Daily Archives: January 13, 2012

From DAN GOOD: Your ‘no jeans’ post made me laugh. I just left the Press of Atlantic City in NJ, which has grown increasingly strict in recent months. In one move, newsroom brass outlawed jeans in the newsroom. Later, the editors banned employees from listening to music on headphones at their desks.


I ended up leaving for NYC, getting a new job at NY Post.

Yes, I’m wearing jeans to work today. I needed to counter-balance from four days of dress slacks and neckties.

— Posted on my Facebook wall

Here are a few of the 54 comments about this post from my Facebook page:

James L. Rosica
My new business: selling chinos and khakis to AC Press reporters.

Kathleen Guzda Struck
I find it is just as isolating in my newsroom when everyone is wearing earphones as I do at home when everyone is wearing earphones. I like it when a conversation or debate spontaneously erupts because someone chimed in after eavesdropping on another’s conversation. Or when someone blurts out something funny that isn’t meant for anyone in particular. Transcription aside, I like the newsroom banter and exchange that earphones seem to mute.

Peter J. Skiba
I have to listen to the guy next to me whistle the theme from “My Three Sons.”

Douglas E. Jessmer
Peter, now you have that theme stuck in my head. Hope the people around me don’t protest too much.

Steve Warren
Let’s be honest. What would be your first impression if you walked into City Hall and everyone was wearing earphones and bobbing their heads? What’s the message when a reporter walks over to an editor and the editor has to take his earplugs out to discuss a story? And, does anyone know if Metallica contributes to corrections? Or missed deadlines? There’s a lot to consider.

Jenny Mondor I was a reporter, I used to have an earphone in one ear with music on and the other one to listen to the police scanner (which was mounted right next to my head). Other than that, it was generally silent, and since I find silence much more distracting than music, I liked having that background noise. Now, I’m a night editor in a slightly more lively newsroom, and there’s a lot of chatting and discussion and we have the TV on to monitor for breaking news, so I don’t listen to music at my desk.

I understand the idea of making sure that an office looks professional and that people are professional, but I think the important thing is to allow people to work the way that makes them the most effective. If that means listening to music while you write, so be it.

Lisa Loving
I wear the biggest headphones I can find as a signal to my coworkers that I’m busy — but they don’t know there’s no music playing. When I take them off it’s a signal that they can yammer at me. Plus: I must remember to thank my boss for letting me wear my fuzzy purple bath slippers at my desk. Sometimes I’m face-in-a-compybox for a solid 8 hours and my feet swell up.

Jim Thomsen
My experience over 20-plus years is that newsrooms — I’m mostly thinking copy desks — are full of undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome types who visibly wilt and eventually shut down under the onslaught of daily random noise, and escape to something soothing and steady and controllable in their ears just to be able to function.

“I’m obsessed with Rupert’s tweets,” says CNN host and ex-Murdoch employee Piers Morgan. “My ultimate nightmare when I was an editor would’ve been Rupert on Twitter.” || Morgan on Keith Olbermann: “I love to wind him up. He’s just so easy to wind up, and that makes it delicious.”
* Piers Morgan’s 2012 resolution is to be more like Bill O’Reilly

“It was not our intent to make a connection between child pornography and same-sex marriage. I can see how people would make that connection, certainly. We certainly regret that people got upset about it.”
Jim Kresse, head of the Tacoma News Tribune’s copy editors

* Today in the proven connection between gay marriage and child porn
* “The third item I’ve posted today about a newspaper in Washington state”

U.S. News and World Report “Whispers Guy” Paul Bedard had had it with the TMZ founder’s tweets, and put this out:

Levin has yet to respond.

THIS JUST IN: Bedard is joining the Washington Examiner.

A tipster tells me that the Tribune-owned Daily Press in Newport News, VA “laid off some 30 people last Friday and Monday, but will not send out an email because they don’t want it to get into your hands.” The correspondent goes on:

Three were in the newsroom – photo editor Dennis Tennant, deputy metro editor Fred Gaskins [he was actually metro editor] and 40-year features writer Kathy Van Mullekom. Others supposedly came from circulation, but I can’t imagine how it was more than a couple, since the DP does most of that on a contract basis. I suspect it could be outsourcing press operations – the operations manager was one of those laid off – but don’t know. They are refusing to acknowledge, let alone report on their own layoffs – even as they write about other local businesses that have layoffs.

A local blogger (he claims to be a journalist, which might bite him hard in the hind quarters) just published a story saying the DP was laying off 150 of its remaining 300 employees. There’s been no federal WARN notice, so I really doubt he is right. He had no attribution and, frankly, I don’t think they have 300 still there with HR outsourced, most of the desk in Chicago and a newsroom with fewer than 80 total.

