drewbreesNew Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is on the cover of the July 28 Sports Illustrated “NFL Training Camp ’14″ issue wearing a TRX T-shirt. There are seven more Brees/TRX photos in the feature well, along with plugs for the TRX training system.

“A full workout on the TRX can absolutely destroy you,” Brees tells the magazine. (The story is behind a paywall.) SI’s Austin Murphy writes that the TRX Rip Trainer “looks like fun! But it’s serious fun.”

The 11-page spread on Brees and TRX fails to mention that, according to Fortune, Brees is an investor in the company that makes the TRX training system.

The author of the piece didn’t respond to my inquiry on Twitter yesterday. I’ve asked SI spokesman Scott Novak for a comment.

* Earlier: Brees is an investor in Fitness Anywhere and its TRX training system (fortune.com)
* TRX features the SI piece on its website (trxtraining.com)

Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten warned his Twitter followers this morning that his Tuesday chat intro “is long and angry and will get some people pissed!” His screed calls the BuzzFeed/Benny Johnson saga “silly” and says that “as a plagiarism scandal, this is complete bull-doody.”

Benny Johnson

Benny Johnson


It’s a pathetic little phony scandal, with a dirty secret behind it, and everyone wrapped up in it is complicit to some degree, including Buzzfeed, up there on top of that high horse whose feet are sunk in the mud, and even the indignant Internet sleuths who broke this gotcha thing, and even to a smaller degree my illustrious MSM colleagues who have been far too willing to certify this thing as a major plagiarism disgrace without asking some disturbing followup questions.

What Benny Johnson did isn’t real plagiarism, says Weingarten, because “to be guilty of theft, one must steal something of some intrinsic value” – an original insight, for example.

“But I contend you cannot steal something of no intrinsic value; say, a fart,” he continues. “Someone who steals a fart is a weird, disreputable person, perhaps, and even someone deserving of firing, perhaps, but not a thief. This is Mr. Benny Johnson.”

Veteran press critic Jack Shafer disagrees.

* Chatological Humor with Gene Weingarten (washingtonpost.com)
* Twitter user who exposed Johnson says a lot of the personal attacks on the fired writer were over the top, but… (talkingpointsmemo.com)
* The BuzzFeed saga explained by “Shattered Glass” GIFs (newsweek.com)

Version #1

Version #2

Ouch! “@AP Still drunk from last night?” asks one commenter.

* “Hello from @AP, and thanks for your feedback on this tweet (@EricCarvin)


* Newspaper newsroom employment declined by 3.2% in 2013, but the number of minority journalists at papers increased. (ASNE)chart
* New York Times Co. profit falls 21% in the second-quarter. Severance expenses – for Jill Abramson, no doubt – are listed at $2.2 million. (nytimes.com) | (bloomberg.com)
* It’ll be a $79 million payday for Time Warner execs if the company is sold. (qz.com)
* Ad buyers don’t give a hoot about BuzzFeed’s plagiarism scandal. (digiday.com)
* Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post correspondent being held in Iran, suffers from high blood pressure and probably doesn’t have access to his medication. (washingtonpost.com)
* Corey Pein: The most influential journopreneurs – “brand names” who go off on their own – “actually exude disdain for traditional reporters and their craft.” (thebaffler.com)
* Facebook investor Marc Andreessen takes a victory lap. (venturebeat.com)
* Rachel Smolkin quits Politico to become executive editor of CNN Politics. (cnn.com)
* Newspaper chain Morris Communications says it’s out of debt and can now offer a 401(k) match. (jacksonville.com)
* NPR to staff: Don’t use first names on second reference – unless it’s been discussed. (ethics.npr.org)
* The just-launched NPR One app targets casual public radio listeners. (newsonomics.com)
* The alt-weeklies convention “was like a three-day journalism high,” says a 24-year-old attendee. (altweeklies.com)
* Tell that to Marquette University! “An overdue book is nothing to be ashamed of.” (nypl.org)
* Send anonymous news tips, link suggestions, memos, comment spam sightings, and typo alerts to jim@jimromenesko.com | Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Twitter
* 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.)

* Confessions of Comcast customer service reps. “We slowly became sales. We were given quotas,” says one of the 100+ employees interviewed by Adrianne Jeffries. (theverge.com)
* Watchdog reporting is coming to your radio. “Reveal” goes weekly in 2015. (usatoday.com)
* Roger Pielke Jr.: “The main thing I would do differently would be to simply not write about climate change at 538.” He’s left the site. (discovermagazine.com)
* Liberal sites fall for fake Michele Bachmann story. (businessinsider.com) | Critical comments removed?(thinkprogress.org)gaza
* Oops! That’s the late “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn — not an Israeli soldier killed in Gaza. (petapixel.com)
* Ira Glass says “Shakespeare sucks.” (kottke.org)
* RIP NPR veteran Margot Adler. “Her reporting was singular and her voice distinct.” (npr.org) | Niemans recall the 68-year-old journalist. (harvard.edu)
* New Haven Register, a Digital First paper, is downsizing again. (newhavenindependent.org)
* Fareed Zakaria joins The Atlantic (mediabistro.com) | Jack Shafer reacts here and here.

“Legs for Bomb”bomb

Tom Wood was in Atlanta when Eric Rudolph’s bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park eighteen years ago. “I had just published my first story as a New York Times stringer at the beginning of July, and I was in the process of pitching other ideas at the National Desk,” he writes. “I had memorized the 800 number for the desk. I found a pay phone and dialed the number.”

The Timesman on the desk at 2 a.m. told Wood to get quotes from victims as they were released from the hospital.

