the paper and its web site.

Sources: Editor & Publisher, the New Yorker and the and Wall Street Journal

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 4, 2005 at 06:27 PM in j. Staff changes, m. Improving editorial quality, p. Newsroom management, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rupert Murdoch returns to the New York Post

According to Reuters Rupert Murdoch will take the position as publisher at the New York Post, the oldest continuously published daily in the US (since 1801). Rupert Murdoch had this position already from 1976 to 1986. The move comes after his son Lachlan Murdoch resigned from his post at News Corp., which included being publisher of the New York Post, last week (see former postings here and here). According to Le Monde (in French) Rupert Murdoch's return is rather symbolic to reassure the staff who are facing severe competition from New York Daily News. James Murdoch, Rupert's sun No. 2,said on Wednesday that he will stay at his job at BSkyB, the satellite TV business, after "investors worried that, following the resignation of his brother Lachlan from News Corp, James would move to New York", reports .

Meanwhile the New York Times reports that Lachlan Murdoch will "receive a cash separation payment that could exceed $8 million." Lachlan Murdoch has been publisher of the New York Post for the last five years, "but failed to stop it from hemorrhaging a reported $70 million a year", writes concurrent New York Daily. However, circulation went up 40% while he was publisher reports Le Monde. As stated by Smartmoney Lachlan will become a company consultant: "Lachlan will advise and consult with News Corp. for a two-year period beginning on the date of resignation, or Aug. 31".

Sources: Reuters, Le Monde (in French), New York Times , New York Daily,, Smartmoney

Posted by Anna-Maria Mende on August 4, 2005 at 04:55 PM in j. Staff changes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, August 01, 2005

Lachlan Murdoch's first love were newspapers

Like his father Lachlan Murdoch's first love were newspapers. "As a schoolboy he took summer jobs that included a stint cleaning the presses in Sydney and time as a subeditor on the Sun and the Times in Wapping," reports the Guardian. In an interview with Editor & Publisher Lachlan Murdoch said in 2002: "I grew up every morning at the breakfast table with my dad flipping through the New York newspapers. Back then, papers were everything." In contrast sister Elisabeth is said to be "wedded to broadcasting" while brother James is a "self-confessed technology zealot" (see the Guardian).

According to Editor & Publisher Lachlan Murdoch was in charge of the company's Australian newspapers, U.S.-based television stations and the New York Post. After he surprisingly announced his resignation on Friday (see former posting) many wonder why he leaves. As stated by CNN Money a report by the Wall Street Journal said that "Murdoch and his adult children are clashing over this split of the Murdoch family trust, which owns a controlling 28.5 percent stake in the media conglomerate that Murdoch runs." The New York Times states that "the chief issue was Lachlan's feeling, which he expressed to several people close to him, that his father interfered in his business dealings and undermined him, particularly over the last 18 to 24 months."

Lachlan Murdoch's decision is also seen as endangering the 'dynasty': "His decision to quit leaves Rupert Murdoch's long-held dream of securing a smooth dynastic succession looking more precarious than ever," writes the Guardian. Meanwhile it remains unclear how Lachlan's leave will effect the newspapers he was in charge of.

Sources: The Guardian, Editor & Publisher, Brandrepublic, CNN Money, New York Times

Posted by Anna-Maria Mende on August 1, 2005 at 03:55 PM in j. Staff changes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

UK: Sports to boost newspaper readership?

Last week top-class sports writer Paul Hayward quit the Telegraph for the Mail. As Press Gazette reports "Telegraph insiders believe Hayward has been offered £250,000 a year and also been given a six-figure golden hello to join Associated Newspapers. He declined to comment on the details of the deal but said the salary had been exaggerated." According to the Guardian the move "just goes to show how the back pages are selling newspapers these days". Most notably sport seems to be a powerful weapon in "appealing to younger readers, the elusive audience every editor - and advertiser - seeks".

Ben Clissit, sports editor of the Guardian claims: "When people see a football match on television they still want to read reports about the game afterwards. You can see that the rise in sport on TV has been paralleled by the rise in the amount of sports coverage in newspapers". Building on this link between TV and newspapers in sports Channel 4 will launch 'The Guardian Sports Show' in August. The programme will amongst others feature newspaper writers discussing topical sporting issues.

"I have watched a transformation over the past 10 years. Sport itself has got bigger and bigger, as has the audience interest, so papers have felt it necessary to respond" says Tim Hallissay, sports editor of the Times in the Guardian. Similar to this Paul Cooke, Managing Director of Independent Star Limited, Ireland stressed the importance of sport at the World Newspaper Congress one year ago : "One of the key planks of our editorial policy has been a focus on sport in line with the Irish public?s obsession with all types of sport. On a typical Monday, more than half the newspaper is devoted to sport."

