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The [Wednesday] Papers

Geez, who would have ever thought Bishop Desmond Tutu was such a putz?

At an event on Tuesday at which the City Hall press corps apparently peppered the mayor with questions about his travels aboard the private jet of a non-profit company under federal investigation, Tutu was apparently offended that reporters strayed off-message.

"I just want to say I can't believe this," Tutu said, according to the Sun-Times's Fran Spielman, who described the bishop as "incredulous."

"But in Chicago," Mayor Daley chimed in, "the press has to find always negative things. That's how it is."

I know! Good thing the press in Johannesburg never focused on the negative.

Now, bear in mind that "Daley fended off questions Tuesday about the multiple trips he now admits he took aboard a $31 million jet owned by a nonprofit company under investigation by the IRS and Congress."

I'm not sure yet if there's anything wrong with the mayor taking those trips, but I'm getting there. When the mayor said "I don't remember all of 'em," well, I took notice because spokesperson Jackie Heard insisted last week that Daley only took one flight on the jet in question. Now he took so many trips on the jet he can't remember all of 'em.

The jet is owned by the nonprofit EduCap, a "student loan charity" which allegedly charges absurdly high interest rates and bestows luscious perks on its CEO.

It turns out, according to Heard, that Maggie Daley "used the EduCap jet as a paid employee" of the nonprofit's Academy of Achievement.

Okay, the story just got more interesting.

And for an additional twist, Spielman notes that Tutu is a member of that very same academy.

According to the Tribune, Maggie Daley was employed "as a consultant in recent years to set up conferences."

And I'm sure she's a very good conference setter-upper.

I think you can agree, Bishop,

"CBS News reported that the Daleys had taken 58 flights" on the jet, the Trib's Dan Mihalopoulos notes. "Last week, Daley spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said the mayor had only gone on one flight to Singapore on the private jet. "Today, during his first news conference since the story broke, Daley was asked how often he had flown on the jet.

"Once or twice, we pointed that out. Yes, you've got all the facts on that," the mayor replied.

Yes, we've got all the facts. Can you just give us all the facts again, though? We must have misplaced them.

Then Tutu told the media "I will absolve you and make you holy."

Which is an interesting idea because if the media gets all holy-like, news shops could re-organize as churches and stop paying taxes, though Sam Zell has found another way to achieve that end.

But first we've got to duck into the Al Sanchez trial. If Tutu did the same, he might find that the man who needed absolution was the one standing next to him lying through his teeth.

Taking Out The Trash
"Authorities say Sanchez and other HDO leaders rigged city hiring in favor of campaign workers who helped Daley and the mayor's endorsed candidates in elections for more than a decade," the Tribune reports.

"Raymond Gamboa, a deputy commissioner in the city's General Services Department and a former HDO operative, testified Monday that top Daley political strategist Timothy Degnan promised city jobs in exchange for political support in Daley's first successful run for mayor in 1989.

"In his first news conference since the trial began last week, Daley cut off a question Tuesday about that testimony, saying, 'I don't know.'

"He also was asked about testimony that a former city truck driver got her job due to political connections to Sanchez despite her inexperience. The Tribune reported in 2006 that the driver, Denise Alcantar, crushed another city worker against a pole.

"'Let the trial go on,' the mayor said. 'You can't comment on [a] pending trial'."

Of course you can. (And, of course, the trial is no longer "pending" but actually, you know, happening.)

You can comment to your heart's delight. But whatever you said wouldn't likely be true anyway, so whatever.

Got Wood
These things rule. I saw them up close myself just a few days ago and I'm a big fan. In the plaza just to the south of Trib Tower.

(And yes, I know their origin though I just referred to them as "these things." So stop typing that e-mail right now.)

Dissing Dolinsky
When is a food reporter neither a reviewer nor a blogger but actually both?

Gen Y Me
"Morgan Oliver played by what she thought was the rules. The 23-year-old got good grades and earned her college degree," All Things Considered reports.

"It hasn't yet paid off. Although she graduated last May with an expensive degree from Columbia College in Chicago, Oliver can't find work. She had a 3.82 GPA; a degree in art, entertainment and media management; and high, high hopes for what was next in life."

