Best-selling author and Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow was killed Friday morning in a car accident in northern Michigan. Police said he lost control of his car on a snow-covered road and was hit by a semi-truck. The 53-year-old journalist leaves behind wife Sherry Margolis — a Detroit Fox 2 news anchor — and three daughters, ages 22, 20 and 16.
Wall Street Journal managing editor’s memo:
From: Thomson, Robert
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2012 06:41 PM
To: WSJ All News Staff; Newswires_USERS
Subject: Jeff Zaslow
One of the greatest of Wall Street Journal journalists, Jeff Zaslow, has been tragically killed in a car accident in Michigan. Jeff’s writing, for the Journal and in his books, has been a source of inspiration for many people around the world and his journalistic life has been a source of inspiration for all journalists. There is no doubt that Jeff’s words will echo poignantly for generations to come and his body of work will be a living testimony to his professionalism, creativity and dedication. Our sincerest thoughts are with his family and we share the sadness of all who have been moved by the man and his work,
* Detroit Free Press: Jeffrey Zaslow killed in car crash
* WSJ: He had a rare gift for writing about love, loss, and other life passages
* At Sun-Times, Zaslow launched school supply drives and “raised untold sums” for paper’s charity
Atlanta Journal-Constitution food critic John Kessler outs a PR person (FoodieATL) on his paper’s comments board:
I asked Kessler about checking to see if commenters have ties to restaurants, and what he thought about the PR firm owner’s comment about the “busted” employee. She said that “the blog comment in question was made from a personal computer and personal email address with no attempt to disguise it, and it is the personal opinion of one of our employees.”
Kessler tells Romenesko readers:
I do not routinely go looking for commenters associated with the restaurant. I do pay attention to the comments posted to a review — particularly those responding to a rave or a pan. The name simply jumped out at me. This is the first time I have recognized the name of a publicist commenting anonymously.
[PR firm owner] Mary Reynolds attributed the anonymous comment to “personal opinion” and, it seems to me, gave it her tacit assent. This feels wrong to me. The goodwill of full disclosure is the only thing that keeps any kind of wall between targeted ads and honest discussion.
* Atlanta Magazine: With AJC commenting controversy, the table is set for dialogue
* Read Kessler’s review of Ocean Prime and his comments exchange with FoodieATL
KGMB/KHNL-TV reporter Teri Okita intro’d her report on the University of University of Hawaii college paper’s Valentine’s Day feature this way:
Forget about the New York Post’s Page Six. That’s child’s play compared to Ka Leo’s Page Sixteen. The headline reads, “Don’t Change Partners, Change Positions.” …
Who knew Ka Leo would give The Kama Sutra a run for its money?
TV station censors sex-position sketch
Four line drawings of sex positions aren’t much of a threat to The Kama Sutra, but they’re enough to get a TV news crew rushing to the University of Hawaii campus for a story on a Valentine’s Day issue sex feature with “not only written instructions, but graphic illustrations, as well.”
Ka Leo (The Voice) chief copy editor Karleanne Matthews told the TV station that “we wanted [the drawings] to be clear because we wanted them to be helpful. And that’s the advantage of an illustration over just descriptions and words. But we didn’t want them to be pornographic in any way.”
The TV news report didn’t even mention the editors’ sex song picks. (The late Etta James is at the top of the list.)
* TV station: Student paper prints how-to-guide to sexual positions
* Ka Leo: Don’t change partners, change sex positions
* Related: “The O’Reilly Factor” takes a critical look at Yale’s Sex Week
On Wednesday, The Hartford Courant took down cartoonist Bob Englehart’s post that said:
Inner-city poor and minority-filled schools aren’t going to change until we can somehow change the pervasive core of the problem: dysfunctional inner-city poor minority families.
Sure, we hear of an occasional winner come out of the ghetto. Movie stars, athletes, business people, we know their stories, but they are the very rare exception. For the most part, losers raise losers. Somehow we’ve got to get to these families and teach them how to respect education. Till then, nothing will change.
