Longtime NPR correspondent Larry Abramson has been selected to lead the University of Montana School of Journalism. (He left the network in December.) The provost’s memo:

Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:58 PM
Subject: Announcement of new dean of the School of Journalism

To all UM Faculty, Administrators and Staff:

Larry Abramson

Larry Abramson

I am pleased to announce that Larry Abramson, National Security Correspondent for National Public Radio, has accepted the position of Dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Montana. Mr. Abramson has held a number of positions at National Public Radio since 1990, including Education Correspondent (2006-2011). He earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, and attended Free University in Berlin and Trinity College in Dublin.

Mr. Abramson will join us full time on July 1, 2014. Given his range of experience in journalism, I am confident that he will successfully lead UM’s J-School into the future. I would like to recognize the excellent work of Denise Dowling, who has served as interim dean for almost two years and will continue to do so until Mr. Abramson’s arrival. I also extend my thanks to the search committee, led by Dean Stephen Kalm, for its outstanding work.

Perry Brown
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

* At the Washington Post, “we’re investing again and building a digital future for news,” says publisher Katharine Weymouth. (usatoday.com)
* Celebrity wedding news breaks in an Auburn journalism classroom and the professor is left with “a sinking feeling.” (thewareaglereader.com)
* At Bloomberg, “people are perplexed about how they let [design guru Richard Turley] get away.” (capitalnewyork.com)
* McClatchy loses $5.9 million in the first quarter. The CEO says the chain’s revenue decline of 2.7% – an improvement over 2013′s 4% decline – is “a meaningful result.” (sacbee.com)
phil* Can philanthropy save journalism? Or will it only distract the press from independent oversight of the public interest? (philanthropyroundtable.org)
* Felix Salmon explains why he’s joining Fusion. (medium.com)
* Reports that John Henry might sell the Worcester Telegram & Gazette to Halifax Media are “alarming.” (wgbhnews.org)
* Hillman Prize winners include the Palm Beach Post, The New Republic, and CNN. (hillmanfoundation.org)
* Garrett Graff is out as Washingtonian editor. (huffingtonpost.com)
* Claim: “You CAN write a gossip column with integrity.” (gawker.com)
* Cops in Bainbridge Island, Washington, gut their police blotter. (Sue ‘em!) (insidebainbridge.com)
* OK, I won’t: “Please do not apply if you are not ok with the rate of 1 cent per word (maximum).” (elance.com)
* Send anonymous news tips, link suggestions, memos, and typo alerts to jim@jimromenesko.com | Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Twitter
* Looking for a job? Want to hire a journalist? Contact Tom Kwas at jimromads@yahoo.com for information. (He’ll take care of your Sponsored Post or display ad, too.)

Ad for Gannett’s Springfield (MO) News-Leader:prettyface
I asked News-Leader executive editor David Stoeffler how the staff reacted to this ad, and if they knew what they were posing for. He responds:

I have not heard any specific reaction from the staff. People laughed when it was displayed at a staff meeting today.

They knew they were posing for a “fun” promotion ad. Just one of many we are doing.

Are you a News-Leader journalist? Please email me your reaction.

* “Pretty-face marketing team idea?” asks Craig Pittman (facebook.com)
* Add this to the “Local People With Their Arms Crossed” page (tumblr.com)

State names, which are currently abbreviated in Associated Press stories, will be spelled out starting May 1. Datelines will still be abbreviated.

The advisory:


Effective May 1, the AP will spell out state names in the body of stories. Datelines will continue to use abbreviations.
Currently, most state names are abbreviated in stories.

The change is being made to be consistent in our style for domestic and international stories. International stories have long spelled out state names in the body of stories.

State abbreviations will continue to be used in lists, agate, tabular material, nonpublishable editor’s notes and credit lines. They will also be used in short-form identification of political party affiliation. Photo captions will continue to use abbreviations, too.

This change will improve consistency and efficiency for domestic and international stories, eliminating the need to spell out all state names in international copy, and to abbreviate them in domestic copy./CONTINUED Read More

On April 7, I reported that Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck received a $700,000 bonus for simply refinancing the newspaper chain’s debt.

