Media Insider: Salesforce CEO Buys Time Magazine, Conde Nast Transforms Global Distribution, Facebook Facilitates Local Publishing

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.

Stack of Time magazines fanned out

THE NEW YORK TIMES | ELIZABETH PATON
Inside the Revolution at Conde Nast International

In a media industry facing declines in print publication across the board, Condé Nast International is strengthening global distribution. The company’s president, Wolfgang Blau, explains how CNI is undergoing a “transformation” in order to consolidate its 60-plus distinct organizations into an international media powerhouse, headquartered in London. Additionally, Blau plans to restructure CNI to be organized by the company’s respective brands instead of countries. One of these brands, Vogue, is seeing more international success, as its revenues increase in China and India. Centralization of brand operations for a global publication may be unconventional, but Blau sees it as a necessary change: “To survive as a media group you either need to be a paper of record or own a global niche. The latter is what we are and need to continue to be.”

More news about changes at Condé Nast: GQ Names New Editor in Chief

DIGIDAY | LUCIA MOSES
Time magazine deal is a win for legacy brands in the digital age

Meredith Corporation has ended its months-long search for a buyer for Time magazine, selling the publication to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne, for $190 million. The purchase has its fair share of risks, as Time has seen consistently-declining profits and distribution. However, the Benioffs embrace these difficulties, citing the historical and cultural significance of the brand and expressing their intent to be “stewards” of the publication. Their approach of supporting Time’s digital transition while remaining largely uninvolved in the editorial process is refreshingly unconventional in the midst of publications being sold to venture capital firms in search of returns.

In related media news, The Outline staff did not fare as well following its venture capital-backed funding round.

POYNTER | RICK EDMONDS
As Wall Street sours on McClatchy, a longtime lender is now also buying up its stock

Family-owned publishing company McClatchy, which oversees 30 newspapers, has been dealt a tough financial hand. The company currently has the worst debt-to-equity ratio of the large public newspaper companies, with a market capitalization of only $69 million and a debt of $794 million. However, recent refinancing of this debt and share purchases over the past few months have given a 20 percent stake in the company to Chatham Asset Management, a private hedge fund and creditor to McClatchy. Both parties are hopeful the refinancing will place McClatchy in a more manageable position to pay off debt and maintain its business relationship for the foreseeable future.

McClatchy’s journalists consistently have produced Pulitzer-worthy material. Here’s proof.

MEDIAPOST | SARA GUAGLIONE
Facebook Finds Local Publishers Use Groups to Facilitate Dialogue, Editorial

The Facebook Journalism Project has released case studies, highlighting the success of local publishers who create Facebook groups for community discussion. This tactic has become increasingly-popular on social media. One such publisher, the Texas Tribune, was recognized for its Facebook group “This is Your Texas,” which serves as a dialogue platform for the community to discuss important topics, such as gun rights and education. Facebook’s interest in these types of engagement groups coincides with its new Facebook Membership Accelerator program, which supports local and non-profit news organizations, following the company’s recent $4.5 million investment in metro news publishers.

Further supporting local news: Facebook’s NewsMatch campaign

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW | HOWARD R. GOLD
Ten years after the financial crisis, business journalism awaits its reckoning

In the aftermath of the 2008 housing bubble burst and subsequent recession, which caught most of the world by surprise, many of those affected questioned why business journalists did not see the crash coming. This topic long has been a point of contention in the financial world as investors blamed business journalists for not anticipating the crisis, but journalists maintain this failure lies in the lack of accountability and reliable sources with which they were presented. Dean Starkman, former reporter with the Columbia Journalism Review, compiled an investigation of more than 700 stories about the housing market published between 2000 and 2007, concluding that the journalistic inadequacies largely were a result of access journalism, sacrificing objectivity for productivity.

ICYMI: The List: What the business press did (and didn’t do) while the financial crisis was brewing

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Thomas Nicholson is a Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire and science aficionado with a love for all things nerdy.

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