Monthly Archives: August 2012

— Front page images courtesy of the Newseum

William Castronuovo sent this reaction, which he also posted on his Facebook wall:

‎***** IT’S JUST WRONG DEPT: Yes, this is the actual front page of [Friday’s] USAToday. It doesn’t matter if you’re for or against Romney, et al. — the headline wording shown here and its placement under this photo is simply awful, unfortunate, and suspect.

Grouping this large lede headline — “We deserve better” — under this particular image of Romney and Ryan is not only awkward it leaves open an inference that could be interpreted as bias — whether deliberate or not.

If this visual concoction even gave one USAToday editor the slightest tingle of a grin — it should have been changed — even if it meant a mid-run press stop and a black-plate replate.

We can’t help but have our own political points of view (even when working in the media), however, when it comes to the mingling dynamics of words and pictures on any “news” page of a newspaper — especially regarding politics — extra care has to be taken.

This front page is not only regretful, it’s reprehensible.

— Full disclosure: I’m for President Obama.

Charles Seife says his investigation found that Jonah Lehrer “plagiarized others’ work, published inaccurate quotations, printed narrative details that were factually incorrect, and failed to address errors when they were pointed out.”

UPDATE: “Lehrer’s failure to meet WIRED editorial standards leaves us no choice but to sever the relationship,” writes editor-in-chief Evan Hansen.

(Graphic credit:

* An investigation into plagiarism, quotes, and factual inaccuracies (
* Violations of editorial standards found in Wired writer’s blog (

The Charleston Gazette and Ken Ward Jr. — called “one of the nation’s top coal reporters” by Columbia Journalism Review — have been sued by Murray Energy for Ward’s July 18 blog post, “Mitt Romney, Murray Energy and coal criminals.”

In his post, Ward writes that “renegade coal operator Bob Murray played a major role recently in a campaign fundraiser in Wheeling, W.Va., for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney” and that “the question for Governor Romney, of course, is whether he thinks criminal behavior by coal companies, especially when it kills workers and damages the environment, is acceptable. If not, why is he buddies with Bob Murray?”

Murray’s lawsuit says Ward’s blog post takes a “false and defamatory manner implying that Plaintiffs Murray, Murray Energy, American Energy, and Ohio Valley are criminals.” It contends that “Murray has a reputation for integrity and honesty, is not a criminal, has never killed anyone, and has diligently worked to preserve the environment.”

I’ve invited Ward to comment. A subscription-required Greenwire story on the lawsuit says his “Coal Tattoo” blog “is a must-read by many people who follow the coal industry and mining” and that “the longtime reporter is known for pulling no punches in his analysis of issues related to climate change, mine safety and pollution.”

* Murray Energy sues West Virginia newspaper, reporter for libel (
* Ward on Mitt Romney, Murray Energy and coal criminals (

In late July, the Times-Picayune began inviting readers to submit photos of pool parties, “refreshing dips,” and other scenes for the paper’s August “Water, water everywhere!” photo contest.

A journalist from another paper wrote to this morning and let them know “you have an ad appearing amid the storm stories touting a photo contest with the words ‘Water, water everywhere!'” He added: “While I see that it was first posted in late July, its timing, placement and word usage is awkward, to say the least.”

The newsman got this response from community producer Maggie Calmes:

We’re aware. We were unable to remove it this week due to power outages/lack of access to the server. It will be gone by the end of today. …

I appreciate you taking the time to make sure we were aware of that situation. That ad placement was unfortunately out of our hands while we were operating out of the Times Picayune building on generator power as the storm was blowing through southern Louisiana.

* Check out the Times-Picayune’s Isaac coverage from today

The Las Cruces (NM) Sun-News ran a death notice Sunday for 10-year-old German shepherd “Annie” (real name: Giana vom Fruhlingsbach) right below 72-year-old Eduardo Aguilar‘s notice on the In Memoriam page. Mixing people and pets in the obits section gets mixed reaction in today’s “Sound Off” column:

— Las Cruces (NM) Sun-News obits page

What is this world coming to? I am as much a dog or pet lover as the next person, but I’m appalled to see a dog in the obituaries with people. I’m disgusted that you would think this is OK. Maybe your loved ones are on the same level as animals, but mine are not.
Thanks to the person who wrote the heartfelt tribute to the German shepherd Annie and to the Sun-News for publishing it in Sunday’s obituary section. As a fellow canine lover I really appreciated it.
Sunday’s obituary tribute to Annie the German shepherd, is thoughtful and touching. However I feel that pet obituaries should be separate from human obituaries.

