Monthly Archives: December 2012

This journalist’s name is Yang Wang, not Yank Wang! A very unfortunate byline typo.

A laid-off New York Times carrier writes a classy farewell letter to customers. “At the end, I won’t lose the hope in this great nation.”

Be careful with those stock photos! It goes without saying, a story about rape shouldn’t be illustrated with a photo of really happy women.

How Amy Harmon got Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle mixed up. It was “a relatively small mistake that marred a story I had poured my heart into,” says the New York Times reporter.

A newspaper crease makes snuggling a crime. How cute!

Words journalists use that people never say. When’s the last time you said “mercurial” while chatting with a friend?

How Margalit Fox came to write “the most bad-ass obit ever.” The New York Times journalist says “a story like this pretty much writes itself. There was so much amazing stuff between the cradle and the grave.”

How Google autocompletes questions about news outlets and media people. “Why is Rupert Murdoch evil.”

Meet the people who thought the Titanic disaster was only a movie. That actually happened?! “How am I just finding this out?” one person asks.

Journalists’ first C-SPAN appearances. Young Mike Allen, Howard Kurtz, Jill Abramson and others.

Anniston Star gets applause for its “Driving Mitt Crazy” headline. A Romenesko reader says: “Anyone who can get a ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ reference into this campaign is 20 times the writer I’ll ever be.”

Editor is surprised his Rick Santorum headline went viral. I’m not.

A most-unfortunate Post-It note placement. We later learned that it was put there by a prankster.

An editor writes a news story to go along with her obituary. The Wisconsin journalist made sure the facts were correct in her life story.

“I’ve been acquired — read all about it!” Khristopher Brooks was thrilled to get a new newspaper job and announced it in a press release. Unfortunately he ended up losing the job.

A New York Times reporter defends a Forbes writer. She was accused of stealing his work.

pintA photo of a pint-sized Washington Post reader goes viral. The almost 3-year-old’s mother says: “She always picks up the paper. It’s the color photos that draw her to it.”

What magazines do you miss the most? National Lampoon, Spy, Wigwag, Circus, Omni, and many others are mentioned by Romenesko readers.

Yes, I *would* vote for Romney or Obama. Confusing results for the Question of the Week.

A New York Times summer intern covers the Mets’ first no-hitter. It’s the feel-good sports reporting story of 2012.

There are lots of bloopers and fun media posts on my Pinterest page, too.

* Tribune finally emerges from bankruptcy and names a new board. (
zell* Sam Zell’s “long-term investment” in Tribune was ruined by the Great Recession, which began the same month he took control of the company. (
* Maxim has become for today’s Army what Playboy was to soldiers fighting in Vietnam. (
* David Carr on Time Inc.’s Lisa Lang, CNN’s Jeff Zucker and other media execs with tough assignments in 2013. (
* Stuart Leavenworth: There’s no evidence that strong opinions hurt newspaper readership. (
* Current TV vs. Keith Olbermann and nine other media feuds of 2012. (
* Tech writer Ryan Block explains why he quit Facebook and Instagram. (
* Think you’re giving up social media? Think again. (
* A 15-year-old girl’s history of “bold tech trend calls.” (
* David Zurawik: Why has NBC News put someone as outrageously unqualified as Chelsea Clinton on a prime-time newsmagazine? (
* AP reporter Jim Davenport, who broke the story of SC Gov. Mark Sanford’s disappearance, dies of cancer at 54. (AP via

UnknownReuters’ sources say Tribune will emerge from bankruptcy on December 31, “setting the stage for the new company to sell off its newspapers to focus on the WGN cable channel and other TV assets.” UT-San Diego owner Doug Manchester and Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner are said to be interested in the company’s papers. || Associated Press: “Kushner cautioned that he hasn’t examined Tribune’s finances but signaled he would move quickly if he determined its newspapers are a good fit.”

* Sources say Tribune will exit bankruptcy Dec. 31 (Reuters via

* Fire official objects to “putting that thought in someone’s mind” (
* “Disclaimer — The Post does not encourage such behavior” (

I asked Patch staffers Thursday to comment on a report that editors are being given more communities to cover and freelance budgets are being cut in 2013. Here are two responses that came in:

From a Patch editor:
“We were told earlier this month that all freelance budgets would drop to zero on Jan. 1. But last week, management decided that was too drastic and some freelance money has been restored, although we’re waiting to hear how much. Meanwhile, the hiring freeze remains in place. As people leave, some local editors are having to run multiple sites.”
Another staffer:
“I work for Patch and can confirm that regional editors have not been given word on their 2013 budgets. However, it looks like the freelance budget will be reduced when the regions get their numbers in the early first quarter. The cuts leave many contract editorial staff and freelancers out of work. The reduction in staff and budgets is part of the company’s plan to try to make up for the lost money and achieve profitability by the end of 2013. Many regions are condensing staff and plan to not fill vacated positions. The sites will also all be changing to look like the Patch 2.0 social media sites in New York. Almost all the editors will be taking on two sites. In turn, this will end the 1:1 (1 editor, 1 town) staff plan. The cuts have left many editors covering town miles away from where they currently cover. Most editors are also frustrated and at their breaking point. It seems like management is just making it up as they go.”

