Morning Reading List 03.26.09

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Its day 66 covering the Obama administration and week eight for us. Happy Birthday to Bob Woodward (h/t Playbook). What we know and what we’re reading this Thursday morning…



The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said yesterday it will cut its full-time news staff by about 90 people, or nearly 30 percent, to lower costs as it tries to regain profitability amid a severe revenue slump. The company will also eliminate distribution to seven more metro Atlanta counties.

Well somebody in this newspaper business is still doing well. WaPo Co. Chief Don Graham racked up his 18th year without a salary raise in 2008. But he earned a bonus nearly doubling the value of his total compensation package.


From Politico: The president at a DNC fund-raiser last night, channeling Dan Pfeiffer: “I know it can be easy especially in Washington to get caught up in the day to day chatter of cable television, to be distracted by the petty and the trivial, and to fall into the trap of keeping score about who’s up and who’s down. There will be days we may be declared the winner; days when the umpires say oh they lost that one; there will be days when the markets go up; there will be days when the markets go down.”

Speaking of cable, the top 35 ad-supported cable networks are up 7 percent in total viewers this season, according to a report based on Nielsen Media Research data. It shows Fox News and MSNBC among the cable networks posting large first-quarter audience gains in prime time.

NBC has instituted an across-the-board freeze on raises for its executives and talent, even those with contracts guaranteeing them salary bumps. NBC News — and probably all of NBC Universal — is discreetly calling around and asking its on-air and off-air employees to take one for the team.

With Mexico in the headlines of late, President Obama will talk directly to a massive Hispanic audience when he makes an historic appearance on Premio Lo Nuestro, Univision’s longest-running and most popular music awards show today.


WTOP’s Mark Plotkin got into it with Terry McAuliffe at the Capital Grille Tuesday evening, but all in good fun, Reliable Sources assures us.


NY Observer warns us of our competition. Dan Abrams wants in on the media blogging and aggregation business. For the past several months, Abrams has been meeting with various NY-based media reporters, editors, and bloggers about the potential editorial venture. To date, nobody has signed on.


Managing Editor Richard Stengel on Time’s cover story by Kurt Andersen “The End of Excess: Why this crisis is good for America,” via Playbook: “I believe Kurt’s cover this week will be the defining piece that comes out of this economic crisis. It is not only smart, but wise. He starts out by saying we all knew this was coming and then charts the cycles of American history in a way that historians can only envy… From when this all began, I thought Kurt could become the poet laureate of the crisis — he’s one of the few writers of our time who can unite popular culture, history, and economics and with this piece he proves it.”

There goes one of my vices. The consumer appetite for celebrity news has exploded in recent years, but shortsighted strategies, poor management, and the recession have hit traditional celebrity media hard — so hard experts say celeb mags may not survive the economic crisis.


Its the President v. the Press on the Daily Beast.

Jay Rosen: As the crisis in newspaper journalism grinds on, people watching it are trying to explain how we got here, and what we’re losing. Lately, the pace has picked up. Here are twelve links to recent pieces about this process that form a kind of flying seminar on the future of news, presented in real time.

HAT TIPS: Mediabistro; Romenesko

REVOLVING DOOR and JOBS after the jump.


Paul Mason, who when named senior vice president at ABC News became the highest ranking black journalist in broadcast television news, officially stepped down in February, Mason told Journal-isms. Mason worked at ABC News since 1981. He was previously the executive in charge of “Nightline,” “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” and “America This Morning.” The departure of Mason leaves only Mark Whitaker, a senior vice president at NBC News and its Washington bureau chief, among black journalists at the top levels of the network news divisions. (h/t DCRTV)


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