“Sad sign of the times….student goes on murderous gun rampage at HS, story doesn’t make front page of LAT, NYT, WP, SF Chron, Chi Trib.” – Eric Boehlert

But in the state of Washington…

* PDFs of the front pages of Saturday’s Kitsap Sun, Everett Herald, Spokane Spokesman-Review, Yakima Herald-Republic, The Columbian and Seattle Times.

The pitch to a State of Washington journalist:

From: Danielle Orsino
Date: Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 12:35 PM
Subject: Breaking News: School Shooting

Hi Kate,

Know that things are still developing in the tragic act of violence in Marysville, Washington, but I wanted to offer you the opportunity to talk to mental health expert Carolyn Reinach Wolf, who works with organizations to develop threat assessment teams and educates schools as well as companies about recognizing red flag behavior.

She could give national insight into the growing trend of violence and also analysis into this specific act­ once more facts come out.

Carolyn is still getting all the details of the shooting and can discuss:

1) Prevention: There were probably signs that a teacher, classmate or family member noticed as red flag behavior, but didn¹t know how to give the individual proper help or treatment.

2) Flash point: ­Most likely, something specific set the individual off to act-out.

3) Mental health:­ While not everyone with a mental illness is violent, most of the violence we have seen over the years involved someone who needed help and didn’t get it.

Would you be interested in getting some perspective from Carolyn?

– Danielle

Danielle Orsino
DITTO Public Affairs
Strategy. Execution. Relevance
Brooklyn, NY


A reader sends this unfortunate news alert/story pairing:

- From 'Breaking Greenville'

– From ‘Breaking Greenville’

It appears the community-newspaper reality show that NBC Peacock Productions was teasing nearly two years ago isn’t going to happen. But a similar show – this one featuring small-market TV newsrooms in Mississippi – is in the can and debuts in December on TruTV.

The preview, which hit YouTube this week, has this description:

BREAKING GREENVILLE follows a group of local anchors as they compete for the top spot in the game. The character-driven docu-soap will spotlight the playful — and at times cut-throat — rivalry between two local news stations [WXVT and WABG] and the dynamic newscasters who are determined to take their jobs seriously, even when some of the news they cover is less than serious.

WABG (Greenville, Miss.) news director Pam Chatman (above) office tells me she was chosen for the show after a Hollywood casting company saw a 2008 profile that referred to her “The Oprah of the South.”

Chatman, who does motivational speaking in addition to news, says she wants to use the TruTV show “to push my platform nationally.” She tells me she has a can-do message for young people – one that she came up with after people said she could never be in TV news because of her size. “I was told I could never do broadcasting because I’m too heavy.”

* “‘Breaking Greenville': Broadcast news will never be the same” (youtube.com)
* Oprah of the South: Everything Chatman touches turns to gold (tsdmemphis.com)
* Earlier: Coming soon? A reality show about a community newspaper (jimromenesko)

At a Friday morning news conference, Toronto Star reporter San Grewal had coffee thrown in his face by a woman who supports Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell and is critical of the journalist’s reporting.

Accused coffee-tosser (left) and reporter.

Accused coffee-tosser (left) and reporter San Grewal.

“I didn’t see it coming,” says Grewal. “It splashed into my eyes. This had nothing to do with Mayor Fennell. She was in no way instigating it. She was nowhere even near us.”

The mayor tweeted after the incident: “No reporter should ever be attacked for asking questions, however biased. I condemn the attack on Mr. Grewal this morning.”

Grewal, whose clothes and notepad were soiled, tells his paper he isn’t considering legal action at this time.

* Susan Fennell supporter throws coffee in reporter’s face (thestar.com)

* “This is a very spiritual job,” says Buffalo News police reporter Lou Michel, “because you encounter people at their most vulnerable point.” (artvoice.com)
* Facebook and Twitter use cheap labor in the Philippines for “content moderation.” One worker says he was offered $312 a month to monitor Facebook posts. (wired.com)
* J-prof: “When it comes to sports, we don’t have many reporters, just cheerleaders.” (whenjournalismfails.com)
* Detroit News moves out of a home that’s “too big, too hard to heat and too expensive to maintain.” (detroitnews.com/note: autoplay ad)times
* It’s the 300th day that three Al Jazeera journalists have been jailed in Egypt. (HuffPostMedia) | (aljazeera.com)
* “Not the New York Times” (right) was the greatest. (theparisreview.org)
* Kara Swisher recalls Ben Bradlee as an innovator. (recode.net)
* Ex-WSJ reporter Jessica Lessin says the model for her 10-month-old ad-free tech site works. (digiday.com)
* That’s right, Comcast, just shut up! (instagram.com) | Comcast dubious about HBO’s web video. (wsj.com)
* Layoffs begin at Poynter’s Tampa Bay Times. (saintpetersblog.com)
* BFD: The queen tweeted. (Actually, she just approved what was posted.) (wsj.com)
* The Knight Innovation Award goes to Vice Media’s Shane Smith. (knightfoundation.org)
* New York Post and Daily News considered a partnership of sorts, but talks broke down. (capitalnewyork.com)
* McClatchy lost $2.8 million in the third quarter. (sacbee.com)
* JOBS: Las Vegas Weekly is looking for an editor. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Diane Sawyer‘s mother dies at 94. Diane was one of her third-grade students, but “I treated her just exacly like the other students,” she once told the Courier-Journal. (courier-journal.com)
* Is there a reason to be alarmed about the Sun-Times? asks a media critic who works for Sun-Times Media. (chicagoreader.com)
pot* A medical marijuana amendment town hall sponsored by the Fort Myers News-Press gets out of control and an editor apologizes. (news-press.com)
* Ex-AP news editor Dena Potter sues over her dismissal. (styleweekly.com)
* Great journalism deserves three bylines! (@TuThanhHa)
* Send anonymous news tips, link suggestions, memos, reports of comment spam, 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.)


