Daily Archives: February 3, 2012

What I tweeted to @romenesko followers today:
* Slate says UK’s Daily Mail has apparently decided that original reporting is an inefficient way to garner clicks
* Aon Corp. won’t let media in special shareholder meeting held to vote on move from Chicago to London
* Bay Citizen site went down when the server “forgot its name for reasons we’re still trying to sort out”
* They may be electronic news services, but Bloomberg & Reuters both still believe in the power of print”
* Ted Leonsis says “the Washington Post is harboring criminals now”
* SI’s Peter King: About 95% of the people in my world of information tweet

This headline ran Tuesday in Oklahoma State University’s Daily O’Collegian. On Thursday, the student newspaper ran a letter from School of Media and Strategic Communications faculty members, who said that “this sophomoric attempt at humor by using a slang term for a part of a woman’s anatomy undermines the credibility of everyone associated with The Daily O’Collegian. Journalists must work hard every day to earn this credibility. Once it’s lost, it’s hard to recover.”

The editorial board responded:

In their attempt to exert influence over an independent student publication, we believe the signers of this letter have undermined their positions as educators. These professors — our professors — hold a tremendous amount of power. We are left wondering what consequences these individuals may choose to impose should our staff continue to make independent editorial decisions.

Journalism student Seth Becker weighed in on the controversy:

What scares me more than a new strip club opening in town is the angry mob that seems to follow it. When did we become a people who judged what news could be printed and what had to be censored? Just because every other newspaper in Oklahoma has embraced the religious right doesn’t mean the O’Colly has to follow suit.

As I’ve been told many times in my journalism classes, the O’Colly is always looking for writers. If you don’t like what you are reading, step up.

Heaven forbid someone outside the university would think that college students would have an interest in sex and beer.

NOTE: This student newspaper has uses Steve Brill’s Press+ and allows only 3 free pageviews a month. A $10 annual membership is required after that.

Joe Nocera

The NCAA is accusing Joe Nocera of a “month-long, error-laden and questionably motivated mugging in The New York Times.” NCAA director of digital communications Dave Pickle writes:

At what point does somebody with the power to make it stop say this has gotten out of control? The NCAA is not perfect, but there’s plenty of room between being perfect and being the goon squad that Nocera projects.

Here’s the Big Lead’s verdict on the feud:

[Nocera] may be “misguided.” He’s certainly not a fan of the NCAA, but it’s hard to find something Joe Nocera specifically did wrong. If we’re asked to weigh respective conflict of interests, working for the organization involved and writing on a platform provided by said organization shadows an argument far more strongly than being in a relationship to someone with a slender connection and nothing to gain from a specific legal case.

* NCAA criticizes New York Times columnist Nocera
* NCAA on “News Not Fit to Print”

From FRAN FRIED: This is something that’s been on the back of my mind for a long time — the media’s use of the acronym “GOP” to describe the Republican Party. I know it makes things easier for copy editors like me in an era of narrowed web widths, but simply: Isn’t “Grand Old Party” a form of editorializing? (And “Just because it’s always been done that way” isn’t a legit response …)

Whatever one’s politics, calling an institution “Grand,” regardless of track record, is lending it some sort of credibility it might or might not deserve. And the term was coined when the party wasn’t more than 35 years old — in a Chicago Tribune editorial after the 1888 election.

A nitpick, sure, but one that should at least be visited or pondered. And, for brevity’s sake, “RP” and “DP” are shorter than GOP.

“What’s odd is that the Statesman’s post announcing why readers can’t comment on stories has comments enabled. In fact, many softer stories on the newspaper”s website allow for commenting.”
* Austin paper blames software on lack of reader comments

The New York Post reports today that Inquirer and Daily News parent Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) has hired Evercore Partners to find a buyer for the papers. PMN’s CEO sent this no-comment memo to staff shortly after noon:

From: Osberg, Greg
Sent: Fri 2/3/2012 12:06 PM
To: All Employees; All PMN Employees
Subject: Update

In today’s NY Post, there is another article citing the possibility of a sale of Philadelphia Media Network. Given the quality of our local media franchise, we receive frequent inbound interest. We will not comment on rumors as we continually evaluate the operations and prospects for the company to determine the best course of action for our shareholders and the company. The best thing for PMN, our customers and our shareholders is to continue to enhance the products, editorial and operational excellence that we deliver to the Philadelphia region every day. Let’s continue to work hard to make 2012 a success.


Meanwhile, Philadelphia Magazine reports former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is eyeing the papers.

Isabel Wilkerson

Last December the Boston University student newspaper reported that Pulitzer-winner and former New York Times reporter Isabel Wilkerson told her newswriting class midsemester that she wouldn’t be teaching for several weeks “due to a scheduling conflict.” She never returned. A staff editorial noted:

Clearly, Wilkerson’s notoriety in the world of academic literature usurps her ability to contribute in a more concrete manner to the Journalism Department of COM. Many professors at this school are well-known, well-respected scholars in their respective fields, but they all make time to interact with their students and teach their subject, and if Wilkerson cannot manage this balance, then she is simply not doing her job.

Inside Higher Ed reports today that Wilkerson has taken an unpaid leave of absence and won’t be teaching in 2012. “I think the success of her book [“The Warmth of Other Suns”] overwhelmed everyone,” BU College of Communications dean Tom Fiedler tells the publication. “The demands for her to speak carried on more into 2011 than expected, and unfortunately we did not prepare for that.”

The Inside High Ed story goes on:

Fiedler took exception to some of the online comments [about Wilkerson on the student paper’s website], including one that suggested that Wilkerson earned more than $200,000 annually. “I can tell you that figure is wildly inflated. It is unfair for this number to sit out there. It makes her a target,” he said.

* Wilkerson takes leave from BU after missing classes
* Dec. 12, 2011: College of Communications rofessor abandons class to promote book
* Dec. 11, 2011: Student newspaper scolds prof for “cutting class”
* Wilkerson’s bio on the BU College of Communication website

The Suffolk Journal at Suffolk University in Boston had had to apologize this week after it published the subhead, “Even we had some dumb fuckers sign up!” Dan Reimold has seven lessons and observations for student journalists to take away from the mistake, including:

Be especially careful with news content late at night. Your brain is moving slower. Your sense of purpose is more likely to be on pause. Your initial instincts will be to passively scan a layout instead of truly proofing it. And your double and triple checkers are probably also punchy, asleep on the backroom couch or already in their twin dorm beds. Snap back into the present and stay focused, line by line, for just a few minutes more.

* Seven lessons from a student newspaper’s slip

The letter-writer’s husband, Bob, was laid off from the Indianapolis Star last year

From PAM DiNICOLA: After more than four months of talking with HR at the Indianapolis Star and with the Gannett Benefits Center and Cobra reps, we still haven’t heard anything about Cobra. We need to get Cobra for me, and the time for us to apply for Cobra is running out. We talked to Gannett reps so many times I’ve lost count. Read More