Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Demise of the Daily Newspaper

I like newspapers, every morning I receive The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Every weekend I also receive The New York Times and The Claremont Courier. Do I read them all every day, no, but do I enjoy READING them, yes.

Reading newspapers reduces my stress, slows my day down, is easy on my eyes, and provides concise information about the world around me. Can I get this from an iPad, iPhone, Fox News, KNX radio, CNN? Yes I can, but it is not as fun.

Digital First Media, a struggling collection of 76 daily newspapers including The San Jose Mercury News, The Los Angeles Daily News, The Denver Post and The St. Paul Pioneer Press, has put itself up for sale. The company, which is the nation’s second-largest newspaper company as measured by circulation, was expected to be sold at some point because it was owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital. But John Paton, Digital First’s chief executive, said in a statement that it made sense to sell the newspapers now because of the radical changes taking place in the media industry.

The need to consolidate to compete in a digital world is forcing the industry to define its future. Bankruptcy, selling off holdings is now the norm in the industry. Last year, News Corporation put its newspapers into a separate print company. In August, the Tribune Company’s publishing division, which includes well-known newspapers like The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times and underwent years of bankruptcy proceedings, became a separate company. Gannett Company also announced a split last month into a separate print and broadcasting companies.

It is a difficult time to sell newspapers because most of the traditional buyers are not buyers of newspapers anymore. Who are the buyers? Amazon, hedge funds, private equity funds, mainly those corporations looking for vehicles for their digital holdings.

What does the future hold for this industry? In all likelihood, dramatic changes and the end of daily print editions, I am glad I will not be around to see that.

Did you know the average adult uses four different devices or technologies to access news in a given week? In today's media landscape, readers are changing the way they access and interact with newspaper media content. And newspapers continue to innovate and transform, reaching new audiences and discovering new revenue streams.

SCOTCH OR IRISH WHISKEY? – After more than 300 years of being treated like a poor relative by the English, Scotland votes this week on a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom. Our pick – the Scots vote Yes, and head off into the land of “Braveheart”.

POLLS SHOW CLOSE CALL IN SCOTLAND - Thousands of independence supporters took to the streets of Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, on Sunday as polls showed the rival camps running desperately close just five days before a referendum which could bring the break-up of the United Kingdom. ... Separatist and unionist leaders worked across the country to woo undecided voters among the four million Scots and Scotland residents who will vote on their future on Thursday. Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond, who has spearheaded the drive for independence, said he was confident the 'Yes' campaign would win. ...

Alistair Darling, a former British finance minister and leader of the 'Better Together' campaign, warned that if Scots vote to split from the United Kingdom, it would be an irreversible decision that would bring economic doom and gloom. With promises from British political leaders of greater powers for Scotland in the event of a 'No' vote, Scots could have the best of both worlds, Darling said. And Queen Elizabeth, coming out of a Sunday morning church service near her Scottish residence Balmoral, told a well-wisher she hoped Scots would think very carefully about the future.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Student Loan Debt Senior Citizen Style: An estimated two million Americans age 60 and older are in debt from unpaid student loans, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The number of aging Americans with outstanding student loans hs almost tripled from about 700,000 in 2005, whether from long-ago loans for their own educations or more recent borrowing to pay for college degrees for family members.

The debt among older people is up substantially, to $43 billion from $8 billion in 2005. As of July 31, money was being deducted from Social Security payments to almost 140,000 individuals to pay down their outstanding student loans, according to Treasury Department data.

While older debtors account for a small fraction of student loan borrowers, who have accumulated $1 trillion in such debt, the effect of owing a constantly ballooning amount of debt but having a fixed income can be onerous. Many elderly fall below the poverty line when debt is deducted from their Social Security.

LATE-NIGHT BEST: "John Oliver Talks Student Debt and Goes After For-Profit Colleges" http://slate.me/WJlGCU

HOT ONLINE -- "Top Colleges That Enroll Rich, Middle Class and Poor," by NYT Upshot's David Leonhardt: "To see which selective colleges are doing the most, and the least, to [have economically-diverse students,] The Upshot has analyzed data for every college with a four-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent ... by combin[ing] data on enrollment and tuition costs." http://nyti.ms/1p0H90N

 ...The 10 "Most Economically Diverse Colleges": Vassar ... Grinnell ... U.N.C.-Chapel Hill ... Smith ... Amherst ... Harvard ... Pomona ... St. Mary's (Ind.) ... Susquehanna http://nyti.ms/1lPAhs6

RANKINGS WITH A TWIST: Pushing back against college rankings that focus on prestige, the New York Times on Monday published a "college access index" that lauds institutions for their ability to attract underprivileged students. Vassar College took the top spot, followed by Grinnell College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Amherst College. Harvard rounded out the top five. In an article accompanying the new rankings, editor David Leonhardt also called out institutions that don't enroll many low-income students - such as Washington University in St. Louis, where Pell Grant recipients made up just six percent of the recent freshman class.  http://politico.pro/1pJrXFu

- It's no coincidence the access index came out one day before U.S. News & World Report unveils its Best Colleges list - which is always criticized but also highly anticipated. One big change this year: U.S. News is publishing crime data on each school's profile page. But despite requests from victim advocates and even from some members of Congress, those statistics weren't factored into the annual rankings. (U.S. News also published three-year federal loan default rates - but didn't factor that into the rankings, either.) The source for the crime data is the Education Department's Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool [ http://1.usa.gov/1ug0DVF]

It breaks down incidents by type of crime, including forcible and non-forcible sexual offenses. Find all the rankings info here: www.usnews.com/colleges

- Worth noting: A few of the top-ranked national universities and liberal arts colleges are among the 77 being investigated by the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights for Title IX violations. They include Princeton, Harvard, Amherst and Swarthmore.

