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Daily Archives: May 8, 2012

My late afternoon tweet:

The snark that followed:

I’ll point out that Journatic, which recently got investment money from Tribune Co., is paying veteran editors and reporters $12 an hour; Wired is looking for journalists who are just starting their careers.

* Wired magazine editorial fellowships available

UPDATE:

* Frank Rich talks about “Veep,” his new HBO program. (PR Newser)
* Toronto Star once thought Ernest Hemingway was “too big for his britches.” (Toronto Star | (Hemingway columns)
* New class of University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Fellows comes from GQ, WaPo, BBC, Bloomberg TV, other news orgs. (MNFellows.org)
* Fox News extends contract of political news anchor Bret Baier. (New York Times)
* Manhattan DA refuses to disclose contacts with Fox News or Roger Ailes. (Gawker)
* Ongo — a newspaper industry (NYT, WP, Gannett) effort to create a pan-media subscription system — is folding. (NiemanLab.org)
* Dan Mitchell: “If forced-sharing apps fail, publishers will move on to some other obnoxious, clueless, desperate tactic.” (SF Weekly)
* James Wolcott on the comedowns of Oprah, Olbermann, Conan, Cowell and others. (Vanity Fair)

TRANSCRIPT:

Would you believe it? My name is actually Bill O’Reilly, but I had to change it to W J O’Reilly so I could have an identity online.

W J O'Reilly (former Bill O'Reilly)

Speaking of the other Bill O’Reilly, I don’t think you could find two more different people, philosophically, than the two of us. But we share the same name. That’s kind of mystical and weird to me.

When I was a little kid, my name was Billy, which has an endearing sort of ring to it. When I reached puberty, I became Bill, which coincidentally is my father’s name. Sometimes people would call the house and ask for Bill and there was always some confusion about it. So, when it comes right down to it, my name has given me great enjoyment — as Billy, then a pretty good dose of confusion when I became Bill — and finally, when this other Bill O’Reilly was roaring up in the media business, well, let’s say my name didn’t even belong to me anymore. I’m happy for W J O’Reilly, though; he knows who he is and he has a meaningful and positive place in the world.

* Follow W J O’Reilly on Twitter

Wendy Ruderman

Wendy Ruderman, who won the 2010 investigative reporting Pulitzer for exposing a rogue police narcotics squad, is leaving the Philadelphia Daily News to join the New York Times as police bureau chief. She tells Gail Shister that the Daily News is “rudderless” and that the journalists there should be looking for new jobs. “If they’re not, it’s kind of stupid,” she adds.

Morale couldn’t get any worse. Nobody tells us anything. We’ve been through this before, but for the first time, it feels real. It’s scary.

Former Daily News colleague Dave Davies says of Ruderman:

She works around the clock. She has a sixth sense for discerning hidden motivations. She’s a great interviewer who understands how to use confidential sources and mine public records. And she is completely, utterly relentless.

* Ruderman on why she’s leaving the Daily News (Phillymag.com)
* New York Times signs a Pulitzer star (newsworks.org)

Our ’70s Week continues with this excerpt from a May 1975 [More] journalism review feature:

HOW TO BECOME A ROCK CRITIC IN 7 EASY LESSONS
By Deanne Stillman

1. ISOLATING THE PRIMARY FACTS
Just as college journalism students learn the comprehensive “Five-W” lead, the rock journalist must learn the multifaceted “Two-W, One-H” lead, which swiftly dispenses with at least one of the following crucial queries: Where were you when you received the record album? What were you doing when you received it? How many times have you listened to it?

2. CREATING A VIVID SCENARIO
Occasionally the setting of your story will overshadow the rock star about whom you are writing. When this occurs, you will most likely be on assignment in the state of California, covering an important rock concert, interviewing a rock personality on tour, or assessing a onetime rock star’s attempt to make a comeback. As you write your review, remember that an exact and vivid word picture of the magnificent California geography will draw immediate reader response. For example:

The searing California sun turned a brighter orange as it set slowly behind the mountainous moustache of David Crosby. — Robert Smith, Crawdaddy

3. THE FUNCTION OF VOICE
Readers of rock criticism like to know exactly who is reviewing their favorite musician. As a rock critic, you will have ample opportunity to let the reader know you. For example, during your career you will often find yourself inside the very hotel room of a particular rock personality. If mentioned in or near the beginning of the review, this interlude will subtly establish your credentials by implying that you may have actually watched Alice Cooper apply his mascara, snorted the cocaine of Iggy Pop or shared a bottle of Ripple with a famous blind blues singer.

