Daily Archives: May 29, 2012

Julia Heaberlin tells her story about quitting the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where she was features editor, to reinvent herself as an author: “I wanted out of the frenetic, chasing-my-tail lifestyle of working for a corporation.”

Julia Haeberlin

But “almost as soon as I left the paper, our air conditioner and washing machine died, nipping into our nest egg, the first hint that we were not prepared. Furloughs and pay cuts and the fear of layoffs loomed ahead for my husband, also an editor at the Star-Telegram.”

After many rejections, her novel “Playing Dead” was published today.

My dream was realized, but not at all in the way I expected. The advance was extremely decent for a first-time author, but it is portioned out in seven payments over two years. If you add up all the hours and years and money spent getting to this point, I’m still working at a poverty-level wage. But I’m thankful. Realistic. Calloused from all that rejection, which is not such a bad thing.

Scott Martelle writes about his “old friend and former colleague” Heaberlin and says “the difference between Julie’s writing career and mine is that she made the conscious leap to leave a lifelong career, while I was pushed. But we’re in similar places now. I’ve published three nonfiction books, and still relish the sense of accomplishment, and semi-permanence, that comes with seeing my name in the Library of Congress.”

* Author’s debut mystery novel nearly made her come unraveled (
* A Q-and-A with the author of “Playing Dead” (
* Cheering on an old friend’s new book and re-invented life (

Bassel Al Shahade

Syracuse University graduate student Bassel Al Shahade was killed in Syria Monday while filming attacks against the Syrian people. “As a University community, we must deplore the senseless violence by Syrian government forces that took the life of Bassel, and countless others over these many months,” Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor writes in an email to the university community.

Shahade was a Fulbright Scholar pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Film degree in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. || Tribute pages and more are linked here.

Cantor’s email is after the jump. Read More

Clay Shirky predicts that many of the Media General papers that Warren Buffett just acquired will soon have reduced both print days and their newsroom staff. “His commonsense approach to saving papers won’t work, because there is no longer any commonsense business model for a former monopoly that is still seeing its revenues erode faster than its costs.”

* Warren Buffett’s newspaper purchase (
* No comment from Buffett on Neuharth’s retirement suggestion (4th item) (
* Earlier: Buffett’s letter to editor and publishers (

Henry Copeland

Blogads founder Henry Copeland wrote 10 years ago: “I will wager $1000 that on May 25, 2007 there will be more Blogads than classified ads or that will be using Blogads.”

Copeland writes today: “Good thing [former New York Times digital czar Martin] Nisenholtz didn’t take me up that bet. NYT’s classified business was still going strong… in 2007.”

He adds: “I’m happy to say that many of those May, 2002 forecasts turned out to be correct. Unfortunately, the blog utopia I dreamed about is today polluted with bad writing, spam, barely disguised flogging and naked opportunism.”

* Blogonomics, ten years on (
* Copeland in 2002: Making a living from blogging (
* Is blogging dead? (Solo Practice University)

The Ford Foundation’s two-year, $1.04 million grant to the Los Angeles Times “is a small contribution to editorial excellence, but if it turns out to be part of a larger trend toward supporting newspapers as they move increasingly towards digital delivery, then the prospects for traditional news could take a turn for the better,” writes Peter Osnos.

Meanwhile, Tribune Co.’s Chicago paper is planning to charge online readers premiums for different kinds of content, reports Lynne Marek. “The Tribune’s approach would put a price tag on extra coverage in a particular area, such as sports, entertainment or literary news.”

* Osnos on LAT grant: Is philanthropy journalism’s last hope? (The Atlantic)
* Earlier: Former LAT journalists are struggling, too (The Journalism Shop)
* Chicago Tribune to “creatively” leap over pay wall (Crain’s)

“Newspapers are notoriously resistant to change, particularly when it involves gender,” Gail Shister writes in a column about Philadelphia Inquirer’s newsroom managers.

For a news organization that says it’s all about the future, the Inquirer continues to be stuck in a boys-club mentality from the ’70s. …

Under new ownership (again), the Inky masthead is still dominated by men: Bill Marimow and Bob Hall, brought back as editor and publisher. Newsroom buzz is that former owner Brian Tierney, who drove the papers into bankruptcy, may return as a consultant. The Three B-Boys ride again.

Shister, a former Inquirer TV reporter, wonders about the Philadelphia Daily News’ long-term survival, but says “at the Inky, it’s a safe bet that it will be around for years to come, and that boys will still be calling the shots.”

* Can the Inquirer run on aging testosterone? (

Letter to Romenesko

From STEVEN A. SMITH, former editor of The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA, and now a clinical assistant professor of journalism at the University of Idaho: It is the news out of New Orleans last week (and news out of Denver re: no more copy editors, and so on) that prompts me to write you. I have been reminded of one of my old blog posts, from July 2008. I wrote “Still a Newspaperman” in the middle of a sleepless night after learning from my publisher that after years of cost-cuttting and staff reductions, I still would have to lay off one third of my remaining staff. I resigned two months later.

