2 Aug
2020

LONGTIME SPORTS WRITER, RACING PUBLICIST & THOROUGHBRED OWNER, JACK DISNEY PASSES AT AGE 80

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (July 1, 2015)–Jack Disney, a longtime sports writer with the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner, who went on to serve as Director of Publicity at Hollywood Park and who was an integral part of Santa Anita’s publicity efforts for many years, passed away at his home in Irvine on Monday at the age of 80 following a long bout with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (C.O.P.D.).An avid racing enthusiast from his days at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, Disney hired on at the Herald Examiner at the age of 19 in 1954 and, for the better part of 35 years, covered USC football and basketball, the Lakers, Raiders, Angels, Dodgers, boxing at both the Olympic Auditorium and the Forum, and even had a fling as an on-air pro wrestling analyst alongside the legendary Dick (Whoa Nellie!!) Lane, on KTLA channel 5.Known simply as “Diz” to close friends and press box colleagues, Disney was the product of a bygone era, when sports writers often drew close to the athletes they covered, and enjoyed, for the most part, non-adversarial relationships. Accordingly, Disney often recounted nights out on the town and eventful charter flights with the likes of Bo Belinsky, “Hot Rod” Hundley, Elgin Baylor, and many others, including one of his all-time favorite athletes, the Raiders’ Lester Hayes.“Jack’s love and enthusiasm for sports was evident in all of his reporting,” said former Santa Anita General Manager George Haines. “Jack built thousands of relationships over the years here in L.A. and these were of great benefit to him and all of us here at Santa Anita. He was just a class act and he was very well liked by our jockeys and horsemen. He will be sorely missed and my best wishes go to his wife and family.”Married for the past 19 years to his high school sweetheart, Emily, Disney enjoyed some of his greatest success late in life–as a Thoroughbred owner. Calling upon his close ties to the sports community, Disney and his twin brother, Doug, formed “Indizguys” Stable about 10 years ago. Members ranged from former Angel catcher, Buck Rogers, to former USC and San Francisco 49ers receiver Paul Salata and retired L.A. Times sports writer and Baseball Hall of Famer, Ross Newhan.This disparate entourage struck gold on Nov. 25, 2006, when, at the behest of the late trainer Mike Mitchell, they claimed a long-fused 5-year-old English-bred gelding named On the Acorn. Finishing fifth on the day they purchased him, On the Acorn was subsequently last in a field of nine for a $50,000 claiming tag on Dec. 16, 2006, but he then rattled off consecutive allowance wins on turf at Santa Anita and was poised for stakes company.In what Disney described as “A once in a lifetime” run, On the Acorn would go on to win the Grade II, $250,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap on April 22, 2007, en route to a pair of $250,000 wins in the Grade II, Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on May 12, 2007 and on May 10, 2008.“Jack, along with (the late columnist and editor) Allan Malamud, were the people most responsible for me getting an opportunity at the Herald Examiner back in the late 70s and for that I was forever grateful,” said current Los Angeles Newspaper Group handicapper Bob Mieszerski, who worked alongside Disney at the Herald and is also currently serving as Thoroughbred Publicity Director at Los Alamitos. “Jack and I have been close ever since and I could always count on him for guidance and support.“He was a brilliant writer and a first class gentleman. In all the years I had the pleasure of knowing Jack, I never heard anyone utter a bad word about him. The world won’t be the same without him and I already miss him terribly. I only hope he knew how much I loved and appreciated him.”In addition to his wife, Emily and brother, Doug, Jack Disney is survived by his sons, Rick and Mitchell, and two grandchildren. Services are pending. POPULAR SCRIBE COVERED ORIGINAL L.A. ANGELS, NEWLY ARRIVED LAKERS IN 1960slast_img read more

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14 Sep
2019

MPA Chairman John Griffin We Have the Best Brands in Media

first_imgThe magazine industry’s State of the Union-like address took place today as MPA chairman and National Geographic Group president John Griffin spoke to an audience of about 100 at the MPA’s Breakfast with a Leader, held at the University Club in New York City.According to Griffin, the greatest challenges magazine publishers face today are a time crunch, Internet growth, buyer confusion (advertisers calling for more accountability), circulation pressures (price deflation, verified circ), and the green movement. “We know there’s this tremendous change and we can’t predict anything,” he told the crowd. “We have to rely on the power of what we have. We have the best brands in media.” The new chairman outlined five opportunities for magazine publishers—to increase the industry’s ad market share; increase online reach and revenue; create a stable, timely, credible audience accumulation measurement; promote buying and sampling of magazines; and think green.Another Call for New MetricsLike his predecessor Jack Kliger, the CEO of Hachette Filipacchi who was appointed MPA chairman in October 2005, Griffin is reiterating the need for new, more substantive audience metrics in order to compete with other media, so magazine advertisers can make a cross-platform buy and be able to say, ‘I know my ad worked in this magazine at this time,’ in as short amount of time as possible. However, Griffin said, “We’ll never produce overnights. People don’t consume magazines this way, but we can be a lot faster than we are.” He said the MPA has been working with research firm McKinsey & Company to figure out “what this would look like and how fast we can get,” but the biggest challenge is the methodology.Griffin agrees that the process of change has been slow but said magazine publishers have to be confident, talk to advertisers and push to make this happen. But, he said, magazine publishers won’t be the ones to make it happen—they just need to be prepared to have this information available. “People need to be able to buy us the way we want them to buy us,” he said. According to Griffin, the MPA has conducted 20 interviews with influential “senior people” in the ad business about how they would react to such new metrics.Dysfunctional Family?Griffin highlighted another of Kliger’s professed priorities—getting magazine companies to work together—when an audience member asked if any progress had been made in that area, commenting that the industry “has always been a sort of dysfunctional family.” Griffin said it’s still hard to get people to work together—at National Geographic, he said, “we have had some talks, but not much to show for them”—but said that Kliger’s push for publishers to “sell the industry not against each other” has had an impact on people’s perspectives.Print vs. OnlineThough he said it’s not time to “flee the Golden Goose” of print, Griffin said more magazine business will be electronic. “We need to create seamless communication between print and online,” he said, “and let the marketplace tell us where to go.” When asked if this means “we need to rethink who we are.” Griffin agreed it was an issue, pointing out that the Periodical Publishers Association in the U.K. is thinking of changing its name and that the MPA is not currently considering a change but may have to. When asked if there is opportunity in selling online content, Griffin was not optimistic. “To be charging for information? We would love to, but I’m not sure if we will be able to compete that way,” he said. However, he said, various parts of what we do can be paid—at National Geographic, archives and photo contests are two such opportunities.The Power of MagazinesGriffin spent a good part of the hour-long speech on the power of magazines and their brands. For an example, he pointed to the New Yorker Festival—strong with advertisers for its brand power and credibility with speakers and the audience.He called for publishers to present the brand power of magazines versus other media to advertisers—including the greater ability to create community, attract a high quality paid audience, leverage the reader-editorial relationship, and sell on trust and environment. “Are we going to be the flame or the moth?” he asked as a general question to the industry. “What is it that you are, and how are you going to translate that into success? How are we going to be effective in a time of change?”last_img read more

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