Audit Notes: Boston Globe bids, WSJ flops at BuzzFeed, News Corp.

A 94 percent fall in value over twenty years

Bloomberg News gets some details on The New York Times’s impending sale of The Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

The papers posted ebitda of about $20 million on $395 million in revenue last year. It’s unclear what the papers’ operating profit. Reuters reports it made a “small” one.

The Globe reports that the papers got at least six separate bids, mostly from Boston-area bigwigs. Bloomberg says the sale price will be around $100 million.

That would be about one-seventeenth what the Times Company paid for the papers 20 years ago (in real dollars).

— Tech flack Lou Hoffman hits The Wall Street Journal for a “dreadful” slideshow headlined “Top 8 Ways Humans Spend Their Time, as Illustrated by Other Species.”

No doubt, business publications ogle (BuzzFeed’s traffic), but I didn’t expect The Wall Street Journal to actually try its hand at BuzzFeed storytelling…

How did a media property that has 35 Pulitzers end up here?

I’m guessing the Journal’s management team in the quest to improve the financials asked the question: How can we repurpose content with minimal effort to generate more views? And some Einstein delivered a presentation that made a case for riffing on articles with slide shows depicting animals or babies and how interns at slave wages could put together such content.

That sounds about right.

— Speaking of: Murdoch bestie, former WSJ editor, and new News Corporation CEO Robert Thomson talks to the FT about positioning the New York Post as a BuzzFeed competitor:

“Some of the most successful recent start-ups are basically ersatz tabloid journalism,” he said. “If we can’t do it better than they can, then we’re not as good as we think we are.”

BuzzFeed is expected to bring in $40 million in revenue this year, which is half what the Post loses in some years.

Thomson also had this to say about the hacking scandal:

The spin-off takes place almost two years after News Corp closed the News of the World over phone hacking at the UK Sunday tabloid. Mr Thomson predicted “a certain amount of publicity over the coming months” as former editors and reporters including Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson face trial, but said News Corp had invested heavily in compliance since, adding: “One must presume innocence until or unless proven guilty.”

Sure, boss.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,