Monday, March 23, 2009

Sad news from Kansas City

John Landsberg at Bottom Line Communications announced he is dropping the KC News feature from his site.

Click here to see his explanation
. (And check out what his readers are saying here.)

John broke some big news about media in Kansas City, including the KC Star. I corresponded with John on issues about the Star and I linked to his excellent site numerous times. His site was on my daily must-read list. This is a major loss for everyone who follows KC media and developments at the Kansas City Star.
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26 comments:

JAT said...

His call.

But "Examining all things media..." tagline needs to be "Examining some things media..." ASAP.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Zieman et al are ecstatic. Now they can publish their lies and slander with impunity while ignoring the news all day long.

Anonymous said...

I’m guessing Obama’s heavy-handed attorneys are back in town. They successfully suppressed the anti-Barry Soetoro election frauds, and they will continue until the horror of this past election is over.

Anonymous said...

You're right. I heard Obama was on the grassy knoll in Dallas, and that he kidnapped the Lindbergh baby, too!

Anonymous said...

What a wuss.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Rhonda Lokeman sees this loss of a local news source as her opportunity to get back into the business. Rumor has it, her local tire and wine commercials were cancelled.

Anonymous said...

I’m guessing Obama’s heavy-handed attorneys are back in town.

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Well, if they are, they will be long gone before you hear about it now. The last time it took the Star 10 days to even bother mentioning it. Who would have ever thought that, "Truth Squads" using state prosecutors would ever be deployed anywhere outside California?

Anonymous said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090323/us_time/08599188682600

What Happens When a Town loses its Newspaper

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:53, Are you saying the Teleprompter Messiah,
Barry Soetoro, and Barack Obama, are all one and the same person? A president with aliases? Next you’ll be claiming George Soros is a puppet master! Get a grip, man, get a grip.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it, her local tire and wine commercials were cancelled.


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Don't count her out. Rumor has it that a business group is about to spring Fred G's Champipple onto the KC scene. Word is the bottling operation will be at 18th&Grand due to the built in customer base.

Nick said...

John did strongly hint that he intended to quit covering local news back in mid-December 2008.

My guess - and it's only a guess - is that no one’s lawyers busted his chops. Rather I think old fashioned word-of-mouth was sufficient to cause potential clients to do their business elsewhere; KC is the epitome of a Good Ol' Boy run town, regardless of who's Mayor or sits on the City Council.

There will a rather large empty news hole without BLC – John had innumerable contacts. And while Tony’s KC sometimes offers an interesting item, he has nowhere the contacts or media clout John did. Worse, Tony’s posts are biased, cat’s-paws or a combination of the two.

Anonymous said...

Does ‘Tony’s KC’ write things? I just look at the pictures!

Anonymous said...

There was a news article by a KC Star columnist that was so ridiculous, I mentioned I was going to register and comment. A friend said he would not do that, as they sell your email address to marketers. I’m as cynical as the next person, but I have a hard time believing that.

Anonymous said...

It's true. Their spam list is one of their biggest money makers. They do sell your information.

Anonymous said...

A clever Anon. says. “…Fred G's Champipple onto the KC scene. Word is the bottling operation will be at 18th&Grand due to the built in customer base.”
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18th & Grand! Where a classically trained professional journalist with the highest ethical standards imbibes while penning little uncouth ditties? I have to program my GPS for that address. Three wheel races, and now a bottling plant. Man, that is a happening little corner of KC.

Anonymous said...

This is a tough loss for people wanting to know what is going on in Kansas City media, but I certainly understand why it is happening.

My guess is it has nothing to do with lawyers and everything to do with the fact that he runs a public relations firm and sometimes has to "sell" a story to The Star for a client.

We all know The Star would NEVER do anything so petty as shut someone out because they criticized the paper!

John Altevogt said...

This is indeed a very sad day for Kansas City. We have very few honest sources of information and the loss of any of them is sad, but this site was particularly courageous and informative.

Where else was the information available listing the latest victims of McClatchy's bloodbath at The Star and who else has the credibility to compile that during the next round of terminations?

Hopefully, and selfishly for me, John will re-think this decision. I understand his reasoning and he's correct that many of the players in this area can be extremely vindictive.

One example. When Roy Teicher was the editor of the Kansas City Kansan he allowed his reporters to write about what they saw in front of them and as a result he kicked The Star's butt from one end of Wyandotte County to the other.

Unfortunately, Carol Marinovich and her mentor, Dick Bond, took umbrage that not everyone was jumping on board with their agenda and according to Teciher, Marinovich told associates that she would "bury" The Kansan.

