Talking New Media

The Washington Post rides to president’s rescue with story Mother Jones broke last year

Morning Brief: The end of 2017 will see more M&A activity as Rodale sale to Hearst is completed, bids come in for Rolling Stone and US and UK properties owned by Time Inc.

Ff didn’t feel a sense of deja vu yesterday you must not have been conscious during last year’s election. The news for Donald Trump was terrible — first a fight with one retiring senator, and then another gives a speech denouncing him from the floor of the Senate when announcing his own retirement. But then The Washington Post drops a story that allows the media to immediately utter the words that have save Trump these past year: Hillary Clinton!

The story is that Marc Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, helped fund Fusion GPS research on Trump after Republican opposition funding ended. It is actually a story that broke at the end of October of last year when David Corn reported on the dossier and wrote that “the project’s financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.”

In other words, the story that led CNN, Fox and even the Rachel Maddow Show had been known since before the election, but… well, if you were have said “emails” you would get the idea.

That the Post, and now the NYT, should play up an old story and call it new, just at the moment when the Trump administration was having to deal with two major defections, tells you all you need to know: the media has learned nothing from the 2016 election, and the Trump administration has little to fear from both Marty Baron and Dean Baquet.

With the Rodale sale to Hearst apparently all tied up neatly, the focus now turns to the Time Inc. properties and Rolling Stone.

Time Inc. wont’t report earnings until the second week of November, giving them more time to find potential bidders for their loose collection of US titles, as well as what I would consider the big prize, its UK holdings. But lots of people will be looking to see what the numbers look like as rumors swirl of more layoffs, which usually means the numbers might not be very pretty.

NY Post, Keith Kelly:

Bids due this week for Rolling Stone sale

First round bids for Rolling Stone are due Friday. More than 30 parties have taken a look at the company’s finances, being circulated by Methuselah Partners…

…But Todd Boehly, who owns Billboard, and the Vibe and Spin Web sites, is said to be very interested in adding RS to the holdings of his Eldridge Industries, the investment firm he founded after exiting Guggenheim Partners.

Forbes, Paul Fletcher:

Time Inc. To Lay Off As Many As 200 Employees Next Month

The company, which publishes Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and numerous other titles, announced back in the summer that it would be cutting 300 jobs, or 4 percent of its worldwide workforce, through voluntary buyouts, attrition and ultimately layoffs.

Time CEO Rich Bautista said the company would be cutting $400 million in costs, including the job reductions. About half of the positions to be eliminated are editorial…

…Sports Illustrated would go from 38 issues a year to 27. Entertainment Weekly would drop four issues from 38 to 34; Fortune would lose a quarter of its issues, from 16 to monthly. And Money would be published 10 times a year instead of 11. The flagship title, Time, would not lose any issues, but the company said it would reduce costs by cutting the circulation of the magazine from 3 million to 2 million.

Johnson Fistel LLP, Press Release:

Johnson Fistel Investigates Time, Inc.; Harmed Investors Encouraged to Contact Firm

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — October 24, 2017 — Shareholder Rights Law Firm Johnson Fistel LLP is investigating potential violations of the federal securities laws by Time Inc. (NYSE: TIME). Time together with its subsidiaries operates as a multi-platform media and content company.

On May 10, 2017, Time issued a press release announcing its fourth straight drop in quarterly sales and a bigger-than-expected loss. The Company also stated that the dividend would be slashed amid a push to cut costs, following the decision not to sell the Company. After this news, shares of Time fell over 14.0% on May 10, 2017.

If you have information that could assist in this investigation, including past employees and others, or if you are a Time shareholder and are interested in learning more about the investigation or your legal rights and remedies, please contact Jim Baker ( by email or phone at 619-814-4471. If emailing, please include a phone number.

Not to be confused with the television show family, the Adams family have been in the news for making a series of newspaper acquisitions. But just who are these people investing in print is something that would require some digging as the new company does not provide much information online.

Rick Edmonds of Poynter, though, helps us out.

Poynter, Rick Edmonds:

Who are the Adams family, and why are they buying newspapers by the dozen?

arely three years old, Minneapolis-based Adams has assembled a group of more than 100 small dailies, weeklies and shoppers in at least 15 separate transactions. In contrast to other big consolidators, they often leave existing management in place, do not impose cookie-cutter content templates, and do not start by stripping down newsrooms of editors and reporters…

…One thing is for sure: The Adamses are loaded.

Estimates put the family’s net worth north of a billion dollars. In 2005, Steve Adams and his wife donated $100 million to the Yale School of Music, a gift he revealed three years later in a Wine Spectator article about his vineyards in California and France.

If there is one kind of story that The New York Times excels at it is the story exemplifying ‘whataboutism’, where both sides do something bad so that nothing, in the end, really matters. The Times are the pros in this regard, and we can thank them for using the approach to get us into the Iraq War, Donald Trump as president, etc.

When the NYT turns its belated attention to Spain and Catalonia what does it do? You can guess.

The New York Times, Rafael Minder:

In Catalonia Crisis, Shared Blame for ‘a Difficult and Undesirable Situation’

The standoff over Catalonia’s independence drive has now reached a sobering moment for Spain with the central government’s announcement this weekend that it would take the drastic step of removing the region’s secessionist leaders.

The situation probably never had to come to this extreme point, but now that it has, there is plenty of blame to share — and potentially worse pitfalls ahead on what amounts to a precarious and deeply uncertain path for a modern European democracy.