– Some of the heds that were on Slate’s home page this morning
A journalist writes: “Please DO NOT use my name. Just say a Romenesko reader. But I thought you and maybe your readers might find it interesting that Slate’s teaser headlines on its home page seem to be increasingly relying on question marks in the headlines to try to get people to click. At 12:30 AM ET today, I copied all the headlines that I saw that had question marks and came up with a grand total of at least 24! Why can’t Slate be more creative in their headline-style choice, instead of constantly relying on questions in headlines?”
I’ve invited Slate editor David Plotz to respond (and should note that I frequently use question heds).
The headlines he refers to are after the jump. Read More
American Copy Editors Society (ACES) executive board member Brady Jones sent this memo to his colleagues last night. I’ve asked Lincoln Journal Star editor Dave Bundy if it’s correct that his copy desk is being eliminated. If you know what’s going on at this Lee-owned newspaper, please email me. (I’ll protect you, of course.)
From: Brady Jones
Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 10:13 PM
To: Executive Committee
Subject: Disconcerting news from Lee Enterprises
Patrick Smith just informed me that our friends at the Journal Star in Lincoln are facing a rather tough time. The Journal Star has been the design hub for some of the Lee papers for about a year now (I think?), and I guess the copy desk was told that they’re basically going to eliminate the copy desk completely, and the editors have the option of moving over to the design hub stuff or taking a buyout. Apparently the copy editing will be left to the assignment/city editors now?
Meanwhile, the Lee CEO Mary Junck just received a $700,000+ holiday bonus (by way of 200,000 shares of Lee stock).
I contacted a friend and fellow ACES member xxxxx for confirmation, and she said that about summed it up. She also offered more details if we wanted them. [The name was redacted to protect the person's job.]
Is this something we should feel compelled to address in some way or …?
Update – A reader writes: “I know another Lee paper, the Bismarck Tribune, told all their copy editors months ago (maybe 6 months ago?) that they would eventually be eliminating all of their positions and that they should start looking for other work.”
* “The Seattle Times did not authorize use of this photograph on Fox News.” (seattletimes.com)
* Any advertising that’s in the new print edition Newsweek will be “icing,” says editor Jim Impoco. “Basically, we’ll charge consumers more than it costs us to produce it.” (The price hasn’t been set yet.) (adage.com) * At Time, “we need to be much more nimble and entrepreneurial,” says managing editor Nancy Gibbs (left). (capitalnewyork.com)
* Does Capital New York face being TBD’d? “Within 18 months we’ll know whether or not this is on a trajectory to being successful and scalable,” says Jim VandeHei. (businessweek.com)
* American Journalism Review relaunches “as a new digital platform that is fearless in its quest to create something special.” (ajr.org)
* Sarah Palin praises the media’s coverage of the Martin Bashir flap. (politico.com)
* Joe Biden says the United States has “profound disagreements” with China’s treatment of American journalists. (nytimes.com)
* Maria Bartiromo’s move to Fox News is a win for everyone. (businessinsider.com)
* Another New York Observer redesign is coming early next year. (capitalnewyork.com)
* Fortune: Michael Bloomberg’s role at Bloomberg LP “has been deeper than understood, extending to strategy sessions with leaders of company initiatives.” (fortune.com)
* Bob Guccione Jr. says he’ll be CEO of the soon-to-be-sold Maxim magazine. (adweek.com)
* Voice of San Diego asks readers how it should deal with an annoying commenter. (voiceofsandiego.com)
* Send anonymous news tips, memos, and typo/comment-spam alerts to firstname.lastname@example.org | Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Twitter
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McClatchy’s Charlotte Observer has purchased the Dow Jones printing plant in Charlotte — a deal that publisher Ann Caulkins says “sends a clear message that we’re here to stay and we’re investing, and we have the money to invest.”
She adds in a memo to staff that “relocating printing could potentially also allow us to consider better use of The Charlotte Observer building in the future, including selling and relocating to a space more suitable to our needs.”
The newspaper’s current office space “was set up for the old school newspaper,” the publisher says. “We’re a digital company now, and our next offices will reflect what we need to be – the digital company of the future.”
After the deal closes, the Observer will print the Carolinas editions of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s.
The bad news: “Unfortunately not every Observer production employee can be guaranteed a job.”
* Renaming Emerson’s j-school the Ron Burgundy School of Communication – even for one day – gets thumbs-down from some faculty members. (boston.com) | Really? “By teaming with Ron Burgundy, Emerson showed that it’s a bit hipper than your average journalism school.” (globalpost.com) | There’s a T-shirt, too. (emerson.edu)
* Denver Post’s pot editor didn’t even have to apply for the position. “I was approached about this job last month,” says Ricardo Baca. (theguardian.com) | This unnecessary job posting was done to satisfy the union.