The news disgusted longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch carpenter Scott Bujnak.
“That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he says.

Bujnak, 56, went into publisher Ray Farris‘s office last Wednesday and quit after 18 years at the Lee-owned daily.

Columnist Bill McClellan writes:

He told his boss he was through and explained why. What’s the point of saving nickels and dimes when the big boss gets a $700,000 bonus? Word spread quickly. “He did what?” “Wow.”

How many people at how many companies have daydreamed about doing the same thing?

Bujnak apparently doesn’t regret quitting, even without another job lined up. “I have a smile on my face you can’t wipe off,” he tells McClellan.

The columnist points out:

Workers have suffered while the big bosses have prospered. Pensions were long ago frozen. Mandatory unpaid furloughs were introduced. Layoffs were the worst. Families were ravaged. Yet, it was the small things that got to Bujnak. Mixing paints, cannibalizing chairs. He started resenting saving the company money.

Especially when people like CEO Junck were regularly getting big bonuses. (She also got a bonus of $500,000 in March of 2012 – again for simply refinancing Lee’s debt.)

I called McClellan to see if he had difficulty getting a column critical of the Big Boss into the paper.

Bill McClellan

Bill McClellan

“I didn’t have any problems,” he says. “The only thing I did out of the ordinary is turn it in at one [instead of the usual 5 p.m.] in case there were any questions.”

There was one, he says.

“I got one call about mixing the paint, and that’s all.” (He makes reference to Bujnak’s recycling paint to save money.)

McClellan guesses this column “probably went up the ladder” higher than usual for approval, but he’s not certain. (In an email and voicemail, I’ve asked metro editor Marcia Koenig about that.)

McClellan says today’s piece only helps the Post-Dispatch.

“It makes us look good when we criticize ourselves.”

I’ve asked Lee spokesman Dan Hayes if he’s seen the column. Since he’s never returned my calls, I suspect we won’t find out.

* A carpenter has the making of a folk hero (stltoday.com)
* April 2014: Lee CEO Mary Junck gets $700,000 bonus for refinancing debt (jimromenesko.com)
* March 2012: Lee CEO Junck gets $500,000 bonus for refinancing debt (jimromenesko.com)

Meanwhile, at another Lee-owned newspaper…. The Montana Standard is looking for local columnists who will write for free.

The paper says: “We might be able to round up some Standard swag if a coffee cup or pen would make it worth your while. The exposure to almost 30,000 readers a day is usually gratifying, and just think how your voice could help shape public discourse and make our communities better places.”

* WSJ’s take: Gannett 1Q profit slides 43%. (wsj.com) | USA Today’s take: “This was a terrific first quarter,” says the CEO. (usatoday.com)
star* From “Dimming Star” cover story: Kansas City Star editor Mike Fannin “reprimanded [his reporter] for responding to [an email from] Romenesko” about the “Hunger Games” scenario at the McClatchy-owned paper. (pitch.com)
* How are all of the new explainer sites going to make money? (digiday.com) | “Who, exactly, is the audience? People who like being explained to?” (theguardian.com)
* Wall Street Journal is talking to Quartz’s Christopher Mims about the tech columnist job. (recode.net)
* “Around the Internet, password fatigue is setting in.” (I have one notebook with nothing but passwords.) (bostonglobe.com)
* Anchorage Daily News columnist Julia O’Malley wins the 2014 Mike Berger Award. (columbia.edu)
* How the evening newscasts covered the Aereo case. (NBC’s Brian Williams: “Full disclosure right up top…”) (mediabistro.com)
* Esquire editor-in-chief David Granger adds a title: editorial director for Popular Mechanics. (wwd.com)
* The University of Missouri-St. Louis is forgiving its student newspaper’s $40,000 debt. (riverfronttimes.com)
* JOBS: Nude recreation publication seeks an editor. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Will the last person to leave Poynter please turn out the lights? (tampabay.com)
* Question of the Day: “I’m openly gay and quite left-leaning, would working for Fox be awful considering this?” (reddit.com)
* Recruiters’ tips for writing a journalism job resume. (ajr.org)

The Boston Globe says hiring a broker to explore the sale of the paper’s headquarters is only the first step in a years-long process.
“Wherever our next home is, it will be reflective our culture of excellence and the direction our business is headed over the next few decades, Globe chief executive Michael Sheehan writes in a memo to staff.

