media deathwatch

Newspapers Try to Stay Above the Fold

Between bankruptcy, debt, corruption scandals, layoffs, and its own inkiness, the newspaper is at least a code orange in the deathwatch alert today. But Arianna Huffington was named Media Person of the Year! The media world turns, after the jump.

• Yesterday, the Tribune Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Today, it filed for moral bankruptcy, facing allegations that its owner, Sam Zell, was “sensitive” to allegedly corrupt Chicago governor Rod Blagojevich’s differences with a Chicago Tribune page editor. Some sources claim that Blagojevich threatened to withhold state assistance to the paper until some rebel-rousing writers were axed, and Zell wasn’t too worked up about it. On top of that pile of the sort of corruption that we can only sum up with seriously?, Blagojevich may also have been a bit too friendly with Chicago’s Liz Smith, Michael Sneed (that’s a woman), a gossip at the Tribune who allegedly planted favorable items for the governor. For its part, the Tribune Company is just denying it all. And to think, it’s only Tuesday. [Chicago Sun-Times, Gawker, FishbowlNY/Mediabistro]

• Like many Americans, the New York Times is facing financial troubles yet living in a very fancy house that it once thought it could afford. Now the company is in talks with lenders to borrow a few hundred million dollars to buy itself out of debt. [Bloomberg]

• The Times is also reporting today that for newspapers like itself, as its downer headline states, “Next Year Is Looking Even Worse.” The paper reports that newspapers are being hit particularly hard by the recession, and UBS canceled its presentation on newspaper ad spending, apparently all out of ideas. The story ends by saying that a “cultural shift” is taking place in the newspaper business; one that will last “forever.” :( [NYT]

• On the online side of the Times, things are looking a bit less depressing, as has just launched a new blog, Gadgetwise, a guide to things tech-y. [Gadgetwise/NYT]

• A collection of staffers has been laid off at Rolling Stone, but a former Reader’s Digest editor has been tapped as’s “Chief Digital Officer” as the site prepares for a revamp. [Gawker]

• So the Laid-Off Journalist was not elected I Want Media’s Media Person of the Year. Instead, the site’s voters gave the honor to online media mogul Arianna Huffington. Bloggers everywhere are fist-bumping. [I Want Media]

• More magazine sadness: Staffers in the editorial, production, and art departments at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have been laid off. This is getting redundant. [FishbowlNY/Mediabistro]

• The Washington Post has raised its newsstand price by a quarter, bumping its price to 75 cents. No, WP, you see, online the news is free. [Politico]

• And finally, the Philadelphia Daily News, founded in 1925, and the Philadelphia Inquirer are planning 35 layoffs for December. [Philebrity]

Newspapers Try to Stay Above the Fold