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Newspaper Roundup: LAT; Boston Globe; Seattle P-I; McClatchy; Paywalls

This story was written by David Kaplan.
LAT's large front page ad draws protests from editorial staff: About 100 staffers at the struggling Tribune Company paper have petitioned LAT Publisher Eddy Hartenstein "strenuously" objecting to a large front page ad for the new NBC cop show Southland. The ad includes a column that resembles a news article. One unidentified staffer summed up the signers' feelings for Reuters: "This place already had horrible morale problems with decimating layoffs, but now to have our publisher whore out the front page is more than we can stand. It blurs the line between paid content and content that our reporters are producing."

Boston Globe union calls cuts "outrageous": Faced with accepting significant cuts in pay and benefits or seeing the NYTCo's Boston Globe sold or shuttered, reps for the paper's largest union say they'll accept some reductions, but are balking at "the draconian amount" of $10 million in savings demanded by its parent company. (For more on paper's exposure to unions, our Rory Maher added it up here.)

Seattle P-I's pageviews are up, but uniques are down: Three weeks after the demise of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in print, it's online life continues to struggle. So far, pageviews are up a meager 1.2 percent, while uniques have dropped 10.7 percent. That's something of an improvement over the results of its first week as a web-only product. As our Joseph Tartakoff (a Seattle P-I reporter until the very end), pointed out after that first printless week, traffic was down 20 percent. More after the jump.

McClatchy: we'll make $200M from digital in '09: Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America's annual meeting, McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) CEO Gary Pruitt claimed that the publisher will generate roughly $200 million dollars in digital revenue this year at a higher profit margin than its print business. The company certainly has its share of troublesit posted a $21 million net loss in Q4but it's online ad growth has remained steady. Still, while the claim that online now accounts for 15 percent of McClatchy's total revs, that probably has more to do with declining print dollars than rising digital ones.

NPR's Schiller: Keep newspaper websites free: There are only three proven areas that have successfully gotten users to pay for online content, NPR CEO and the former head of NYTimes.com Vivian Schiller tells Beet.tv's Andy Plesser. And newspaper sites aren't one ofthem (paid content success can be had mainly by specialized financial data, sports fantasy and, of course, porn). In addition to defending the decision to kill Times Select, Schiller warns that pay-walls can't compensate for the loss of ad dollars and ultimately, sites withhold content behind subscriptions will only drive users to free "lesser quality news content."


By David Kaplan