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Monthly Archives: January 2012


“I thought it was interesting — the body language between the two,” AP photographer Haraz Ghanbari tells me over the phone. “But frankly, I didn’t think it was going to create this much international interest. People have been talking about this for so long – they’re still talking about it today.”

Ghanbari realized the impact of his photo of President Barack Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer once the emails and phone calls started pouring in.

“I heard from people I haven’t heard from in 5 or 6 years,” says the 30-year-old photojournalist. “I got at least 50 emails. …I got emails from bosses in New York, from bosses in DC, and from the bureau chief in Arizona. I got emails from people who retired from the AP long ago.”

What’s he going to do with the photo that NBC anchor Brian Williams said “the whole world is talking about”?

“Every picture I’ve taken I’ve kept,” says Ghanbari. “I have everything backed up, and this is going to go with them. I don’t plan to do anything fancy with it.”

* Behind the Obama-Brewer picture, a very attentive photographer
* WP ombud: Was Obama really “testy” with Brewer?
* Earlier: Ghanbari kept a down-on-luck Marine from an anonymous grave

Credit: Imgur

Don’t blame the news staff for this!

That’s what someone wrote on my Facebook wall after I posted the image on the left over the weekend.

“Hey, this is the Honolulu Advertiser, where I used to work,” wrote Christy Strobel. “Paper folded on 6/6/10. This looks like one of the Sunday auto supplements. Those didn’t go through the newsroom copy desk. Just sayin’.”

Don Lee then asked: “Wonder how many people called the paper to say they clicked and clicked and nothing happened?”

Discussion of this newspaper image segued into memories of the CueCat, the handheld scanner introduced a dozen years ago that you plugged into your computer and held while reading newspapers and magazines. You’d scan bar codes in the publications with your CueCat, then be sent to websites about the products you’re looking at. (“Who does their leisure reading sitting in front of a PC?” asked Walt Mossberg. “How many people have their PC next to the easy chair, or bed, or other typical reading sites?) Ian Donnis noted that it was “one of the most ridiculed products of the Internet era.”

HERE ARE SOME POSTS FROM MY FACEBOOK WALL:

Nancy Herrick
Cue Cat was only slightly less preposterous than the idea of giving away the entire content of the newspaper online for free. If I recall, when I heard about each my reaction was “WTF?

Jeff Girod
I remember the “demonstration” at our office. The CueCat representative only had to scan the bar code about 30 times. Finally she gave up and said, “Uh, this will all work flawlessly once we start printing them in the paper.”

Carrie Hartman McDermott
Jeff, i remember we all shook our heads and asked “why do people need this??”

Randy Eli Grothe
As a device to save newspapers, it made a pretty good putter. At the DMN [Dallas Morning News], we had a photog who could take an aluminum shaft and the Cuecat and fashion a putter for presentation to retiring members of the department. Fore!

Curt Chandler
As the emergence of the QR code shows, the Cue Cat wasn’t complete idiocy, just introduced as a bridge between the wrong platforms. It was an expensive lesson, though.

* (10/12/2000) Walt Mossberg: CueCat fails to meet promise of being convenient, useful
* (9/6/2001) Belo dumps the CueCat after investing $37.5 million in it
* (4/10/2003) CueCat founder changes name to J. Hutton Pulitzer

* David Carr: Murdoch says what’s on his mind on Twitter


New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital — one of 32 investors that acquired the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News in 2010 — wants to unload its stake in the newspapers’ parent company, according to the New York Post. A spokesman for the papers tells the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Mike Armstrong: “It would not be appropriate for Philadelphia Media Network to comment on a decision that Alden Global is making about their business.” Armstrong writes:

Private companies do not have to disclose when major shareholders increase or decrease ownership stakes. But such activity often occurs. And in general, a single minority shareholder controls only its shares and cannot, by itself, force an entire private company to be sold.

Meanwhile, the New York Times points out today that investors acquired newspapers in several major U.S. cities in the second half of 2011, including San Diego, Omaha and Chicago. Alden bought Journal Register Co. last July.

* Hedger pausing on print, reports New York Post
* Inquirer, Daily News cold be headed for sale
* Online ambitions and a dash of real estate drive newspaper deals

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