Browse > Home /

US Digest: staff down at Variety; ads down at Ars Technica; sense down at FishbowlDC

It’s the end of something at Variety, and Roger Ebert isn’t happy

The biggest media news from the other side of the pond this morning was the laying off of two of Variety’s marquee critics. Chief film critic Todd McCarthy and chief theatre critic David Rooney were let go amid staff cuts that will see the magazine feature freelance reviews only.

The NYT have the full story here, and PoynterOnline have the staff memo, in which editor Tim Gray seems happy to offend exiting colleagues and readers alike with statements like: “Today’s changes won’t be noticed by readers.”

“It’s the end of something, I don’t know what” said McCarthy. The first thing that springs to mind is: your staff job at Variety, Mr. McCarthy. But he may have had Roger Ebert’s subscription to the magazine in mind:

No reprieve on death row interview policy

From Associated Press, news that the Supreme Court has decided against any changes to the federal prison policy preventing death-row inmates giving interviews to journalists.

The decision was prompted by an appeal from David Paul Hammer, an inmate in Terre Haute, Indiana. Hammer claimed that the policy, which came into effect after the Oklahoma City bombing, violated his constitutional right to free speech.

Twenty-three media organisations urged the Supreme Court to hear Hammer’s case.

Ars Technica and its readers kiss and make up after ad-blocking stand-off


An interesting development in the use of ad-blocking software was played out over the weekend by technology site Ars Technica and its not-so-faithful followers. (Nieman Journalism Lab)

After discovering that a shockingly high 40 per cent of their online readership were using ad-blocking software, which removes advertisements from web-pages, the site hit back. All of a sudden, those using the ad-blocking plug-in were unable to see the site’s content, with no explanation.

The quite amazing outcome is that, after publishing a post on the site explaining the damage that ad-blocking software meant for their revenue, and explaining why they had to take the counter-measures, editor-in-chief Ken Fisher received around 1,200 emails from people who had whitelisted the site, preventing its ads from being blocked. Furthermore, 25,000 people went on to whitelist it within 24 hours and 200 people subscribed, paying for the ad-free version.

It seems that the key in this case was communication, getting the message out to an essentially appreciative readership that using ad-blocking software can have seriously detrimental effect on content that you enjoy.

And, it seems like it worked. Good for Ars Technica.

An error within and error within and error within an..hold on what?

Finally, FishbowlDC shows everyone else a clean pair of heels in the competition for today’s strangest blog post, which reports in a round about way that the blog Regret the Error made an error reporting on an error made by Wolf Blitzer.

I can’t find an error in the Fishbowl post, which it rightly points out would constitute an error within an error within an error, but as that would also constitute even less of a story than the current one, it’s probably for the best.

Tags: , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Deadline.com: Variety going behind pay wall; The Hollywood Reporter could go online-only

September 18th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Nikki Finke (who sold her media and entertainment news blog, Deadline Hollywood Daily, to Mail Media Corporation – for a figure speculated to be as much as $15m in June) reports how her rival, entertainment title Variety has decided to go behind a pay wall:

“[T]he website will no longer be free. So online and print content will both be subscriber-based. Exactly which combination of content and services will be offered has yet to be determined. But this is being done in recognition of the sad fact that, ever since Variety pulled back that paywall in 2006 (back when all that mattered was traffic numbers at the expense of subscription dollars), the trade has lost a ton of money.”

And, she says, The Hollwood Reporter could kill its print edition:

” Meanwhile, sources tell me that The Hollywood Reporter is about to dump its daily print version. The date considered was October 16th, but now that’s been moved back. So this means THR will pursue a paid web-only strategy for its content. (Though I’ve heard certain special issues will be published from time to time, including awards coverage.) If THR scraps its print edition as planned, then Variety might see its print subscriptions pick up.”

Full post at this link…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

New York Observer: Variety and the shifting Hollywood ‘press corp’

April 22nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Magazines

“There is no power structure. It’s all turned inside out and upside down. Everyone claims victory, but no one seems to have it, nobody is powerful enough to measure it. And, above all, it’s one nasty, mean, shrill place,” says John Koblin about Hollywood and the now shared agenda between ‘established’ press and online independents.

Variety is one title facing this challenge – and looking to pay walls, for archive and specialised content, to boost falling revenues from advertising.

Full article at this link…

Tags: , , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement