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Daily Archives: March 7, 2012

Why did longtime Philadelphia Inquirer editorial cartoonist Tony Auth decide to leave the paper and join WHYY’s NewsWorks?

“I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that I’m tired of doing five political cartoons a week,” he tells Romenesko readers. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years. I’m just interested now in doing the cartoons that last longer, as opposed to the ones you look back at a year later and think, What was that about?”

Tony Auth

He adds: “I’m looking forward to the future” as digital artist in residence at NewsWorks. (About that job title: “I made that up.”) “I have nothing but affection for the Inquirer and everybody there. …People who aren’t in newspapers would say, ‘Oh you can work at home!’ Why in the world would I work at home when can go to a newspaper like the Inquirer that’s filled with irreverent, smart and ambitious people? It’s hard to convey to people who don’t know newspapers what an joyful and exhilarating environment a newspaper is.”

Auth says he’s been talking with NewsWorks news boss and former Inquirer editorial page editor Chris Satullo about a possible job for a couple of years. “This is not an overnight thing,” says Auth.

I asked Satullo about bringing Auth to NewsWorks. He writes in an email:

My recollection is that Tony said wistfully one time, when things were bad at 400 N. Broad St., that it would be good to work together again. We blue-skyed for a moment or two about what he could do for Newsworks.

I think it was then that I concocted the “digital artist in residence” concept.

We spent maybe six months on fund-raising and waiting for the time to be ripe for him to leave.

Here’s a slightly edited (by Sutello) version of the memo sent to NewsWorks staffers:

Well, as things will do when you try to keep secrets around journalists, word got out today that Tony Auth, the Pultizer- (and every other award) winning cartoonist at the Inquirer is leaving the paper as part of this round of layoffs/buyouts.

And he’s coming here, to serve as “digital artist in residence” for NewsWorks and WHYY.

This is an enormous coup for us, and it has already generated buzz. My phone is ringing every few minutes with reporters seeking comment.

We got a grant from the Skelton Harrison Foundation to support the initiative, which came in Friday.

I was just working on details of the deal with Tony and folks upstairs when that pesky Romenesko broke the news today.

To clarify, Tony will NOT be doing political cartoons, at least on national topics, for us. He’ll continue to do three of those a week for the Universal Syndicate.

He’s coming here to have adventures and experiments in digital story-telling that he never could at Philly.com.

We will sometimes send him out on stories with you guys just as we would our videographers and photographers … and the Web slideshow with your story would be his drawings, rather than a video or slideshow.

He’ll do his own audio slideshows to tell stories.

He’ll do observational and slice of life drawings.

And he’ll be avaibable to do illustrations to stories and essays where appropriate.

I can also see him doing cartoons on local issues, where the take is non-partisan.

Probably the very best idea for how to use his enormous skills has not occurred to any of us, because it will emerge from the process of doing what we do.

What you should know is that Tony is very, very excited to be coming here, because he senses in our newsroom and in all of you the kind of energy and passion to be great that used to hum through 400 N. Broad back in the papers’ glory days.

Chris

* Inquirer: Tony Auth leaving Inquirer after 40 years
* NewsWorks: Tony Auth coming to NewsWorks
* “I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to move on”

Richard Berke

A Washington Post staffer tells me that the “newsroom is abuzz” over a “wild rumor” that New York Times assistant managing editor Richard Berke was offered the managing editor position at the Post and that he turned it down. I’ve confirmed that’s true. One of the Post’s ME slots has been vacant since Raju Narisetti jumped to the Wall Street Journal.

“A local blogger kept criticizing our copy editing — so I hired him,” writes Daily Iowan editor Adam Sullivan. “Instead of getting salty that a blogger was promoting our mistakes, I emailed him and offered him a job as the associate copy editor. He accepted and will start in two weeks.”

