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Daily Archives: July 12, 2012

From 2008: Google is trying to buy Digg for $200 million (Guardian.co.uk)

Today: Betaworks buys Digg for just $500,000 (WSJ.com)

The Wall Street Journal reports:

By the end of 2008, Digg was one of the most popular websites on the planet, boasting nearly 30 million monthly visitors, according to ComScore. But the audience started to drift away in early 2010 as services such as Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity.

“Is there anyone that Terry has been really wanting to interview, but can’t get them to do it?” a Reddit visitor asked “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” associate producer Melody Kramer during a recent Q-and-A.

“We’ve been after Howard Stern for a while…” Kramer typed.


Now seems the perfect time to bring Stern and Gross together since they were both just tapped for Radio Hall of Fame induction.

I sent the Kramer’s email address to Howard Stern newsman Jon Leiberman and wrote that Stern “would be great w/Terry. You should prod him.” Leiberman replied: “Let me see what I can do. …will do my best.”

Some other tidbits from the Kramer Q-and-A:

How much time does Terry Gross spend researching interviewees beforehand, and how much of the research is done by others at Fresh Air?
So the associate producers here (John, John, Heidi, Yowei) do a ton of research on each guest and then give Terry the stack of research. She goes home and reads all of that, plus a book (if it’s an author) or watches a movie (if it’s a movie person) or a TV series (you get the gist.)

But she reads every word of everything. She works until 10-11 most nights…

How much, if any, editing is needed for each show? Do we hear the complete unedited interview, or just the highlights?
We edit every interview, usually for time. (They tape for around 75 minutes. We air anywhere between 20-45 minutes.) Usually it’s for clarity/time. Occasionally it’s because we have a review that must air and therefore the interview needs to be cut down.

Is Terry Gross as nice in real life as she is on the radio?
She’s phenomenal and a pleasure to work with and for. She has no ego. She deflects everything. It’s really nice writing with someone like Terry.

* IAmA Producer at NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross (/r/IAmA)

Another excellent interview transcript: Alec Baldwin’s chat with David Letterman.

Letterman recalls when he worked for news-talk radio WNTS in Indianapolis:

It was Watergate, and people assumed, ‘Well, the guy’s got a talk show on the radio; I bet he knows everything there is to know about Watergate,’ and I knew nothing. People wouldn’t call in, and I’d have to read endless pages of wire copy. I remember reading a story about Gordon Strachan. His name kept coming up. ‘Special Counsel so-and-so Gordon Strachan, advisor to the White House, Gordon Strachan.’ Finally the phone light up, and I’m, ‘Thank God!’ I say, ‘Yes.’ He says, ‘It’s not /Strah-chen/. It’s /Strahn./ You’re mispronouncing the guy’s name.’ I said, ‘Okay, thanks. Do you have a question?’ ‘No.’ Click, buzz, so there you go.

* “Here’s the Thing”: David Letterman transcript | Listen to the interview

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Donate $15 or more and you’ll get a signed copy of DEATH LOG, a book of unusual/celebrity coroner’s reports that I published in my 1980s police reporting days. (Only 75 copies left!)

Utah Valley Magazine owner and editor Jeanette Bennett writes:

“We would like to apologize to anyone offended by the headline ‘Women of Color’ in the most recent issue of Utah Valley Magazine. No offense was intended whatsoever. We have changed the headline in our online version to read ‘Colorful Women’ to more accurately describe the article and overall content of this issue.”

— From Utah Valley magazine

The editor tells Sean Means she’s received some support but…:

Several of the e-mails have been laced with profanity and name-calling. Many have called for me to be fired. Several have had inaccurate references to Mormonism (sister wives, etc.). I find it interesting that these people are upset with me for my insensitivities, yet they are somewhat insensitive in their comments to me. A bit ironic. I’ve been told several times that I need to take sensitivity training. Many have called me unprofessional, uneducated, uncaring, unattractive and stupid.

* “Lesson learned,” says embattled Utah Valley magazine editor (Salt Lake Tribune)
* Utah magazine celebrates its (white) women of color (Gawker)

The Alexandria (VA) Times reports that Alexandria News co-founder and education reporter Carla Branch was covering the Alexandria City Public Schools while the school district paid her $75 an hour to serve as a communications consultant.

– Alexandria City Public Schools logo

“A confidant of the superintendent, she advised [him] on how to boost the district’s image, including the handling of an independent audit that exposed mismanagement in the district’s capital improvement budget,” reports the Times.

Branch also wrote press releases for the school district, then published them on her website.

