IT’S VACATION TIME… I’m going to try to step away from the MacBook for a few weeks to attack my growing to-do list, which includes: Finally finishing Mark Leibovich‘s “This Town,” which has been on my iPad for years (65 pages left); watching seasons 1 through 4 of “Veep”; getting an unlimited CTA pass and explore Chicago – something I’ve been meaning to do since I got here 15 years ago; reading the dozens of New Yorkers and New York magazines that are still marked “unread” on my NextIssue app; flying to Denver and check out the legal marijuana situation; finishing “House of Cards” season 3 (just starting episode 8); and returning to Seattle to see Amazon’s downtown takeover and have coffee at the new $20 million Starbucks.

I know I’ll be tempted – and give in – to post a hot memo or a juicy item on JimRomenesko.com during this vacation, but that’ll probably happen in late afternoons or evenings. Please continue to send your news tips and memos to Jim@JimRomenesko.com. Thanks for reading and contributing to the site.


USA Today editor-in-chief David Callaway said on Wednesday that the company could stop publishing a daily print newspaper as early as the next “five or six years.” (A weekly USA Today print edition coming soon?)
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That remark didn’t go over well with Jim Gath, who was on the ground floor of USA Today. He tells me in an email: “I was there from the 2nd prototype onward – from 3/81 to 10/94. Was Director of Special Sales, Director of Sports Marketing & VP/Advertising. Also a founder of Baseball Weekly.”

Gath says of Callaway’s remarks: “To me & to an awful lot of other people out there who remember what having guts is like, this idea of ceasing the print version of USA TODAY is nothing short of a travesty. Not a shame, mind you. A friggin’ travesty.”

He adds: “People WILL buy pieces of paper with stuff printed on it. But only if they feel they can’t live without it or it adds an important, welcome addition to their lives. If you give people something they can’t possibly get anywhere else, they’ll flock to your door.”

His full blast is posted on Facebook, but it’s reprinted after the jump for readers who’ve chosen not to log in at Mark Zuckerberg’s place. Read More

NPR “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross tells Marc Maron in a recent interview in front of a live audience at the BAM Opera House in Brooklyn:

There was a period when I didn’t want to be photographed. It was a short period, but I declined to be photographed because I thought radio listeners want you to be who they think you are visually.

Marc Maron and Terry Gross

Marc Maron and Terry Gross

I’d meet people and they’d go, “Oh! really?” There’s this thing, like, when you’re on radio and you feel [?] the speaker, people assume, So she’s tall. And really, I’m so short. And so I’d always feel like people would meet me and they’d feel like – they’d hide their disappointment. Like – “Oh, she’s kind of short. she’s not really very glamorous.” So I thought, let me be whoever they want me to be visually.

Mom to Terry: Don’t tell them anything about us!

I grew up in a family that thought that we shouldn’t share things about the family. You keep that inside. And so there was an article about me that was written for Philadelphia magazine years ago, and the gist of the article was: People don’t know much about her, they don’t know who she really is. One of the people on my staff was quoted as saying, “She’s really great, I really like working with her. I don’t know a thing about her.”

So my mother took the article and said, “You shouldn’t have told them all of this!” She said something like, “I don’t even want this in my house!” And I was like, “Mom, the article was about how nobody knows anything about me!” So it’s kind of ironic that what I do for a living is help people share things about themselves that might be of value to other people.

New: Gross is referring to a Philadelphia article from September of 1992, “Terry Gross Hears Voices,” by Bob Huber. It’s not online, but editors Joel Mathis and Timothy Haas were kind enough to dig it up and send this clip.

* Marc Maron interviews Terry Gross (unedited, 90 minutes) (wtfpod.com) | Shorter edited NPR version (npr.org)


University of Montana j-school dean and former NPR reporter Larry Abramson was one of the first to tweet the news Thursday about Lee Enterprises closing its Montana state bureau, which serves newspapers in Billings, Missoula, Helena, Butte and Hamilton. I’m told the Billings Gazette newsroom learned of the bureau closing through Abramson and that staffers were called into an all-hands meeting five minutes after his tweet was posted.

