Daily Archives: April 2, 2012

* American Society of News Editors announces awards for 2011’s best journalism. (
* Robert Redford to produce “All the President’s Men Revisited,” a two-hour Discovery Channel documentary. (New York Times)
* Jonathan Eig’s ambitious Chicago sports website partners with Time Out. (Time Out Chicago)
* One-click online payment system using Facebook & Twitter could boost Internet sales for newspapers. (
* Alexander Russo takes issue with Paul Farhi’s AJR piece on education reporting. (Scholastic Administrator)
* Over 300 publications now using Press+ to launch paid models. (
* Remnick: “I don’t much love the talk of ‘brand’ & ‘brand managers’ – I prefer ‘the magazine’ & ‘editors.'” (
* Many magazines are racing to capitalize on Pinterest. (

Earlier today I asked editors at the Puget Sound Business Journal if they had anything to say about being fooled by Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant, which put out a press release touting chowder vending machines with incredible Jetsons-era features. Editor George Erb sends this response:

We figure the story was online between 20 and 25 minutes.

How did we discover that we were duped? Give some credit to Curt Woodward, a former Associated Press reporter who is now a senior editor at Xconomy, the online news site for tech and life sciences. I had paused to tweet out some
of our online stories, and saw Woodward’s tweet expressing skepticism about our Ivar’s post. I called up our story, and realized almost immediately that we had fallen for a hoax. Ivar’s has a history of April Fool’s marketing
pranks. Plus, the press release was billed as an advancer for an announcement two days later, on Sunday — April 1. That really set off the alarm bells. We pulled down the post as fast as we could.

No question, we fell for an old-fashioned April Fool’s joke, with embarrassing results. We should have approached the Ivar’s press release with greater skepticism, and done more to double check the facts. Yes, critical thinking matters. It was an important lesson for us.

By the way, I often walk to Ivar’s takeout window for lunch. The restaurant taught us a hard lesson, but I still like their fish and chips.

* Seattle business paper fooled by chowder kiosks story

Editors at Boston University’s Daily Free Press said on Sunday that “your dreams will come true” with today’s April Fool’s issue.

Instead, the “Disney Free Press” is a nightmare for the young journalists and they promise a letter to readers in Tuesday’s paper to explain “the callous decisions we made.” (They’ve already apologized.)

One critic contends the April Fool’s edition “perpetuates rape culture on campus.” Read what others are saying about today’s Daily/Disney Free Press.

Update: Daily Free Press editor resigns over the issue.

Letter to Romenesko

From ROBERT STRUCKMAN, AFL-CIO editorial and speech writer: As a former reporter at the Missoulian and the Billings Gazette (both wonderful jobs with great people) I have a special vantage from which to consider Lee Enterprises. I’m glad you drew attention to the layoff-and-bonus bullshit last week. In my own minor way, I did the same, posting a piece on my blog. Over the weekend, I felt compelled to add more, because the chain’s anti-employee policies go much deeper than most of us usually feel comfortable speaking about. Well, I thought hard about it, and I posted another item that includes the story of the day my editor—Mike McInally of the Missoulian and now a Lee publisher—threatened to fire me for talking to people about forming a union at the Missoulian. It’s a serious charge, and one I don’t make lightly. If you’re interested, you can read the piece here.

NOTE: I’ve invited McInally to comment. He’s now publisher and editor at Lee’s Corvallis Gazette-Times.

[On Friday, the Lee-owned North County Times informed Escondido city officials that the paper will be laying off 56 employees.]

Warren Buffett, who bought the Omaha World-Herald last December, performed with his secretary at Saturday night’s annual Omaha Press Club Show. The billionaire sang “I’m Only a Paperboy” to the tune of “It’s Only a Paper Moon.”

* Buffett and secretary take center state at Press Club show
* Earlier: How World-Herald staffers learned that Buffett was buying their paper

The Washington Post today announced the formation of The Washington Post News Media Services, which combines The Washington Post Writers Group and The Washington Post News Service with Bloomberg News. This new syndication organization now includes content from Slate, The Root and Foreign Policy. The release is after the jump.

Read More

Can the Houston Chronicle find a society writer who doesn’t moonlight as a sex worker and publish a sex blog on the side?

It hasn’t had much luck with that in recent years.

We all know about Sarah Tressler, the stripper who was outed by the Houston Press and then fired by the Chronicle for not disclosing her side job. But there hasn’t been a lot said about former society writer Douglas Britt, who was also fired by the Hearst-owned paper in late 2011, after editors learned about his Devon the Escort’s Diary blog and his crystal meth addiction.

