Monthly Archives: February 2012

Curt Hogg

Sixteen-year-old sports journalist Curt Hogg reported on Feb. 14 that Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun’s drug test was mishandled, thus likely altering the results.

On Feb. 23, all other sports media reported that an independent arbitrator ruled that Braun’s urine sample wasn’t adequately secured.

Hogg, a Brown Deer (Wis.) High school junior, has been bombarded with interview requests since news of his scoop circulated online.

“It’s all been crazy,” he said in a Sunday afternoon phone interview.

He’s been interviewed by Milwaukee TV stations, ESPN radio, Deadspin, The Daily, and other news outlets.

What has the young journalists learned from all of this media exposure? He thinks for a few seconds, then says, “I know what it’s like to be interviewed. I think it’s a been good, mostly positive.”

He tells Romenesko readers about his interest in journalism:

* He got his start in 7th grade, when he learned about Bleacher Report and signed up.

Curt Hogg's Feb. 14 scoop

* He joined his high school newspaper staff when he was a freshman, and has been editor-in-chief since his sophomore year.

* He also publishes his own newspaper called The Cheesehead. “I print off 50 copies and hand them out. It’s four pages and usually covers Wisconsin sports.

* He spends about an hour a day working on his Plushdamentals MLBlogs Network site, while maintaining a near straight-A average at school.

* He started tweeting (@curtknowsbest) in 2010. He had about 200 followers last Thursday; he now has 548.

* He reads Deadspin, and “I really like the writing on CBS Sports.” He quickly adds: “Sometimes ESPN can have some good stuff.”

* He plans to study journalism at either the University of Wisconsin in Madison, or University of Missouri.

* His dream job: “Being on the beat for an MLB team, or writing for Sports Illustrated would be incredible.”

More details about former New York Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson’s consulting deal came out in a Times 10-K filing last week. The Times tells Robinson that in exchange for paying her $4.5 million “you shall not be required to provide more than 15 hours of such services or assistance in any month.”

Sonya Hubbard points out that the consulting agreement doesn’t really require Robinson to provide a minimum number of hours at all. It states that she:

…shall provide consulting services as reasonably requested by the Company concerning Company matters with which you have been involved or have knowledge; provided that, in each case, (a) the Company shall provide you with reasonable advance notice when requesting such services or assistance, (b) the Company shall exercise reasonable efforts to schedule any services or assistance requested so as to not unreasonably disrupt your business and personal affairs and you shall exercise reasonable efforts to fulfill the Company’s consulting requests in a timely manner, notwithstanding your personal and other business commitments…

* More details surface about NYT’s $25,000 per hour consultant
* Union poster features Janet Robinson and her Golden Parachute

Warren Webster

Patch says someone was impersonating company president Warren Webster in the Business Insider comments section last week, and that the exec never responded to Main Street Connect’s founder. “In fact, Warren hadn’t even seen the BI post until he started hearing he had commented on it,” says Patch communications vice president Janine Iamunno.

That interesting revelation makes me ask: If not Warren Webster, who would take the time to spar with a Patch rival and write a lengthy defense of the AOL-owned company in the Business Insider comments section? Webster should order an investigation, find out who this Patch cheerleader is and then hire him or her immediately! Any ideas?

* Earlier – Patch president: We’re nothing like Main Street Connect

In December of 2010, Steve Brill and Gordon Crovitz announced that Oklahoma State University’s Daily O’Collegian would be the first college newspaper to use their Press+ program. They explained: “The paper will collect a small fee from online readers who are outside the school’s immediate geographic area and who do not use an email address with an .edu affiliation and who read the paper online more than three times a month.”

So how’s that going?

Here’s what Daily O’Collegian general manager Ray Catalino tells Romenesko readers:

We are very happy with Press+ and think the program has been a success. I set a goal of 100 paid subscribers the first year, and we just passed 150 last week. We started in early March last year.

Subscribers who bought in at $10 per year can continue to renew at that rate. In March, new subscribers will have to pay $15 per year, which is still very inexpensive in my mind.

We allow all <.edu> subscribers free access, since we want our OSU students to get the online version for free. We also want local residents and businesses to be able to access the site for free, so anyone accessing within a 25 mile radius of campus is not charged. Outside of those two areas, others get three free clicks per month, and then a pop-up window appears asking them to subscribe via credit card.

By the way, paidContent reported Friday on the millions that Brill and Crovitz made when they sold Journalism Online/Press+ to RR Donnelley. A recent 10-K filing puts the deal value at $35 million, reports Staci Kramer.

Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli calls the just-released politics app a “rich and engaging new way to following the 2012 presidential election campaign, with the latest breaking news and images, most informed analysis and deepest polling data, a constantly updated library of TV ads, and an incredible range of historical data, dating all the way back to the first U.S. presidential election.” While some app content is free, access to all material costs $2.99 a month.

* Introducing the Washington Post Politics App for iPad | Download it

Over the weekend, the Madison Capital Times ran a story based on a fake news release that said Rep. Paul Ryan and other Wisconsin Republicans were demanding that the Smithsonian take Wisconsin protest posters out of its archives.

I contacted Mike Konopacki, who created the fake release, and he sent this note, along with a copy of the release that briefly fooled a Capital Times veteran.

Mike Konopacki

Hi Jim, here’s the e-mail I sent John Nichols. This was meant to be a joke among friends but John took it seriously. I have since patched things up with the Capital Times.

As someone who makes his living with parody and satire this seemed a natural. Our state is getting so repressive we have to do something.

