This week’s ticker has a mix of moves and news in the journo world. Simon Nixon, columnist and chief leader writer at The Times, has left after eight years. Sad news just doesn’t seem to leave the news industry as yet news comes that Sacramento Magazine is shuttering after 48 years. On the bright side, this week’s ticker features our Qwoted 100 superstar Beth Booker. But first, this story straight from the bowels of a profit-uber-alles hedge fund.
Alden’s newspaper death march continues… Heath Freeman of Alden Capital, if not the one person responsible for dismantling journalism in the name of stuffing his pockets, is certainly gunning for the title. Newsrooms in Chicago, Denver, San Diego and throughout the U.S. have suffered at the hands of his vulture capital firm, which guts newsrooms to enrich its board members. Latest on the list is a group of four North Pennsylvania papers, wrested from family ownership by Alden’s aggressive shareholder pressure. The families behind Times-Shamrock Communications — who’ve been in the business for 128 years — expressed their outrage in a statement from co-owner George Lynett that appeared in Editor and Publisher.
We feel it is important to express our personal dissatisfaction with the sale of Times-Shamrock newspapers to MediaNews Group, a subsidiary of Alden Capital. This was a transaction that we do not support or endorse. Alden does not reflect the business principles we feel are consistent with the stewardship of any newspaper.
Freeman, who never speaks to the media (including the outlets he has taken over), lets his actions speak for themselves. He recently bought a $19 million mansion in Florida, which you can check out in this New York Post piece. Meanwhile, TBN editor and publisher Lou Carlozo states, “Freeman is a coward. A greedy, destructive coward, which is the worst kind. But if he’s finally brave enough to crawl out of his rat hole, my challenge to a mano-a-mano kickboxing match outside Alden HQ still stands, provided the hundreds of journalists whose jobs he axed are allowed to attend.”
Qwoted 100 superstar – Beth Booker… This week we featured Beth Booker, the founder/CEO of Gracie PR and based in Naples, Fla., as our Qwoted 100 superstar. Boasting a wide range of proficiencies and expertise, Booker discusses the shifting nature of media relations, remembering the human side of dealing with reporters and what it’s like to work at building brand awareness while avoiding the “spray and pray” approach. Talking about the future of PR, Booker said, “The public relations field is constantly shifting, much like the journalism world. We’re starting to see that technological focus grow more and more each day amid media layoffs. Unfortunately, that shift is something we can’t stop alone. But one thing that won’t change as we move forward — at least for my team — is creating meaningful relationships with journalists and staying away from transactional or spray-and-pray pitching.” Read more here. (Note: PRs can email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com if they want to be featured in the Qwoted 100).
Nixon departs as chief lead writer of The Times… Simon Nixon, columnist and chief leader writer at The Times, has left after more than eight years. “It was a privilege to help steer the paper’s thinking during some tumultuous years for Britain and the world,” he wrote on X/Twitter. Previously, Nixon worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than nine years, holding the posts of European editor for Heard on the Street and chief European commentator. He also worked at Reuters as executive editor of breakingviews.com. Reach out to Nixon via X/Twitter or LinkedIn.
Sacramento Magazine ceases operations… Sacramento Magazine’s August issue will be its last. The magazine is shuttering after more than four decades in business. Sacramento Media CEO Stefan Wanczyk said, “As owners of Sacramento Magazine, we have taken a lot of pride in what this publication has accomplished, we deeply appreciate the support of the community, our readers and the advertising partners over the last eight years.” The Sacramento Bee reports, “No purchase price was disclosed for Sacramento Magazine’s assets. Sacramento Magazine Publisher Dennis Rainey said in an email that the shutdown of the Sacramento magazine came as a surprise. He said staff was informed on July 21 that there would be no future issues.” How many more farewells will we have to report? And can anyone challenge the educated guess that between layoffs, closings and media consolidation cuts, the unemployment rate for journalists is up to six times that of the rest of the economy? Read more here.
Bakolli swaps BuzzFeed for Marie Claire… Marie Claire U.K. has hired Valeza Bakolli as a junior shopping writer. In her new role, she will cover fashion, beauty, and health and wellness beats. Bakolli joins from BuzzFeed, where she worked for more than three years, joining as an affiliate writer, and recently holding the post of senior affiliate writer – development lead. Bakolli has a B.A. and M.S. from the University of Sussex. You can congratulate Bakolli via X/Twitter.
