THE BANCROFT FAMILY: IN OTHER WORDS, YES, WE ARE GOING TO SELL DOW JONES

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The Bancroft family said today:

We will meet with Rupert Murdoch to discuss his $5 billion bid for Dow Jones.

We will consider other bidders and options for the company.

“After a detailed review of the business of Dow Jones and the evolving competitive environment in which it operates, the Family has reached consensus that the mission of Dow Jones may be better accomplished in combination or collaboration with another organization which may include News Corporation.”

Well, they want more money.

And they will get more money.

From Murdoch.

Or from The New York Times.

Be ready for the white knight.

And if you have shares of Dow Jones, keep them.

You will make more money than you expected.

At the end of the day, this is Wall Street.

This is business.

Not charity.

Money talks.

Journalists listen.

Following a special meeting of the Board of Directors of Dow Jones & Company held at the request of the Bancroft Family directors, the Family today issued this statement:

“As we have been since 1902, the Bancroft Family remains resolute in its commitment to preserve and protect the editorial independence and integrity of The Wall Street Journal, as well as the leadership, strength and vitality of The Journal and all of the other publications and services of Dow Jones.

“Since first receiving the News Corporation proposal, the Family has carefully considered and discussed among ourselves and with our advisors how best to achieve that overarching objective, while serving the best interests of the Company’s various constituencies.

“After a detailed review of the business of Dow Jones and the evolving competitive environment in which it operates, the Family has reached consensus that the mission of Dow Jones may be better accomplished in combination or collaboration with another organization, which may include News Corporation.

“Accordingly, the Family has advised the Company’s Board that it intends to meet with News Corporation to determine whether, in the context of the current or any modified News Corporation proposal, it will be possible to ensure the level of commitment to editorial independence, integrity and journalistic freedom that is the hallmark of Dow Jones.

“The Family also indicated its receptivity to other options that might achieve the same overarching objective.”



APPLE $120

Files under Apple, S&P 100 index | May 31st

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In a new all-time high, the shares of Apple hit the $120 USD mark.

The main reason:

Standard & Poor’s on Wednesday said Apple Inc. will join its S&P 100 index of big blue-chip companies.

Shares of companies joining the S&P 500 often rise because many portfolio managers try to track the index, and are required to buy stocks that enter it.

UPDATE: $121.12 USD at the end of today’s session.



IS GOOGLE KILLING OUR NEWSPAPERS? NO.

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Read this amazing column by a journalism professor to undestand why so many newspapers and journalists still don’t have a clue about Google and what news aggregators do.

If this is the case, how can a serious newspaper publish such a piece?

Jeff Jarvis goes ballistic and responds here for all of us:

“Don’t blame Google for your bad management.”

The American university tradition of “publish or perish” becomes “publish and perish” and perhaps the Berkeley Faculty needs to reconsider the need of such old-fashioned brilliant minds.

No, Google is not killing newspapers.

We are.



BILL GATES AND STEVE JOBS TOGETHER

Files under BILL GATES, Steve Jobs | May 31st

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Watch yesterday’s joint interview of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.



BILL GATES AND SURFACE

Files under BILL GATES, Surface | May 31st

Bill Gates presents Surface, a new computer device that looks interesting, but for what?



THE NEW YORK TIMES’ WONDERFUL NEW HEADQUARTERS, ACCORDING TO THE NYT

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Ahead of the Times, the in-house publication for the New York Times staff, covers the new building facilities with this rosy story:

Greetings From Eighth Avenue! How’s the new building?

Lad Paul, executive editor of News Services, has kicked the tires and gives thumbs up to the new digs. It’s still a work in progress with “Hardware Enclosed” signs taped to mailslots for name tags in the new mailroom.

By LAD PAUL

When people learn that I have been working in the new building since the News Service and Web group moved in the week of April 23, the first question I invariably get is: “What’s it like?”

Here are some answers.

It’s open, bright, clean, orderly and quiet.

You have a feeling that even the air you’re breathing is somehow fresher.

But after the newness of those features wears off (less than the first full day), the irritations and frustrations of a brand new and largely unfinished building begin to set in.

And newspeople being what they are, it’s not long before kvetching becomes the norm.

But that’s not fair, because there is much that is surprising, interesting and plain enjoyable about 620 Eighth Avenue.

The first thing you notice is the light.

Having windows on all sides is liberating and refreshing.

The glass walls live up to Renzo Piano’s vision and do make you feel integrated with the external environment.

But then the automatic blinds come down and all you can see are fuzzy outlines of what’s outside.

Eventually the blinds go back up, although probably only part way.

Then you have a half-obscured view of what’s out there.

