The Things We (Almost) Missed This Week

Before we head into the weekend, here’s a look at some big media stories we (almost) missed this week. Better late than never, right?

Times Public Editor Takes On Stanley: New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt tried to explain how an “especially embarrassing” number of corrections appeared in Alessandra Stanley’s appraisal of Walter Cronkite’s career. Although Hoyt called Stanley “a prolific writer much admired by editors for the intellectual heft of her coverage of television,” she has a history of making mistakes. As Hoyt explained:

“For all her skills as a critic, Stanley was the cause of so many corrections in 2005 that she was assigned a single copy editor responsible for checking her facts. Her error rate dropped precipitously and stayed down after the editor was promoted and the arrangement was discontinued. Until the Cronkite errors, she was not even in the top 20 among reporters and editors most responsible for corrections this year. Now, she has jumped to No. 4 and will again get special editing attention.”

We reached out to Hoyt and a Times rep to see if we could find out who the three reporters and editors with the most errors are, but we haven’t received any response. For now, it looks like Stanley’s job is safe, but who knows what will happen once the paper appoints a new culture editor, now that current editor Sam Sifton has been named restaurant critic.

And Speaking Of Cronkite: The Times corrected yet another error in Cronkite’s obituary.

A New Business Model For Journalism? Over the weekend, The Boston Globe profiled Christopher Kimball, founder of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated. His business model — earning all its money from readers, not advertisers — has kept his company thriving while other media companies and magazines struggle.

Although revenue and income numbers for the privately-held Boston Common Press, which owns Kimball’s publishing properties, are unknown, Kimball’s “making money hand over fist,” the Globe said.

“He does it by giving his readers exactly what they want and by charging them big for it — for instance, the six-issues-a-year Cook’s Illustrated is $35.70 a year on the newsstand, $24.95 for an annual print subscription, and $34.95 for an online subscription ($29.95 if you’re a print subscriber, too). He doesn’t offer discounts for print subscriptions, and he doesn’t have to: Subscriber renewal rates are about 78 percent…”

Can other magazines go in this direction? Is this a business model they should be considering?