- Credit: Chris Britt

– Credit: Chris Britt

GateHouse Media CEO Mike Reed has been collecting six-figure annual bonuses while his journalists haven’t had raises in seven years. As reported here last week, a health-care reporter at GateHouse’s Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register works at McDonald’s on weekends to make ends meet. This cartoon was drawn by Chris Britt, who was laid off from the State Journal-Register in 2012.

* “Now Hiring” (illinoistimes.com) | (facebook.com)
* Earlier: Meet the health-care reporter who works at McDonald’s (jimromenesko.com)


I called Milwaukee schools spokesman Tony Tagliavia to see why the board wants the Journal Sentinel’s Erin Richards taken off the education beat. He had colleague Denise Callaway forward a letter that school board president Michael Bonds addressed to Journal Sentinel editor Martin Kaiser earlier this month. In it, Bonds wrote:

My concerns fall into four basic areas of concern, virtually all of which involve Ms. Richards: factual errors, failure to fairly report or assess data/information, failure to cover critical meetings and events, and typographical errors. I have outlined examples of those concerns in this letter, but can provide the exact documentation upon request. For the sake of not being repetitive, these situations involve Ms. Richards, unless otherwise noted.

Bonds added in his Oct. 1 letter that “it is my opinion we have reached a critical point and I am asking you to assign someone other than Ms. Richards to the education beat.”

Erin Richards

Erin Richards

It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen though. Kaiser told me on Wednesday “the MPS agenda is stupid and a lie.”

Richards had not seen the letter until this morning when I sent her this link. “A heads-up [by Bonds] as a courtesy would have been nice,” she says in an email. Kaiser didn’t see it, either. “I have never been contacted by anyone at MPS asking that Erin Richards be removed from covering MPS,” he says.

Richards says “most of the concerns raised [in the letter] are very minor, given the quantity of stories I write – and their complexity.”

And the issue about not attending meetings? Of course I don’t go to every MPS committee and whole board meeting anymore. I have to do this job during the day as well, and with only one person on the beat, that means increasingly I have to advance agenda items before they happen, or follow-up on stories after votes have been taken.

The letter also neglects to note that all MPS board meetings are broadcast on local 88.9 FM. So I spend much of my free time on Tuesdays and Thursdays listening to the board meetings. That way, I can keep up with discussions that suddenly turn interesting, while still having a bit of a life. Or at least cooking dinner.

I asked Urban Milwaukee editor and former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Bruce Murphy what he thought of Richards’ work. “I think she’s a solid reporter,” he writes, “and I haven’t seen any signs of obvious bias. But it’s worth noting that Richards operates in a different environment than the Journal Sentinel of old. The paper is less beat-oriented these days and more enterprise oriented. That seems to result in less day-to-day coverage of MPS than the paper used to do.”

Will Richards be at tonight’s meeting?

“I will not,” she says. “After reviewing the items slated for action, I don’t see anything that’s immediately newsworthy. Bonds’ report to the board is an informational item, so it’s not like the board will be voting on my job performance.”

* Read the Milwaukee school board president’s letter to Martin Kaiser
* Board president’s activities include trying to get reporter taken off MPS beat

Update: Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers (facebook.com)


The Akron Beacon Journal told Rep. Bill Johnson’s campaign to stop using this obviously doctored front page in the Republican candidate’s ads, saying it has “a strict policy on the use of its content in campaign advertising. Nothing is to be altered.”

Campaign manager Sarah Poulton responded: “Although it’s clear that the law and First Amendment permit the use of quotes from newspapers in political ads, we have honored the newspaper’s requests and are editing and replacing the commercial to remove the accurate quotes altogether.”

* Akron Beacon Journal tells campaign to stop using fake front page (ohio.com) | (cleveland.com)

- Don Surber

– Don Surber

Charleston Daily Mail has fired editorial writer and columnist Don Surber (above) over his blog post calling Michael Brown an “animal” that was put down.

Editor and publisher Brad McElhinny says of his dismissed staffer:

He selected words that were unfortunate, inflammatory and, in our view, inexcusable.

It’s his own blog, but still, he’s known as a Daily Mail editorial columnist and many readers seemed to perceive the views stated to reflect on the Daily Mail’s editorial policy.

They don’t. And this newspaper is working to rebuild the community’s trust.

Surber, who worked at the Charleston paper for 30 years, deleted his Saturday blog post on Tuesday after I linked to it. (You can still read it here.) He wrote that his “initial reaction was Michael Brown deserved to die and I was right. His death was a justifiable homicide.” He called Brown “a gigantic thug who was higher than a kite when he attacked Ferguson Police Department Officer Darren Wilson, who unfortunately had to put this animal down.”