But it’s a view, which is a lot better than many of us had in the old quarters.

The antics of the blinds are amusing.

When you first see the entire long wall of them lowering or rising in unison, it’s arresting.

Then they become a little mysterious.

Their position doesn’t always seem to correspond to light conditions.

Finally, they can become troublesome as people discover how to raise and lower them locally.

Some like them down; some like them up.

You can anticipate the rest.

Another noticeable feature is the quiet.

Nine floors up, we hardly hear any city noise at all. I don’t know what the sound will be like on 2, 3 and 4 where the main news and feature departments will be, but it’s got to be better than the din of car horns, sirens and street demonstrators on West 43rd, or the shrieks of MTV fans on the 44th street side.

The story you’ve heard about the lights is true.

They are sensitive to movement, and in the first few days when only one late-night person was working in the News Service or the Web newsroom, the lights did not detect them and went off.

The intrepid Ray Krueger, late editor in the News Service, found that if he got up and took a lap around the copy desk waving his arms every 20 minutes or so, the lights came on and stayed on.

The sensors have now been adjusted so that they can detect fingers moving on a keyboard, and there are no more problems.

For those who work in the cubicle-style workstations, the space is ample and, at least in the units that have the higher walls, quite private.

The matte cherry-wood finishes are soothing, and the cubes, combined with banks of filing cabinets, provide ample flat surfaces for people to pile things and abandon them for days, weeks or forever.

For those working at copy-editor style desks, the consensus so far seems to be “not so bad.”

Some customization will be needed for some people.

Handedness turns out to be important, and lefties seem to have the advantage in the initial setups.

Editors who need to write on paper as well as work at a keyboard will find it awkward until adjustments can be made.

The chairs seem to receive universal approval.

They’re sturdy, sleek and cool, both figuratively and literally (stainless steel and black with mesh backs).

The adjustments seem to satisfy most needs and body types.

There are some reports of neck and shoulder pains, but nobody has yet figured out if these are from the chairs or desk setups.

There is copious filing and storage space — at least on the 9th floor where the News Service and part of the Web empire live: drawers, filing cabinets, closets for both coats and shelves.

More than enough. Don’t know if that will be the case in the newsroom, but if you run short, our rates are surprisingly affordable.

The bathrooms are all stainless steel and small tiles. Sparkling, shiny, clean, new.

Couldn’t be nicer.

The automatic faucets take some experimentation.

With practice, you can find a sweet spot to hold your hands so that the water will run long enough to soap and rinse.

A bonus: individual paper towels.

The clunky roll towel dispensers that jam are in the past.

The sound that the automatic toilet flushers make is one of the oddities. Some people liken it to a small animal being strangled.

Personally, I hear a couple of high, whiny notes from the Sopranos’ theme music.

You heard correctly that the filtered drinking water system was not working for the first few days.

It has been on now since the second week of occupancy and works fine, as do the 50-cent coffee-tea-hot chocolate dispensers.

The cups are individually brewed from little filter pouches, and as a fairly choosy coffee drinker I will testify that the coffees are surprisingly tolerable. (You may remember the Flavia machines that we had for a while on the 11th floor.)

The elevators are creating culture shifts.

It is unclear how many years it will take before we stop reaching to press a button upon entering the car (you push your floor button before you enter).

And everybody gets off on the wrong floor at least once in his first couple of days because the display in the elevators doesn’t tell you the floor where you just stopped — just the ones that are scheduled for stops. (You have to be watching the lighted numbers and see your floor turn off, or remember to notice the little number signs on the wall outside when the doors open.)

It is folly to rush into an elevator lobby and jump into the first open car.

If it is not destined to stop at the floor you want, you can’t change it.

And another new feature: cell phones now work everywhere, including elevators.

Oh, joy.

As for the desk phones, they are a lot different.

If you are a heavy phone user — one for whom speed and dexterity are crucial — I recommend that you do not pass the training sessions if they are still being offered.

There are a lot of new features and some of the old ones don’t work the way we are accustomed to.

Finally, the neighborhood.

For people who don’t commute from New Jersey and know of the Port Authority Bus Terminal only from its reputation, take heart.

That reputation is long out of date, and indeed the Port Authority is an oasis in an area that otherwise retains some of the flavor of the pre-Disney Times Square.

It houses some useful retailing and services (florist, shoe repairer, book stores, cards, Duane Reade, electronics, a postal substation and the always valuable bowling alley and blood bank).

Also there is the fairly new restaurant that is getting good word-of-mouth reviews, Metro Marché, of which we said in the paper in December, “The brasserie-style menu includes seared skate wing with marinated beets and horseradish cream; wild mushroom ravioli with porcini cream and shaved parmesan; and steak frites.”

