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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Buying himself out

Fred Stickel has announced he's retiring as publisher of The Oregonian. When asked why, the 87-year-old confided, "I wanted to be sure to get my retirement tributes in the paper before it folds."

The publication is conducting a national search for a replacement for Stickel. Already a prime candidate has been identified.

Comments (23)

Well they need to get someone who has a curious mind for a change and maybe an open one, mind that is, also.

I nominate Amy Ruiz.

That 70-year old young upstart Bob Skipper is looking for work.

What kind of person takes glee in the struggles of a business that plays such an important role in the community?

now THAT is funny Jack!

What kind of person takes glee

I am gleeful if it means that the stances taken by the editorial board of that paper start to wise up. I am not gleeful about the demise of the paper, as I have remarked here many times. Also, I am not sure that the overall Newhouse family handled the internet very well -- nor are they doing so now.

a business that plays such an important role in the community

Much less so nowadays than, say, 10 years ago. But still important.

(Stickel and Schonely: twins separated at birth? viewing video, you decide.)

... going ... going ... not a minute too soon enough.

He said Internet competition came much faster than he and others in the industry expected.

Also more powerful.

"Certainly the impact of it was greater than I anticipated," ...

That too.

"... and it's still shaking down," Stickel said. "Everybody's trying to figure out, 'How do you monetize this?'"
'Figuring the angles' for (him) to be making a buck ain't needed to be figured. NO Ripoff City. Funding the internet is a slamdunk. Easy peasy:

Socialize it ! Just like we socialized the Interstate Highway System; (and this time using world socialism, World Wide Well-being 'socializing' it). How much 'figuring' was there to "monetize" Interstate freeways (by rich folks)?

Maybe Stickel meant to say 'figuring how to monopolize the internet.'

Internets = Interstates: all about traffic and travel (which, btw, is the definition of 'communication') and expanding horizons. Travel is broadening. That's the dictum of Education -- it's 'broadening.' (As in: 'broad-minded,' which, btw, is the definition of 'liberal' and 'cultured' and 'sophisticated' and, in a word, 'educated.' As opposed to 'schooled,' which means 'indoctrinated' or 'rote trained.')

The reason rich folks, a.k.a. The Establishment, failed to foresee the internet coming "faster, more powerful, greater" than that which they had obtained, and "shaking down" obliterating their established status, is because their ONLY founding advantage was: Control of current information flow -- that which is 'trafficked.'

It hardly was seen that information currency was the ONLY device or endowment causing the rich persons' riches. Overwhelming all events and circumstances, by exaggerating or suppressing Who What Where When Why facts for understanding, they constantly told themselves and drumbeat into us the false hollow MYTH that their having riches prove they are better people, with Divine Right to be rich, promised to them chosen by Gad Almighty approving, and proved by, them being rich.

This 'information flow' thing materialized in the invention of telegraphy, circa 1830, which telegraphs then appeared in railroad (traffic) depots, and then begat 'newspapers' (as we think of them, and as 'wire services'), and so on. (Of course, telephony then came in on telegraphy wires. The internet is merely fancy telephony on the telephone wires network.) (Now, radiowave broadcasting -- 'the wireless' -- is a whole different thing, coming after about 1910. The internet is NOT broadcasting. And that's an important legal privacy and people-being-secure-in-their-persons distinction to observe and make.)

Also, the 'information flow' thing involves literacy -- being able to read and to write, (and to 'figure' I suppose), and public education, taxpayers-paid and socialized as US law enacted and instituted it, circa 1845, first in the world, (before then literacy was obtained in priesthoods and 'private schools' only by rich persons ... thoroughly proving God chose and made them smarter and better than the masses of everybody-else 'little people'). Literacy ... education ... currency of information flow ... control ... and so on.

The internet 'democratizes' information. Or, in the famous words of President Clinton: Democracy is what comes out the end of the internet ... uh, and cell phones.

The internet wrecking ball smashing the state of The Establishment is literately discussed and explained in 2 parts (Footnotes in the 2nd part) here:


Excerpt (from part 2):

The Myth of the Open Society: Secrecy and the Newspress. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Upon the newspress falls the responsibility of sustaining the [monetizing] MYTH that the United States’ political economy is fundamentally open, with pockets of secrecy, rather than fundamentally defined by information differentials, with apertures of openness. But in fact the newpress is required by law, directly or indirectly, to respect all of the political eoconomy’s major concealments. These laws enact the least cumbersome form of censorship – prior exclusion – and deny the newpress access to four areas of conflict whose exposure would drastically undermine corporate power vis-a-vis the rest of American society. These four areas, with the paramount interests said to justify the exclusion of the newspress from each, are:

· Labor processes and corporate business practices (proprietary information).