Of course, the Internet never forgets, and Englehart’s spiked column can still be read by anyone doing a Google search. New Haven’s mayor and schools superintendent apparently saw the post before it was yanked, as they write in today’s Courant:
We were astounded by the ignorance in cartoonist Bob Englehart’s blog on The Courant’s website on Feb. 8 regarding “inner-city poor and minority-filled schools.” The majority of New Haven Public School students are minorities, and the majority are eligible for free and reduced price lunches, but NONE of our students are losers.
UPDATE: Englehart has apologized for the post.
Michael Kinsley writes in his critique of a recent Felix Salmon blog post:
“Occasionally over the years, I have attempted to argue that factual accuracy is overrated. I won’t bore you with the reasons, but it struck me as a good, solid, counterintuitive belief to lug around and display occasionally. Never did it occur to me, until I read Felix’s blog post, that it might be possible, without seeming insane, to argue that all aspects of good writing — accuracy, logic, spelling, graceful turns of phrase, wisdom and insight, puns (only good ones), punctuation, proper grammar and syntax (and what’s the difference between those two again?) — are all overrated.”
Janine Iamunno, head of Patch communications, tells employees in a memo that “Patchers’ comments are just fueling the fire of inaccurate speculation and Patch-bashing” on this site. “I hate this BS as much as you do,” she writes. “If you only knew.” The memo:
Sorry for the mass e-mail, gang – as you know, I try to do it only when absolutely necessary! There’s certainly been a lot of talk about the Romenesko “story” yesterday. As much as I appreciate the passion with which Patchers are responding to both the inaccuracies in the post and the snark from other readers, I have to again ask you to not publicly comment on press coverage, no matter how much it makes your green blood boil. I think we’re all agreed, based on the countless emails and gchats I’ve gotten, that Brian’s response was perfect in both information and tone. No one – not I, certainly – could have possibly put it better, so let’s let that remain our statement of record. You can see that Patchers’ comments are just fueling the fire of inaccurate speculation and Patch-bashing – which means those comments meant to help us are actually hurting us, and weakening our public position. Feel free to reach out with me with any questions, concerns, venting, etc. (or to share any related thoughts on working here, for the site we’re launching Monday…). Believe me when I tell you, I hate this BS as much as you do. If you only knew. But if we’re going to be taken seriously when we say we’re focused on serving our communities and not on dignifying ridiculous speculation, then we all need to walk that walk. Moving on. (PS: Hi, Jim.)
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom submitted his controversial piece about Iowa life to more than 40 publications before The Atlantic accepted it. He told a colleague: “I even agreed to cut it from 7,500 to 600 words for politico.com and after I did, they rejected it. Ha!”
* Stephen Bloom shopped Iowa article around
* Earlier: Bloom contacts Romenesko from “an undisclosed location”
“I want Digital First to be wildly successful because I do not want any more reporters to lose their jobs,” says Valley Independent Sentinel editor Eugene Driscoll. “I want Digital First to succeed because journalism needs to survive.”
“It is a golden age in New Haven for journalism,” says New Haven Independent’s Paul Bass. “Old media is finding new ways to do the job. It’s a great time to be a reporter. At least until the money runs out.”
* All the news in fits of print
Richard Tofel’s e-essay, “Why American Newspapers Gave Away the Future,” is recommended by Jeff Jarvis as “it is well-written and researched and smart and reasonable. But then I also urge you to take the assumptions made by the industry and reflected in it and question them.”
Kirk Caraway says Tofel’s essay is “an interesting look back at the short history of online news,” but “that said, I find huge, gaping holes in his conclusion that newspapers screwed up by giving their content away on the web for free, what some refer to as the industry’s “original sin.”
* Jarvis: Sin or Sense
* Caraway: Debunking newspapers’ “Original Sin” excuse
* Read excerpts from Tofel’s e-essay