Ramsey moves in Detroit from News to Press…Jared Ramsey has joined The Detroit Free Press as a trending sports reporter to cover breaking and trending news for sports in Detroit and across Michigan. “I can’t wait to move back to Michigan and get started next week!,” he wrote on X/Twitter. Recently, Ramsey was a high school sports reporter at The Detroit News. He also reported for the nonprofit The Center for Michigan, which publishes Bridge Michigan and BridgeDetroit. Ramsey has a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism from Michigan State University, where he held the posts of academic beat reporter and football and men’s basketball beat reporter for the student newspaper. He is pursuing a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Be sure to congratulate Ramsey on X/Twitter.
An NBA-sized promotion… The Milwaukee Bucks basketball team has tapped Melanie Ricks to serve as a sideline reporter to report during games, and as a digital reporter for its content arm. “As a Milwaukee native and longtime member of the Bucks organization, I’m thrilled to begin this new chapter with such an exciting team, she said. “I’m humbled to be able to tell the stories of this team and organization, continuing the legacy of those who came before me. The Bucks organization has been like a family to me from the moment I started and I can’t wait to begin this season.” She has been with the organization for more than 10 years, previously serving as an in-game host and entertainment teams specialist. Ricks has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Be sure to congratulate Ricks on X/Twitter.
Award winner McMillan joins California pub on contract basis… Capital & Main, a California-based award-winning online publication that reports on economic, environmental and social issues, has hired Tracie McMillan as a contract project editor. McMillan is a New York Times bestselling author of “The American Way of Eating: Going Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and The Dinner Table,” a first-person, undercover investigative book about America’s food system. She also served as managing editor of the award-winning city politics and policy magazine City Limits. McMillan has a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from New York University. Be sure to congratulate McMillan on X/Twitter.
Pennsylvania ABC station hires Rash as reporter… Pennsylvania’s ABC station WTAE-TV Ch. 4 has tapped Ava Marie Rash to serve as a reporter. Since October 2020, she has been a morning news reporter at Sinclair Broadcast Group. Previously, Rash was an in-game host for Marshall Athletics at Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va. She was also a member of the Penn State chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for more than four years. Rash graduated from Penn State University. You can congratulate Rash on X/Twitter.
The Independent hires Clements on the comment desk…Paul Clements has joined The Independent as a deputy voices editor on the comment desk. Recently, he was at UnHerd and worked as an associate features editor and then acting features editor at The Mail on Sunday. He also worked at The Telegraph for 15 years, where he held the posts of assistant features editor and features editor. He also served as deputy chief sub-editor and features editor at Associated Newspapers, one of the U.K.’s largest publishers. You can congratulate Clements on X/Twitter.
NY Times taps Deb to serve on the Express desk…Sopan Deb has joined the Express desk at The New York Times as a reporter. Recently, he covered the NBA beat on the Sports desk, which has been reorganized around The Athletic, an NYT property. Deb joined the Times in January 2017 as a reporter, and since then has worked mostly on the Sports and Culture desks. Prior to joining the Times, he was a presidential campaign digital journalist at CBS News. He also worked as an associate producer at CBS Interactive and was a social media editor at Major League Baseball in New York. He was a field producer at Al Jazeera and worked at NBC News. Deb has a B.S. in broadcast journalism from Boston University. Be sure to congratulate Deb on X/Twitter.
Reis takes on new role at NBC News… NBC News has named Sean Reis executive producer of its morning news program “Morning News NOW.” Recently, he was a senior producer who launched NBC News Daily with Morgan Radford and Vicky Nguyen on the NBC TV Network. Reis also produced segments involving politics, politicians, geopolitical hotspots, analysis, the Middle East, Washington, The White House, breaking news, and weather. A multiple Emmy and Murrow award winner, Reis has a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Congratulate him on X/Twitter.