Mike Konopacki
Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons

Konopacki’s “Sorry I Punked You” email to Capital Times staffer John Nichols:

From: Mike Konopacki
Subject: Re: hey mike
Date: February 25, 2012 12:27:05 PM CST
To: John Nichols
Bcc: Mike Konopacki

Hi John, I have to confess, I made up that press release. No press release would be sent on a Saturday (2/25).

I wanted to point out the hypocrisy between allowing Wisconsin protest art in the Smithsonian but not at the Pyle Center. I downloaded a PDF of a Nass press release and made up my own with the template (fun with Photoshop).

The quotes are real, they were mostly made by Mike Mikalsen as quoted in the Capital Times and The Progressive.

Sorry I punked you. I was just trying to have a little subversive fun. Attached is one with Friday’s date and I cleaned up some of the typos.

Mike Konopacki
Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons

The Madison Capital Times apologized Saturday after posting a story based on a prank press release about Rep. Paul Ryan and other Wisconsin Republicans pressuring the Smithsonian to remove posters from last year’s protests at the state Capitol from its archives. The Capital-Times reports:

The story was based on a news release that purportedly came from [Republican Rep. Steve] Nass’ office, but was in fact fabricated by Madison labor cartoonist Mike Konopacki. He has drawn editorial cartoons for The Capital Times for many years on a freelance basis and he sent the fake release to a staff member who then forwarded it to Associate Editor John Nichols, who wrote the story.

The Capital Times says Nichols started to have doubts about the story when sources said they hadn’t heard about the release. He told editors to hold the piece, but they had already posted it. The story was removed after being online for about 40 minutes.

In the release and Cap Times story, Ryan was quoted saying, “Look, you can’t be displaying and archiving art that celebrates protests that were heavily aimed at Republicans, and then expect that Republicans are going to smile nicely and sit down and try and work with the Smithsonian.”

Konopacki, who created his news release with Photoshop, “is apologetic about the confusion it created,” and that Capital Times “regrets its publication, even for a brief amount of time.”

* Capital Times spikes story based on fabricated news release

From Andrew Goldman’s New York Times Magazine Q-and-A with AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong:

The New Yorker reported that 80 percent of AOL’s profits are from subscribers, many of whom are older people paying for dial-up service they don’t need to get online.

We communicate to all members regularly. So the people who pay for AOL know they’re paying for AOL. Two-thirds of the three million people who are paying us for subscriptions aren’t using dial-up access. They pay for customer service or computer checkup or all these other services.

* AOL’s Tim Armstrong knows how to play nice with others
* The old and the lazy help AOL’s bottom line
* Really? Some people see an email address as a status symbol?

“I regret to stoop to the point of responding to you,” Patch president Warren Webster told a rival this week, “but I will here.”

This little spat took place in the Business Insider comments section, below Nicholas Carlson’s piece, “FRICTION AT AOL: Arianna Is A Huge ‘Headache’… But Also The Most Valuable Person At AOL.”

Main Street Connect founder Carll Tucker wrote that his online national community news outfit “has a similar model but is turning a profit.” He added: “Perhaps Aol should have invested in profitable models like ours rather than dumping money into Patch.”

Patch’s boss didn’t like that.

@Carll Tucker: Carll I regret to stoop to the point of responding to you, but I will here.

A couple of points:

1) Patch is about building out a footprint that will scale and monetize over time. The last several years have been about infrastructure development and growing engagement. No one asked if Facebook was profitable for its first 5 years. It is unfair to put that expectation on Patch.

2) Your company is a small local startup which I admire. Patch is a national organization that is revolutionizing the news media. We have national advertising. We have project Devil. You do not. We are fishing from different advertiser ponds.

3) As a local company you need to make money for your investors. At Patch we are part of a company which will soon be in the Fortune 500. There are literally 100’s of metrics by which we can measure success. Money is just one of them. We funnel 100’s of users every month to the Huffington Post and other Aol properties. We have a terrific editorial staff breaking big national stories. Again different games.

Congratulations on making money. I truly wish you the best. Please stop comparing your organization to ours. There is room in this space for the both of us.



Tucker hasn’t fired back – yet.

From MARK MAYFIELD, University of Alabama, Office of Student Media:
I saw the fascinating link you had on the 1981 San Francisco TV report on the coming age of electronic newspapers. It reminded me that when I was editor of the University of Alabama student newspaper in 1977, we published a story about this subject. We based it on an interview with a UA journalism professor, Kenneth Edwards, who had been studying the coming technology. (Edwards later wrote a sort of landmark article about this for The Futurist magazine in 1978). Will be happy to send you the full text of the story if you decide to do any follow-ups on this subject. [I told him to send it along for posting.] It’s interesting to go back and track this.

By the way, I’m the editorial adviser to student media here at the university. I just returned to campus after 30 years out there in the biz, where I served as editor-in-chief of House Beautiful magazine, among others.

From The Crimson White
University of Alabama student newspaper
Nov. 17, 1977

Teletext puts newspapers in homes via television
By DAVID SIMPSON CW Academics Editor

The weary commuter drags into the living room after another working day. He, and millions like him, usually want two things: a cold drink and a summary of the day’s events.

Drink in hand, he picks up a small device resembling a pocket calculator. He presses a few buttons and watches the television before him come to life. A multi-color display appears on the screen. The viewer is offered a list of general topics- local news, sports, entertainment.

The avid sports fan punches out the number listed beside “sports” on his control panel and watches a list of sports headlines flash on the screen. Again he chooses, and is soon reading a preview of the Monday night football game. Such a scene is not merely a fascinating idea. The “electronic newspaper” already available to “teletext” subscribers in Great Britain. Read More