Daily Archives: February 6, 2012

What executive editor Bob Heisse tells Romenesko readers about leaving the Centre Daily Times and the Penn State scandal story:

“This story will continue for months, if not years, and I’ve pretty much hired the reporters here and in Harrisburg who are covering it the most. After 10 years here it’s time for a change, and Springfield offers a wonderful opportunity. The staff here is outstanding — I call them the A team — and I think they’ll continue to do well covering the scandal and other stories.”

* Heisse leaves Centre Daily Times to become Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register executive editor

* Columnist breaks no-interviews rule to discuss Mormons | The story
* Centre Daily Times executive editor Bob Heisse resigns to lead Springfield, Ill. paper
* College students who’ve never been interested in current events now “addicted” to free copies of NYT
* “Keith [Olbermann] is fulfilling exactly the role that I had hoped for,” says Al Gore
* How Vogue magazine got a free Super Bowl halftime show plug
* Babes of NPR Tumblr called “oddly funny, moderately creepy”

The Mets told an editor at the Journal News that they didn’t like Howard Megdal’s reporting. “The team declined to respond to my multiple attempts to reach them for a fuller explanation,” writes Megdal. “But I don’t think much investigation is required.” He explains why.

I’ve been following (and contributed to) a Quora thread about “the most interesting New Yorker articles of all time.” I nominated Calvin Trillin’s “Covering the Cops,” a 1986 profile of author and former Miami Herald police reporter Edna Buchanan.

Here are a few picks from Quora users:

“I enjoyed this article from 2008, which is about Nicholas White’s entrapment in an elevator for 41 hours.” (Ludi Rehak)

“Fans of Anthony Bourdain usually find his 1999 expose ‘Don’t Eat Before Reading This’ interesting.” (Michael Willes)

“Dude buys an entire pig from the Union Square Greenmarket, straps it to the back of his Vespa and rides it back to his apartment. Tells the story of his quest to learn how to be a butcher. Amazing read, even for vegetarians. Amazing read, even for vegetarians.” (Amanda Peyton)

“‘Trial by Fire,’ by David Grann, published in September 2009, tells the story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for an arson and murder he almost certainly did not commit. It’s almost impossible to read this article and still support the death penalty.” (Robin Pam)

“An interesting one from 2009 is “The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care.” (Ted Suzman)

Your favorite New Yorker pieces? Tell us in comments.

“The Facebook post has now been deleted but it’s still an embarrassing gaffe by someone who supposedly has a say in our government. These out of touch people run our country? Great.”Gizmodo’s Casey Chan

The backstory from The Atlantic Wire: “[Rep. John] Fleming’s Facebook status was posted by Literally Unbelievable, a Tumblr that collects images of Facebookers who think Onion satires are the real deal and post them on their walls.”

* Congressman duped by The Onion’s Planned Parenthood satire
* The Onion: “Planned Parenthood opens $8 billion abortionplex”
* Visit Congressman John Fleming’s Facebook page

Christopher Hitchens discusses Maureen Dowd’s debut as a New York Times columnist and his Vanity Fair article, “Top Dowd,” with C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb on May 15, 2005:

“I know she didn’t want to be photographed [for the Vanity Fair piece]; she’s so shy. It was a struggle to get her to be Kodaked. Why the article, you ask? …Well, we’re interested in the media and we are interested in obviously controversy about it and it seemed to us that the occasion of Maureen becoming one of the Times’ permanent commentators was a good one for a profile.”

“What I’m urging Maureen not to overlook is the possibility that there would be a columnist who was sort of regularly contemptuous of the thoughts of people who go into politics in this country and the reason for which they do it. …What I hope we get from her column is the continuous reminder that these people are motivated by other things than the national interest.”

I believe this March 29, 1995, piece about how dull the Academy Awards are was Dowd’s first Times column. Correct me if I’m wrong.

