Daily Archives: December 16, 2011

Heather Harde resigned as CEO of AOL’s TechCrunch today and Michael Arrington is “so angry.” The TechCrunch founder says Harde put up with verbal abuse from AOL HuffPo execs, even though she “could do any job at AOL better than the person currently doing it.”

Aol needs to decide whether it exists for the benefit of stockholders, users and employees, or whether it exists for the greater glorification of Arianna Huffington. She’s waging this political power war inside of Aol against anyone who stands “against” her.

* Why Heather Matthers (Uncrunched)
* AOL’s Patch will lose $100M+ this year (Business Insider)

“The Tribune tablet — the Triblet? — is not a good business idea,” writes Matthew DeBord. “It’s worse than New Coke. Worse that Qwikster. Worse the the DeLorean. Worse than the Edsel.” Read why. || CNN broke the tablet news in August.

-- Statesman Journal

Capital Press copy editor Will Koenig writes me:

My local paper ran a Dana Milbank column with the headline of “Jane-you-ignorant-slut: How not to run a Congress.” I realize that at 30 I might be too young to get the SNL reference (It took a google search), but I’m thinking “slut” is not a headline word.

His second note:

Jane Curtin

And in the interests of fairness, here’s the Opinion page editor’s response via Twitter.

Statesman Journal (Salem Ore.) editorial page editor Dick Hughes tells me nobody else has questioned the headline. “I used it simply because Milbank had used that term in his column.” (I wonder if young people have to Google Bass-O-Matic too.)

I told the Associated Press that I was getting questions from Mac users about its new style-checking software. Is it Windows-only? my readers want to know. Here’s the response I got from AP Stylebook product manager Colleen Newvine:

We’re getting a lot of questions about Mac, as well, and we completely understand that many newsrooms, design firms and other dedicated AP style fans are Mac shops.

As the cliché goes, you have to start somewhere. Bassam and Peter from Equiom are copied here; they are Microsoft ex-pats who brought a proposal to us for StyleGuard and we collaborated to roll it out because it fills a need our current Stylebook suite doesn’t.

Will it meet the needs of every Stylebook user? No. But I do think there are a great many people using Microsoft Word on PCs who will find this tool useful, and we will continue to assess what’s next and when.

By the way, I’m not sure if you’re aware of our existing collaboration with Tansa Systems. Going back several years, Tansa has offered an AP Stylebook module for its proofing tools, and several U.S. newspapers use that as an enhancement to their front-end system. So if StyleGuard isn’t the right fit for newsrooms, that’s another alternative for automated style checking.


“Print newspapers continue to decline as your primary source of national news, to 13 percent this year, from 19 percent last year and 25 percent in 2008. (TV also dropped.)” More from ProPublica’s reader survey.

Washington Post Deputy National Editor Marilyn Thompson is leaving the paper to join Reuters’ Washington bureau as news editor.

Marilyn Thompson

“We have been fortunate to have Marilyn in our newsroom twice,” says the Post memo announcing her departure. “Before returning in 2008, after detours reporting at the New York Times, editing at the Los Angeles Times and running the Lexington Herald-Leader, she spent 14 years with us as a reporter and top editor.”


It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Deputy National Editor Marilyn W. Thompson is leaving us to join the Reuters Washington bureau as news editor.

Marilyn has been a pivotal force in our newsroom, one of the most admired editors in the building. Over the past several years, she has helped guide the National staff with energy, wit and tenacity. She has been at the center of our best and most ambitious news coverage, from the carnage at Fort Hood to the oil spill in the Gulf. Her well-known investigative skills have been on recent display in directing Carol Leonnig’s and Joe Stephens’ strong work on Solyndra and related developments.

We have been fortunate to have Marilyn in our newsroom twice. Before returning in 2008, after detours reporting at the New York Times, editing at the Los Angeles Times and running the Lexington Herald-Leader, she spent 14 years with us as a reporter and top editor. She covered Prince George’s County, ran Metro projects, shepherded National’s domestic coverage and presided as assistant managing editor for Investigative. She was instrumental in two Pulitzer Prizes for public service.