The announcement is so big in the state that it’s on the front page of today’s Gannett-owned Great Falls Tribune. Its editor, Jim Strauss, says “the loss of the Lee Bureau is a hit to the watchdog role of Montana media.”

- Great Falls Tribune

– Great Falls Tribune

My sources say veteran Lee political reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison were told by Billings Gazette editor Darrell Ehrlick that they had a choice of a 40% pay cut or a buyout. The men chose the latter. (I’ve asked Ehrlick to comment.)

Ehrlick told a Montana Television Network reporter that Lee is changing the way it does state coverage, and that instead of focusing on state government and politicians, it will look at news on an “issue and regional level.”

A Montana journalist writes me in an email: “Utterly pissed about this and concerned about what this means for political coverage in a state where they [Johnson and Dennison] were essentially the only ones reporting.”

My regular readers know about Lee CEO Mary Junck and her executive team taking big bonuses after cutting newsroom staffs. On May 10, the University of North Carolina gave Junck an honorary degree.

* Lee closes its Montana state bureau (greatfallstribune.com) | (lastbestnews.com)

* WTF! A Texas school district is claiming ownership of a student’s portfolio of 4,000+ photos. (petapixel.com)
* Two bids for the New York Daily News. (nypost.com)
* Business Insider’s business plans “absolutely calls for significant unprofitability this year,” says its president. (digiday.com)
chris* The Star-Ledger catches Chris Christie telling another “big lie.” (nj.com)
* Michel du Cille, the late Washington Post photographer, wins two Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. (washingtonpost.com)
* Boca Raton Tribune suspends a contributor and investigates his alleged plagiarism. (risemiaminews.com)
* Friends of “On Writing Well” author William Zinsser are gathering today to celebrate his life. (theatlantic.com)
* A Bloomberg News freelancer has photographed every Harvard graduation ceremony since 1981. (harvard.edu)
* St. Paul Pioneer Press puts its longtime headquarters up for sale. (bizjournals.com)
* Yes, we all know about the declining value of newspapers. (pewresearch.org)
* Capital Gazette’s Steve Gunn is named editor of the Virginian-Pilot. (hamptonroads.com) | Rick Hutzell is promoted at the Capital Gazette. (capitalgazette.com)
* IN JOBS: Apply for the Associated Press‐NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Journalism Fellowship Program. (Romenesko Jobs)
* “Wimpy Kid” author Jeff Kinney is opening a bookstore in Plainville, Mass. (nytimes.com)
* Send anonymous news tips, link suggestions, memos, and typo alerts to jim@jimromenesko.com
* Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Twitter | Romenesko on Instagram | Romenesko on Pinterest

Bob Dickey, who has been named CEO of Gannett’s spun-off newspaper publishing unit, tells employees that execs are “planning some important and significant changes to our org structure” and that “we will unlock the full strength and impact of being the nation’s largest newsgathering force.”

His full memo:

Subject: Update on the New Gannett
From: A message from Bob Dickey
Date: May 21, 2015, 4:05 PM

Dear friends and colleagues,

On a hot and hazy Tuesday last August, when we announced the split of our business, you heard about a new publishing company that would have the freedom to carve its own future.
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Now that future is almost upon us, and I know you have questions. What is our vision for the future? What are our plans for growth? How might our news business evolve? You might be asking, “How will this affect me?”

My leadership team and I promise to answer these questions in the weeks ahead—particularly on launch day. But in the meantime, I’d like to get started by sharing a few updates and painting an early picture of the new Gannett./CONTINUES Read More

This memo from Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner was just sent to employees of the San Diego Union-Tribune, formerly known as U-T San Diego:

Colleagues,

The Los Angeles Times’ parent company has completed its acquisition of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
ut
This is exciting news for all of us as we bring together two outstanding institutions with a singular commitment to excellence in journalism.

