White Noise: News from inside the media bubble

by the YES! staff

Defections at the News & Record

Part of our mandate over here at YES! Weekly is to keep tabs on the big boys. By that we mean the much-maligned “mainstream media” that drops its product on your doorstep every morning. Regular N&R readers will already know that the paper has lost a slew of staff members during the past month or so. For those not keeping track, the losses include business writer Michelle Jarboe, county reporter Nate Degraff, features writer Katie Reetz and cops reporter Eric Townsend. The defections happened just a few months after layoffs that impacted the news and photo departments, among other departments. – AK

Jim goes long

YES! Weekly contributing columnist and television commentator Jim Longworth marks a big milestone in locally produced, community-oriented programming as he reaches his 200th episode this month. A prime-time special of “Triad Today” will air Dec. 2, and Longworth has promised a power-packed slate of guests, which will likely include fellow YES! Weekly columnist and long-running “Triad Today” guest Ogi Overman. – BC

Our industry in crisis

Ever wanted to land an all-important internship at a big New York City publishing firm but lacked the familial clout and Ivy League pedigree? Well Harper’s Bazaar levels the playing field this month in an exhibition of good old-fashioned capitalism. On the website, Harper’s is auctioning off an “amazing” one-month internship which it values at $1,500 – that’s only like 400 bucks a week! But before you go wrapping all your loose change, check the site. The last bid was for $2,500, placed by ninatiari, for whom no doubt we will all one day be working. – BC

Rash of transparency

In the company town known as Washington, DC – the main employer being government – press flacks and journalists revolve together in a tight little orbit. Just ask Ed McDonald, chief of staff and press secretary for Rep. Howard Coble, the Republican who represents North Carolina’s 6th district. In an Oct. 31 item entitled “”Tis the season to get shingles,” The Hill gossip columnist Betsy Rothstein notes that McDonald “came down with shingles this summer “in a very inappropriate place.’ Put it this way, McDonald said: “It made it difficult to sit down for a few days.'” Give him credit – McDonald had enough of a sense of humor about his ordeal to scan the article and distribute it by e-mail to his press contacts. – JG

Of dogs, big and small

The predatory pricing case between the San Francisco Bay Guardian and Village Voice Media-owned SF Weekly will go to trial Jan. 2, according to Editor & Publisher, after California Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer rejected motions for summary dismissal of the suit by SF Weekly. In a style that has become characteristic of the case, both papers hailed the decision as a victory. “The Bay Guardian has presented enough evidence of predatory pricing by the SF Weekly that our lawsuit against the paper and its chain owners can go forward to trial,” wrote Editor Tim Redmond on Oct. 29. The Weekly was similarly heartened by the judgment. “Speaking from the bench, Kramer emphasized he was not ruling on the merits of the case by allowing it to move forward,” wrote VVM gatekeeper Andy Van De Voorde. “In fact, he noted that a reasonable person could easily conclude that some of the behavior described as illegal by the Guardian – such as the Weekly’s practice of keeping tabs on which customers were advertising with its alt-weekly rival – was actually good business practice.” God, I love this business. – BC