In her spare time, she managed to write or co-author four books, including “Strom: The Complicated Political and Personal Life of Strom Thurmond” and “The Killer Strain,” a history of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

We will miss her passion and her deep commitment to serious, aggressive reporting. We wish her the best and will keep rooting for her.

Marcus Liz Kevin

New York Guild president Bill O’Meara tells me that the $4.5 million one-year consulting fee for departing New York Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson “was a surprise to us as it was to our members” and “they’re not happy about that when the company is still demanding major givebacks, including a freeze in the pension plan.”

“They’re offering basically no raises and lots of cutbacks. They want people to work a longer work week with no increase in compensation.”

The Times contract expired on March 30, “and we have not had serious negotiations for months now. Our last official bargaining session was in June.”

The union chief adds that subcommittees have been meeting with the Times, and “there has been progress on smaller issues.”

(I have asked the Times to comment. UPDATE: “We will decline comment,” says a spokesman.)

UPDATE: Another union has criticized the consulting fee:

Press release

New York Times Workers Blast Janet Robinson’s $4.5m “Golden Parachute”

While Robinson Is Getting a Huge Pay-out, The Times Demands That Middle-Class Workers Take a Pay Cut

Do As We Say, Not as We Do: Editorial Board Calls for Restraint on CEO Pay as Robinson Makes Millions

New York, NY – A union representing workers who prepare the New York Times for delivery today called on the Times to reconsider its $4.5 million golden parachute for Janet Robinson, the Times CEO who announced her retirement yesterday. The payment, ostensibly for a year of consulting, comes as the Times is calling for a pay cut for middle class Times workers.

Arthur DeIanni, President of the Allied Printing Trades Council of NY and of New York Mailers’ Union Local 6 issued the following statement:

“The Times likes to slam CEO excess, until they are the ones doing it. It is offensive to the hard-working men and women who make sure the Times is ready for delivery to millions of people throughout the NYC metropolitan region that the board of the Times would give Janet Robinson a $4.5 million golden parachute while offering a 26% pay cut to middle-class Times workers.

“The Times management should listen to its editorial board, which has criticized skyrocketing CEO pay, saying: ‘It is clear that C.E.O. pay has skyrocketed while workers’ pay has stagnated; it is also clear that skewed pay and rising income inequality correlate to bubbles and crashes.’

“We remain willing to sit down and discuss a reasonable settlement to this labor dispute. Hopefully, Times management can take a relatively small part of Robinson’s golden parachute and use it to pay middle-class Times workers a fair wage.”

I remember how some journalists were outraged in 2004 when Tribune paid retiring Publishing division president Jack Fuller a one-year consulting fee of $618,000. On Thursday, the New York Times Co. disclosed that retiring CEO Janet Robinson will get $4.5 million for a year’s worth of consulting. || Here’s what some of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers said about that:

The company’s stock price drops from around $50 a share to around $7 a share while you are CEO, and $4.5M in one year is your reward?

Revolting. Remember the Boston Globe’s union concessions a few years back, which went to feed the dual Robinson-Sulzberger maw? OCCUPY.

Vomit inducing.

And how much did the paper lose over that 7 years?

Given the current state of the industry and the many fine reporters, editors and others whose jobs have been cut in recent years, this is just disgusting.

The 1% takes care of the 1%.

Christopher Hitchens died Thursday after stopping treatment in recent days and entering hospice care at a Houston hospital, reports the New York Times. He was 62.
* A lesson from Hitchens: Don’t let anyone do your thinking for you
* Graydon Carter: “You felt as though he was writing to you and to you alone”
* “The obits will paint him as a confrontation addict, a pundit polemicist, and a walking IED,” but…
* Frum: It would be wrong to remember only his confrontational side
* More stories and tributes via Google News