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The [Wednesday] Papers

"The editorial staff of Gawker Media, which voted to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East last summer, has approved its first union contract. The vote was 88-2," Gawker reports.

"Ninety of the 99 current members of the bargaining unit cast a vote. The full contract, which will be in effect for three years, can be found here. A number of other digital media organizations are currently negotiating their first union contracts as well."

Now would be a good time for Tribune Publishing newsrooms to get with the times and unionize.

After all, says Gawker, "If we can do it so can you."


"The dual publisher-editor role is being billed by Tribune Publishing as a 'content-first' initiative aimed at creating 'the largest global audience on all mediums,' according to the company," the Tribune reports. "It also straddles the line between business and journalism, a shift that Dold, a longtime journalist who most recently served as Tribune's editorial page editor, said is already taking place."

It doesn't straddle the line in the least - it crosses it. Making a newspaper's editor the publisher is a method owners have used to abolish the separation of church and state that is supposed to protect the integrity of the newsroom's journalism; reporters and editors now report to the publisher, who also happens to edit the newspaper. We all know what that's about.

"The editor at the Tribune before I came in had been involved in business initiatives," Dold said. "I served with a number of publishers here, including Tony Hunter, and every one of them understood how important our journalism was and how important it was to protect the integrity of that. So that doesn't change at all, whatever the titles are."

Perhaps, but Michael Ferro clearly does not understand how important it is to protect a newsroom's integrity.

Unasked of Dold: Does it trouble you that Michael Ferro dipped into the Sun-Times newsroom when he was the principal owner there and meddled with the paper's political coverage to an extent that highly respected veteran reporter Dave McKinney chose to leave? Does it bother you that veteran Capitol Fax publisher and syndicated political columnist Rich Miller "was dismissed by the Sun-Times after penning a column critical of Mr. Rauner?" Does it concern you that "Ferro ha[d] been exerting pressure on editors regarding coverage of Rauner?"

These are the questions of Dold that have to be asked. Did you raise these issues with Ferro before you accepted the editor/publisher job? Did you receive assurances that he wouldn't interfere with the newsroom?

My guess is that Dold took the money and the power and ran.


Dold's assurances that integrity would remain intact comes just two days after longtime industry analyst Ken Doctor reported for Politico this:

While old-fashioned investigative journalism took center stage in Los Angeles at the Oscars Sunday evening, hometown reporters for the L.A. Times found themselves scrambling to cover the event.

The Times had been allocated six passes for entry to the Dolby Theater - essential access to tell the story of the night by the big broadsheet located in America's entertainment capital - but until the last minute not one of them was allocated to a reporter.

According to several sources in and around the Times, the passes went to the Tribune Publishing's new brass. Tribune Publishing Chairman Michael Ferro and CEO Justin Dearborn reportedly used the passes, each along with a guest.

The last two were earmarked for publisher Tim Ryan, who was persuaded to do the right thing and gave up his seats after receiving a flabbergasted e-mail from the Times' film desk.

Those tickets - in the cheaper, mezzanine seats - allowed Times reporters Amy Kaufman and Steve Zeitchik into the theater to do their reporting.

That's not even the best part. This is:

Times editor Davan Maharaj, who spent part of Monday putting out the fires sparked by the incident, didn't respond to an e-mail requesting comment; he had told staffers that he was concerned that news of the Oscar ticket flap would make its way into the press.

Maharaj also just added the role of publisher to his job as editor of the Times.


In fact, "As part of the companywide restructuring, editors will assume editor-publisher roles at eight other Tribune papers, including Jeff Light at the San Diego Union-Tribune."

The editor/publisher gambit is well-known at small papers - and is generally perceived in the industry as a small-paper kind of thing to do to make sure editors are on board with advertisers. Ferro did the same thing at the Sun-Times, making Jim Kirk the editor/publisher. The Tribune's newspapers further degrade their brand with this kind of amateur positioning.

(Reading the Times article on Maharaj is a real kick if you know that Maharaj is widely viewed in the newsroom as a flunky - which was also how Dold predecessor Gerry Kern was seen in many quarters from the get-go when he was installed as editor by Sam Zell and Randy Michaels, which is something to keep in mind when Dold cites the previous editor's involvement in business initiatives.)


Meanwhile, Ferro has announced that he will put his stake in the Sun-Times into a charitable trust - two words not usually associated with Ferro.


Eddie Einhorn's Anti-Veeckian Legacy
He took everything done by the most popular owner in Chicago sports and did the opposite. In The White Sox Report.

Terracotta Warriors
"A life-size army of painted clay soldiers buried to guard an emperor's tomb" - now at the Field!


A sampling.









The Beachwood Tip Line: Make editors great again.


Posted on March 2, 2016

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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