Bidding War for Philly Newspapers

April 26, 2010

A contest for the next owner of Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C. has narrowed down to three bidders: a coalition of the company’s leading financial beneficiaries, billionaire Ronald W. Burkle and Stern Partners Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The three bids are now in the hands of Philadelphia Newspapers, who owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, etc. The company officers and their attorney’s have reviewed the bids over the past couple of days and will decide a winner on Tuesday according to Christopher K. Hepp’s article on

William A. Graham of Graham Co.,  the Carpenters Union pension fund and David Haas. Bruce Toll of Toll Bros. Inc. make up the local bidding group. Toll is involved in the group at a lower stake than he previously asserted.

Gov. Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania contacted Burkle on Thursday at the request of Brian P. Tierney, the Chief Executive Officer of Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C. Burkle already owns Yucaipa Cos. L.L.C., which is a California-based holding company. The bid was $35 million.

Stern Partners also already has media holdings in the Winnipeg Free Press, the Brandon Sun and seven other community newspapers.

After a winner is announced on Tuesday,  that bidder will need the sale to be approved by Chief Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Raslavich at a confirmation hearing on May 25.


Where I’d fit into Journalism

April 26, 2010

I want to get into sports journalism, which shouldn’t come as a suprise to many people whom I’ve talked to in the class. I want to work for one of the sports networks: ESPN, YES, etc. It’s been my dream for a long time to be the announcer at the Yankee games and entertain millions of sports fans as people like Michael Kay, the current announcer at Yankee games, has done for me. I have worked for the Sports section for the Stony Brook Statesman to train myself for the sports journalism field, and I plan on working even harder to seperate myself from the millions of other applicants that these networks will be seeing.

Net Neutrality and Internet Thugs

April 20, 2010

Opponents of net neutrality have present a new arguement against, you guessed it, net neutrality. They say, according to Jon Healy’s article on, that net neutrality would damage ISP efforts to block routes from which “peddlers of child pornography” have “unblocked access to every home Internet connection.” These opponents of net neutrality did not mention in their letter sent to Congress that the FCC has stated that Net Neutrality wouldn’t apply to illegal content such as that mentioned above.

Congress has twice already tried to block the flow of obscene material on the Internet with the Communications Decency Act of 1996 and Child Online Protection Act of 1998. In both cases, the Supreme Court blocked the legislation on the grounds that they violated the First Ammendment because the content of the bill was too broad or a less-restrictive option was possible. The Supreme Court might not say that it is within a person’s First Ammendment rights to yell, “Bomb!” on an airplane, strangely.

All that being said, ISP’s can only do so much to block indecent content from getting to an Internet user. Part of the responsibility must fall on the adults within the house, as Healy also suggests in his article.

Twitter’s New Tweet

April 14, 2010

Twitter has announced their new plan to turn their fast rise to prominence into profits through advertising. Twitter calls their new program Promoted Tweets, and Claire Cain Miller of explains how it works. “The advertising program….will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that advertisers have bought to link to their ads.”

“‘The idea behind Promoted Tweets is that we want to enhance the communications that companies are already having with customers on Twitter,’ said Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief operating officer.”

Twitter has grown rapidly since its birth in 2007. The social media network had over 22 million unique visitors in March, which is vastly larger than the approximatley half-million that they had last year, but this will be the first time that Twitter intends to make a profit as a result of user activity. It’s new plan has multiple phases.

First the companies will be per thousand people who see promoted posts. After taking time to study Twitter users’ reactions to the posts, the Twitter heads will decide how to charge for advertising. Then Twitter will place promoted posts into a user’s Twitter stream. At the moment, Google uses a similar method. The rest of Twitter’s plan can be read about at

Another Victory for Social Networking

April 13, 2010

Microsoft just unvield its two news smart phones, the KIN ONE and KIN TWO, on monday. They will be available to the public  exclusively for Verizon Wireless costumers. According to David Goldman’s article on, the two new phones are directed at the growing population of social network junkies.

According to Lucian Parfeni’s article on on Feb. 1 of this year, 175 million people use facebook every day. The number of those who have either a facebook profile or a twitter account grows every day.

“The KIN phones are designed to fill a niche among teens and young adults who use their phones to text, tweet and post things to Facebook at least as much as they make phone calls,” said Goldman in his article.

“‘We saw an opportunity to design a mobile experience just for this social generation — a phone that makes it easy to share your life moment to moment,’ said Robbie Bach, Microsoft’s president of the Entertainment and Devices division.”

This wouldn’t be Microsoft’s first crusade into the smart phone market, and they will have firm competition from companies such as Blackberry and Apple, which released its new iPad recently.

Microsoft is used to this situation, however, for they introduced the Xbox in 2001 as a new player in the video game market which had long been ruled by companies such as Nintendo and Sony, which produces Playstation. The Xbox has thus far been a success. Microsoft hopes for a similar fate for its new smart phones.

DOW Hits 11,000. So Who’s the Media Now?

