Okay, since I blogged the top software, I need to mention my favorite 2 mail lists: Infowarrior mailing list https://attrition.org/mailman/listinfo/infowarrior via http://www.infowarrior.org/ and ISN: InfoSec News http://attrition.org/security/lists.html Many thanks to the organizers – and many contributors.
The New York Times newspaper is changing format, going to a 48 inch width web and adding more pages for a net reduction in news content of 5%. Consolidating printing plants will reduce jobs. The following internal NYT memos were found here
Clearly, $41 million in annual savings, smaller size, and less paper are substantive reasons for change. The editors hope to cut the 5% in length and maintain the same news content and value. The NYT remains a great paper.
Memos from NY Times Times president, Scott Heekin-Canedy, and Executive Editor, Bill Keller, are below.
EXTENDED BODY: NOTE FROM SCOTT HEEKIN-CANEDY
To the Staff:
I'm writing to tell you about two new and important initiatives underway at
First, we plan to consolidate all of our New York area printing into our
newest production facility in College Point, Queens and sublease our older
Edison plant. As part of this consolidation, we will expand and upgrade
the College Point facility. We will add another press and in doing so, be
able to print the same number of papers as the two plants do today, and
still have room for growth. As a result of this move, we plan to reduce
the number of production-related jobs by about 250 full-time equivalent
positions. We will, as we have done in the past, help employees make this
transition by providing severance and buyouts.
Secondly, The New York Times will update its look by moving from a
traditional broadsheet size of 54-inches to a more manageable and
reader-friendly size. We will adopt a 48-inch web width for all editions
of the paper across the country. This is the same size as USA Today and,
at the beginning of next year, The Wall Street Journal. If we just cut the
page size and did nothing else, we would lose 11 percent of the news hole.
That would be a serious loss. But the plan is to add more pages to the
paper so that the net loss of news space is approximately 5 percent, which
our colleagues in the newsroom believe can be absorbed and still maintain
the high quality of our news report. A copy of Bill Keller's note to the
newsroom is attached.
Both the consolidation and the web-width reduction are expected to be
completed by the second quarter of 2008. And, when completed, we
anticipate that we will reduce costs by more than $42 million a year, a
very significant savings. At the same time, we are confident that our
readers and advertisers will embrace these changes.
EXCERPT: NOTE FROM BILL KELLER
If you check the Web site this evening (or the newspaper in the morning)
you'll see a pair of important, related company announcements. One is that
the paper will be adding a new high-speed press to the printing plant at
College Point and thereafter subleasing the Edison plant. The other is that
when this consolidation is complete — in April 2008 — The Times will
adopt the narrower format that is now becoming the industry norm. I
apologize for this last-minute message, but I wanted to hold off until the
news was given to those most immediately affected — our colleagues who
actually turn our journalism into ink on paper. They were briefed this
So what does all this mean for the newsroom? Glad you asked.
First, the consolidation of our New York area printing into a single plant
means a large annual saving — money that will not have to be cut from
important things, such as producing the world's best news report. The
company's production executives have considered the obvious questions that
arise from the newsroom's vantage point, and answered them convincingly:
If we attract new circulation in the region, will we still have the
capacity to grow? (Yes.) Will this require earlier deadlines? (No.) Are we
providing the backup systems to make sure we can print during a blackout or
other crisis? (Yes.) After detailed briefings, John Geddes and Peter
Putrimas came away impressed that this is a smart, clean way to cut costs
without diminishing our commitment to the region.
The smaller format will affect the newsroom in big ways, but not in dire
ways. In production jargon, we will be moving from a 54-inch web — the
width of four pages — to a 48-inch web. That means pages will be 1 1/2
inches narrower than the current size, and the same length. The narrower
format will mean some reduction in our news hole, and it will require an
extensive redesign. Since this will not happen for nearly two years, we'll
have plenty of time to adapt. (The long lead time is necessary because we
have to place orders for the new printing equipment.)