· The system of criminal justice (integrity of police procedures, fair trial and custodial considerations),

· Domestic governmental proceedings (integrity of the deliberative process).

· Foreign affairs (national security)

In addition to its legal exclusion from forbidden areas, because the newspress' profits depend on the profits of its corporate advertisers, it has a financial interest in self-censoring reportage that would lessen its advertisers' profits. Since coverage of forbidden areas would undermine corporate power and wealth, the newspress does not provide such coverage.

Non-coverage of forbidden areas by the newspress is explained then, by three factors: (1) the power of the dominant participants to legally exclude the newspress; (2) the newspress' financial interest in not undermining advertising revenue; and (3) the newspress' acceptance of both the pre-eminence of the paramount interests justifying non-coverage and the incompatibility of those interest with coverage. What coverage of forbidden areas there is requires espionage and betrayal. But it should not be surprising that the newspress is required to resort to these methods to pierce the pervasive and doctrinal secrecy surrounding consequential governmental and corporate activities; in such cases, the ends define the means.

I hope we all have opportunity to read it. The power of the people thinking globally is acted out faster, more powerful, greater than the local 'yokels' figuring to monetize 'it' ... that information flow thing. A magnificent tract.

The internet is going to be both all-powerful and free of corporate and establishment pressure? Do you mind if I kind of doubt that?

Great arguments, but you know, while information may be free, good information is not.

I always find these discussions about the "free" internet amusing. Somehow the Wall Street Journal has no problem charging subscribers for full use of it's online edition. Of course, UNLIKE the OREGONIAN they provide their readers with real news and facts - no the spin of the day from City Hall.

So are they finally going to acknowledge that "telly-vision" thing isn't just a fad that's going away, or is that for after he's left?

For years I have read at least two news papers a day. The Oregonina is not one of them. Quality is not something that is required in their editorial offices.

i hear from people who've met you that in person you're a decent guy. on your blog, well, that's not really the case, is it?

galen barnett
commentary editor
the oregonian

Hey Galen, I'm not saying whether it's good or bad. I happen to think it's a very bad thing. But the O is on life support. You know it and I know it.

It's interesting that the "commentary editor" of the O goes all ad hominem when somebody offers brutally frank, but 100% true, commentary. I would think you of all people would consider that fair game.

As for Mr. Stickel, I'm sure he is a great guy. I started out as a reporter on the same New Jersey newspaper that he used to run, and so I feel some affinity there. The Newhouse organization is pretty crazy, though -- including more than its fair share of nepotism and other forms of professional in-breeding. It's never seemed in worse shape than it does now, at least not during my lifetime. Stickel Sr. may not be to blame, but he's not leaving on any high note.

And the editorial stances that the paper takes on local issues are usually quite troublesome -- highly predictable and often laughable. I can't believe that he didn't have something to do with that.

Have to agree that Newhouse's Internet strategy is lacking, although not many other newspaper chains have managed to crack that atom. I've seen the weird Oregonian/OregonLive model used by other Newhouse papers. I don't see why the online unit needs to be a separate entity (although probably some hopeful theory about maximizing ad revenue). OregonLive's gotten better, but it's still nowhere near as user-friendly as the online sites for the NY Times, Washington Post, or even the frickin' Portland Tribune.

Socialize the internet.

You pay taxes. You get internet.

It's like hiways and schools and fire & police departments. and such

Hiways aren't all good; you may pay toll-road extras and get slightly better -- your choice.

Schools aren't all good; you may pay for 'private' schools and get better(?) -- your choice.

Fire departments have arsonists in 'em. Police dept's have murderers and thieves.
You may pay whopping extra and maybe get better (a bodyguard?). Your choice.

Wall Street Journal may charge what it pleases. You may pay it. Your choice.

You pay taxes = you get internet. Bums and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett get internet too, without paying taxes.

The Oregonian can go monetize itself.
If it offers an internet presence, okay ... whatEVer

- -
Some of the way lots of peoples' thinking got made a habit, is that back in the beginning of radio ( ~ 1925) broadcasts were free and funded by public-money (tax revenues) appropriation by Congress. Things worked well, people were happy with it, (generally speaking).