I had my tape recorder with me — why, I have no idea. The first patient came out within a few minutes, and others emerged at intervals in the hours that followed. As best I can recall, all were willing to talk, and I got a lot of detail about the bombing scene, taking notes feverishly while recording for backup purposes. …

When I think of the vigilant security and PR guardians detailed all around most hospitals today, I can hardly believe my luck that night. I kept gathering quotes and phoning them in to New York until the pace of patient releases petered out a little before dawn.

His check for $75 arrived a few weeks later. “Naturally, in the parlance of the paper, I had been ‘legs for bomb.’ If I ever write a memoir of my freelancing career, I know what the title will be.”

Wood tells me in an email: “I have been telling this story for years, and people seem to get a kick out of it. Now, on the 18th anniversary of the event described, I have written it up — mainly for my friends, but it occurs to me you might take an interest.”

* “Legs for Bomb 7/27/96″ (facebook.com) | Recorded interviews
* July 28, 1996: Bomb at the Olympics (nytimes.com)


“I am surprised Gannett let this case go to trial,” writes Louisville Business First managing editor Cary Stemle.

One reason is the confidential Louisville Courier-Journal documents that are coming out of the courtroom — released by the lawyer for Mike Huot, who sued the paper and Gannett after being dismissed from his $325,000 a year circulation veep job. A memo from former Courier-Journal human resources boss Randi Austin to publisher Margaret Buchanan discloses salaries and management’s thinking about a round of layoffs in 2011:

memo

“Could be hit w/a huge lawsuit”memo2

Documents: Page one | page two | page three | page four

* Age discrimination cited in suit against Gannett, C-J (courier-journal.com)
* Ex-HR exec now regrets her “go for more Chardonnay” crack (wdrb.com)
* Former Courier-Journal staffer Jason Riley is tweeting from the trial (@JasonRileyWDRB)

The Toledo Blade has been under fire since announcing in April that the paper’s Northwest Ohio Rib-Off in August “will feature the musical stylings of controversial Detroit rocker Ted Nugent.”

Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent

The Daily Kos asked: “Does [Blade director of sales] Mike Mosi and the Toledo Blade support and endorse people who want to kill the US President? Does Mike Mori and the Toledo Blade support and endorse people who want to kill Hillary Clinton and two female US Senators?”

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence encouraged people to tell the newspaper to cancel Nugent’s appearance. “Nothing goes worse with good food than the virulently racist rhetoric of a man who has no regard for the dignity or rights of others,” the group said.

On Sunday, the chairman of the Blade’s parent company wrote that he’s sorry the paper invited Nugent, but “in my judgment the very high standard for uninviting him was not met in this case.”

Allan Block, the chairman, wrote in a letter to the editor:

I knew nothing about Mr. Nugent’s music, his political views, his history, or otherwise. What I learned did not, in my opinion, confirm him to be a racist — he seems to have animus for many different groups equally. …

I also want to say that calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” does not make Ted Nugent a racist, as this kind of personal name-calling against a president of the United States is part of a long tradition of political slander that goes back to the founding of the Republic. Abraham Lincoln was called a baboon.

* Allan Block: Sorry for the Ted Nugent invitation, but… (toledoblade.com)
* “To claim that this is a matter of free speech is absurd” (toledoblade.com)

* Washington Times partners with the Redskins, but insists it will still have “probing coverage” of the team. (Probe too hard, and no doubt that deal will dissolve.) (washingtontimes.com) | “One way to prove independence: refuse to use name.” (@davidfolkenflik)
* PA Media Group apologizes for its deputy opinion editor’s “inappropriate and offensive” column. (pennlive.com) | The GOP of Pennsylvania complained about it. (pagop.org)
science* New York Times favors legalizing pot, but it will continue to test new employees for drugs. (huffingtonpost.com) | Hamilton Nolan: The pot editorial shows that the Times is a thought follower, not a thought leader. (gawker.com)
* Science magazine is criticized for this cover photo of transgender sex workers. (advocate.com)
* What ESPN’s Michelle Beadle did last Friday “is legitimately one of the most courageous things I’ve ever seen someone in sports journalism do,” says Will Leitch. (sportsonearth.com)
* Pierre Omidyar‘s First Look Media has 25 journalists, “a number we expect to double by the end of the year.” (firstlook.org)
* Denver sports anchor Drew Soicher apologizes for saying: “So much talk about Alzheimer’s at Broncos training camp, I keep checking my roster to see if that’s a new player on the team.” (denverpost.com)
* A new NPR app curates the news for you. (npr.org)
* In 1976, Frank Sinatra told columnist Mike Royko that people who write for newspapers “rarely get their facts straight.” (suntimes.com)
* Who will buy CNN? “The most obvious buyer is CBS,” says Michael Wolff. (usatoday.com)
* Atlanta columnist Ernie Sugg finally watches “Gone with the Wind” – and ends up hating it. (myajc.com)
* The Oregonian moves into new offices today, but without two veteran staffers. (wweek.com)
* Death Notice of the Day: “He leaves this world with few regrets, one being told in grade school, his adult life would see the Hershey candy bar rise in cost to over a dollar.” (legacy.com)
* Sarah Palin wants you to go rogue and pay her about a hundred bucks a year to watch her Internet TV network. (variety.com) | stabMeanwhile, she has a challenge for the Washington Post – a paper she apparently doesn’t read. (facebook.com)
* (At right) The city is Hartford. #SavedYouAClick. (facebook.com)
* New York Times’ piece on Reddit is, of course, big on Reddit. (@michaelroston)
* The 21-year-old guy behind @collegestudent makes so much money he doesn’t need a job. (ajr.org)
* People still read the National Enquirer!? (capitalnewyork.com)