* Scott Timberg on New York magazine: “Color us skeptical whenever a company announces its exciting plans.” (salon.com)
* Time magazine breaks Ford’s embargo and posts images of the new Mustang. (jalopnik.com) | “Never-before-seen-images.” (time.com)
* Zack Poitras fools dozens of media outlets with his letter to Santa. (medilldc.tumblr.com)
* “We believe in print, we love print,” says Adam Moss, who is cutting New York magazine’s print schedule. (capitalnewyork.com)
* Jessica Lessin’s tech news site launches; she’s charging $39/month for The Information. (niemanlab.org)
* Martin Bashir leaves MSNBC over his Sarah Palin comments. (mediaite.com)
* Sandy Hook shooting 911 calls are made available to the media (and anyone with an Internet connection). (cnn.com) | “Media outlets reacted mostly with caution.” (nytimes.com)
* RIP New Haven Advocate: “The cause of death was a changed media landscape combined with corporate cluelessness and cupidity.” (newhavenindependent.com)
* St. Augustine paper: New York Times reporter doesn’t regret writing a complicated story from our neck of the woods. (gawker.com)
* Social media gossip is wrong, says Cleveland Scene publisher; the alt-weekly has not been sold. (cleveland.com)
Stephen Mindich, who closed the Boston Phoenix in March, said at a panel discussion on newspapers Tuesday that he hears Aaron Kushner’s investment in the Orange County Register and other publications isn’t paying off.
“They are having a horrible time,” Mindich said at the law-firm sponsored event. “They are losing millions and millions of dollars.”
I’ve asked Freedom Communications/Register boss Kushner to comment. Update: “Freedom does not wish to comment,” says spokesman Eric Morgan.
CommonWealth Magazine’s Bruce Mohl writes: “Mindich said quality newspaper journalism is nearly impossible to produce today because readers won’t pay for it and advertisers are no longer willing to subsidize it because there are cheaper ways to reach their target audiences.”
Mindich told the audience of Boston media bigwigs that he closed the Phoenix because he could no longer afford to pay the salaries of high quality journalists. (When I was interviewing former Phoenix staffers for this piece, I was told that Mindich didn’t pay much. One editor said: “We were earning so little, and working under such bare-bones conditions, that the work itself had to be our main compensation.”)
“23 job openings?! What in the world is going on at the Washington Times?” a Romenesko reader asks after seeing that the newspaper is looking to hire a Capitol Hill reporter; editorial writer; law enforcement reporter; faith reporter; military reporter; diplomatic correspondent; and journalists for other beats. (Six of the openings are on the business side.)
I asked Times executive editor John Solomon about positions and he responded:
This is a revenue-neutral hiring spree, but one that we’re very proud of. Over the last year under the leadership of our new CEO Larry Beasley we have quietly reorganized every aspect of The Washington Times operations, including the newsroom, and have freed up money. Much of these savings have gone to pushing our company toward profitability. Some savings from news operations have been reallocated to growing the size of the newsroom in the areas where we need to shine to serve our audience: national security, politics, policy, faith & family, and original enterprise to name a few. …
Our new subscription-only National Digital Edition is off to a solid start and we will soon debut a redesign of our Web site. A lot of this progress has been made with little fanfare, but it has resulted in substantial growth in Web traffic in the last few months and a tripling of advertising and sales revenues since the beginning of the year. And that has pushed our company closer to profitability than at any time in its history. That said, we’ve still got a lot of hard work ahead, and the newsroom reorganization is just one step ahead on that path.
Update: I’ve received a few emails from Times staffers who say Solomon isn’t telling the whole story. Here’s what one says:
What John Solomon didn’t tell you was that the “hirings” include requests that entire desks reapply for their jobs. The entire foreign team and our copy desks are being made to reapply. I haven’t compared the number of positions currently staffed with the number of jobs posted, but rumor is that this is a way for the paper to hack reporters they are unhappy with and reduce costs of more senior reporters by replacing people further down the rung.
So once again, people are again petrified of losing their jobs before the holidays. Two researchers already have.
Another emailer notes: “The overall head count won’t change much, if at all.”
