Daily Archives: September 21, 2012

With jury selection under way in a case involving Johnson & Johnson, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter David Sell walked into the courtroom and sat down a row or two away from about 40 prospective jurors.

David Sell

“I served on a jury and, knowing the rules, I had no plans to speak to them,” he writes. Still, Sell was told to wait in the hall while his courtroom presence was discussed by the lawyers and judge.

“A few moments after that, the court officer waved me in and I sat in the mostly empty jury box to watch the proceedings.”

Sell adds:

For those curious, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 19, 2010, in a 7-2 opinion that denying public access to jury selection during a trial was a violation of the Sixth and First Amendments to the Constitution. …A link to the opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court website is here.

* Judge stops J&J attempt to bar Philadelphia Inquirer from courtroom (

UPDATE: Crown Publishing Group marketing and publicity director Tara Delaney Gilbride sends this email:

The information you posted about Chris Anderson’s book MAKERS is based upon an advance, uncorrected proof of his book that is not intended for publication and is labeled as such on the cover. Any insinuation of plagiarism is entirely baseless and without merit.

Advance Galleys frequently do not include full footnotes, credits and other material that are included in the finished book. In fact, Chris made any number of revisions, deletions and additions to the book before it was published. Had he decided to keep the adaptation of the article from WIRED by Erin Biba, it would have been fully attributed to her. In the end he decided it flowed better without the adaptation and removed it.


A tipster who received a review copy of Wired editor Chris Anderson’s “Makers” – to be published October 2 by Random House Business — tells Romenesko readers:

In the reviewer’s copy of Makers, half of the final chapter called DIY Biology was plagiarized from an article by Erin Biba, called “Genome at Home: Biohackers Build Their Own Labs” published in the September 2011 issue of Wired.

The cribbed article was subsequently removed in the published version of the book, and the chapter was reduced to seven pages, half of what it had been. Its near inclusion suggests that the plagiarism had almost made it to the final print.

I’ve asked Anderson about his use of Biba’s story in the book, but haven’t heard back. My first email was sent at 11:23 a.m. CT. I sent a second email and also left a phone message; still, no response. (UPDATE: Wired’s spokesman says Anderson is out of the country and hard to reach.) I also sent Biba an email this morning and a follow-up tweet this afternoon, but haven’t heard from her.

Reviewers’ copy of Makers:

The above passage was taken from Biba’s Wired story below:

More examples are after the jump.
Read More

Will this be your lucky year?

Press release


One call out of the blue – $500,000 – No strings attached

CHICAGO (September 21, 2012) The 2012 MacArthur Fellows, awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, will be announced on Tuesday, October 2.

Awarded to talented individuals in a variety of fields who have shown exceptional originality in and dedication to their creative pursuits, MacArthur Fellows receive $500,000 grants that are bestowed with no conditions—recipients may use the money as they see fit.

Fellows are nominated anonymously and learn of their selection only when they receive an unexpected call from the MacArthur Foundation notifying them of the recognition.

Further information, including videos and photographs of all 2012 Fellows, will be available on the Foundation’s website at at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 2.

(Photo credit: Nancy Stone)

For a Labor Day feature that Skokie Patch called “touching,” the Chicago Tribune profiled Henry Wolfson, the man on the right. He’s a 66-year-old longtime substitute teacher who has had to live in a homeless shelter the last four months because of money woes

“In this day and age, you’re thinking, how can an educated person have gotten himself to that point?” another teacher told reporter Barbara Brotman. “Why is that happening to someone like him?”

The reporter explained how Wolfson went from his Evanston apartment to a shelter: “Subbing is a poor sole source of income. The pay is low and the work inconsistent.” Wolfson ran out of money after trying to keep current on his health insurance payments, she reported.

Students felt so sorry for the teacher after reading the Labor Day feature that they went out and raised about $40,000.

Today, though, the Tribune tells the rest of the story: “The teacher had gambled away close to $180,000, a fact the newspaper failed to mention.”

Wolfson had received $247,000 in 2007 from a trust established by his late parents, as well as $12,000 in 2011 from the settlement of a lawsuit against his sister and her husband. …[He] said Thursday that he had lost about $180,000 betting on horses in a little more than a year at off-track betting parlors.

Mention of the inheritance was in public court files that the Tribune did not consult before the column appeared. The newspaper published a clarification Thursday that said the column about Wolfson should have laid out those details about his finances.

* Hard times hit well-regarded substitute teacher (
* Students rush to help homeless school teacher (
* Tribune failed to mention the teacher gambled away $180,000 (

Paul Myerberg leaves the New York Times, where he’s written about college football on the paper’s The Quad college sports blog and his own Pre-Snap Read site, joins USA Today on Oct. 1.

“Paul is one of the most knowledgeable and passionate college football writers in the country,” says the USA Today memo announcing his hiring.

