Daily Archives: January 26, 2012

Journalists who were invited to today’s press conference at Facebook’s Seattle office were told first thing this morning they’d have to sign a non-disclosure agreement that “only applies to things that you might accidentally stumble upon while you are there and covers nothing discussed during our news conference.” Apparently there were protests because two hours later this was sent: “You may disregard the nondisclosure agreement that we sent earlier.”
* Facebook wanted journalists to sign non-disclosure agreement before news conference

* Women’s magazines were the biggest users of QR codes in 2011
* Hamilton Nolan says yes to “NFL concussion” junket, because “this won’t just be about brain injuries”
* Oregon Public Broadcasting gets $50,000 gift from registered Republican who is a Bill Moyers fan
* Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck is named Associated Press board chairman
* Gatehouse’s Springfield State Journal-Register lays off editorial cartoonist Chris Britt
* Christian law firm wants school to apologize to teen for pulling anti gay-adoption column
* Former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor threatens to sue Boston Globe
* Joan Biskupic leaves USA Today after a dozen years to become Reuters legal affairs editor-in-charge

Renew magazine has about 5,000 subscribers after one year in business, but publisher Jim Moorhead believes he can sign up 100,000. Media writer Michael Miner doesn’t doubt that. “Who doesn’t have a drunk or substance abuser somewhere in his life?” he asks. “The market is all of us. …Written for addicts in recovery, Renew could be described as niche journalism except that “niche” profoundly understates the potential audience.”
* Renew magazine focuses on the recovery lifestyle

On Wednesday, Dartmouth’s student paper ran Andrew Lohse’s graphic account of getting into the Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat:

I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beers poured down fellow pledges’ ass cracks; and vomit on other pledges, among other abuses.

The paper let the Dean of the College respond in today’s edition. She said “the dialogue across campus created by Andrew’s column provides an opportunity to address the issue of hazing as a community. It is an opportunity we should seize.”

* Andrew Lohse: Telling the truth
* Dartmouth student accuses frat of hazing
* “Dartmouth strongly condemns hazing,” says college dean
* Lohse: “I’m hopefully going to write a book about this”

Cleveland Plain Dealer managing editor Thom Fladung confirms that Browns beat writer Tony Grossi has been reassigned for tweeting this about Browns owner Randy Lerner: “He is a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world.” (Grossi thought he was sending a DM — a private tweet — and later apologized.) Fladung said on a Cleveland radio show this morning:

Tony Grossi

Tony is still with the Plain Dealer. He has not been fired, he has not been disciplined other than that he will not be covering the Browns. … That tweet from a Browns beat reporter we felt — and I felt very strongly — was inappropriate and unprofessional, and it’s not what a journalist covering a beat — it’s not the kind of opinion a journalist covering a beat can express.

Fladung continued: I think Tony was a very good beat writer, he was very successful. But there are lines. There have to be lines and there have to be standards, and he crossed one.”

Let’s say that Tony had written that Randy Lerner’s lack of involvement with the Browns and their resulting disappointing records over the years has made him irrelevant as an owner, that’s defensible — absolutely defensible. ….That’s not what Tony tweeted; he tweeted that a man was pathetic and irrelevant. That’s not an opinion, it’s an insult.

Fladung told me that Grossi’s next assignment hasn’t been decided.

UPDATE: I just received this email from Plain Dealer editor Debra Simmons:

The Browns had no involvement in this decision, which was made by Plain Dealer editors. The Plain Dealer is committed to fair, balanced and objective reporting about all the subjects we cover and across all platforms. The same journalistic standards and rules apply no matter the medium. This is very unfortunate.

* Accidental tweet gets Grossi removed from Browns beat
* Follow Tony Grossi on Twitter (his last tweet was Jan. 18)

Facebook Journalist Program Manager Vadim Lavrusik told me yesterday that my post about the questionable number and quality of people subscribing to my public Facebook updates “seems to suggest that people are ‘spammers’ because they are from another country and subscribed to you,” when in fact “they likely found you because of their interest in media.”

I would like to think that, Vadim, but I’m looking one of my recent subscribers — Caner Onaltıocakbindokuzyüzondört from Konak, Izmir (that’s him on the right) — and I just don’t see him as your typical Romenesko reader who’s interested in U.S. media. (Yes, I could be wrong.)

Lavrusik emailed me yesterday: “I would encourage you to post a status update asking your subscribers where they are from.”

