Talking New Media

Clashes break out in Ramallah following Trump declaration; Rupert Murdoch’s winery estate said to be in path of LA fires

Morning Brief: What happens to the archives of a community newspaper when corporate owners decide to shutter the paper and website, an important question following Torstar-Postmedia deal

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and event that while initially seen as a victory for the attackers, eventually led to the defeat of both Japan and Germany. Events can be like that.

For instance, yesterday the president upset seven decades of US and world policy and officially recognized Jerusalem as the official capitol of Israel. The president declared that he had fulfilled a campaign promise and declared himself satisfied. Today, the clashes broke out, and once again the US is seen as a dishonest broker in the Middle East.

The Washington Post, Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash:

‘This will be bad’: Clashes break out in West Bank over Trump Jerusalem speech

Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers broke out Thursday in Ramallah and other places in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, one day after President Trump announced that his administration would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Palestinian Authority called for a general strike in Palestinian cities and, in Gaza, the Islamist Hamas movement urged its followers to ignite a third intifada, or uprising, against Israel.

At a checkpoint near Ramallah, Israeli forces fired dozens of rounds of tear gas and stun grenades at hundreds of Palestinian protesters gathering to air their anger over Trump’s statement. They burned tires and pelted the soldiers with rocks. “This will be bad,” said an ambulance driver.

Haaretz, Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury:

Trump’s Jerusalem Decision: Palestinians Declare Three ‘Days of Rage’ Across West Bank; Arab World Outraged

The Palestinian factions said protests will start on Wednesday and last until Friday at the very least. According to Palestinian leaders, marches against the decision are being backed by the Palestinian Authority.

Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Mahisan told Haaretz that Trump’s decision was an inflammatory material that will inspire Palestinians to take to the streets in rage. “The Palestinian people know how to protect their rights and we are in consultations regarding [our moves] in the coming days.”

I honestly don’t know what to make of this report from Alexandra Steigrad of the NY Post (formerly with WWD). It says that The New York Times has “decimated the ad sales director role” at the paper by laying off 10 of 15 ad sales directors.

As a publisher, there is one rule I adhere to without fail: one never “lays off” a sales professional. Laying them off means eliminating the position. Firing them means the position will be refilled. And as you can imagine, I am a big believer in maintaining (or growing) the size of the sales department. I admit to being one of the few people left in the newspaper industry that seems to be revenue driven, I’m old fashioned that way.

But cutting the number of ad sales directors could also be seen as a reorganization. Maybe having 15 directors made no sense? I don’t know, and the story does seem to suggest that new, different positions are to be added.

But that headline, that’s pure NY Post. It infers that the NYT has been relentlessly laying off staff. Sure, they’ve had layoffs, but the NYT is in far better shape today than the Post which has seen its print circulation fall from 667,118 a decade ago to 236,744 in its last audit.

NY Post, Alexandra Steigrad:

Ad execs are latest victims of New York Times layoffs

Advertising sales execs at the New York Times were in a tizzy on Wednesday after a fresh round of layoffs decimated the ad sales director role, The Post has learned. Out of a 15-person department, at least 10 ad sales directors were let go, sources said.

The Times confirmed that there had been some layoffs but did not comment on the number of jobs eliminated. “This was a limited and targeted action, tied to a new strategy for 2018 that intends to bring the sales leadership team as close to our clients as possible,” a spokeswoman said. “As a result, we’re also adding new positions.”

The pictures out of Los Angeles yesterday were frightful — and unfortunately, the winds on Thursday are proving unhelpful in containing the fires, especially north of the city in Ventura County.

One of those being effected is Rupert Murdoch, whose winery estate is endangered. No one, though, seems very sympathetic to the old climate denier. Especially since all experts seem to agree that climate change is a major factor in why this year’s fires have been so destructive.

Some who have not lived on the west coast may be surprised that the fire season is so bad. Didn’t California just have a great rainy season last winter. But it is, in fact, the abundance of rain last year that allowed vegetation to increase, and it is that vegetation that is the fuel needed for these fires, especially when combined with a hotter summer.

The Guardian, Rory Carroll:

Wildfire scorches Rupert Murdoch’s winery as it rips through Bel-Air

“We are monitoring the situation as closely as we can and are grateful for the efforts of all the first responders,” Murdoch said in a statement. “Some of our neighbors have suffered heavy losses and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.”

California’s fire season usually ends in November but the hottest summer on record and delayed rains have left the region tinder-dry into December. Some scientists have linked the conditions to climate change…

…Murdoch, 86, has ridiculed climate change as “alarmist nonsense”, a scepticism echoed in his media empire. Some social media commentators seized on the fire as comeuppance and juxtaposed images of the blaze with a 2011 tweet in which the mogul mocked global warming.

The Mercury News, Mark Gomez and Julia Prodis Sulek:

Why 2017’s record wildfire season keeps getting worse

Late season fires are “becoming more and more of the normal,” she said. “Our fire seasons have become longer over the past couple of decades, increased by upwards of 70 days a year.”

Still, December is unusual for such a huge, destructive fire. And there are two key factors at work: weather patterns and climate change.

Shortly after Northern California’s deadly October wildfires, the region was doused with rains, all but ending the fire season here. But the storm track avoided the southern half of the state, which has received almost no precipitation in several months. Los Angeles has received less than two-tenths of an inch of rain since May 1.

“I was driving around Mendocino and Butte counties and there’s green foliage coming back,” Null said. “They haven’t had that yet in Southern California to any extent.”

Kate Dubinski, radio and digital reporter with CBC News, asks a damn good question: what happens to the archives of community newspapers when their corporate parents shut them down?

It is a question of immediate concern in Canada thanks to the recent deal between Postmedia Network and Torstar. The two companies traded many of their community newspaper holdings, then shut most of the papers down. It was an ugly, cynical deal that has dealt a serious blow to local journalism in Canada.

CBC, Kate Dubinski:

What happens to archives of community newspapers shut down in the Torstar-Postmedia deal?

They summarize deaths, births, crimes and local lore. But as community newspapers are shuttered by media giants, what happens to those newspapers’ archives, keepers of stories and advertisements, letters to the editor and photographs?…

“To have newspapers close and then immediately have no record of the stories they wrote easily accessible online, that’s a pretty disturbing end to the lives of the stories that those newspapers told,” said Nick Taylor-Vaisey, the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.