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Archive for January, 2009

Poor hedge hogs

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Bloomberg reports: “The hedge-fund industry shrank by about a fifth to $1.5 trillion at the end of the year from a peak of $1.9 trillion, Eurekahedge said.”

Since most hedge funds charge 2% of assets under management and 20% of profits, that amounts to at least a $10 billion decline in hedge fund fees.

That’s $10 billion a year less for yachts, Dalton/Spence/Chapin tuitions, fourth homes in Telluride, donations to eccentric causes, Greenwich McMansions, Lear Jets, trips to Venice. Gosh, where did it all go?

To put $10 billion in perspective, that’s roughly half the total online advertising market in ’07… money that went to pay thousands of journalists, bloggers, webmasters, hosts, programmers, ad mongers, server manufacturers, and, yes, a few media moguls who live in Greenwich.

History lesson for the kids

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

History of the Internet from PICOL on Vimeo.

Damning the faint praise

by henrycopeland
Monday, January 12th, 2009

Elizabeth Spiers bashes New York Mag’s doting on NYTimes.

I love David Carr’s Carpetbagger videos, but if that’s your baseline for what you consider innovation, you’re setting the bar pretty low. …

The Times has one of the best newspaper sites out there, but it’s a tallest dwarf distinction.

Quote for the day

by henrycopeland
Monday, January 12th, 2009

On Twitter, Salim says: “the French are the only people who will say “it works in practice, but will it work in theory?”

Perez does LA

by henrycopeland
Saturday, January 10th, 2009

What a wonderful world…

by henrycopeland
Friday, January 9th, 2009

Wonderful to see Sarah Palin, protesting that she reads lots more “publications” than Couric and everybody else gives her credit for, still ducks and dodges before she finally chokes out USA Today and NYT. Fast forward to 3.30 if you can’t stomach the rest.

And wonderful to see that male and female mosquitoes harmonize at 400 and 600 hertz (a perfect fifth) before tossing in a harmonic at 1200 hertz. Here’s the full NPR story, including a guest appearance by Barry Manilo.

Comments return

by henrycopeland
Thursday, January 8th, 2009

The cobbler’s kids never have shoes, and our blog has been without comments for months, with the fix always in a queue behind more lucrative work.

Welcome back, commenters!

Paper trail of tears

by henrycopeland
Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Excellent analysis but grim news for print-lovers from Michael Hirschorn in the Atlantic:

Regardless of what happens over the next few months, The Times is destined for significant and traumatic change. At some point soon—sooner than most of us think—the print edition, and with it The Times as we know it, will no longer exist. And it will likely have plenty of company. In December, the Fitch Ratings service, which monitors the health of media companies, predicted a widespread newspaper die-off: “Fitch believes more newspapers and news­paper groups will default, be shut down and be liquidated in 2009 and several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010.”

Most likely, the interim step for The Times and other newspapers will be to move to digital-only distribution (perhaps preserving the more profitable Sunday editions). Already, most readers of The Times are consuming it online. The Web site, nytimes.com, boasted an impressive 20 million unique users for the month of October, making it the fifth-ranked news site on the Internet in terms of total visitors. (The October numbers were boosted by interest in the election, but still …) The print product, meanwhile, is sold to a mere million readers a day and dropping, and the Sunday print edition to 1.4 million (and also dropping). Print and Web metrics are not apples-to-apples, but it’s intuitively the case that the Web has extended The Times’ reach many times over.

The conundrum, of course, is that those 1 million print readers, who pay actual cash money for the privilege of consuming the paper, and who are worth about five figures a page to advertisers, are far more profitable than the 20 million unique Web users, who don’t and aren’t. Common estimates suggest that a Web-driven product could support only 20 percent of the current staff; such a drop in personnel would (in the short run) devastate The Times’ news-gathering capacity.

Subway surprise

by henrycopeland
Monday, January 5th, 2009

Over vacation, Sophie stumbled on this long WPost magazine article about Joshua Bell’s adventure as a panhandler in the DC metro station. There are three great videos embedded in the article.

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