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Daily Archives: May 18, 2012

A WSJ.com post this morning credited “Engadget’s Matt Honen” for this story. The problem: His name is spelled Mat Honan and he works for Gizmodo.

The Journal’s website eventually got it straightened out (sort of; more on that below). [Romenesko's disclosure: I had to correct the spellings of three names this week and was responsible for other screw-ups here too.]

HONAN’S TWEETS, FOLLOWED BY WSJ.COM’S CORRECTION:

Honan tells Romenesko readers:

I actually found it tremendously funny. I’m used to people misspelling my first name, but that was epic.

Oh, and while maybe it’s mean to point this out, the correction itself remains factually incorrect. (It was first AND last name).

UPDATE FROM HONAN: “Justice, at last. Thanks, @WSJ.”

* Mort Honen? Mach Homan? Mark Harmon? Math Hone-In? (WSJ.com)
* Article credited wrong publication and misspelled author’s first name (Emptyage.com)
* Honan has fun with this fiasco on his Twitter page

New York Times letters page editor Thomas Feyer’s advice to readers hoping to get a letter published in the paper: “Write well, be succinct, include an engaging personal story.”

Glynnis MacNicol writes:

While Feyer isn’t sure who has written the greatest number of letters since he took over the desk over a decade ago — he noted one especially determined 96-year-old man who writes him “almost every day … it’s like calisthenics for some people” — he recently provided a list of his top submitters to The New Yorker for a story, but “hasn’t heard back.”

* Secrets of the Times Op-Ed Pages revealed! (Capital New York)

Chicago Reader press critic Michael Miner says his late brother-in-law John McIlwraith‘s NPR commentaries — heard on “All Things Considered” between 1990 and 2001 — “were as faithful to the facts as they needed to be” but “I never supposed these stories were entirely true.”

Kind of like David Sedaris’s?

Miner says of the brouhaha over Sedaris’s essays:

David Sedaris


I suggest that journalism’s increased vehemence about drawing and enforcing such lines, even against narrators like Sedaris who don’t claim to be journalists, reflects serious insecurity. Truth is in short supply. The public seems to expect it less, demand it less, and value it less. Throw out the most blatant nonsense these days and people who would like it to be true will tell themselves that it might be true and soon be certain it is. Yet whenever journalists make a mistake, everyone jumps all over us. So journalism — self-righteously, petulantly, and feeling more than a little sorry for itself — makes a show of policing its ranks.

Back to McIlwraith: His editor at NPR was Margaret Low Smith — now the radio network’s senior vice president for news — “and she was interested only in time constraints and the quality of the writing,” says McIlwraith’s wife. “She did occasionally suggest that she assumed all these commentaries were accurate but she, very wisely, never pushed it.”

* On David Sedaris, John McIlwraith and NPR monologues (Chicago Reader)
* Remembering “All Things Considered” commentator John McIlwraith (NPR.org)

An interesting exchange on the Jhistory listserv:

From: Jim Leonhirth

Traffic on Jhistory has been rather light for many months, and I have been curious about that since we seem to be in the midst of something of a defining moment in print journalism history. As one of my professors
once observed, discussing history when you are in the midst of the events is premature, but as I talk in my classes about the development of print journalism standards and practices, I often feel like I am discussing the age of dinosaurs.

While the pending “death of newspapers” has been discussed at least for several decades as each new communication technology emerged, is print journalism now actually in the coffin with “curation,” “aggregation,” “repurposed content,” and “search engine optimization” among the nails holding the lid shut?

A RESPONSE FROM JAY ROSEN:

From: Jay Rosen

I don’t think it’s that print journalism is in the coffin, Jim. What’s in the coffin is the premise that journalism can be usefully classified and understood by the means of production employed to distribute it, such as…”print.” In fact, the whole idea of “print journalism” and of organizing J-school instruction around platforms was weak to start with, barely a concept at all, sort of the minimal viable ideation. But we couldn’t see it so well at the time because production and distribution of the product were difficult, expensive and decisive in organizing professional work. Now production is far simpler, distribution is a click and what’s decisive in organizing work is the niche you have, not the platform you learned.

However, many of the skills, attitudes and arts that we cluelessly bundled into our concept of “print journalism” are not only still around but thriving: like long form narrative, real reporting, accountability journalism, news you can use, beat reporting and so on. In no possible sense are those things “in the coffin” just because aggregation thrives and SEO is something you need to know about. What’s in the coffin is the container: print journalism. Printing itself remains important, and a revenue generator. But the newspaper company that is still organized around that act of production is the company whose stock you should short.

bullshit

What are they saying about this at the Rayne (LA) Independent?

“We’re very disappointed in it,” says Steve Bandy, general manager of the 3,600-circulation weekly.

The reporter responsible for it — a man in his 30s (“old enough to know better,” says Bandy) who has been at the paper for less than a year — “is very apologetic and very upset.”

“He just tacked it on to the end of the story and meant to change it after getting the stats. He forgot about it and turned in the story.”

The general manager says two other Independent staffers looked at the “10 or 12 inch story” before it went to press, but didn’t notice the “bullshit and laziness” line.

“One said, ‘I’m not really interested in sports and didn’t read the whole thing.” (Many Independent readers apparently didn’t get to the last sentence; Bandy says the paper only got a few calls about it.)

Will the reporter be disciplined?

“I’d rather not go into that,” says the GM.

UPDATE: Reporter Kade Seibold lost his job over this.

“It not fun right now,” Kade Seibold says in a phone interview one day after he was fired for his “bullshit and laziness” line. “I was writing the article and I was beginning to get frustrated because I didn’t have the proper information to write it that’s no excuse. I was wrong, but I think the punishment is very stiff.” (He correctly points out that others at the paper should have caught the passage.)

Seibold, 32, says he told the coach yesterday that he was sorry.

“She actually laughed at it and accepted my apology.”

He adds: “The community isn’t upset. … I was in the process of getting fired yesterday when someone called the newspaper office and said, ‘I want to congratulate who wrote that article because what he said was right.”

Seibold, who joined the Independent last August, is hoping to get his job back and “get a chance to redeem myself.”

* Check out more classic images on the JimRomenesko.com Pinterest page

* Washington Times editors knew of Arnaud de Borchgrave’s apparent plagiarism for months, but let him continue. (Salon.com)
* New Republic owner comes up with TNR Reader idea; it recommends long reads from around the web. (Adweek)
* Warren Buffett: Media General papers “doing OK, to varying degrees” and will do even better “when we get our people in there.” (Omaha.com)
* Marion Barry is looking for a communications director. (Washington Post)
* The New Yorker could have a smartphone app available before Labor Day. (3rd column item) (New York Post)
* Facebook’s appeal to investors is its ability to hook users. (Los Angeles Times)
* Joe Ricketts to DNAInfo staff: “My personal politics should have absolutely no impact on your work” as objective journalists. (Capital New York)
* Attorneys to court: Don’t give copyright troll Righthaven a break. (VegasInc.com)