Then 'corporate sponsors' started BUYING TIME to talk in your head. Saying don't pay taxes, pay a little bit extra for our product and we'll direct that extra to fund broadcasting. with advertising. reminding you to buy our product.

But, hey, the products are cheaper if the business does not buy ad time. And the savings can go (as taxes) though open-book self-governance accounts into funding broadcasting -- and going that route the public can follow the money, like Jack reports City of Portland waste fraud and bribery corruption. There's the vigilance -- it's hard work -- it produces liberty. (Instead of the same broadcast-funding money going into secret profits and rich profiteers of 'corporations' and "privately held companies" as The Oregonian calls itself.)

My basic rant is that there isn't much practical difference between socialism and capitalism. It's more or less only attitude -- do you like to fight against everybody all the time ('competition'), or do you like being together, safe, secure, supportive of others and supported yourself in turn ('cooperation'). Or some mix of both? Okay, which parts mixed which way?

When it's everything for one privately, that's capitalism. When it's everything shared openly for everyone, that's communism. When it's a hybrid mix of some of the first and some of the second, that's socialism. Like China has today. Like Russia has today. Like Canada has today. Like Mexico has today.

Whatever. You have to think for yourself what you like. Stop being a dittohead of some 'celebrity.' Think policy and practicality, NOT personality.

The article I linked to (in a previous comment) makes the point that the ONLY device which causes and sustains capitalism is differentiated information, and monstrously rich persons are rich ONLY by depriving others of information. Like, say, stockbrokers. Or bankers.

That's why it's so important for you to think about who pays for TV. Because that's who feeds you or starves you and controls your information. Newspapers, too, but that's a little bit different; there's a cover price to you but it barely matters, (see: Willamette Week, which won a Pulitzer Prize, about Goldschmidt, Stickel's buddy, The Oregonian didn't report on), the ad buyers are who seriously fund the newspaper.

So, you like internet, as it is, more or less free, and as it can grow? Then put some public money from taxes to it. There's lots of public money. 3 or 4 BILLION a WEEK of it going wasted down a rathole through Iraq-Afghan and into the purses of corrupt politicians and private-held businesses. such as The Oregonian ... so-called 'war' brings big profit to The Oregonian, it declines to report how much "big" that is ... and Stickel is rich by it, and supports more 'war.' You betcha.

You betcha your LIFE is whatcha you betcha.

3 or 4 Billion should be enough to make internet for a large bunch of people a long long time. The Post Office was short only 7 billion last year -- ALL YEAR. Put 12 billion there and we can publicly 'own' the place, and so not have to put stamps on letters, or only like 2 cents. We could 'own' PBS for half that -- no pledge drives, no 'commercial supporters' -- and a fair amount of PBS programming is somewhat edu-tainment many people appreciate ... and it isn't like any of us is going to miss that 6 billion bucks, or 12 billion in the Post Office, after we save 400 billion back from Iraq-Afghan. and another 600 billion back from downsizing the Pentagon. per YEAR. Awfully soon it adds up.

So, socialism? capitalism? it's pretty much the same except what do you like doing -- watching out (behind you)? or helping out (around you)? (Jack likes judging pie contests ... no corruption there :-) (Just look at his miles run, year-to-date, double from last year, waaaay better than I do; how many miles does the Big Title 'commentary editor' run? I mean, there's talking the talk and then there's walking the walk -- who loves Portland in real life: Jack, or Mr. The zerO editor?) Oh, (tremble), Jack Sir, please don't edit my commentary Master, let information flow and self-respect be the control. (... lacking in the townhall wackos and that one dung-tongue toad-rage 'Representative,' I use the term loosely.)

Got health? Your choice: run? or give all your money to insurance company owners getting privately quite rich?

So think about it. Socialize the internet. Don't 'monetize' it. This socialism thing is a good practice, pay it forward, in some special situations (where 'public' is involved) when viewed openly thinking about it.

- -
btw, does anyone know Stickel's birthday? let the info flow. It's 1921, November I get, near the 9th maybe. Very plausibly the true birthdate was lost, forgotten, unknown; some births in those days weren't in hospital, some homes didn't 'use' calendars, some families fought and kept secrets from each other. It's not unusual that a birth is only known within a spread of days or a couple weeks, (J.Edgar Hoover's is a mystery for 6 months), and the person grows up choosing one date for convention to celebrate.

