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Daily Archives: October 12, 2012

Jessica Cooley

Sonia Smith writes in her piece on the Lufkin Daily News’ daily crime column: “The blotter is the first thing many Lufkinites turn to when they open the paper, and the mind behind it is Jessica Cooley, a petite strawberry blonde.” The 27-year-old woman, who has been at the News for three years, describes the crime column as “basically one part daily media report from Lufkin police and one part my morbid sense of humor, topped off by my editors’ clever headlines.”

Smith writes:

Items run the gamut from the mundane (“A purse was found floating in a ditch full of water Sunday”) to the bizarre (“A man reported finding a steak knife stuck in the ground outside his apartment”). Themes emerge. Like meat thefts: “Pork chops, pork loin, and ground ham-burger were reported stolen from a home Thursday,” and “A mother reported her son stealing meat from her Sunday.”

* Crime and publishing: Inside a small-town paper’s police blotter (texasmonthly.com)

(Credit: John de Rosier)

“Due to layoff, my tenure here has come to an end,” writes John de Rosier, editorial cartoonist at Hearst’s Albany Times Union for the last 13 years. “Thank you all for reading, for your comments pro and con, for keeping me on my toes, and for reminding me daily that my opinion is not the only one worth hearing.”

What the Albany Newspaper Guild says: “Eliminating the cartoonist sends a message to readers: We are taking away something you value, something that makes your newspaper distinctive, something you cannot get anywhere else. We value your newspaper less, and you should too.”

Times Union editor Rex Smith says in an email to employees: “We know staff cuts can hurt our product, but we also know that we’re working smarter and more efficiently than we ever have before, and we recognize the promise of journalism in the digital age.”

UPDATE: I emailed De Rosier a few questions and he responded:

I did not see this coming, but it didn’t completely surprise me. It’s no secret that times are tough in our business, but if there’s one refrain we’ve been hearing over and over at the Times Union, it’s that local offerings are what make us strong, distinctive and uniquely valuable in the community.

John de Rosier

I never presumed I was bulletproof, but given all the talk about the importance of local content, it would appear that actions and message from the TU brass are not as aligned as they might hope they appear.

What’s next? I’m not entirely sure. I “moonlight” as a custom goldsmith, you can see my work [here]. I may take that to the next level. Beyond that, I have many interests and passions. I see an abundance of opportunity.

Letter to Romenesko

From NAME WITHHELD: I’m a former newspaper reporter who enjoys reading the blog. Thought you might enjoy the following. Please don’t publish my name.

On Sept. 25, writer James Pogue attended a Mitt Romney rally in Vandalia, Ohio, as a correspondent for Vice magazine. On Oct. 4, he wrote about the event on vice.com, relating that while waiting for Romney to speak, he requested a cigarette from an “astonishingly slovenly” Robert Emmett Tyrrell Jr., the editor-in-chief of American Spectator magazine. Pogue reported that Tyrrell — whose name he misspelled — was wearing an “outback hat” and “ill-fitting” jeans with the cuffs rolled up.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. (left) and Robert Stacy McCain

When the 70-year-old Tyrrell, 68, heard about Pogue’s article, he called the correspondent he sent to cover the same rally for his own magazine: 53-year-old political blogger Robert Stacy McCain, a former assistant national editor at the Washington Times. On Oct. 11, McCain wrote on his blog that he was the person in fedora and rolled-up jeans who gave Pogue the cigarette. McCain said he was “astonished” at how Pogue reported their encounter.

As of this morning, Pogue’s misidentification of Tyrrell and misspelling of Tyrrell’s name remained uncorrected on vice.com – even after a commenter (not me) pointed out the mistake.

The kicker: Pogue is a magazine fact checker. He recently wrote a long piece about what that job is like, in which he said the unnamed publication he works for is “the most accurate magazine in America.”

James, care to respond?

Ira Glass was asked in his Reddit AMA (ask me anything) if there was a policy change at “This American Life” after Mike Daisey’s piece was retracted. He said the radio show “used to fact check the way they do on the daily NPR news shows,” which is having “editors and reporters consult about questionable facts, run down stuff in an ad hoc way.”

Now we have professional fact checkers for everything, including the personal essays.

Still a question is what to do about David Sedaris. He doesn’t pretend the stories are true. He says to everyone they’re “true enough for you.” I assume the audience can tell, he’s a funny writer, there may be exaggerations for comic effect.

David Sedaris (left) and Ira Glass

We have three choices:

1) assume the audience is smart enough to tell;
2) label his stuff on the air as possibly non-factual (hard to figure out a way to do that which doesn’t kill the fun but there probably is one);
3) fact check him the way the New Yorker does.

I honestly don’t know where I stand on this one. When I pose the Q to public radio audiences, at speeches and events, they overwhelmingly vote #1, with a vociferous tiny minority who feel strongly in favor of #2.

Glass was asked if there’s “any awkwardness or standoff” when he comes across NPR “Science Friday” host Ira Flatow in the hallway? “Holy Christ yes,” Glass replied. He and I each believe – fiercely, heatedly and to our dying breaths – that there is only room in public radio for one Ira.”

More good quotes from his AMA:

“At any given point, we have three or four shows we’re actively preparing, and another two or three kind of burbling up slowly in the background. (There are nine of us on staff. It’s a lot of people. For years, it was just four.)”

“Sometimes the person just refuses to talk. Just a couple weeks ago there was a story about a kid who stole a Lamborghini that we could not get the kid or anyone who knew him. There was a guy who keeps a blog about amusement park accidents who had an amazing story and we couldn’t get him to talk to us. That was disappointing. Lots of people have the good sense not to talk on the radio.”

Carl Kasell

“I think it’s actually a little cheesy that [Carl Kasell's voice on your answering machine is] the prize on Wait Wait. I think they should give out a copy of the Encyclopedia Brittanica or something if you win.”

“It’s 2012 and I’m in journalism school. Am I an idiot?”
“Short answer: no. There’ll be journalism somewhere. There’ll be jobs. Longer answer: depends on which school.”

“If you weren’t doing This American Life, what do you think you would be doing as a career?”
“Either teacher or doctor. When I was a reporter in the public schools, I thought a lot about switching. Worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the discipline issues. But that seems like a great, interesting, hard hard hard job, which is what I like.”

* IAm Ira Glass, creator of This American Life (reddit.com)

The Associated Press story on the deaths of three North Carolina Army National Guard members reports that the two male victims were married, but fails to note that the woman killed in the Taliban suicide attack is survived by a wife, who also serves in the military.

Sgt. Donna Johnson

“I complained directly to Army Times and AP as of today neither wants to tackle the issue and that was a couple days ago,” writes one commenter on the Army Times site. (It ran the AP’s story.)

The Romenesko reader who sent links about this writes: “Whether one is supportive of LGBT issues/marriage or not, I think this is something that media outlets need to pay attention to in the service of accuracy.”

I’ve asked AP spokesman Paul Colford about the missing reference to Sgt. Donna Johnson’s wife.

UPDATE: Colford emails: “By Oct. 6 we had the following story, referring to Johnson’s ‘spouse, Tracy Dice.’”

He attached a copy of the updated AP story. It included these paragraphs:

Johnson was a former state prison guard and a military police officer and had worked in bomb training at Fort Bragg.

Her family said in a statement they want to remember Johnson “as a mission focused professional who gave her life serving her country and performing a job that she loved and excelled at.”

She “was a reserved and private person who had a close group of friends” and four dogs. She is survived by her spouse, Tracy Dice.

* NYT editorial page editor on Martha Raddatz: She acted like a working journalist and not a TV personality. (nytimes.com) | “Jim Lehrer she is not.” (politico.com) | How she won it. (nymag.com) | Her view of last night. (politico.com)
* Twitter CEO: “I view [Twitter] as very, very complementary to the news outlets.” (marketplace.org)
* Family of teen who collapsed and died at football camp gives photo (at left) to NYT, then is surprised to see it in the paper. Really? (thedaily.com)
* Conde Nast cuts about 60 employees over two days. (Second column item.) (nypost.com)
* Apple is expected to unveil the iPad Mini on October 23. (allthingsd.com)
* Broadcast legends recall the Iran hostage crisis. (hollywoodreporter.com)
* Thanks to smartphones, we’re now in the golden age of reading. (chicagoreader.com)
* Pulitzer-winner Paul Salopek plans a seven-year walk around the world. (pulitzercenter.org)
* TiVo finding: Republicans like golf and Democrats enjoy cartoons. (nytimes.com)
* David Chalian named Politico’s video programming veep. (politico.com)