As we move forward, we will reestablish the name of this historic publication, The San Diego Union-Tribune, which has long been synonymous with quality journalism and public service.

The team at The San Diego Union-Tribune will be led on a day-to-day basis by Russ Newton, the new President and Chief Operating Officer. He will report to me in my role as Publisher and Chief Executive Officer.

Russ will work closely with Editor Jeff Light, Managing Editor Lora Cicalo, and Bill Osborne, Editorial and Opinion Director.

What won’t change is The San Diego Union-Tribune’s place as an independent voice of the San Diego community, devoted to informing, engaging and serving its readers.

I look forward to working with all of you.

Austin

* January 2012: San Diego Union-Tribune becomes U-T San Diego (jimromenesko.com)


- From "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

– From “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

Call from Oklahoma: I don’t know what’s going on in this world right now. Obama’s a Muslim and that’s all I’ve got to say.
C-SPAN’s Steve Scully: Obama is not a Muslim, but thank you for making your comment.

Call from Michigan: We need to get rid of every Muslim out of the country [sic], because they are sent here to kill us.
Scully: OK, we’ll leave it at that.

HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has a running segment titled “The Most Patient Man on Television Endures the American Public,” which features clip after clip of C-SPAN host Steve Scully taking unscreened calls from racists, foul-mouthed viewers and other nuts.

The first time C-SPAN vice president of programming Terry Murphy watched the collection of offensive calls – most of them abruptly ended by Scully – he rolled his eyes. “My second reaction was to laugh,” he tells me.

One “Most Patient Man” viewer asks in the YouTube comments: “Does he even have a call screener?”

Murphy says: “We do talk to the callers before they’re let on the air” to find out what they want to discuss, but “we don’t use a delay. We have talked about it but we’ve always wanted to keep [the call-in show] as open as possible.”

The number of profane and racist calls hasn’t increased over the years, the programming chief contends. “More people are highlighting them,” he notes, “but it’s a very small percentage.”

Murphy says he knows Oliver’s segment could encourage others to make prank calls to C-SPAN, “but so be it.”

I was hoping to get Scully’s reaction to “The Most Patient Man,” but C-SPAN wouldn’t make him available. Its spokesperson writes in an email:

Steve is one of several WJ [Washington Journal] hosts, and we actually don’t put our hosts forward to talk about it. Simple reason: as you probably know, C-SPAN has a long tradition of “no celebrities” baked into our DNA. From our perspective, it’s not about any individual host, but about the broader program… it’s about the content and information, and callers. So we just don’t offer up any individual host.

Like it or not, C-SPAN, Oliver has made Scully a celebrity of sorts. I wish I could have gotten the host’s reaction to this comment from a “Most Patient Man” viewer: “I know it’s strange…but I am starting to develop a crush on this man. At first I just felt sorry for him but I know now it’s more than that..wish I could get his number!”

“Last Week Tonight” executive producer Tim Carvell says of the Scully segment:

That was a lucky discovery by a producer named Matt Passet, [made] while working on our piece on infrastructure. He found that guy hosting a daylong call-in show, and we were all so enamored with him that Matt and one of our editors, Anthony Miale, started assembling montages of him.

Oliver & Co. have aired two “Most Patient Man” segments so far, but regular C-SPAN viewers know there’s material for many, many more.

* “The Most Patient Man on Television” for April 20, 2015 | May 10 segment
* “Tell me more about The Most Patient Man on Television” (reddit.com)


missingcat

The Portsmouth Police Department has a strange habit of blacking out names of missing pets. In February, the cops redacted a dog’s name – I called and learned her name is Amber – and this week the department shielded the name of a missing cat. I’ve asked Sgt. Chris Roth to explain why.

* Another missing pet’s name redacted from Portsmouth police log (@DinanElizabeth)
* February 2015: Police department hides name of missing dog (jimromenesko.com)

New: Read the cracks from my Facebook commenters