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Daily Archives: February 13, 2012

Detroit Free Press columnist Susan Tompor angered Kid Rock with her investigation of his “Made in Detroit” clothing line. She wrote a week ago:

I found a Made in Detroit shirt, selling for $40, with a label that said it was made in the Dominican Republic.

When I took a ride to Incognito in downtown Royal Oak, I found a Made in Detroit baby onesie priced at $22 and made in India. And I saw a toddler Made in Detroit pink shirt priced at $18 made in Honduras.

Kid Rock tells Tompor — after he advises her to go F herself — that “we have NEVER laid claim to our items actually being made in Detroit,” and that “as a result of your article and the lack of respect from not only you but from your editors, The Detroit Free Press is on my shit list and my subscription has been canceled.”

We, like most brands in America, use some products that are not created in America. That doesn’t mean we can’t do better. We’re trying to move away from those products while still keeping our prices affordable and keeping us and the stores that depend on us in business.

* Kid Rock’s clothing line isn’t “Made in Detroit”
* Kid Rock responds to paper’s clothing line probe

Posted on my Facebook wall below the link to this post:

Scott Burgess

Veteran Detroit News auto critic Scott Burgess is jumping to AOL Autos at the end of the month. He tells Crain’s Detroit that “I’ll still be writing about cars and the auto industry, contributing to both AOL Autos and Autoblog as a senior editor. For me professionally, it’s a chance to reach a much larger and broader audience.” Bill Shea writes:

His departure leaves three holes in The News’ auto coverage team. Jumping ship last month were Alisa Priddle (across the hall to the Detroit Free Press to cover autos) and Christina Rogers (to Automotive News, our sister publication about 50 feet away from me).

Last month, Burgess sent me a great voicemail from one of his angry readers. You can listen to it, or just read the transcript.

* Detroit News auto team decimated after Burgess quits
* March, 2011: Burgess returns to Detroit News after Chrysler 200 controversy

Dear Gannett PR: It’s in your best interest to say more than “No comment” these days.

Someone who is fairly well-known in the publishing field is spreading a report that “Hilton [Hotels & Resorts] is about to cancel their contract” with USA Today” and that “serious panic and scrambling [are] going on inside Gannett as we speak.”

The source claims that an exec was fired after “something went horribly wrong” with the negotiations.

I asked USA Today director of communications Heidi Zimmerman about this report, figuring she’d call B.S. if it was way off base. This was her response:

“We don’t comment on or confirm the status of any customer or partner relationship.”

Really? That’s the best you can do?

I then contacted Hilton and got a call back from Scott Carman, Director of Communications/Customer Marketing. “The source is wrong,” he said. Hilton will “continue to have a relationship” with USA Today.

UPDATE: Carman sent this email on Tuesday afternoon:

Following up on our conversation, I wanted to circle back and confirm for you that yes our hotels will continue to receive hard copies of newspapers.

* Money manager AllianceBernstein boosts Gannett stake to 9.6%

Salt Lake Tribune editorial writer George Pyle recalls when two men walked into his editor’s office at the Salina Journal in 1993, and asked that their engagement and wedding announcement run in the paper. They were surprised when he said yes.

If the guys had come in and said they wanted to place a “civil union” announcement or a “domestic partnership” notice, I might have turned them down. We didn’t have a standing headline for those things. And I’m way too busy to create a whole new category of anything just for you guys.

Pyle says the men’s wedding got special treatment: “We did a big story about the guys. A lot of readers were royally ticked off. A few canceled their subscriptions and one launched a campaign to get the state’s major grocery chain to cancel its advertising.” (Media Q reports 117 readers canceled subscriptions over the story.)

Editor & Publisher wrote about controversy, and quoted Pyle saying the paper didn’t have any other choice than to run the engagement/wedding announcements because “our editorial policy has always been in favor of equal rights.”

There are currently 280 comments attached to Pyle’s weekend column on the Salt Lake Tribune website. I’ve asked him if reaction to the issue has changed since the 1993 Salina Journal controversy. I’ll post his response when/if it comes in.

UPDATE: Pyle sends this report –

I don’t get much in the way of phone calls or email any more. Two emails today, one happy, one ticked off because The Tribune doesn’t run Prince Valiant anymore. One phone message from – judging by the voice – a very old man who said I should interview God and write about this again. On and on about how he’s tired of all those “special rights” for those gays and lesbians.

The online comments, on the other hand, 256 at last count. (There were only 21 late last night. Most people apparently don’t read it, or aren’t sitting at a computer, until Monday. When they can write to me on their employer’s time.) That’s a lot for me and for any editorial page offering. Of course, at lot of it is back and forth among commenters who are commenting on the comments, not on what I wrote.

I take it as evidence that a great many people think this is not really that big an issue any more. Or that the Trib and I are just on our commie liberal warpath again, so who cares.

* Gay or straight, the name remains the same

Credit: Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune

“We’d been trying to get this thing for a long, long time,” Chicago Tribune reporter David Kidwell says of his interview with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, published in Sunday’s paper. “Every time we asked they’d say no. I don’t know why they chose at this point to sit down with me, but I’m glad they did.” (Mayoral aide Sarah Hamilton also sat in on the 90-minute interview.)

