Monthly Archives: September 2012

* Photo gallery: The last daily press run of the Times-Picayune (
* A heartfelt thank-you to Times-Picayune’s retiring publisher (
* Times-Picayune staffers bid farewell to the daily print paper (
* Scott Stantis’s farewell to the daily Birmingham News (
* Many Birmingham News staffers depart as the paper ends daily publication (

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger

Arthur O. Sulzberger, who was Times publisher from 1963 to 1992, died Saturday after a long illness.

Mr. Sulzberger’s tenure, as publisher of the newspaper and as chairman and chief executive of The New York Times Company, reached across 34 years, from the heyday of postwar America to the twilight of the 20th century, from the era of hot lead and Linotype machines to the birth of the digital world.

* Arthur O. Sulzberger, publisher who changed the Times, dies at 86 | Video tribute (
* Howard Kurtz on how Sulzberger rescued the Times (

Here’s a message that Times-Picayune librarian Danny Gamble sent to the NewsLib mailing list this afternoon:

Sent: Friday, September 28, 2012 4:09 PM
To: The NewsLib mailing list
Subject: [newslib] Changes at The Times-Picayune

Greetings all,

I wanted to let everyone know of changes here at The Times-Picayune. Many of you will recall I posted a notice that the library and its staff would be eliminated as of Sept. 30.

Two weeks ago the company reconsidered that decision and asked me to stay. I decided to accept their offer and will remain as the Librarian.

Sadly, we still must say goodbye to Nancy Burris who retires with 30+ years service and to Theresa Guillen who leaves the company after 27 years.

The Library’s SCC content management system is well loved by the staff and much of this is because I was able to take many suggestions and build it out in a way that was easy to use. (Calvin Trillin visited once and commented it was the easiest system he had ever used.)

I appreciated all the kind words you shared with me earlier. I do not know how my new role will develop as the company changes but hope I can be of assistance when you may need it.

Thank you for listening.

Danny Gamble
Assistant Head Librarian
The Times-Picayune
3800 Howard Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70125

* Baton Rouge newspaper sees opportunity in New Orleans (

I recently saw a Globe and Mail interview with David Carr in which he mentioned Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan and how “he will just step up and fill somebody with ack ack.” (Bill Keller the target?) The New York Times media columnist added: “I think to myself: Hmm, whether it was true or not, it was executed with a great deal of vigor, in a way I probably do not do any more.”

Carr made his observations just as I was sending questions to Nolan for this Q-and-A. I called the Timesman and asked him to elaborate on what he told the Toronto paper.

Hamilton Nolan

He had mostly praise for Nolan.

“He has a style that’s built on anti-style, and I find it very compelling to read,” said Carr. “I very much admire what he does until he does it to someone I like, and then I don’t like it much.

“I think Bill Keller is a great editor, and Hamilton does not agree. And he says it over and over.”

Nolan’s a boxer, Carr noted, “and he’s got those heavy hands. I don’t think he’s a boxer that dances around. I think he comes right at you.”

I then asked Nolan, 33, what he thought of Carr’s comments in the Globe and Mail.

“I guess my thought would just be that, I’ve never considered myself the smartest person in the media or the best writer, but I do pride myself on working somewhere where we tell people the truth,” said Nolan, who joined Gawker from PR Week in 2008.

“The thing I like most about Gawker is that we are able to dispense with all of the politesse bullshit that surrounds so much establishment journalism and just speak the truth (as we see it, at least). We’re not required to hem and haw and couch what we want to say in euphemisms. If something is bullshit, we can say “this is bullshit.

“I think that this is ultimately Gawker’s most important role in the media. Amid all the funny things and time-wasting things and ridiculous things we publish, we tell the truth, in far more direct way than readers can find in most other places. And I sincerely believe this is noble, even if we sometimes surround it in a bunch of cat videos. One of the old proposed but not adopted slogans for the site was, “Honesty is our only virtue.” I like that.

More from the email Q-and-A:

You’re the longest-tenured Gawker writer? How did that happen? Who’s next on the list?
Not the longest Gawker Media employee, but I believe longest tenured writer ever for Gawker, as far as I know. I was hired same time as Richard Lawson and Ryan Tate, who have both moved on now. Not sure who is second longest, although people like AJ Daulerio and Jessica Coen have a long time at the company, but split between different sites.

