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Daily Archives: April 3, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reminded its staff today to avoid partisan political activities, including “passing out buttons, posting partisan comments on social-networking sites, tweeting, blogging, soliciting campaign contributions, hosting a fundraiser for a partisan candidate, as well as making a financial contribution to a candidate’s campaign.”

From: Tanouye, Elyse
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 4:00 PM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Cc: Conti, Jason
Subject: Politics reminder

April 3, 2012

All:
With the contest for the U.S. presidential nomination in full swing, we wanted to remind everyone that the Dow Jones Code of Conduct includes specific restrictions on partisan political activities by members of the news staff.

It continues to be our position that news staffers cannot, under the Code, contribute to campaigns for national or statewide office or for local offices where candidates are affiliated with national parties, participate in partisan political activities or publish partisan comments. Partisan political activity includes passing out buttons, posting partisan comments on social-networking sites, tweeting, blogging, soliciting campaign contributions, hosting a fundraiser for a partisan candidate, as well as making a financial contribution to a candidate’s campaign. Individual financial contributions to candidates for national office are reported by their campaigns to the Federal Election Commission, and it is a fact of life that these contributions are regularly the subject of news articles that raise questions of whether a news organization covering an election can be fair when one or more of its journalists have contributed money to campaigns.

While these restrictions do not expressly apply to an employee’s spouse, significant other, or family members, all news personnel and members of senior management with any responsibility for news should avoid the appearance of bias. For example, if both an editor’s name and a spouse’s appear on their checking account, they should consider whether a contribution to a campaign would be reported as a contribution by both, and not just by the spouse.

The code doesn’t prohibit employees from actively participating in or making financial contributions to non-partisan causes, although their affiliation with Dow Jones shouldn’t be reported by such groups, except as provided in the Code of Conduct.

Regards,

Elyse Tanouye and Karen Pensiero, Wall Street Journal

Neal Lipschutz, Dow Jones Newswires

Starting April 16, University of California, Berkeley’s Daily Californian will be printed on larger paper with more color — and the changes are expected to save the struggling news operation $10,000 annually. “The arrangement will modestly decrease our approximately $200,000 annual deficit,” writes editor-in-chief Tomer Ovadia. (I’ve invited him to tell Romenesko readers more.)

The San Francisco Business Times reports:

Unless the University of California, Berkeley student organization ASUC votes for a funding initiative to help the paper, which is widely read by Cal students, the Daily Cal will likely have to cut some days out of its press run to save more money.

U.C. Berkeley students vote this month on whether to pay a student fee to help the paper. The Daily Cal would get about $93,000 a year for five years if the measure passes.

UPDATE: Editor Ovadia tells Romenesko readers: “Because printing represent a sizable portion of our expenses, we often revisit our printing arrangement in search of cost savings and better alternatives. In doing so this year, we saw what other printing presses had to offer in terms of pricing and capabilities before renegotiating our arrangement with our existing printer. That led to a deal that would save about $10,000 annually while simultaneously improving the quality of our paper. We had a similar cost-saving deal several years ago, but this time around not only are we paying less, we’re also moving to broadsheet and realizing many additional benefits. The overall shift reflects improvements in printing technology and capabilities.”

* Daily Cal to print on bigger and better paper for lower cost
* Financial woes at the Daily Cal (photo from 1979)

Some quotes from New York Times media writer David Carr’s interview with The Verge:

- “I just think that people seem less and less concerned about where their information comes from at a time when I think they should be more and more concerned about it.”

David Carr

- “If there are people in my feed who are constantly tweeting out bullshit or self-promotion or promoting what their kids do, then I don’t really care what they think. So I try to keep my feed down to people who sort of know what’s going on. It’s not like I don’t look at RSS still. But what I don’t look at is the web. The web has kind of gone away for me.”

- Regarding NYTimes.com cutting monthly number of free articles to 10 from 20: “I’m not super excited about it, because as I writer I’m always going to be arguing in favor of the greatest available visibility into the ecosystem of news and information. I would have rather had them move on price as opposed to frequency.”

- “WikiLeaks was a new kind of whistle, but I think looking back the historic figure to emerge from all that will be the guy sitting deep inside a federal prison: Bradley Manning.”

* David Carr on curation, crowdsourcing and the future of journalism

University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication is dropping the spelling portion of its spelling and grammar test to “make the exam more relevant” to today’s spell check-using students.

The new exam will consist of two-thirds grammar questions and one-third word choice questions. It will be lengthened to 50 minutes to give students more time to complete the word choice portion of the exam.

There’s a lot of reaction to this on my Facebook wall, as well as in the comments below. “While we’re at it, let’s stop teaching adding, subtracting, and those godawful multiplication tables, writes John Keahey. “We have calculators on our phones and computers, right?”

