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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Feb. 27, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 9 (download PDF version)

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The Associated Press is rolling out an updated logo, the first change in 30 years, as part of its master-brand strategy.

AP logos
AP logos from 1900 (left) to present.

Tom Curley, AP president, said AP has “world-class content and world-class products and now we have the world-class look to go with them.” The new look “translates AP’s growing portfolio of digital products and platforms and distinctively relays our role as the definitive sources for news.”

New York design firm Objective Subject created the new “visual identity system” for AP.


The Washington Post Co. recorded a 22 percent drop in Q4 profit to $61.7M as revenues slipped 10 percent to $1.1B.

The fall-off is due largely due to its struggling Kaplan education unit, which generated $2.4B of WaPO’s $4.2B revenues. It showed a 51 percent fall in Q4 profit to $32.2M.

The Washington Post newspaper group reported a $7.4M Q4 operating profit compared to $19.9M gain in 2010. Publishing revenues dropped four percent to $181M. Print ads were down six percent to $77.1M due to cuts in classified, zone and general advertising.

Daily circulation at the Post declined 6.3 percent to 516K and four percent on Sunday to 732K.


National Public Radio has promoted Kinsey Wilson to executive VP and chief of content in an effort to align news programming and digital operations.

He joined NPR from USA Today in 2008.

Margaret Smith, a 30-year veteran of NPR takes on senior VP news post to oversee the day-to-day operations of its 400-member staffer in 17 foreign and 18 domestic bureaus and offices.

Gary Knell, president, said the pair are “strategists and leaders with a keen understanding of the craft that distinguishes NPR - and how we must continue to innovate and evolve.”

NPR reaches 27M listeners each week and 23M people monthly online.


Hamish McLennan, former CEO Young & Rubicam, has joined News Corp. as executive VP, office of the chairman.

In that newly created post, McLennan is to develop global brand partners for News Corp.'s media portfolio. A focus on sustainable marketing alliances and digital extensions is a priority.

McLennan reports to CEO Rupert Murdoch and president/COO Chase Carey. McLennan’s “considerable industry experience, coupled with a unique and wide-ranging strategic vision, make him the right executive to deliver the insights we need to maximize our global media investments,” said Murdoch in a statement.

Prior to taking the helm of ad giant Y&R in 2006, McLennnan was chair of its Australia/New Zealand operations.

Earlier he worked at George Patterson Bates, which Y&R acquired. At GPB, McLennan worked in Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong.

He will divide his News Corp. time between Sydney and New York.


Gannett plans to erect digital paywalls around its 80 community papers by the end of the year as part of the growth plan announced Feb. 22 by CEO Gracia Martore to investors in New York. It is adopting the metered system used by papers like the New York Times that allows free access to five to 15 articles each month.

Gannett’s USA Today flagship remains free online.

The company is “once again playing offense, poised for growth and value creation,” said Martore. It used the recession to pay down more than $2B in debt and took “aggressive actions” to fortify its balance sheet so “we now have the flexibility to focus on growth while returning increased capital to shareholders,” the CEO said.

Gannett, which has approved a 150 percent hike in dividend to 80 cents per share, aims to return more than $1.3B to investors by 2015 from the company’s cash flow.

Martore has an eye out for “bolt-on acquisitions” and expansion of USA Today’s sports media unit, which expects to be a Top Five media company by 2015.


Zach Seward is joining Atlantic Media Co. as senior editor for its in-the-works publication to be launched this year.

He had been at the Wall Street Journal in charge of web outreach social media initiatives. Seward also was training WSJ staffers on the use of social media.

Kevin Delaney, editor-in-chief of the new brand, calls Seward “one of the smartest thinkers about digital opportunities for journalistic innovation.” He wants the new venture to be “disruptive, open-minded and bold in rethinking how people get news and analysis.”

Prior to the WSJ, Seward was assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, covering the media industry.

He joins Atlantic Media on Feb. 29.


Mario Ruiz, who handled PR for The Huffington Post, is leaving to start his own firm.

Arianna Huffington, in a note to staffers, called Ruiz “our PR, marketing, and communications departments all rolled into one - a one-man-band.”

Ruiz also fielded every media inquiry “whether they came early in the morning or late on a weekend night,” she wrote.

Huffington is proud of Ruiz for “spreading his wings” and plans to work with him for years to come.

Huffington Post Media Group is the charter client of Ruiz.

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