Daily Archives: December 20, 2012

Here’s what others are saying about David Wagner’s feature:

“I demand a recount.” – @jackshafer and @SteveChapman13

“What, no hat trick for [Mitch] Albom? Thing’s rigged.”@jeff_rosen88

“Humbled and honoured to be included.”@oconnorwrites

“Nothing like some journalistic schadenfreude to brighten one’s day.”@johnbethune

“Snubbed again.”@StevePoliti

Thanks to Wagner for taking time to tell Romenesko readers how “Worst Columns” came together:

I’m responsible for putting together The Atlantic Wire’s Five Best feature, which rounds up the day’s most noteworthy columns for our readers. A number of the columns I weed out each morning out are just so bad. Like, terrible beyond belief. My editors and I thought that drawing our readers’ attention to the stuff that doesn’t make the cut might spark discussion about the follies of opinion writing in a year when the whole idea of the value of pundits was called into question.

David Wagner

David Wagner

We came up with the 50 Worst feature around election time, so, no, it wasn’t a year-long effort [I asked in an email if it was], but once we started recalling all the worst offenders from 2012, we found no shortage of material. I certainly didn’t compile this list all on my own. My colleagues here at The Atlantic Wire helped draw my attention to columns that raised their hair, as well as the attention of readers throughout the year. I also found many of them by going through the Wire’s archives — we caught the most egregious examples when they first went to print. It took weeks to put this feature together, re-reading many more columns than we included, but I’m glad we took the time to get it right.

As for the response, I’m glad it’s got people looking back at the year — that’s the whole point of our Year in Review seires. Only a few of the writers have responded so far. Henry Blodget and Joe O’Connor were good sports about the whole thing. Also, one reader called me out on a glaring omission: Mark Judge in the Daily Caller basically saying black people stole his bike. I regret not including it.

* The 50 Worst Columns of 2012 (

Jake-Tapper* Jake Tapper is leaving ABC News to become CNN chief Washington correspondent. He’ll also anchor a new CNN weekday program. (
* Carl Bernstein says Bob Woodward’s Ailes-Petraeus story belonged on Page One, not in the Style section. (
* “I don’t plan on ever writing for a website again,” says the former GamerSyndrome writer who admits fabricating a story. (
* Nieman Journalism Lab rounds up some predictions for journalism in 2013. (
* Thomas Goetz resigns as Wired executive editor and now plans to “turn ideas into action.” (
* Facebook is testing a service that lets strangers pay to message you. (
* Chicago Sun-Times is closing its suburban newsrooms. (

The email below was sent by one of the student journalists turned down for a Tampa Bay Times internship. (I’ve blacked out the first names.)

“Guess some hiring folks (or, in this case, a “Director of Corporate Giving”) haven’t learned how to use the BCC feature,” writes the student. “Though I guess it does create a sense of cameraderie.”

The email reveals that the rejected applicants come from Yale, Marquette University, University of Iowa, University of Missouri, Columbia University, Indiana University, University of Illinois, University of Florida, University of Maryland, and other schools.


I loved this Norwich Bulletin reporter’s comment, posted on my Facebook wall:




Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory, 51, succeeds Marty Baron as editor at the New York Times-owned paper. McGrory, who joined the Globe in 1989, “will continue to emphasize the accountability reporting that has been the Globe’s trademark, combined with narrative storytelling that gives readers a strong sense of our unique community,” says publisher Christopher Mayer. | Time to polish your crystal ball, Peter Kadzis! “I just don’t see McGrory getting tapped,” the Boston Phoenix editor wrote earlier this month.

UPDATE: Here’s the Globe’s story on the appointment.

UPDATE II: The new editor is the nephew of the late Washington columnist Mary McGrory, notes the New York Times.

Read the Globe’s release after the jump.

Read More

The best replies: “Also please type request on a Corona” …”And please show press fedora too” …”They’re probably in bed with the resurgent and powerful ‘fax lobby'” …”Along with their Flash website, just another sign that this is a younger, hipper gun lobby.” …”Apparently the NRA has never heard of Photoshop or email.” …”Credentials for the 1985 annual mtg?” …”Better’n ‘shoot us an email.'”
* NRA to hold “a major press conference” on Friday in Washington (
* NRA president to appear on the next “Face the Nation” (

UPDATE: There are many comments about this

wsjA Wall Street Journal memo announces that Page One editor Rebecca Blumenstein and deputy managing editor Matt Murray have been promoted to deputy editors-in-chief, and Almar Latour is promoted to executive editor.

Managing editor Gerard Baker writes:

Rebecca will be Deputy Editor in charge of news content. She will deploy her consummate leadership skills and editorial and managerial talents to oversee Dow Jones/WSJ newsgathering, our integrated bureaux and news centers around the globe.

Matt will be Deputy Editor in charge of our output. Equipped with his impeccable judgment, he will be responsible for all of Dow Jones/WSJ platforms – real time news, digital products and the paper. He will edit the Journal in my absence.

Baker adds: “In coming days I will be announcing a new Page One Editor and making some other changes.”