Shifting his wooden leg on the Holiday Inn bed and reaching for his fifth of whiskey, Furry Lewis eyed the cans of beer in the plastic wastebasket that had been packed with ice and pressed into service as a cooler. — Walter Dawson, Rolling Stone

4. VARIETY THROUGH COLLOQUIALISM
Rock criticism that displays a sense of history is always popular. Many reviewers make sure to color their criticism with stylistic references to the early days of rock culture, flavoring their prose with a dramatic mixture of street slang and New Journalism. Originated by critic R. Meltzer, this type of review bears a particular hippie-to-hippie tone that is important in preventing outsiders from understanding it. Here, for example, is R. Meltzer demonstrating “Meltzer Prose” for The Village Voice in a review titled “Doodoo Plus Weewee Equals Haha”:

In the spring of ’67 early ancient primordial days of the rock crit bandwagon as critters up at Crawdad Magazine always knew there was still one place to go after freebie feelers for any stuff in town had been summarily nipped in the bud: just take our asses over to the Cafe au Go-Go for the Mothers’ nitely whatsit and they always let us in without much complaint even tho we never reviewed em even a paragraph worth.

5. EMPHASIS THROUGH REPETITION
Often, an important point can be made most effectively by repeating certain key words and adjectives. In rock criticism, the culinary lexicon is a never-ending source of inspiration, enabling you to repeatedly stress the oral nature of rock and roll. Do not submit a review for publication without at least one conjugation of the infinitive “to cook,” or several variations thereof (synonyms such as “to brew,” “to sizzle,” or “to smoke.”) Types of food should be mentioned for added emphasis, particularly if you possess a singular knowledge of soul food.

Rod Stewart may have been at his essential best … with that high pressure cooking band, The Faces. — Jan Holdenfield, New York Post

6. STYLE WITH PUNCH
Many rock groups engage in such onstage activities as the smashing of guitars and amplifiers, and mock murders and mutilations. Hence, it is often difficult to avoid the subject of violence in a rock review. While piecing together your critical composition, you will undoubtedly discover that the musical emphasis on destruction has forced you to bend and twist your language to describe it. Be inventive and follow your impulses. Bear in mind that specially created hypenated adjectives and military hyperbole add sparkle and punch to rock violence.

With twin guitars hammering out catchy mondo-distorto riffs and bass and drums amiably bringing up the rear, Kiss spews forth a deceptively controlled type of thunderous hysteria closely akin to the sound once popularized by the German panzer tank division. — Ed Naha, Rolling Stone

7. BUILDING A VOCABULARY
The creative rock critic will want to pepper his or her reviews with words and phrases that demonstrate thorough knowledge of the rock world. Let the reader know, for example, if the subject of your review has “paid a lot of dues.” Let the reader know if the music in question has “classical roots.” (It is not necessary to name the source of the roots.) Mentioning the make of the guitar, as in “Fender Stratocaster” or “Chet Atkins Gretsch,” lends resonance to any review. Refer at least once to the rock group as an “aggregate.”

(c) Deanne Stillman

* Earlier: Journalists’ attribution definitions from 1975

The best quotes from Cheezburger Network founder Ben Huh’s chat with Nieman Journalism Lab:

1. “It pains me to see that journalism isn’t rethinking everything from scratch. For me, I’m looking at content from scratch.”

2. “The reason Cheezburger does not pay its users for content is that if we do, it isn’t fun any more. And we’d much rather spend our money creating a platform that’s for fun than cutting people a 25-cent check every six months. That’s just not what we’re interested in doing.”

3. “This thing called objectivity is B.S. We are being subjective merely by deciding what to cover and what we decide not to cover.”

4. “I think The Atlantic is trying to be high integrity yet push the envelope. I think The Daily Beast is trying to push the envelope, and figure out where they stand.”

5. “I actually think the best journalism comes from people who are blogging part-time. They don’t have an agenda other than finding the truth.”

* Ben Huh says news orgs should think like teens if they want to survive
* Earlier: Huh provides optimistic insight for future of journalism

The author of “the best journalism job ad ever” has a new job.

