Doig: Big Spender with Newsday…But, Now What?

Beyond his own salary, Newsday’s Investigations Editor Matt Doig is known for his “spare no expense” approach to fund his brand of tabloid journalism. Doig developed his free spending habit while on the job at The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Doig’s reputation at the Southwestern Florida paper was a very expensive one. “Matt went a little heavy on the company’s expense account, but that’s just in his nature” said a friend of Doig’s and someone who still works for the Herald-Tribune.

At Newsday, the free-spending Doig reportedly exceeded every budget the company set for him. When given a choice, Doig almost always opts for the most costly choice.

If no one else, Doig is at least loved by his staff of such as Tania Lopez, Will Van Zant and Keith Herbert, all who have expensive tastes. The staff was thrilled when the Long Island daily acquired Doig in May of 2012. His staff has quadrupled since arriving and they had a much more liberal approach to the finances than any of the other crews. The “scandal-a-week” idea was reportedly Doug’s and Doig’s alone, but for some reason publisher Gordon McLeod turned a blind eye to Doig’s penchant to spend, spend, spend. The problem is that the new regime’s philosophy is in direct opposition to Matt Doig’s where the thought is to cut, cut, cut.

The flowing river of money coming from the so-called “Doig Disaster” which refers to his hiring in 2012 doesn’t stop at the Investigations Department. It’s been very taxing on the Long Island public. A “scandal-a-week” means that government agencies such as the U.S. Attorney, NY Attorney General and the Nassau and Suffolk Counties need to at least look at Newsday’s targeted stories. Even Doig’s harshest critics won’t suggest that corrupt politicians, unscrupulous business practices and even rouge law enforcement officials shouldn’t be taken to task. The issue at hand is that Doig’s methods call for extreme exaggeration and puffery in order to justify his extraordinary spending, and to give the illusion of a crime being committed without actually saying it (that would be libel.)

McLeod’s appeasement of this probably stems from desperation rather than total agreement. Doig proved to be a master salesman, when he led the tabloid down this road because the paper was already in deep financial trouble. Chief Editor Deb Henley also banked on the sensationalism leading to readership, which would in return possibly lead to ad and sales revenue. Of course none of this happened. The readers tuned out and sales and revenues plummeted.

Doig, through expensive assets like self-proclaimed “gotcha reporters” Sandra Peddie, Tania Lopez or Gus Garcia-Roberts (see story below) would churn out a droning five-page cover story about nothing. The end result being a costly investigation over time card disputes, or typical, albeit sleazy, back room politics.

Now we come to a crossroads. Matt Doig in one corner with three years of complete failure with unimaginable expenses, facing the staff of new Cablevision owner Patrick Drahi. Drahi has earned a host of colorful nicknames for ruthlessly cutting costs at new acquisitions.

Mr. Doig, meet Chainsaw Al…good luck, Matt!

MATT DOIG BLAMED FOR NEWSDAY’S CRASH AND IMMINENT DEMISE

Insiders at Cablevision privately blame Investigations Editor Matthew Doig for the decline of the paper. Doig joined the Long Island paper in May of 2012 and the wheels came off the publication almost immediately. One source, a top Cablevision executive, said that Matt probably had good intentions, but his execution has been devastating to the paper. He overestimated the public’s dislike for law enforcement and quite frankly underestimated the intellect of the readers.

The executive, who wished to remain anonymous, was referring to Doig’s failed investigations into Nassau and Suffolk police agencies, as well as other law enforcement agencies. Doig’s style is viewed as better suited for a Star or Enquirer-type of tabloid rather than a daily newspaper.

Doig’s team, led by Tanya Lopez, Will Van Sant, Gus Garcia Roberts and the self-proclaimed “Gotcha Reporter,” Sandra Peddie, collectively threw out their journalistic ethics and created a series of one-sided and openly biased slam pieces. The result was a historic free fall in circulation, readership, and most importantly for the struggling daily, ad and sales revenues. Cablevision has reported losses of more than $100 million per year since Matt Doig’s hiring.

In fairness to Doig, newsprint in general is on the endangered species list. The NY Daily News is firing staff at a rapid rate due to decreased revenues. Still, The News’ decline pales in comparison to Newsday’s, and there is no distinctive style change connected to one central figure as in the case with Doig.

There are obviously very few Doig supporters in and around Cablevision, but people close to the much-maligned investigative team point to criminal investigations that were created by their scandal-a-week method. In truth, the investigations have led to very few significant falls from grace, just minor issues like time sheet disputes, election law gaffs and government mishaps. Certainly “Watergate” has not been duplicated by Newsday’s crack team of flawed characters.