Letter to Romenesko
From LAUREN CARROLL: Subject — odd mobile media request. I’m an editor at The Duke Chronicle, and I received a request from a researcher at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism to fill out a survey designed to “identify attitudes toward the implementation of monetization of mobile media products.” Pretty standard stuff in media research these days. But here’s the punch line: it came in the mail — snail mail.
This isn’t just a Blue Devil looking to rat out a Tar Heel. I just can’t believe that in 2013 someone would mail a survey to college students, let alone a survey about digital media!
Researcher Nick Shchetko responds: I’ve used the Tailored Design Method (Dillman) for the survey, and this method suggests that using multiple connection modes in a certain sequence may significantly increase response rates. So snail mail is just one part of it, and as you can see – it draws some attention. I sent out emails too. By the way, I still haven’t gotten a response from her and I appreciate if she could take the survey. She could use web or paper, or we can set up a different mode – texts, maybe?
* Newsweek is launching a 64-page weekly edition — “a premium product, a boutique product” — in early 2014. Editor-in-chief Jim Impoco says Newsweek’s new owner, IBT Media, will not have to spend as much money publishing it as its predecessor, Barry Diller’s IAC. (nytimes.com)
* “What if …. we make Newsweek a CD?” (vanityfair.com)
* A.H. Belo is selling the Providence Journal. (It just sold the Riverside Press-Enterprise to Freedom Communications.) (providencejournal.com) | (wpri.com) | (ripr.org)
* Ben Casselman leaves the Wall Street Journal to become FiveThirtyEight’s chief economics writer. (espnmediazone.com)
* Reporters no longer get daily Gitmo hunger-strike figures. (miamiherald.com)
* Peter Kaplan is remembered as “a father, editor, mentor, prankster and confidante.” (wwd.com) | David Carr also covered the funeral. (nytimes.com)
* Jay Rosen: “I am personally interested in people who can help NewCo make good on the promise of ‘readers know more than we do’ reporting, also called open journalism.” (theatlantic.com)
* Praise for Los Angeles Times reporter David Willman’s probe of Pentagon spending. (cjr.org)
* Tom Kent: AP staffers can extend some charity to the people they cover, and often do. (blog.ap.org)
* Josh Glenn on how to stay curious: “Avoid NPR.” (Care to explain that, Josh?) (hilobrow.com)
* PJ Vogt: All those viral stories that turn out to be bogus has me suffering outrage fatigue. (onthemedia.org) | The Internet is a giant lie factory. (vice.com)
* “It’s time to try something new,” says WSJ’s David Wessel. He’s joining the Brookings Institution. (blogs.wsj.com) * Report: Fox Business News anchors Liz Claman and Melissa Francis aren’t happy about Maria Bartiromo (left) joining their team. (capitalnewyork.com)
* LA Weekly cuts its theater coverage. (lastagetimes.com)
* Americans aren’t watching as much TV, but we’re still a couch-potato nation. (blogs.wsj.com)
The answer is yes, Rachel. One of my readers asked yesterday, “If local TV stations don’t take what they do seriously, how can we?” I passed that question along to KX News news director Tom Gerhardt. His response: “I would encourage you to contact General Manager/Owner Tim Reiten. This article also addresses that question.” I loved that the words “integrity of the newscast” appeared in a story about Ron Burgundy as co-anchor. I’ve emailed Reiten for comment but haven’t heard back.
* Anchorman Ron Burgundy visits KX in Bismarck, ND (kxnet.com)
* “Too good to check” used to be a warning to newspaper editors not to jump on bullshit stories; now it’s a business model. (daveweigel.com)
* Speaking of BS …. Politico CEO Jim VandeHei says Erik Wemple’s Mike Allen expose “was nonsense, which is why we didn’t play ball with him.” (nymag.com) * Our newspaper opinion columnists are pretty old. (WSJ’s Dorothy Rabinowitz at left.) (gawker.com)
* Yes, this is from 2013 – not 2003! Users can now comment on Albany Times Union stories. (timesunion.com)
* The plug apparently has been pulled on The Daily Download, a Howard Kurtz/Lauren Ashburn production. (buzzfeed.com) | (slate.com)
* The Guardian has published just 1 percent of the material it’s received from Edward Snowden. (npr.org)
* New York Post in the clear on discrimination suits. (capitalnewyork.com)
* It appears that Rock from Backlinks.us doesn’t know much about “the Gawker.” (gawker.com)
* BuzzFeed forecasts revenue of as much as $120 million in 2014. (businessweek.com)
* Garry Howard departs as Sporting News editor-in-chief. (mije.org)
* St. Louis Post-Dispatch customer service rep goes off script and blabs about a paywall. (bizjournals.com)