* Indiana Gov. Mike Pence distances himself from the “Just IN” news service idea cooked up by his staff. (indystar.com) | Keep government out of the news business, says Rem Rieder. (usatoday.com)
* The New Republic’s February issue explores the magazine’s history of racism. (politico.com)
* How to get more women on the opinion pages: (bethwaldron.com)
* The new Bloomberg Business site reminds Jack Shafer of a modern version of Time-Warner’s 1990’s-era Pathfinder website. (politico.com)
* Salon finds that comments are keeping – if they’re closely monitored. (digiday.com)
* Chicago Tribune names a new managing editor and fills other positions. (chicagotribune.com)
* John Dowling was ousted as AP’s director of training three months ago. What will the news service do without him? (chicagoreader.com)
* Outsports is the first gay publication to get the NFL’s blessing to cover the Super Bowl. (outsports.com)
* New funding for Mashable ($17M) and Business Insider ($25M). (gigaom.com)
* Remember when Andrew Sullivan stepped away from blogging in 2005? (gawker.com)
* Updating now…

Star Tribune assistant managing editor/digital Terry Sauer spent days trying to figure that out, too.

He learned over the weekend that some startribune.com users couldn’t post or even view comments on the Minneapolis paper’s site.

A problem with the LiveFyre commenting system? he wondered.images-1

“‘It’s not us,’ they said.”

Sauer and his team did further investigating and discovered that every user having problems with comments was a CenturyLink customer.

“CenturyLink determined over the weekend that they were going to blacklist this website LiveFyre,” says Sauer. “We tried to penetrate CenturyLink for more than a day, trying to get past customer service to no avail.

“There was no contact [person] that could describe why they [LiveFyre] got blacklisted and what the process was to reverse that.”

Finally, Sauer and his team decided all they could do is have Star Tribune users complain to the CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company in the U.S. They posted this:


“We went to bed last night thinking that’s all we could do to move this forward,” says Sauer, “and this morning we wake up and it’s been resolved. We have no idea what caused the problem, and we have no idea what solved it.”

Update: CenturyLink spokesperson Mark Molzen responds to my inquiry:

CenturyLink has researched an issue involving LiveFyre, which resulted in our customers being unable to post comments on some news sites. We were able to determine that a LiveFyre domain was being used in an industry-wide DDOS attack. In order to protect our customers while online from this attack, we temporarily blocked the domain. After ensuring our customers were safe, the issue was resolved late last night and customers should now be able to post comments on these sites.

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Millennial editor-in-chief Britt Hysen also wants contributor candidates to submit three story proposals. I’ve invited Hysen – aka “The Voice of Gen Y” – to defend her no-pay policy.

Update – Hysen writes in an email:

Our trial period is merely to determine if contributors are a match for our style. No one is asked to come into our office or given a particular topic.

To be considered, all interested parties must submit 3 story proposals, 2 writing samples, and write one original article (500 words) on the topic of their choice within a 1-week period. If approved, contributors receive a login to our site and are free to contribute on their own time. However, there is no guarantee their work will be published if it does not meet our editorial standards.

Paid assignments are reserved for those that meet our client’s needs.

* Millennial mag writing candidates have a one-week unpaid tryout (millennialmagazine.com)


A Romenesko reader who doesn’t want to be named writes:

“Regarding your story about a newsroom using a cardboard person to keep in mind for the demo, it is not the first time I have seen this used.

magid“[Consulting firm] Magid had our station call our target ‘Lisa DeVries’ in the fall of 2012. The reason there are two pictures [of her] is because the first one [above] was considered ‘too trashy’ to match the description of Lisa, so we were given new flyers with the photo of a middle class mom and daughter [right].

“I don’t know if the photos are from Facebook or if they are stock photos, but seeing this Media General story makes me think that Magid’s hands are a part of this creation.” [NYT’s Joyce Cohen notes that it’s a stock photo – JR]

* Earlier: TV station uses cardboard cutout to portray target viewer (jimromenesko.com)