I asked Sullivan about his decision to hire Zachery Tilley. He replied:

The associate copy editor position is new. We have a copy chief in place and the managing editors and I copy edit each page, but errors are still slipping through. I’ve seen his critiques on Twitter just for the last few weeks.

Tilley tells Romenesko readers in an email:

The thought of getting a job at the DI had never crossed my mind while I was pointing out the errors. I intended to put together a weekly collection of DI errors on my blog (all in fun, mostly), but 16 hours after the first installment I had a job offer.

It took me absolutely by surprise, but I was happy to take the job. In the end, I don’t think I was cut out for Internet trolling anyway.

* A blogger kept criticizing our copy editing — so I hired him
* Tilley’s “This Week in the Daily Iowan”

Photo: Nancy Guenther Chapman

From the Daily New Canaan:

[Steve] Soboroff has collected 15 typewriters that were owned by famous people, including Ernest Hemingway, Joe DiMaggio, John Lennon, George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams and Jack London. “It’s such a personal connection, and they’re so one of a kind,” he said.

He occasionally loans them to museums to raise money for journalism students, so he doesn’t feel bad about beating out CBS [for Andy Rooney's typewriter].

Tony Auth

Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist Tony Auth is leaving the Philadelphia Inquirer after 40 years. “Tony Auth’s name might be more synonymous with the Inquirer than perhaps any journalist we’ve had,” says executive editor Stan Wischnowski. “You don’t replace somebody like that, you don’t replace a legend.” Philly’s CBS affiliate reports Auth is headed to “a non-profit website associated with public radio,” which sounds like WHYY’s Newsworks.org. (Former Inquirer op-ed editor Chris Satullo is the executive director of news there.) I’ve asked Auth to tell Romenesko readers more about his move.
* Cartoonist Tony Auth leaving Philadelphia Inquirer

A tipster who asks to be identified as “a person close to Patch” sends this report:

In New Jersey, Patch has made the decision to consolidate its Eatontown-Tinton Falls Patch with its Long Branch Patch.

The duties of covering this new “Super Patch” will fall into the able hands of Local Editor Christopher Sheldon. He’s a good journalist, but he’s faced with a potentially impossible task. (I should mention that I do not share the popular opinion that Patch employs nothing but inept or inexperienced journalists. During my tenure there, I saw more good than bad.)

His coverage area will now be over 30 square miles. It will include two universities, three high schools, the site of a former military base now facing redevelopment and four separate municipal governments, planning boards, zoning boards and school boards. This task stands in stark contrast to Patch’s original mission of over-serving a small, local market.

Patch has also made the decision to not make full-time hires for recent vacancies, instead paying contractors to do the full-time job of a Local Editor.

Patch spokesperson Janine Iamunno tells Romenesko readers:

The decision to consolidate some Patch sites was based on feedback from both employees and our users – not driven by HQ – and will actually help us cover our communities more effectively, and better support our local businesses. Our LE Chris Sheldon is part of a great team in place and is well-supported in his effort to cover his community.

The full-time hires line is actually not accurate at all. You can see from our Patch jobs page that we have a number of editorial hires open (local editors and regional editors alike).

Meanwhile, Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson reports this morning that Patch is letting “many” sales people go due to “underperformance.”

* Philadelphia Daily News & Inquirer “likely to be sold, possibly in a matter of hours,” writes Will Bunch. (Philadelphia Daily News)
* Cornell prof discusses his new book about the New York Times. (Cornell Daily Sun)
* Forbes Media is looking to refinance a $50 million loan that comes due in July. (New York Post)
* Conde Nast’s Self magazine spends mid six figures to develop and market new online workout game. (New York Times)
* AP wins $25,000 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting for “NYPD Intelligence Division.” (See tweets) (@JFKJrForum)
* Nicholas Thompson leaves the New Yorker to run NewYorker.com. (Capital New York)
* Why ESPN columnist Gregg Easterbrook didn’t blow the whistle on high school football injury bounties: (Forbes)