In your crazyland Tuesday media column: PR wizardry at the bankrupt Philly papers, Starbucks sliding down the publishing D-list, the perils of journalism in Utah, and Getty says you owe it money:

Getty Wants its Money Back, Freelancers

The Philly Inquirer and Daily News declared bankruptcy last weekend. Then yesterday it was revealed, hey, the company's CEO Brian Tierney awarded himself almost a 40% raise last year even as he was forcing staff to cut costs! Now the exec says he will give up that raise. Brian Tierney's actual former job: PR mastermind.


Getty Wants its Money Back, Freelancers

Remember when everybody thought that Starbucks was going to be the great new place to sell books and stuff, it was all gonna be really important and the future of both Starbucks and booksellers and movie sellers, etc? Didn't really pan out. And now who knows what they're doing over there: "A memoir by Isabel Gillies, who plays Kathy Stabler on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, will be the next book featured at Starbucks stores around the country. Gillies' Happens Every Day, which tells of the collapse of her marriage to DeSales Harrison, will be published March 24." Finally, we will know what it was really like being married to DeSales Harrison. (She's now married to a WSJ reporter, btw).


Getty Wants its Money Back, Freelancers

Wacky shit going down in Utah! Reporters at the Deseret News staged a byline strike today. Are you ready for the reason? It was "in protest of management changes made as the paper transforms itself into a Mormon niche publication." ONLY IN UTAH, KIDS.


Getty Images says it overpaid some photographers. Now it would like that money back, please. A tipster forwards us the memo:

Dear Contributor,

Our internal audits and reviews recently identified an error in how we calculated the royalty rates and home territories used in reporting and paying your Getty Images royalties, since our acquisition of Media Vast.

As a result of this error you were overpaid royalties on previous statements. To correct this situation we will begin deducting the amount due as a result of the overpayment, from your January 2009 royalties, at 20% of the royalties due to you for that month, and from future royalties, until the overpaid amount is fully recouped.

Section 1 - Corrections
Our system reverses (reporting a negative amount in parentheses) all transactions prior to January 2009 that have been reported and paid at an incorrect royalty rate on previous royalty statements. Each transaction is then re-reported on this statement as a positive amount at the corrected royalty rate. Since the total for the negative transactions is higher than the royalty rate for the positive transactions, the result is a negative balance, or the amount we have overpaid.

Section 2 – Jan 2009 Royalties
January 2009 royalty transactions are reported in this section and separated into US and Non-US sales and totaled.

Earnings Summary
A summary is provided at the end of the statement to show that 20% of your royalties (total of section 2) are being applied to the corrections (total of section 1). The remaining overpaid balance will be added to your next royalty statement as an advance and 20% of royalties will be applied to reducing the balance each month until it is zero. The remaining 50% of the royalties will be paid to you according to the normal royalty payment schedule.

If you prefer to pay off the overpayment in a lump sum or at a higher monthly percentage, we are happy to accommodate you.

UPDATE: Getty Images' PR person sends this statement: "The letter that Getty Images sent (the one posted on your site) was issued to just 5% of MediaVast contributors, to address our errors in overpaying their royalties. Recently, several MediaVast contributors pointed out to us that they were being overpaid, so we conducted an internal audit and found that we had input the wrong royalty rates for one group of contracts when they were transferred to Getty Images.
To correct the situation, we developed an overpayment recoupment schedule to have as little negative impact on the contributors as possible. It is important to note that MediaVast and Getty Images editorial contributors receive the same royalty splits for in/out of home territory."