Several readers sent me the Wells Inn’s ad for a reporter “able to interview folks without pissing them off, cover events and get the information right!” The INNformer position, according to the ad, “is great for someone who is looking to get back in the game after being ‘downsized,’ needs a change of pace or simply wants to hide from their ex or other people they have pissed off.”

Wells Inn owner Charles Winslow tells Romenesko readers he took this approach because “I am not sure that a ‘straight’ ad would reach the right type of person. We are, after all, in West Virginia.” He adds that “despite my quirky ad, I do take it seriously.”

I am losing my editor, who writes most of my business stories. He was just offered an editorship at a daily.inn Very happy for him. His last journalism job before us ended in 2009. I have another editor already on staff, who has been in the business for close to 40 years. Now I need someone to write business and politics.

I am proud of [the paper]. It has been well received in the community and has progressed much better than I had any reason to hope or expect. … I have been able to provide jobs to a couple unemployed journalists and help them get “back in the game.” Can that be bad?

How many applications so far from people willing to move to West Virginia? “I have six in less than 24 hours. Three experienced and three flipping burgers with their journalism degrees.”

* Long hours and bad pay for a reporter position (journalismjobs.com)
* Front page of the October 10 issue of The INNformer (Google Drive)

Dean Olsen is the health-care reporter at GateHouse Media’s State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill. The 54-year-old journalist, who hasn’t had a raise in seven years, works at McDonald’s part-time to support his family.

“I work there almost every Saturday and Sunday, seven to nine hours a day. I rarely have a day off. I haven’t been able to do much around the house [because of the work schedules]. My lawn hasn’t been cut in a month.”
Olsen was hired by McDonald’s in May after he job-hunted for six months and applied at dozens of places.

“I know it’s ironic” that a health-care reporter is working at a fast-food restaurant, he tells me, “but I need to support my family and I’ll do whatever it takes.”

He has three kids, including a special-needs child who is home-schooled by his wife.

“Our situation is a little unique because we are not a two-income family. My wife’s priority needs to be with our son.”

Olsen is also chairman of the Springfield unit of the United Media Guild, and is trying to get GateHouse to start giving raises. It’s not looking good, though.

“We know the company has money, but raises just aren’t in their plan.”

Still, the newsroom union is urging get GateHouse to at least match salaries paid at the Peoria Journal Star, another GateHouse paper. For that to happen, younger journalists would have to get double-digit pay increases.

“Our focus is on the younger people because we’ve seen them become disillusioned and leave” because of the low salaries.

The union is proposing no raises for veteran reporters in the first year of the contract, then 3% for the second and third years. The current salary range is $26,000 to about $65,000.

Olsen makes $60,000, but his family is still struggling. (His take-home pay at McDonald’s is $230 every two weeks.)

Dean Olsen

Dean Olsen

“We had a hard time paying our property taxes,” he says, “and I hope we can keep our home.”

Bruce Rushton, an Illinois Times reporter who worked at the State Journal-Register with Olsen for five years, describes the journalist as “a hard-working, careful and experienced reporter” who “did not take a job at McDonald’s for anything other than economic necessity. This is not a publicity stunt pulled to generate sympathy for himself” or colleagues who have gone without raises for years.”

How long does Olsen figure he’ll be working at McDonald’s?

“I really don’t know,” he says. “It’s quite an experience, and you don’t realize how hard those people work and the abuse they put up with from the public.”

Olsen’s job is working the front counter and sometimes taking drive-thru orders.

“I’ve had sources come up to the drive-thru and they’re quite surprised to see me. Some think I’m working on an investigative project.”

It’s nothing like that, he assures them.

* State Journal-Register medical reporter also works at McDonald’s (illinoistimes.com)
* Update: Comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers (facebook.com)

The journalists at Gannett’s Montgomery (AL) Advertiser were interviewed for new positions last week and are waiting to hear if they can continue to work at the paper. (They know that some staffers will be let go.)
“Here is the real kicker,” an Advertiser employee tells Romenesko readers. “We just had three straight days of meetings – you had to attend one (roughly 15 minutes) – to hear about the United Way. Our publisher strongly encouraged us to donate money, using the guidelines of 1% of salary if salaried or 1 hour per pay period if hourly, to the charity.”

Employees were told they had to fill out a United Way donation form – even if they aren’t giving money. “Nobody’s upset about being charitable, but we’re less than a week removed from interviewing for our jobs and some from the newsroom are going to be fired … and we’re having a required meeting in which we’re encouraged to donate money.

“Several employees noted the incredible irony of the timing of this.”

Same situation in your newsroom? Let me know.

Update: Read the comments about this from my Facebook friends and subscribers.