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Media Spotlight10

New Troubling Numbers for Newspapers

Monday April 21, 2014
New revenue numbers released by the Newspaper Association of America show the industry is still facing troubled times. Statistics show newspaper revenue fell 2.6% last year.

A photo of newspapers being printed
A new Newspaper Association of America report has more disturbing news for the industry.
Photo © Getty Images
Other numbers were mixed, which is actually bringing some slight good news. While newspaper advertising revenue plunged 8.6%, circulation revenue was up 3.7%.

Digital advertising revenue was up 1.5%, which newspapers are counting on to make up for lost print ad money. However, the Newspaper Association of America says digital ads represent less than 10% of the newspaper industry's overall revenue of more than $37 billion.

That last number may be the most important. While newspapers are suffering, a $37 billion industry is still massive. That fact is often lost on those who are ready to seal the casket on newspapers.

Newspapers' revenue growth will hopefully come from increased circulation revenue and digital ads. There have been few signs that print ad revenue will bounce back. It's up to newspaper publishers to figure out how to survive without it.

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How to Ask Your Media Boss for a Pay Raise

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Sure, you work long hours. You're tired, fed up and your media company is lucky to have you. In fact, you might just quit. Then your boss will be sorry that he didn't pay you more to keep you.

A photo of someone asking his media boss for a pay raise
With these tips, you can make your case for why you deserve a pay raise.
Photo © Keith Brofsky / Getty Images
We've probably all had that rant in our heads, thinking we're grossly underpaid for the work we do. You may even have friends making more money in other careers who've never had to stay late because their offices close promptly at 5.

Now's the time to do something about it. Go into your boss's office and demand a raise, because you've earned it. You'll get a 10% pay hike on the spot. If only it were that easy.

Use these tips to ask your media boss for a raise. You'll walk into his office with a set of talking points and concrete evidence on why you deserve a bigger paycheck.

The answer you get may be "no", but even so, you have started a conversation that can continue at a later date. Or maybe you've just given yourself the motivation you need to get that better paying job somewhere else. You won't know until you try.

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Should Media Companies Promote a Social Agenda?

Wednesday April 9, 2014
Some of the nation's largest consumer-goods companies are using media to promote a social agenda. So far, the results have been both praised for their courage and blasted for being too controversial.

A photo of teh Nabisco logo
Nabisco is using graham crackers to promote its corporate beliefs about families.
Photo © Getty Images
General Mills featured a bi-racial family in a TV commercial for Cheerios that launched last year. Despite criticism, it was followed by another commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.

Nabisco has taken heat for a new Honey Maid graham cracker TV commercial that shows not just a bi-racial family, but also a child with two fathers. When some viewers didn't like it, the company responded with a video directed at the criticism.

Media companies may be tempted to follow the same path in promoting social awareness. After all, there was a time that TV shied away from showing people of different races, unless it was to portray them in stereotypical roles.

Before you launch a campaign, consider the expectations and views of your audience. What may not get a second glance in New York City may cause outrage in Salt Lake City. Some people want to buy cereal or graham crackers without taking a stand on a social agenda. They're simply hungry and like the product.

Companies that push boundaries take calculated risks. Cheerios and Honey Maid have both received a lot of free publicity because of the stand they've taken. Be aware they they both have likely lost some customers as a result.

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Another Newspaper Makes Massive Cuts

Friday April 4, 2014
It's a different newspaper, but the same sad story. The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest newspaper, has cut 167 jobs, representing one-third of the paper's non-unionized workers.

A photo of a man selling newspapers
Newspaper job cuts are a story no one likes to report.
Photo © Getty Images
It gets worse. Advance Publications, which owns the Star-Ledger and other New Jersey papers, eliminated many other jobs statewide, bringing the total number of cuts to 306.

Here's some disturbing math. The paper says at its peak, it had 350 people working in the newsroom. With this latest round of cuts, that number is down to around 116.

While there's no doubt technology has made it easier and faster to gather and produce news, it still takes people working the phones, making contacts and walking the streets to find stories. You can't help but think that newsgathering in New Jersey has suffered over recent years.

One of the media trends to watch in 2014 is the continuing disintegration of the newspaper industry, at least as we know it. Advance Publications appears to be focusing itself more toward digital media rather than print.

That survival strategy can be expected in these turbulent times for media. But that doesn't make it any easier for the hundreds of people who've been left by the wayside.

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