Archive for February 1st, 2010

Open the local floodgates

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Edward Wasserman, Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington & Lee University, says the Supreme Court’s January ruling that corporations have a right to advertise their political views is “Christmas in January” for media outlets. And while others have pointed out the potential windfall for national networks as corporations shape the big races, Wasserman says, local is where the opportunity for new money — and new influence — lies.

“If I ran a media company, I’d be putting together selling campaigns for local companies that want to be sure candidates sympathetic to their interests — development plans, changes in zoning laws, tax breaks, a new sports arena, road expansion — benefit from well-funded, expertly calibrated, advertising outreach.

“That’s also where the most toxic effects of the court’s ruling will be felt — not in the national arena, where big money long ago figured out how to get around the rules the court outlawed, and where a multiplicity of voices are already heard. The new era the court has opened is one in which local money can flood the zone with self-serving messages about matters that, thanks to the slashes in newsroom budgets among metro newspapers, are covered thinly if at all by available media.

“Soon enough, perhaps even in this election cycle, most of what people hear about state and local issues will be via paid corporate advertising.”

McClatchy set to reward top execs

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Top McClatchy executives could be getting six-figure bonusesfor their efforts towards stabilizing the company’s financial outlook following a period of significant economic turmoil,” according to Editor & Publisher’s review of regulatory filings submitted late Friday.

CEO Gary Pruitt is excluded from eligibility for the $160,000-plus bonuses under the “2010 Senior Executive Retention Bonus Plan.”

Bonuses will be paid to three executives E&P names if the chain’s performance in operating cash flow in 2010 is sufficient to fund a supplemental company contribution to its 401(k) retirement plan, McClatchy said.