News hole: If we just cut the page size and did nothing else, we would
lose 11 percent of the news hole. That would be a serious loss. But the
plan is to add more pages to the paper so that the net loss of news space
is approximately 5 percent, which I believe we can absorb without
significant damage to the report. We will look for ways to report
incremental news developments in digests or other abbreviated forms, and to
police flabby or redundant prose in longer pieces. I'm convinced that, with
good editors and a little time, I could take 5 percent out of any day's
paper and actually make it better.
A layman might ask, does that mean we can get by with a smaller staff?
But, of course, it doesn't work that way. We still intend to cover all the
things we cover now. And conveying the news in a bit less space will
require more rigorous editing, not less. Moreover, with the advent of the
Web our responsibility to cover news for our audience has grown well beyond
the columns of newsprint in the paper. In any case, our commitment to
hard-hitting, ground-breaking journalism will not be compromised.
Design: A narrower paper is in some ways more reader-friendly. It's
easier to handle. It will also be, by the time we introduce it, what
readers expect in a newspaper. The Wall Street Journal will move to a
48-inch web in January 2007. USA Today has already converted about half of
its production to this size. Gannett and the former Knight Ridder papers
have announced they are switching to 48 inches. The Washington Post and
the Tribune Company, which have already reduced to a 50-inch web, are
considering joining the consensus.
You cannot just take the current front page and squeeze it. We need to
think hard about changing the look in ways that preserve the visual power,
the urgency and the dignity of The New York Times. Tom Bodkin is already
at work, along with several other senior editors, on a thorough examination
of the A-book. He will now look for a redesign that we can execute in two
stages — some changes we may introduce earlier, and then a new look to
suit the narrower format when the page size changes in 2008.
The aim of these changes is to assure the continuing economic health of the
newspaper we all love. And I'm convinced we can adapt without diminishing
its journalistic health.
This is a well-considered blog entry (17 July 2006) by Andy Lark on trends affecting PR, such as the influence of social networking on public relations.
1.) Certainly citizen journalism is immediate and ubiquitous, but it doesn’t replace professional journalists. There are micro channels, but for our clients this has not changed the basis of competition. In addition, many on the bleeding edge flock to the many innovative offerings of Web 2.0 companies. However, those of us that test the many new offerings do not constitute a mainstream audience for these services. Many Web 2.0 offerings are interesting, but not ubiquitous, unique – or more importantly critical. There are a very few Web 2.0 offerings provide reach to targeted audiences – and large audiences.
2.) A truly effective user interface that is a gateway to an integrated suite of useful applications (whether from Apple, Microsoft, or whatever firm) is appealing.
3.) Community creation forums, such as the Wiki, are creating ever higher expectations for collaboration software for corporations and consumers. Wikis are useful and informative, but I keep wondering when people will stop posting for free to Web sites that ultimately own all the content (check the Terms and Conditions at MySpace or YouTube). To me, the effect of blogging on content is similar to the decline in care and time taken to write letters – with e-mail and them IMing providing an immediate, yet less polished result. This reminds me of the quote of Blaise Pascal, who said “Si j’ai écrit une si longue lettre, c’est parce que je n’ai pas eu assez de temps pour l’écrire plus courte.” It translates to “If I wrote a long letter, it’s because I didn’t have enough time to write one shorter.”
4.) The idea of building the functionality you want within an application is very appealing. It was remarkable how Apple responded to the market demand for podcasting, to the point that Apple put “pod” (as in iPod) in podcast. Microsoft’s early adoption of RSS is a good example of quickly getting on board a winning trend.
5.) The participatory communicator is an interesting idea, but not well executed = authentically executed. More later in this entry.
I liked his comment on Joga.com, but was a little surprised that as a soccer player, I had never run across it. I think there are many failed attempts to target and reach a community. It is certainly true that this is a real time of flux for the advertising marketplace – with the changes effecting budgets and spending, which changes companies and careers. However, you can gather visitors to one-off entertainment, which I think describes YouTube. It remains true that communities consistently excellent and authentic content is very difficult for corporations to create consistently. Notice that at last comment fits traditional PR activities as easily as it does the latest attempts at community building.
1.) The idea of companies hiring “conversationalists” to ignite conversations rather than just transmit the latest information (press release, story pitch, etc.) is not really new. I believe that all good media relations, public relations, and communications require good conversationalists, persons that can write, speak, and even pitch in the authentic language of both the reporter/editor and the audience. So, every communication requires authenticity to be well-received. This authenticity is what generates a conversation, either with the reporter/editor or – most recently – with the audience at the online community.