“Alexandria News co-founder Roger Digilio warned Branch that consulting with ACPS might be perceived as an ethical conflict but sanctioned the relationship,” report David Sachs and Derrick Perkins.

I’m told that Branch, who was paid about $11,000 for 150 hours of work, disclosed her consulting work only after being called by the Times and realizing that the rival outlet would write about her side job.

She wrote on Monday:

Was this a conflict of interest? To ensure that there was not, I signed a confidentiality agreement with ACPS [Alexandria City Public Schools] at the beginning of the contract, agreeing not to use any information I obtained in the performance of my duties under the contract for any other purpose. I also did not discuss any alexandrianews.org coverage with ACPS staff during the course of that coverage. No member of the ACPS staff tried to influence alexandrianews.org’s coverage of issues nor did I obtain information for those stories in the course of work I performed under my contract.

UPDATE: I asked Branch to comment and she sent this email:

“My contract with ACPS has been public knowledge from the beginning and I have discussed it widely with any number of Alexandrians. Had I believed it was a conflict, I would not have bid on the contract nor would I have openly discussed it with hundreds of people over the past six months. I even discussed the matter with another reporter sometime ago. The folks at the Alexandria Times were among the last to know.”

* Alexandria City Public Schools paid education reporter for advice (AlexTimes.com)
* Reporter tells readers that she was working for the schools while covering them (AlexandriaNews.org)

“Readers are getting much higher quality obituaries, but fewer, and often not as promptly,” says the Globe’s Bryan Marquard. (I’ve seen “slowbits” in many other papers, too.) (CampaignOutsider.com)

“This isn’t a normal job advertisement, because we’re not a normal small daily newspaper,” reads the Greenwood (S.C) Index-Journal‘s reporter-wanted ad. “Your first thoughts? Small, daily newspaper in Podunk, S.C. We don’t blame you.”

But…

The ad goes on to note:

“We have never had a furlough day. We don’t have layoffs. While the rest of newspapers are struggling to stay in business — and reducing the quality of the product — we’ve thrived.” The paper’s won awards, too.

The ad warns that the reporter who’s hired will have to manage “several” beats and also do some general assignment work.

“The ideal candidate must desire to be the best. We’re not interested in half-ass efforts.”

I asked Index-Journal associate editor Scott Bryan about the ad and the response to it.

About two years ago, we posted a job ad and received 80 applicants for a news reporter position (we’ve had 100-plus applicants for sports writers and photographers, as well). While there were so many fantastic applicants, about half of them were less than stellar. In an effort to reduce the amount of applicants, force applicants to think a little bit instead of sending the form application and to narrow our pool to people who better fit our needs, I came up with our long-winded, potentially pretentious job advertisement.

That “potentially pretentious” ad has brought in about 20 applications “from talented journalists” so far, he says. (The ad expires today on JournalismJobs.com)

“We expect we’ll make some tremendous hires (we have two openings instead of one when the job ad was posted).”

We’re very fortunate at the Index-Journal. We’re a family owned newspaper with a publisher who really wants us to produce a GREAT newspaper. Along with the uptick we’ve had in awards, we’ve spent thousands of dollars on upgrades to equipment and continue to do so as we upgrade our newsroom’s computers in the next six months.

With all the doom and gloom in the newspaper industry, I wanted our job to be about the — to borrow a president’s favorite buzzword — “hope” our newspaper presents.

* “This isn’t a normal job advertisement” (JournalismJobs.com)

I have confirmed this report from a Romenesko reader:

Word on the street is that the Star-Telegram laid off 12 yesterday, including nine in news. Managing editor Lois Norder, a first-rate editor, is among the casualties. Facebook conversations say six news copy editors also gone.

All true, says my Star-Telegram source. Kathy Vetter, who is managing editor for digital, will oversee the entire local news operation (except for sports and features). The paper announced in May that it was realigning the newsroom to focus on digital media.

* Earlier: Lois Norder among America’s best newspaper editors (Watchdognation.com)


* Check out more images — bloopers, corrections, etc. — on Romenesko’s Pinterest page

* Two newspapers in northern Mexico come under attack by gunfire and grenades. (New York Times)
* Martha Stewart signs new 5-year deal (estimated pay is $2M/year) with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. (New York Post)
* Sree Sreenivasan is named Columbia University’s first Chief Digital Officer. (All Things D)
* NPR’s Ina Jaffe takes on newly created aging beat. (LAObserved.com)
* Penn State’s Daily Collegian named college newspaper of the year by campus media watchdog. (College Media Matters)
* A look at Pete Wells’s first six months as New York Times dining critic. (Daily Meal)