Daily Archives: July 9, 2012

Michael Anastasi

Michael Anastasi leaves the Salt Lake Tribune, where he’s been managing editor since 2004, to become executive editor of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which has nine daily newspapers and associated digital products, websites and weekly papers. “This is a big move, to a big job and we are very happy for him — but we will miss him,” writes Salt Lake Tribune editor Nancy Conway.

Her memo is after the jump. Read More

I’m told that 22 members of the Newhouse family received this letter today. It’s signed by Archie Manning, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Wynton Marsalis, Cokie Roberts and others.

Dear ,

Nearly a half century ago, your family invested in the future of New Orleans by purchasing our daily newspapers. Norman Newhouse came to New Orleans, raised a family here, and was welcomed by our community.

— Times-PIcayune, September 2, 2005

Your family has been a blessing to our city. You built one of the greatest local newspapers in the United States, became one of our most respected employers, grew with us as our people spread out across seven parishes, and stood selflessly with the citizens of New Orleans when a vicious storm knocked us down.
In return, our city has supported your family. The Times-Picayune, a recipient of four Pulitzer awards, likes to boast that it has the best readership of any major metropolitan market. And that makes us proud too, because it shows how our community is loyal, engaged and dedicated to civic discourse. In other cities, newspapers were hemorrhaging money but The Times-Picayune remained profitable and loyal to the employees who have served New Orleans so well.

Unfortunately and sadly, the considerable goodwill your family enterprise has created in New Orleans in the last 50 years has dissipated in just a few short months because of the decision that took our entire community by surprise. Advance Publications and its leadership have lost the trust and credibility of a significant segment of the community. Citizens have publically protested the proposed new format; prominent civic and business leaders and advertisers have stepped up to speak out against the plan, and an online petition is climbing toward 10,000 signatures, including celebrities like Ed Asner and Garrison Keillor and ordinary New Orleanians whose comments are a tribute to the towering impact of the newspaper you built. Clearly, the voices of our community are strongly opposed to what you are doing./CONTINUES Read More

“Imagine if someone force-fed you giant hunks of cauliflower and broccoli for an hour or more,” writes Brian Steinberg. He gets that feeling when he watches HBO’s “The Newsroom.” The Ad Age writer suggests the commercial-free subscription channel add commercial breaks to make it “more palatable for the common viewer.”

* Some shows need commercials. We nominate “The Newsroom.” (

John Paul reports Beaver County Times Reporter J.D. Prose was told by Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker to leave a shooting scene over the weekend, while other bystanders were allowed to stay.

Former independent candidate for Commissioner Jack Manning asked Prose about the incident, tweeting “WTH is that all about?” Prose replied “Apparently, Dwan is unhappy w/our coverage of Aliquippa. He was ranting about us ignoring positive events.”

Mayor Dwan Walker also responded to Manning on Twitter, writing he was upset the Beaver County Times failed to provide coverage of him throwing the first pitch at a Pirates game.

* Mayor tells Beaver County Times reporter to leave news scene (
* Journalist J.D. Prose on Twitter | Mayor Dwan B. Walker on Twitter


I thought you might be interested in the attached image, from an email from The Daily Beast this morning.

I was reading the summary of the article, which speculates that Mary Kennedy could have been induced to commit suicide because of a bad combination of pharmaceuticals. I was shocked to look to the right, where I saw a banner ad with a copy headline screaming “Happy Pills”.

It could be a conicidence, but more likely it was yet another case of ill-fitting targeted advertising, based on semantic cues. Machines still just don’t get it.

Baristanet co-founder Debbie Galant is leaving the site to join “an ambitious effort to nurture digital and hyperlocal journalism” at Montclair State University. Galant, who started Baristanet eight years ago, writes in an email to friends:

When I began Baristanet, I was not setting out to change the world. I merely saw an opportunity. Blogging had created an instant publishing platform and with a minor investment, I could start a 21st century version of the local hometown paper. …

And I had no way of knowing how many people, all over the country, would see Baristanet and be inspired to create versions in their own towns.

Read Galant’s email after the jump. Read More

Washingtonian magazine talked to five restaurant critics to find out what a reviewer new to the job needs to know. The veterans tell rookies:

* “Restaurateurs will be nice to you on the phone, then badmouth you when they hang up.” (Jeff Ruby, Chicago magazine)

* “You will gain 20 to 30 pounds. Even if you exercise four days a week. More if you don’t.” (Jonathan Kauffman, Tasting Table)

* “‘Mouthfeel’ is not a word. If any of you ever use the phrase ‘to die for’ in describing the chocolate lava cake (or any other food item) I will find you and punch you.” (Jason Sheehan, Philadelphia magazine)

* “Writing well about food and restaurants is harder than it looks. It is harder, for instance, than writing well about books.” (Todd Kliman, Washingtonian)

* 25 things to know before you become a restaurant critic (Washingtonian)

Gary Pruitt

Former McClatchy chief executive Gary Pruitt joins the Associated Press today as its new president and he promises employees “to be honest and open.” He says the AP’s work is more than noble in these times: “It is critically important in today’s world where news seemingly moves at the speed of light and has the power to bring down governments and rattle markets.”

He makes that point with the coverage of the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling:

In the rush to try and be first some of our competitors were flat wrong about the fate of a law that will affect millions of Americans. AP got it right. In fact, we were also among the very first to get it out there – but accuracy and fairness should always trump speed.

Read his memo after the jump.

Read More

The iPad and other tablets may prompt newspapers to start changing when they update content, reports Roger Fidler, program director of digital publishing at Reynolds Journalism Institute. Here’s why: His study found that tablet owners tend to use their devices more frequently at home after 5:00 p.m.

Fidler — the man who predicted an iPad-like device in 1994 — also found:

* Compared to a printed newspaper, 60% of large media tablet users and 50% of smartphone owners consider their experience consuming news on their mobile device to be better.

* Compared to watching news on TV, 63% of large media tablet owners and 46% of smartphone users favored watching on their mobile devices.

* Compared to listening to news on the radio, 73% of large media tablets said their experience was better, 59% of smartphone users favored their phone.

Read the release on Fidler’s study after the jump.

Read More

Chris Hughes was greeted by New Republic staffers “as a kind of liberator and savior” when he bought the magazine, reports Paul Farhi.

Leon Wieseltier, who has been at the magazine for three decades, tells the Washington Post media writer that “it’s a spectacular relief” that the 28-year-old Facebook co-founder is taking over the magazine.

The pressures of the present moment in American journalism aren’t just economic; they’re intellectual, or rather anti-intellectual. I feel very confident in saying we’re not going to become quicker, fuzzier, faster. We’re reviving our old standards.

* New-media pioneer Chris Hughes makes a bet on old media with New Republic purchase (Washington Post)