Daily Archives: July 17, 2012

The Newspaper Guild of New York says New York Times negotiators “inexplicably dropped a bomb on the process today by presenting two new comprehensive proposals aimed at negotiating two separate contracts: print and digital.” The union contends that the move “would undo months of incremental progress toward a unified contract.”

Read the guild’s message to members after the jump. Read More

Val Patterson, who died of throat cancer on July 10 (“my regret is that I felt invincible when young and smoked cigarettes when I knew they were bad for me”), confessed a few things just before passing at age 59:

Val Patterson and wife Mary Jane

* “As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest.”

* “Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn’t even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters ‘PhD’ even stood for.”

He also left this message for amusement park folks: “To Disneyland — you can now throw away that “Banned for Life” file you have on me, I’m not a problem anymore – and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this.”

Patterson ends his essay this way:

If you knew me or not, dear reader, I am happy you got this far into my letter. I speak as a person who had a great life to look back on. My family is following my wishes that I not have a funeral or burial. If you knew me, remember me in your own way. If you want to live forever, then don’t stop breathing, like I did.

* Read Val Patterson’s final words (

* The story behind “the most bad-ass obit ever” (
* Betrayal, heartbreak and a 94-year-old woman’s obit (

On June 19, I showed how Jonah Lehrer’s June 12 New Yorker “Frontal Cortex” blog post was a light rewrite of his Oct. 15 Wall Street Journal essay. Other self-plagiarism examples followed.

Lehrer hasn’t posted to his Frontal Cortex blog since June 12, and his Twitter feed has been silent since June 18.

This afternoon I asked the New Yorker when readers can expect to see Lehrer’s byline again.

“Jonah is currently working on a story for the magazine,” New Yorker spokesperson Alexa Cassanos wrote in an email.

* Earlier: Tipster didn’t have a fiendish plan to bust Lehrer (

“Most newsroom people get used to receiving odd promotional gadgets,” writes Jonathan Austin, editor of the award-winning Yancey County News. “My favorite was the bar of pink soap a movie company sent me with the words “FIGHT CLUB” sculpted in the face of the soap. If you’ve seen the movie, you get it. That was a cool conversation starter.

“But I imagine Food Lion must have spent close to $75 to send this little grocery cart to me, here at the lowly Yancey County News. Yancey County doesn’t even have a Food Lion!”

The editor says the UPS-delivered realistic shopping cart is about a foot long, has working wheels and a kids’ seat that opens and closes.

I must assume all papers larger than mine in North Carolina and South Carolina will be receiving their little Food Lion shopping cart. Since all newspapers are larger than mine, that means Food Lion is spending tens of thousands of dollars to get miniature shopping carts into the hands of newspapers across the region, and probably television stations as well.

I just don’t get it.

“I think the little cart will make a cute display for petunias, or perhaps I will save it for a grandchild to use to put a Teddy bear in,” writes Austin. “Has any other mid-Atlantic newsroom received their Food Lion shopping cart?”

* New York Daily News quietly launches its national news site. (
* Even Sports Illustrated doesn’t want to have anything to do with Posnanski’s Paterno bio. (
* AP Sports Extra offered free to member newspapers. (Associated Press)
* Kara Swisher has ten questions for Yahoo’s new CEO. (All Things D)
* Pulitzer-winning columnist William Raspberry dies at 76. (Washington Post)
* Yes, interviews with NPR’s Terry Gross do exist. (Fresh Air Tumblr)
* Huntsville Times prints its last newspaper in Huntsville. (Papers will now roll off presses in Birmingham.) (

Former Lee Enterprises employee Pete Selkowe writes (and sends the photo):

So there I was, cleaning out the boxes that accumulate in the basement, helping my wife throw away years of unwanted … stuff.

When what should I find but a pile of old t-shirts, a couple dozen of ’em, each commemorating some newspaper-sponsored event from my career: “Celebrate Racine,” from the Journal Times; the Southern Illinoisan’s “Tent Sell Down” car sale; “Press Run” from the Bismarck Tribune; the Southern Illinoisan’s 50th birthday — you get the picture.

Some fond — and not so fond — memories; nothing exceptional. Until I came to this one, clearly never worn (Duh!), probably from one of those management retreats, led by consultants who never heard of the five w’s, much less the h. Thankfully, I have no recollection of the event itself… and no memory of the specific behavior the shirt was meant to instill or prevent.

Only a vague belief, given Lee’s recent financial history, that somehow the message didn’t get through…

By the way, Lee Enteprises today reported a third quarter loss of $1.5 million. (Just four months ago, CEO Mary Junck was given a $500,000 bonus.)

Utah Valley magazine editor Jeanette Bennett, who took a lot of heat for her “Women of Color” headline on a photo of white colleagues, explains that she chose the hed simply because “the women on my staff dress colorfully and add variety and brightness to the magazine and to our office environment” and says “I’m hoping readers can see that my recent article and photo weren’t intended to demean black women.”

I was fully aware that the phrase “women of color” normally refers to women of ethnic origin. Many have criticized me for being too naive to understand the phrase. Even though I’ve spent most of my life living in Utah and Idaho, I’ve visited 32 states and been around the block enough (via literature, media and education) to know the traditional use of that phrase.

“I’ve heard it was hurtful,” she says of the headline. “I’ve heard it was insensitive. I’ve heard it was wrong. But I didn’t hear why.”

Still, the brouhaha “will brighten and enlighten my thinking for the rest of my career. I’m willing to learn. I am willing to listen. I am willing to move on.”

My Unplanned 15 Minutes of Fame (

* Editor apologizes to anyone offended by “Women of Color” headline (
* “Lesson learned,” says Utah Valley magazine editor (Salt Lake Tribune)

– Coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Ed Sherman wonders how Joe Posnanski’s “Paterno,” which hits bookstores next month, will go over now. “Considering the outrage against Paterno, I don’t think people are in the mood to read about a ‘brilliant and charismatic’ coach, about lessons taught to his players by the great teacher,” writes Sherman, who posts Posnanski’s video promo for the biography. “People are so angry, all the records and other good deeds seem so insignificant right now.”

* Posnanski video promo for Paterno book now seems off base (

* h/t Steve Cavendish || Tennessean’s Kitty Wells obit
* More unfortunate ad placements and other fun stuff on Romenesko’s Pinterest page