I’m pretty happy here. It’s a good job in that it offers you both freedom as a writer, and a big audience. At most places you only get one or the other. Also, I can work from home sometimes. And there’s free coffee. And I never have to wear slacks and shit. It’s a nice lifestyle.

Nick Denton

Tell us something about Nick Denton that’s never been reported.
When I first started, Nick was the editor of Gawker and we all used to work out of his apartment every Monday. We did that for months. Every Monday. Earlier this year I was talking to him and I brought it up and he said, “You used to work out of my apartment? I don’t remember that.”

So the best strategy around here is just to remain invisible.

You grew up in St. Augustine, Fla., then went to Howard University for 3 years. Why there? What was that like?
I went to Howard because I was really into hip hop, and Howard is basically hip hop university. Liked it very much. It’s a unique opportunity for a white person in America to be a minority for a while. Three years at Howard, took a year off, eventually finished school back in St. Augustine at Flagler College.

When did you decide to become a journalist?
I never really consciously decided, it just turned out that writing was really my only marketable skill. I wrote for a comedy magazine that Chris Rock started at Howard while I was there. At Flagler I started writing for Folio Weekly, the alt-weekly in Jacksonville, where the editor, Anne Schindler, basically gave me my break into journalism (thanks Anne!). After I graduated I was a staff writer for Folio for… less than a year I think, then moved to NYC just because I always wanted to. When I got here I got the job at PR Week, via a job ad on Mediabistro.

PRW was a trade magazine and not my dream job obviously, but it was educational. Learned to write fast, clean, newsy, for specific word counts, on deadline. Learned a whole lot about the PR industry, which often acts as the unseen half of the media industry. Although I find the PR industry distasteful in a lot of ways, the real scandal is the extent to which they are intertwined with (and have a powerful effect on) journalism, which is something that is ultimately the responsibility of the media itself, not the PR industry. Flacks are doing their jobs, for better or worse./CONTINUES
Read More

At the Washington Post, Carlos Lozada moves from Outlook editor to enterprise editor. Ariana Cha becomes digital editor for special projects, working as Lozada’s deputy. A Post memo also announces that Barbara Vobejda, now a deputy national editor, becomes A1 editor.

Read the memo after the jump.

Read More

Many staffers at the Time-Picayune and Newshouse’s Alabama newspapers are saying their goodbyes to colleagues today. Bruce Nolan posted this essay on the Friends of the Times-Picayune Facebook page. It’s a closed group, but Nolan gave permission to share the piece with my readers.

In 1973, at the age of 25, I knelt behind the cover of a fire engine in the middle of Loyola Avenue as the police sharpshooter next to me repeatedly fired his .30-06 into a window of the Howard Johnson’s hotel. Around us, dozens of crouching New Orleans policemen joined in; their massed gunfire echoed among the downtown buildings. A sniper was hiding in the hotel.

I had a license to attend.

In 1984, at 36, I stood on a barge anchored mid-stream in the Mississippi River and watched a floating crane precariously, impossibly, lift a 66-ton steel truss high overhead. Ironworkers from Pennsylvania and New York building a massive new bridge reached down to guide the steel into place. An engineer explained the technique, the tolerances and the risks. How they did this; why they did that. Later, I drank with the ironworkers; they told me their stories.

I had a license to be there.

In 1987, Pope John Paul II descended from his 747 to greet Ronald and Nancy Reagan in Miami. There came a moment when the pope looked past them and caught my eye, standing a few yards away. I gave him a discrete thumbs-up, close to the chest. He nodded an acknowledgment and offered a slight smile: Yes, back at ya, it said in Polish.

I had a license to be there.

Twenty years later, I sat on an overturned bucket in the front yard of a home ruined by Hurricane Katrina. I shared sandwiches with three wilting, paint-spattered volunteers from a tiny church in Ohio. I asked why they were spending vacation on their third trip to the flood zone. “Because we are the hands and feet of Christ,” they said.

I had a license to be there.

That license expires today, after 41 years at the Times-Picayune./CONTINUES Read More

* Iran’s Fars news agency doesn’t know Onion’s poll is a joke? (
* Related: MSNBC show apologizes for confusing satire with truth (

UPDATE: Fars has pulled its story, but there’s Twitter evidence of it.

UPDATE II: St. Petersburg comedian Kent Roberts tweeted four days ago that this was his first Onion headline since 2004.