* Andrew Sullivan: “I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future.” (andrewsullivan.com)
* A county supervisor calls 43-year-old Staunton (VA) News Leader reporter Calvin Trice (left) “boy,” then quickly tries to changetrice the word to “son.” The supervisor, who has apologized to the reporter, says “it certainly came out, and then I went to ‘son.'” (newsleader.com)
* The LA County Board of Supervisors honors veteran AP reporter Linda Deutsch. (laobserved.com)
* Bloomberg Business launches. It’s “a reinvention of how we bring our stories to the world,” says digital editor Josh Topolsky. (capitalnewyork.com) | Daniel Gross: “So few bylines. All those View pieces written by anonymous writers.” (@grossdm)
* “I’m surprised ‘-gate’ has lasted,” says Bob Woodward. (washingtonpost.com)
* The Daily Mail lifts from the suburban Chicago Daily Herald’s story about “the world’s most traveled man.” (daveseminara.com)
* Daryl Cagle: “Hackers succeeded in breaking through to erase data on our hard drives on our servers and bring our [political cartooning] site down.” (darylcagle.com)
* Joe Morgenstern‘s favorite video store is closing. The Wall Street Journal film critic says of Vidiots: “For the almost 20 years I’ve been reviewing movies for the Journal, I’ve cherished the shop, with its all-knowing staff, as an indispensable resource.” (wsj.com)
* The Sun-Times Network isn’t going to save the Chicago media company. (cjr.org)
* JOBS: LSU is looking for a student media director. Wichita Eagle wants a business writer … and more openings. (Romenesko Jobs) muppets
* Google, Yahoo and Facebook top the Media Metrix “most unique visitors” chart for December. (nypost.com)
* CJR’s Brent Cunningham is named managing editor of the Food and Environment Reporting Network. (thefern.org)
* [RIGHT] Oh, no! A meth lab was found near Sesame Street! (h/t Drew Tripp) (heraldonline.com)
* Politico labor reporter Mike Elk is behind the site’s union drive. (freebeacon.com)
* Oh, darn: You’ll never see Shep Smith in a Blizzardmobile. (huffingtonpost.com)
* Get your job ad noticed – not buried, as on other sites – for just $25 a week on JimRomenesko.com. Contact Tom Kwas at jimromads@yahoo.com for information. (He’ll take care of your Sponsored Post, too.)
* 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 | Romenesko on Pinterest | Romenesko’s DEATH LOG on Etsy

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I called WSPA-TV (Spartanburg, SC) this afternoon to confirm an Onion-like story about the station using a cardboard cutout named “Michelle” to remind reporters that she’s their target audience.

- via ftvlive.com

– via ftvlive.com

The newsroom employee who picked up the phone told me that staffers were instructed not to discuss Michelle – only the bosses at the Media General-owned station could talk about her – so I left a message for news director Karen Kelly. (One question I have: Is this something that TV news consultants are recommending to clients around the country?)

Here’s Kelly’s memo to her reporters and producers (via ftvlive.com):

Subject: MEET Michelle

Michelle is who you want watching your newscasts, your stories.

She will be in every editorial meeting with us and in the newsroom during the day. She will likely make occasional trips to Greenville and Anderson.

When you pitch, pitch to her. When you write, write to her.

This is who we need watching in February.

Women 25-54 is her demo.

She has children and she cares about:
Their Safety
Saving Money
Recalls that have impact on her family

Even if you think a story doesn’t directly impact Michelle find a way to write it to her.

Give her additional information that is relevant to her.

Post stories and send alerts on stories she cares about.

* Media General station hires cardboard cutout (ftvlive.com)

New: “I certainly understand the cynicism this arouses, but…” (facebook.com)

From an Indianapolis Star investigative reporter:

It’s all a misunderstanding, the governor now says.

The Indianapolis Star recently obtained a state document that described a soon-to-launch state-run news agency called Just IN, which will have everything from news scoops to listicles.

Gov. Mike Pence

Gov. Mike Pence

“At times, Just IN will break news – publishing information ahead of any other news outlet,” says the document out of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office. “Just IN … will function as a news outlet in its own right for thousands of Hoosiers – transparent in functioning as a voice of the State of Indiana’s executive branch.”

Pence’s plans were immediately criticized by journalists and others. (A parody Twitter account was set up, too.) Star columnist Matthew Tully writes today:

I’m sure many people have been asking the same question that a Star reader named Becky Martin Kevoian asked on Facebook Monday: “How is this even remotely a function of our state government?”

The answer: It’s not. Hopefully Planet Pence will figure this out and kill this idea before it further embarrasses him.

Pence now says there’s been an “understandable misunderstanding” of what his office plans to do with Just IN.

“My understanding is that the website that has become a source of controversy was simply to have a one-stop shopping website for press releases and information,” the governor says. “It’s meant to be a resource, not a news source and we’ll be clarifying that in the days ahead.”

The site’s managing editor is Bill McCleery, who left the Indianapolis Star for the governor’s office in November.

* Indiana governor to explain his soon-to-launch news site (indystar.com)
* “The Mike Pence News Service” is a horrible idea (indystar.com)
* Indiana editors say they won’t use the governor’s service (mediamatters.org)
* Earlier: Ex-Indy Star reporter to run governor’s new news service (jimromenesko.com)
* The parody Twitter account (@Just_In-News)