Gannett’s CEO Craig Dubow is trying to show he feels his staff’s pain after announcements of layoffs, and is taking a $200,000 pay cut. So that means his salary will only be $1 million. But before you play the world’s smallest violin for him, remember that he also gets other compensation through bonuses, stock, etc. for a total $7.5 million a year. Nice work if you can get it.


Pretty interesting traffic numbers and staffing figures from the Nieman Lab. It puts all the media layoffs into perspective when you realize how large an audience some sites are drawing with so few actual workers. I assume they are mostly outsourcing the technical site production to concentrate on content.

Some interesting debate here about The New York Times and ProPublica teaming up to ask for $1 million from the Knight News Challenge. With loads of debt, the NYT could use any infusion of cash it can get, but is it in the spirit of the grant to help fund such a media organization?

Many have talked about the non-profit model being the way for media to go, like NPR and AP. Maybe there’s room for a combination of the two, such as a news organization that seeks to break even on its own but relies on some outside donations to make ends meet. Still, it doesn’t quite feel right that this means a small startup relying on Knight News Challenge funds could be aborted before birth just to add a little money to the already large Times budget.

Somehow, this NYT article on the role new media have played in the campaign just seems to be a bit obvious and late. I’m trying not to be like a snarky tech blog site and scoff at “gee whiz technology” pieces written by larger media organizations, but I just had to say something.

I would have appreciated more a look at how new media led to substantive differences in the election process overall (besides boosting SNL’s ratings). Are voters more informed, or is there so much noise out there that they are more confused than ever? What was the effect on campaign donations? We’ll have to wait until after Tuesday to see if all this information actually motivated more people to go to the polls.

Ex-Wonkette vixen Ana Marie Cox is getting some attention for her plea for public donations to keep covering the McCain campaign. With attention high in the final days of the race, she is having some success in raising funds.

I wonder, however, whether this is a feasible model in the long-term to sponsor daily coverage of issues that aren’t on the world’s immediate radar. My fellow Knight fellow Chris Allbritton pioneered this back at the start of the Iraq war, but is also always quick to note that it wasn’t economically viable in the long-term. You just can’t rely on regular audiences to cough up the cash, especially when their focus shifts to other issues.

While this Politico article focuses on the news organizations that were booted from Obama’s campaign plane due to lack of space in the final days of the race, there’s one number in here that really jumps out at me: $9.6 million. That’s the amount that journalists have paid to travel with Obama for the election campaign, along with $4.4 million to ride along with John McCain. (The Obama number is larger partly due to the longer primary season, and I’d guess his international tour that was widely followed also wasn’t cheap.)

Put it together, and that’s a total of $14 million on media campaign travel expenses. Doing real, professional journalism isn’t cheap.

I’ve been thinking about this leaked memo posted on Romenesko, where an anonymous staffer says that basically the LA Times will no longer have its own Washington bureau. Instead, they will be part of a combined Tribune Co. bureau, and only have two staffers specifically writing for the LA audience.

It’s just the latest step in the slow and painful decline of that newspaper. The LA Times once was considered among the nation’s best dailies, but has dropped to second-tier status — even though it’s one of the few U.S. newspapers to retain foreign bureaus. 

Does the LA Times need its own Washington staff, or will it suffer by only having coverage from the combined Tribune bureau? Does the LA Times need its own reporter covering the White House, State, Defense, etc. who would bring an “LA perspective” to those beats? I wonder how many of their reporters had even worked or lived in LA. More than anything, not having a real Washington bureau basically cements the LAT’s decline.

It also means there will be less voices in the capital acting as a watchdog. But when press morals and business values collide, it’s the money that wins. Alas, this is the news business, as all us high-minded journalists have been repeatedly reminded.