Maria Del Villar, who sells News-Sun death notices, tells me the ad rates for people and pets are the same — $6 per column inch and $15 for a photo.

* RIP Annie (2001-2012): “She made friends everywhere she went” (

What happened here? I got the answer from Sentinel audience engagement editor Mike Lafferty:

This was not part of an editorial. It was lead-in text to a daily online poll. The text was written Thursday evening in anticipation of the speech’s outcome, and the wording was based in part on advance excerpts that the Romney campaign sent to news organizations. Had the speech gone awry, or had it been poorly received by the crowd, the text would have been changed last night to reflect that.

That said, the poll was posted earlier than it should have been. It should not have gone up until after the speech was completed.

Janine Iamunno was one of Patch’s biggest supporters/defenders (a Patch logo tattoo, Janine?), and she knew what she was up against: “We’re used to intense media scrutiny and speculation, more often inaccurate than not,” she told me in February. (I would say that my Patch sources have been accurate.) Of course, the big question is: why now, Janine? I’ve asked her to tell Romenesko readers more about her departure.

Newsweek’s anti-Obama cover “may have just hit one out of the park on newsstand sales,” reports Advertising Age.

The early read on sales suggests the issue could double Newsweek’s newsstand average … It’s also on track to land among the title’s top three newsstand sellers since 2010. (

* USA Today launches high school football magazine. (
* Arkansas Democrat-Gazette guts its sports desk. (
* Ex-Yahoo Newser David Chalian “is not damaged goods,” says Sam Donaldson. (
* Claim: “Among the established and aspiring journalists in the room, [Chalian’s] comment elicited no criticism.” (
* What to expect at next week’s Kindle event. (
* Blame Arianna’s free massages? 15,000 reporters at RNC and most of them yawn at the CNN camerawoman/nuts story. (
* “MSNBC talk shows are to network newscasts what blogs are to newspaper columns, shaggier and often less considered.” (
* Margaret Sullivan’s NYT public editor column will debut in late September. (
* Thomas Frank and Bob Davis are named Opinion Journalists of the Year. (
* Keith J. Kelly: Popstar! — a magazine popular with teen girls — has ties to porn empire. (

Georgetown Law student Austin Tice, 31, who has been freelancing from Syria for the Washington Post, McClatchy and other news outlets, was reportedly captured and is being held by the Syrian government.

Austin Tice

“If the reports are true, we urge these authorities to release him promptly, unharmed,” says Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli. “Journalists should never be detained for doing their work, even — and especially — in difficult circumstances.”

Tice, who went silent after tweeting on August 11, write last month that “no, I don’t have a death wish — I have a life wish.”

McClatchy’s Hannah Allam writes:

Tice was keenly aware of the dangers he faced, he wrote in a posting on his Facebook page, but he implored his friends and family to “please quit telling me to be safe.” He wrote that he drew inspiration from Syrians in the throes of conflict, and that “coming here to Syria is the greatest thing I’ve ever done.”

Meanwhile, Georgetown alum Matthew VanDyke says he’s going to Syria in a few weeks to work on a documentary film. “Syria’s the next step in the Arab Spring movement, the next regime that needs to go,” he says. “This is the best way I can help.”

* U.S. journalist reportedly in Syrian custody ( | (
* Earlier: Freelance journalist Austin Tice is missing in Syria (
* Georgetown alum to document surging violence in Syria (

The National Catholic Register editor goes on to say that “we released his interview without our usual screening and oversight” and that “we have sought clarification from Father Benedict.” I called De Melo for further explanation and was sent to voice-mail. I left a message and also asked reporter John Burger for comment.

The Kettering, Ohio-based Register pulled its interview with 79-year-old Groeschel after it went viral. Andrew Sullivan wrote that “it’s a staggering insight into how the old hierarchy viewed child abuse: as essentially the child’s fault and no big deal.” Matt Abbott called Groeschel “my favorite living spiritual writer,” but said he found his comments “quite disturbing.”

* What happened to National Catholic Register’s controversial interview? (
* Editor’s note: We have removed the story (