Daily Archives: July 6, 2012

AP spokesman Paul Colford: “The Associated Press is in close contact with investigators in Mexico City, and they’re telling us the investigation into Armando Montaño’s death remains open.”

UPDATE: Westword hears from Armando Montano’s family that there has been no official declaration yet that the AP intern’s death was accidental. “The Cronica [newspaper] account is wrong, along with several details, including his clothing being caught in the elevator,” Diane Alters, Montaño’s mother, tells Westword. “His clothing did not get caught. The Cronica has caused lots of anguish and confusion for everybody.”
The Mexico attorney general’s office says its preliminary investigation has determined that AP intern Armando Montaño’s clothing got caught in elevator machinery in a building near his apartment, resulting in his death. The journalist’s mother said earlier this week that the AP internship was her son’s dream job.
* AP intern Armando Montano’s death ruled an accident (Westword)
* Earlier: Parents travel to Mexico to seek answers about their only child’s death

Bob Williams, owner of Texas-based Safe Showers, confirms that his ad ran next to the Joe Paterno column in Thursday’s San Antonio Express-News. He didn’t understand what the fuss was when I mentioned it, and after I explained the shower ad/Penn State scandal connection, his only reaction was: “That’s a stretch.”

“There’s something about marrying Erin Andrews with Fox Sports that’s got all the markings of a reality series heading for an unhappy ending,” writes Tom Hoffarth. “The beauty of it is everyone will want to watch it.”

What was the reaction to what SI’s Richard Deitsch called “the harshest critique of Erin Andrews I’ve ever read”? Here’s what Los Angeles Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth tells Romenesko readers:

The reviews have interestingly been pretty split — and my Twitter followers have grown exponentially, which to me proves the point. Any time you mention Erin Andrews in a sentence, it’s internet gold. I purposely posted pictures and items on her in the past to see how those so-called hits would increase, and it never fails.

This is a column I’d been formulating for a time, as the buzz built with her about to either leave or re-up with ESPN. I figured she had run out of things to do at ESPN and was getting advice to spread her wings. Fox, to me, is like making a deal with the devil. You reap what you sow.

Tom Hoffarth

As for reaction: I posted some of it on the blog today, and it seems the older, more experienced people in the business are the ones that most agreed with my take, while the younger, writers who can’t see past Andrews’ personna are totally behind her. She’s like some kind of Goddess to them who can do no wrong.

One of the reasons why I went ahead and did this now is that some of the experienced women in sports media, many who I talked to when doing a Title IX piece a couple of weeks ago, are somewhat dismayed at the fact young college communications majors weren’t asking them about play by play or analysts jobs, but more how to get into the field as a sideline reporter. I’m not making that up. They want the glamour role. To me, it’s like a 180 on how Woodward and Bernstein inspired career goals of newspaper journalists in the 1970s — I was one of them.

The Andrews Effect is real, whether college kids want to believe it or not, and it trickles down to every part of the business.

The reaction I thought was most disappointing was from fellow media writers who thought I was too harsh. “Harsh” seems to be the operative word for them. It implies they believe in the premise, but I went too far. Would they go that far? Maybe not, fearing Andrews wouldn’t talk to them again, or she’d be upset with them. You can’t have that fear when you’re trying to point out the obvious to some people. I’m sure she’s a nice person. Seems sweet. But the naive act is wearing very thin on me as well, and I can’t believe others in the media don’t see through it anymore.

* “Erin Andrews and Fox is a TV reality show ripe for implosion (LA Daily News)
* Hoffarth just posted the harshest critique of Erin Andrews I’ve ever read (@richarddeitsch)

“[Last] Friday, while almost everyone was paying attention to the SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare, the court also overturned the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, a law that made it a federal misdemeanor to falsely claim an award of military medals,” writes Romenesko reader Perry Gaskill. “The rationale for the court’s decision was mostly that it violated the First Amendment; it shouldn’t be against the law to be a liar.”

