5/25: Bama media takes a hit, texting while not driving lawsuit and ALGOP=KKK…

Guest today:

  • 7:00 AM – State Senator Arthur
  • 8:00 AM – Huntsville Time Editor Kevin Wendt
  • 8:30 AM – State Senator Del Marsh

The day the newspaper died…

A new digitally focused media company – the Alabama Media Group, which will include The Birmingham News , the Press-Register

of Mobile, The Huntsville Times and al.com – will launch this fall to serve readers and advertisers across the state, according to Cindy Martin, who will become president of the new organization.

The change is designed to reshape how Alabama’s leading media companies deliver award-winning local news, sports and entertainment coverage in an increasingly digital age. The Alabama Media Group will dramatically expand its news-gathering efforts around the clock, seven days a week, while offering enhanced printed newspapers on a schedule of three days a week. The newspapers will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only.

A second company, Advance Central Services Alabama, will handle production, distribution, technology, finance and human resources, and will be led by current Birmingham News President and Publisher Pam Siddall. Both companies are owned by Advance Publications, Inc.

And the spin…

‘We’re excited to bring together the quality journalism of The Birmingham News , the Press-Register of Mobile and The Huntsville Times and the up-to-the minute immediacy of al.com,’ Martin said. ‘This is obviously a dramatic change, but we believe our award winning journalism, topnotch advertising services and the largest website in Alabama position us to be a healthy, growing company.’ Current Sunday only or Wednesday/Sunday subscribers will see no change in delivery. All other subscriptions will be automatically converted to the new delivery schedule that most closely matches their current frequency. Subscribers will get full credit for any payments made, and all will be able to read the e-version of the paper online at no extra charge. The e-edition is an exact replica of the printed paper. New subscription and single-copy prices are being evaluated to reflect the changes in delivery schedule.

Additionally, Alabama Media Group will invest in new office hubs in four geographic locations – Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville and Montgomery – with a goal of bring ing news and advertising staff into prominent, high-traffic areas. And the new company will continue to invest reporters and advertising sales representatives into emerging markets, like Tuscaloosa and the Gulf Coast.


Siddall, who will be president of Advance Central Services Alabama, said the launch of the new companies is a difficult but necessary move.

‘We have seen such dramatic growth at al.com and have such strength and familiarity with our printed newspapers, the time is now for these changes,’ said Siddall. ‘We have to be bold when it comes to positioning ourselves for the future.’ The Wednesday, Friday and Sunday newspapers will be enhanced to add features and be more robust than the papers’ current offerings, Martin said. The three newspapers will include more sports and entertainment coverage, and will include a full week’s worth of puzzles and comics in the three days of publication. The three newspapers also plan to expand their reporting resources to provide more focus on local news.

Food for thought…

Fact is, #HB56 might have claimed its 1st legitimate jobs in AL today. Content matters. Can only call your readers racist for so long. #bham

Interesting, but is it accurate?

Texting while someone else is driving

A woman who repeatedly texted her boyfriend as he drove from work could be held liable in a civil suit if a judge Friday refuses to dismiss her as a defendant.

David and Linda Kubert of Dover, N.J., initially sued Kyle Best of Wharton, N.J., after he veered head on into them on Sept. 21, 2009, as they rode their motorcycle. Each lost a leg in the wreck, and Best pleaded guilty earlier this year to using a hand-held cellphone while driving, careless driving and failure to maintain a lane in Montville (N.J.) Municipal Court.

But the Kuberts’ lawyer, Stephen “Skippy” Weinstein, amended his lawsuit to include Shannon Colonna, then 19, as someone who aided in Best’s negligence even though she wasn’t in the vehicle.

Cell phone records revealed during the suit’s discovery process show the pair exchanged more than two dozen texts during the day but stayed off the phone for about five hours while Best worked, Weinstein said.

In a deposition, Colonna said she didn’t know whether Best was driving when she texted him after work. But she also said she may have known.

“The sender of the text has the right to assume the recipient will read it at a safe time,” Joseph McGlone, Colonna’s lawyer, said earlier this month in Morris County Superior Court. He knows of no court ruling anywhere in the country that says the sender of a text is liable if the receiver causes injury while reading the message.

More whining for…

Republicans sped a redistricting vote past Senate Democrats in the wee hours of Thursday morning, but Democrats said that the move will become part of their legal challenge to the plan and could impair the Senate’s ability to function for years to come.

As one Democrat decried the redistricting plan, and the Senate’s handling of it, as a throwback to the ‘racist Ku Klux times,’ Republicans defended the plan as fair and its final passage as legal under Senate rules.

‘I wouldn’t have changed anything,’ said Sen. President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, who approved the quick vote on Thursday. Marsh also expressed doubt that the vote would have significant legal or political ramifications, saying Democrats will have to ‘get back in the game.’ Not so, said Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma.

‘There are some violations you get over quickly. Some have an impact for a long time,’ Sanders said. ‘I think there will be bite-back in all kinds of ways for a long time.’ Despite the controversy, the House redistricting plan passed the Senate Thursday morning 23-12, the Senate redistricting plan passed the House 65-36, both chambers adjourned to end the special session and Gov. Robert Bentley said he will likely sign the plans into law.

The votes were along party lines, with Republicans supporting the redistricting proposals and Democrats in opposition.

Federal officials must approve redistricting plans for states with a history of discrimination, including Alabama, before they can take effect. Democrats indicated that they will add the handling of the Senate vote to their list of objections to the Republican proposal in court action, which has already begun.


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