I can spot at least five things she did wrong. Can you?

COMMENT 3:07 P.M.: A Beachwood reader writes:

"I heard that story yesterday in the car . . . I think the sixth thing wrong with it: NPR thought this was a story in the first place."

Rating Shortstops
Where do Ryan Theriot and Alexei Ramirez fit in?

Weep Not For The Newspaper Industry
Now's not the time for your tears.

Highly Logical
I saw the Star Trek episode a few days ago where Kirk, Spock and McCoy find themselves back in 1930s America - at a soup kitchen.

While eating their "free" soup, a hobo says to Kirk, "Now you have to pay for your soup."

Kirk is confused until he realizes that the price for his "free" soup is that he has to listen to an ad. An ad for God and personal responsibility and such, but an ad nonetheless.

COMMENT 2:54 P.M.: A Beachwood reader writes:

"Teleplay originally by SF great Harlan Ellison, though he complained bitterly that Gene Roddenberry messed it up in rewrites . . . "

*

Wikipedia: "The City On The Edge of Forever."

Hope
* "Web publishers such as NYTimes.com, ESPN.com and CNN.com think they know what will attract more brand advertising online," Ad Age reports. "Hint: Try ads that look more like the ones Apple has been running on the front page of NYTimes.com and WSJ.com than, well, those 'belly-fat,' IQ and credit-score ads the networks are spraying everywhere."

* "Online display advertising sucks," writes Noah Brier, the strategic planning head for the Barbarian Group. "first off, it's hardly ever aware of the content it is hanging out with. I'm not talking contextual ads here, just saying that display advertising needs to be aware of where it lives. At least it should know what site it's on and what people are there for. I mean, we spend a lot of time thinking about our consumer, right? We know what they like and don't like and roughly where they spend their time on the web. However, we give little or no thought to what they're actually doing once they get there. What content are they looking at? What's the difference between home-page visitors and lower-level visitors?"

* But why is anyone talking about the death of online ads instead of its inevitable growth?

"Until the very end of last year we were growing dramatically in terms of our display advertising online," Denise Warren, general manager of NYTimes.com and senior vice president and chief advertising officer for the New York Times Media Group, told The Observer. "And our forecast - until the recession and its impact really became clear - was significant online advertising growth. What is difficult right now is to determine what the impact of the recession will be and how long that'll last versus were there true business prospects for Internet advertising."

And:

"'I would argue that the people who are obsessing right now with the pay model are overthinking a basic part of our business,' said Russ Stanton, editor of The Los Angeles Times.

"He pointed out that subscriptions and newsstand sales have never been able to support print journalism without serious advertising revenue. So how can any pay model be expected to cover the costs of journalism online?

"'Our industry, historically, has never charged full freight of what that costs. We cover our costs, but we don't make any money delivering it. We charge for the delivery; it doesn't come close to what it costs to produce it.'

"'I'm not a big fan of the pay model,' Mr. Stanton said. "That horse left the barn . . . We tried with what we think is our highest value content, which is our entertainment report, and we put Calendar behind a paywall several years ago for the relatively nominal price of less than 10 dollars a month, and readers rejected it."

"'It requires innovation, not simply by newspaper companies, but by media companies in general working in close collaboration with the companies that dominate the internet and who have figured out ways of monetizing content over the internet, which is to say Google and Microsoft,' he said. 'I do think there will be collaboration with the big technology companies'."

*

And:

"The paper dropped TimesSelect, which he says had some 200,000 subscribers and around $10 million in annual revenue, 'after careful analysis suggested that the ad revenues resulting from increased traffic from offering this content free through the exploding search and blogs sectors would exceed $10 million over time'."

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Exploding with hope.



Permalink

Posted on March 11, 2009


MUSIC - Song Of The Moment: Alabama.
TV - Media Consolidation To Get Even Worse.
POLITICS - Offshore Leaks Database.
SPORTS - Beachwood Radio: Broken Bears; Cubs' 7-Year Itch.

BOOKS - Inside The Book Of The Dead.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Lakes, Cheese & You.


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