Archive

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Texas journalist Jeremy Pafford recalls his only face-to-face meeting with Rick Perry. It was in 1998, and the then-agriculture commissioner wanted to know, “Where’s the Aggie?” — referring to the reporter who usually covered him.

Pafford explains his colleague’s absence:

-- Texas Monthly cover

That reporter, while working on his graduate degree, was working with chemicals in a lab that somehow made him sick, and he didn’t recover. He unexpectedly died, leaving behind a pregnant wife. It was a tragic reminder of how short our time on Earth can be, and now a month or so later I was breaking that news to our ag commissioner.

“Um, Mr. Perry, he unfortunately died about a month ago,” is what I remember starting out saying. Perry asked for some details, and I did the best I could, but the conversation derailed whatever the light-hearted ceremony was I was assigned to cover. Everything was off-script from there, and Perry isn’t good at going off-script — as everyone in the country now knows.

* A veteran Texas newsman on Rick Perry’s awkward ending

Adam Lashinsky discussed his new book, “Inside Apple,” during a stop at LinkedIn headquarters. During the Q&A, a former Apple employee had some observations and questions for the author and Fortune magazine writer. Some excerpts:

Audience member: It’s clear that Apple’s culture is very homogeneous.

Adam Lashinsky: Homogeneous in what way?

AM: The talent is very much alike. In fact I did work for Apple for about six years, and I could tell just — it’s sad, but just by looking at someone whether they were going to be a good fit for the company or not during the interview.

AL: Based on the 43 minutes I’ve spoken so far. how am I doing?

AM:Very, very well — very accurate.”

More from the Lashinsky/ex-Apple employee exchange:

AM: Even [Apple CEO] Tim Cook has so much charisma that he could certainly be our next president. I can say that very, very confidently.

AL: You mean of the United States?

AM: Yes.

AL: The only thing I would disagree is I don’t think he has the political chops to put up with the BS that politicians have to put up with.

Also:

AL: For 14 years there was only one ego that really mattered at Apple, and that was Steve Jobs’. This is true, I assume, in the middle of the organization — it’s very true at the highest ends of the organization — for a senior Apple executive it’s very bizarre: anywhere else they would be famous people. They might have their own PR person, they would have their own budget to do this sort of thing and they don’t.

* Watch the full 50-minute Lashinsky talk/Q&A at LinkedIn HQ

Tony Grossi

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s ombudsman has weighed in on the reassignment of Browns beat writer Tony Grossi, who got in trouble with his bosses after tweeting that team owner Randy Lerner “is a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world.” Ted Diadiun writes:

This was not an issue of First Amendment rights or of censorship. Anyone who works at the paper has the right to say, write or Tweet anything they wish. But they do not have a corresponding right to say it in the newspaper or on the website or on their newspaper Twitter account. If they do, the editors who are in charge of maintaining the credibility of the newspaper have the right to change their assignment.

* Tony Grossi’s reassignment a painful necessity
* Earlier: Plain Dealer confirms Grossi has been reassigned

The shrinking Shep Smith

Former Page Six gossip Paula Froelich — not a fan of my Fox News PR piece — has a series of photos on her Tumblr showing how Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is “disappearing.” “Seriously, I’m worried,” she writes. “My favorite anchor (and I’m not being facetious, he’s actually awesome) is taking this gym thing a bit too far…”
* The Disappearing Shep Smith

“Soon after Patrick Witt ’12 announced his decision to play in The Game, the News received a tip that a Yale student had filed an informal complaint alleging sexual assault against the quarterback,” says a Yale Daily News editor’s note posted at 10:19 p.m. Friday. “In order to be fair to all those involved and the process they had adhered to, and because the nature of the complaint meant that all its details remain allegations, the News chose not to print a story.”
* For our readers: Regarding Patrick Witt ’12
* Yale Daily News editors sat on Witt story for over two months

Steve Fainaru

Steve Fainaru, who has been with The Bay Citizen since its 2010 launch, announced Friday night that he’s resigning as interim editor-in-chief to work on a book project with his brother, sportswriter Mark Fainaru-Wada.

Fainaru’s exit comes at a time of extreme transition for the nonprofit news organization. In September, the company’s founding editor-in-chief, Jonathan Weber, left the organization for Reuters. The following month, its CEO, Lisa Frazier, announced she would stepping down as chief executive.

* Steve Fainaru to leave The Bay Citizen next month
* Earlier: Fainaru leaves Washington Post to join The Bay Citizen

Credit: Imgur

Facebook didn’t want reporters snooping and finding out about its Next Big Thing while attending yesterday’s press conference at its Seattle offices, so it ordered them to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Journalists were told the NDA “only applies to things that you might accidentally stumble upon while you are there and covers nothing discussed during our news conference.”