2.) No question that media continues to fragment – and I’m not sure it will reassemble. Targeting audiences at the locations (such as online communities) where they aggregate is the latest challenge. In addition to the fractionating audience, there are many new channels and technologies to reach these divergent audiences. Citizen editors are not paid and I wonder if they will stick it out for the long-term or just experiment in today’fascinating and empowering environmentnt of citizen journalism.
3.) The market will judge the authenticity of these ignited conversations as the market develops.
4.) Yes. As a proponent of quality (think W. Edwards Deming), measurement is a critical part of continuous improvement. As new technologies and methods (think Web 2.0 companies) emerge, testing what works is key to spending marketing dollars in the right place.
5.) Several factors influence the format of a Press Release. The new format offered by Shift is certainly valid – and better – for certain markets. Factors, such as the desired audience, which can still be a reporter or editor, who may be less interested in other formats (e.g., video or PDF), additional material (i.e., photo and logo), and additional contacts (Should everyonene have direct access to the spokesperson? Does the CEO want to handle each media inquiry from the outset?). Plus, Digg, del.icio.us, and Technorati ranking may help some PR clients by reaching the right audience, but not all. Technorati mentions that a recent Pew Internet study claims there are 75,000 new blogs a day. I note that even being in the top 3% of sites tracked by Technorati won’t help much because they track 48.9 million sites and 2.7 billion links as of the date of this post.
6.) RSS feeds are great and the more targeted the better. For our clients, they should maintain this on their Web sites.
7.) Media Planning is one way to talk about publicity strategy and tactical execution. Our firm often faces competitors that talk the “integrated marketing” story, while having little PR expertise and no effective integration. Similarly, the largest firms in the Advertising industry continue to acquire firms in tangential markets, such as PR, Web deb, etc. These roll-up efforts maintain revenue growth, but have little effect on the companies in our market.
8.) The lack of technology savvy in the PR is no surprise to us.
9.) Mr. Lark mentions the many hosted applications that are increasingly available and which will certainly change the way everyone works. I see a real need to integrate these into a single system that truly serves the need of the client. Point solutions are fine ways to prove technologies and gain markets. Suites of integrated, logically consistent functionalities are what clients (and agencies) want.
10.) OPML is an XML form commonly used to exchange lists of RSS feeds between RSS aggregators. This allows a RSS news feed to be integrated into another application, such as a PIM (Personal Information Manager).
In-Stat (19 July 2005) research corroborates my last post about the changes facing landline telecom carriers (ILEC, CLEC).
The survey specifically assesses bundled telecom services.
Bundling of services reinforces the tie between the supplier and
customer and counters competition, specifically switching carriers
The most interesting finding is that subscribers are bundling
around Internet service more often than telephone service (local) or
video (satellite or cable), which bodes well for independent IP-based
services, such as Voice over IP (VoIP), IP-based video services, online
gaming, chat, music, or Plain Old Web Browsing (POWB, my joking
alternative to POTS, Plain Old Telephone Service).
In-Stat says half of the US residential market purchased a
package, consisting of multiple telecommunications services, from a
single carrier. This is up from just one-third in 2004. Note that
capturing this percentages leaves less and slower potential for any
growth of these bundled services. They say only fourteen (14%) percent
of non-subscribers (non-bundled subscribers?) expect to adopt them in
the next year.
“The following are typical of bundling and findings of In-Stat:
– Providers give greater discounts for a higher number of services and
revenue. Half surveyed by In-Stat say lower price was the factor in
taking the bundle.
– Average revenue per user is an opportunity, but new enticements are
BODY: On Line56.com, by Demir Barlas writes an article entitled "Hackers and Employment, What the heck's wrong with us?" His take on the decline in "personal morality" in the United States continues to trouble me because of the truth within his observation. He writes, "All too many Americans stand ready to pimp themselves, and the system is now designed to reward rather than discourage them. This is an arrangement that the rest of the world rightly considers hypocritical and, despite all talk of globalism, will never emulate."