Online Resources for Chapter 11

Chapter 11: The Business of Producing Journalism
The Los Angeles Times in Transition
Lori Robertson and Rachel Smolkin, “John Carroll bows out in L.A.,” American Journalism
Review, August/September 2005.
James Rainey, “A media match plagued by a clash of cultures,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 10,
2006. Discusses problems at LA Times after its purchase by Tribune Co.,1,7807220,full.story
Sridhar Pappu, “Reckless disregard: Dean Baquet on the gutting of the Los Angeles Times,”, March 1, 2007.
Thomas S. Mulligan and Dawn Chmielewski, “Times editor to leave paper,” Jan. 21, 2008.,0,1815384.story?coll=la-home-center
Emily Steele, “Why Los Angeles Times can’t keep an editor,” The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 22,
Michael Hiltzik, “Publisher of Times resigns amid cuts,” Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2008. Hiller’s
21-month tenure was marked by plans for the sharpest staff and production cuts in The Times’
News Media Economics
Philip Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2004), 10.
Meyer attributes the theory of “harvesting marketing position” to Michael E. Porter, Competitive
Strategy: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance (New York: Free Press, 1998), 311.
Av Westin, Best Practices for Television Journalists (New York: The Freedom Forum’s Free
Press/Fair Press Project, 2000). You can download the book here:
Rick Edmonds, “State of the Media 2008: Decoupling blues,” March 19, 2008. Discusses “the
broken economic model – the decoupling of advertising and news,” cited in the State of the News
Media 2008.
Jennifer Saba, “NAA reveals biggest ad revenue plunge in more than 50 years,” Editor &
Publisher, March 28, 2008. The figures were announced by the Newspaper Association of
America. (Academic databases)
Deborah Potter, “Later news,” American Journalism Review, February/March 2008.
Bowing to changing lifestyles, stations are launching 7 p.m. newscasts.
Project for Excellence in Journalism, “Financial woes now overshadow all other concerns for
journalists,” March 17, 2008.
Richard Pérez-Peña, “Few TV reports on audience flight,” The New York Times, May 11,
2009. Reports on a University of Pennsylvania study showing that while the news media
report extensively on the economic problems of newspapers, there is relatively little
coverage of television’s similar problems.
Sam Schechner, “Cuts at TV-News Divisions signal leaner approach,” The Wall Street
Journal, Feb. 26, 2010. Reports on staff cuts at ABC, CBS, and NBC.
Paul Farhi, “Speak no evil,” American Journalism Review, October/November 2011.
“While news organizations demand full disclosure from everyone else, they often resort
to euphemisms and sugarcoating when they report on their own downsizing.” Farhi
writes that staff reductions often go unreported at all, and when they do, the reductions
may be characterized as part of a strategy that will result in better news coverage.
Questionable Practices
John Morton, “Too steep a price: Newspapers must protect their integrity as they struggle
to find new revenue streams,” American Journalism Review, August/September 2009.
In-text advertising:
David Kesmodel and Julia Angwin,“Is it news…or is it an ad?”, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 27,
Tim McGuire, “Let’s count to 100 and then decide we hate ads in news copy,” McGuire on Media,
Nov. 7, 2007.
Erik Sass, “Los Angeles Times dabbles in e-commerce,” MediaDailyNews, April 28,
2010. Links will be placed in the text of articles with lifestyle-related content, including
Health, Image, Food, Travel, Books, Entertainment and Sports.
Advertising in nontraditional formats:
Society of Professional Journalists, “SPJ calls on news media to maintain clear separation of
news and advertising,” Nov. 10, 2003.
Andrew Clevenger, “DNR pays for control of outdoor TV segment,” The Charleston (W.Va.)
Gazette, March 28, 2008.
Natalie Pompilio, “A porous wall,” American Journalism Review, June/July 2009.
Discusses questionable practices in newspaper advertising.
James Rainey, “On the Media: KCBS ads masquerade as news,” Los Angeles Times,
April 21, 2010. On-air interviews appear to be news, but they are “added value” ads.
Lucia Moses, “USA Today puts itself under wraps with ad,” Mediaweek, July 12, 2010.
The national newspaper wrapped its news section with an ad.
