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Daily Archives: October 8, 2012

New York Times science correspondent Donald G. McNeil Jr. tells Romenesko readers that between 375 and 400 Times staffers participated in today’s walkout. “Plus there were 23 out at the Washington bureau,” he writes. “That total – 400 to 425 – is roughly twice as many as were at our silent protest outside the Page One meeting on Feb. 29. The anger is getting worse.”

He adds:

We’re right to be angry. The company has more than $900 million in cash stockpiled (I can prove that by sending you the quarterly reports) and it could solve this for about $20 million. They’re idiots if they don’t see that it makes more sense to spend that fraction of the pot rather than to alienate an entire staff that still loves their jobs and has long appreciated, even loved the Sulzberger family. But for 18 months, their lawyer and their senior VP for labor have done exactly that — acted like belligerent idiots, heedless of the consequences.

They have described us to our faces as the company’s “people who make the widgets.” Our members have died on the Syrian border, had limbs blown off in Afghanistan, been taken prisoner in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, toppled Elliot Spitzer, covered the hell out a presidential campaign, and won two to three Pulitzers a year. Take a look at the list of signers on that letter — there are a dozen Pulitzer winners on it.

Take a look at that Washington bureau picture [below] — those are the people covering the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, the State Department, the Pentagon. And during this all, Arthur has been — as far as we can tell – largely absent. It’s sad and frustrating. Hence, the anger.

Times Washington bureau staffers at today’s walkout (left to right): Scott Shane (glasses, jacket), Jonathan Weisman, Charlie Savage, David Sanger (red tie), Mark Landler (trench coat), Elisabeth Bumiller (polka dot scarf), Sheryl Stolberg, Jennifer Steinhauer, Sabrina Tavernise, Adam Liptak
Second row: Gwenn Gorman (red blouse), Elisabeth Goodridge, Jackie Calmes, Ashley Southall, Eric Lipton, Eric Schmitt
Third row: Ed Wyatt (blue shirt), Annie Lowrey, Bobby Worth (hat, sunglasses)
Back Row: Jim Risen, John Broder. Behind the camera: Matt Wald

* At today’s New York Times staff walkout (capitalnewyork.com)

* Hundreds of New York Times employees participated in today’s “very civilized” walkout. (capitalnewyork.com) | (animalnewyork.com)
* The person who plays Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch was paid $314,000+ in 2011. (money.msn.com)
* Now This News is the first news organization that’s completely designed for mobile use, says a co-founder. (ajr.org)
* “Travels with Charley” reprint will acknowledge factual problems discovered by journalist Bill Steigerwald. (reason.com)
* Michael Wolff: “Facebook is cookie-cutter-ish. Facebook is boring. Facebook verges on the totally square.” (usatoday.com)
* Why NPR’s titles for Mitt Romney are all over the place. (npr.org)
* Athens News is now using staples to hold the magazine-style newspaper together. (athensnews.com)

Eight-year-old Rayden Sazama — with the help of “my PaPa” — writes in a letter to the Logan (UT) Herald Journal about the humane society killing Toothless the kitty “when they weren’t supposed to.” Rayden’s father went to the animal shelter in search of the cat after he went missing; the family’s pet was there.

When my dad made his funny meow sound that he does to make him come home, Toothless jumped up and came to the screen and rubbed up against it and was so happy to see my dad, and he wasn’t scared anymore. My dad wanted to take him home, but they said he had to go to another office building and pay a fee.

The dad was told to return the next day to pick up Toothless. He did, and…

The same lady that told my dad to come back the next day said she was sorry. She had forgotten to leave a note to tell the people my dad would be there for Toothless and they had just killed my cat that morning. She had just forgotten to write a note to save a member of my family. They killed him and I don’t know why.

Rayden’s letter continues: “Now I don’t know what to do. My cat Toothless is dead; the people that killed him didn’t even give him to my dad so we could bury him. What do I do now?”

The child’s letter has nearly 300 comments and, unfortunately, many of them shouldn’t be read by an 8-year-old.

UPDATE: Herald Journal city editor Emilie Wheeler tells Romenesko readers that her newsroom has received calls from readers wanting to help Rayden get another cat. “His family says they’re grateful people care, but a replacement cat doesn’t fix the problem that Toothless is gone,” she writes.

Rayden’s letter has received 27,649 page views as of this afternoon, says the editor. “Our other letters typically get fewer than 1,000 page views.” On Saturday, after AP picked up the story, the letter had 17,000 of the Herald Journal site’s 40,000 page views that day.

Wheeler adds in her email:

Whitey: Another shelter tragedy


The interesting thing about this story — and most important to our community — is that it comes on the heels of another tragic animal story [involving Whitey the dog] that put our local Humane Society in the spotlight last month.

The Cache Humane Society is relatively young and runs on a limited budget. Animal lovers within our community seem to be conflicted now. Without the shelter, cities would collect strays and euthanize them without putting much effort into finding owners. But, obviously, some people feel there should be more checks within the shelter.

After Whitey the dog was euthanized, we received dozens of letters to the editor. They have started up again since this Toothless incident.

* Letter: “Grown-ups killed my kitty” (hjnews.com)

UPDATE: Here’s a photo of this afternoon’s walkout.

New York Times guild members are taking a series of actions this week “to make sure that the company hears and understands our position” on contract negotiations.

“It is time to raise our voices,” says a memo to members. One of those actions is a walkout at 3:35 this afternoon. “This is not a job action,” the guild notes. “We want you to participate if you have flexibility in your work schedule that permits a 10 or 15 minute break at 3:35.”

Read the full memo after the jump. Read More

University of Kansas football coach Charlie Weis was steamed at the University Daily Kansan for this running cover story and art in Friday’s paper. He tweeted: “Team slammed by our own school newspaper. Amazing! No problem with opponents paper or local media. You deserve what you get! But, not home!”

Dan Reimold notes that Weis’s tweet, which was retweeted 505 times, “spurred national attention and a public scolding from some members of the press” and “also revealed how little Weis knows about student journalism.” (Weis’s team, by the way, lost 56-16 on Saturday.) (collegemediamatters.com)

More Monday links:
* Media General sells Tampa Tribune to Revolution Capital for $9.5 million. (tbo.com)
* BuzzFeed doesn’t bother with banner ads because sponsored stories are so effective. (wsj.com)
* Exactly what color paper is the Financial Times printed on? (nytimes.com)
* “In a simplistic way, you can say we’re the Grantland of USA Today,” says Sports on Earth’s editor. (shermanreport.com)
* Curiosity about Obama video last week gave Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller its highest weekly traffic to date. (nytimes.com)
* Gawker’s Nick Denton: After posting the Hulk Hogan sex tape, “I can hardly complain about intrusion into my private life.” (observer.com)
* Chicago Reader’s Michael Miner: In rural America, it seems the press still has the power to seize a community. (chicagoreader.com)