I’ve asked Patch for a comment on its 2013 plans. | UPDATE: “We are not going to comment on 2013 plans,” says Patch senior publicist Joe Wiggins. “We’ll certainly be in touch if we have any announcements to make.”

* Patch editor pulls story about his missing glove after being criticized on social media (

* Here are some of best magazine covers of 2012, according to Ad Age. (
* Pearson takes a 5% stake in Barnes & Noble’s Nook business. (
* New York Post report about Instagram is “flat-out wrong,” says Zach Seward. (
* Judge says the Los Angeles Times can argue for the release of full church abuse files. (
* The guest column that you won’t read in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. (
* Ebony magazine managing editor Terry Glover is dead of colon cancer at 57. (
* “Disrupt” and four other tech terms to banish in 2013. (
* The word “Twitterverse” annoys many, according to the Marist Poll. (
* Erika Fry: Aside from Twitter, 2012’s big online winner was BuzzFeed. (
* Seattle Times publishes its pictures-of-the-year project as an iBook. (
* Magazine launches in 2012 climbed back to their pre-recession 2008 levels. (
* Chicago Tribune’s former real estate director is charged with defrauding the company. (
* J. Crew responds to Delia Ephron’s “whiny” New York Times op-ed. (

UPDATE: “Thanks for your help,” writes Gil Duran. “And on the sixth day, Fox corrected the story.”

—— reported last week that California’s 2012 budget deficit is projected to hit $28 billion.

“Completely false,” writes Gil Duran, Gov. Jerry Brown’s press secretary. “The error was actually pointed out to me by a reporter who thought it was a pretty shocking mistake.”

Duran tells Romenesko readers:

I wrote a request for a correction. Ignored.Unknown So it appears I’m going to have to campaign for a correction. Most news outlets are more than happy to correct an egregious error. Not Fox News, apparently. I’m not surprised by most of what they do. But — come on — you can’t just write fiction. I’m used to their relentless attacks and we generally ignore them … falsehoods are another matter!

Read Duran’s emails to Fox News after the jump. Read More

Reformer executive editor Tom D’Errico writes in an email: “Terrible terrible typo. The night crew was short-staffed and we had an unusual last-minute early deadline with the storm marching in. I’ve been meaning to address the issue on my blog but have had a busy day.”

UPDATE: The editor’s blog post is up. He writes: “When I sat down to craft this blog [about the headline screw-up], I kept running over the reasons in my mind (which I’ll share in a moment) of how or why a mistake like this can and does happen. But everything just sounded like an excuse. And the truth is: There is no excuse.”

* The Reformer “has a history of making unfortunate typos” (
* “Let is snow” (the headline screw-up edition) (

New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson tells her staff that the paper’s “Snow Fall” interactive feature received around 2.9 million visits for more than 3.5 million page views. “At its peak, as many as 22,000 users visited Snow Fall at any given time,” she writes. “Strikingly, a quarter to a third of them were new visitors to …Rarely have we been able to create a compelling destination outside the home page that was so engaging in such a short period of time on the Web.”

Her Dec. 26 memo:


“Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” marked a cool moment in the evolution of our online storytelling.

snow“Beautiful” and “brilliant” were two words used an awful lot by readers and rivals both.

The story was born in the gifted hands of John Branch. The Sports and Graphics desks soon saw story-telling opportunities well beyond the print paper. Ultimately, the effort came to include the talents of Ruth Fremson, Jacky Myint, Hannah Fairfield, Joe Ward, Jeremy White, Xaquin G.V., Graham Roberts, Josh Williams, Wayne Kamidoi, Sam Manchester, Ken Plutnicki, Michael Roston and Lexi Mainland.

All that work produced a wildly new reading experience.

There are, of course, many ways to appreciate Snow Fall’s success and the lessons it might hold. Those behind the effort will soon put together a brown bag lunch for anyone interested in hearing how it came to be and why it stood out.

But some numbers and notions worth enjoying and considering in the meantime:

Ian Fisher noted with a smile after the preview for the project began rocketing around the Internet that, “Snow Fall handily triumphed in a category we never anticipated existing: most hits for a story that didn’t appear on our web site.”

More customary measures included these:

– The project was shared by more than 10,000 users on Twitter.

– It received around 2.9 million visits – some users coming back more than once – for more than 3.5 million page views. A huge portion of the traffic was from social media, and many of those visits came before the project was featured on the home page. The elegant home page design continued to attract our most loyal and engaged users.

– At its peak, as many as 22,000 users visited Snow Fall at any given time. Strikingly, a quarter to a third of them were new visitors to They were quickly hooked: users spent around 12 minutes, often more, engaged with the project.

– More than half a million visits went directly to Snow Fall, and more than half of those direct visits were from new Times users (or readers who hadn’t visited the site in a long while) lured to our journalism by this feature.

In sum, then, people heard that The Times was doing something neat; they came in droves; and they stuck around for a while. We succeeded in creating a destination online that only increased in popularity when we put it on our home page. The Times is a premier online destination for news and information, but rarely have we been able to create a compelling destination outside the home page that was so engaging in such a short period of time on the Web.