"a business that plays such an important role in the community"

Much less so nowadays than, say, 10 years ago. But still important.

Too bad you weren't here to see it 40 years ago. Back then I'm sure they actually saw themselves as the west coast Gray Lady, all staid, ponderous, and majestic. If you take a longer view the fall has been much further and dramatic.

i hear from people who've met you that in person you're a decent guy. on your blog, well, that's not really the case, is it?

galen barnett
commentary editor
the oregonian

I never met bojack in person, but on this blog the guy seems rather decent to me.

But he speaks his mind; and calls it out when he sees "stuff". And he allows (mostly) commentary on his blog that offer different opinions to his own.

Funny that the Oregonian editor comes here to ad hominem, when on the Oregonian story, commentary was not allowed.

I guess the Oregonian editors knew how their own readers would comment about the retirement of Stickel, so they had to dis-allow any comments. Kinda like Pravda; not compliants there, just alotta love.

Funny that the Oregonian editor comes here to ad hominem, when on the Oregonian story, commentary was not allowed.

Just for the record: When the story was first posted yesterday morning, they were taking comments. As has been previously remarked upon in this forum, the comments were mostly crude, ill-informed, off-topic and wearisomely predictable. On the morning after Joe Wilson's outburst, they frankly reflected the coarseness and incivility of a health care Town Hall.

You have to marvel at a society where it is evidently OK to anonymously chastise an 87-year-old widower stepping down after what was for the most part an enormously successful career and life. What a graceless people we have become.

No, the publisher of a monopoly daily newspaper is fair game for civil criticism, no matter what his or her age and regardless of whether his or her spouse is alive or dead. The fact that Mr. Stickel hung around until he was 87 before leaving the building shouldn't change that.

the comments were mostly crude, ill-informed, off-topic and wearisomely predictable

That is true of the comments on nearly every story on Oregon Live.

I blame the Republicans. There, for Tensky & his ilk - That's out of the way.

Now the real comment - I grew up in a working-class family that took both Oregonian and Journal, back in the 50s & 60s, but the O has become so tendentious & transparently the tool of various parties, I canceled last year. My worst suspicions were confirmed last month, when I got a cheerful letter saying that I was to get a free three-month subscription, 7 days a week, "courtesy of the Beavers." (might have been the timbers, too - I can't remember). I like getting the paper free, but even free is too high a price when the paper is so obviously a mouthpiece for Paulson & Co.
How many others got this generous offer?

Ask ten people why they think print news is dying and you might get five different responses. Mine would be that the papers are too slavishly left-wing. But the real reason is that the internet is "free." Why pay for archaic delivery when everything is an instant click away? I've published three op-eds in the Big O, and never had so much feedback. Notwithstanding the sycophancy,I'll miss it if it goes.

I adore the "tendentious." Word.

"How many others got this generous offer?" Every. One. Every. Time. And it doesn't stop after 3 months. It's like a haunt.

Here's ugly: I bought a paid obit, in The O, since the 'free' fill-out-the-form is excrement beneath human dignity, while writhing in a pain may you never suffer knowing, having to do with having to do an obit. Indecently months and months later comes a funny-looking letter in my residential mailbox from Stickel's SalesStasi, quote: "Dear Display Advertiser, This advance notice shares the excitement to get you onboard with the paper's new crisper column width and sleek style sheet, in time to re-size camera-ready layouts for your quarter-page and half-page buys ... blah blah blah" and I puked. I reported it; I never got an apology.

No sympathy for Stickel bereaved. I hope he had to compose Mrs. S.'s obit himself.

- -
"I've published three op-eds in the Big O ...." Myself, I feel proud of my hundred (at least) they rejected. And would have even if well written. Unable to handle publishing the truth against their lies. A couple of times my community group needed some promotion of its affairs and I did bland vanilla columns for that and they ran 'em.
Once upon a time I was proud of having my letters appear in the NY Times, but ultimately I wised up they were playing me as filler stopping better true news more fit to print.

Reprising: In my firsthand experience and in the stuff I wrote, the validity of content or interest of the ideas is irrelevant. Instead, paramount over all in determining what gets set to print and what gets cut, is the factor of mind control by news control, of the masses. Propaganda is a heady power, and lust, and perversely corrupted. Absolutely.

... they say that Richard Corey owns one half ot this whole town ....

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