Statistics-slinging NYT reporters bust, er, the NYT Company

Statistics-slinging NYT reporters bust, er, the NYT Company: I think we’re supposed to be shocked with this report that lots of newspapers around the country are delivering copies of their papers to individuals who are not paying for them, yet these readers are still being classisfied as paying customers even though the papers “are typically paid for by advertisers.” (This becomes very confusing later in the article when we learn that the reason the practice is controversial is because advertisers don’t like the practice, even, and I share your confusion, it is advertisers who are paying for the newspapers.) (Also, speaking of confusion, what do you call a scandal when a newspaper starts investigating itself — “Master-gate?”)(Also, I’m getting really, really confused because I read where the NYT last week purchased a stake in a Boston newspaper that is free to readers and advertisers don’t seem to mind because people seem to read it.)


Across the country each week, more than 1.6 million people who are not on newspaper subscriber rolls are being delivered copies that did not cost them a cent – but they are still being classified as paying customers, an analysis by The New York Times has found. The papers, which are typically paid for by advertisers, are delivered by small and large dailies across the country, including The Miami Herald, The Wall Street Journal, The San Jose Mercury News and The Boston Globe.

It takes the reporters (or their editors) 1,400 words to get to the following tidbit:

Among the biggest gains in third-party paid circulation were those recorded over the last two years at The Boston Globe, which is owned by The New York Times Company. The number of papers delivered on an average Sunday by The Globe in that category rose to 30,220, or 4.4 percent of its circulation in 2004, from 916, or 0.1 percent, in 2002, according to The Times’s analysis. Nearly all were delivered to people’s homes. Even with the inclusion of those copies, the paper’s overall Sunday circulation still fell, to 687,000 earlier this year from 705,000 in 2002. Alfred S. Larkin Jr., a senior vice president of The Globe, said in a statement that while such sales represented “a small percentage of our total distribution,” they nonetheless constituted “an effective way for advertisers to reach new customers and for us to build future readers.”

Then, in parenthesis, we get this factoid:

(At The Times, sponsored copies represented less than 1 percent of paid circulation on Sundays earlier last year. During the week, copies distributed to elementary and secondary schools, many of them paid by the institutions or by foundations and allowed under the old rules, represented 4.6 percent of the paper’s circulation.)

Okay, so we learn that the NYT’s circulation has approximately the same percentage of recipients receiving copies of the paper they did not pay for as the other papers — but that’s allowed under the old rules.

So, just to review this, advertisers and foundations are paying for newspapers to be distributed to people and it’s a scandal because advertisers are not happy with that practice…that they practice. Oh, and the reporters are going to resign because they feel so, well, tainted to be working for a company that would allow advertisers to give their work away for free and has just purchased a major stake in a newspaper that’s given away free to anyone who wants a copy. Wait. I just made up that part.

Does this add up? Especially, when you can read it on a free (registration required) website.

Update: The “for now anonymous publisher” at Pegasus News has another term to add to mine, “master-gate,” to describe a scandal discovered when a newspaper starts investigating itself: a selfsposé.

Jason and the whinernauts

Jason and the whinernauts: I’m on record implying Apple is rotten to the core for suing a blogger, but still, why would Steve Jobs give a rat’s ass whether or not Jason Calacanis shuts down his “unofficial” Apple weblog. You want unofficial Apple weblogging? Then subscribe to the RSS feed of everything tagged Apple on all sites, and you’ll learn what “conversational media” is really about and be able to start your own unofficial Apple weblog.

I mean, really, if Bill Gates doesn’t, care about Jason Calacanis’s weblogs, why should Jobs? (I’m sorry, I almost said something overly snark-infested.)

Bottom line: Apple is stupid for suing Think Secret and Jason’s letter is a transparent stunt to get linked to…and it’s working, I suppose.

(via: Micropersuasion)

Update: Ouch. Felix Salmon shears Jason’s fleece oh so much better than the two-bit cuts in my post. Among his golden barbs: “ThinkSecret gets about 2.7 million pageviews per day, while gets, well, nothing, really.” (via: Jeff Jarvis at

Dumb moments in marketing – Nashville Blockbuster franchisee

Dumb moments in marketing – Nashville Blockbuster franchisee: The Blockbuster franchisee in Nashville (31 locations) has just created a new Netflix subscriber, me. They are one of the fine print exceptions to the “only at participating locations” disclaimer on the “no more late fees” Blockbuster advertising campaign. Perhaps, it’s the irony of the national advertising campaign so compellingly explaining how outraged customers are at late fees and how grateful customers are that Blockbuster is changing its model, that makes the local franchisee’s decision so absurd. One rexblog reader has already e-mailed me suggesting a boycott. I’m game.

I’m sure I’ll be doing a follow-up post on this when the franchisee issues a statement saying something like, “Did we say we weren’t doing that ‘no more late fees’ thing?” Sure, we’re doing it. What do you think we are? Stupid? Or, more likely, “Our customers have told us they want the new policy and we’ve agreed with our customers, blah, blah.”

Nashvillians, arise!

Update: Quote from Tennessean article:

The ”no late fee” policy applies at Blockbuster’s more than 4,500 company-owned stores nationwide and at about half of its 1,100 franchised locations, stores operated by local merchants. But Nashville’s 31 area stores are owned by a franchisee that has opted to continue charging late fees, a move that’s allowed under franchising deals with Blockbuster…”We are very aware and sorry that the national advertisement is causing some confusion among customers,” said Tom Barzizza, vice president of marketing for Southern Stores, a Memphis-based holding company that owns all of Blockbuster’s Nashville outlets and about 60 others in the Southeast.

Not the first tsunami to change the history of journalism

Not the first tsunami to change the history of journalism: Steve Outings recent essay about the “tipping point” role of the December 2004 tsunami is a “must-read” to help understand the profound ways “citizens’ journalism” (of which blogging is a part) is changing the way news is captured, covered, conversed about and responded to. The essay made me recall the very first post I made about the tsunami, on December 26, related to how another tsumnami in the same region 120 years ago played a similar pivotal role in the history of the way “jouranlism” was altered by a newly “networked” globe.

Here’s what I said two weeks ago:

Coincidentally (and viewing today’s events, eerily so), I recently read Simon Winchester’s fascinating book, Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 about the volcano and resulting tsunamis that killed 36,000 in Indonesia. The event, Winchester points out in his book, was the first such natural disaster that happened after the world was fully “connected” by telegraph cables, therefore making it the first global news event followed by people worldwide in something similar to what today we’d call “real time.”

Quote from Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa:

“The eruption of Krakatoa was, indeed, the first true catastrophe in the world to take place after the establishment of a worldwide network of telegraph cables — a network that allowed news of disaster to be flashed around the planet in double-quick time. The implications of this rapid and near-ubiquitous spread of information were profound.”

The book is riviting (in light of current events), says my wife, who is about 2/3rds through it after I suggested a few days ago that she read it.

Side note: If you want to read a riviting account of what I believe to be a direct historical precedent to “wikis” and shared-knowledge, read the Winchester’s The Professor and the Mad Man.

Free iTunes sampler

Free iTunes sampler: I’ve seen reports that iPod users who upgrade their software are being offered a free 13-song sampler from iTunes. However, all I did was click on this iTunes link and reached a free 13-tune sampler offer. Heck, I think Apple should make the iTunes platform this easy for any artist to distribute music free if they so choose. There should be hundreds, thousands of free downloads available on iTunes by artists wanting to use this channel to be heard.