Sources: The Guardian, Press Gazette, World Newspaper Congress 2004

Posted by Anna-Maria Mende on August 1, 2005 at 11:53 AM in h. Young readers / New readers, j. Staff changes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, July 29, 2005

Lachlan Murdoch resigns

As New York Business reports "News Corp. deputy Chief Operating Officer Lachlan Murdoch ... resigned from his father Rupert Murdoch's flagship media company" and will step down by August 31. He was seen as a possible heir to his father's leadership of News Corp. According to Lachlan Murdoch stated: "I look forward to returning home to Australia with my wife, Sarah, and son, Kalan... I will remain on the board and I am excited about my continued involvement with the company in a different role." According to Business Week Ruport Murdoch said: "I was particularly saddened by my son's decision and thank him for his terrific contribution to the company."

Sources: New York Business,, Business Week

Posted by Anna-Maria Mende on July 29, 2005 at 04:41 PM in j. Staff changes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, July 18, 2005

USA: Joan Connell joins The Nation as Web Editor

The Nation's (a US liberal weekly magazine) just hired's Joan Connell as the magazine's web editor. This is a wonderfully smart move--Joan is as good as they get.

Editor in chief Katrina vanden Heuvel, says, "Connell brings many strengths to her new role as our first full-time web staffer. She's been a consistent trailblazer in the development of the Internet as a source of news and opinion--whether through the creation of blogs or through the increasing visibility of community journalism. We think she's the ideal person to help us make our website, which already receives 600,000 visitors a month, an even more vibrant part of our work. "
The Nation already uses blogging, RSS, podcasting etc, but I'm expecting Joan to make everything better--she always does.
(An award-winning writer and editor at newspapers and wire services, Connell first specialized in the coverage of religion, ethics and moral issues and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1994 for reporting on such topics as the religious right, scandals in the Catholic Church, environmental racism and the culture wars. As Executive Producer for Opinions at from 1997 to 2004, Connell developed the network's first weblogs, and as senior editor at MSN for the last two years, she developed editorial policies and strategies for the MSN portal, which draws roughly 81 million unique visitors monthly, and contributed to the network's evolving Citizen Journalism efforts.)

Way to go, everyone.

Posted by Susan Mernit on July 18, 2005 at 05:33 PM in j. Staff changes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Russia: new director for Moskovskiye Novosti

Sergei Gryzunov, a former senior government press official and vice president of the Russian Association of Independent Publishers, was appointed general director of liberal weekly Moskovskiye Novosti on Monday. Gryzunov, 55, was introduced to the staff by Ukrainian business tycoon Vadim Rabinovich, whose company Media International Group bought MN from Group Menatep majority shareholder Leonid Nevzlin on July 3 (see former posting).

Gryzunov said his immediate task was to reassure staff that the new owner was interested in developing the newspaper and would maintain its liberal stance. "We will preserve the kind of content that MN has had until now," he said by telephone from the newspaper's offices.

Source: The Moscow Times through the IFRA newsletter

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on July 12, 2005 at 01:32 PM in j. Staff changes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Russia: liberal weekly sold

Updating a previous posting, Leonid Nevzlin, associate of jailed Yukos oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has sold Moskovskiye Novosti (Moscow News) to a Ukranian businessman, Vadym Rabynovych. Nevzlin, exiled in Israel, originally threatened to sell the paper after a spat with the editor-in-chief. The weekly, which is printed in Russian and English, was founded in 1930 by Josef Stalin and has most recently been a voice of opposition to the Putin administration. Rabynovych plans on hiring a "famous man" as new editor-in-chief and maintaining the paper's respected status.

Source: Forbes

Posted by john burke on July 5, 2005 at 10:42 AM in j. Staff changes, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, June 27, 2005

UK: BBC will double investment in training journalists

Resulting from a faulty story that tipped off the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction investigations and caused the resignation of two top company men, the BBC announced that it will raise the money it spends on journalistic training from GBP 5 million to 10 million by 2008. This training will be an obligatory part of all BBC journalists' careers, who will also be given yearly training. Editors are to receive advanced training in ethics, values and dilemmas. The BBC has already provided training to 18,000 members of its staff through courses and workshops. As public trust in print journalism falls, newspapers may want to consider a similar strategy for their journalists.

Source: MediaBulletin

Posted by john burke on June 27, 2005 at 03:55 PM in j. Staff changes, p. Newsroom management | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack