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Daily Archives: October 11, 2012


* About that graphic on the right: Double check your headline before you hit “publish.” (copydesk.org) | Yankees plan to make baseball history tonight? (nymag.com)

* “For me, journalism is one of many ways to deploy interesting content,” says GOOD’s Josh Neuman. (jewishjournal.com)
* New York Times shares hit 52-week high on upgrade. (AP via yahoo.com)
* Arthur Ochs Sulzberger had $41 million in NYT stock at the time of his death. (nypost.com)
* NYT Magazine columnist Andrew Goldman: “For once in my life, I think it’s best to keep my mouth shut.” (capitalnewyork.com)
* Newspaper editorial cartoonists in Albany and Syracuse are out of work. (cagle.com)
* Links from Gawker banned from Reddit’s politics forum. (newstatesman.com)
* Good old days! When journalists had free access to college athletes. (vimeo.com)
* Misleading heds: Illinois man wasn’t killed in Jacksonville for being a Bears fan. (chicagotribune.com)

A Kent State University journalism class recently sent letters to 20 Ohio lawmakers, asking what world health care system studies they used to inform them in their decisions regarding U.S. health care.

“Only three responded. And only one member, Rep. Steven LaTourette, of the 14th District, was helpful,” reports the Plain Dealer’s Brandon Blackwell. (Rep. Jim Renacci told students he didn’t understand the question; Rep. John Boehner said he had documentation, but couldn’t share it.)

In a video about their project, the students in Karl Idsvoog’s computer assisted reporting class tell Ohio’s congress members: “The approval rating for congress is at an all-time low. Maybe that rating would go up if you would respond to your mail.”

* Don’t bother writing to Ohio congress members (cleveland.com)
* Earlier: Kent State class examines athletic departments’ car policies (jimromenesko.com)

Fifteen years ago, Birmingham ABC 33/40 TV station refused to air Ellen DeGeneres’ “coming out” episode. It “cited a need to respect the family values of the largely conservative evangelical community in the region as the basis of its decision,” according to its Wikipedia page.

It appears the station still has a problem with homosexuality, as it has pulled all ABC 33/40 Facebook and website references to ABC “Good Morning America” weatherman Sam Champion’s upcoming marriage to his boyfriend.

A Romenesko reader writes: “This is the link to the FB thread that was pulled. This is where the “Sam Champion Engaged!” story was on ABC 33/40’s website. On this Facebook thread, you can see the link to the “Sam Champion Engaged!” story worked at one point, and Facebook is still pulling the proper thumbnail for that story. But if you click the link, it goes to a ‘Page not found’ error page on the ABC 33/40 website.” (They didn’t get around to deleting all of the stories, though.)

UPDATE: Station manager Mike Murphy tells me the posts were removed because the comments, which went off-topic and got personal against news staffers.

* ABC 33/40 Facebook page visitors discuss gay marriage in Alabama (facebook.com)

Peter Kafka reports that a Barclays analyst has issued the equivalent of a “buy” recommendation for the New York Times. Here’s how the stock’s doing today:

* NYT gets a “buy” recommendation from Barclays (allthingsd.com) | Share price
* “I feel 16 times forward earnings is a ludicrous price to pay for NYT” (fool.com)
* Earlier: Sulzberger will shows his heirs want to sell his NYT shares (dnainfo.com)

— From Onward State’s account of Sara Ganim’s Penn State talk this week

The emails started coming in last night from Romenesko readers who read Onward State’s account of Pulitzer-winning Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim’s talk on Tuesday at Penn State.

One emailer:

I was astonished at this revelation today. The lawyers wrote the entire story? Are you kidding me? I’ve heard of a story being reviewed by lawyers to make sure the paper didn’t get its butt sued off, but the lawyers actually writing it? Does this happen and I just don’t know about it. I’ve been in this business a long time and I’m completely shocked. At the very least it raises some questions about ethics and where authorship begins.

I’ve had editors clean up my share of shitty ledes, but this implies she didn’t write a sentence of the first story that started this whole ordeal. Not a sentence! And as you know, sometimes that’s the hardest part of doing a story.

Another emailer:

Is it typical for lawyers to write a story and then for a journalist to put her/his name on it? I don’t want to slam her. I just want to know if this is typical. I’ve never won a Pulitzer. So maybe it is normal for someone else to take your reporting and do the writing.

Sara Ganim

I sent emails to Ganim and Patriot-News editor Cate Barron; both replied within minutes. “This is obviously not what Sara said or meant Tuesday night,” said Barron. “I’m holed up in meetings today but Sara will get back to you and speak for herself.”

She did, and said the Onward State account of her talk — it was the speech she always gives at college appearances — didn’t accurately reflect her joking tone. She said she tells her audiences — not seriously — that lawyers wrote the story.

“I said it tongue in cheek,” she said in a phone conversation this morning. “It’s not like they wrote the story based on my facts.”

“I’m not sure he was paying that close attention to anything I said,” Ganim said of the Onward State reporter, noting there were other problems with his account of her talk. (Onward State is the Penn State website that prematurely reported Joe Paterno’s death in January. I’ve invited its editor to comment on the Ganim story.)

Here’s how the Centre Daily Times covered the same talk.

* Sara Ganim stresses 5 lessons at conference (onwardstate.com)

UPDATE: Onward State managing editor Kevin Horne (he’s not the author of the post) sends this email:

While I was not at the Ganim event personally, I have since corroborated with four different people who were there. All four verified that Ganim did say, in a serious tone, that lawyers played a big part in the story before it was published. Having oversight from legal counsel is not unusual for a story of that magnitude, and the fact that lawyers were heavily involved in her work is not a point of criticism. According to my four sources, Ganim also said in a less serious tone that lawyers essentially wrote the story for her. All of the quotes our reporter used were accurate.

This is not to take away from the extraordinary work Sara Ganim has done from the onset of this scandal. The national praise and awards she has received is well deserved, and the comment about the lawyers winning the Pulitzer instead of her was clearly a joke that most people understood.

On another note, I find the fact that you would publish this story without first giving me an opportunity to comment alarming. I feel that that goes against the grain of your work, and I was disappointed in that decision. Additionally, to describe Onward State solely as the blog that “prematurely reported Joe Paterno’s death” is a tremendous slight to the things Onward State has accomplished in its 4 years of existence.

I invited Horne to comment at 10:36 a.m.; I heard from him at 12:05 p.m. I wasn’t going to hold the item while waiting to find out whether he would respond to my email or not.

UPDATE II: You can watch Ganim’s talk here. The remarks in question start at 48:05.

Jay Rosen: “The problem for PBS is not the imperative to remain impartial. It’s the assumption that impartiality is well served by the genteel style.” (pressthink.org)
* Martha Raddatz faces charges of bias from conservatives, the way Gwen Ifill did in 2008. (huffingtonpost.com) | (politico.com)
* Variety’s paywall is coming down, says the new owner. (deadline.com)
* NYT’s Mark Oppenheimer: I don’t know if I’ve sold 10 copies or 10,000 copies of my self-published Dan Savage ebook. (pandodaily.com)
* Twins charged with the murder of a former Pensacola News Journal reporter; they apparently knew him through a comic book store. (pnj.com)
* Time Inc. is now working with McKinsey & Co., known for giving management justification to make cuts. (adweek.com)
* Margaret Sullivan looks into NYT Magazine columnist Andrew Goldman’s “unfortunate outburst” on Twitter. (nytimes.com)
* An easy-going, twentysomething Tampa Tribune exec plans to focus on multimedia. (tampabay.com)
* Robin Roberts goes home from the hospital. (usatoday.com)
* Andrew Sullivan: “Yes, I am prone to drama, but have safeguards against it.” (thedailybeast.com)
* Nick Denton’s website is a big fan of Nick Denton’s boyfriend’s play. (observer.com)