Three years of horrendous failures does not make Matt Doig a likely candidate to survive the new ownership’s chopping block. The bigger question is, does Doig ever work again at this level? Matt Doig and the aforementioned team may be done as credible journalists, but may have built a three year body of work that will impress mostly super market tabloids.

NY Daily News Eyes Oblivion with Dismissal of Star Writers, Reporters; Newsday Next?

Take a look at this very interesting article from Showbiz 411…..

http://www.showbiz411.com/2015/09/19/ny-daily-news-eyes-oblivion-with-dismissal-of-star-writers-reporters-newsday-next

Here’s the text…..

(start of article)

The world of print publications is shrinking fast now.

Yesterday, the New York Daily News laid off whoever was left among its star writers and reporters. Among them: David Hinckley, Jim Farber, Bill Madden. Mike Lupica apparently will be gone before the end of the year. Filip Bondy and Hank Gola are also gone.

At this point, there is no Daily News without these guys. But Mort Zuckerman can’t find a buyer for the paper. The rumor is he’s going to cut the print editions until it’s almost all on the web. The News was famous for photographs, but their most famous picture taker– the legendary Richard Corkery– is long gone.

Last week, the editor in chief, Colin Myler, was sacked as well.

I’m not even sure where the Daily News offices are anymore. In its heyday the paper was on East 42nd St. in a building likened to the Daily Planet of “Superman” fame. The lobby there was a work of art. Then Zuckerman moved the paper to far west 33rd Street in an anonymous slab of concrete. For all I know, they’re in Hoboken now.

Meanwhile, the death of Newsday seems imminent. It was sold this week by Cablevision to a French company. AM New York may have been sold with it, but no one’s mentioned it. All the people who remain at these papers labor out of love at this point. They’ve been whittled to nothing.

In the the late 80s, Newsday–which serves Long Island– moved into Manhattan for a short glorious run. Don Forst made New York Newsday a must-read. Now things are so bad that their stories are behind a paywall. When they reported the Cablevision sale this week, you had to pay to read about Newsday’s fate. I’m sure few did.

This will be Zuckerman’s legacy in journalist. He bought the Atlantic Monthly, the Atlantic Monthly Press, US News an World Report and the Daily News to change his standing from Canadian realtor to international world pundit. In 30 years all the publications were either sold off (Atlantic) or destroyed (all the others).

Congratulations.

(end of article)

NEWSDAY 2014 SEC FILING

NEWSDAY’S  2014 SEC FORM 10K FILING (For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014) REPORTED THE FOLLOWING  AVERAGE PRINT CIRCULATION NUMBERS:

WEEKDAYS – 237,000 (DECLINE OF 6.9% FROM THE PRIOR YEAR)
SATURDAYS  – 228,000  (DECLINE OF 9.2% FROM THE PRIOR YEAR)
SUNDAYS – 284,000   (DECLINE OF 9.1% FROM THE PRIOR YEAR)

NEWSDAY’S  2014 SEC FILING REPORTED THE FOLLOWING  AVERAGE  DIGITAL CIRCULATION NUMBERS;

WEEKDAYS – 103,000
SATURDAYS  – 93,000
SUNDAYS – 99,000

NEWSDAY’S  2014 SEC  FILING REPORTED THE FOLLOWING  AVERAGE PRINT AND DIGITAL COMBINED CIRCULATION NUMBERS;

WEEKDAYS – 340,000
SATURDAYS – 321,000
SUNDAYS – 383,000

NEWSDAY’S  OWN SEC FILINGS REPORT A 15% DECLINE IN CIRCULATION FROM 2013-2014, AND A $108.8 MILLION IN LOSSES DURING THAT 2 YEAR PERIOD. THEY ALSO REPORT THAT MORE LOSSES RELATED TO LOWER CIRCULATION AND DECREASES IN ADVERTISING ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INTO THE FUTURE.  EVEN MORE DISTURBING IS A $480 MILLION LOAN THAT WILL MATURE ON 10/12/16. THE LOAN IS SECURED BY A LIEN ON NEWSDAY’S ASSETS.

THIS CONVERGENCE OF LOWER DEMAND FOR THE PUBLICATION AND ENORMOUS DEBT HAS UNDOUBTEDLY LED TO INTERNAL PRESSURES TO INCREASE REVENUES. IT APPEARS FROM ALL OF THE INFORMATION GARNERED FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES DETAILED HEREIN THAT NEWSDAY IS DEFRAUDING BUSINESSES TO GAIN ADVERTISERS BY EXAGGERATING ITS TRUE CIRCULATION NUMBERS.