Content provided by outside sources:
Neil Henry, American Carnival: Journalism Under Siege in an Age of New Media (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2007), 149-165. Discusses the controversy over VNRs.
Robert Pear, “U.S. videos, for TV news, come under scrutiny,” The New York Times, March 15,
Deborah Potter, “Virtual news reports,” American Journalism Review, June/July 2004.
CNN and local TV stations were guilty accomplices in allowing a government-produced VNR on
the air.
Video available online: Examples of VNRs, provided by a watchdog group:
Trudy Lieberman, “The epidemic,” Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 2007.
John Sullivan, “PR industry fills vacuum left by shrinking newsrooms,” ProPublica (copublished with Columbia Journalism Review), May 2, 2011. Sullivan writes that, as the
number of journalists has declined, the number of public-relations professionals has
grown. “The dangers are clear. As PR becomes ascendant, private and government
interests become more able to generate, filter, distort, and dominate the debate, and do so
without the public knowing it.”
Paul Farhi, “A local TV trend: And now, the identical news,” The Washington Post, Nov.
27, 2012. At least a dozen stations around the country carried “the same lightweight story
about restaurants cooking up candidate-inspired drinks and dishes.” Farhi’s research
found that the story was produced by an “affiliate service,” CNN Newsource: “Stations
not only get prepackaged footage from such services, but a script that introduces the
footage, as well. Stations then ‘localize’ the canned package by having one of their
anchors read the one-size-fits-all copy.”
Targeted demographics:
Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know
and the Public Should Expect (New York: Crown Publishers, 2001), 57.
Product placement:
Abigail Goodman, “Eye-opener with a pitch: TV news program tries product placement as a
revenue source,” Las Vegas Sun, July 21, 2008. TV news program tries product placement as
revenue source.
Sponsored newsrooms:
Deborah Potter, “For sale,” American Journalism Review, April/May 2006.
A Wisconsin radio station sells the naming rights to its newsroom.
Outside funding for news organizations:
The Seattle Times, “Gov. Gregoire approves tax cut for Washington state newspapers,”
May 13, 2009.
 Commentary: Alan D. Mutter, “Washington papers paid dearly for tax cut,”
Reflections of a Newsosaur blog, May 13, 2009.
Sam Wardle, “Carrboro Citizen receives $50K loan from town,” Independent Weekly,
May 21, 2009.
Christopher Weaver, “Is it OK for Pfizer to pay for reporters to learn about cancer?”,
health blog for National Public Radio, Aug. 24, 2010. The drug company paid all
expenses for 15 reporters to attend a four-day cancer seminar in Washington, D.C.
Television Station WBBH, “News-Press lays off 14 employees,” June 21, 2011; updated
June 22, 2011. Includes video. The government Lee County, Fla., gave Gannett $105,000
in incentives to locate 35 jobs in the county. The following year, Gannett’s Fort Meyers
News-Press laid off 14 employees. County officials said they still thought the investment
was a good one, because the new jobs are in a different Gannett division.
Relationship with a news source:
Video clip: Sports agent Drew Rosenhaus does a television commercial for ESPN, which
frequently covers him.
Rem Rieder, “An ethical stumble in Philadelphia,” American Journalism Review, May
31, 2013. The website, which is owned by the same company that owns The
Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, made a deal with Gov. Tom
Corbett to write a regular column. The newspapers, whose articles appear on the website,
cover Corbett, who is running for reelection.
Internal reporting relationships:
Richard Pérez-Peña, “Some Dallas editors will report to Ad Sales,” The New York Times,
Dec. 4, 2009. Senior news editors in various sports and entertainment sections at The
Dallas Morning News began reporting directly to general managers responsible for
advertising sales in their sections, “while retaining a strong reporting relationship to the
editor and managing editor,” an internal memo said.
 Robert Wilonsky, “At The Dallas News, a new ‘bold strategy’: Section editors
reporting to sales managers,” Dallas Observer. This blog contains the Morning News
Outsourcing news coverage:
Edmund Lee, “More publishers trying outsourced information,” Advertising Age, April
28, 2010. “Established news shops [are] running articles from pool of freelancers for as
little as $5 a story.”