“It is highly likely that we will find a suitable buyer and will eventually move from our current home. But don’t start packing boxes quite yet.”

Value of the Globe property has been estimated at $50 million to $70 million.

The memo to Globe staff:

Subject: Globe retains firm to explore potential sale of building
Date: April 22, 2014 at 3:50:04 PM EDT

To all Boston Globe employees,

There’s been much speculation about the sale of our property on Morrissey Boulevard, and we’d like to inform you of some recent decisions relative to that potential decision. Tomorrow, we will announce that we have hired Colliers International to represent us in exploring the feasibility of such a transaction and to help us identify possible buyers./CONTINUES Read More


* Transcript of today’s Aereo case oral arguments (supremecourt.gov)
* Dear Justice Scalia: It’s not TV, it’s HBO (mediaite.com)
* “Most of the justices seemed to think that [Aereo's] service was too clever by half” (nytimes.com)

I’ve vacationed with family in Eagle River, Wisconsin – where the lakes and the minds are clean. (They also love their homemade jerky in Vilas County.) Vilas County News-Review editor Gary Ridderbusch tells me “I’ve never heard one comment” about the name. “People know it’s a fundraiser.” (He later admitted in our phone conversation that locals might “snicker” when they first hear about the event, but they don’t make a big deal out of it.)

People have asked about the T-shirts, which Club 45 was selling them for $10 $20 (they went up). Jen at the bar tells me that readers who want to order the shirt can email her at club45conover@yahoo.com. (FYI: The back of the shirt says, “If You Jerk It, They Will Come.”)

* Great Northern Jerk-Off celebrates 20th anniversary (vcnewsreview.com)

– h/t @dailynewshack | Image via @journalistslike

- From today's Daily Kent Stater

– From today’s Daily Kent Stater

On Monday, Kent State journalism faculty members sent a resolution to university administrators to “express our objection to the way the university has handled the release of public records and the closed process relating to the recently completed presidential search.” The resolution was signed by 28 of the 33 faculty members. One tells me that some profs hoping for tenure didn’t want their names on the resolution. So far there’s been no administration response to it, I’m told.

On Tuesday, some faculty members bought a full-page ad (above) in the Daily Kent Stater. A few thought the language was too strong, I’m told, and declined to endorse it. The ad cost $1,028, according to the paper’s business department.

Here’s what the ad says:

We’re embarrassed

A letter from members of the faculty of the Kent State University
School of Journalism & Mass Communication

In a democracy, any decision that favors secrecy over openness must be closely scrutinized. Secrecy can damage the credibility of any public institution.

We’re embarrassed by our administration’s refusal to disclose public records related to the recent presidential search. And we’re troubled over credible news reports that some of these records may have been shredded to avoid public inspection.

Kent State’s decision to withhold these records may violate the Ohio Public Records Act. And though only a court of law can decide the legal issues, the administration’s decision to ignore the principles of transparency raises serious questions of ethics.

At the School of Journalism & Mass Communication, we instill in our students a reverence for open government and the right of a free press and public to engage in the oversight of government agencies. It is our duty to do this.

Kent State’s decision to withhold information about the presidential search teaches the wrong lesson to students. It also sends the wrong message to our friends, our alumni and Ohio taxpayers.

* Faculty say Kent State should release presidential search records (cleveland.com)


“Had to enjoy the placement of this Obamacare story and the stand-alone photo of Obama just below it on the front page of today’s New York Times. Sure there’s a cute little line between them, but no way I let these two elements anywhere near each other.” – GlibandBitchy

* How do you really feel about that, Mr. President? (@GlibandBitchy)