Daily Archives: June 27, 2012

if whole law is struck down

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a historic decision Thursday, struck down President Barack Obama’s signature legislation commonly known as “Obamacare,” dealing a huge election-year setback to the president and calling into question health-care options for millions of Americans.

if part of the law is struck down

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a historic decision Thursday, struck down part of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation commonly known as “Obamacare,” dealing an election-year setback to the president.

if whole law is upheld

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a historic decision Thursday, upheld President Barack Obama’s signature legislation commonly known as “Obamacare,” handing the president a huge election-year victory — and giving Republican opponent Mitt Romney and other Republicans a target for the rest of the presidential campaign.

The ruling was the high court’s most significant in more than a decade. Millions of Americans eagerly anticipated the news on the law, waiting to see if the health care…


How it appears on Google:

UPDATE: An editor explains what happened in comments.

One of the David Carrs

“At the Times, he began as a grunt on the media beat, but he quickly rose,” Michael Massing writes of New York Times media writer David Carr. “He’s been lionized in a documentary, been interviewed by Aaron Sorkin, and written a column that allows him to mix with the famous and powerful. He’s become, in short, the very type of insider that the hard-hitting David Carr would gleefully expose.”

* The two David Carrs (Columbia Journalism Review)

Letter to Romenesko

From NAME WITHHELD AT HIS REQUEST: I’m a Local Editor at Patch and I’ve found the job to be, at times, cushier than my previous newsroom job at a paper. The compensation is better, benefits better and the job is flat-out more fun, so sometimes I don’t mind if my day runs a bit longer.

On the topic of advertorial content – this is complete and utter B.S. I don’t know what sites in other states are doing, but I, for one, have never run any advertorial content, nor have any of my regional colleagues.

On the topic of seven posts – we haven’t been told that specifically (unless I missed an email somewhere), but that’s always been the norm. We like to start the day with 4-5 items, and then keep the site fresh throughout the day. These aren’t full stories, though. They can be a linkout to an event, a linkout to competition’s coverage, aggregation, photo gallery, user-submission gallery, poll, etc. Easy stuff. If we run a “5 Things You Need to Know Today,” that’s one item already.

Weekend content requirements, to my knowledge, have not changed at all. My weekends are free and clear, so long as I plan ahead. We make sure to post two items ahead of time for weekends and holidays.

On Facebook page “Likes,” I’ve never heard any such requirement. I don’t like to presume, but I would guess this was just a local goal sent by a regional editor of his/her team, not a company directive. Never hurts to aim high.

Comment goals are still 500. Depending on the news climate that month, I sometimes shatter this and sometimes fall short. Nature of the beast.

I had a freelance budget fall from about $2,200 to an average of $0/month now. Still less stressed than I was at a newspaper.

Kevin T. Porter’s “Sorkinisms: A Supercut” video on YouTube shows how Aaron Sorkin recycles his favorite phrases — and chicken-clucking — in his various projects.

“Jaw-dropping,” says’s Geoff Herbert .

“Creepy,” declares “Sports Night” star Josh Charles.

But “Sorkinisms” isn’t supposed to be damning (or creepy), says its creator; instead, it’s “a tribute to the work of Aaron Sorkin: the recycled dialogue, recurring phrases, and familiar plot lines.”

I got Porter on the phone this afternoon and the 22-year-old Los Angeles-based video producer told Romenesko readers:

“I started this project back in 2010, but I started it in my head a long time ago, probably when I was getting into ‘The West Wing’ and ‘Sports Night’ in 2004 or 2005.”

Porter was just 14 at the time.

“The first TV show I really loved was ‘Sports Night.’ My mom bought me the DVD box set when it came out and it was an eye-opening experience.” Young Porter was surprised to see that TV and actors’ dialogue could be so good.

“I remember I used to take the DVD audio and make MP3s and CDs out of them and fall asleep listening to them.

“West Wing” was extra special to Porter because “my first TV crush was Allison Janney.”

The University of Texas Radio-Television-Film graduate says he’s noticed for years that Sorkin has favorite phrases that he recycles. Highlighting them on YouTube wasn’t “an insanely original idea” because “within Aaron Sorkin fandom it’s a known thing.”

He was just the first to document it in one video.

Kevin Porter

“I realized two or three months ago that ‘The Newsroom’ was premiering this summer. That’s when I got my act together” and set a deadline. He wanted “Sorkinisms” online when “The Newsroom” debuted.

Porter finally finished his video on Monday morning — Sorkin’s HBO series aired the night before — and put it on YouTube. It went viral almost instantly.

