The Editor's Blog

Do you wonder why the newspaper did what it did, or didn't do what it didn't do? The editor's blog is where Daily News Executive Editor Patrick Dougherty answers your questions, responds to your complaints and generally explains the behavior of the Daily News. It's also where we post news about the paper and our company. Do you think we missed or mishandled important news, misused a photo or put the wrong headline on a story? Did you like something you found in the paper? Do you have problems with the website? Send questions to me at editorsblog@adn.com or post your comments online. I only ask that you be clear, concise and civil, to me and to your fellow commenters.

Contact: editorsblog@adn.com

ADN photo editor Richard Murphy to retire - 4/28/2011 5:21 pm

The relentless march of technology continues - 4/27/2011 4:39 pm

Morris Publishing out from bankruptcy protection - 3/2/2010 2:12 pm

McClatchy credit ratings upgraded - 2/12/2010 8:49 am

Congratulations to Julia O'Malley - 2/9/2010 11:26 am

Alaska newspaper owner headed for bankruptcy - 1/13/2010 1:51 pm

Why shut off comments on Palin? - 11/6/2009 9:45 am

Using comment features - 8/19/2009 5:49 pm

ADN photo editor Richard Murphy to retire

Our acclaimed photo editor, Richard Murphy, has decided to retire from the daily newspaper business. For the last 26 years Richard has been a pillar of the Daily News and an active participant in virtually every bit of important journalism we've done in that time. I believe I hired Richard and certainly worked closely with him for all those years. He''s a master of the craft and I have learned a great deal about photojournalism from him.

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The relentless march of technology continues

A lot has happened since I was last posting regularly on here. While readership of the adn.com website on computers remains strong, more of our readers are reading stories on their cell phones, the e-edition (more on that in a minute) has a small but growing audience, and we're in the process of making the e-edition viewable on the iPad. McClatchy also has a team working a native newspaper iPad application.

And of course the print edition of the newspaper comes out every day.

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Morris Publishing out from bankruptcy protection

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Morris Publishing Group said Tuesday that it has emerged from under bankruptcy protection.

A judge last month approved a prepackaged debt restructuring for the Georgia-based publisher of 13 daily newspapers, including The Augusta Chronicle and Savannah Morning News.

The company has spent the past year formulating a plan to shed $288.5 million in debt — or about 70 percent of its total of $415 million. The plan allows Morris' owners to keep control of the privately held company.

"Yesterday, we completed our formal debt restructuring, with Morris Publishing emerging with a significantly de-leveraged balance sheet," company chairman William S. Morris III, said in a statement.

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McClatchy credit ratings upgraded

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Feb. 12, 2010

The McClatchy Co.'s credit ratings were raised Thursday as The Bee's publisher moved a step closer to refinancing much of its debt.

Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said the upgrades reflect the success of the refinance, which buys the Sacramento newspaper chain some breathing room as it copes with the recession and a slide in advertising sales. S&P also noted the ad revenue slump is easing.

The upgrades came moments after McClatchy announced that it had completed its $875 million bond sale, a major piece of the refinance package.

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Congratulations to Julia O'Malley

McCLATCHY ANNOUNCES 10 PRESIDENT’S AWARDS FOR
JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE IN 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 9, 2010 – The McClatchy Company today announced the award of 10 President’s Awards for journalism excellence in 2009, many of them for projects focused on public service journalism. Journalists from Miami to Anchorage, were among the winners, and four of the awards cited coverage holding governments accountable for corruption and financial scandals.

Staffers in Raleigh, N.C., Lexington, Ky., Kansas City, Mo., and Miami won for watchdog performances.

In Raleigh, The News & Observer covered a wide range of scandals arising in the tenure of recent Gov. Mike Easley, including gifts he received and favors his administration bestowed.

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Alaska newspaper owner headed for bankruptcy

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Morris Publishing Group, owner of 13 daily newspapers including the Juneau Empire, Augusta Chronicle, Savannah Morning News and Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville, said Wednesday it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection within a week.

The Augusta-based company said in a news release it would file a "prepackaged" plan, preapproved by a majority of its creditors, in federal bankruptcy court by Tuesday. The plan seeks to slash Morris Publishing's debt of $415 million by nearly 70 percent.