* Technology renders journalism school’s spelling test obsolete
* “Spelling, of course, still matters,” writes UNC editing professor
* McIntyre: There are more important skills to be tested on than spelling

UPDATE: Here’s the journalism school’s memo (slightly edited) about the test:

From: Roush, Chris
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 12:38 PM
Subject: Story for JOMC website on spelling and grammar exam

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication will change its 37-year-old spelling and grammar exam beginning this fall semester, but one thing is not changing – students will still have to pass the exam to graduate from the School.

The spelling portion of the exam is being replaced by a word usage portion beginning in the fall semester. The grammar portion will remain.

In addition, the time to take the test will expand to 50 minutes from the current 40 minutes. Faculty and staff at the School believe the longer time is warranted because it takes more time to review a sentence for correct word usage than it takes to review a list of four words to determine which one is misspelled.

The exam will be offered during the 2012-13 academic year in Newswriting classes, as well as through Student Records. After 2012-13, the exam will only be available through Student Records.

“We updated our curriculum in 2009, and updating the exam is a natural extension of those changes,” said Chris Roush, senior associate dean. “Word usage is a much more important skill to have given the widespread use of spell check on most computers.”

The exam was first given at the School in 1975 – of the 68 students who took it, 25 passed, or 37 percent – and was featured on the NBC nightly news on Feb. 1, 1975.

The School added a one-hour grammar class to its curriculum three years ago. Currently, approximately 70 percent of students pass the exam the first or second time they take the exam.

The passing grade remains at 70.

* Watch NBC News’s 1975 report on the j-school spelling test

Twenty-six magazines received multiple nominations, led by New York and The New Yorker.

Other titles getting multiple nods: GQ (5), Wired (4), The Atlantic (3), Esquire (3), Harper’s Magazine (3), Real Simple (3), National Geographic (3), TIME (3), Bloomberg Businessweek (3), Virginia Quarterly Review (3), The New York Times Magazine (3), ESPN The Magazine (2), , Field & Stream (2), Garden & Gun (2), Glamour (2), Interview (2), Los Angeles (2), McSweeney’s Quarterly (2), Men’s Health (2), Rolling Stone (2), Texas Monthly (2), Vanity Fair (2), Vogue (2), and W (2).

The winners will be announced on May 3.

* National Magazine Awards finalists announced

A Romenesko reader writes:

Check out the front page of today’s Denver Post. What they’ve done there is interesting for such a major metro paper.

Starting today, the front page is actually the local section, what used to be called “Denver & the West” and the national stuff (the stuff we’ve already read online yesterday) is relegated to the second section, where the local news used to be.

There’s a note to readers on the front page (but I couldn’t find it online) that reads in part, (headline:) “The Denver Post puts metro news first in reordered sections” (and then) … “To Our Readers: We’re making some changes to your Denver Post starting today. You’ll notice that we have reordered the sections. Every day except Sunday, the front page and the first part of section a generally will be devoted to our metro report, what we call Denver & the West. This change is an effort to reflect our continued emphasis on local new, including our business report.” Then there’s more, and it’s signed by editor Greg Moore.

* Here’s the front page of today’s Denver Post via the Newseum
* Press critic: “The reordering strikes me as a smart move”

“DISNEY FREE PRESS” April Fools’ CONTROVERSY FOLLOWUP: The board of directors at Boston University’s Daily Free Press says it asked Chelsea Diana to resign as editor-in-chief because of the “incredibly harmful, tasteless” April Fools’ issue, and she did. Steph Solis, who had been selected to be Fall 2012 editor-in-chief, takes over immediately. The board notes:

Considering the events of this semester and the increasingly vocal, constructive climate of conversation about sexual assault and many other important issues on campus, much of the content of Monday’s issue was incredibly harmful, tasteless and out of line.

* “We cannot apologize sincerely enough,” says board of directors
* Boston University Student Union “disappointed” in Daily Free Press
* Departing editor apologizes “for my horrible and incredibly offensive attempt at satirical humor”
* One story has Alice in Wonderland taking LSD supplied by fraternity brothers

* Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes is live-blogging Sarah Palin’s “Today” show appearance. (Washington Post)
* Cablevision claims Mort Zuckerman is engaging in a campaign of “extortion” to force a merger between NYDN and Newsday. (New York Post)
* Simon Dumenco blasts Gawker’s “New Sheriff of the Internet” post that blasted his new ethical blogging council. (AdAge.com)
* NYU: “The 100 outstanding journalists in the United States in the Last 100 Years.” (NewYorker.com)
* BuzzFeed hires Copyranter, “the world’s most acerbic ad critic.” (Adweek.com)