 Nicholas Spangler, “In demand: A week inside the future of journalism,” Columbia
Journalism Review, November/December 2010. Spangler (joined by other journalists,
in the appended comments) tells about his experience producing “commercial
Using online metrics to influence news decision-making:
Michael Schudson and Katherine Fink, “The algorithm method: Making news decisions
in a clickocracy,” Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 2012. “If algorithms
come to dictate news decisions, how does that change what we read, and what sort of
democracy we might have or want to have?”
Daily newspapers that are no longer daily:
Christine Haughney, “Newspapers cut days from publishing week,” The New York Times,
June 3, 2012. Pegged to the decision to make The New Orleans Times-Picayune a threeday-a-week newspaper, the article also notes similar moves by papers elsewhere. “By
cutting back on print publishing, newspaper executives are betting they can wean loyal
customers and advertisers from their daily print newspaper habit, while at the same time
driving them to their own web site.”
 Michaelle Bond, “For newspapers, a less than daily future,” American Journalism
Review, June 7, 2012. “Experts see the reduced publishing schedule for Newhouse
papers in New Orleans and Alabama as a precursor of things to come.”
 John Morton, “More or less,” American Journalism Review, Sept. 7, 2012. “As
Newhouse cuts back the publication schedule of its once-daily papers, newly minted
newspaper magnate Warren Buffett is betting that giving readers more is the key to
 Ryan Chittum, “The battle of New Orleans: Is Advance Publications securing the
future of local news – or sacrificing it?”, Columbia Journalism Review, June 8, 2013.
An analysis of the changes at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which has adopted a
business and news model focusing on a free website,
News companies’ investments in businesses that make news:
“Fair Game,” American Journalism Review, October 1999. Things can get quite tricky when a
company that owns a news organization invests in a sports franchise in the same town – as The
Dallas Morning News quickly learned.
Roy Hartmann, “Notes from St. Louis; Loving the Cardinals as they are,” The New York Times,
March 26, 2002.
Linda Loyd, “Tower sparks controversy in Lancaster,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 2, 2008.
Matthew Futterman, “How to cover the team that owns your T.V. network,” The Wall
Street Journal, Aug. 19, 2009. An interview with the president of SportsNet New York, a
regional network owned by the New York Mets.
Dan McGrath, “Perception of bias toward the Chicago Cubs will not be missed,”, Aug. 23, 2009. McGrath, who had supervised baseball coverage,
notes that when The Chicago Tribune owned the Cubs, fans’ misconceptions were a
always a concern.
 The Chicago Tribune, “Our cousins, the Cubs,” an editorial published Aug. 23, 2009.
Tim McGuire, “Arizona Republic gets an A+ for reporting, B for its editorial and an F for
publisher’s conflict,” McGuire on the Media blog, March 30, 2011. The Arizona State
professor assesses the newspaper’s handling of the Fiesta Bowl scandal, including the
publisher’s explanation of why he is on the bowl’s executive committee.
The Contrasting Cultures of News and Business
The contrasting cultures are described, from different viewpoints, in:
Philip Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper, 206-207.
Jack Fuller, News Values (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 197.
Involvement of business executives in matters that affect news/editorial decisions:
Jim Brunner, “Seattle Times Co. launches ad campaigns for McKenna and gay marriage,
draws criticism,” The Seattle Times, Oct. 17, 2012. The company invested $75,000 to
$80,000 in advertising leading up to the November general election. Some of the ads
supported Rob McKenna, the Republican governor candidate; other ads supported the
legalization of gay marriage in a referendum. (McKenna lost; gay marriage was approved
by the voters.) The advertising decision was made by the corporate side of the newspaper
and was “completely separate from the journalism functions of the newspaper,” a
business executive said. Brunner’s posting quoted journalism and political experts who
said the ad campaigns threatened to damage the credibility of the newspaper’s reporting.
 Jim Brunner, “Seattle Times news staffers protest company’s political-ad campaign,”
Oct. 18, 2012. More than 100 signed a letter to the publisher in which they said the ad
campaign “threatens the two things we value the most, the traits that make The
Seattle Times a strong brand: Our independence and credibility.”
 David Boardman, “A vow to continue impartial reporting,” The Seattle Times, Oct.
