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Daily Archives: May 23, 2012

Sports Business Daily’s Eric Fisher and John Ourand report in a subscription-required story:

USA Today Sports Media Group has enacted a significant restructuring of its editorial roster that has resulted in the departures of about a dozen veteran staffers of the media outlet, including sports business and media writer Michael McCarthy and “Game On” blogger Tom Weir. Company officials declined to say how many staffers overall were affected in the move.

* Layoffs in USA Today sports department (Sherman Report)

It’s that time of year when college students get a chance to rate their professors. As an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was always amused by students’ assessments of my classroom performance. For example, the brown-nosers always seemed to be the most critical of my teaching, while the students who seemed bored to death in class were the most appreciative. (I was able to identify most of the students through their handwriting. I suspect pens are no longer used in classrooms.) Fashion-related comments always made me laugh, too. (I was marked down.)

On Facebook, I asked journalism profs to share what students wrote about them in year-end evaluations. Some of the responses:

Dawn Fallik, University of Delaware
This was my favorite so far. “I would say to future students that Professor Fallik is a straight shooter, but she is incredibly fun and a great professor to take. If you want a professor who blows smoke up your butt and makes your mistakes sound not that bad, take another professor; If you want to learn how to write a good news article while still having a good time, take Prof. Fallik. Also, don’t say “Who’s Bruce Springsteen?'; You might just kill her, and that would be horrible!”

Erica Palan, adjunct, Temple University
‎”Sometimes, it felt like she was judging my writing.”

Daniel Shumski, adjunct, Medill
“Dan is the kind of teacher you eventually end up really appreciating.”

Dan Kennedy, assistant professor, Northeastern University
“The only thing I learned is that he is anal about spelling names and will drop your grade unnecessarily for one misspelling.”

Henry Kisor
The only one I can remember is the young lady who said I had a “potty mouth in class.” What a load of shit.

Rebecca Green, adjunct, Huntington University
I got one a couple of years ago from my neediest student, who demanded (and received) the most of my time saying I was inaccessible. Sigh. Since I’m an adjunct instructor working full-time as a daily news reporter, I was particularly aggravated by her response, since I gave her A LOT of my time.

Richard Feyrer
I once gave a quiz after giving the students the answers first. When many still got some answers wrong, I repeated the process, and one still got one wrong. That person complained when he got an F that he should have received partial credit for those he got correct and asked for a B. He complained to my boss when I denied his request.

Jonathan Stefonek
After my first semester as a T.A. I was able to bond with my former professor. She wrote down her first evaluation comment for me: “She’s nice but she wheres old close.”

Jayson Peters
Never read them. They were not shy about saying what they had to my face. I was in over my head and they knew it.

Any other journalism instructors care to tell us what students think of their teaching? Let’s hear from students, too!

* January 2011: Days named Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor

Philadelphia Daily News editor Larry Platt says he’s leaving the paper after just a year and a half. “I never looked at this gig as a long-term play for me,” he tells his staff.

Larry Platt

“I have long loved the Daily News, and I was jazzed by the challenge of being a change-agent, of remaking the publication that I grew up poring over. And, boy, did we embark on some change: a redesign, a new focus for both news and features, an entirely new product, SportsWeek, a new content management system. It often feels like the last year and a half has been nothing but change, some of them wrenching.”

Two emails to the staff are after the jump. Read More

“The Oregon Daily Emerald’s 92-year streak as a Monday-to-Friday newspaper will end soon,” the University of Oregon publication tells readers. (That’s its new logo on the left.)

“Yes, we confront the same challenges as every American newspaper, but this is not a move made out of financial desperation. The Emerald, as a nonprofit company, is having its best year financially in more than a decade. We have no debt and a solid reserve fund.”

* A new model for college media

“We’re all horribly embarrassed” by this typo in Saturday’s Register Citizen, says Emily Olson, managing editor of the Torrington, CT-based newspaper.

“It’s something that happens when we don’t have enough people working here and we’re in a hurry and slammed by nine publications coming out of here at one time. It just slipped through, and ultimately it was my fault because I’m the last one to check the pages.”

On Friday night, a staff of five at the Journal Register-owned paper sent out 127 pages for three JRC properties.

“On Friday, it’s a hurry-up-and-get-it-done mentality because we have deadlines on top of each other,” says Olson.