I did that.

Here’s what I posted last night:

This message is for Facebook users who live outside of the U.S. and subscribe to my public status updates: Please post in comments below WHY you’ve subscribed to my updates, and how you learned about me. Thank you.

I received 20 responses (most of them were posted on my wall, but a few came in via email) from subscribers who live outside the U.S. (I currently have 15,032 subscribers to my public updates.) I heard from Rebecca Te’o, an Australian journalist teaching at a university; and from Anne-Sophie Bolon, who wrote, “I’m French, working for an American newspaper in Hong Kong.” I also got an interesting post from Nisha Chittal — one that let me witness Facebook stalking in real time. Here’s the thread:

Nisha Chittal
Jim, I’m actually surprised at the lack of spam on this post. Lately, any time I post something on Facebook, I immediately get comments from spammers of “hiiiiiiiii” “add me” – usually within minutes of posting. Have you not received any of those on this post yet? I would be happy to test it out with a post on my page if it will help prove to Facebook once and for all that this IS a spam issue.
12 hours ago · Like

Nisha Chittal · 9 mutual friends
I would add that I think the spammer comments are MUCH worse for women as well – I have received some very objectionable ones and I have spoken to other women journalists who have experienced the same. Facebook chooses to ignore the issue.
12 hours ago · Like ·

Mayur Patel
hiii nisha.. hw ru u
12 hours ago · Like

Nisha Chittal
I mean. I think my point just proved itself.
12 hours ago · Like · 1

Jim Romenesko
Nisha, one of your stalkers just chimed in.
12 hours ago · Like

Nisha Chittal
Exactly! Spam, everywhere.
12 hours ago · Like

American journalist Dan Mitchell wrote on my wall:

I just quickly went through a dozen or so of Jim’s followers. The vast majority of them seem to reside in developing countries – often in the Middle East, South America and Africa. Few of them indicate any particular interest in journalism or the media business. Here’s a typical one:

However, they do all seem to be real people – not spammers. I have to wonder what could be going on here. Are there some cultural reasons people in these areas just like to indiscriminately subscribe to a lot of people? If so, those reasons are cross-cultural, because these people are from all over the place – from Spanish-speaking countries to Arabic-speaking countries.

This was an interesting experiment, but I’m sorry I didn’t hear from more subscribers. I’m guessing that “Presiden Jeprie’ScreamoloveTodeath Blackmonster’attackRawksylend Eventhough’shewasnot-inourside” (that’s how he’s identified on my subscription list) would have had an interesting story to tell. I was hoping to hear from subscriber “Mah’nicknameiz BabyBoo ThereforI’magirl” (that’s her avatar on the right) and see what she thought about my recent post on the Fox News PR machine. But no such luck.

Vadim, I really do think the Facebook and Journalists program is great, and I know you’re working hard on it. I also know that I get a lot of traffic to my site from people who subscribe to my public updates, and I appreciate that. But I know too that the majority of my 15,000-plus subscribers — including Socrat Jim Jones P (“Engineer at My Sweet Factory”) — really have no interest in U.S. media. These Facebook Subscribe numbers that are being thrown around are bogus.

Former CNN news chief Eason Jordan’s Poll Position firm asked people: In your opinion, is it fair or unfair to brand some journalists and media outlets as “The elite media”? 35.3% said fair; 36.4% said unfair; and 28.3% had no opinion. But…

There was a very strong correlation between political opinion and the question of media fairness. A plurality of Republican respondents said it was fair to call some journalists part of the elite media, while a plurality of Democratic respondents said it was unfair. Independents were split almost even.

* Is it fair to brand journalist as part of the ‘elite media’?

Photo tweeted by @nprfreshair

Missed “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross (at left) on last night’s “Colbert Report”? You can watch it here.

Harvard School of Public Health researchers examined the physical effects on the head, neck and shoulders of spending time staring at iPads and other tablets and found that many users are putting a lot of strain on their neck muscles.

“If you think about your position when you are hunched over looking down, your head is hanging out over space, so you are using your neck muscles to support the weight,” said Jack Dennerlein, director of the Harvard Occupational Biomechanics Laboratory, and lead author of the paper.

Researchers say it’s best to read the iPad while it’s rested at a steep angle on a table.

*Harvard study finds the iPad can be a pain in the neck
* Reducing the risk of head and neck pain from iPad use