WJAR 10’s Parent Co. Under Fire for Trading Access to Trump for More Positive Coverage

Monday, December 19, 2016


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Politico is reporting that Sinclair Broadcasting made a deal with the Trump campaign for better access. This is not the first time that WJAR's parent company has been tied to pushing a conservative agenda.

“Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks,” reported Politico, of remarks made by Trump's son-in-law, who is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka. 

Political Coverage Controversy

According to Politico, Trump’s comments were, de facto, unedited in broadcasts in exchange for access. In exchange, Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said. Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio, reaches a much wider audience — around 250,000 (viewers) — than networks like CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000.”

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Sinclair came under fire for promoting a partisan anti-Kerry documentary as news

This is not the first time Sinclair has been tied to conservative agendas.  The Sinclair family is known for being politically conservative and in 2004 the company sparked a national firestorm for pushing an anti-John Kerry documentary and initially directed their stations across the country to run the "anti-Kerry veterans group Swift Boat Veterans documentary,” according to a Sinclair journalist in the news department who said they were instructed to treat a partisan documentary as a news item.

“Jon Leiberman, the Sinclair reporter fired for publicly criticizing the company's handling of the documentary, said Sinclair executives told its news staff Sunday that they planned to run a "significant chunk" of the film, "but they refused to put a time on it." He said he objected when the company told reporters to develop news stories around the film,” according to a 2004 CNN news report.

CNN also reported that Sinclair's “top executives have donated at least $58,000 to President Bush's re-election campaign or the Republican National Committee for the 2004 election. Democrats said Sinclair would have been making an illegal campaign contribution to Bush's re-election effort by airing the film.”

At the time of the controversy, Sinclair’s President and Chief Executive Officer tried to defend the company. "People describe me as a right-wing loony-tune conservative," Smith said in a Washington Post article. He still leads Sinclair today.

According to Sinclair documents, the company "owns, operates and/or provides services to 173 television stations in 81 markets, broadcasting 482 channels and having affiliations with all the major networks" and claims it is the leading local news provider in the country


Related Slideshow: Media Changes in December, 2016

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Magazine Decline

Consolidation at Hearst

Hearst is combining the beauty, fashion and entertainment departments of five of its women's print magazines -- Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Redbook, Woman's Day and Good Housekeeping -- in January, 2017.

It has not been reported what the staff reduction will be.

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Part 2

Style Magazine is Dropping Print

Self Magazine is going all-in on digital. The woman’s publication says its February issue will be its last regular print production, with the exception of occasional special issues based on health and wellness topics.

Condé Nast’s Self, which also focuses on fitness, currently publishes on a monthly basis. "The magazine had a total paid and verified circulation of nearly 1.5 million for the six months ended June 30, 2016," according to MediaPost

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Mixed Numbers

New York Times Has Good and Bad News

The good news is the the New York Times continues to build its digital business and the pace is quickening.

The bad news is in the third quarter the NYT was down 19 percent year-over-year. 

Can the growth of digital save arguably the most important newspaper in America?

According to Ken Doctor, NYT’s CEO Mark Thompson said the paper wants to grow from 1.6 million digital subscribers to 10 million in 2020. The past few months have seen a boon, but second quarter this year saw only 51,000 new subscribers.  

A GoLocal look at the numbers finds that if the NYT wants to hit 10 million in three years it would need to add 700,000 new subscribers per quarter.

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John DePetro Out Sick?

On Tuesday night John DePetro posted on social media the following message to explain his recent absence:

To all of my listeners:  Unfortunately, I have a health situation I am dealing with, which will keep me off the air for now. I will update you when I can. 


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