Matt Doig

Matt Doig is leaving the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to become director of investigations at Newsday.

In March of 2011, he wrote a job ad that went viral. Doig said the journalist he was looking for to join the Herald-Tribune’s investigative team has “cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.” (Read the full ad here.)

Here’s this morning’s Herald-Tribune memo announcing Doig’s new job:

Connelly, Mike
Date: May 8, 2012 8:45:43 AM EDT
Subject: Matt Doig’s next job

I have sad news: Matt Doig is leaving the Herald-Tribune to be director of investigations at Newsday.

With Matt, Newsday gets a rare set of talents. He is a terrific investigative reporter. He has been a Pulitzer finalist twice – in local reporting for Broken Trust and in investigative reporting for flipping fraud – as well as having won assorted national awards from IRE, Scripps-Howard and ASNE. He is an exceptional writer; between investigations, Matt has often done what were essentially magazine pieces – the Esdale story, the Walker murders and Mary Catherine Hampton. And he has been a great collaborator – often with Chris Davis, of course, but also with Tiffany Lankes on Broken Trust, Michael Braga on flipping fraud and Anthony Cormier on Unfit for Duty.

I have heard Matt say several times that when he started in the Charlotte bureau 11 years ago, he expected to be at the Herald-Tribune for a few years then return to Miami, where he grew up. It has been great for our readers, our journalism and our newsroom that we have been able to keep him for so long.

Matt’s last day will be June 1. I have already begun searching for his successor. If you know someone we should consider, please let me know. Meanwhile, details tk on a proper send-off for Doig.

UPDATE: I asked Doig if he wanted to tell Romenesko readers about his job change. Here’s what he sent:

I’ve been spoiled for the last decade by some of the finest people a journalist could hope to work with. Back when I was still a rookie here, my editor, Chris Davis, told me to stop covering my beat so I could chase my first investigative project. Our former EE, Janet Coates, had the bright idea to stick Chris and I together to form the paper’s first Iteam. Mike Connelly came in after Janet and, during an era of cut backs, kept telling us that our next project should be more ambitious than the last. I always had access to talented colleagues who made me look smarter than I actually am. And the person at the center of our journalism universe, Diane McFarlin, is simply the best publisher in the country. These are some of my favorite people on the planet, and everything I’ve been able to accomplish is due in large part to them.

It was going to take something special to lure me away from what I feel is one of the best jobs in journalism. And frankly, I was skeptical about Newsday when I left for the interview and ready to adopt a bad attitude the moment I heard someone pitch the need for quick, weak, half-assed, pseudo-investigations. But it was just the opposite. The place is dripping with ambition. Deb Henley and Rich Rosen were salivating as we talked potential projects. And they have legit investigative talent already in the building, including Sandra Peddie, who won the Goldsmith Award not too long ago. So when Deb and Rich said they wanted me doing for them what I was able to do in Sarasota, it seemed like a perfect opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.

Anybody interested in my soon-to-be-vacant job should contact Mike Connelly, who will be posting his own — much more G-Rated — job ad sometime soon.

Naomi Riley

The Chronicle of Higher Education says it now agrees with the “several thousand of you [who] spoke out in outrage and disappointment that The Chronicle had published an article that did not conform to the journalistic standards and civil tone that you expect from us,” and has dismissed the writer, Naomi Schaefer Riley.

She wrote in her April 30 Brainstorm blog post that the most persuasive case for eliminating black studies departments was reading the dissertations written by black studies grad students. “What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap,” she wrote. “The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them.” (Here is the Chronicle piece that she was commenting on.)

If these young scholars are the future of the discipline, I think they can just as well leave their calendars at 1963 and let some legitimate scholars find solutions to the problems of blacks in America. Solutions that don’t begin and end with blame the white man.

The Chronicle says the blog post did not meet the publication’s “basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. As a result, we have asked Ms. Riley to leave the Brainstorm blog.”

* A Note to Readers (Chronicle.com)
* The most persuasive case for eliminating black studies: read the dissertations (Chronicle.com)
* Black studies, Part 2: A response to my critics | Riley and her respondents (Chronicle.com)
* Why Riley should have never opened her mouth (Clutch)
* Rod Dreher: White lady can’t say that (Read the comments) (American Conservative)