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman says the blogger’s report of 150 pink slips “is just nowhere near the truth.” He adds: “There is some reorganization going on there, but it’s not anywhere approaching those kinds of numbers.”

He declined comment on the numbers given by my tipster.

UPDATE: Daily Press publisher Digby Solomon put out this statement:

Our business model continues to adapt – including rapid growth in our digital audiences and revenue – and as a result The Daily Press Media Group is continuously re-evaluating the skill sets we need among our employee base. Last week we eliminated the jobs of 30 employees who have been loyal contributors and who will be missed, but were in positions that we no longer require. We currently have 15 job openings for various areas in the company, including our newsroom and our advertising sales group.

Michael Golden

Is Michael Golden — cousin of Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. — about to move into Janet Robinson’s former office? A tipster believes there’s more evidence that the former International Herald Tribune publisher will be named Times Co. CEO. Here’s the email:

The day prior to the closure of the sale [of New York Times Regional Media Group papers to Halifax Media], we were encouraged to print our performance reviews, paychecks, etc. from the NYT portal, in case we needed them at any point and were to lose access abruptly. In retrieving the reviews, their Times Talent employee management system forces you into an Organizational Chart view of the company. I’ve been in this view many times in completing my review, and I can assure you, that in the past, the only employees that had a reporting role directly to Michael Golden, were the Regional Media Group Publishers, his secretary, and the Digital VP and CFO for the RMG. However, it appears as though things changed upon my last login, at which point, nearly every employee who reported to Janet in the chart, now has a solid line to Michael, who directly reports to Art, along with a few folks that were under Janet now realigned under Art, the Editors and news staff that have always directly reported to him, and Janet with zero reporting employees as well.

I don’t know if this may be something you’ve already seen in the past, but with the speculation of Cousin Michael being the potential new Janet, this draws a bit of speculation, so I thought you might enjoy having it.

Also, in regards to your “No Jeans in the Newsroom” policy with Halifax, that’s company wide now. It applies to the ad artists, business office and accounting, the pagination team, that occasionally is subjected to plate and pressroom chemicals and ink, maintenance, etc. Many employees, who thought that because of paragraph two of the dress code, which advises that “business attire” is only necessary for sales staff and people who deal with the public, that the ones that were free and clear of those conditions would be able to take the more “casual” approach of jeans and a polo.

* Earlier: With nothing on Golden’s plate after NYT RMG sale, one inside rumor to catch fire is that he’s being positioned for the CEO job

Tavis Smiley said this week on C-SPAN’s “American Journal”:

I was asked a question by C-SPAN, ‘Have you interviewed the President? Have you been to the White House?’ I was specifically asked a question and I answered it. The next day headline is ‘Smiley whines about the fact that he’s not been to the White House.’ So I want to just say that I did not just say that, I was answering a question. The bottom line is I know full well whether or not I’ve been invited to the White House and I hadn’t said anything about it until I was asked about it. Nothing has changed since I was last at this table with regard to being invited to the White House, with regard to my interview request of this president being honored. He continues to talk to everybody else but us, and that’s his choice. I don’t lose sleep about it, I don’t whine about it. Somebody will take this comment out of context here again, and I’m just answering your question, nothing has changed since I was last here.

* (August 2011) Smiley: Obama is the first president who hasn’t invited me to the White House

From Nicole Perlroth’s report in the New York Times:

Homeland Security seems to have a real affinity for Twitter. It advises its employees to follow not only Twitter itself but also Twitter search sites like Monitter, Tweetzi and Tweefind and more than 10 Twitter trend sites like TweetStats and Trendistic.

It monitors Facebook and, while it also recommends monitoring MySpace, it notes the once-popular social network has “limited search” capabilities. Homeland Security employees also monitor video sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu — “situational awareness” apparently entails full episodes of “The Bachelor.”

* What does Homeland Security read?

Colorado’s governor on Thursday announced a new program called TBD Colorado. (“TBD Colorado will focus on listening and not imposing top-down, government-driven solutions,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in his “State of the State” address.)

Current and former staffers advise the governor to rethink using TBD, because it just confuses people. (To be determined? Huh?)

“I just remember having to repeat it over and over again for people,” says Dave Jamieson, who worked at TBD as a transportation reporter and now reports on workplace issues for the Huffington Post.

“Once you’re tied to an entity named TBD,” he says, “you start to realize how many people don’t have an idea what that refers to. Once you do explain that, they’ll ask you what needs to be determined. And by that time you are very far from the topic you need to be discussing.”

* TBD Colorado: Don’t do it!