In your whopping Thursday media column: South Africa's president wins a libel case, Creative Loafing's tenuous existence, RBI's selling everything, and the latest problem with saving the New York Times.
Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, has won a [settlement in a] libel case against the Guardian UK, which published "an article that mistakenly claimed he was a rapist." Helluva mistake! The newspaper ran an apology but Zuma felt it wasn't big enough. We're usually not sympathetic to these UK libel cases but if you "mistakenly" call the president a rapist, no correction is too large. [Which is not to say Jacob Zuma is a nice guy.]
Alt-weekly chain Creative Loafing borrowed $30 mil in 2007 to buy alt-weeklies in Chicago in DC, in one of the worst-timed media deals of the past decade not involving the Tribune Co. Now there's fear that the hedge fund that's the company's largest creditor could sell off its parts for scrap. That's what you would do if you were that hedge fund, too.
The latest idea for saving the New York Times, courtesy of Michael Arrington: the "top 10% of the writers" at the paper walk out and star their own new version of the NYT, which investors would shower with money. Hmmm. Problem—the percentage of current New York Times writers who consider themselves to be in the top 10%: 100%.