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Daily Archives: September 6, 2012

* USA Today is debuting its new look — including a redesigned logo — on Sept. 14. (That’s the current look on the left.) “The redesign marks the first substantive reinvention of the USA Today brand in the paper’s 30-year history,” notes Dylan Byers. (politico.com) | (gannettblog.com)

More links:
* Bismarck Tribune: “Effective immediately, commenting will no longer be available on the majority of the stories posted on our website.” (bismarcktribune.com)
* Billionaire Philip Anschutz said to be interested in Colorado Springs Gazette, now owned by Aaron Kushner. (Denver Business Journal)
* Association of Food Journalists announces its 2012 contest winners. (eater.com)
* Walter Payton biographer blasts journalists who wrote about his book without reading it. (chicagosidesports.com)
* Will MediaNews Group follow Journal Register into bankruptcy court? (neimanlab.org) | (westword.com)
* Things are looking up at the once-troubled Star Tribune in Minneapolis. (AJR.org)
* Patch exec: “We don’t go after audience at the expense of excellence.” (streetfightmag.com)
* Hamilton Nolan on the futility of speaking to spokespersons from political parties. (gawker.com)
* Wisconsin weekly closes its office and has reporters work from home. (hudson-wi.patch.com)
* Sun-Times reporters criticized for asking if a woman can have a family and hold public office too. (nameitchangeit.org)
* How to stop fake book reviews online. (paidContent.org)
* Washington Post’s John Kelly gets a column out of his paper’s technical problems. (washingtonpost.com)
* NYT’s Jill Abramson is #10 on Vanity Fair’s “Powers That Be” list. (vanityfair.com)

UPDATE: University of Texas at Austin College of Communication Dean Dr. Roderick P. Hart sends this email:

With regard to the Daily Texan boxes: We’re on it. I’ve asked our architect to design appropriate boxes for the newspapers and to tell us where they might be located on the new building’s site For the record, there was never an intention to “ban” the boxes. Since they were already located across the street (15 feet away), it never occurred to us that we’d need additional ones. But apparently we do! And so it shall be.

Dr. Roderick P. Hart, Dean
College of Communication
University of Texas at Austin

EARLIER: University of Texas at Austin administrators won’t let The Daily Texan staff put their news boxes in front of the new building that houses the journalism school because their presence “raises concerns that litter, clutter and debris could gather around the building,” reports the campus newspaper.

“I think it is outrageous,” says lecturer and retired BusinessWeek managing editor Mark Morrison. “We should make it as easy as possible for our students and faculty to get access to the Texan.”

Journalism school director Glenn Frankel tells Romenesko readers:

I’m hoping the decision to ban newspaper boxes will be reversed. I understand the impulse to keep our beautiful new building tidy, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sound. It’s a gorgeous site and we’re all proud and grateful to have it. But journalism, as you well know, isn’t very tidy and often defies the boundaries that others try to place around it. Hopefully we can turn this into a teachable moment for our students.

* News boxes not welcome at new Journalism building (dailytexanonline.com)

Washington Post staffers say higher education reporter Daniel de Vise has been MIA since the Texas Observer reported in late July that he shared at least two drafts of a story with PR people at the University of Texas at Austin and let them suggest edits.

Daniel de Vise

“Rumors swirl,” one Post staffer tells me. Another says: “Hearing he’s on book leave. Also hearing that he’s not coming back and that he received a lovely parting gift (half-year salary?).” (De Vise hasn’t tweeted since July 31.)

Eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when it was announced that Nick Anderson is moving from education editor to the higher education beat and the memo — posted after the jump — made no mention of de Vise.

I’ve sent emails to the Post and de Vise asking for comment.

UPDATE: “Dan is on leave to work on his book,” says Post spokesperson Kris Coratti.

Read the Post memo after the jump. Read More

Earlier this year, Reuters management gave Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) to 29 journalists that it believes are “laggards”; they face dismissal if bosses don’t see enough improvement in 30 days. The PIP program has “overwhelmingly targeted older journalists,” a Romenesko reader wrote in May. “One correspondent was told that he doesn’t use enough pronouns in his writing when they couldn’t find anything else wrong with him. Another completed a requested feature, but editors have sat on it since mid-April.”

Late last month, veteran Reuters copy editor and PIP target John Picinich was fired after failing to satisfy his bosses. Here’s the email (with some personal information deleted) he sent to friends, reprinted with his permission.

Greetings:

Please forgive the impersonal email but I’m really not one for talking on the phone a lot. And I’ve been fielding quite a few calls from my comrades over the past week.

The company sacked, canned, gave me the boot last Monday (Aug. 20). I was one of 28 Guild members targeted by the company this year for disciplinary action. We all had long-standing service, me from 1985. A rigged
appraisal system led to us all getting “did not meet objectives” and, as a result, we were put into a Performance Improvement Program in which every week we had to show examples of our work, prove we were up
to standard. And of course many of us “failed” to meet the PIP. This violated our Union contract which states that these appraisals cannot be used for discipline.

We have individually filed age discrimination complaints with the EEOC against the company. I met an agent on Friday and after he checked his computer he said “There are a LOT of you” and told me the EEOC was planning a class action suit against the company as all of us are over the age of 40. Why the Guild, our union, has not filed a class action suit is beyond me (the agent himself was flabbergasted) but I imagine the Union cannot afford a high-priced lawyer because the industry and Guild membership is shrinking.

Whatever the case, tis not the end of the world. The company gave me 52 weeks severance pay, doled out every other week like a paycheck; in a sense paying me NOT to show up at what has become a toxic newsroom. I can do this.

A year ago an outsider was hired as Editor-in-Chief and proceeded to bring in all his cronies from the Wall St Journal and BizWeek. Layers were added to management. We on the copy desk got two extra layers there. And these managers have NO wire experience, much less conception of what wire is. So of course there will be cuts, and Guild people will be replaced by lower-pay-grade Guild members. Not to mention outsourcing news stories to Bangalore. And not to mention continued attacks on the Guild. And sadly, the Union has been declawed in past few contract negotiations. We can’t even go on strike without getting fired because the current contract has a no strike clause. And now we know why. I voted against that contract but it did pass.

* Newspaper Guild blasts Reuters’ PIP program (jimromenesko.com)