Read the memo after the jump.
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On Thursday, posted a 21-minute video interview with David Simon, the former Baltimore Sun police reporter responsible for “The Wire” and “Treme.” (The video was trimmed from a one-hour and 20 minute conversation.)

This morning, Simon complained about the editing, saying it was done “by folks who found more favor in banter and quick reposite [sic] than in actually surrounding stuff. …I claim nothing sinister on the magazine’s part.”

The full interview has much fat that is deservedly cut down and the tangle of interjections by [Reason’s Nick] Gillespie and my own asides in response didn’t make for the most directed encounter. I am as guilty as anyone for some what resulted, and I can see why an editor was challenged. But lost in the edit that ensued is a good bit of connective tissue that could, at points, make portions of the exercise sensical, I think.

Reason has now posted the full interview. Gillespie and Epstein write: “We stand by our edits of the material not simply as standard journalistic practice (as Simon himself notes, ‘unedited interviews seldom are’ worth anyone’s time) but as fully conveying both the complexity and depth of his takes on the various topics we discussed.”

* David Simon talks to Nick Gillespie and Jim Epstein (
* Simon: My comments to Reason seemed disjointed, unsupported (
* Simon accuses Reason of producing a “shanked” interview with him (
* Earlier: Simon learns to watch what he says (

Jeff Cohen

After 10 years as Houston Chronicle editor, Jeff Cohen becomes executive editor of the Hearst-owned paper’s editorial pages.

“Ten years is a good run on the front line at a media institution of this size,” he writes in a memo to his staff. “But a new chief editor in the newsroom will bring about innovation and an internal evaluation that will be better for the Chronicle and for our audience.”

Read Cohen’s memo after the jump. Read More

“Fox and Friends” on Thursday used the Obama and pirate shot on the right to show that the president is more interested in meeting with a pirate than in conducting foreign policy.

The AP’s David Bauder reports:

Over an on-screen graphic that said “Arrrgh You Kidding?”, Fox ran the picture Thursday morning with host Brian Kilmeade saying, “The White House doesn’t have the time to meet with the prime minister of Israel, but this pirate got a sit-down in the Oval Office yesterday.”

Later, with “yo-ho-ho” music in the background, Fox showed the picture as its “Shot of the Morning,” with host Steve Doocy saying, “Here’s a quick look at what President Obama is up to, making sure he didn’t forget to mark International Talk Like a Pirate Day.”

Bauder explains the photo: “It was taken as a punch line for a joke Obama delivered to the White House Correspondents Association dinner in 2009 about the administration talking to enemies as well as friends.”

For me, the best part of waking up isn’t Folger’s in my cup; it’s reading Paula Froelich’s tweets about “Fox and Friends.” This morning she told her followers: “No on air apology for the #Obama Pirate headline story of yesterday but im hopeful! @foxandfriends (who am i kidding).”

UPDATE: Mark Knoller wrote on May 12, 2009, in a piece headlined, “White House Back-Story: The President and the Pirate”:

The White House needed a pirate, and it turned to speechwriter Cody Keenan. It was a role not exactly in his job description.

He was “more than game,” said an official familiar with the shenanigans, “as long as the costume was legit.”

Fellow speechwriter Jon Lovett called costume shops all over town until he found the costume in the picture. “The President loved it,” said the official.

* Joke photo on Fox suggests Obama met with a pirate (AP via
* Drudge also jumped on Fox’s pirate-meeting report (
* “AAAARGGH! @foxandfriends #Obama w pirate pic – three years old!” (@pfro)

* Smaller audience, but bigger payoff for Glenn Beck. (
* Boston Globe and MIT launch a new media collaboration. (

From today’s Boulder Daily Camera letters page.

* Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal swings by the University of Michigan to check out the startup scene. (
* Why was a rape victim’s blog mentioned in the New York Times, allowing readers to ID her? (
* Fact-checkers haven’t left the building; they’re at home in front of their computers. (
* Maxim cuts its guaranteed paid circulation by 20%. (
* Iconic “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” photo may have been staged. (
* “We have to charge more for the value of community journalism,” says Louisville Courier-Journal publisher. (

Gallup reports that 60% of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly”; Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.

“Trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004 — as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s,” reports Lymari Morales.

Highlights from the just-released poll:

* This year’s decline in media trust is driven by independents and Republicans.
* Only 26% of Republicans have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. (It’s 31% for independents.)
* Democrats have the most trust (58%) in the media.
* Even though they don’t trust the media, Republicans are most likely to be paying close attention to news about national politics. (48% are following national political news “very closely” vs. 33% of Democrats and 39% of independents.)

Gallup says:

On a broad level, Americans’ high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry. Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other. At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the “mass media” to serve as information sources that Americans do trust.

* U.S. distrust in media hits new high at 60% (
* From 2011: 55% have little or no trust in the media (