Daily Archives: December 15, 2011

Janet Robinson

Janet Robinson, 61, who has been New York Times Co. chief executive since 2004, is retiring at the end of the year. The Times says it will begin an internal and external search to find a new CEO. Meanwhile, Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. will serve as interim chief executive officer. || The Times will pay Robinson $4.5 million over the next year for “consulting services.” || Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan has the memos and newsroom reaction. || Ira Stoll: Robinson will earn almost as much as a retired consultant as she did as a full-time CEO.

Called AP StyleGuard, the new software functions like Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar proofing tools and intuitively checks Word documents for AP Stylebook’s fundamental spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style guidelines, says an AP press release. (It’s after the jump.) “We have had Stylebook fans asking for a product like this for years,” says AP Stylebook product manager Colleen Newvine.

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At about 9 a.m. ET, Los Angeles Times media reporter Joe Flint wondered on Twitter how long it would take for the Parents Television Council to criticize NBC for hiring Howard Stern as an “America’s Got Talent” judge.

WSJ Speakeasy posted at 12:40 p.m. ET: “Parents Television Council Blasts NBC and ‘America’s Got Talent’ for Hiring Howard Stern”

LinkedIn’s 10 most overused buzzwords for U.S. profiles 2011:

1. Creative
2. Organizational
3. Effective
4. Extensive experience
5. Track record
6. Motivated
7. Innovative
8. Problem solving
9. Communication skills
10. Dynamic

* Don’t remove all those LinkedIn cliches just yet (Fortune)

Investigative reporter Sydney Freedberg, who has been with the St. Petersburg Times since 1998 and has shared in four Pulitzer Prizes, is leaving the Poynter-owned paper to join a Miami-based Bloomberg News investigative unit, reports Peter Schorsch. The memo announcing her departure says:

At the Times she did what great reporters do: she followed the money, and along the way seemed to annoy the likes of Jeb Bush, Ash Williams and Tallahassee lobbyists who seemed confounded by her persistent questioning about how they handled taxpayer’s money.

* Ace reporter Sydney Freedberg leaves St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersblog)

A lawyer for Sheboygan, Wis. Mayor Bob Ryan contends that 18-year-old Asher Heimermann’s @MayorBobRyan Twitter feed “rises to the level of identity theft” and warns that “if the conduct does not immediately cease, we will take appropriate action.”

The bio section of the feed originally stated, “I’m Sheboygan’s embattled mayor,” but Heimermann changed it to made it clear it was a parody site minutes after Sheboygan Press reporter Eric Litke called him this week for comment.

Asher Heimermann

The teen, who is running for Sheboygan mayor, tells the local newspaper:

It appears Mayor Ryan is more concerned about a parody Twitter account and a domain name then operating the City of Sheboygan. … He is worried (about) me challenging him in the upcoming recall election. He knows that he has a real possibility of losing his job.

Heimermann says he’s going to ignore the cease and desist notice. So what’s the embattled mayor’s next move?

“I’ll have to discuss with my client which options he wishes to pursue,” says his lawyer. “We were hoping the young man had a little bit of maturity to stop his identity theft of Bob Ryan and that he had the maturity and responsibility to restore the website to Bob Ryan that he in effect stole from him.”

The mayor, who is an alcoholic, made headlines after he was seen drinking one day last summer from mid-afternoon until closing time while being obnoxious toward women. He was also spotted getting into his car after drinking.

Reporter Litke, who has been covering the ongoing Ryan-Heimermann feud, tells me few very people pay attention to the parody feed, and “it’s one of those issues that would have faded into Internet oblivion” if the mayor hadn’t taken it so seriously and made it an issue.

* Teen mayoral candidate to ignore cease and desist letter (Sheboygan Press)

“Because this is not an award we relished bestowing, we are moved to offer an account of our decision to do so,” writes Texas Monthly editor Jake Silverstein.

Most print newspapers will be gone in five years, predicts Jeffrey I. Cole, director of USC Annenberg’s Center for the Digital Future.

“Wanna bet?” writes John Robinson.

Here’s what Cole says:

We believe that the only print newspapers that will survive will be at the extremes of the medium – the largest and the smallest It’s likely that only four major daily newspapers will continue in print form: The New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. At the other extreme, local weekly newspapers may still survive.

(Jack Shafer said pretty much the same thing in 2006.)

Former Greensboro News & Record editor Robinson points out that most newspapers are still profitable, “and many have margins in the double digits.” He adds

Baby boomers are the core audience for newspapers, and even though their readership is declining, it is still strong enough to support most newspapers for well past 2017. I’d say another 10 years, at least.

* Is America at a Digital Turning Point? (USC Annenberg)
* The Vanishing Newspaper Updated (
* Earlier: In a way, Romenesko has become a newspaper obituary writer (NPR)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist and former paperboy Jim Stingl reported Wednesday that a scammer has been trying to steal newspaper carriers’ Christmas tips by putting holiday letters in subscribers’ mailboxes and newspaper tubes, leading them to believe he’s their carrier. The thief, who gives an address where people can send their tips, tells his “customers”:

Looking back, I’ve made it through heavy snow, blinding rain, fog, hail, subzero temperatures, generally some really crummy weather. But with early hours also comes the pleasure of seeing some beautiful sunrises and nature and wildlife. …

It’s been a pleasure delivering papers, and I hope those that I have delivered to have been satisfied with my service. When I set out in the morning, I approach the job with those individuals in mind. They are not just a stop on my route, and I look to keep them happy.

Stingl reports the scammer may have solicited tips from up to 1,000 families, and that a real newspaper carrier has sent a letter to his customers urging them to “not send this joker any money.”

The update:

I asked Stingl last night if his Wednesday column brought in reports of additional scammers or any other news. He reports in an email:

I’m told by Waukesha police today that they arrested TWO suspects and they’re seeking fraud charges against one or both. The mastermind, who is not the guy who signed the scam letters, is a Journal Sentinel carrier who was preying on other carriers’ routes. Our circulation department tells me he’s been fired.

Meanwhile, Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich wrote yesterday that her carrier was the victim of a scammer last Christmas and, as a result, didn’t get as many Christmas tips. She’s sympathetic. “I used to ignore the carrier’s card in my newspaper. I didn’t like feeling pressured, and by a stranger. I thought there should be a better way to make this work pay. I still wish there were. But for now, there’s not, and so I tip.”

* Carriers’ tips diverted to slimy scam artist (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Newspaper carriers deserve a little extra (Chicago Tribune)