The post is just a bit of one-take nostalgic romanticism. I know too well that all so-called golden years had decidedly un-golden elements. Furthermore, I don’t make a habit of living in the past. I always tried, still try, to focus on the future. I am quite optimistic about the future of journalism and my journalism students. But there is no future for newspapers and it is not a sin against the new to mourn the old.

In any event, I thought I would send this bit of business (file attached) to you once again. At the time of the post, it generated about 2,000 comments, emails, phone calls and other responses, the most I ever received. Some liked the sentiment. Some were happy to see the old guard go.

The post apparently meant something to a few people then. It means something to me still.


I am still a newspaperman.

For some unexplainable reason, I am compelled to say that tonight.

Something is coming, some turn in the media universe, a turn in the future of my newspaper. A turn that will mean the end of me, of us. There will be reporters. Editors. Something called online producers and multimedia coordinators. Mojos. Slojos and Nojos. Bloggers, froggers and twitters.

But there won’t be newspapermen.

At 58, I am among the last of a dying breed.

And what a breed it was. An American archetype.

A newspaperman was a writer. An author. The true, first voice of history.

A newspaperman chronicled the life of his times on old Remingtons with faded ribbons. A newspaperman wrote on copy paper, one story in one take. If he wanted a copy, he used carbon paper. If it didn’t sing, it was spiked.

A newspaperman edited with pencils and always had a ready stack, freshly sharpened, at the start of every shift. A newspaperman smoked at his desk. And if the managing editor wasn’t paying too much attention, he might steal a drink, too. A newspaperman knew how to eat well and finish off the meal with a stiff drink and a fine cigar — all on the company dime./CONTINUES Read More

Postmedia said Monday that the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal will no longer publish on Sundays, the National Post will stop printing on Mondays through the summer, and jobs will be cut. Here’s the memo from CEO Paul Godfrey:

Sent: May 28, 2012 3:29 PM
To: All Postmedia Network
Subject: A Message from Paul Godfrey – Transformation Update

Since Postmedia Network was formed nearly two years ago, our company and our industry have been undergoing a significant transformation. Changes we have made so far have come from the review of all of our operations so that we can leverage the strengths that we have, address any weaknesses and identify our most competitive areas.

Paul Godfrey

Early on we centralized our finance operations, leveraging our strengths as a large company, and now provide greater service to our markets and to our clients while operating more efficiently. More recently we moved our commodity news requirements out of house having identified that commodity news is an area where we cannot be competitive.

While the changes we have been making are about creating the company we need to be, it also means changing the way we have done many things in the past. While some areas are expanding, some roles across our operations will be eliminated. The only way we can be competitive is to create a new company that leverages its history and moves aggressively into the future./CONTINUES

Read More

Boston’s WBUR tours Globe Lab, “an environment that spurs creativity and innovation.” (
* Local TV stations cut costs by sharing news operations with onetime rivals. (New York Times)
* Forbes editor: There’s rarely anything new in journalism that some great journalist hasn’t already thought about. (Forbes)
* Photoshop gets bashed for altering reality, while Instagram gets a pass. (
* Henry Blodget: J-prof is wrong about my reporter Joe Weisenthal. (Business Insider)
* Media General CEO says he failed to see how the Internet would hurt newspapers. (
* Atlantic Media’s business side staffs up and strategizes. (Capital New York)
* Journatic turns TribLocal into “a worthless piece of garbage.” (Time Out Chicago)
* Cox Media to outsource some ad design and production work, lay off staff. (
* HGTV Magazine – a joint effort of Hearst and Scripps Network Interactive – official hits newsstands today. (

Marina Keegan

Journalist and playwright Marina Keegan, who graduated from Yale last week, died in a car accident on Saturday. She was 22.

Keegan, who had been published in the New York Times, planned to start a job at the New Yorker in June. “She was so excited she was going to start work there — that’s all she talked about,” her mother tells the New York Daily News.

DealBook’s William Alden writes:

A writer with a cleareyed sense of purpose, Ms. Keegan argued in her column in DealBook that college students should try to resist the allure of a high-paying job in finance after graduation. She drew on interviews with her peers, asking them to explain why they were headed to Wall Street. The column, which followed a widely read article she wrote for The Yale Daily News, tapped into a national debate about the financial services industry.

Keegan was a passenger in car driven by her boyfriend. The vehicle drifted off the road and hit the right-side guardrail, said a police press release, then “careened back across the road, crashed into the left-side guardrail and rolled over at least twice” before coming to a rest. The boyfriend was hospitalized and expected to recover.

The Yale Daily News reported: “Keegan’s death reverberated throughout the University, eliciting tributes from friends, professors and other members of the Yale community. Yale College Dean Mary Miller informed members of the Yale College community of the tragedy in a Sunday morning email.”

* Marina Keegan dies in car accident (Yale Daily News)
* “She was just one of those amazing, wise souls,” says her mother (NYDN)
* Student journalist who took on Wall Street dies at 22 (NYT)
* Yale grad made the most of her short life (LAT)
* Read the essay Keegan wrote for Yale Daily News’s graduation edition (YDN)