Daily Archives: May 1, 2012

I’ve invited comment from executive editor Rick Sayers. (UPDATE: As of 9:15 p.m. ET he hasn’t responded. I guess he wants to forget about it and move on.)

Claudia Townsend joined the Washington Post from the Washington Star in 1981.

She started as an editor on Metro, and served as city editor, metropolitan editor and deputy metropolitan editor. She joined The Post’s Editorial Board in 2000, then returned to the newsroom as Financial’s day editor in late 2002.

After that she worked as director of newsroom operations and, most recently, on the National desk. I’m told that she’s leaving the business. I’ve invited her to comment (Check your WaPo email, Claudia.)

The memo is after the jump. Read More

“Editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees,” writes Virginian-Pilot editorial writer Michelle Washington. “Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims?”

[The two reporters’] story has not, until today, appeared in this paper. The responding officer coded the incident as a simple assault, despite their assertions that at least 30 people had participated in the attack. A reporter making routine checks of police reports would see “simple assault” and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it.

I’ve invited editor Denis Finley to comment the paper’s editorial decision. (I just received an out-of-office reply from Finley. I’ve now emailed managing editor Maria Carrillo.)

UPDATE: Here is the managing editor’s response:

As Shelly noted in her column, we handled this situation as if it involved any two people in our community. Police, at this point, still have it officially listed as a “simple assault.” It has not been determined that this was a hate crime. It’s beyond ludicrous for folks to assume that we would not report on this to protect those who attacked our reporters.

* A beating at Church and Brambleton

In a memo to employees, Rupert Murdoch says of the UK Parliament panel’s phone hacking report: “I recognize that for all of us – myself in particular – it is difficult to read many of the report’s findings. But we have done the most difficult part, which has been to take a long, hard and honest look at our past mistakes. There is no easy way around this, but I am proud to say that we have been working hard to put things right.”

The full memo is after the jump:
Read More

* Virginian-Pilot reporters attacked, cop pretty much shrugs his shoulders. (Virginian-Pilot)
* Philly Daily News columnist: Was that my parking record the mayor’s press secretary was tweeting about? (
* Media critic wants Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter fired for his tweets. (Beachwood Reporter)
* Newspaper Guild protests Denver Post decision to lay off two-thirds of copy-editing staff. (Westword)
* Finalists for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists are announced. (Livingston Awards)
* Washington Post quietly starts charging for “Today’s Paper” feature. (Washington Post)
* Christian Science Monitor editor: “You might wonder if we are a model for the rest of the news industry. Yes and no.” (Christian Science Monitor)
* NYT points out the top five newspapers remained unchanged from the last circulation report. (New York Times)

I wrote a few weeks ago about Westboro Baptist Church representatives being booked to talk to journalism classes at Central Michigan University.

So how did that go?

Westboro Baptist Church protester (earlier event)

“The Westboro presentation became contentious and occasionally degenerated into a shouting match and dueling Bible verses, but overall it went well,” CMU journalism professor Tim Boudreau tells Romenesko readers. “The church members spoke their minds, but my students also exercised their rights to question, challenge, debate and condemn.”

Boudreau, who invited the so-called “God Hates Fags” group into his classrooms, writes in an email:

The WBC visitors illustrated nicely that folks who test the limits of free expression are sometimes prickly, abrasive and unpopular. They’re not always heroes in the traditional sense.

I doubt they won over any disciples during their visit. In fact, several students said they were even more hostile to the group after hearing them refer to mainstream churches as “whorehouses” and to all priests as pedophiles. And while some students said Westboro’s speech goes too far and should be restricted, most reluctantly agreed that it still deserves First Amendment protection.

They talked knowledgeably about things we had discussed in class, such as time, place and manner restrictions. They also argued persuasively that no matter how, when or where they delivered their message, people would still condemn them because of its content. However hateful and wrong-headed they might be, they appear to be sincere in their beliefs.

We had about a dozen protesters outside the auditorium, but there were no incidents. This was the only day of the semester when I actually had to turn people away from class.

Some students debated our guests one-on-one after the presentations, and still others treated them like rock stars, taking their pictures with them. An atheist student asked Shirley [Phelps-Roper] to autograph his Bible (she signed his law text instead), and another had her autograph his Village People album. You might see that on eBay soon.

* “Most hated family in America” returns to Central Michigan University
* Students react harshly to rhetoric of Westboro Baptist Church
* Video and audio “may contain content that is inappropriate or offensive”

I don’t think the author of this piece is very familiar with the TV legend, either. Barbara Walter?

* Inside the Reddit AMA: the interview revolution that has everyone talking
* Paul Krugman is scheduled to do an AMA this afternoon

A New York Times release says the paper saw strong circulation growth for the six-month period ending March 31, 2012, with total average circulation (print and digital) of 1,586,757 for Monday–Friday and 2,003,247 for Sunday.

The gains in total average circulation over the same period one year ago were 73% for Monday-Friday and 50% for Sunday. These gains can largely be attributed to the popularity of The Times’s digital subscription packages, which launched in the United States on March 28, 2011 and also to new ABC rules on reporting digital circulation.

* Average circulation at the top 25 U.S. newspapers

The Times release is after the jump.
Read More

Massimo Pulcini

Temple University journalism student Massimo Pulcini, 21, was arrested on drug charges Sunday night after police found marijuana in his house while investigating a home invasion.’s Morgan Zalot took a light approach to the story: “Insert jokes about journalists having to take side jobs to pay the bills here,” she wrote, adding: “Don’t worry, Pulcini, getting nabbed for having weed probably won’t affect your chances of getting a job in journalism — mostly because there are no jobs in journalism.”

That prompted one of my Twitter followers to tweet: “It’s SO cute and clever when people with jobs in journalism say there are no jobs in journalism.” One of Pulcini’s acquaintances wasn’t laughing about the bust, either. He tweeted: “You only arrest the guy in the house bc ur embarrassed that ur rent-a-bike-cop’s can’t find three armed men on foot.”

Pulcini says on his Twitter page that he’s a “Philadelphia journalist, photographer, and musician. Love to talk sports and music. I try to find those bands/artists you’ve never heard of yet.”

* Student pinched on drug charges after home invasion
* “The future is a bright one for this son of a gun”