Daily Archives: January 12, 2012

Larry King

Retired CNN talker Larry King is partnering with Mexican billionaire (and NYT investor) Carlos Slim for his online project, reports Lucas Shaw. King’s lawyer tells him: “I can confirm that there have been discussions in which I participated.” Details of the venture haven’t been released “because it is not yet finished and thus [the dealmakers] did not want to violate their clients’ confidence.”
* Larry King, Carlos Slim planning “huge” online venture

Brigham Young University’s newspaper, the Daily Universe, will go weekly at the end of April, then adopt a digital-first news format. “The plan was developed and voted on by all of the journalism faculty and staff,” said student media associate chairwoman Susan Walton. “This new digital-first format will include texts, images, audio, video, mobile and tablet app formats, and we will continue to explore other news applications.”
* BYU paper to go to weekly print format
* “A lot of us are upset with the change,” says student journalist

An end to Casual Friday in newsrooms of Halifax Media papers.

Photo courtesy of Andy Boyle

Some comments about this posted on my Facebook wall:

Marge Neal
It’s like editors have forgotten that reporters could, at any moment, be walking through a dung-filled cow pasture, or a sloppy athletic field, or climbing some God-forsaken hill to get to a car crash or (insert messy situation here). I worked in one newsroom where, when we mentioned the above, we were invited to keep a second set of “ruinable” clothes in our car to change into. So much for getting the story first!

Don Lee
True story: I once worked for a mangling editor who chewed out a graphics guy for wearing high-water jeans in the newsroom on a Saturday. Said chewing-out accomplished while said ME was wearing plaid boxers and a sleeveless golf sweater with no shirt underneath. Also, barefoot and, as near as I wanted to determine, needing a shower.

Greg Johnson
If they don’t want me in jeans, they’ll get me in fishnets.

James L. Rosica
My new business is selling khakis and chinos to Halifax reporters.

Yolanda Rodriguez
The last time I wore a dress and high heels at the H-T I ended up on farm after a thunderstorm looking for a guy who had been struck by lightening.

David McSwane
I wore jeans today, will continue to wear jeans, might even wear a jean jacket, and if they have a problem with that, I will give them the courtesy of a 48 hour freakout period before I go all teen wolf on their asses.

Kirk Ross
because nothing says ‘integrity’ more than dockers and a cheap tie.

Laura Lorek
One more benefit of telecommuting – no dress code. When are the editors going to realize they need to just let everyone work from home and save on real estate and paper for memos to tell everyone what not to wear?

New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane asked this morning “whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.”

Reaction to the post came fast. I asked Brisbane if he was surprised by what people were tweeting. His response:

I have to say I did not expect that so many people would interpret me to have asked only: should The Times print the truth and fact-check? Of course, The Times should print the truth, when it can be found, and

What I was trying to ask was whether reporters should always rebut dubious facts in the body of the stories they are writing. I was hoping for diverse and even nuanced responses to what I think is a difficult question. To illustrate the difficulty, the first example I cited involved whether Clarence Thomas “misunderstood” the financial disclosure form when he failed to include his wife’s income. No doubt, many people doubt that he “misunderstood” but to rebut this as false would be difficult indeed, requiring knowledge of Mr. Thomas’s thinking. I was also hoping to stimulate a discussion about the difficulty of selecting which “facts” to rebut, facts being troublesome things that seem to shift depending on the beholder’s perspective. Many readers, in my view, would be skeptical whether The Times would always take a fair-minded approach to rebutting
the right “facts.”

I often get very well-reasoned complaints and questions from readers, but in this case a lot of people responded to a question I was not asking.

* Should the Times be a truth vigilante?
* Yes, NYT should definitely be a truth vigilante
* Props to Brisbane for bringing the issue to the fore
NEW: Brisbane updates his post on the Times website

On Thursday morning, New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane asked whether and when Times reporters should challenge “facts” asserted by newsmakers. Reaction to his post came fast:

[Brisbane’s post] should be put on the wall of a museum to explain contemporary US journalism.

That the NYT even has to ask is remarkable, and depressing.

Disappointed that NYT ombud (a friend) merely asks whether Times reporters should say when people are lying.

Oy. What has journalism come to when the NYT wonders if its reporters should report the truth?

Missed the announcement that the NYT was outsourcing public editor duties to the Onion this week.

Your thoughts?

* Should the Times be a truth vigilante?
* Yes, NYT should definitely be a truth vigilante

C-Span founder Brian Lamb said eight years ago that he was considering using a five-second delay for the daily call-in show “Washington Journal” even though he wasn’t thrilled with the idea.

“I’m a purist on the First Amendment,” he told TV writer Gail Shister, “but it’s not fair that people have to listen to young white men calling the network day after day and using four-letter words to get their jollies.”

I guess C-Span never implemented the delay system, because at least three calls this week to “Washington Journal” were about Mitt Romney’s penis size.

On Tuesday, New Hampshire Republican Party chairman Wayne MacDonald was the guest.

Caller: Mr. Chairman, do you believe that Mitt Romney has a big penis?

C-Span host: I apologize, Chairman MacDonald for that comment. We’re trying to keep the conversation productive here this morning.

MacDonald: I wanted to make sure I heard it right.

C-Span host: Your ears did not fail you, unfortunately.

Another caller to “American Journal”:

I’ve been listening to C-Span for several years and probably the last few day have had the highest amount of obscene callers, so I’d like to ask a procedural question: what is C-SPAN doing to crack down on these calls?

“American Journal” host:

Well, whenever we hear something — first of all, we try to admonish — we try to cut them off as best we can …so we just have to do the best we can and hope that we’re getting the best from our callers. That’s pretty much what I can say.


C-SPAN has been televising call-in programs for more than 30 years now. In an average year, we might televise 38,000 calls, the overwhelming majority of which are respectful. Although it is unpleasant to hear the occasional prank caller make it to air, as a few have this week, we have thus far opted not to employ a delay in order to preserve the open nature of our town hall forum. We will continue to monitor the situation.

* C-SPAN getting deluged with prank calls about Mitt Romney’s penis

East Carolina University wants permission from Paul Isom to release confidential personnel information so it can describe the process that led to the newspaper adviser’s firing. Isom tells the Raleigh News & Observer:

If they have an explanation to provide to the rest of the world, show it to me first. I’ll decide whether or not I’ll waive my rights after I see their explanation….This is an insulting way to treat a member of the ECU community.

* East Carolina University wants to release confidential information about newspaper adviser

An anonymous executive’s Hollywood Reporter piece on the various types of TV writers is getting praised on Twitter: “Hilarious”; “The funniest/most honest thing I’ve EVER read in THR”; and “OMG. This is pure brilliance. Mostly because it’s 1,000,000% true.” (There’s more reaction here.)

The exec puts TV writers in these groups:

THE ANGRY YOUNG BLOGGER: “Pissed off at having to attend [the TV Critics Association press tour] and write about something other than himself. Generally doesn’t watch television but has a few cool shows he likes.”

THE TWIT: “Spends the entire time tweeting back and forth with a few other like-minded tweeters, each working mightily to be the most clever and impress other tweeters.”

THE ASSASSIN: “Hates the business. … Views himself or herself as an investigative reporter dedicated to the destruction of the evil empires that run the world and provide an inadequate breakfast.

THE SNOB: “Always looking for the show with the smallest possible audience.”

THE WALKING DEAD: “They have no chance of getting laid at one of the parties and even less opportunity to drive off the premises in that new BMW they just saw pulling away from the hotel curb, driven by a writer they know is far less talented than they.”

THE DINOSAURS: “They once ruled the planet. …During their reign, they were unchallenged kings of the beat. Now the landscape they knew is gone.”

THE FEW, THE PROUD: “Then there are those who slog through the mire, keeping their heads just above the water line, doing the hard job covering the miles of promotional material, pseudo-events and actual entertainment news they think are important for people who like television.”

"Stanley Bing"

I asked a few critics to guess who wrote the piece. “My guess: Kim Kardashian,” emails Gail Shister. “Funny stuff. I’d like to think I’m an Emeritus member of the last category.”

I suspect Los Angeles Times TV writer Scott Collins has the right guy:

Based on skimming it, I’d say CBS PR honcho Gil Schwartz (aka “Stanley Bing“)? Sure reads like his style. In fact, I could swear he’s written something like this before.

UPDATE: Here’s the response from Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal:

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn the author was Gil Schwartz/Stanley Bing. He at least would have a good reason to have this run anonymously, as I can’t believe the Hollywood Reporter would come up with the usual fee his byline commands. On the other hand, there are plenty of people — including some critics — who could, would and occasionally have written something along the same lines without cover of anonymity.

I’ve asked Bing/Schwartz and Hollywood Reporter editor Janice Min for comment.

* Anonymous executive trashes TV critics

A self-described “insanely ambitious” young woman was surprised to find out that her job interview with Arianna Huffington would take place in a town car with a CNBC crew filming.

Every time I answered a question, the cameraman pushed the huge lens about a foot from my face. After 10 minutes of chatting, she’d made her decision. “Katherine, you are fabulous. You’re hired!” She beamed at me, and she beamed at the camera. I beamed right back.

* Arianna Huffington and getting a job at the Huffington Post