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Daily Archives: April 26, 2012

Nearly four months ago, the Ottawa Citizen’s Zev Singer accused artist Michel Luc Bellemare of fabricating his resume and asked: “Did he really think he could build a career on deception?” Singer added that Bellemare’s biggest sin in the art world probably isn’t fabrication, but that “his paintings have been met with boredom.”

Michel Luc Bellemare

In recent days, the artist has been posting an apology and retraction on various sites on behalf of the Citizen — “due to the factual inaccuracies and general malicious tone of the article, which included the plagiarism of Mr. Bellemare’s images against the artist’s wishes and various misquotes and slandering inaccuracies throughout.”

I asked both men about their spat. So far only reporter Singer has responded:

I did tweet about it last night.

I will mention that he posted this fictional retraction of his not just to one site but to a bunch of different sites. I got them taken down as of this morning, but it’s been a few hours now and I haven’t gone back yet for the next round of whack-a-mole.

Bellemare is certainly one of a kind.

* The Artful Dodger
* The Artful Dodger (Retraction by Ottawa Citizen)

What a former Newsday staffer says: “Stories are held for months at a time, killed or watered down because the leaders cannot make a decision or are scared of aggressive reporting. They talk about watchdog reporting but they suppress such stories because of fear about getting complaints. And the subjects of those stories can call and get a piece held or killed.”

What Newsday PR says: “We are declining to comment on these groundless assertions that appear to originate from a small number of disgruntled employees. Newsday has long been respected for its straightforward, independent reporting on behalf of the people of Long Island.”

I’d like hear what current and former Newsday staffers have to say about this lengthy Long Island Press cover story.

* Newsday muzzled under Cablevision control, insiders charge

The deceased

“This has gotten more comments than anything we’ve ever posted, including news stories, although we’ve only had commenting for about six months,” Tom Muchmore, editor of the 10,000-circulation Ponca City (OK) News says of the obituary below. He tells me that in recent days the obit is the first thing people mention when they run into him around town. “They say it was honest.” He adds that “we don’t run too many amusing obits — we’re not like the New Orleans paper. The Times-Picayune has run quite a few over the years.”

* Death notice for Joshua Micheal McMahan
* Earlier: The story behind “the most bad-assed obit ever”
* Earlier: Woman is survived by a son who broke her heart

“I get that anything different in media is worth fretting over. Or laughing at,” Journatic CEO Brian Timpone wrote me this morning after I emailed him about comments he made on Mathew Ingram’s Google+ page.

Brian Timpone

Here’s what he wrote to Ingram:

Journatic is precisely the opposite of a “content farm,” if Demand Media is the definition of one.

Our work, all public as that is the point, would tell you as much.

Not that any journalist (“some”) making such a casual pejorative characterization bothered to look (or ask) to see it. They didn’t ask Tribune or any of our (many) other media clients– “can I see what Journatic produces for you?”

To be sure, we’ve been producing news for media companies for several years. We produce whole newspaper sections for some of them. There’s a track record– a very long one– and it is all public, if not brashly labeled “Journatic.”

We also don’t pay “$2-4 per story.” An inquiring mind might ask– “how on earth is that possible,” or, maybe more logically, “maybe they are paying $2-4 for the writing of something that isn’t a story, so what is it?”

Haven’t had a journalist ask that yet, either. Will wait by the phone.

I told Timpone that I laughed when I read his complaint about journalists not asking about Journatic, because just days ago it was reported that his company was paying employees $50 to snitch on reporters who were asking questions about Journatic. He didn’t address that point, but he did suggest that I “look at what we actually deliver for Tribune and our other clients, then tell me whether it is better than what we replaced, or not. The first edition of ‘our’ Triblocal came out today.”

* Journatic CEO responds to post on Mathew Ingram Google+ page
* Earlier: Chicago Tribune outsources hyperlocal news to Journatic

Kent State journalism professor Karl Idsvoog had students in his computer-assisted reporting class examine the car policies of several college athletic departments. They found a Central Michigan University document that tells coaches how to communicate with car dealers. (Coaches there get free cars.)

Employees with cars … must call, email and write a thank you note to the dealer every four months; have “personal contact” with their dealer every six months; and “provide dealer with gear from your program once per year.”

How coaches should treat car dealers, according to Central Michigan University:

* Cars for Coaches (A Kent State journalism class investigation)

Letter to Romenesko

From BRUCE LAMBERT, retired New York Times reporter: The Wednesday (4/25) Wall Street Journal’s Greater New York section carried a long feature with 6 photos on a celebrity gala honoring Bill Cunningham, the legendary New York Times photographer of fashion and philanthropic and society events.

It was a gracious recognition from a competing paper.

Except…nowhere did the article acknowledge that Cunningham’s employer and the publisher of his work is The Times.

Tickets to Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference are sold out (they were $1,599 apiece), but one techie is willing to do a lot to get a ticket. He writes on his Craigslist ad:

I’m willin [sic] to legally change my name to yours in order to buy your ticket. To sweeten the deal I will perform the following duties on your behalf for one year:
- Jury duty
- DMV license/registration
- Any of your court ordered community service up to 40 hours
- Visit your senile grandfather once a month
If your name happens to be Jebodiah there is an extra $500 bonus.

* “I will legally change my name to yours for a WWDC ticket”

* Rupert Murdoch portrays himself as a Mr. Magoo-like powerless broker. (New York Times)
* Murdoch at inquiry: “I failed, and I am very sorry about it.” (Washington Post)
* Vogue’s flattering profile of Assad’s wife disappears from the web. (Washington Post)
* Bay Guardian founder: “Publishing is hard now, advertising is not easy.” (SFGate.com)
* Brian Williams: I don’t cover my eyes during my daughter’s sex scenes on HBO’s “Girls.” (Vulture.com)
* Northwestern University in Qatar is set to graduate its first journalism class. (Gulfnews.com)
* High school editor believes her staff handled paper’s sex issue “very maturely.” (New Canaan Patch)
* Mayor wants audit of Tulsa World news stories, but is concerned about “a bunch of lawyers” from the paper getting involved. (Tulsa World)