20, 2012. In a column, the paper’s executive editor asked readers to trust the paper’s
news staff and reiterated that “no one in the newsroom, including me, had any
involvement in this project.”
Jim Romenesko, “Lexington Herald-Leader endorses Obama, publisher endorses
Romney,” Oct. 31, 2012. Publisher Rufus Friday wrote a statement laying out his reasons
for dissenting in the editorial board’s vote. Editorial page editor Vanessa Gallman said in
an e-mail to Romenesko that there are five people on the McClatchy paper’s editorial
board and that Friday “was the only supporter of Romney and did try to sway others.”
She said, “He did not threaten to veto the edit and did not demand rewrites.”
 Jim Romenesko, “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorses Obama, its owner backs
Romney,” Nov. 4, 2012. “The long letter to the right of the Post-Gazette’s Obama
endorsement is written by Allan Block, chairman of the Post-Gazette’s parent
company. He argues that Mitt Romney ‘can create a safe, strong, growing economy
that benefits all Americans’ and ‘can bring this country back’.” Romenesko noted that
Block’s letter also ran in his family’s Toledo Blade, which endorsed Obama.
Case Study No. 9: Sharing Ad Profits, Creating a Crisis
David Shaw, “Crossing the line: A Los Angeles Times profit-sharing arrangement with Staples
Center fuels a firestorm of protest in the newsroom – and a debate about journalistic ethics,” Los
Angeles Times, Dec. 20, 1999. (News databases)
James Risser, “Lessons from L.A.,” Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 2000.
(Academic databases)
Terence Smith, “Trouble at the L.A. Times,” PBS’s Online NewsHour, Dec. 16, 1999.
Additional Case Studies
“Native advertising.” That’s a buzz phrase in advertising circles, describing advertising
that resembles not just generic editorial content but the specific kind of content “native”
to a given website. Also called “sponsored content,” “branded content,” or “brand
journalism,” it is an extension of the advertorial concept.
 Ira Basen, “Brand journalism,” Center for Journalism Ethics, University of
Wisconsin-Madison, Oct. 17, 2012. “Brand journalism is bought and paid for by
companies in order to meet various business objectives. The stories may be well
written and fairly and accurately reported by respected journalists … but the
fundamental objective remains a marketing one. Brand journalism is always more
about the brand than the journalism.”
 Jack Shafer, “When advertorial bites back,” Reuters, Jan. 15, 2013. The writer
analyzes a controversy that erupted when The Atlantic magazine’s website ran
“sponsored content” promoting the Church of Scientology. (The Atlantic took down
the piece and apologized.)
 David Dobbs, “The Atlantic, Scientology and the theft of credibility,” Wired, Jan. 16,
2013. More comment on The Atlantic’s experience.
 Jeff Sonderman, “How news organizations can sell sponsored content without
lowering their standards,” poynteronline, Jan. 18, 2013. The writer interviews Jonah
Peretti, cofounder of Buzzfeed, a sponsored-content pioneer.
 Andrew Sullivan, “Guess which Buzzfeed piece is an ad,” The Dish, Feb. 21, 2013.
This is one in a series of blogs that Sullivan has written about native advertising.
Lewis DVorkin, “Inside Forbes: Journalism requires new models for both editorial
and ads,”, March 4, 2013. An advocate of “native advertising” explains:
“Marketers want a bigger voice. The media business needs revenue. The digital world
demands change.”
Tanzina Vega, “Sponsors now pay for online articles, not just ads,” The New York
Times, April 7, 2013. “The strategy of having advertisers sponsor or create content
that looks like traditional editorial content has become increasingly common as
publishers try to create more sources of revenue.”
“The Decision” by LeBron James. The former Cleveland Cavaliers star made a deal with
ESPN for an exclusive special program in which James would announce which National
Basketball Association team he would sign with as a free agent. ESPN got the story (and
the announcement event) exclusively in exchange for allowing James to choose one of
his interviewers (former ESPN staff member Jim Gray) and for donating the program’s
commercial revenue to a charity. The July 8, 2010, special gave ESPN 13 million
viewers, its second-highest rating of the year. In the ensuing controversy, ESPN was
criticized for yielding journalistic control to the newsmaker.