DURING A RECENT ADVERTISING SALES PITCH MADE BY A NEWSDAY EMPLOYEE TO A LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER, NEWSDAY’S SALES STAFF GAVE FALSE AND INFLATED CIRCULATION NUMBERS IN AN EFFORT TO SELL AN AD IN THE NEWSPAPER.  NOT ONLY WERE THESE FIGURES VERBALLY INFLATED, BUT THE BUSINESS OWNER WAS GIVEN A “FACT SHEET” DETAILING WHAT APPEARS TO BE FALSE AND MISLEADING INFORMATION.

THE “FACT SHEET” STATES THAT NEWSDAY’S AVERAGE PRINT/DIGITAL CIRCULATION IS AS FOLLOWS:

WEEKDAYS – 245,016/206,775    TOTAL:  451,791
SUNDAYS – 299,284/206,957      TOTAL:  506,241

THESE CIRCULATION NUMBERS RUN COUNTER TO THE INFORMATION NEWSDAY REPORTED TO THE SEC. FURTHERMORE, IN 2013, THE ALLIANCE FOR AUDITED MEDIA (WHICH IS THE LAST AUDIT AVAILABLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC) STATED THAT NEWSDAY HAD A TOTAL AVERAGE  CIRCULATION, WHICH INCLUDED BOTH PRINT AND DIGITAL NUMBERS COMBINED,  OF ONLY 377,744.  SINCE NEWSDAY HAS REPEATEDLY REPORTED ANNUAL DECLINES IN CIRCULATION TO THE SEC, IT COULD ONLY BE SURMISED THAT THE “FACT SHEET” CONTAINS HIGHLY INFLATED CIRCULATION NUMBERS.

IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED THAT NEWSDAY’S 2014 SEC REPORT SIGNIFICANTLY OVERSTATED ITS OWN 2013 CIRCULATION NUMBERS WHEN COMPARED WITH AAM’S AUDITED NUMBERS.

FOR THE YEAR ENDING 2013, NEWSDAY REPORTED;

“As filed with the Alliance for Audited Media (“AAM”) on January 15, 2014 and subject to audit by the AAM, Newsday submitted its most recent report which indicated total average circulation for the three months ended December 29, 2013 of approximately 437,000 on weekdays, approximately 434,000 on Saturdays and approximately 495,000 on Sundays.”

THESE UNUSUAL DISCREPANCIES SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED.

NEWSDAYS FALSE AND DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING ALSO CLAIMS IT HAS 720,010 DAILY READERS AND 888,862 SUNDAY READERS.

IT ALSO CLAIMS TO HAVE A COMBINED AVERAGE DAILY READERSHIP OF 1.5 MILLION BETWEEN NEWSDAY AND ITS NYC BASED PUBLICATION, am NEW YORK.

STATISTICALLY, THESE FIGURES RUN COUNTER TO INFORMATION CONTAINED IN NEWSDAY’S 2014 SEC FILING, WHICH STATES THAT amNEW YORK HAS A WEEKDAY CIRCULATION OF APPROXIMATELY 324,000 AND A DECLINING READERSHIP. THIS IS A CLEAR EXAMPLE OF PUFFERY.  IT WOULD MEAN THAT EACH AND EVERY NEWSPAPER WOULD NEED TO HAVE A MINIMUM OF 2 READERS, AND AT LEAST 172,000 WOULD HAVE 3 READERS PER PAPER.   THIS DOES NOT EVEN TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE NUMBER OF NEWSPAPERS THAT ARE DISTRIBUTED TO CONVENIENCE STORES AND THE LIKE, BUT NEVER PURCHASED.  THIS IS LIKELY AN EXAGGERATED AND DECEPTIVE CLAIM.

QUOTE FROM 2014 SEC FILING:

”As filed with the Alliance for Audited Media (“AAM”) on January 19, 2015 and subject to audit by the AAM, Newsday submitted its most recent quarterly report which indicated total average circulation for the three months ended December 28, 2014 of approximately 340,000 on weekdays, approximately 321,000 on Saturdays and approximately 379,000 on Sundays. These circulation figures include digital editions (most of which are free to Optimum Online and Newsday print subscribers) to Newsday’s restricted access website and mobile applications. These circulation figures include Newsday’s total average print circulation of approximately 237,000 on weekdays, approximately 228,000 on Saturdays and approximately 284,000 on Sundays, which represents a decline of approximately 6.9%, 9.2%, and 9.1%, respectively, over the comparable prior year period. Circulation revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014 increased $4,189 (5%) primarily due to the impact of rate increases partially offset by a decline in volume.

