Daily Archives: March 22, 2012

“You are one of several CNC contributors who did not sign a release of rights at the time we published your work,” says a letter recently sent to some Chicago News Cooperative writers. “Though you were paid for your work at the time, we neglected to collect the appropriate paperwork. This oversight now is holding up payment to both freelance and salaried CNC colleagues who were owed money when we suspended operations a month ago.

“In exchange for your help in this matter, you will receive a check for $100. The Sun-Times will take this amount from the sum they are paying to help us cover our obligations and liquidate the Cooperative in an orderly fashion.” (Robert Feder reported yesterday that the Sun-Times is expected to take over CNC’s digital archives.) A former CNC writer tells Romenesko readers:

Everything anybody needs to know about the leadership of the Chicago News Cooperative — its exquisite combination of presumptuousness and incompetence — can be found in this email, and its contemptuous offer of $100 to help quickly clean up the mess of its own making.

Read the full letter from CNC managing editor David Greising after the jump. (I’ve sent him a comment invitation.) Read More

From W. LAWRENCE WINTER, American Press Institute President/Executive Director, 1987-2003: As one of Romenesko’s readers reported today, one of America’s longest-serving and most impactful journalism organizations is set to die tomorrow. Quietly. Without fanfare. Without the sendoff it has earned.

The media executives who oversee it have decided that the American Press Institute has outlived its usefulness. They’ve fired the entire staff. They’re abandoning the Institute’s historic Marcel Breuer building in Reston, Virginia. Under the guise of a “merger” with the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) Foundation, API is simply disappearing.

Let’s be honest. This is not a merger. This is a takeover. And, from the ashes of API may someday rise a new NAA training organization of some kind, featuring, probably, Internet-based learning activities. But whatever it is, it will not be API.

The brainchild of Providence Journal Publisher Sevellon Brown, API opened in 1946 in rented space on the campus of Columbia University in New York City. From the start, the Institute attracted newspapering’s best and brightest as discussion leaders, board members and seminar attendees.

The operating principle was staightforward: There was to be no “API way” of doing things. Rather, the Institute welcomed as seminar members newspaper women and men from throughout the country and around the world, and brought in as guest discussion leaders a stream of leading figures from media, management consulting, business boardrooms and the academy. All those “DLs” were given a simple charge: Challenge the attendees; shower them with great ideas, with best practices; send them home energized, inspired and ready to do great things. Discussion leaders typically spent dozens of hours preparing for each three-hour session, critiquing the attendees’ newspapers, noting strengths and challenging inferior work./CONTINUES Read More

DONALD GRAHAM: “I met Mark in January 2005, which you can think of as two months after the movie [The Social Network]. …I listened for twenty minutes and I said, This is the best business idea I’ve heard in a long time, and I’ve watched him and listened to him ever since. He’s just one of these extraordinary once-in-every-ten-year people.”

* Washington Post Co. chairman Donald Graham on today’s “Kojo Nnamdi Show”

A Romenesko reader sends this dispatch:

Jim: Feel free to use this, though without attribution.

Though The Associated Press traces its linage back to 1848, today’s organization really started 52 years later following the dissolution of The Associated Press of Illinois when the then-owners didn’t like a ruling by that state’s Supreme Court. The modern A.P. as a true cooperative was established in New York State in 1900.

For more than 112 years, the top executive at The A.P. (through the mid-1980s called “general manager” and more recently “president and chief executive”) was a journalist by trade, with virtually every one of them having worked as a street reporter and most having started as a newspaper reporter before joining the wire service.

With the selection of Gary Pruitt, that chain has been broken.


*1900-1921 — Melville Elijah Stone; reporter and founder, Chicago Daily News.

*1921-1925 — Frederick Roy Martin; editor, Providence Journal.

*1925-1948 — Kent Cooper; A.P. reporter.

*1948-1962 — Frank Starzel; Iowa newspaper reporter; A.P. reporter.

*1962-1976 — Wes Gallagher; Louisiana newspaper reporter; A.P. reporter.