After Tressler’s side job was exposed on March 26, Britt — he now goes by Devon Britt-Darby — wrote on his blog that “I guess now’s as good a time to emerge from relative seclusion and say that things are going well — better than I’d hoped, in fact” in his post-Chronicle days.

As for the Tressler matter, he wrote that “the way the story’s playing presents her with a golden opportunity …[and] ‘shut up on the web’ would be precisely the wrong life lesson to draw from this. A better one: Grow up, everybody. Talk about the sanctity of journalism is cheap coming from an outlet that rarely commits it.”

* Scolding the stripper

Paul Smalera makes several good points in his piece, including these:

Paul Smalera

* “It’s unfair for any old-media advocate to say that the revenue model for media (or any industry moving toward digital) is broken.”

* “Newspapers are in a bad spot [because] they have been trapped in a terrible mindset that they are in the business of selling newspapers. The leap from paper to digital may be vast, but to newspaper publishers, it seemed like vaulting to a different business entirely, one they were loathe to get into.”

* “The information an audience wants is now a company’s most important asset and the one that needs the most investment and care. In other words, the fear that the online media represent the death knell of serious reporting is 180 degrees from reality.”

* The recession killed journalism — and saved it

Paul Goldberger

Paul Goldberger, who left the New York Times to become New Yorker architecture critic in 1997, is now joining Vanity Fair. “This is an appointment that thrills me profoundly,” VF editor Graydon Carter says in a release. “Paul is about as gifted a commentator on architecture, urban planning, and design as anyone you’re going to find these days—in other words, he’s just a brilliant writer.” || New York Observer: The end of architecture criticism at The New Yorker? || The press release is after the jump.

Read More

A Romenesko reader who asks to remain anonymous writes:

The Puget Sound Business Journal got caught with a slightly early April Fool’s joke when it churned out this bit of credulous press-release republishing about a local seafood chain, Ivar’s, debuting custom clam-chowder kiosks. (Attached PDF [text posted below], the pulled the link after Twitter followers called it out). Seems slightly ridiculous on its face, and then you get to the part about them being made by “Piscine Technology Enterprises,” a goofy name that doesn’t pop up on Google. So apparently, they didn’t even check that.

HOWEVER: This is even more egregious than normal because the founder of this restaurant, the late Ivar Haglund, was famous for pulling pranks as media stunts, often successfully. The company continues to do this all the time. The Seattle Times got duped into it a couple of years ago, writing about a system of “underwater billboards” with only the faintest hint of skepticism.


Here’s the column that the Puget Sound Business Journal pulled after being told it was a hoax. (I’ve asked the paper to comment.)

Ivar’s unveiling futuristic custom chowder kiosks

Date: Friday, March 30, 2012, 4:36pm PDT
Glenn Drosendahl/Contributing Writer – Puget Sound Business Journal

Ivar’s Seafood Restaurants are about to go where not even their visionary namesake founder might have imagined. The Seattle-based group soon will be rolling out custom chowder-making kiosks.

The kiosks resemble hot beverage vending machines, but serve only chowder.

The potential varieties, however, are almost endless.

The machines offer white, red or Cajun-style brown roux bases as a starting point. Then come possible add-ins — at least 20 kinds of smoked or non-smoked seafood, more than 100 “flavor accents,” and optional boosts of clam nectar, Omega-3 or even an espresso shot.

Flavorings mentioned in a press release include coconut, capers, bacon, blue cheese, wasabi and habanero essence.

Once the customer is done making choices – including serving sizes from 8 to 48 ounces — the mixing and dispensing is expected to take less than 20 seconds, with the final concoction pouring into a biodegradable cup or a bread bowl.

“This is dispensing technology unprecedented in the market for hot chowders,” Ivar’s Director of Marketing Kirsten Wlashchin in a statement.

But wait, there’s more. During that 20-second wait for the chowder, a voice will relay nutritional values. And the kiosks will allow users to upload their chowder selections directly from the touch screen to social media websites.

The kiosks were developed by Piscine Technology Enterprises. They will debut in April inside several Puget Sound area Ivar’s locations, and are likely to pop up later at event venues, stadiums and office buildings.

Somewhere the late Ivar Haglund, who founded the group in 1938, is smiling and no doubt advising people to “keep clam.”

GLENN DROSENDAHL blogs about restaurants, chefs and food for the Puget Sound Business Journal. Email: | Twitter: GDrose