Bond's bank started the ball rolling by openly pulling their ads. Threats followed from the UG concerning the legals and The Kansans' parent company dumped Teicher.

His successor made a brown nosing tour of the UG and wrote a column about what great folks they were (which took a bit of gall in and of itself because she was one of the reporters who had done the most damage during the glory days). The UG responded by pulling the legals anyway. Today, The Kansan is an online publication.

My problem with The Star and The Sun down in Johnson County isn't that they're ideological liberals (The Pitch is admittedly liberal and it's a far better paper than either The Star, or The Sun), it's that they're whores for the sleaziest elements of the metro area establishment. All the more the need for alternative sources of information like John and Bottom Line.

John Altevogt said...

PS, I'm no fan of Obama, but what the hell has he got to do with the loss of this wonderful source of information?

Anonymous said...

Everyone in journalism knows that politics alone doesn't kill newspapers. The Kansan, an afternoon daily for many years, started losing business when TV arrived on the scene in the 1950s. It has been on a decline ever since. Apparently it had been losing money for decades. When it was sold in the '90s, apparently a company bought it that couldn't subsidize it any more. The biggest blow to Kansan advertising came not with the Teicher era (it was already over by then), but when downtown department stores packed up and moved to Indian Springs in the 1970s, and started to ignore the Kansan.

Anonymous said...

Actually that is not entirely true. The Kansan maintained a slow to level growth throughout the 1960's and early 70's to about 25,000 subscribers. Their fall actually occurred in 1976 and 77 when they brought in the union busters who cost them an immediate loss of a substantial part of their subscription base. They never recovered the losses from the strike because most blue collar people were looking for a good reason to drop it in the first place.

There is no doubt that there were other contributing factors to the Kansan's slow death, but they can be easily traced to the systematic destruction of Kansas City KS as a livable community. The Kansan was indeed dead long before it was buried.

John Altevogt said...

No question that The Kansan had few resources when Teicher ran the paper. I believe subscriptions were around 4400 and holding stable, perhaps somewhat higher.

He would be the first to tell you that in spite of his best efforts to put out a quality newspaper the community did not respond. His readership was very old and dying off.

The point I was making, since the topic was Landsberg's decision to cease publishing KC news, was the vindictive nature of some of the players in the metro area, one of Landsberg's concerns in continuing to publish information that was bound to piss people in power off.

Regardless the declines mentioned prior to Teicher's tenure at The Kansan, the point remains Bond's bank openly declared that it did not approve of the content of The Kansan and was pulling its advertising until such time that the paper's content became more acceptable to Bond (and Marinovich).

It is also the case that the legals formed a significant income stream for The Kansan and losing them also did not help them in their struggle to keep head above water. So where they were in the slide downhill is really sort of a non sequitor to the topic here.

While we're talking about Marinovich's vindictiveness there is also the story of Ricky's Pit BBQ. Ricky's made the mistake of accepting a free ad in Dave Carson's little paper without realizing what was going on.

Marinovich came out publicly against Ricky's and said she would never patronize the place as a result. She probably never would have eaten there, but she was sending a message to others that they too shouldn't eat there if they wanted to get along with Madam Mayor.

I ran into Marinovich at the Western Wyandotte get together at Joe Vaught's house back when he and Gary Grable still got along. I told Marinovich that the guy had no idea where his ad would appear and that attacking him simply for advertising his business was probably not good for for the country's image in attracting new businesses. Didn't care. He had offended her majesty and had to pay the price.

Certainly Marinovich is not the only poisonous personality in the metro area and Landsberg's point that his website could be bad for business is well taken.

Anonymous said...

It's fun to spin a little politics in with newspaper talk, but most newspapers' parent companies are just looking at their bottom lines, affected by factors far greater than politics -- like being situated in a city with a declining business environment. Losing one or even a few ad accounts isn't as important as percentage of readers in the community. They lost that majority of community readership many years ago.
Is John Landsberg related to David Landsberg of the Miami Herald?

Anonymous said...

John's no relation to the Miami Herald editor.

Anonymous said...

Not Political?

“…like being situated in a city with a declining business..”

Who do you think has taxed and regulated businesses ‘OUT’ of KC?

Anonymous said...

The Squelch Factor
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John Altevogt said...
PS, I'm no fan of Obama, but what the hell has he got to do with the loss of this wonderful source of information?
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The discussion included a thought that Obama’s heavy-handed attorneys squelched negative comments, and the same tactics might be in play again. I do believe there will be a squelch factor by the Democrats. Look what Obama tried to do to Rush Limbaugh. If a radio personally gets under his skin, think who else might? Freedom of speech seems to be a selective commodity these days.

Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to push back on that overreaching gasbag. He's not doing your side any favors.