GOLDMINE: Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision allowing corporate and union spending to support and oppose political candidates (link here to reports by the NY Times and Politico) has sales departments in America’s ailing media companies salivating. Mayor Bloomberg’s rich campaign spending (over 100 million dollars) saved a lot of budgets last year. Big money campaigns across America may rescue media yet again.
NATIONAL ENQUIRER PULITZER: Fact is, its stories on candidate John Edwards alerted the country to a potential disaster — wouldn’t that qualify? The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz quotes Enquirer executive editor Barry Levine: “It’s clear we should be a contender for this.” About 25 years ago, I posted an article in our newsroom that favorably compared National Enquirer science coverage with that of the NY Times, and drew guffaws from my staff. The Enquirer, which traditionally paid its editorial staffers and contributors top dollar, has frequently been on the right side of the news break. ALSO: ABC News 20/20 interviews National Enquirer editor, the Enquirer reports. AND: Headline in today’s NY Post: I’M THE POP, SAYS THE WEASEL
AIR AMERICA RIP: The liberal talk radio network shut down for good on Thursday. Read the official statement, and reports in Variety and Time, plus an upbeat piece about the future of liberal talk from the Huffington Post.
NOT WORTH SQUAT: In Ashland, Oregon, newspapers sell so few copies through their street racks that their distributor has pulled almost all of the racks rather than pay a new $25 per year city-imposed fee, Editor & Publisher reports.
WHEN IS IT FRAUD? Which brings us to this — do you have to deliberately cook the books to be guilty of fraud, or is there a presumption that you are responsible for your business? By now, after ABC’s trustworthiness has been shown to rival that of Bernard Madoff’s accountant, only fools rely solely on traditional audits for a true picture of a newspaper’s circulation. But how many newspaper people who quote their own circ and readership stats really understand what they’re mouthing? Does anyone believe that two-and-a-half people read a copy of a daily newspaper; does anyone know how many free papers, loaded in racks and on store counters, are actually picked up and read (or, conversely, dumped)? Now that newspapers have to compete with a medium capable of documenting its audience with laser-like authenticity, it’s the eleventh-hour for newspapers to clean up their act.
MURDOCH PAYWALL: As the NY Times prepares to go behind the wall, there’s interest in News Corp’s plan to do the same. With Murdoch promising the rise of paywalls sooner rather than later, two of his small American dailies have already implemented online charges. Here’s what the editor of one of those newspapers has to say in his eSouthern Oregon blog.
GQ’S HAPPY: If they’re happy, I’m happy. But just how ecstatic should we get over a $2.99 iPhone app that netted Conde Nast a whopping $39,000 in two months? Read on.
CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: To some extent, that would be Orthodox Jews. From sunset Friday until the onset of Saturday night, they’re off the internet; if they want information, it’s going to come in a printed package.
Admittedly, circulation boosts for secular media that might be attributed to Orthodox Jews are marginal at best (rabbis prefer that their flock read holy books or contemplate spiritual matters and not read about stock market fluctuations, and they can’t explicitly buy a newspaper on Saturday).
For Jewish media, however, the Sabbath is a pot of gold.
And with that pot in mind, newspapers appealing to the Orthodox Jewish community are improving their quality and stepping up their competition.
A report in today’s Forward sets out the players.