“I definitely underestimated people’s interest in it,” he says. “I estimated it would get probably a couple of thousand view the first week. But the reaction has been larger than I ever imagined. Did I think the LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, Grantland and the Huffington Post would pick it up? I didn’t.”

“Sorkinisms” has over 287,000 views in just three days. Friends, family and strangers are congratulating him on his fame.

“My dad sent me an email that was just a collection of Sorkinisms. There wasn’t an original word [from his father] in it, but it still made sense.”

And what did he think of “The Newsroom”?

“With all the stuff going on, I haven’t had the opportunity to watch it,” he says.

* Watch “Sorkinisms — A Supercut”
* Kevin Porter on Twitter

Contently sent two writers to Aspen to cover this week’s Aspen Ideas Festival. The Travel Kit they put together for their journalists has all – well, most — of the essentials, including Contently-labeled mini booze bottles. (I would have throw in a few packs of VIA instant coffee.)

“False,” Gawker media writer Hamilton Nolan writes in an email. “I’d never heard that till the NYO published it.”

UPDATE: The Observer’s Kat Stoeffel sends this portion of her gchat interview transcript:

* Denton gives Gawker’s drive-by peanut gallery a promotion (New York Observer)

Jeremy Blachman’s “Portion Control” pokes fun at the editors’ notes that were posted on Jonah Lehrer’s New Yorker “Frontal Cortex” columns after he was caught recycling his work.

“It’s aiming-to-be-funny nonsense more than any sort of judgment,” Blachman tells Romenesko readers. “I enjoy Lehrer’s work tremendously.”

Lehrer’s last New Yorker post is dated June 13, and his Twitter feed has been silent since June 17. This morning I asked New Yorker digital editor Nicholas Thompson: “When is Jonah Lehrer returning to your pages? Has he been suspended.”

“Soon. And no,” he responded in a Twitter DM.

* “Portion Control” by Jeremy Blachman (
* “Frontal Cortex” by Jonah Lehrer (

Yesterday’s post about Patch brought in many comments, Facebook wall posts and emails to me.

Here’s what some Patch employees told me in those emails:


“I saw your piece today ‘Patch puts pressure on local editors’ and a lot of what was said is true,” writes one editor.

Patch wants local editors (LE) to run as many as seven articles on weekdays and three or four on weekends, he says.

“Another thing that has upset LEs is that some Patch sites are running advertorials. The editors have brought up the ethics of running paid content and management does not seem to care much as long as money is coming in. The other problem is that the readers have noticed and aren’t pleased.”


“In addition to all the mandates (which are correct #s by the way), we also have to plan our own marketing events. In some areas that means bringing fishbowls around to local restaurants and practically begging them to display them as a business card raffle. We take the business cards and input everyone into our newsletter system to inflate our subscriber numbers.

“Patch likes to brag about how it hired a ton of people away from traditional newspapers but at this point all of those people are long gone. Not much has been reported on this but in the past few months there has been a mass exodus from Patch countrywide. Some people are leaving without having another plan in place because they’re so disgusted. …The only people left who work for Patch are mostly straight out of college kids who don’t know better.”


“As to the issue of postings, it may be worthwhile to point out that a ‘posting’ in Patchland does not mean that writers are compiling five to seven 15-inch articles.

“Yes, we now have to post five to seven items a day, but each post can be a photo of the day/gallery, or a brief, or a poll. I strategize by having one major feature a day that is well researched and could have run as a full on 15-inch story in a *community* newspaper, with the rest being a combination of photos, briefs, etc. Worthwhile to say, community paper, not major metro daily. So it may be really soft news like an interview with a teacher who won a national award etc.”


This editor says he hasn’t heard mandates about Facebook “Likes” or 1,000 comments a month.

As for the number of posts, he says, the goal is two original stories per day by each local editor, supplemented by three other posts — regional stories, aggregation items, etc.

Patch headquarters “is definitely stepping up its demands, usually on rushed schedules,” he says. Headquarters recently told local editors to quickly produce 25 “Readers’ Choice” stories — nominations for best local pizza joints, bartenders and other categories. There’s also a big push for November election stories to start rolling out.

* Earlier: Patch puts pressure on local editors (

* Some of the many wonderful pieces Nora Ephron wrote for The New Yorker (
* She was a journalist, a blogger, an essayist, a novelist, a playwright, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director (New York Times)
* She modeled her self-deprecating and deadpan writing style on Dorothy Parker (Washington Post)
* Ephron pulled few punches but still had many friends (Capital New York)
* Liz Smith expected to be “taken to the woodshed” over her premature Ephron piece (