The Media Oxpecker: It’s the Timing, Stupid

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy winning.

  • Why did the Journal Register Co. decide to declare bankruptcy for the second time in three years? The Nieman Journalism Lab’s Joshua Benton breaks it down:

    [CEO John] Paton is arguing now that the terms of the previous bankruptcy were built on higher hopes for print than has since proven justified — that the company didn’t shave enough off its debt and contractual obligations to hack it in today’s business. We’re on the right track with digital revenue, he’s saying, but we’re still handcuffed by fiscal decisions made from a print-is-healthy mindset.

    Not only that, but buying newspapers before the credit bust was not unlike buying houses or stocks. Buying with leverage turned out to be a bad idea, and more important, when you bought something made all the difference, regardless of what you bought:

    Timing is, truly, everything. The newspaper companies that made terrible-in-hindsight decisions to bet on print at peak valuations — McClatchy buying Knight Ridder, for instance — were stuck with crippling debt obligations. But if you just stuck around long enough, that major metro that cost $562 million in 2006 could be had for $55 million in 2012.

  • Frederic Filloux makes a case for why newspapers have to raise prices:

    Additional revenue coming from price hikes far outpaces the loss in circulation (which will occur anyway). Ten or twenty years ago, US newspapers drew most of their revenue (70%-sometimes 80%) from advertising. Now the revenue structure is more balanced.

  • Worldwide, only 2 percent of newspapers’ overall advertising revenue comes from digital sources according to a recent survey.

  • Who’s winning the mobile ad business? Rhymes with Schmoogle.

  • Mathew Ingram says Reddit can teach media orgs about the “benefits of a strong and engaged community.” Counterpoint:

  • Knight News Innovation Lab executive director Miranda Mulligan on why journalism schools should teach students how to web code:

    Understanding our medium makes us better storytellers. For an industry that prides itself on being smart, tolerating ignorance of the Internet is just stupid.

  • NPR’s Brian Boyer on the college syllabus he would give to journalism students.

  • So you want to be full-time freelance writer? Some advice from Ann Friedman:

    Off the top of your head, name five editors you know will recognize your name and open your pitch emails. If you can’t, it’s too soon to go full-time freelance. Every profession is about connections, and journalism is no exception. And those connections are the lifeblood of a freelancer.

  • Katherine Boo shares her thoughts on the responsibilities and ethical dilemmas facing reporters who cover poverty.

  • Here’s Ari Melber on the latest craze for fact-checking that’s sweeping the nation.

  • “We don’t go after audience at the expense of excellence. You don’t put up a 20-page piece just to get people to click through,” says Patch chief content officer Rachel Fishman Feddersen.

  • Gannett has purchased Mobestream Media, which owns a consumer rewards mobile platform:

    Key Ring is a mobile app that allows consumers to consolidate all of their loyalty and rewards cards and coupons into one spot. Via the app, consumers can access their digital coupons, digitize their loyalty cards, join new loyalty programs, manage their accounts online and share their cards and offers through their social networks and email. Users also receive location-based mobile coupons and other promotional offers.

  • How important are online reviews to a restaurant’s bottom line? Very, says a recent UC Berkeley study.

  • The $1.3 trillion price of not tweeting at work.

  • As everything becomes more automated, do people actually matter more?

  • And finally, for what it’s worth, Jen Doll literally explores what your crutch word basically says about you.

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