"We're pleased that so many of our noteholders agreed to support this move to get Morris Publishing on more solid financial ground," said Sandra Sternberg, a spokeswoman for the company.

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Why shut off comments on Palin?

What happened to the comments section under the story about Sarah Palin's book tour?

I made the decision to turn off comments on this story. We offer comments on stories in the hope of some reasonable discussion of the topic being covered, or the handling of the story by the newspaper. Unfortunately, comments on stories about our former governor invariably seem to devolve into little more than food fights between people who like her and those who don't.

In addition, these stories, for whatever reason, particularly seem to attract individuals who are unable or unwilling to adhere to our commenting guidelines, and that consumes my time or that of other staff here that could be better used for other work.

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Using comment features

I have posted on the ADN.COM Comments section several times. Can you tell me or direct me to correct department to find out what Recommend or Report Abuse means at the end of every posting?
I understand the report abuse but not sure what or who recommends?

M.C.

M.C.:

Comments can be displayed several ways, depending on which way you prefer. The default is "newest first," but you could choose to display "most recommended." If you, as a reader, think a comment is especially good, you can hit the recommend button. That will move up that comment when other readers look at most recommended comments. Look for the drop-down menu "Showing" just above the first comment to select the display you prefer.

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McClatchy surprises Wall Street

From the Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2009

The McClatchy Co. has cut its way back to profitability in a big way but still faces problems with debt and an industrywide downturn in newspaper advertising.

After losing money in the first quarter, The Bee's parent said Tuesday that it earned $42.2 million in the second quarter, about double the $19.7 million reported a year earlier. Per-share earnings rose to 50 cents from 24 cents.

Gary Pruitt, McClatchy's chairman and chief executive, said he was "extremely pleased" with the results, which showed that McClatchy is "taking the right steps."

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Question on comments

Why do the various comment sections often have fewer comments than the number listed at the beginning?

I believe that's because the comment "counter" counts comments from users who have been blocked as well as those who haven't. So commenters who continue to post even after they've been blocked still get their comments counted. Also, comments that have been manually deleted by an ADN administrator may also continue to show up in the count.

Is it really that people are hitting the "abuse" button to eliminate comments that aren't flattering to Sarah Palin or is it a site malfunction?

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Why so tough on comments?

A number of you have asked questions about the comment system and our management of it. Here is some general information. I will add to it as I have time. If you have specific questions about comments, post them here or email them to me directly at editorsblog@adn.com. Do not post them on news stories or other blog posts (that would be off-topic.).

To state the obvious first, Pluck is not a perfect commenting system. We liked our old system, which we built here at the Daily News. We were required to switch over to Pluck when that became the standard throughout the McClatchy Co.

As long as we have had comments – and it has been years now -- they have been a mixed blessing and I’ve had mixed feelings about them. I discussed my ambivalence about comments in some of the earliest posts on this blog (check the archive).

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Note to our commenters

To our readers:

You are welcome to comment here and we appreciate your participation, regardless of your point of view. This is a reminder that the opportunity to comment is a privilege and not a right. We want a civil discussion. To that end, we ask that you:

Make sure your comments are on topic, directly addressing the subject of the story or blog post;

Do not intentionally insult or attack other commenters (disagree but don't be disagreeable);

Avoid spamming (i.e. posting the same message more than once);

Avoid profanity (with or without the funky keyboard symbols) and gratuitously graphic imagery; and

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Behind the Newspaper Negativists

This an interesting look at the news coverage of newspapers by the president of Parade Publications, publisher of the Parade magazine Sunday supplement.

Pat Dougherty

By Randy Siegel
As many newspaper companies try to turn themselves around in a brutal economy, under huge debt loads and against a backdrop of increasingly funereal media coverage, it’s worth looking at the behavior and motives of some of the industry’s harshest critics.

Earlier this month, Time magazine, struggling for its own survival in the hemorrhaging newsweekly marketplace, published a column on its website entitled “The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America,” which hundreds of news outlets around the world ran under the headline “What Newspapers Will Die in 2009?” complete with a list of soon-to-be-dead newspapers. The trouble is that Time’s “report” appears to have been created from pure speculation, with minimal reporting or research, by a Time.com affiliate called 24/7 Wall St.