On October 15, 2014, Newsday’s other publications, which include amNew York and Star Community Publishing and are distributed for free, filed their most recent Publishers statements with the Certified Audit of Circulations, a subsidiary of the AAM. amNew York averaged gross weekday circulation of approximately 324,000 for the six months ended September 28, 2014, which represents a decline of approximately 5.9% over the comparable prior year period. Star Community Publishing distributed approximately 1,763,000 copies each week for the six months ended September 28, 2014, which represents a decline of approximately 2.0% over the comparable prior year period.”

REFERENCE PAGES 46-48

GOTCHA REPORTING

By Caroline Mintz

(Long Island, NY) Gotcha journalism entails the use of interviewing methods designed to encourage people to make statements that may damage their reputation in one regard or another. These journalists often have a hidden agenda that prompts them to want to portray an individual or situation in an unfavorable way, and in some cases, journalists build their entire careers on these dubious tactics.

In the extreme is the case of Sandra Peddie, a controversial reporter for Long Island’s Newsday, who is well-known for ‘gotcha journalism.” In fact, Peddie glorified the method in a televised commercial for the struggling publication by stating that her goal as a reporter is to “make you spit out your coffee.” She goes on to explain the deep satisfaction she feels in the moment she can say “gotcha.”

Also noteworthy is the sexualized manner in which Peddie displays herself in the commercial. Cindy Holliman, a fourth-year journalism student, was shown the Sandra Peddie commercial as part of a focus group. She stated: “We were shown it to determine what the class thought of gotcha reporting as opposed to journalism.  We learned that you’re either a gotcha reporter or a journalist, and you can’t be both,” said Holliman. She added, “In general, the consensus was that she is old-school. She is a sixty year old woman that isn’t embarrassed to use her sexuality in exchange for information. She showed no shame in it.”

Others seem to share that view. Steve Levy wrote in his book Bias in the Media that “Peddie, without question, was the most unprofessional reporter I had ever come across.” He went on to stay that “Peddie went out of her way to build a false narrative.”

America’s True News made several attempts to reach Sandra Peddie for an interview for this article. She refused to comment through Newsday’s legal counsel. Newsday suffered operating losses of $37.7 million in 2014, and many people believe that Peddie’s disingenuous reporting is a factor in the failing paper. “Twenty years ago, you could get away with tabloid journalism, or “gotcha” journalism, but with the advent of the internet and the ease at which people can check facts, it just doesn’t fly anymore,” said Holliman. “I think people know when a story line just doesn’t add up or make sense, and readers tune it out,” she added.

Newsday’s “moral compass” Filler a man of convictions….well, at least six convictions

The much maligned New York print publication Newsday is facing yet another possible scandal.

A few years back, the Long Island based tabloid was hit with a 100-million dollar penalty for lying about their circulation. It is now uncovered that the publication’s editorial writer, Lane Filler, was convicted for a string of crimes ranging from domestic violence to multiple check frauds.

Filler’s crime spree occurred in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, where he was then known as Adam L. Filler. It is not certain whether or not the writer uses his current alias to hide his past criminality, but Kara Williams, who lives outside Columbia and was close to one of the victims scammed by Filler, believes that is exactly why.

“It amazes me that anyone would hire Adam,” Kara said. “I watched him at one of his arraignments just standing there without an ounce of remorse. The prosecutor told me and the other woman afterwards, ladies, you have been hurt by the true scum of the earth! We all agreed. To find out that Filler is actually considered a ‘moral compass’ to anyone is flabbergasting!”

Filler and another writer, Rita Ciolli from Huntington, NY, write the bulk of Newsday’s editorials. Adam L. Filler now lives in an apartment in the city of Smithtown, NY with his wife Angela and child. Smithtown is about fifteen miles east of the city of Melville where Newsday is currently published.

James Morris – Richland County, South Carolina

WHO IS SANDRA PEDDIE?

 

She’s your neighbor and a local Newsday investigative reporter. But how well do you really know her? Read her quotes below to find out. And consider this: this is the type of person NEWSDAY employs to shine a light on wrongdoing.

WE ARE TAUGHT to love our neighbors as ourselves.

SANDRA PEDDIE teaches college-age students that people dying makes a better news story.“Now, it would have been better had the balcony collapsed and a bunch of people gotten killed. It would have been a great, great story and it would have won all sorts of prizes, but instead they had to spend half a million dollars to fix it. Oops.”

WE ARE TAUGHT that the life of a child is innocent and should be protected.

SANDRA PEDDIE questions “…why it’s worse for children to get killed than anybody else…”

WE ARE TAUGHT to respect and love our elders.

SANDRA PEDDIE says “…oh God, who cares about a bunch of old people in a nursing home…” Watch the full video. Decide for yourself if Sandra Peddie is a person you’d want as your neighbor or friend, or as the person teaching our young people about journalism.

Photo and quotes taken from a March 6, 2013 speaker series at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism.