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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Statesman Makes More Cuts in Newsroom

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Bad news in the world of daily journalism is leaking out of the Idaho Statesman today.

The Idaho Business Review is reporting that the Statesman's already tiny newsroom was cut even further on Aug. 15, when nine positions were cut—including seven from the editorial department. IBR cites Statesman reporters who survived the bloodletting as saying that veteran reporters Anna Webb and Joe Estrella were among those cut, as were online editor Sara Cassinelli and copy editors Randall Post and Joi Topete.

It looks like this means surviving employees will be further doubling up on duties and the paper's new publisher, Mike Jung, will be arriving to a bare-bones newsroom.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Statesman Names New Publisher

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 11:53 AM

The Idaho Statesman announced earlier today that Mike Jung will take over as the daily paper's new publisher as of Monday, Aug. 22.

Jung was most recently the publisher of the Santa Cruz Sentinel and is a native of the Bay Area. That paper is owned by Media News Group. Jung is taking over the post left vacant when Mi-Ai Parrish left to take over at the Kansas City Star in June.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spotify Launches in U.S.

Posted By on Sat, Jul 16, 2011 at 2:38 PM

The digital music service Spotify is spending its first weekend on laptops and smartphones across the United States. The Swedish company already has more than 10 million registered users and 1.6 million paying customers in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, France, the Netherlands and Spain. It added the United States as its market on Thursday.

Spotify is the latest company to offer a subscription music plan with the cooperations of major music labels. Its chief competitors in the United States will be Rhapsody, MOG and Rdio. All offer a $10-a-month plan that allows for unlimited listening to millions of songs and the ability to save tunes for playback.

Spotify gives users access to 15 million songs for free as long as they listen to some 15-second ads. For $5 a month, the ads are stripped out on a computer-only version. For $10 a month the ads are stripped away from iPhones and Android devices.

The most popular of the subscription services, Rhapsody, has more than 800,000 paying subscribers.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Publisher to Leave Idaho Statesman

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM

There are big shake-ups in Boise's print media world. McClatchy Co. announced today that Mi-Ai Parrish will leave her post as publisher to take over the same position at the Kansas City Star.

Parrish has been at the Statesman since not long after McClatchy bought the paper in 2006. No date has been given for her departure, but the company said the search is on for a new Statesman publisher.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Obama Trumps Trump

Posted By on Sun, May 1, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Oh, snap. Apparently President Barack Obama can crack a joke and throw a punch. At the same time.

At last night's White House Correspondents Association Dinner, the president delivered a couple of punchlines with Donald Trump as the butt of the joke.

Among them:

“Tonight, for the first time, I am releasing my official birth video,” he declared. On the video screens around the room, up popped the birth scene from The Lion King.

“I want to make clear to the Fox News table: That was a joke,” Obama said. “That was not my real birth video. That was a children’s cartoon. Call Disney if you don't believe me. They have the original long-form version.”

Last week, President Obama released his long-form birth certificate after Trump riled up the birthers with his foray into politics as he tests the waters for a possible presidential run. Obama wasn't the only one to take aim at The Donald at last night's dinner. Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers had a few Trump jokes of his own and—get this—The Donald was in the audience.

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New Andrus Center Blog Launches

Posted By on Sun, May 1, 2011 at 8:00 AM

The Andrus Center for Public Policy has launched a new blog with three high-profile contributors expected to focus on "the ongoing discussion of public policy in the American West."

Contributors include Marc Johnson, managing partner for the Boise office of Gallatin Public Affairs and former chief of staff and press secretary to ex-Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus; Chris Carlson, retired Gallatin founder who also served as the director of the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Public Affairs under President Jimmy Carter; and John C. Freemuth, senior fellow at the Andrus Center for Public Policy and a professor of political science and public administration at Boise State.

The Andrus Center, which was founded in 1995, has published white papers and reports on topics from forest management and wildfires to river management and an overall view of wildlife, people and land in the West. The new blog looks to be a more frequently updated discussion of those topics, albeit covered in a depth more appropriate for reading on your smartphone than your typical white paper tends to be.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sony, Amazon Working "Around the Clock" to Repair Major Outages

Posted By on Sun, Apr 24, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Sony Computer Entertainment says its PlayStation Network was hacked, shutting down its global gaming systems. A company statement late Saturday said that Sony "was working around the clock" to fix the issues.

"An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocty services," said Patrick Seybold, Sony's senior director of corporate communications and social media.

The PlayStation Network is a way for users to download movies, TV shows and games over the web to a PlayStation. Access to the network is free, though users have to pay for some of the content.

Meanwhile, Amazon.com is still working to restore some of its servers used by other websites as an outage stretched into a fourth day. Besides selling books and DVDs, Amazon.com rents out space on its servers that run other websites and online services. Amazon said Saturday that it was making progress fixing the problem, but more slowly than it had hoped.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

More Studies Point to Natural Gas Drilling Problems

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 2:52 PM

The April 13 issue's main feature, "Natural Gas Drilling: What We Don't Know," bore into the unknowns of drilling deep into the Earth for natural gas, specifically, the alleged effects of fracking on water sources and the general lack of scientific knowledge about further potential effects of the process.

This week, The New York Times reported on two studies about to be released that examine the environmental effects of natural gas after it has come out of the ground. From the Times' piece:

... two coming studies try to poke holes in the clean-and-green reputation of natural gas. They suggest that the rush to develop the nation’s vast, unconventional sources of natural gas is logistically impractical and likely to do more to heat up the planet than mining and burning coal.

The problem, the studies suggest, is that planet-warming methane, the chief component of natural gas, is escaping into the atmosphere in far larger quantities than previously thought, with as much as 7.9 percent of it puffing out from shale gas wells, intentionally vented or flared, or seeping from loose pipe fittings along gas distribution lines. This offsets natural gas’s most important advantage as an energy source: It burns cleaner than other fossil fuels and releases lower carbon dioxide emissions.

On Monday, April 18, Canadian company Bridge Resources will hold a town hall meeting with Payette County residents to discuss plans to drill several natural gas wells near New Plymouth.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NPR on Otter's Love Letter

Posted By on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 2:00 PM

It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's love letter to Washington and Oregon businesses.

Perhaps BW readers remember the Best of Boise award his mushy missive scored him in last year's best of the best round up:

There's no doubt about it, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is a hopeless romantic. His heart beats lustily, his cheeks flush crimson and he gets that "OMG-I-think-I'm-gonna-barf-but-I-like-it" feeling whenever he sees his dearly beloved: other states' businesses. Butch made his intentions known earlier this spring—when love is in the air—with gushy missives addressed to businesses in Washington and Oregon, asking them to move in with him here in the Spud State. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire spurned the erstwhile Romeo, stating that Washington firms are already in a stable, fulfilling relationship and they don't swing. Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said he recognizes that tax concerns are making for a rocky relationship, but it's just a rough patch and it'll pass.

Thanks to NPR for rehashing it yesterday. From Austin Jenkins' report: "... has cupid's arrow struck in the heart of any Washington or Oregon businesses?" The answer, as Jenkins discovers, has a lot to do with perspective.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Publisher Parrish on Daily's Future

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Idaho Statesman publisher Mi-Ai Parrish spoke at City Club of Boise yesterday afternoon, first addressing the audience with optimistic news about the daily paper's current status and then submitting to a fairly friendly grilling from audience questions.

Although officially titled "The Future of Your Daily Newspaper," Parrish's comments revealed less about the future than they did of the present. In short, Parrish said the Statesman's readership is up (even in the 18-34 demographic), that McClatchy is a "solidly profitable multi-media company" (emphasis on the multi-media with warm fuzzies for Twitter, Facebook and idahostatesman.com) and that while it may look like the paper is down, given the one-two punch of a deep recession and the rise of the Internet, the Statesman is certainly not out.

Come question time, City Clubbers seemed mostly concerned about money. At least at first.

Parrish fielded questions about selling Statesman content on the Internet, the impact of free classified listings like Craigslist and the possibility of large dailies becoming 501(c)3's or getting a government bail out. The answers: Parrish hates to give away content, including on the Internet; non-profit status could help secure grants to do expensive investigative reports; and she's no fan of government bailing out media—better to keep a free press free of Uncle Sam's money.

Eventually Parrish was faced with questions about the Statesman's editorial content, specifically its paltry business section and what one questioner called a complete lack of investigative reporters. As to the former, Parrish said sure, she'd like to have a bigger biz section but to the latter, she simply flat out disagreed. While that was a short and sweet answer to a serious concern, it at least came off better than a backhanded "duly noted," which she delivered in answer to a question about the defunct Tech Monday column.

Someone in the audience beat citydesk to the punch with a question about Boise Weekly, and whether the Statesman considered BW competition, or if there's a possibility for collaboration between the two papers. Short answer: like all media, we compete editorially but it's not necessarily an adversarial relationship.

And in case Parrish's McClatchy bosses want to know how well she towed the company line without giving away too much, citydesk gives her an "A." We heard more than once about "core competencies" and when asked to state exactly how many people had been affected by the Statesman's recent lay-offs, Parrish had a great non-answer answer. Parrish started the lay-off numbers with 28 pressman (14 of whom moved to Idaho Press-Tribune with the press switch earlier this year) and then wandered off into different territory without addressing numbers in the newsroom or elsewhere—numbers that citydesk wagers the asker was actually interested in.

Citydesk did get a couple of good chuckles out of the forum. First, when Parrish said the Statesman has been accused of being too far left. (Heck, if that's the case, some people out there must think BW is so far left we're almost right.) And second, when moderator Marcia Franklin told Parrish the new-ish headline/subhead/first graph is sometimes too confusing for readers.

In the end, what did we learn about the future of Idaho's largest daily newspaper? Well, its publisher doesn't think we can live without it and since she inked a 20-year print contract with the Press-Trib, she's optimistic that it'll be around a while.

One final note: The forum had originally been titled "The Future of Newspapers" before it was slightly altered to better reflect Parrish's area of expertise. Regardless, the forum apparently didn't draw much attention from Parrish's counterparts at other area newspapers. Idaho Press-Tribune Publisher Rick Weaver and Boise Weekly Publisher Sally Freeman passed up City Club to dish on industry gossip over lunch at Sweetwater's Tropic Zone.

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