“Meanwhile, Katie Burford, a news editor at the Durango Herald in Colorado did one of those pre-4th of July feature pieces, it ran Sunday, about a guy calling himself Timmy Oliver who claimed to be a former Delta Force dude, and who had parachuted into major battles in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The story Oliver told Burford, complete with PTSD flourishes, was a fabrication.”

It didn’t take the people at This Ain’t Hell blog to sniff out the false story. (“He says his name is Timothy Oliver, but apparently, it’s really Gabryal Sansclair.”)

Burford was alerted and quickly apologized for being hoodwinked. She admitted that “I’ve been doing this long enough to know better.”

Burford wrote:

Katie Burford

As the reporter who propagated Oliver’s falsehoods, I would like to offer my sincerest apologies and deepest regrets to all the true service members out there who really did make the hard sacrifices. I wish I could say it was a cub mistake, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know better. I feel wretched that my intent was to show the public the true face of veterans but instead did the opposite. Thanks to all that took the time to expose this falsehood. I will be reporting these findings in a follow-up story to run in tomorrow’s newspaper.

“This Ain’t Hell” commenters praised Burford for promptly setting the record straight.

* “What I’m fighting to make free”: A soldier’s story (Durango Herald)
* Paper heard from more than a dozen people who doubted the story (Durango Herald)
* Editor offers “my sincerest apologies and deepest regrets (
* “I’m impressed to see they retracted the whole bullshit story (

According to The Awl co-founder and former Gawker staffer Choire Sicha, the guiding principles at Gawker are: “People are pretty scared of Nick [Denton], people always feel they are about to be fired, and the job is shifting beneath their feet.”

Gawker writers now have to deal with the new Kinja commenting system. Peter Sterne writes:

It’s difficult to see how Kinja will make Gawker staffers into better journalists. Right now, young reporters often must write, blog, aggregate, and tweet, which leaves little time for actually reporting. Adding interaction with commenters to that list won’t help.

* Gawker’s new comment system (

In a Thursday afternoon blog post, the Wall Street Journal announced a style change for the word data: “As usage has evolved from the word’s origin as the Latin plural of datum, singular verbs now are often used to refer to collections of information: Little data is available to support the conclusions. Otherwise, generally continue to use the plural: Data are still being collected.

WSJ’s Phil Izzo finished his item with this paragraph:

We suspect that the plural will continue to dominate in our prose. But between you and I, if your mad at the Journal for deciding to egregiously flaunt proper grammar, you’ll know who to complain to.

Commenters’ eyebrows were raised: “Is it just me or ‘your’ from the last sentence related to proper grammar should be ‘you’re’?” asked one.

Izzo responded to the inquiries on Twitter:

* Is data is, or is data aint’, a plural? (

Many readers have alerted me to New Orleans CityBusiness’ ad on, which warns job-seekers that “we can smell desperation from a mile away (strangely, it’s reminiscent of bacon). So take the time and write an original cover letter if you want to be considered a candidate.”

After listing the seven points above, the CityBusiness editors ask: “Are you still reading? Good. Nice to know you have a decent attention span, Zippy.”

A journalist from New Orleans points out to Romenesko readers:

Toward the end of this spectacular display of douchery, it includes the following request:

“… send me your mind-blowing cover letter. If you don’t think it’s mind-blowing, at least make it sincere and original. If it’s lame, I might just post it here so that you are mocked and scorned. (Actually, I’m checking with the legal department to see if I can do it; look out if I get the green light)”

Hope you enjoy. It’s mind-blowing.

I’ve asked CityBusiness associate publisher Lisa Blossman and editor Greg LaRose about their ad. (UPDATE: LaRose says he has some work and dad duties to deal with this morning and will send an email this afternoon.)

* AD — Reporters: Don’t bother reading this if you have a cut-and-paste cover letter
* JournalismJobs founder: “You can still find a great job with a newspaper”