Saturday, March 6, 2010

Great Lakes Bay: A quiet start

With all the buzz in the various newsrooms about "Great Lakes Bay" I have been watching for some news or other announcement. So far I haven't seen it, but I could have missed it because I don't go there everyday.

I did use the search function and found a "Great Lakes Bay" site with stories going back to last month. There is also a Facebook page, but you'll have to be a member of Facebook to look on. And then there was this 2009 link. But so far no "Great Lakes Bay" tab on although if you click on the "Great Lakes Bay" logo at the top it takes you right back to

So far the news is very light, fluffy and entertainment-centered.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What's wrong with newspapers: Listen to this (well not anymore)

The publisher of the Bay City-Flint - Saginaw newspapers describes how he plans to save newspapers and his new venture. I looked on and either can't find any public announcement or it hasn't been posted yet.

The audio of his announcement about the new "Great Lakes Bay" edition was on line, but has been removed.

Flint launches a new Tuesday edition on March 23. Apparently this new venture includes Midland, which, according to insiders, will include some financing by Dow Chemical and is set to take on the Midland Daily News. The Great Lakes Bay edition begins on Tuesdays starting March 30.

The publisher got scattered applause when he announced the new Tuesday editions.

My favorite part: "We need to change the way people think about newspapers." How about changing back to the old model of writing actually news stories that people want to read and change their hearts and minds. The problem for this faux publisher is that he seems to really believe that people will buy his product even though the public knows they are getting crap.

"Gotta get off our heels and on our toes." This is his comment on going after WNEM-TV and taking back market share.

Good luck, though.

My new lesson in economics and government

I'll probably get an earful from faithful FFE reader Inky, but I received a not-so-free lesson in running my own business yesterday at the office of our tax man.

Two years ago this month I started a small venture - jlsmediaservices - so that I could do a little part time writing work after I left the newspaper business. I picked up one client and in 2009 made a whopping $19,000. After business deductions (losses) I show a profit of about $16,000.

During 2009 I made estimated $900 quarterly tax payments to Uncle Sam. My wife and I each have retirement income for our careers so it was time to pay the piper on Wednesday.

As a "small businessman" I ended up paying a 25 percent federal tax, a 4 percent State tax, a .5 percent city tax and then had to pay both ends of my Social Security - 15 percent - on the profit.

I have to pay the Social Security even though I am receiving my benefits and any more money that I pay into the system will not change what I already receive. It's my little gift to the federal government.

To be honest, I was planning to lighten my work load this year because you can only make $14,000 a year if you are drawing Social Security without paying a penalty.

So, thanks to the government, I will be shutting down my business in June. All done, finished, not going to work anymore. I was mad enough that I was ready to shut it down last night, but I have a responsibility to finish work for my one and only client.

The fact that the government confiscates 45 percent of my profit means that 25 minutes of every hour I work is for the government. Just not going to do that.

Remember, Almighty God only asks for 10 percent.

Looks like my real retirement will begin in June. Thank you, Uncle Sam.

It is no wonder that unemployment is as high as it is.

Your turn Inky. Tell me how wrong I am not to want to give the government 45 percent of my labor.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A tale not told, but a sentence anyway

While I was out of town a sentencing came down in the Kurt Heintz case.

In case you don't remember, this was the story I basically couldn't get past the timid editors and wimpy lawyers 2 1/2 years ago.

So I guess I'm vindicated, but in the meantime an important story was squeezed off the pages at a time that it would have been a significant scoop and a window into the coming housing meltdown.

It was a piece that screamed to be reported and published. Shame on those who squashed it like a bug.

I did have one editor ally in that battle for that story. By the way, she was also "downsized."