Daily Archives: March 5, 2012

* Philadelphia Media Network tells security not to let WHYY reporter in the building. (
* Will Washington Post sportwriters be reprimanded for their remarks on Twitter? (Washington City Paper)
* “50 terrific Twitter chats for journalism students” (
* SouthComm acquires Cincy CityBeat, says it’s now nation’s #2 alt-weeklies chain. (Nashville Post)
* Ex-Enron board member Herbert Winokur steps down from CJR board, ends funding of The Audit. (Capital New York)
* Newspaper Association of America calls on FCC to end three-decade ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership. (
* U-T San Diego’s new owner shows interest in Orange County Register (Voice of San Diego)
* Associated Press updates app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. (

The percentage of people who ‘Unfriend’ other Facebook members has gone from 56% in 2009 to 63% in 2011, according to Pew Research, with young adults being the most are more active “unfrienders.”
* Has the Facebook friend bubble burst?

I asked DePauw visiting journalism professor Mark Tatge if he cared to comment on Poynter ethicist Kelly McBride’s remarks about his use of public records in the classroom, and if there were updates to share with Romenesko readers. His reply:

Mark Tatge

My response: “There seems to be a total misunderstanding of my intentions. I in no way intended to embarrass or humiliate anyone. This was a teaching exercise. This is a public record in a public Indiana court. People who get arrested and charged with a crime give up their right to privacy. If people don’t like this, then they should start a petition to change the U.S. Constitution.”

UPDATE: Vice President of Academic Affairs David Harvey informed me via email Sunday that he does not plan to take any formal action against me. President Brian Casey is meeting with members of the faculty today to address concerns this case has raised about academic freedom at DePauw.

When Rob (“CmdrTaco”) Malda retired from Slashdot in August, he told readers that “I really don’t know” what’s next. “I don’t have a job lined up. I have no plans. I’m gonna spend some time with my boys and my wife. Read some books that have been on my shelf forever. Maybe it’s time to write a book of my own.”

Today he announces that’s joining the Washington Post as chief strategist and editor at large of its WaPo Labs.

So far the Labs team has done great work: They have a cool news aggregation technology called Trove. They have built a small editorial team that is working to sanitize and that data and make it more useful in the context of the modern internet. And most recently, Social Reader has become very successful as a Facebook, Android and iOS App. They are actively iterating and experimenting in many directions, with strong support from the top of the organization.

* Read the press release | Malda’s blog post about the new job

I’m surprised it took so long for Poynter to weigh in on the controversy over Mark Tatge using a DePauw student-athlete’s arrest records for his Investigative Reporting Techniques class. Poynter ethicist Kelly McBride tells the Education Writers Association public editor that Tatge “had alternatives that could have minimized the harm to this particular student,” such as pulling records for a larger group, instead of “putting an incredible spotlight” on Alison Stephens. McBride continued:

My fear is a lot of people think journalism is about publicly humiliating people and invading their privacy, and it would be reasonable for people who look at this from the outside to think that’s what this professor was trying to teach them to do. I can’t possibly believe that’s what he intended, but because he didn’t search for alternatives, people might draw that conclusion.

Meanwhile, University of Nebraska journalism professor Joe Weber says “there’s mud all around on this one,” but points out that “it was the police, not Tatge, who made the charges public in the first place. Once such charges are lodged, they are out there for all to see.”

The DePauw student newspaper editor says his publication “empathizes with Stephens” but “we also did our best to be fair to Tatge who is the subject of a university review.”

* Did prof’s lesson in public records cross the line?

* Mud all around in DePauw journalism case

* Story was fully considered, reported with care

“Few people know that before he started making movies, Stanley Kubrick was a star photojournalist. Six weeks after graduating from high school, Kubrick went to work for Look magazine the way other kids went to college.” — Chicago Tribune (2005)

* Check out Retronaut’s collection of Kubrick photographs

Winston-Salem Journal reporter Travis Fain was sent a warning letter by the local board of education after he violated its civility policy by using the word “dick” after an unpleasant exchange with a board member. (“I’ve always had a smart mouth, and my filter just shut down that afternoon,” he tells Romenesko readers in an email below.)

The Journal explains what happened:

Fain asked school board member Buddy Collins on Tuesday for comment on his proposed changes to the board’s policy on whether students can opt out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Collins told Fain he does not comment to the Journal, and when Fain asked why, he repeated that he doesn’t talk to the Journal and left the room. Fain said to himself, but within hearing distance of several board members and staff, “Why are you such a d—? How’s that for a question?”

Fain later apologized for that.

He tells Romenesko readers:

Thirteen years busting it as a reporter and now this, at least for a while, is what some people know me for. There’s a lesson in that for anyone, especially these days, when your dumb moments live on through Google and the Internet.

It’s also something to remember as you deal with sources – a way to understand things from their end. Like it or not, we amplify things some things more than others.

I’ve no one to blame but myself in this matter. I’ve apologized to Mr. Collins, to those who heard the comment, to the board chairman and to my editors. My wife had twins a month ago. We don’t get much sleep, I’ve always had a smart mouth, and my filter just shut down that afternoon. It only takes a second.

I was wrong, I’m sorry and I’m embarrassed. There’s no reason to call people names. It cheapens discourse, and I’ve given people who distrust me, my paper or “the media” something to point to as an indication of bias.

And it’s going to be on Romenesko, where no doubt many of the people I’ve worked with over the years and scores of potential future editors will see it. That is the kind of control you cede when you do something stupid.

I doubt he’s the only reporter to do something like that. Share your story in the comments section. (And congratulations, Travis, on the birth of your twins.)

* School board warns Winston-Salem Journal reporter about his language

A Los Angeles Times story from Feb. 22 reported that Pope Benedict XVI promises to tweet once a day throughout the 40 days of Lent. It looks like he’s delivering, with daily tweets to his 23,895 followers. (He’s not as prolific at his verified Pope Benedict XIV Twitter account, which has 47,212 followers; he’s only tweet once there in 2012.)

Women make up just 18% of radio news directors and 22% of the local radio workforce overall, according to Women’s Media Center. “At NPR, meanwhile, women hold the top editorial position at five of the seven news programs, and make up nearly half the overall staff,” writes Jesse Ellison.
* How NPR became a hotbed for female journalists

I was going through some old files over the weekend and came across the infamous Bryant Gumbel memo to “Today” show executive producer Marty Ryan, written in 1988 and leaked in 1989. The New York Times’ Walter Goodman said in April of 1989 that “the commotion over the Gumbel memo offers the watchers of early-morning television a fresh perspective on the form” and that his “criticism of one co-worker for dumb carryings on and of others for unoriginality gave him the appearance of a vaudeville piano player clucking his tongue over how the jugglers are distracting the customers from his Liszt concertos.”
* Only Jane Pauley escaped unscathed in the memo (Los Angeles Times)
* Pauley says she didn’t read it (Deseret News)

I thought I’d share the memo with readers who didn’t see it 23 years ago.

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