Daily Archives: March 15, 2012

I asked Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley about slipping “Doonesbury” into his strip today after editors declined to publish it in the comics section. Here’s what he tells Romenesko readers:

The March 15th “Doonesbury” cartoon was something of an orphan at The Salt Lake Tribune until I decided to adopt it. An editor determined at the last moment that the “I thee rape” panel was too radioactive for the funny pages—which it probably was. Still, the strip should have been published somewhere in the Tribune. As an artist I understand the artist’s side in these things, and deleting a strip from the series is like lopping off the arms of the Venus de Milo. Even without the arms, Venus is still pretty cool, but who wouldn’t want to see Venus fully armed? It’s all of a piece and deserves to be seen as originally intended.

'Chubby guy with fish lips'

I don’t think there was anything nefarious about pulling the Doonesbury strip from the comics, but it was clumsy. I just picked up the fumble and ran with it. Believe me, if management was four-square against the strip it wouldn’t have been allowed in my cartoon on the editorial page. I think they were relieved to have it find a home outside of the comics section.

It also gave me another opportunity to ding the very Republican Utah Legislature. The chubby guy with fish lips is my generic Utah legislator and the hot tubbing refers to a recent Republican majority leader of the Utah House of Representatives who confessed to the assembled legislature to having hot tubbed nude with a 15-year-old girl. They gave him a standing ovation.

Liz Heron is leaving her New York Times Social Media Editor post to become Director, Social Media and Engagement for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. “In this pivotal role, Liz will lead a growing team that will be ever more focused on deepening the engagement we have with existing readers globally, as well as expanding our audiences, both on our own platforms as well as in social media,” says Digital Network managing editor Raju Narisetti. Read his memo after the jump.

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Illustration: Hawk Krall

1) Home solar is the wave of the future
2) Eating local will save the earth
3) Portland’s hybrid-car habit will solve our carbon woes
4) Home ownership: Your best investment
5) Hands-free cellphones make multi-tasking effortless

Philadelphia-based artist Hawk Krall tells a litle bit about his Willamette Weekly cover and “Dr. Know” in a blog post.

* Dr. Know: Lies my newspaper told me

Romenesko reader Jack Dew writes: “That Google aggregation robot either hates ‘The Hunger Games’ or books. Or both. I’ve attached a screen shot from 1:15(ish) on Thursday, March 15.”

By the way, Lawrence’s quote in the feature begins this way: “The books hold up a terrible kind of mirror…”

Lynne Marek at Crain’s reports the dismissed employees include reporters, editors and managers. Several staffers left the newsroom last month after accepting the paper’s buyout. || I’d appreciate any memos/information (names and positions) from Tribune people. (You won’t be named, of course.) Send emails to
* Chicago Tribune cuts 15 journalists
* Tribune story: 15 newsroom staffers let go

The Wisconsin State Journal reports:

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Wednesday his office is considering whether to file a felony charge against a political cartoonist who reproduced the letterhead of state Rep. Steve Nass on a phony press release sent to a Madison newspaper. …

The news release and story stated that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson were joining Nass in pressuring the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to purge its archives of posters from last year’s state Capitol protests.

Here’s Capital Times editorial cartoonist Mike Konopacki’s fake release, which was posted briefly on his paper’s website.

Konopacki says the Cap Times suspended him for six weeks for his prank.

* DA considers charges against cartoonist who sent fake news release

* Madison Capital Times fooled by its editorial cartoonist’s phony story

Doug Gibson, opinion editor at the Standard-Examiner in Odgen, UT, writes: “Do you know about this? We’ve received more than 7,000 of the same letter [about “Doonesbury”] in past 24 hours. …I’m still getting about 100 an hour.”

UPDATE: Bill Reader sent me the PDF of an “astro-turf” letters to the editor study he did a few years ago, and I’ve posted the “Discussion” section after the jump. Reader writes: “The pretty blatant [‘Doonesbury’] astroturf of the Center for Reproductive Rights takes a page right out of the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign. Seems ‘fake grass roots’ is a shady tactic that spans the ideological spectrum.”

Question for opinion/letters editors: How many of these form letters have you received?
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Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski sent this email after reading Wednesday’s “I’m giving you until 10 a.m….” post about Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle’s email to DNC’s spokesman.

From GRAEME ZIELINSKI: This mook did the same thing to me, sending the email when I was on the road in the final push for our recall elections. I didn’t get it til after Mass, but that didn’t stop him from writing this outrageous screed where he published all his “When did you stop beating your wife?” questions.

It’s m.o. for these groups-they’ll call at 10:30 p.m. at night and leave messages, and then write leeringly about how we were “refusing to answer questions,’ or whatever.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Matthew Boyle
Date: Sat, Aug 6, 2011 at 5:18 PM
Subject: Your note to Wisconsin Reporter?
To: Graeme Zielinski

Matthew Boyle


Wanted to check in with you on a couple questions about the note you wrote to Wisconsin Reporter’s M.D. Kittle. I’m thinking of writing a piece on it. Here’s what they wrote:

First, when you explained how you and your activists contact news outlets and publishers and the Capitol press pool, is this a standard procedure that the Wisconsin Democratic Party uses to discredit people? Have you ever done this before? Have ever threatened to do it before? Do you plan to move forward with it this time?

What specifically do you want the Wisconsin Reporter to do?

Also, what specifically are you referring to about the quote from the day before (in graphs 2 and 3 of your email)? Can you point me in the direction of what you’re alleging Kittle did and provide me with the full context of the quote/conversation on the matter?

You also explain how you believe what the Wisconsin Reporter does is “not balance,” adding that “Merely because you claim balance does not make it so.” Can you point to news outlets you think are balanced (in Wisconsin and nationally)?

My deadline is tomorrow (Sunday) at noon ET. You guys are CT, right? So, that would 11 a.m. CT.

Thanks so much!

The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia has received notice from Philadelphia Media Network that the Inquirer/Daily News/ owner plans to lay off 19 union members on March 31. The Guild reports those targeted for layoff are: Two full-time Inquirer reporters, three part-time Inquirer reporters, four part-time Inquirer copy editors, one part-time Inquirer artist, one full-time Daily News reporter, one part-time Daily News reporter, three part-time Daily News copy editors, one part-time Daily News desk assistant, one Daily News part-time editorial clerk. and two part-time multi-media content producers.

The union’s letter to members is after the jump.

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Jim Hopkins has reported on his Gannett Blog that editorial employees at some Gannett papers have been told to reapply for their jobs. Arizona Republic publisher John Zidich tells Phoenix Business Journal that his staffers haven’t been told to do that.
* Arizona Republic employees don’t have to reapply for their jobs