On Thursday, I posted McClatchy Washington bureau chief James Asher’s memo to colleagues in which he says that “the process of journalism leaves a lot of nuance on the cutting room floor. And I suspect a little bit of the truth goes with it as well. … We must work to capture more nuance in our work.”

He continues:

Consider the 47 percent comment by Romney. Did he really mean that he didn’t care about nearly half the country? That’s what a lot of what was written said. And it’s a lot of what the anti-Republican crowd told us was undeniably true.

And of course, he didn’t mean it the way at all.

And Monday, I found that Ahmadinejad’s comments about Israel, while controversial, were not simply provocative and the rankings of a crazy man.

I’m told that Asher’s memo didn’t go over well with his staff, and that some “found his musings disturbing.”

Here’s McClatchy national correspondent James Rosen‘s response to the bureau chief. (By the way, Rosen did not send it to me.)


I appreciate your willingness to take a provocative and contrarian stance on some important issues of our day, so I hope you will allow me to respond in the same spirit.

I grew up in Oak Park, Michigan, an almost entirely Jewish suburb of Detroit. Many of my friends’ parents were Holocaust survivors, in some cases the only survivors in entire families. I grew up hearing their horror stories. They were beyond the stuff of nightmares. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust took place. His most recent of many denials came after he’d arrived in NYC to address the U.N. You can watch it here.

James Rosen

This makes Ahmadinejad evil, delusional and, yes, crazy. When someone claims that the systematically planned and executed extermination of 6 million people didn’t happen, that person turns himself into a caricature. I’ve lived in Israel, challenged Israelis about the aggressive actions of their government and written columns that earned me hate mail from Jewish readers who accused me of being a self-hater as a Jew. But when Ahmadinejad says Iran will outlast Israel, he is saying the same thing Hitler said about the Jews in The Final Solution. There is no nuance here. It means: Israel has no right to exist and will be exterminated. As for understanding Iran’s history and Ahmadinejad being a proud Iranian, there was no prouder German than Hitler as he cited German history in promulgating an ideology he used to justify wiping out Poland, Denmark, Belgium and other little countries that he felt had no right to exist. The Nazis also cited poetry. They loved art so much, they stole thousands of masterpieces from their Jewish owners./CONTINUES Read More

New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver — author of the just-published “The Signal and the Noise” — tells Adweek:

After the election I hope to increase the share of nonpolitics stuff that I’m doing on the blog. I kind of realized after writing this book that I don’t particularly like politics that much. I definitely like elections, as they’re fun to forecast and to watch evolve, but I don’t particularly like the day to day of politics or some of the people who end up getting involved.

Charlie Warzel asks Silver how he gets his news. “I have 500 people I follow on Twitter,” he says. “They’re more data-driven but made up of both liberals and conservatives. If you’re keeping yourself in the bubble and only looking at your own data or only watching the TV that fits your agenda then it gets boring.”
* Can Nate Silver predict the election again? (

More morning reading:
* Cornell student blasts New York Times for fact-checking failure in college bars story. ( | Times editor’s note (
* Onetime Obama challenger John Haywood sues student journalists for libel. (
* Quartz editor: We want to be funny where possible, but not gratuitously snarky or flip. (
* WSJ’s Mike Sielski discusses his “replacement reporter” story. (
* Some airlines are using iPads and other tablets for in-flight entertainment. (
* New York Times biz desk “rising star” Evelyn Rusli jumps to the Wall Street Journal. (
* Jim Brady: Awl piece on Digital First Media had numerous errors and mischaracterizations. (
* Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang unveils major restructuring. (
* Marissa Mayer’s plan to save Yahoo sounds familiar. (
* After an extraordinarily long career with Reuters, Bernd Debusmann puts in his last day. (
* Gannett’s Tallahassee paper slaps reporter’s byline on lightly rewritten state tourism agency’s release. Read the release, then the story.

NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan

An excerpt from New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan’s long reading and listening list:

I have a whole group of media websites that I read all the time. The three main ones would be Romenesko, Mediagazer, and Poynter’s Mediawire.

I am a regular reader of The Atlantic Wire, I’m happy to say. I think you guys do great stuff. I’m of course a huge fan of James Fallows. He’s an icon. I read The New Yorker regularly, and there I particularly love Adam Gopnik.

I read Vanity Fair. I like the way they sort of lure you in and then get the serious stuff in as well.

* Margaret Sullivan: What I read (