Nolan Richardson, on the February Cover of ArkansasSports360.com

The Nolan Richardson interview, in this month's ArkansasSports360.com magazine

The Nolan Richardson interview, in this month's ArkansasSports360.com magazine

Nolan Richardson, the former University of Arkansas men’s basketball coach, talks to ArkansasSports360.com Northwest Editor Chris Bahn in the February edition of ArkansasSports360.com. The magazine hits newsstands next week, but the cover story is available now.

The amazing cover shot is by Eric Howerton.

Media Notes: It’s Getting Worse

Luckily, it’s Friday. After reading this, go have a cold one or three. Or maybe something stronger.

Los Angeles Times kills local news section [LA Observed]

WSJ layoffs may be coming next week [Portfolio/Mixed Media]

The Baltimore Examiner, the city’s second daily, will close [AP]

Disney cuts: 200 fired at ABC, 200 at ESPN [MediaMemo]

Recession rocks Hollywood trade publications [Reuters]

Page Six Magazine goes quarterly [Crain’s]

Exec, editor ousted at OK! magazine [Folio]

More from Blake’s Think Tank on the LA Times abandoning it’s state section here. And then, as carried on Huffington Post, some sobering words from Mort Zuckerman on the newspaper non-business:

Q: How is the print publishing business doing?

A: The print publishing business is an oxymoron. It is no longer a business. It is an advertising-driven business and advertisers have driven elsewhere.

Q: Is this year going to be the one when we see respected newspapers going out of business?

A: There’s no doubt about it, unless they are owned by people who are in a position to afford to carry them, and are willing to do it because they believe in journalism . . . I would say one of the papers in Philadelphia will probably close down. We’ve already seen the Times Mirror Corporation go bankrupt.

More here.

And, yes, we agree.

Morris Publishing, Owner of the Log Cabin Democrat, to Explore Options

thecabinOminous signs in Conway, where the Log Cabin Democrat’s owner, Morris Communications, says it has hired financial adviser Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (the same firm that advised Tribune Co. as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection) and another firm to “assist us in evaluating our strategic options regarding Morris Publishing’s existing capital structure.”

The company is apparently not commenting beyond the news release, according to Editor & Publisher. Arkansas Business has an article on the move here.

The family-owned firm is the parent of 13 dailies, including the Log Cabin Democrat, which it purchased in 1994. Morris has been buckling under the pressure of enormous debt. Recently, sources confirmed to Arkansas Business that Democrat employees stopped receiving 401(k) contributions from their employer.

The newspaper has daily circulation of about 10,253, according to Arkansas Business’ most recent list. It also boast a particularly robust Web site for a newspaper its size, with blogs, photo slideshows, video, podcasts, niche sections — and it even Twitters here.

More

Arkansas Newspapers Feel the Squeeze [Arkansas Business]

The Cabin’s history, according to Morris

Also

The four-year old Marion Salute newspaper, going out of business, according to the APA (PDF).

Think Tank, Arkansas Project on Blogging and More at IABC

Local smart-ass bloggers Blake Rutherford of Blake’s Think Tank and David Kinkade of The Arkansas Project continue their tour on the Arkansas speakers circuit, holding forth on all things bloggy today at a meeting of the Arkansas Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.

From Blake:

The lunch is at the Little Rock Club atop the Regions Bank building at 11:30 a.m.  Call Neal Moore of The Communications Group at 501.376.8722 to make a reservation.

We’ll be talking about a variety of topics, including blogging. We’ll throw in a little politics and whatever else we decide. I can tell you that Mr. Kinkade’s going to make fun of the Arkansas Global Warming Commission (if only to pat himself on the back from his absurd acronym he’s so damn proud of). As for me, I’ll reserve my funnies for the Lonely Misfits Drinking Society. Don’t know what that is? Come and find out.

Also: Kinkade promises to dance on the grave of old media. Fun!

The luncheon begins at 11:30-ish. Sadly, my noon TV duties prohibit me from attending. Here’s hoping that Tolbert, or someone Tolbert-like, is shooting this thing for YouTube. Or Twittering! Or at least taking notes with, like, a pen.

Paper Cuts: Web Site Map Chronicles Layoffs at Newspapers

Via Graphicdesignr.net/papercuts

Via Graphicdesignr.net/papercuts

The American Journalism Review considers the sheer number of working journalists who are losing their jobs as newspapers cut back left and right. It cites figures from the U.S. Department of Labor (the number of all newspaper jobs shrank from 336,000 at the start of the year to 313,600 through October) and notes efforts by graphic designer Erica Smith to keep her own tally at Graphicdesignr.net/papercuts:

“I started out because I was curious about the number of cuts. Now it’s because I have too many friends who’ve been laid off,” says Smith, 32, who got into the newspaper business right after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University.

Her tally, which she builds from news releases, wire reports, blogs and tips from colleagues, includes all newspaper jobs, not just those in the newsroom. But she estimates half of those 15,000 cuts were journalists. And that means the newsroom population of American papers shrank by about 15 percent last year, down from 52,000 at the start of the year.

The story goes on to consider life after working at newspaper, with former journalists taking jobs as substitute teachers, yoga instructors, private investigators and in media relations. You can read it here.

Meanwhile, the New York Times delves into one our deepest fears — government without newspapers to watch them. We’re “dangerously close” to that reality, according to an op-ed by David Swensen, the author of “Pioneering Portfolio Management,” and Michael Schmidt, a financial analyst at Yale:

American newspapers shoulder the burden of considerable indebtedness with little cash on hand, as their profit margins have diminished or disappeared. Readers turn increasingly to the Internet for information — even though the Internet has the potential to be, in the words of the chief executive of Google, Eric Schmidt, “a cesspool” of false information. If Jefferson was right that a well-informed citizenry is the foundation of our democracy, then newspapers must be saved.

What’s the solution? They suggest turning newspapers into “nonprofit, endowed institutions — like colleges and universities.”

Video: An Early Electronic Newspaper System — from 1981

“So for the moment, at least, this fellow isn’t worried about being out of a job …”

A 1981 local TV report on an early electronic newspaper system. Check out the participants.

(Spotted on Tumblr.)

Mike Beebe’s Tax on Cigarettes Arrives at the Ledge

Gov. Mike Beebe’s 56-cent increase to the state’s tax on cigarettes was finally filed today, even as opposition brews.

ArkansasBusiness.com’s Mark Carter attended today’s rally in support of the bill and files this report. The budding auteur also shot a pair of videos as Beebe and House Speaker Robbie Wills talked to the press:

And

Republican videoblogger Jason Tolbert has comments from Beebe and Wills from yet another angle here. Meanwhile, the Arkansas Times talks to Senate Pro Tem Bob Johnson here.

More

Rep. Steve Harrelson, D-Texarkana on Beebe’s health care initiatives

Wills sends the bill to the House Rules Committee