“Are you aware that Bloomberg fired Craig Copetas, its star Paris-based feature writer?” asks a tipster. This person who is in a position to know details — and it’s not Copetas — sends this report and asks not be be named:

Craig Copetas, ex-Rolling Stone, ex-Esquire, was hired away from the WSJ by Ed-in-chief Matt Winkler in 2000.

Craig Copetas

Craig Copetas

His brief was to schmooze with the rich, target them as his readership and travel the world in pursuit of distractions for the wealthy. Resulted a series of stories about luxury cars and mini-submarines built to measure for billionaires who have everything, let alone restaurants that cost an arm and a leg. But he was also in the first wave of reporters into Iraq in 2003, embedded with invading troops.

For years, he was a Winkler favorite until he went to Dubai. Some three years ago, Copetas angered the local Bloomberg bosses in the emirate – anxious to keep the peace with the many millionaire Bloomberg customers there – by seeking to uncover tales of human rights abuses, including alleged police torture with the complicity of a member of the royal family, and persecution of foreign businessmen.

Suddenly, Winkler’s door slammed in his face.

The only mystery is why it took Winkler so long to downgrade Copetas to a non-person and get him out. The actual meeting to fire him, in mid-January, came as a surprise, apparently. His team leader and an HR person turned up unannounced in Paris to tell him it was over.

I reached Copetas in Paris and he declined comment. I have asked Bloomberg News for comment. UPDATE: They declined comment.

Ironically, Copetas’s book, “Mona Lisa’s Pajamas,” is dedicated to Winkler (and others).

Universal Uclick managing editor Sue Roush says the Chicago Tribune’s decision to not to run Friday’s “Doonesbury” because of the plug for “is puzzling.” She believes the Tribune is the only paper in the country that pulled the strip.

“They called and said [the strip] violated their ethics code. They wanted a substitute, and I said Garry’s feeling is that he doesn’t offer substitutes.”

Roush says she didn’t see the ethics violation in Friday’s strip. “Previously in the week he had QR codes pointing to his own website,” and the Tribune didn’t have a problem with that. The paper said it didn’t run Friday’s “Doonesbury” because…

The comic strip broke from its satirical mission in order to deliver a direct fundraising appeal for a specific charity [] that the author favors. The Tribune’s editorial practices do not allow individuals to promote their self-interests.

Trudeau repeats Roush’s point to Michael Cavna: “Curiously the Trib had no problem with the previous day’s strip directing readers to my website — which actually was in my self-interest.”

UPDATE: Geoff Brown, Tribune associate managing editor for entertainment, says in an email:

It wasn’t about the QR codes. The Thursday QRs referred readers to, which is already attached to the strip every day. In fact, almost every strip displays its website.

But the Friday strip, no matter how well-meaning, was the equivalent of an ad, which is why we decided not to run it.

* See the Tribune’s Note to Readers about pulling “Doonesbury”

* Sarah Palin goes from Newsweek hater to contributor
* Facebook Fatigue spreading, but social media on the rise
* Architectural Digest wins Conde Nast’s best business turnaround award
* New circulation report shows celebrity weeklies still struggling
* Ben Smith: “Twitter remains the political class’s front page”
* GigaOM said to be in last stages of deal to buy paidContent
* Beyond Chron editor on why Bay Citizen “failed”; (struggling maybe, but failed?)
* WSJ’s Wendy Bounds: We’re making video “the Journal way”
* New York Times a hit with University of Northern Iowa students
* “Dan Savage doesn’t speak for me,” says Daily Northwestern columnist

BuzzFeed has made some big hires recently — it grabbed Ben Smith from Politico, Matt Buchanan from Gizmodo, and Doree Shafrir from — and now it’s “growing some serious news muscles under a silly, frilly skin,” writes David Carr.

BuzzFeed wasn’t just hiring brand names to serve as lustrous hood ornaments connoting credibility, the way Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington have. The hires at BuzzFeed were more like maypoles: young writers native to the Web who become pivot points for contents because they are bathed in both the ethos and practice of social media.

* At BuzzFeed, the significant and the silly