“I hate you,” Emanuel told Kidwell very early in their first-ever meeting.

“I think he was half-joking,” says the reporter. But “he set the tone early on for a confrontation. …It seemed like a signal to me that this is going to be an interesting interview.”

It was, as the transcript shows.

DK: With all due respect, I’m far more interested …

RE: (interrupting) I don’t mean … I don’t think you have any respect for me so don’t worry about it.

“To his credit he let me sit there” and keep asking questions about transparency issues, says Kidwell. “He could have cut it off at any time.”

“I left there thinking, You know what? That was a very interesting experience, and there’s really no way for me in a newspaper story to convey it all.”

He first considered running excerpts, but then decided with editors to run the full transcript with the interview story.

Did the paper ever consider videotaping the interview and offering a multimedia package? Kidwell says:

Frankly, my experience tells me that cameras and fancy audio equipment change the chemistry of these interviews. I took a tiny borrowed digital recorder. I don’t like to use them, but since I was given an hour I wanted to focus on the interview and not my notebook. Only after I started transcribing quotes later – for printed excerpts – did we consider the fact that the entire interview might be valuable. The audio was not of the quality necessary to broadcast.

He told me the recording “was scratchy, and there was a lot of pen-clicking.”

Here’s what Kidwell accomplished:

Near the end of the interview, Emanuel said he would reconsider releasing more records: “Between what you want and what I’ve got to do to be able to govern, we will find where we can find a happy middle ground.”

* Transcript of a “sometimes contentious, sometimes humorous” interview
* Emanuel withholds most records detailing push for speed cameras

A former New York Times reporter pointed out in an email that “the Sunday Styles is being printed on higher quality paper — acid-free or acid reduced as well as white? Presumably advertisers wanted. Cost?” I noticed the same, and asked Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy about it. She responded:

The switch to a higher paper quality in Sunday Styles happened in mid-December. …We won’t talk about cost, but the decision was made because we felt that the type of coverage we carry in the section (fashion shows, other highly visual profiles, etc) and the type of advertising (only section where we run billboard ads) warranted it. It was a decision to serve readers as well as advertisers.

Back in 2010, Gene Weingarten complained in his “Gene Weingarten column mentions Lady Gaga” piece that “on the Web, headlines aren’t designed to catch readers’ eyes.” Instead, “they are designed for ‘search engine optimization’ meaning that readers who are looking for information about something will find the story, giving the newspaper a coveted ‘eyeball.’”

York Daily Record columnist Mike Argento has written his version of the “Lady Gaga” column, but he uses different terms.

In a blatant and shameless attempt to gain page views, it behooves me to write this piece that will be sprinkled with references to Justin Bieber and teachers having sex with students. Whenever either appears in the news, they get loads of page hits and sometimes, it makes the website Fark.com, which means loads of people will click on it. Fark.com is a great thing. We love Fark.com, and the more I mention Fark.com, the better the chance of this appearing on Fark.com.

I asked Argento how many page views his column about chasing views got and where it landed in his paper’s most-read list.

I’m not sure where it ranked. Nor do I know how many page hits it got. I really don’t check on that stuff. Funny thing is, Thursday night, my wife was on our website and the top story was one about a teacher accused of having sex with a student.

I didn’t hear anything from management [about the column]. Like every paper and news organization or whatever we’re becoming, our focus is on this stuff. But nobody said anything. Other journalists, though, did. They seemed to like it. It struck a nerve, I suppose.

* Why do teachers have sex with students?

“I have hardly 250 Twitter followers,” writes Daily Pennsylvanian sports editor Megan Soisson, “and as shocked and appalled as I was to see a legitimate option such as that from a respectable media outlet, I never thought or expected my tweet to reach as many people as it did. …Over the course of the next 24 hours, my story – or rather, my tweet [about ESPN] – gained serious ground. My Twitter fame increased instantly, as I began to fear I was a one-tweet wonder.”

* ESPN opinion category offers a sexist option

The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the NCAA’s attacks on New York Times columnist Joe Nocera and other journalists. “Lately those exchanges have gotten personal, with NCAA representatives referring to some journalists as ‘lame,’ ‘dumb,’ ‘pseudo-journos,’ and ‘bad ones,’” writes Brad Wolverton. Nocera tells him:

Calling me names or pushing back doesn’t really bother me. I have always felt that I get to have my say in my column, and the subjects of my columns should have the right to fire back however they see fit. What has been striking in the case of the NCAA is how ad hominem the attacks have been, and how little interested it seems in engaging on the issue, especially the issue of whether its enforcements are unfair.

* The NCAA wades into a war of words
* NCAA blog: News not fit to print

“In this environment, too many news organizations are holding back, out of fear — fear that we will be saddled with an uncomfortable political label, fear that we will be accused of bias, fear that we will be portrayed as negative, fear that we will lose customers, fear that advertisers will run from us, fear that we will be assailed as anti-this or anti-that, fear that we will offend someone, anyone.” — Boston Globe editor Marty Baron
* Read the full text of Baron’s speech

Jeffrey Zaslow’s family has set up a @RememberingZazz Twitter feed (“celebrating and remembering Jeff’s life”) and website. (The funeral services are today.)

* Earlier: “His journalistic life has been a source of inspiration for all journalists”