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Daily Archives: October 18, 2012

Al Gore working at the Tennessean in 1972.

The Tennessean endorsed Mitt Romney today — “the first time, to our knowledge,” that the Nashville-based paper has endorsed a Republican candidate for president, editorial page editor Ted Rayburn tells me.

The editorial says:

Gov. Romney: This endorsement was not an easy decision. You owe the American people more details about how you will keep taxes low, preserve social programs and build up the military, all while reducing the debt. You must be your own man, and not kowtow to special interests whose millions helped propel you to the Republican nomination.

Be the man who governed Massachusetts, and you’ll reunite America.

A Romenesko reader in Nashville wonders what role the Tennessean’s relatively new editor, Maria De Varenne, and new columnist Frank Daniels III played in this endorsement; both are on the newspaper’s editorial board. De Varenne tells me she is a registered Republican, while Daniels says he has a “pox on both parties” attitude.

“We’re neither liberal or conservative,” Daniels says of the editorial board. “We are very moderate.”

* Tennessean endorses Romney: Time for another change (tennessean.com)
* Frank Daniels III: Parsing our choice for president (tennessean.com)
* Al Gore, Boy Reporter (nashvillepost.com)
* New poll shows Romney up 9 points in Tennessee (nashvillescene.com)


UPDATE: More than 100 Seattle Times staffers sign letter protesting ad buy.

The decision to publish these ads is so disappointing [because] it threatens the two things we value the most, the traits that make The Seattle Times a strong brand: Our independence and credibility.

We know you value those things, too. The Seattle Times Company has done an exemplary job providing value to advertisers while also practicing independent journalism.

————–

The Seattle Times Co. announced on Wednesday that it’s running — and paying for — ads in support of gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. The newspaper company’s filing with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission puts the value of the ad campaign at $75,750.

McKenna’s Democratic opponent, Jay Inslee, is asking supporters to respond to the newspaper’s effort with a donation to his coffers.

His campaign manager writes: “I have never before seen something this outrageous from a news organization in all of my time in politics. Not even FOX News has ever done anything like this before. This expenditure makes the newspaper the third largest contributor to McKenna’s campaign effort.”

Times newsroom staffers plan to send a protest letter to publisher Frank Blethen, reports the Stranger’s Eli Sanders.

Here is the letter that the Inslee camp distributed this morning:

From: “Joby Shimomura, JayInslee.com”
Date: October 18, 2012 11:15:43 AM PDT
To:
Subject: Un-freaking-real

Dear ,

When I opened up yesterday’s Seattle Times, I about fell out of my chair.

The Seattle Times Company — the largest newspaper in Washington State — took out a full page ad supporting Republican Rob McKenna, part of what they later admitted is a nearly $80,000 independent expenditure on McKenna’s behalf. Reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission show that the Seattle Times will be placing an ad for the McKenna campaign every day until election day.

AP photo via spokesmanreview.com

I have never before seen something this outrageous from a news organization in all of my time in politics. Not even FOX News has ever done anything like this before. This expenditure makes the newspaper the third largest contributor to McKenna’s campaign effort.

See the ad for yourself below [image in email deleted] — and then join us in calling out this outrageous ad by making an urgent contribution of $3 to help us fight back.

Jay and the Seattle Times have had their differences over the years. They supported the Iraq War while Jay voted against it, for example.

But this absolutely takes the cake.

Executives at the Times are claiming that this was purely a business decision. But perception matters, and you can understand why it’s so hard to imagine how they can hope to present themselves as an impartial source when they’re spending nearly $80,000 supporting McKenna’s campaign.

We can’t allow this to go unanswered. Will you contribute $3 right now to help us fight back against this unprecedented move?

Thank you for standing with Jay against this ridiculous expenditure.

Sincerely,

Joby Shimomura
Campaign Manager
Jay Inslee for Washington

* Times Co. criticized for McKenna, gay-marriage campaigns (seattletimes.com)
* Seattle Times to boost McKenna with $75,750 in ads (seattlepi.com)

A few things that New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson tells readers in her Q-and-A:

Jill Abramson

– “I don’t think anyone mistakes our content as ‘infotainment.’ Our standards of quality journalism are the same from hard news to features to blogs.”
– “Our goal is not to become an online TV station, but to create video that enables our readers and audience to ‘watch The Times’ as well as ‘read The Times.’”
– “We never feature graphic images gratuitously, and we certainly don’t censor pictures to avoid conveying the news.”
– Public editor Margaret Sullivan “brings fresh energy to the job because of her comfort and experience with blogging and other digital forms.”

