Rupert Murdoch Making a Bid for ‘Newsday’?According to Crain’s, Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. might be plotting to buy Long Island tabloid Newsday. The news comes shortly after the release of the quarterly results of the Tribune Company (Newsday’s owner), which showed an $78 million loss in its continuing operations at the end of 2007.
Barack Is the New Brangelina!MEDIA
• Turns out Barack Obama’s underwear is more interesting to Us Weekly readers than Britney Spears’s custody battles. A Q&A with the Chicago senator in which he refused to answer the boxers-or-briefs question generated the some of the highest-ever traffic for a single article on the site, second only to news of Heath Ledger’s death [WWD]
• The Sam Zell bloodbath continues: The Tribune Co. owner axes 120 Newsday jobs. [NYP]
•Is Matt Drudge the world’s most powerful journalist? [Telegraph]
• The FBI isn’t happy with a recent Rolling Stone article on the Joint Terrorism Task Forces. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
in other news
Print Organizations Band Together, But Who Will Remain on the Island?MEDIA
• Print organizations make like Survivor: The New York Times, Hearst, Tribune, and Gannet form an alliance to back a new online company called quadrantONE. [USAT]
• Star magazine makes no apologies for paying sources for scoops. In fact, “right underneath [Candace] Trunzo’s editor’s note in the current issue is an unbridled pitch with dollar signs around the edges.” [NYP]
• Bad blood is brewing between Barron’s and CNBC after the publication ran a critical story about Mad Money’s Jim Cramer. [CJR]
‘Post’ Ruins Man’s Life Because He Has Weird SexMEDIA
• The Post violated a man’s privacy by publishing his name after he was injured in an S&M sex tryst. They also, um, called his wife and published where he lived. While activists protest, a spokesman says, “The Post will happily name every adult caught in a dog collar.” One day we need to really start “happily” naming every married Post editor caught at a strip joint. [Portfolio]
• Sam Zell’s Tribune Co. will cut staff by two percent. Is it the same two percent that he’s already cursed out? [LAT]
• Times scribe Alessandra Stanley spends a column (a few days late) talking about how MSNBC’s “Best Political Team on Television” is in disgrace. Sadly, it’s CNN that incessantly uses the “Best Political Team” moniker, which causes Gawker to ask whether the TV critic actually “owns a TV.” [Gawker]
Thay It Ain’t So! Merrill Chief Loses Part of BonusFINANCE
• The falling market has shaved off a big chunk of Wall Street hottie John Thain’s compensation. Don’t worry, Thainie-boy, we still love you. [DealBook/NYT]
• Wondering what the hell’s happening in the markets? Watch one trader lose his life savings in a single day. (NSFW) [Crossing Wall Street]
• Ex–Goldman banker becomes underwater gravedigger. Say what? [NYT]
Some Necessary Advice for Sam ZellToday Business Week’s Jon Fine has a bunch of advice for new Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell. It’s all about how to make the most of his recent acquisition and includes counsel like “Outsource all printing,” “Don’t fall for the mirage of synergy,” and “Don’t be afraid of price hikes.” Very technical stuff, and probably very useful. But come on. Zell is a new media baron. He has much more important changes to worry about, like how to change his personal life and habits in order to fit the role! Not just anybody can be a press lord. It takes a specific breed of crotchety old men with unique sexual proclivities and horrendous progeny to fit the bill. So we’ve come up with some advice for Zell that has actual practical applications. Without further ado:
• Dump your wife of many years and immediately marry a much younger, much more Asian version.
• Pit your children against one another in a battle to become your heir apparent, in which none have any hope of winning.
• Start getting mad about Israel.
• Get to work on that gin-blossom look.
• Begin hanging around with Tom Wolfe or an equivalent writer who will fictionalize you and talk appropriately about your masculinity.
• Get anointed as a member of the Order of Letters or Knights of the Garter from a foreign nation. Then insist upon being called “Lord.”
• Pick a nemesis, preferably one whose company is already weakening. Then attack!
• Sleep with Jane Fonda. If possible, make her feel bad about herself.
Come on, Sammy! Get started! Those kids won’t disinherit themselves!
You’ve Got Tribune. Now Do Something [Business Week]
it just happened
Tribune Co. Goes to Sam Zell (for Now)
The big idea lately in newspapering — poor, beleaguered newspapering — has been the proposition that newspapers of the billionaires, by the billionaires, and for the people might just be the best kind of newspapers. (One well-known billionaire, goes the logic, is better than anonymous private-equity firms or, worse, Hassan Elmasry.) The proposition hasn’t worked out quite as believers hoped in Philadelphia, and in Boston Jack Welch hasn’t even been allowed to try. But this morning Chicago’s Tribune Company — owner of the eponymous paper, plus the insurrectionary Los Angeles Times, Long Island’s Newsday, and other newspapers, TV stations, and a baseball team — announced that it has accepted an offer from local billionaire Sam Zell.
A Last-Minute Bid for TribuneMEDIA
• L.A. Billionaires Ron Burkle and Eli Broad jumped back into the Tribune contest, offering $1 per share more than Sam Zell. [NYT]
• After Joy Press left for Salon, new Voice editor Tony Ortega rehired former editor Brian Parks to edit the arts and culture section. [Eat the Press/HP]
• Former Times public editor Dan Okrent appears in the upcoming film The Hoax, playing a publishing exec engaged in fraud. [WWD]
Lindsay Lohan, DumbstruckThe big news today in the city’s big businesses.
• Lindsay Lohan’s Miu Miu ads keep coming — now she’s a vibrant, dumbstruck dolly. [Fashionologie]
• There’s a bimbo logjam at the top of Mr. Blackwell’s annual worst-dressed list. [Downtown Darling]
• A Paris court dismissed Karl Lagerfeld’s claim against journalist Alicia Drake. He sued her for invasion of privacy — but really, people say, because she called him middle class. [WWD]