 Brian Steinberg, “To get LeBron, ESPN cedes control over ads, news,” Advertising
Age, July 7, 2010.
 Don Ohlmeyer, “The ‘decision’ dilemma,”, July 21, 2010. The ESPN
ombudsman analyzes the case at length and writes, “ESPN can brush off concerns
raised about ‘The Decision,’ but it does so at its own peril. A major component of
ESPN’s appeal … is that the audience trusts what it’s watching.”
Off-the-record salons. David Carr, “A publisher stumbles publicly at the Post,” The New
York Times, July 4, 2009. Carr summarizes: “As first reported in Politico, The
Washington Post had sent out a brochure offering sponsorships – a fee of $25,000 for
one, or $250,000 for an entire series – for an exclusive ‘Washington Post salon’ at
[publisher Katharine Weymouth’s] home in which officials from Congress and the
administration, lobbyists and, yes, the paper’s own reporters could have a quiet, off-therecord dinner, discussions to be led by Marcus Brauchli, the newspaper’s editor.” Carr
comments: “Theoretically, you can’t buy Washington Post reporters, but you can rent
 Howard Kurtz, “Post publisher cancels plans for off-the-record ‘salons,’ ” The
Washington Post, July 2, 2009. At the end of this article, Kurtz succinctly explains
the journalism ethics issues involved.
 Mike Allen and Michael Calderone, “WaPo cancels lobbyist event amid uproar,”
Politico, July 2, 2009.
Michael Calderone, “WaPo launches internal review,” Politico, July 6, 2009.
Andrew Alexander, “A sponsorship scandal at The Post,” The Washington Post, July
12, 2009. An assessment by the newspaper’s ombudsman.
“Ideologues” provide the reporting: Mark Bowden, “The story behind the story,” The
Atlantic, October 2009. Minutes after President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to
the Supreme Court, television news broadcasts showed video clips of two of her
speeches. The clips, offered without context, showed Sotomayor asserting that as a
“Latina woman” she had better judgment than a “white male,” and that judges “make
law” rather than simply interpreting law. Bowden’s investigation showed that a
conservative organization called the Judicial Confirmation Network had prepared a
dossier on each of the prospective Supreme Court nominees and had given them to the
networks in advance. In its introduction to Bowden’s article, The Atlantic wrote: “With
journalists being laid off in droves, ideologues have stepped forward to provide the
‘reporting’ that feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The collapse of journalism means that the
quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition. A case-study of
our post-journalistic age.”
Advertising as fake news stories: Bob Steele, “LA Times pitched NBC on ‘Southland’
front page ad concept,” poynteronline, April 10, 2009. The newspaper ran a fake news
story on its front page as an advertisement for a television copy drama. The publisher
overruled the editor, saying he “was trying to ensure that the Times could continue to
operate.” Steele writes: “Even though this ad is labeled as an ‘Advertisement,’ and even
though the ad has a different typeface than the Times’ front-page news content, it’s a bad
idea with serious ethical implications.”
View the disclaimer, headline and part of the body type of the advertisement [see the
separate file in this folder showing the ad].
A year later, the Times wrapped its LATExtra section with a four-page advertising
section in news format, reporting in its lead headline, “Universal Studios Hollywood
Partially Destroyed.” The fake news treatment promoted Universal Studios’ new King
Kong attraction. Readers and city officials objected.
 Deirdre Edgar, “Readers weigh in on King Kong advertising section,” readers’
representative column in the Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2010.
 Los Angeles Times metro staff, “L.A. County supervisors protest Times ad sections.”
A preview of planned news coverage: Phil Rosenthal, “Chicago Tribune admits ‘breach’:
Chicago Tribune halts project that let readers view unpublished story outlines,” Chicago
Tribune, May 1, 2009. A research project was stopped after reporters raised journalistic
“Editorial independence and car dealers”: The dealers withdrew advertising to protest a
story that purported to advise consumers on how to negotiate for a purchase. Jay Black,
Robert Steele and Ralph Barney, Doing Ethics in Journalism: A Handbook With Case
Studies (Needham Heights, Mass.: Allyn & Bacon, 1999), 137-138.
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