The NDA-is-required email went out at 8:10 a.m. Thursday, and was rescinded two hours later. KPLU public radio points out:

Somehow inviting a pack of journalists to a press conference and then telling them they have to wear blinders and not talk about anything they might see in a side office, overhear from a water-cooler conversation or perhaps a yelled statement revealing an intellectual property secret, seemed like a bad PR move.

No kidding! (The above are comments from my Facebook friends.)

* Facebook wanted journalists to sign NDAs before news conference

The Defense Department told DC-based Stars and Stripes staffers this week that they’ll be moving to the military’s public affairs headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland this November.

“Most of us see this as an obvious attempt at censorship by the Pentagon, which has grown increasingly aggravated with our critical coverage of the Defense Department in recent years,” a Stripes employee tells me.

“Putting us in the same building as top public affairs officials – and next door to the building where they train future public affairs officers – will damage our credibility as an independent voice for the troops. Worse, it will give the military the chance to look over our shoulder as we try to remain an aggressive investigator on defense issues.” My tipster continues:

The stated reason is to save money, but our front office folks say the financial situation is far less dire than military officials are portraying. They were given no opportunity to find equal savings on their own.

The fact that this directive came down as a complete surprise was unsettling enough, but the timing is also suspicious. Our ombudsman’s term ended this week, just two days after the paper’s management was ordered to start preparing for the move.

My source says the directive came from Defense Media Activity acting director of the Defense Media Activity Mel Russell.

I asked Stripes publisher Max Lederer to confirm the report, and here’s what he emailed: “Stars and Stripes has been directed to move its Headquarters’ operations in Washington DC to Ft Meade, Md. As your comments [in the email I sent to Lederer] indicate some staff have expressed their belief that this is an attempt at censorship by the Pentagon and damages Stripes’ credibility as an independent voice.”

Mike Daisey

A Romenesko reader who said she was “too shy” to be named sends this email:

I wonder what you and others think about the story in the New York Times regarding Apple’s business practices in China. The first place I ever heard about the issue was via Mike Daisey’s monologue on Steve Jobs, in which he details nearly everything in the NYT series. It feels as though he got there first, and yet NYT never cites him. Am I mistaken?

I asked Daisey what he thought of the Times’ piece. His response:

I’ve been telling this story nightly for eighteen months, and I’m absolutely thrilled that the NYT is doing this reporting. It’s what I’ve been hoping for — that journalists would dig in and pull this story out by its roots, and the NYT has done that here.

I’m a monologist, and not a journalist in any traditional sense. I see our roles as utterly complementary –journalism reports the facts that fill our world, and I tell stories that create connections that make audiences engage in a human way.

I know that reporters who have worked on this series saw my monologue in the fall, and I spoke with Charles Duhigg then about my experiences. If my work helped them in any way I am very glad.

As a monologist, I’m passionate about stories told fully and deeply, so there can be a way for us to see the truth in a human way. The NYT’s work on this series does that magnificently, and they deserve all the credit for their hard work. I think it’s a great day when a work of art and a piece of journalism can both be in the public sphere affecting change in their own ways. More than anything else, I am grateful to the reporters who are telling this story because when I speak from the stage I feel less alone.

* Visit MikeDaisey.blogspot.com

How did it go at the Plain Dealer yesterday after readers learned that popular Browns beat writer Tony Grossi was reassigned for tweeting that team owner Randy Lerner is “a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world”? Ted Diadiun, the paper’s ombudsman, tells Romenesko readers:

I think [managing editor] Thom [Fladung] got by far the most reaction, probably since his was the name most connected with the story since he called the radio show on his way to work this morning to correct some things they were saying. [Editor] Debra [Simmons] got fewer, I believe fewer than she did in reaction to that Non Sequitur comic strip that was pulled, but she’d have to confirm that (it’s been an interesting couple of weeks…).

As for me, I got fewer responses to the decision than I thought I would, given Cleveland’s mania for the Browns. I probably got a couple of dozen e-mails, fewer phone calls. All but one were highly critical of the decision. Some threatened to quit the paper, several mistakenly thought that Tony had been fired, several accused us of rolling over to protect [Browns owner Randy] Lerner. A couple said that Toni (?) Grossi was their favorite sportswriter at the paper …

Interestingly, I saw several people on the comment areas of OTHER news media who wrote that they understood the issues and agreed that Tony had to be removed from the beat. Didn’t expect that.

As you might imagine, I’m writing about this for Sunday. I tried to be explanatory and give people a sense of the issue while being fair to Tony.

* Letter to Plain Dealer: Booting Grossi from Browns beat was the wrong move
* Read what PD managing editor Fladung said about Grossi’s reassignment
* Here’s the January 13 “Non Sequitur” cartoon that the ombud mentions