Media news: Philly newspaper mourns death of owner; Amazon’s PR strategy of silence has its critics in the press
Game Informer updates its Newsstand app trying to squash bugs that have negative reader reviews piling up
The sad saga of the Philadelphia newspapers seemingly will not end. Only days after an auction determined that Lewis Katz, would become the co-owner of the Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com, comes news that he had died in a plane accident along with six other passengers and crew.
The plane burst into flames upon takeoff from a Massachusetts airfield. Katz, known in his later years for his philanthropy, was returning from a fund-raiser at the home of the author-historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Katz, along with businessman H. F. Lenfest, had just won the auction for the Philadephia newspapers and Philly.com, bidding $88 million. The news was generally greater positively, and it was hoped that the auction would put an end to the financial woes of the newspapers that had experience previous auctions following bankruptcy.
Today, The Inquirer featured several tributes to Katz including its official obituary.
The PR battle between Amazon.com and Hachette Book Group is a one-side affair, with the publisher being very vocal and visible during its fight with the online retailer. Today, for instance, the NYT published a feature on Michael Pietsch, chief executive of Hachette. On Sunday David Carr, the NYT’s media columnist, reviewed the situation, and the media’s negative reaction to Amazon’s approach to press relations.
But Amazon is handling the press in a similar fashion to how Apple, Google and other west coast companies tech giants management the press: it says nothing. It is an approach that appears to work when trying to keep new products under wraps, but is a PR nightmare when the company is under fire.
“Ordinarily I’d ignore this scrimmage between two capitalist antagonists and go find something random on Amazon to buy while drinking a strong cup of joe, reading my newspaper, and swearing randomly,” Reuter’s Jack Shafer wrote. “But Amazon’s silence has made me madder than an anaconda stuffed into a black garden hose and left to cook in the Arizona sun, to paraphrase Ed Anger of Weekly World News.”
“If Amazon thinks I don’t care about its silence, it’s wrong. I take it personally that the company doesn’t think it owes me even a half-baked explanation for why I can’t buy some books from it.”
Wisely staying out of the way is Barnes & Noble, which can stand on the sidelines watching the drama, but will have to once again become public when the next quarter’s earnings are to be announced. Ironically, that is when Amazon will once again also have to be more public, and it will provide those media reporters who are annoyed with its silence another opportunity to pile on. It is why the strategy of silence never can work forever.
Among the media app updates released this weekend was Game Informer, the magazine that can claim in its app description to be “the 3rd largest overall consumer magazine in the United States” – thanks to its digital editions.
But its app has gotten mostly negative reviews of late due to readers being unable to access issues.
The update states that there is a new onscreen interface and that there are stability improvements. We’ll see if this stops the negative reviews for the app which now out number positive reviews two to one.