Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lee nominated 'Ass Clown of the Week'

Lee Enterprises is on the Riverfront Times's nominees for "Ass Clown of the Week." Lee, owner of the Suburban Journals of St. Louis, laid off reporter-turned-Web editor Todd Smith last week. In February 2008, Smith was covering a story at the Kirkwood, Mo., City Hall when a gunman shot and killed several officials. Smith was shot in the hand -- he's the only person who was shot to survive the attack.

Other nominees: Hoodlums at Imagine College Preparatory High School, Meramec-Arnold Elks and U.S. Fidelis. Voting is open through Sunday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pulitzer's rigged? Argument seems very thin

It seems to be quite a stretch, but the North County Gazette says the Pulitzer Prizes must be rigged -- how else would The Post-Star win?

The Gazette points out that Joyce Dehli, Lee's vice president for news, sits on the Pulitzer Prize board and that Ken Tingley, editor of The Post-Star, was a Pulitzer prize judge. Neither were involved in judging categories in which Lee newspapers were finalists. Another part of the Gazette's argument revolves around Lee's financially unstable status -- which is true of nearly any newspaper chain right now.

The Gazette doesn't look into the history of Lee and the Pulitzer Prizes: I looked through the winners from 1985 to 2009, and The Post-Star is the only Lee paper that I saw. Is this the first paper to win a Pulitzer Prize under Lee's ownership?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Suburban Journals reporter shot while covering meeting laid off

The Riverfront Times in St. Louis has an interview with Todd Smith -- the editor laid off from the Suburban Journals of St. Louis a few months after he was shot reporting on a city council meeting.

Casper Star-Tribune wins public records case

A judge has ruled that the Natrona County, Wyo., Circuit Court's policy of denying public access to files in child endangerment cases is a violation of the state's public-records law.

The Casper Star-Tribune filed suit against the circuit court in December, seeking information on the boating death of an 11-year-old boy. The court can withhold the names of sex crime victims, but the current practice of automatically closing case files involving child endangerment.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Post-Star's editorial page editor wins Pulitzer

Post-Star editorial page editor Mark Mahoney won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It's the first Pulitzer for The Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y., and faced competition from The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post in this category. The Post-Star is the smallest paper among this year's winners.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Columnist out at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch fired columnist Sylvester Brown, or he quit -- it depends on who you ask.

Brown said he was put on paid administrative leave March 27 after a trip to Washington, D.C. The paper says the trip was paid for by an East St. Louis group Brown was writing about; Brown says he happened to be in D.C. at the same time as the East St. Louis group because he was working on a book deal.

Brown has set up a blog.

The paper published a note, but has otherwise been pretty quiet about the whole thing.

Unreleated: Michael Miner of the Chicago Reader's News Bites says the Post-Dispatch's Bill McClellan could be the best local newspaper columnist anywhere.

Illinois investment firm doubles its stake in Lee

From Editor & Publisher's Fitz & Jen:
Fitz: First Trust Portfolios, a Wheaton, Ill.-based investment firm, has nearly doubled its stake in Lee Enterprises, according to an SEC filing Thursday. First Trust, which on Dec. 31 said it held 1.43 million shares, or 3.67%, of the troubled community publisher, now holds 2.72 million shares, or 7.0%, according to the filing.

At about noon, Lee stock (NYSE: LEE) was trading at 43 cents, up 5 cents, or 13%, from the open. LEE’s share price is down 96% from the $10.44-a-share close exactly one year ago.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch photo sparks race debate

The April 10 cover of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch entertainment tab Go! featured an interracial couple kissing. It caused an uproar; the paper's "Conversation About Race" blog got more than 350 comments on the story. And Gawker referred to commenters as Missouri rednecks.

The Post-Dispatch published a follow-up story on the debate today.

Suburban Journals lays off 15

The Suburban Journals of St. Louis laid off 15 employees on April 15, including reporter Todd Smith. Smith was shot in the hand last year while covering a meeting at the Kirkwood City Hall in Kirkwood, Mo. Six people were killed: Two police officers, three city officials and the shooter. The Kirkwood mayor was injured, and died a few months later.

(Via e-mail, blog comment)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Newspaper stocks up, except Lee

Gannett shares were up 39 percent Thursday. E.W. Scripps shares were up 31 percent. A.H. Belo shares were up 23 percent. Journal Communications shares were up 18 percent. Lee shares were down 5.3 percent.

Gannett and Scripps are the only ones above $2; Gannett is worth the most. Lee is currently hovering around 36 cents.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Montana Standard names interim publisher

Controller Lynn Lloyd has been named The Montana Standard's interim publisher. Lee is expected to name a permanent publisher in May.

Publisher Janet Taylor's last day is April 10.

Court: MySpace posts aren't private

Here's an interesting tale:

A college student posted an "ode" on her MySpace page, blasting her hometown of Coalinga, Calif. The local high school principal found it and sent a copy of it to the editor of the Coalinga Record where it was published as a letter to the editor. (The post was online for six days; by the time it was published in the paper, it had been removed.) The author's family said they were forced to move out of town, and sued the editor, the paper and the paper's parent company, Lee Enterprises. Lee was dismissed from the suit; last week the court ruled publishing the "letter" was not an invasion of privacy. The family's emotional distress complaints will go before jurors.

It should also raise a question: Why was a MySpace blog post submitted by a third party ever published in the paper as a letter?

Here's the ruling on Moreno v. Hanford Sentinel Inc.

(Via e-mail)

2008: Layoffs vs.CEO's earnings

Lee's 2008 layoffs: 433
Lee's 2009 layoffs: Already 272
CEO Mary Junck's 2008 total compensation: $1,089,506

PDN Pulse has a list of how much media CEOs earned last year.