PA Media hires Weatherby as Wales correspondent… Bronwen Weatherby has joined LBC and LBC News as a Wales correspondent. Recently, she held the same post at PA Media, where she joined in June 2021 as a reporter. “I’ll be working out of Cardiff covering all the biggest stories in the country for a national audience. New email in bio so get in touch with tips or stories – or simply to say hi!,” she wrote on X/Twitter. Previously, she was a crime reporter at the Camden New Journal in London and a news reporter at the Evening Standard. She also worked as a news reporter and investigations reporter at Reach plc’s Bristol Post (now BristolLive). Weatherby has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in news journalism from Cardiff University.
Dotdash Meredith promotes Webb to editorial role… Dotdash Meredith has tapped Ali Webb to serve as associate editor for its beauty and style brand Byrdie. Recently, she served as its content producer. Webb freelanced for and was a digital editor at fashion and lifestyle publication L’Officiel USA. She interned at CR Fashion Book and Fashion Unfiltered. She also held the posts of features staff writer, editor for the fashion blog “Vilot Vision,” deputy abroad editor and staff writer, and columnist for beauty and style at Washington Square News. Be sure to congratulate Webb on X/Twitter.
Sky News changes… Chris Willis, head of news at Sky News Australia, has stepped down and his current deputy, Elise Holman has moved into this role. “I’m grateful for the support of our senior leaders Paul Whittaker and Siobhan McKenna, in providing the resources to carry out our bold plans, and with their backing we have gone a long way to achieving them. However, it is now time to hand over to a new generation of news leaders to complete the task,” Willis said. “I am in my fiftieth year of day-to-day news operations, with its instant deadlines and rolling news cycle. I am, however, not quite ready to retire and look forward to spending time taking a considered view of the world and giving back some of what the industry has given me by providing consultancy advice across media and politics and mentoring the next generation of news leaders.” Holman joined Sky News Australia in May 2018 from Al Jazeera Media Network, where she held the posts of freelance sports producer and sports editor. She has also worked at Sky. Reach out to Willis via LinkedIn and congratulate Holman via X/Twitter.
The Guardian hires for sports coverage – international edition… Jack Snape has joined The Guardian as a sports reporter. Recently, he was a journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Company, where he worked for more than six years. Snape also worked as a journalist at News Corp. Australia for three years and was an editor at Haymarket Media Group. Snape has a B.A. from the University of Sydney and an LLB from UNSW in Australia. You can contact Snape via X/Twitter.
Another hire for sports coverage… Sports Business Journal has hired Rachel Axon to cover the Olympic beat and the 2024 Paris Games. Previously, Axon was a sports investigative reporter at USA Today, where she investigated a variety of issues, focused on sports, institutional response to sexual abuse and Olympics. There, she also won a SABEW award for government writing (large division). She was also a semifinalist for Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting for series on COVID outbreaks in meatpacking plants. She worked at USA Today Sports Media Group for six years. Axon has a B.A. in journalism from St. Bonaventure University in New York. You can congratulate Axon on X/Twitter.
And another amazing podcast from TBN ed/pub Lou Carlozo… On the latest episode of Bankadelic — fast out of the gate judging by listens — host Lou Carlozo gathers five financial services guests for a “Bank to School” special that “raises the GPA to new heights.” Join Professor Lou as he quizzes them about 2023’s teachable moments, the banking industry’s honor-roll-worthy innovations, their agendas for learning — and the best excuse each one had for not turning in their homework. The guests include, Ben Bays, VP of Enterprise Solutions, Praxent, Stephen Curry, CEO, Endurance Advisory Partners, Jeff Grobaski, CEO, Epic River, Brian Kass, President and Managing Director, TruStage Ventures and Kris Kovacs, President & CEO, Constellation Digital Partners.
Saba to cover energy for Reuters… Reuters has appointed Yousef Saba Middle East energy correspondent. Recently, he served as a fixed income correspondent, covering top economic and financial developments in Gulf Arab countries. He is based in Dubai. Saba joined Reuters in September 2018 as a correspondent/graduate editorial trainee, covering breaking news in Egypt and Sudan. Before that, he was chief copy editor of The Daily News Egypt, Egypt’s English-language daily independent newspaper. He interned at Washington-based political organization FWD.us and Politico. You can congratulate Saba on X/Twitter.