Of our two side streets, 40th is the more interesting.

It has a fine selection of salad bar-deli-type places, including one directly out lobby door on that side; a place for wraps; a Turkish grill; and enough pizza and fast food joints to keep your waistline and coronary arteries fully stuffed.

And if its fabric, fringe, buttons or lace you want, you won’t find many better blocks.

On 41st, next door east of the NYT, is a New York Sports Club where you can burn off some of that fast food at a special discount rate for NYT employees.

So, as you hear the grousing and grumbling (or if you read the wiki in which the pioneering residents of the new floors are compiling their frustrations), keep in mind that there is a large other side to the story.

And also keep in mind that in four weeks of working here so far, I haven’t yet heard anybody say they’d rather move back.

(Pictures from “Men, Beams, and Dreams” a slideshow in two parts with 41 photographs by Annie Leibovitz taken during the construction of the new building. In this last one you can see the New York Times architect, Renzo Piano)

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LOU DOBBS ‘FACTUAL’ XENOPHOBIC, RACIST REPORTING

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David Leonhardt writes a good review about “Truth, Fiction and Lou Dobbs” today in The New York Times.

An excellent piece that ends with these strong words against this TV xenophobe and racist:

The most common complaint about him, at least from other journalists, is that his program combines factual reporting with editorializing.

But I think this misses the point.

Americans, as a rule, are smart enough to handle a program that mixes opinion and facts.

The problem with Mr. Dobbs is that he mixes opinion and untruths.

He is the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans.

There is no denying that this country’s immigration system is broken.

But it defies belief — and a whole lot of economic research — to suggest that the problems of the middle class stem from illegal immigrants.

Those immigrants, remember, are largely non-English speakers without a high school diploma.

They have probably hurt the wages of native-born high school dropouts and made everyone else better off.

More to the point, if Mr. Dobbs’s arguments were really so good, don’t you think he would be able to stick to the facts?

And if CNN were serious about being “the most trusted name in news,” as it claims to be, don’t you think it would be big enough to issue an actual correction?

Good point!

(Thanks to Gabriel Sama in San Antonio, Texas)



EUROPE’S SHAME AND MEDIA’S SHAME TOO

Files under DeMorgen, Europe, FRONT PAGES, Media, THE INDEPENDENT | May 30th

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Peter Popham reported from Rome and The Independent published this dramatic picture with the right headline last Monday (May 28).

Read the full story here, which starts like this:

For three days and three nights, these African migrants clung desperately to life. Their means of survival is a tuna net, being towed across the Mediterranean by a Maltese tug that refused to take them on board after their frail boat sank.

Malta and Libya, where they had embarked on their perilous journey, washed their hands of them.

Eventually, they were rescued by the Italian navy.

The astonishing picture shows them hanging on to the buoys that support the narrow runway that runs around the top of the net.

They had had practically nothing to eat or drink.

Last night, on the island of Lampedusa, the 27 young men – from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan and other countries – told of their ordeal.

As their flimsy boat from Libya floundered adrift for six days, two fishing boats failed to rescue them.

On Wednesday, the Maltese boat, the Budafel allowed them to mount the walkway but refused to have them on board.

This is the latest snapshot from the killing seas of the southern Mediterranean, the stretch of water at the European Union’s southern gate that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says “has become like the Wild West, where human life has no value any more and people are left to their fate”…

Well… today another European newspaper covers the issue and plays the same photo on the front page.

My question is:

Why didn’t the European media follow and cover this story in a big way?

When you see this picture, there are no words, easy excuses or easy answers, but the reality of the tragedy is right in front of your eyes.

What The Independent, DeMorgen and perhaps a few other newspapers did was an act of courage.

For the rest, shame on you!

Are we blind?



GREAT PICTURES, BUT NOT GOOD FOR THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

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The New York Times has been publishing very sensitive front page pictures about the situation in Iraq.

Almost every day.

All of them are excellent examples of photojournalism.

And, I am sure, a nightmare for the White House.

You don’t need too many words to understand what’s going on there…

Just pictures like these.



THE NEW ELEFTHEROS TIPOS (10)

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Some excellent pages from today’s edition.

A great front page.

The new ET is getting better and better reactions from readers and advertisers.

The circulation is up.

The advertising is up.

After many years of decline, ET is becoming a leading player again.

The Greek market needed a new kind of newspaper.

Different.

Compelling.

Attractive.

Well-designed.

And well-printed.

The newsroom of Eleftheros Tipos is doing a first-class job.

Congratulations!

See all the pages in their pdfViewer.