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Daily Archives: September 14, 2012

What @romenesko followers say:

@BigAlFishes: “Maybe it’s like rolling blackouts with California electricity shortages. Friday? Eh, turn off the sites for a while.”

@DavisShaver: “Oh, you haven’t heard? To reduce costs, the number of days per week the sites are available has been lowered. Economics, ya know?”

@talkingnewmedia: “The servers have been cut back to three days?”

@JFusfield: “Don’t you wish you had a daily newspaper to read in situations like this?”

UPDATE: They’re back up.

Tipster #1 writes: “Pun or typo? Spelled right online.”

Tipster #2 writes: “The printed sports section front page had a very large headline: TOTAL TEEM EFFORT after the Packer’s win last night. We can’t tell if it’s intentional or not. There is no reference to teem or teeming in the article, and that seems a stretch to go for that pun. The website has “TEAM”.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel visual editor Ed Brud tells Charles Apple: “Smarter than the average designer, this copy desk of ours. Headline was playing off the swarming Packers defense.”

But it appears readers didn’t get that, Ed.

UPDATE: I asked the Journal Sentinel about reader reaction to the headline. Mike Davis, an assistant managing editor, sent this reply:

We did hear from some readers – probably about a dozen who called or emailed – and we explained that it was a play on words, not a misspelling. The headline and the use of the word “teem” was intended to describe the swarming nature of the Packers defense. Perhaps it was too clever at the expense of clarity.

Boston Globe staffers dealing with newsroom computer problems the past few weeks are said to be “at the boiling point.” Managing editor Caleb Solomon thanks colleagues for “keeping it to a simmer” and assures them that “our IT staff has been working long and hard on solutions.”

His memo:

To the Staff:

Many of you have been experiencing an array of Methode problems in the past few weeks and are feeling like you’re at the boiling point. I’m writing to thank you for keeping it to a simmer.

I realize how incredibly frustrating these issues are, from system slowness to disappearing slugs and assignments to the inability to search anything – all requiring lots of extra work on your part, often on deadline. Especially troubling is that some of these problems are brand new, and some things are broken again that we thought we’d fixed. This is not where we expected to be this far along in the project.

I can only report what I know. The troubles are confounding our IT staff and EidosMedia. But I can tell you that our IT staff has been working long and hard on solutions. They’re trying to solve the big questions underlying the spurt of troubles we’re experiencing at the same time they’re spending hours and hours with short-term fixes so that we can continue to publish. In addition, EidosMedia has been working on our problems from New York and their headquarters in Milan.

At this stage, I fear I can’t tell you when these disruptions will cease. So please continue to do your best. As soon as I get a better sense of when to expect improvement, I’ll let you know.

Caleb

* Chicago Tribune RedEye 10 year anniversary sales video (vimeo.com)
* You remember Lee Abrams, right? If not, here’s some background (Gawker)

The City of El Paso was ready to buy the El Paso Times’ downtown building for $14 million, but then the El Paso Times pointed out that the proposed price is $3.7 million more than what the property is appraised at. The purchase is now delayed.

“You have a situation here where journalists doing their job may have wrecked a deal for [their newspaper], but saved taxpayers money,” notes the tipster who sent me this link.

El Paso Times publisher Sergio H. Salinas “acknowledged the difficulty of covering a business deal in which the newspaper is involved,” reports the Times. He tells his paper that “we will continue to fulfill our responsibilities as a watchdog. At the same time, we have a valuable piece of property that we want to maximize.”

* City delays El Paso Times building purchase (elpasotimes.com)
* Earlier: City in talks to buy downtown El Paso properties (elpasotimes.com)

Gannett chief marketing officer Maryam Banikarim sent a memo to employees this morning with USA Today artist/illustrator Sam Ward’s explanation of his paper’s new logo and “cool balls.”

He writes:

“Just what are our balls? Well, they are what we will make of them. I believe our balls are symbols of who we are and where we’re headed. They are not stories, graphics, or illustrations. They are signposts, perhaps; reminders that offer inroads into America’s stream of consciousness. …

“Sure, our competitors will laugh. Let them laugh so hard that they cannot breathe. We should really only be interested in what the readers think. Yes, there may be a few laughing readers too, but not for long. Readers will come to enjoy “the show.”

From: A message from Maryam Banikarim
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2012 9:52 AM
Subject: Cool Balls

As I mentioned yesterday at the USA TODAY employee presentation, with Sam’s permission, I’d like to share his full note regarding our new logo and getting our mojo back….

