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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 08:16 AM ET, 06/11/2012

Media news derivatives: June 11

In case you missed it---Fox News’s Megyn Kelly took a shot at Reuters White House correspondent Caren Bohan, wondering what she was “thinking” in asking President Obama a question about Europe on Friday. Here’s what she was thinking: Journalism!

Elsewhere:

*Dylan Ratigan to leave MSNBC, reports the New York Times’s Brian Stelter. Ratigan insists that it’s time for a next step in his career.

“Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it — and then it’s a job, good job, pays well, everybody knows your name, it’s great — or you can decide what you’re going to do about it,” he said. “And the answer is, I don’t know. But I do know, in order to figure it out, I have to dismount.”

If he’s saying that he’s bloviated enough, I’d have to agree.
Though much the same can be said for his many peers in cable news.

*David Carr of the New York Times checks in with the U-T San Diego, or what the columnist calls a “brochure” for the business interests of owner/developer Douglas F. Manchester.

Rob Davis is a senior writer at Voice of San Diego, a Web site covering the city, and has watched as The U-T has become a player rather than observer in civic events. He points out that when officials at the Port of San Diego, a public agency that oversees the land in question, did not warm to The U-T’s big development plan (which it unveiled on its front page), the agency was soon the subject of investigative pieces about its finances. “The U-T is an important institution in this city and you want to see it succeed,” Mr. Davis said, “but there is a very real fear here that it will not be advocating for the public’s good, but the owner’s good instead.”

*Aaron Sorkin has a new series debuting on HBO later this month. “The Newsroom”:

“The Newsroom,” his first new series in nearly six years, allows him once again to ply his signature style — brainy, verbose, idealistic — on a weekly, hourlong basis and to right wrongs big and small (including those perpetrated by his most recent TV show, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”). But it also embodies all the risks inherent in his willfully highbrow approach and polarizing subject matter, and it illustrates how a brand-name writer known for his prolific output can be his own greatest obstacle.

*On “Face the Nation,” Carl Bernstein credits the media for an outstanding record in protecting the national security secrets that they gather as they go about their business:

Bernstein noted that the press has generally handled sensitive information carefully in the past. “The record of the press, you know, is really quite good at protecting real, genuine national security secrets, which we often know about,” he said.

*What’s Twitter’s first TV commercial all about?

*Wall Street Journal keeps stepping up on video stuff, with a weekly presentation coming out of its D.C. bureau.

*Politico is aiming to expand Politico Pro, its subscription service.

*In a Fortune piece, Dan Mitchell makes an important point about the future-of-newspapers story: Just how much profit margin is essential or even desirable?

Theoretically, newspaper owners might be forgiven for their nostalgic yearning for the profit margins of the past, which a couple of decades ago were often around 30% and sometimes went north of 40%. (Just a decade ago, the average was more than 20 percent). But those days are gone, and publishers have known it for years. Estimates vary widely, but margins now tend to average somewhere between 8% and 15%. The continued disinvestment in newspapers (which, it must be noted, began well before the Web came along) points to only one conclusion: owners, rather than investing in the digital future, are trying to wring as much money out of newspapers as they can by cutting costs as much as they can get away with. In the meantime, they’re faced with a conundrum: although revenues from print ads are falling fast, online ads still draw far less, and rates for online ads are falling fast, too. Which is another fact that rabid digital enthusiasts tend to gloss over when they hector publishers to convert to all-digital publication.

By  |  08:16 AM ET, 06/11/2012

Tags:  david carr, new york times, dylan ratigan, msnbc, megyn kelly, carl bernstein, twitter, wall street journal, newspaper crisis

 
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