“The sports editor came in [after the typo was spotted] and was certain that he was going to lose his job… [but] it was just one of those horrible comedy of errors that makes us hang our heads. We used to have a system where we had a lot more eyes on pages and that system is gone.”

UPDATE: Journal Register Co. Connecticut Group editor Matt DeRienzo sends this email:

Jim,

Re: your story about the “shits” headline.

I know it was probably too easy for you to resist blaming this on downsized newsrooms, but the fact is that the size of the sports staff in Torrington hasn’t changed in at least the past 10 years. And their process hasn’t changed. This could have happened back then, too.

Emily Olson (a saint who has kept that place running under a huge personal workload and innovated at the same time) who is absolutely right about the crush of pages they’re dealing with on the news side, but this happened on the other side of the room under a process that really has nothing to do with that.

Also, we haven’t downsized copy editors in Torrington, so it should not be characterized that we’ve put people out of work there. We’ve launched new products in the past few years, so it’s absolutely true there is a bigger workload for the copy editors we do have.

There are lots of problems associated with this transition period we’re in, still juggling print production while charging into the digital present, including not enough attention to improving the quality of writing.

But letting “shits” through in a headline is not one of those problems.

Matt DeRienzo
Connecticut Group Editor, Journal Register Company

“Causing some quirked brows today in North Carolina,” writes a Romenesko reader.

* KKK plans rally in North Iredell (Statesville, NC Record and Landmark)

Dave Parro

Dave Parro, who once worked for Sun-Times Media newspapers as a reporter and editor, is now communications director at Aurora University and he’s encouraging other journalists to “sell out” and jump to PR.

His reasons why they should:

* You still get to tell great stories.
* You get to shape the story.
* You get to be an advocate.
* You still get to regularly learn something new.
* You don’t have the emotional baggage.
* You get to be optimistic.
* You still have constant deadlines.
* You understand what makes a great story.

He elaborates on these points in this PR Daily post, “Eight reasons journalists should consider PR.”

Did you “sell out”? Tell us about the experience in comments.

McClatchy vice president of news Anders Gyllenhaal tells employees that “after more than a year of experiments and analysis on pay models, McClatchy newspapers will begin a robust test of a pay plan that looks like the right balance for our websites.” He writes:

We’ve learned that many light online users are unlikely to become subscribers — but that our loyal print and online customers are willing to sign up in exchange for a multi-media subscription that would include the print edition, web, smart phones and the e-edition. Above all, we found that the impact of placing a clear value on our content is among the most important messages we can send as part of this transition.

The full memo is after the jump: Read More

The Press of Atlantic City says this Philadelphia Daily News headline on its story about two Canadian tourists being stabbed to death in Atlantic City was over the top.

A “Tourist Death Trap”?

Please.

In words our fellow journalists who designed Tuesday’s front page at the Philadelphia Daily News might use:
Yo, Philly. Stick it.

Newspapers, of course, have an obligation to report the news, even and especially when the news is painful and distressing. And The Press of Atlantic City did not shy away from reporting this story in the newspaper and online.

But our brethren at the Daily News were over the top – and irresponsible.

The Daily News’ casinos blogger agrees. Chuck Darrow writes:

Monday’s brutal and random stabbing deaths of two Canadian women in the heart of midtown are being played nationwide (if not worldwide) as just another day in Hell East. A perfect example is the Daily News’ Tuesday front page, which is dominated by the headline, “TOURIST DEATH TRAP.”

This is simply unfair. There is absolutely nothing in this tragedy that identifies it as an only-an-AyCee event.

The Press of Atlantic City is encouraging readers to email Daily News editor Larry Platt to let him know how they feel. (I’ve asked Platt how many emails he’s received and what he thinks about the Press’s editorial.)

UPDATE: Platt sends this note —

I’ve received 18 emails, most of which make very valid points. I’ve committed to running every one that is reasoned and civil. (The one calling me an “A-hole” won’t get in — there’s no new news there).

Seriously, I thought the PoAC editorial was well-done. We went for a clever line, playing off the “Tourist Trap” cliché, and I understand the anger in reaction, which is why I want to make sure we give voice to those who are offended.

* Horrific headline about horrific crime was over the top (Press of Atlantic City)
* Earlier: Platt tells his staff that “we’re going to be pushing boundaries” (Pastebin.com)

A @BreakingNews tweet made reference to “Obama bin Laden” This followed:

Followers’ reaction: No worries.