* Detroit News and Free Press to move out of their historic home and into space “more suitable to the digital age.” (detroitnews.com)
* Claim: Detroit News reporter threatened to a kill woman with a baseball bat. (deadlinedetroit.com) | (motorcitymuckraker.com)
* The Verge editor to Huffington Post: “Please remove the content you’ve scraped from us.” (@joshuatopolsky)
* Rolling Stone lays off two of its bigger names. (nytimes.com)
* Florida A&M student newspaper editor is fired via email. (spjnetwork.org)
* Frank Deford: “I’ve dubbed this ‘be sympathetic to sportswriters week.’” (npr.org)
* More than 20 million viewers watched the inauguration on 18 separate TV networks. (nytimes.com)
* The most-viewed NYTimes.com stories of 2012. (newspaperalum.com)
* New York Post’s first e-book: Sex tips from “Client No. 9″ Ashley Dupre. (capitalnewyork.com)
* Are journalists joking too much on Twitter? asks Craig Kanalley. (huffingtonpost.com)
Letter to Romenesko
From WHITNEY BERMES: I’m a cops and courts reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Bozeman, Mont. I was leaving the Law and Justice Center here in town (it holds municipal, justice and district courts as well as the police and sheriff’s offices) and the truck parked right next to me had this sticker on it. I especially enjoy the American flag and the NRA stickers below it.
New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson sent this memo to her staff today:
The voluntary buyout process in the newsroom, which began last month is now coming to an end. The voluntary buyout period closes Thursday at 5 p.m.
We will know a day or two after that whether or not we will have to go to layoffs in order to reach the savings we need. We’ll need some time to figure out which buyout requests we can accept.
If you think the buyout is something that works for you at this time in your life, we urge you to give the offer serious consideration if you haven’t already. Each buyout we record reduces the possibility of layoffs.
If you have any questions please be in touch with Bill or Janet.
Living with the uncertainty that this kind of process inevitably creates has been painful for us all. And at the same time we are grappling with the sadness at the departure of friends, of wise and trusted colleagues and great journalists.
I am very grateful to all of you for your patience and forbearance.
* Times classical music critic James Oestreich takes the buyout (observer.com)
She wrote it.
This column lead gets into your paper: “She lost a womb but gained a penis.”
“I would find out how it happened and look to the editor who approved it and/or the editor who set up a process that allowed it to happen,” writes Staci Kramer.
“I would see if it’s part of a bad pattern and if more than the one column needs addressing. I would include copy editing, line editing and top editing in that look. If I caught the lede live — within hours of publication — I would have it updated and noted. At this point, I would add an editor’s note mentioning the concerns and linking to the public editor’s post.”
* Bad lede. Bad. Bad. (sdkramer.com)
* Earlier: What the hell, Toronto Star? (jimromenesko.com)
Lee van der Voo tells Romenesko readers: I was just informed by State Farm here in Oregon, where I’m an independent investigative journalist, that they are dumping my office rental policy because of the kind of journalism I do. I asked whether if I were to write food reviews or puff pieces about bridal gowns they would insure me, and I was told yes, “just no controversial journalism.”
My landlord requires I have property insurance on the office I use for work, and I went to State Farm a couple weeks ago because I needed a new policy and I do all my other business with them. I own a house and insure it through State Farm, along with the three cars I’ve owned over the last 12 years. They pre-approved the rental policy and I paid for it. But apparently a State Farm underwriter decided today that I’m out, based on a visit to my web site. They say they can’t separate the property insurance I need from any potential liability issues that could arise.
The real pickle is this leaves me with two extremely crappy options: I can either withdraw the coverage myself and go without property insurance and risk losing my office, or I can continue coverage for 45 days – which State Farm is now obligated to provide me by law – but in exchange I will get an official letter of rejection that I’ll have to carry henceforth from one insurer to the next.
I’m more than a little worried about what this means for my office security, and for indie journalism. It’s hard enough to get liability coverage – a good number of bloggers and freelancers already work without it – but if meaningful, probing, and thought-provoking news coverage can clean a freelancer out of property insurance, then investigative journalism just got a little harder.
UPDATE: Brad Hilliard of State Farm’s Oregon office sent this Thursday morning: “I wanted to let you know that I have seen the post from Lee van der Voo. I am researching this issue and will get back to you today on it.”
His follow-up email:
“Some customers have highly specialized needs when it comes to insurance. We sometimes try to find other avenues for protection if we evaluate their needs and determine another product or carrier can best meet those needs.”
Also, see Van der Voo’s comment posted at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
UPDATE: Sanford (NC) Herald circulation manager Jeff Ayers sends this email:
We are trying to discourage single copy buyers, but in a way that creates home delivery buyers. This particular flyer was an insert in our single copy papers, but evidently a carrier mistakenly thought it should cover our front page in this rack. We certainly had no intention for it to be used this way. Thanks for pointing this out.
Last August, KOTA-TV (Rapid City, SD) reporter Taisha Walker called Rapid City alderman Bill Clayton and asked how he planned to vote on a proposed property tax increase. He responded by asking her how she planned to vote in the presidential election, then making racist remarks.
Taisha Walker and Bill Clayton
“Should we deport you back to Kenya with Obama?” Walker says the alderman asked her. “Are you even American; are you American?” he also said.
The journalist filed a complaint against Clayton, and on Tuesday he finally apologized for what he said. He claims he doesn’t watch KOTA news and didn’t know that Walker was black.
He said at Tuesday’s council meeting:
I apologize to the KOTA reporter, I apologize to everybody on this council for any discord that I might have caused, I apologize to the city staff who had to spend their valuable time taking care of this, I apologize to the citizens of Rapid City.
Clayton added that he’s a different person than he was four months ago, and that he’s learned from this “baptism by fire.”
KOTA news director John Peterson tells me that Walker, who is “taking a few days off,” has “handled herself in the most professional manner in regard to what happened” and continued to cover the city council after her conversation with Clayton last August. “She’s a class act,” says the news boss, and she won’t have a problem covering Clayton fairly in the future.
* Councilman apologizes for remarks to black reporter (rapidcityjournal.com)
* Rapid City council member strives for “redemption” (kotatv.com)
* City leaders finally condemn alderman’s remarks to reporter (rapidcityjournal.com)
* KOTA reporter speaks about racist comments made by alderman (rapidcityjournal.com)
More than 70 editors and publishers have responded to NBC Peacock Production’s casting call for a reality series about a small-town newspaper. Producer Cara Biega “noted that she was impressed with how amazing their stories are,” says Stan Schwartz of the National Newspaper Association, which is helping NBC Peacock find a paper to put on TV.
Biega tells me there’s a meeting about the newspaper series this afternoon and promises to report back with more information when that’s over.
Sean Scully writes: “The producers missed out on their chance to follow my dramatic life: Two and a half hours last night hearing about water and sewer rates, followed by a late dinner of cheese, crackers and beer. That, friends, is the reality show about small town weeklies.”
* Earlier: NBC Peacock is looking for a newspaper to feature in a reality show (jimromenesko.com) | Read comments about the show (facebook.com)