Update: Surber has republished his post “without the passage I apologized for.” He adds: “Readers who want to carry this on forever should be ashamed of themselves.”

* Regrets, and a change on the editorial page (charlestondailymail.com)
* Earlier: Charleston Daily Mail editorial writer calls Michael Brown an “animal” (jimromenesko.com)

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* New York Times Co. beats analysts’ third-quarter forecasts with a loss of $12.5 million. (Reuters via yahoo.com) | (nytimes.com)
* Ben Bradlee‘s funeral was “a statement of the man’s irreverence and verve.” (washingtonpot.com) | The word “dickhead” was used twice at Bradlee’s funeral. (washingtonpost.com) | Many gushing and heartfelt tributes. (usatoday.com) | Transcript and video of Quinn Bradlee‘s eulogy. (washingtonpost.com)cat
* “I had fun” using a manual typewriter for a week, says student journalist Cory Blair, but “it was frustrating, my grades suffered and my productivity dropped.” (ajr.org)
* [Right] Screw ISIS and Ebola! There’s a cat stuck in a tree in Charlottesville, VA. (facebook.com/NBC29)
* How Tim Cook came out in Businessweek: He pitched his piece to editor Josh Tyrangiel. (observer.com)
* Family Circle hears from haters after profiling a gay family. (washingtonpost.com)
* Banner Alzheimer’s Institute to journalists: Cover our briefing and you get $100. (healthjournalism.org)
* Why Rupert Murdoch is still working at 83: “Curiosity,” he says. (businessinsider.com)
* The redesigned Flipboard is “broader but also more personal than ever.” (theverge.com)
* No sympathy for “whining” White House correspondents. (firstlook.org)
* JOBS: Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register is looking for a features editor. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Gawker considers covering Albany. (capitalnewyork.com)
* FYI: It’s daylight saving time that’s ending – not daylight savings. (npr.org)
* Verizon’s new tech site bans stories on U.S. spying. (dailydot.com)
* Send anonymous news tips, link suggestions, memos, reports of comment spam, and typo alerts to jim@jimromenesko.com | Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Twitter | Romenesko on Instagram
* Advertise your job opening for just $25 a week. Contact Tom Kwas at jimromads@yahoo.com for information. (He’ll take care of your Sponsored Post or display ad, too.)

I asked Jay Rosen if he’d be posting the pitch he made to his bosses. “There was no pitch,” he replied. “I just said to my colleagues: I want to teach an elective in the spring called, The Future of the New York Times. The director of undergraduate studies said: Can I audit it?”

Update: Course description for “The Future of the New York Times” (docs.google.com)

* Comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers (facebook.com)

“I still love my hard copy newspaper,” says Arik Hanson. “And I shouldn’t feel ashamed to read it.”

There’s nothing like reading the Sunday paper with a cup of coffee on the porch, he notes. “Now, you can definitely do this with an iPad. No question. But let’s face it – it just ain’t the same. …

“Not EVERYTHING has to be interactive. Not EVERYTHING has to be personalized. Not EVERYTHING has to be on Instagram for God’s sake (and I love Instagram!).”

The digital PR consultant and blogger continues:

I’m really not a salesperson for the Star Tribune. They are not paying me for this post. I just continue to wonder why people continue to slam hard copy newspapers so much. Because I have yet to hear a legit argument for why you shouldn’t read it each and every day.

Reaction to the post “has been predominantly in agreement with me, but [for] a few folks on the all-digital side so far,” Hanson tells Romenesko readers. “I’m pasting in a couple screen grabs from Facebook, where I typically see the most comments about my posts.”

* Should you feel ashamed for reading a hard copy newspaper? (minnpost.com)
* Earlier: “I am no digital native, but the digital medium has won me over” (ryerson.ca)

Fox News contributor Michelle Fields and her Twitter followers got a big laugh out of this photo, which immediately set off my B.S. detector. I asked Fields where this photo was taken – I doubted it was shot at The CNN Store – but she didn’t respond to my DM.

Greg Galloway, a manager at The CNN Store in Atlanta, tells me that Fields’ photo was taken at Hudson News at the Atlanta airport, which sells some CNN merchandise. Galloway says The CNN Store only airs Turner brand networks and has never put MSNBC on its flat screens.

Update — Fields tweets: “I didn’t take the photo in Georgia. I took it at the CNN newsstand in Florida.” Actually, you took it at a Hudson News shop, not a CNN-operated property.