* New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson answers questions (nytimes.com)


UPDATE: Fox News has has put out a press release announcing Peter Boyer’s hiring. Roger Ailes, who recruited the writer, says: “I have followed Peter’s work throughout his storied career. He’s a talented and insightful journalist who will add weight and depth to our investigative reporting.”

——–

In January of 2011, Peter Boyer wrote a New Yorker piece about the upstate New York newspaper that Roger Ailes and his wife own. The Fox News chief cooperated with Boyer, and the journalist wrote a truly “fair and balanced” piece about publisher Ailes. Their newspaper — the Putnam County News and Recorder — “is a manifest improvement over its previous version, in both style and substance,” wrote Boyer. He also noted that Roger and Beth Ailes “give generously to Our Lady of Loretto Church …and to several other local causes, public and private.”

Ailes apparently liked the piece.

Today it’s reported by Mike Allen that Boyer — who left the New Yorker to join Newsweek and the Daily Beast in February, 2011 — is joining Fox News as editor at large.

The Philadelphia Newspaper Guild has filed a grievance over what it calls the Inquirer’s “irrational and seemingly punitive reassignments of 12 veteran journalists.” The union wants the paper to “provide an explanation and justification of the selection of journalists” tapped for reassignments. Most of them are older, higher paid reporters that some believe the paper is trying to force out.

* Earlier: Inquirer reporters mull age bias complaints after being reassigned (citypaper.net)

Read the guild memo after the jump.

Read More


“This is quite possibly the worst cartoon or comic depiction I’ve seen within the student press, and I’ve covered this world daily for half a decade.”

– Dan Reimold, CollegeMediaMatters.com
The Arizona Daily Wildcat apologized Wednesday for a cartoon that it says “some readers felt was homophobic and inappropriate.” Today the University of Arizona newspaper’s editor says the staff is reviewing its editorial policies and has fired cartoonist D.C. Parsons. Kristina Bui adds that “his views do not represent the views of the Wildcat staff, nor does the Wildcat represent the views of the university.” (A petition on Change.org calls for editor Bui’s firing, too.)

Parsons has also apologized and insists “the comic was not intended to offend.”

It was based on an experience from my childhood. My father is a devout conservative from a previous generation, and I believe he was simply distraught from the fact that I had learned (from “The Simpsons”) what homosexuality was at such a young age.

I have always used humor as a coping mechanism, much like society does when addressing social taboos. I do not condone these things; I simply don’t ignore them. I do sincerely apologize and sympathize with anyone who may be offended by my comics (I am often similarly offended by “Ralph and Chuck”), but keep in mind it is only a joke, and what’s worse than a joke is a society that selectively ignores its problems.

* Arizona Daily Wildcat apologizes for “Fruit Roll Up” cartoon (collegemediamatters.com)
* Letter from the editor: Owning up to our mistakes (wildcat.arizona.edu)

Tina Brown announces this morning that the last print edition of Newsweek will be the Dec. 31 issue. The magazine will continue online as Newsweek Global, “a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.”

Tina Brown and Newsweek CEO Baba Shetty write:

Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night. But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future. …

The inexorable move to an all-digital Newsweek comes with an unfortunate reality. Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the United States and internationally.

The move isn’t surprising, as IAC chief Barry Diller told analysts in July after being asked about Newsweek going online-only: “I’m not saying it will happen totally. But the transition to online from hard print will take place. We’re examining all of our options.”

Brown followed up with a staff memo that said Diller “would like to make it clear that he did not say on the earnings call as reported that Newsweek is going digital in September.” The memo, with the subject line “Scaremongering,” added: “In September we would be evolving our plan for the year ’13, with many options to choose from.”

A Newsweek staffer tells David Carr this morning that “our offices have been filled with consultants running around with lists of people, so we knew something was about to happen.”

* A turn of the page for Newsweek (thedailybeast) | Brown’s Oct. 18 memo to staff
* Newsweek will cease publication at the end of the year (nytimes.com)
* July 25: Diller says Newsweek may go web-only (allthingsd.com)
* Aug. 7: OK, Barry Diller, you can kill the print edition now (jimromenesko.com)
* Michael Wolff in 2008: “If Newsweek is around in five years, I’ll buy you dinner” (huffingtonpost.com)
* Aug. 23: What print magazines do you miss the most? (jimromenesko.com)