Daily Archives: December 19, 2012

Good luck to him! An alt-weekly editor plans to open a used bookstore
Jerome Ludwig has resigned as managing editor of the Chicago Reader after 14 years at the paper and plans to open a used book store. used “He expected to be here until he retired,” writes Reader media reporter Michael Miner, “but as he entered his 50s the hours finally began to wear him down, and the new quarters [at the Sun-Times] were so strange he knew he could never settle into them.” (

* The D.C. press corps didn’t seem very interested in gun control at today’s press conference. (
* Erik Wemple: “People couldn’t fathom what appeared to be the press corps’ provincial, short-term memory.” (
* Limbaugh likes how Jake Tapper pressed the president on guns today. (
* “Ship in some real people to query the president the next time,” writes Will Bunch. “They’ll ask better questions.” (

Looks healthy to me, Donald.

Looks healthy to me, Donald.

* Donald Trump: “Vanity Fair looks like a dying magazine! Really really boring, really really thin!” (@realDonaldTrump) | “Graydon Carter should be fired.” (@realDonaldTrump)
* Denver Post’s Greg Moore is named Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year by the National Press Foundation. (
* Why is censorship good for news organizations when their people are kidnapped but not for others? (
* The Awl’s Choire Sicha: “There’s definitely times when people pitch their stuff and I’m like, ‘Please take this to a fancy magazine. I’m like, Please call x person at GQ and please go somewhere bigger. [Why?] Because I would like to see them paid at a magazine word rate. I mean, I would like to see everyone paid at a magazine word rate, constantly, including for their tweets.” (
* For most reporters who investigate Scientology, fascination with the group doesn’t end with the publication of their stories. (
* Inside the delightful Harvard Crimson archives. (
* Florida Attorney General drops request to have Times-Union reporter Matt Dixon testify. (
* Why are reporters still going inside Syria? asks Michael Calderone. (
* Does Time’s Person of the Year matter? ( | It’s not news; it’s a magazine promotion. (@testycopyeditor)

Letter to Romenesko

A READER WRITES: Was wondering if you could offer insight or question the industry’s approach to piss tests as they relate to pot in light of the approved measures in Colorado and Washington state?

potIs a positive pot result a deal breaker these days?

I wonder how the news media in those states will handle it and what, if any, the ripple effect will be.

To be clear, I’d like to keep my name out of it and also any info that could ID me or the paper I work for now.

Seattle Times spokesperson Jill Mackie tells me: “Our policy is not changing. …Our existing policy expects our employees to be free of alcohol and any other drug while at work.” What if an employee enjoys a joint after work? “I can’t speak to the details of how that’s going to change,” she says.

At the Denver Post, “we haven’t decided yet” whether to change the screening policy now that marijuana use is legal in Colorado, says HR assistant Cindy Uribe.

“We’ve never drug tested,” says Westword publisher Patricia Calhoun. “And we have reporters — including our pot critic — who smoke marijuana on the job. Oh, and we’re currently doing a series of blog posts in which the writers get stoned with local artists and musicians.”

I’m checking with other news organizations and will update this post. I invite journalists from Washington and Colorado to post their policies in comments.

I posted a story Tuesday about a sheriff closing schools after the Paducah (KY) Sun refused to disclose the name of a boy who claimed in a letter that a classmate “has brought weapons twice” to school and “has yet to be punished for anything.”

The matter was settled Tuesday afternoon after the 17-year-old letter-writer agreed to meet with officials. Here’s what the student wrote to the Sun:


The boy wrote the letter “on behalf and at the direction of a teacher at the school,” says the sheriff’s release. “The teacher was identified and stated she had received the information from another teacher that allegedly had received a report from two students that had overheard a conversation between two additional students, about ‘bombs’ in class. …What the students were talking about was a video game called ‘Mine Craft’ [sic] which involves placing bombs and blowing up buildings as a way of collecting points.”

Schools are back in session today.

* Sheriff: “There was never a threat towards the school or students
* Here’s coverage of the “school threat” from today’s Paducah Sun
* Earlier: Schools closed after Paducah Sun receives a letter about weapons

This correction never ran in the Dallas paper, but former News reporter Bob Ingrassia says it should have. He was the journalist who got the bum information about Timothy McVeigh from a trailer park employee; the source had confused his tenants.

“The unruly guy he’d described lived in a different trailer,” writes Ingrassia. “It turns out McVeigh was a quiet tenant who didn’t cause any problems and mostly kept to himself. Oops.”

Ingrassia and McVeigh

Ingrassia and McVeigh

Ingrassia and the reporter who took his information for the Dallas paper’s McVeigh story — Todd Gillman, apparently — agreed to “just move on” and “not to repeat the information.”

Until today.

“I can’t blame the pressures of social media” for that error, says the former Dallas reporter, who is now at a Minneapolis advertising and marketing firm. (He worked at the New York Daily News and St. Paul Pioneer Press after leaving Dallas.) “Nor can I blame the “24-hour news cycle” of cable TV news. The only mainstream social media back in 1995 was the telephone.”

Ingrassia says 24/7 news and social media only amplify errors. Here’s what causes them:

1. Faith in Numbers: Everyone else is reporting it, so it must be right. No way all of us are wrong.
2. Fear of Being Left Behind: If I don’t report this, the other guy will. My editors will chew me out for not having it.
3. Ignoring the Alarm Bell: Something tells me this information isn’t right. But it’s so good!
4. Passing the Buck: I didn’t make this stuff up. A source told me this. It’s not my fault if it turns out to be wrong.

“So next time (and there’s always a next time),” notes Ingrassia, “let’s dig a bit deeper when reporters make a mess of a breaking news story. Let’s be aware of the pressures that drive the mistakes, including those that have nothing to do with Twitter, Facebook and the web.”

* Reporter’s confession: I screwed up while covering a mass murder (

NEW YORK TIMES TO QUARTZ: “We hereby demand that you immediately remove [our] graphic from and cease and desist from any further use of any New York Times content in any manner whatsoever.”

QUARTZ’S RESPONSE:[We] published a reduced-sized screenshotimages of part of an interactive graphic and linked back to the actual version on This is in line with common practice throughout the web, and we believe it is more than covered by fair use protections.”

* New York Times tells us to take down screenshot of its interactive graphic (

* The 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award winners were announced this morning. CBS News, Current TV, PBS, and NPR get awards for international reporting. USA Today wins its first duPont Award for multimedia reporting. (Its “Ghost Factories” gets the award.) (
* President Obama is Time’s Person of the Year. (
* Martha Nelson is Time Inc.’s new editor-in-chief. (
time* Foreign Affairs’ updated look includes a photo on the cover. (
* Ken Layne: It’s up to people who’ve never worked in an actual newspaper building to move forward toward a new kind of reporting, which won’t be on newsprint. (
* The most scathing restaurant reviews of 2012. (
* Facebook responds to outrage over proposed Instagram changes. (
* Get ready for video ads in your Facebook news feed. (
* Surprise! Surprise! That viral video of an eagle snatching a kid is fake. ( | Fark readers called B.S. (
* A big win for Santa Barbara News-Press owner Wendy McCaw. (
* The Kernel — “a mash-up of Gawker meets Vanity Fair” — celebrates one year online. (
* Jill Abramson explains the digital strategy of the New York Times. (
* Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia CEO Lisa Gersh is expected to resign soon. (
* New York Times columnist David Brooks is teaching a “Humility” class at Yale. (
* The “best” of Jenny McCarthy in the Chicago Sun-Times. (