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The talk you won't hear from Dan Fagan on KFQD

Here's an interesting comment about Dan Fagan's musings yesterday about the difficulties in the newspaper business:

Radio, Another "Old Media," Also Struggling: Why No Stories Here?

Submitted by Shooty on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 8:17pm.

(Dan Fagan’s) fixation on the declining newspaper industry is curious, since it's happening in radio too.

Here's an example. The company that pays Dan Fagan to interrupt commercials on KFQD for a few minutes each afternoon is called Morris Communications. On February 1, just four days ago, Morris' publishing arm defaulted on $9.7 million in public bonds, according to the Radio Business Report.

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Fourth quarter grim news for ADN parent, other media companies

By ANICK JESDANUN
The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Four media companies reported quarterly losses Thursday, weighed down by the declining value of their properties.

The biggest write-down happened at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., movie studio 20th Century Fox and the Fox broadcast network. After writing down the assets on its books by $8.4 billion, News Corp. said it lost $6.4 billion in its most recent quarter.

Similar factors hurt the results at McClatchy Co. (owner of the Anchorage Daily News), Belo Corp. and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.

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adn.com one of Top 30 newspaper websites in December

The newspaper trade journal, Editor & Publisher, has a story today listing the Top 30 American newspaper websites, measured by unique visitors, for December. The Daily News came in at No. 24, just behind the Orlando Sentinel and ahead of The Washington Times and Detroit Free Press.

You can find the complete article here.

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Update on policing ADN blog comments

A follow up to last week's post about comments, from managing editor Julie Wright:

For the most part we've seen a significant reduction in the number of offending comments. You'll see a few comments posted about how we're deleting the comments we disagree with. Some say we're doing it because we don't like Palin. Some say we're doing it because we're "in the tank" for Palin.

A fair read of the comments shows that people on all sides of issues get to have their say if they stay within the rules. The vast majority of e-mails we're getting thank us for tightening up.

We're getting a few e-mails from people asking why their commenting privileges were blocked. The time it's taking to police the comments is significant. We're not inclined to take even more time to look up offending comments to remind posters in what ways they crossed the line.

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For journalists, welcome news from the president

Access to public information is essential to journalists. For the last eight years, there has been a concerted effort by the Bush administration to limit access to information about the activities of those running the government. Apparently that will change, which is great thing for the public.

Here is a portion of what President Obama had to say today in his first meeting with his cabinet:

"For a long time now, there's been too much secrecy in this city. The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over. Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but those who seek to make it known.

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Q&A about the changes in the business of the ADN

Tony Hopfinger co-publishes a local news blog called the Alaska Dispatch. A couple of weeks ago, he wrote and asked if I would participate in a Q&A about the current state of the newspaper industry, the McClatchy Co. and the Daily News.

I told him I would if he would do the same with my questions about independent blogging. He was up for it, so we agreed to swap Q&A’s, with both of us posting the interviews simultaneously on our respective blogs. (You can see his answers to my questions posted below.)

What follows are his questions and my answers.

McClatchy Co.'s stock has traded in recent days below $1 a share. What would happen if the stock price hit $0? Would McClatchy still be in a position to operate? How much should investors and customers of McClatchy worry about the stock price? What is the upshot of the company's performance these days? (I know Howard has mentioned a few thoughts on his blog about this topic.)

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Q&A with Tony Hopfinger about online publishing

These are my questions independent blogger, and free-lance reporter, Tony Hopfinger, about his website, Alaska Dispatch. Amanda Coyne, a local writer, is Tony’s co-publisher and spouse.

Do you consider what you're doing with Alaska Dispatch to be a business or a hobby?

It’s a business to the extent that we hope to raise revenue to contract with editors and freelancers. But neither Amanda nor I view this as a profit-making venture for us personally. We started Alaska Dispatch with our own money because we felt like we might have something to share with the community. We both have full-time jobs, and this is secondary, so it could be classified as a hobby, albeit an obsessive one. But I don’t believe the two need be mutually exclusive.

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