April 13, 2010

On April 12, 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached 11,000 since the beginning of the recession. However, the news media business has seen better days.  In fact, the two most admired companies in the world according to a survery on have aided if no directly participated in the free dissemination of news, Apple and Google.

Over the past couple of months, there have been stories about large layoffs at big news companies such as ABC news and the New York Times. Small papers have collapsed or made the jump to the internet. Television news companies are constantly under pressure to retain viewers to keep stockholders happy.

In the meantime, Google Inc.’s  shareprice continues to rise to approximatley $573 per share. The Apple has released its much anticipated iPad. Both of these developments affect the journalism industry’s core. Google News struggles against large media companies such as News Corp. because it provides links to free online content. Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp., has stated that he intends to remove his the links between his news articles and Google News to make free access to news that much more difficult for internet users. At the same time, while the new iPad serves many purposes, one crucial one for journalists is its aid to online journalism, which cuts at the heart and profits of print journalism.

As the economy begins to recover, news consumers may wonder if the news agregators have siezed control of the online media world from larger but costlier online news companies.

A Business Paper’s New Business Plan

April 12, 2010

As said in Hiroko Tabuchi’s article on, the Nikkei, Japan’s largest business newspaper, is going to require readers to pay to visit its website. It also imposed new restrictions concerning links to the articles.

The Nikkei said that the new restrictions are intended to make sure that no one can get through the pay wall or link newspaper content to “inappropriate” sites. One risk suggested by the paper was that such links could be used to promote a certain stock. This is why applicants for links will have to disclose their reasons for linking to the site.

This move has received negative criticism from bloggers in Japan.

“”Nikkei thinks it can go online, but cut themselves off from the wider internet,” said Toshiano Sasaki, an author and technology writer.”

The Nikkei is celebrating its first anniversary with the creation of three new sections: China, Quick Markets & Data and Discussion Forum. They have a subscription of slightly more than three million. In Japan, at least one daily newspaper is delivered to every house.

The Nikkei is one of many large Japanese newspapers that are creating stronger pay walls in response to the losses of American newspapers who offer online content for free.

The Last Thing They Needed At the Time

April 10, 2010

According to Jason Fell’s article on, two men have filed a breach of contract suit against Hanley Wood Business Media. As a result of the arbitration hearing in Dallas, Texas, the company has to pay these fomer workers $2.9 million in upaid bonuses, severance pay and salary adjustments. The two men in question are former Exhibitions division president Galen Poss and vice president Michael Green. According to the article, they left the company last summer.

Hanley Wood was founded in 1976 in Washington D.C. according to their website. They have departments concerning business media and marketing.

The filed suit argued that Hanley Wood had failed to pay the men the salary raises and perfomance-based bonuses which were  agreed upon in their employment contracts. In response, Hanley Wood stated that the bonuses and raises were “discretionary.” The arbitor ruled in favor of Poss and Green, saying that the payments were mandatory and that Hanley Wood pay the men 12 months worth of severance pay.

“Obviously we’re pleased with the decision,” said Poss. “The last thing we wanted to do was leave Hanley Wood. It’s a company we have a lot of respect for and helped build a terrific business. But when the company refused to honor the terms of our contract, the only option we had to get paid was to leave.”

The End of an Era

February 28, 2010

Rupert Murdoch, a businessman whose reach extends to the four corners of the world, is turning 79 next month. He has created one of the largest business empires in the modern world because of his numerous investments including a great number of newspapers and networks. However, the fate of News Corp. is in unsteady hands. Murdoch is entering the twilight of his life, and he is becoming hard pressed to find a suitable successor.

Murdoch’s current wife, his third, has shown an aptitude to improve her own image in the business world, using the assets of News Corp. to help her do so. She has joined with the wives of other prominent businessmen to reach her social ambitions.

Two of Murdoch’s children, his son Lachlan and his daughter Elizabeth, have moved away from their father. Lachlan sold off his shares in his father’s company, and Elizabeth has refused to leave her own company, Shine, to take on her father’s commercial empire. The remaining son, James, has had policies in the past that displease others in News Corp.

Murdoch may have been a successful businessman, but it would seem that he hasn’t built his empire to sustain. The fate of this empire will be important in the news media, as he owns so many publications and networks around the world.

(This initial story idea comes from

NBC and Comcast to Make their Case in the Capital

February 21, 2010

Comcast and NBC Universial will venture to Washington D.C. this week to make their case for their proposed $30 billion merger. The House Judiciary Committee will look at the competition in the entertainment and media industries and how this merger would affect each respective market. NBC and Comcast have been trying to push the merger through since they first announced plans for it on December 9, 2009. This would be the second time since February 7, 2010, that the two companies would be speaking on Capital Hill in support of this merger.

One of the roles of the House JudiciaryCommittee according to its website is the “protection of trade and commerce against unlawful restraint and monopolies.” A monopoly is a situation where there are many buyers but only a few sellers, possibly just one. The Comcast cable company owns a channel that reaches 99$ of American homes. President Obama amongst others against trusts have been working against this possible merger.