- Other notables: Pennsylvania State University fell 11 spots. Williams College has topped the list for best liberal arts colleges 12 years in a row. The University of California, Berkeley, is the nation's top public school. And Dartmouth College didn't make the top 10 of best national universities. As far as Colleges of specific interest to this author: St. Lawrence University and The University of Michigan have publicly announced their rankings, but The University of La Verne has been very quite, interesting.

THIS BUD IS FOR YOU - Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is said to be talking to banks about financing what could be a $122 billion deal to buy beer rival SABMiller, which just got rebuffed in its takeover bid for Heineken.

FINANCE 101 - Alibaba is on track to debut this Friday, in what could be the world's largest ever initial public offering.  Many of them are likely to become big winners in an IPO that could raise $25 billion. Yesterday the company raised the deal's price range to $66-$68 per share, up from $60-$66—a strong indication of robust investor demand. Meanwhile, if you do wind up with Alibaba stock, be prepared for a volatile ride.  You will get a clearer sense of what to expect from the IPO if you think of it not as a unique case but rather as part of a class, meaning a broader set of similar companies. This e-commerce behemoth founded by Jack Ma in 1999 should be interesting to watch over the next month or so.

FACEBOOK VALUE TOPS $200B - Facebook's market value exceeded $200 billion to put it among the world's biggest corporations, as investors bet on the company to capitalize on the future of mobile advertising. Facebook shares rose 0.8 percent to $77.89 ... valuing the company at $201.6 billion ... That made it the 22nd-largest company in the world, behind Verizon Communications Inc. and ahead of Toyota Motor Corp. .... The stock's rise has boosted [Mark] Zuckerberg's wealth to $34.5 billion.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Bill Murray (64), Dan Pugliese …how old is he???, Ava Suffredini …famous little Princess, Matt Witt …famous fan of POTULV.


Our son, who is in his 30s, posts online about major events in his life. But my husband and I don’t want to be part of his general audience on social media. We don’t read his blog or follow him on Twitter or Facebook. So, we are often the last to know about important events in his life because social media is his primary means of communicating with us. How should we let him know that we want to hear his news personally and directly from him?

Old School

Dear Old School,

Whenever you are hunting for a loving model of parental behavior, take a gander at “Mommie Dearest,” Christina Crawford’s lurid memoir of growing up with her movie-star mother, Joan — then do the opposite. When Christina had it (as you seem to have) with her mother’s playing their domestic life for the cameras, she screamed, “I am not one of your fans!” Don’t do that.

Instead, propose a weekly Skype session with your son. Adding a techie component to the traditional weekly phone call may appeal to him. But my stronger hope is that you find a way to stop feeling slighted by your son’s use of social media. It is not about you. And it’s not reasonable to expect a preview of every semi-momentous post in advance (“Just rode my bike with friends to the Seal Beach Pier”).

Think of your son as a newfangled memoirist. That’s what his blog and social media posts are aiming for. And read them. What better way to show him that you’re interested in his life? It may even increase the likelihood of greater (and warmer) communication with you. Otherwise, you are sending a message that he may interpret as indifference. And who wants to talk with a mean mommy or daddy?

Also, tell your son to get a freaking life!

Rink Rats

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 9/18, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN: SEC vs. Big 12 - #5 Auburn Tigers (2-0) at #20 Kansas State Wildcats (2-0). SEC too tough, Auburn 32 K State 24.  Season to date (2-1)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/20, 12:00 PM ET, HGTV:  The 42nd annual Admiral’s Cup from Buzzards Bay, Mass. Maine Maritime Mariners (1-0) vs. Massachusetts Maritime Buccaneers (0-1). The Mariners in a romp, 45 – 17. Season to date (2-0)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/21, 4:30 PM, CBS:  Denver Broncos (2-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1). Hawks are unstoppable at home, sorry Peyton, remember the Super Bowl: Seattle 35 Broncos 21. Season to date (0-2)


(NCAA, Sept. 20) California Golden Bears (2-0) 20 at Arizona Wildcats (3-0) 30

(NCAA, Sept. 20) Whitworth Pirates (2-0) 42 at La Verne Leopards (1-0) 21

(MLB, Sept. 20) Detroit Tigers (84-66) 5 at Kansas City Royals (82-67) 4

(NFL, Sept, 20) Green Bay Packers (1-1) 24 at Detroit Lions (1-1) 17
Season to date (46 - 41)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Empire State Survey this morning at 8:30 a.m. expected to rise to 15.9 from 14.7 ... Industrial production at 9:15 a.m. expected to rise 0.3 percent ... Consumer prices at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday expected to be flat headline and up 0.2 percent core ... FOMC announcement at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday expected to include no change in rates and another $15B cut in asset purchases ... Yellen presser at 2:30 p.m. not expected to produce big headlines but you never know ... Scotland votes on independence Thursday with "no" expected to prevail. Should he "yes" side win markets could go nuts for a few days while everyone sorts out what it all means. ... Index of leading indicators at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to rise 0.4 percent ... Congress expected to pass a CR funding the government past Oct. 1 and possibly extending the Ex-Im bank unit either December or June (or perhaps longer) ... Alibaba expected to price its earth-shaking IPO Thursday and start trading Friday.

Next week: Fall is here, and what to do with the water company.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

September 15, 2014

#V-22, 231

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