*1976-1984 — Keith Fuller; Texas newspaper reporter; A.P. bureau chief.

*1984-2003 — Louis D. Boccardi; New York newspaper reporter; A.P. exec. editor.

*2003-2012 — Thomas Curley; Pennsylvania newspaper reporter; Gannett editor.

*2012-? — Gary Pruitt; California lawyer, longtime executive with McClatchy.

About 250 copies of the Georgia State University’s student newspaper were trashed last week, apparently by some students who didn’t like The Signal’s frat/sorority hazing investigation. Signal editor Miranda Sain writes:

There was one argument that I found very disturbing and that I felt needed to be immediately addressed. Some students argued that because student fee money was used to pay for the printing, the students had the right to throw away the newspapers. Since the printing of the newspapers was funded by student money, no theft occurred, because the newspapers were property of the students.

A distinction needs to be made clear here. There is a monumental difference between throwing away one newspaper versus throwing out 250.

* Georgia State papers disappear after coverage of hazing
* Greek investigation || Do away with all proof
* Letter from the editor about stealing newspapers

It was announced in January that the American Press Institute (API) is merging with the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) Foundation. Here’s the latest on that from a Romenesko reader:

I just wanted to make sure you were updated on the API/NAA merger.

Friday is the last working day for all current API employees. They’re all being laid off.

Some are being brought back for temp/project work, but otherwise, NAA is just taking all of API’s money and absorbing it into its foundation. It will also be selling the landmark building, which many, many of your readers are familiar with.

They’re all under non-disclosure agreements as part of their severance, as you can imagine, so I’m not really sure who you would reach out to.

From what I understand, NAA’s board would like, long-term, to convert all of NAA into the 501(c)3 structure and that the merger was part of that.

I passed this along to NAA’s Marina Hendricks and asked for comment a few hours ago. I’ll post her response when/if it comes in.

UPDATE: NAA president and CEO Caroline Little sends this statement:

API and the NAA Foundation have a number of overlapping directors and the boards contemplated this for some time, particularly because API was losing significant amounts of money over a period of years and the schoolhouse approach that so many of us were trained in had not been successful in recent years.

The boards approved the merger at the end of January. We have not made a determination on the future of the building and are considering our options.

It is NAA’s policy not to comment on personnel matters.

Jay Rosen writes:

The Newseum hosted a Breitbart memorial? Don’t you think that’s a little odd?

The Newseum doesn’t. I passed Rosen’s note to spokesman Jonathan Thompson and he replied:

The memorial service was a private rental held at the Newseum. It wasn’t a Newseum event.

* Breitbart’s empire is struggling to maintain its brand
* Can Breitbart’s empire survive without him?

This week, The Onion’s editorial staff in New York City begins its move to Chicago, reports The Atlantic Wire’s John Hudson. He’s told that only 5 of the humor publication’s 16 full-time editorial employees have agreed to make the move.

The editorial staff of America’s funniest fake newspaper has been mounting a stiff resistance, using both the paper’s pages and even some behind-the-scenes dealmaking to find a new owner that would let them stay in Manhattan. And the surviving editorial team is preparing to do without the holdouts.

* The Onion’s bumpy ride to Chicago

Steve Buckley

A Boston Globe staffer tells me that this “Ask the Handyman” question is from Boston Herald sports columnist Steve Buckley, who came out in a column 14 months ago.

Q. My partner and I are getting married this year. I’d like to make him something special and personal. I found some simple plans for an Adirondack chair. The twist is that we both love baseball, so I was going to make it out of wood baseball bats. Would I need to put any special preservative on the bats?

STEVE BUCKLEY, in Hotton’s chat room

I’ve asked Buckley to confirm that and share details about his upcoming wedding.


Hey Jim — It’s not me. Were I to be walking the aisle, I wouldn’t be announcing it via a handyman question in the Globe. :)

Thanks for asking. I’ve been answering this question all morning…

* Can he make an Adirondack chair from baseball bats?