The full memo after the jump. Read More

On April 10, Gawker introduced a new columnist: The Fox Mole. The plan was for Joe Muto to provide Gawker with “regular dispatches from inside the organization,” but then Roger Ailes & Co. “nailed” him. (It took just a day.)

Muto quickly became a media star. He gave Howard Kurtz an exclusive interview on CNN, where he came across “as a bit of a douchebag,” according to Village Voice’s James King. Slate hired him to critique “The Newsroom,” and Dutton signed him to write “An Atheist in the Foxhole.”

After noticing last week that Amazon has posted the “Atheist” cover and blurb (the book doesn’t come out until June 4), I emailed Muto and set up this Q-and-A:

You mentioned in an earlier email that “I really hate reading those [comments on the TV Newser post], especially now that I’ve got some perspective on the whole thing and realize what an ass I made of myself.” How do you now view the “Fox Mole” episode?
Well, I get into that kind of stuff a lot in the book, so I think the nice people at Dutton would appreciate me not spoiling it just yet. But let’s just say that when I answered my apartment door at 6:30am to find a detective from the New York District Attorney’s office armed with a search warrant, one of the first thoughts that crossed my head was “Hmm, there are probably one or two things I could have done differently here.”

Thoughts on your interview with Howard Kurtz?
I respect Kurtz a lot as a journalist, which is why I agreed to do the interview with him in the first place. Afterward I respected him even more, because I realized that he’s very good at what he does.

Not that I posed a huge challenge for him. He was able to carve me up pretty good without breaking much of a sweat. And that’s my fault — I was cocky, and assumed that because I’d spent so much time behind the scenes prepping guests for O’Reilly, that I’d naturally be good on camera. Turns out I was very, very wrong. I totally winged it, didn’t really prepare, and ended up looking like a stammering moron who couldn’t explain himself. (I was hoping to at least look like an eloquent moron who could partially explain himself.)

Is the book finished? Was writing it tougher or easier than expected?
We’ve gone through three or four revisions now, so I think my part is almost done — though the book publishing process is still a little foreign to me, so I can’t fully be sure. I’m used to the instant gratification of cable news, where Dick Morris could concoct a hilariously-wrong theory at 4:45pm and be in a studio with O’Reilly making absolutely terrible predictions by 5:05pm.
Writing the book was both easier and harder than I expected. Easier, because the words just flowed and I never experienced anything resembling writer’s block; harder because crafting everything into a cohesive narrative instead of just an episodic collection of random anecdotes took a lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of sweating the details. Writing a book — as with any creative endeavor – is by turns pleasurable and painful. It’s also anxiety-inducing, in that you’re constantly worrying if people are going to like it or not. Especially with a memoir where you’re really putting yourself out there; if people reject the book, it’s going to feel like they’re rejecting me, the person. But I’m cautiously optimistic that’s not going to happen.

I’m getting extremely positive feedback so far. I set out to write a book that was entertaining and funny above all else. This wasn’t about grinding axes for me. I’m not an angry person. I want people to read this book and laugh their asses off – and at the same time learn something about Fox News Channel, which is an endlessly fascinating organization.

My model for this book was Toby Young’s “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People,” as well as Michael Lewis’ “Liar’s Poker.” I’m not comparing my writing style or skill level to either of them, but they both went for something beyond simply spreading gossip and tried to give some perspective, and some history about the companies they worked for. They were also candid about their personal failings and limitations, and the things that ultimately led to them leaving – that’s what I tried to emulate.

What’s next? Have job offers come in?
I have 8 years of TV production experience, a disturbingly intimate familiarity with the mind of Bill O’Reilly, and I’ve spent the last six months writing a book making fun of Fox News Channel. If that doesn’t at least get me into the room for a job interview with The Colbert Report, I don’t know what will.

But honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I’ve been busy with the book basically up until this week, so I haven’t pursued anything too seriously yet. Whatever I end up doing, I doubt I’m going to be talking about any of it much. For the next phase of my career I’m going to try out this brand new “discretion” thing that I’ve heard so much about.

* “Let’s face it: NYT just pulled off Best Web Design of 2012 with this.” (@stevesilberman) | “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” (
* U.S. tablet ownership doubled this year, according to Forrester Research. (
bang* Crowdfunding pioneer Spot.US slips under APM. (
* Richard Deitsch presents 2012’s best and worst in sports media. (
* “New York Post does not disappoint in end of world angle.” (@fisheri) | The Post story. (
* A tech journalist shares his “most cringe-worthy press pitches of 2012.” (
* Tumblr finally launches its iPad app. (
* Newtown residents blast the media in Facebook posts. (
* Charles Apple likes Sun Sentinel’s “50 Shades of Grey (Hair)” headline on a story about self-publishing seniors. (
* New York Daily News is disbanding its pool of photo “permalancers.” (
* What if we talked like TV reporters all of the time? (
* 40% of Americans have connected their TV to the Internet. (
* Atlantic Media unveils a new logo and revamped website. (
* Police note that Sam Donaldson was very cooperative while being booked for DUI. (
* Coloradoan reporter charged with burglary “was so intoxicated he didn’t remember anything he had done.” (