Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 4:09 AM
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 5:38 PM
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 8:30 AM
This week marks the demise of the 93-year-old News Service. As Guild members will recall, The Times announced in November that it would outsource the work of the News Service to a new nonunion (and low paid) editing center in Gainesville, Florida, and lay off the department's staff of almost 30 editors. Wednesday will be the last day of work for nearly half the News Service workforce. The others are expected to be laid off in early June.
It did not have to come to this.
In December, News Service staffers indicated they were willing to work longer hours at a reduced salary to keep the department intact in New York. However, Times management’s outrageous demands that News Service employees agree to those steep wage cuts and be forced to revoke the buyouts that the majority had already been granted, were among the major factors that prevented an agreement to avert the subcontracting. Management also refused to guarantee that the work would not be subcontracted at least through 2011, which means that the workers could have been agreeing to nothing more than the pay cut and reduced severance, while management still could have gone ahead with its subcontracting plans.
Using Boston Globe-style negotiating tactics
While Times management at first seemed to express interest in reaching an agreement with the Guild, management cruelly decided at the last moment to scuttle a proposed deal. Apparently, management was more interested in sending Guild members in the Newsroom a message that it was prepared to play hardball, the way it did at the , in the upcoming 2011 contract negotiations, than it was in saving the venerable department.
“The Guild had made a proposal that met all of management’s initial goals for saving more than $5 million over the next five years, with no start-up costs and vastly reduced severance expenses,” said New York Guild President Bill O’Meara. “However, the company then moved the goalposts, even after it was forced to admit a $400,000 ‘error’ in its cost-saving projections. That ‘error’ was in its favor, of course.”
Under the Guild proposal, News Service employees would have agreed to a wage reduction of approximately 17 percent, and they would work a 40-hour week. The company would have saved about $1.5 million in and the operation would have continued uninterrupted.
Established in 1917, the News Service extended The Times' reach from New Jersey to the frontlines of Iraq to the space station. Every day, its editors sent stories by wire, by TimesDigest and through branded pages to the four corners of the world. Its staff deserved better from Times management.
On Wednesday, the first News Service editor reports to work at 10 a.m. The last leaves at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. We hope Guild members can find a few minutes throughout the day to visit the staffers at their desks on the ninth floor to say goodbye and wish them well.
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 6:30 AM
Although I can't say I'm all that surprised (I certainly never watch it), the decline in viewership over at CNN is still staggering when it you see it in black and white. Even the network's
silver golden boy, Anderson Cooper, has seen a 42 percent drop in viewers -- and that's during the tight T-shirt extravaganza that went on during his Haiti earthquake coverage.
The New York Times reports:
For the network’s longest-running host, Larry King, who has always been regarded at CNN as the centerpiece of prime time because he drew the biggest audiences at 9 p.m., the quarter was his worst ever.
Mr. King’s audience dropped 43 percent for the quarter and 52 percent in March. He dropped to 771,000 viewers for the quarter from 1.34 million in 2009. More alarming perhaps, Mr. King, whose show has been regularly eclipsed by Rachel Maddow’s on MSNBC (and is almost quadrupled by Sean Hannity’s show on Fox), is now threatened by a new host, Joy Behar on HLN (formerly Headline News.)
Anderson Cooper has long been regarded as the strongest host at CNN, but his show has suffered badly as well. For the quarter, Mr. Cooper dropped 42 percent in viewers and 46 percent among the 25-to-54-year-old audience that the news channels use for their sales to advertisers.
In the past, CNN relied on big audiences for Mr. King’s show to deliver viewers to Mr. Cooper. Now Mr. Cooper sometimes finds himself losing to repeats of shows on MSNBC and HLN.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 5:54 PM
Stop the presses, Ricky Martin is officially gay.
Statement from his official site:
A few months ago I decided to write my memoirs, a project I knew was going to bring me closer to an amazing turning point in my life. From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that were too heavy for me to keep inside. Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth. And this is something worth celebrating.
For many years, there has been only one place where I am in touch with my emotions fearlessly and that's the stage. Being on stage fills my soul in many ways, almost completely. It's my vice. The music, the lights and the roar of the audience are elements that make me feel capable of anything. This rush of adrenaline is incredibly addictive. I don't ever want to stop feeling these emotions. But it is serenity that brings me to where I'm at right now. An amazing emotional place of comprehension, reflection and enlightenment. At this moment I'm feeling the same freedom I usually feel only on stage, without a doubt, I need to share.
Many people told me: "Ricky it's not important", "it's not worth it", "all the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse", "many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature". Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth. Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions.
If someone asked me today, "Ricky, what are you afraid of?" I would answer "the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war...child slavery, terrorism...the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith." But fear of my truth? Not at all! On the contrary, It fills me with strength and courage. This is just what I need especially now that I am the father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things every day. To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with. Enough is enough. This has to change. This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment.
These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed.
What will happen from now on? It doesn't matter. I can only focus on what's happening to me in this moment. The word "happiness" takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.
I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 5:41 PM
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 3:51 PM
Frank Rich says what many of us have been saying all along: the rage has nothing to do with health care:
If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House -- topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman -- would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that [Barney] Frank, [John] Lewis and [Emanuel] Cleaver -- none of them major Democratic players in the health care push -- received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 7:30 AM
A look at what's making news in New York and L.A.'s free gay rags:
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 2:53 AM
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 6:45 PM
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Bravo! Bravo! With Andy Cohen (this one's for Spyro)
Regis-free zone: Andy Towle, Katie Lee Gifford and Dave Grant
Contessa Brewer and Josh H
The crowd makes itself at home
Me and Kathie Lee
Hoda and Kathie Lee wonder where the waiter is with their drinks ...
The Contessa in the (212) (plus some anchor chick)
Strike a pose
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 7:00 AM