Enjoy.
Maryam
————————–

Cool Balls by Sam Ward

I have a dream . . . that one day all Americans will join hands and declare their undying love for our balls; our spheres of influence, our behaviors, or whatever one chooses to call them.

Actually, and perhaps with an air of creepiness, I DID have a dream about this very topic. I dreamt that people all over the place were talking about the images in USA TODAY’s balls. It was creating quite a stir; which, if we do our job right, shouldn’t be far from the truth.

Whenever anyone steps outside the boundaries of the box it will create a stir. In fact, nothing good can be created without stepping outside the box. No, let me rephrase that; nothing can be created at all without stepping outside the box. Our balls could be our boldest statement; our chance to engage readers on a level that we currently are not doing.
Read More


“Next week will be my last as editor of the Voice,” writes Tony Ortega. “I will be leaving to pursue a book proposal about Scientology in its time of crisis.” Writer, editor and music critic Maura Johnston is also leaving the weekly.

* Scientology watchers: A message from Tony Ortega (villagevoice.com)
* Sources say Ortega’s exit was not his decision (observer.com)
* It’s Maura Johnston’s last day at the Voice, too (capitalnewyork.com)

Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizons, NOW NYC and Equality Now have complained to Conde Nast chairman Si Newhouse and editorial director Thomas Wallace about this Vogue Hommes International cover.

September 14, 2012

Dear Mr. Wallace and Mr. Newhouse:

We write to express our profound opposition to your decision to feature a photo of Stephanie Seymour with Marlon Teixeira’s hand wrapped around her neck on the cover of Vogue Hommes International. This truly disturbing image of a woman being choked sends a dangerous message to anyone who sees this magazine – that choking is a sign of passion rather than of violence. /LETTER CONTINUES

Read More

“I want to eat the blood! I want to eat the blood!”
Toledo Blade crime reporter Taylor Dungjen celebrates her “Ride Along” blog’s first birthday (a month late) with a cake featuring a shooting victim. (Taylor, I’ll send you my Death Log book as a present; let me know where to mail it.) (toledoblade.com)

More links:
* To reduce its pension liabilities, NYT offers some ex-staffers the option to receive a one-time lump sum payment or start a lower monthly annuity now. (reuters.com)
* Wall Street Journal pulls article by Jonah Lehrer that “inappropriately reused passages” from a Boston Globe piece. (online.wsj.com)
* “Patch grew extremely big very quickly,” notes an ex-staffer. “Its management never caught up to handle that.” (amyjobrown.com)
* Reporter Gloria Negri retires from the Boston Globe after 53 years. (bostonglobe.com/column) | bostonglobe.com/news story)
* Chicago Tribune reduces the number of TribLocal sections during Journatic suspension. (chicagobusiness.com)
* Petition: “Tell the Chicago Sun-Times that sexism has no place in their political coverage.” (change.org)
* Chris Wallace tells Philly audience he was most nervous interviewing Michael Jordan. (nakedphiladelphian.com)
* Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play Google interns in a buddy comedy being shot at Stanford today. (allthingsd.com)

* USA Today introduces a sleeker look on Friday. (nytimes.com) | Get a larger view via Newseum.org
* Al Neuharth: “Most media critics brushed us off quickly” 30 years ago. (usatoday.com)
* Earlier: Read USA Today’s press release about its “dramatic redesign” (jimromenesko.com)

Publisher Larry Kramer’s front page message to readers

Welcome to USA TODAY — again

Thirty years ago, USA Today’s visionary founder, Al Neuharth, introduced readers to a new kind of newspaper, one that gave readers information they couldn’t find anywhere else – visual, clear, concise and unbiased. We devoted ourselves to our audience, delivering news from al 50 states. And we aspired to put all Americans on the same page, if only for a few minutes every day.

The first USA Today: 9/15/1982

Our mission, as Neuharth said on Sept. 15, 1982, was “to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation.” That is still our mission.

Now we are breaking the mold again by unveiling the next generation of USA Today. This bold redesign signals an evolution of the USA Today brand in print and across all our digital platforms. Our new logo will be as dynamic as the news itself — we’ll use it as a platform to express our editorial spirit. And soon you’ll see significant changes to our website at usatoday.com, and our booming mobile and tablet delivery systems.

USA Today has always been about innovation. So let us know what you think about our new look and direction by emailing us at feedback@usatoday.com. Thank you for reading USA Today, and we hope you’ll continue to join the nation’s conversation.

Larry Kramer
Publisher