Daily Archives: February 4, 2013

* Facebook turns nine today. ( | Harvard Crimson in Feb. 2004: Mark Zuckerberg said he didn’t create his new website,, with the intention of generating revenue. (
* The evolution of New York Times’ Ed Koch obituary. (
worry* The people behind a Mad Magazine documentary have just four days to raise $18,000+. (
* Noted: There were no corrections in today’s New York Times. (
* Al Franken says he only talks to Minnesota news outlets. (
* Mark McCluskey succeeds Evan Hansen as editor-in-chief. (
* Geraldo Rivera considers running for Senate. (
* Claim: Palm Beach Daily News society writer “makes all journalists look bad.” (
* John Paton’s Digital Media First has a new strategy. (
* The publisher of Cat Fancy, Dog Fancy and other titles is sold; “layoffs are in progress.” (
* Gannett shares down – even after the company turns in a decent earnings report. (
* Read this if you got a malware warning while stopping here. (

Last Wednesday, Los Angeles Times reporter Martha Groves profiled the 33-year-old real estate entrepreneur and newspaper junkie who bought the Palisadian-Post — I called Alan Smolinisky “the most enthusiastic newspaper owner in America” — and pledged to continue weekly’s “journalistic excellence.”

Groves updates Romenesko readers: On Thursday, Smolinisky dismissed his circulation manager, business manager/controller, graphic designer and publisher so he could beef up editorial.

Groves writes in an email:

As a result of the cost savings, the Palisadian-Post was able to restore writers and editors to full-time hours after several years of reduced hours and pay.smol The editorial staff was also given more color pages and a bigger budget for several new features that they have wanted to do for years. Alan also said every employee was given a raise for the first time in at least seven years. They don’t make much. I know of a seasoned journalist who worked there briefly for a salary in the $20Ks. Kind of shocking.

I left a message for Smolinisky, who wasn’t in his office when I called this afternoon.

* Pacific Palisades newspaper junkie buys his own paper (

Doree Shafrir on how media reporting has changed in the social-media era (and why we’re not getting the full story on the New York Times buyouts):

Doree Shafrir

Doree Shafrir

The pressure to be first has only gotten more intense, and often that breaking of news, particularly in media, is taking place on Twitter. And for a young reporter, what used to be the rewards of the media beat — getting to know everyone in media very quickly, often because they’re calling you up to yell at you, and then gaining their respect, and then eventually moving on — seem less vital in the age of the at-reply.

Gawker media reporter Hamilton Nolan tweets: “To Doree’s story I’d add that the decline of media reporting came with the rise of traffic stats. Nobody reads it.”

“There are still great media reporters covering the minutiae of the Times,” writes Joe Pompeo.

* What’s the real story behind the New York Times buyouts? (

The first version of the Times of Acadiana cover, which showed nude sculpture, resulted in a few phone calls and emails to the paper last Thursday, I’m told. (The Times is a weekly arts-and-entertainment tabloid published by The Advertiser in Lafayette, La.) By Friday morning, a no-penis cover was printed and distributed to newsstands. “No word on how much it cost the Gannett publication to reprint thousands of new, G-rated copies of the beloved tabloid,” reports IND Monthly.

Kris Wartelle, who wrote the story about the art exhibit, tells me: “We heard some objection to the cover, but what I heard talking to people is they thought it was art, the cover was fine and they weren’t sure why we changed it.”

Cindy Hamilton of the Hilliard University Art Museum says she conducts tours and has yet to hear a complaint about the statue. “The newspaper has to keep their advertisers and everybody happy,” she says of the cover change. “[The controversy] is free advertising for us.”


* New Hilliard exhibit is “C’est Magnifique” (

Kevin Merida

Kevin Merida

Kevin Merida has been named the Washington Post managing editor responsible for news and features coverage as well as the Universal News Desk. John Temple, a Post managing editor since last March, will now oversee digital operations and initiatives, all presentation units, the multiplatform desk, budgeting, and newsroom operations.

Merida moves up from national editor. (The last time I saw Kevin was in the Milwaukee Journal newsroom in the late 1970s. He was a confident rookie reporter who looked like he was going to go places. I recall that he sat near young reporters Joan Biskupic and Ron Elving, who have done well, too.)

Post executive editor Marty Baron’s memo is after the jump.

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New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was Alec Baldwin’s guest on his “Here’s the Thing” radio show. A few things she told him:

* “I grew up in a family that had two print home deliveries subscriptions to The Times because my mom didn’t like anyone touching the section that had the puzzle in that.”

* “I really believe if you do enough digging and enough reporting you can find the truth in most things.”

Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson

* How she left the WSJ and joined the Times: “[Maureen Dowd] came up to me at [the late Michael Kelly’s] book party and she said, ‘Do you know of any good women we can hire?’ And so I looked at her with, it was kind, “What am I, chopped liver” look. And she said, ‘You would never leave The Journal’ and I said, ‘Oh, wouldn’t I?’

* “On 9/11 we did so many stories that day out of Washington. It’s more stories than we’ve ever had and the story list from that day still hangs outside of the bureau chief’s office and I didn’t get home until, I don’t know, 3:00 in the morning or so and drove right past the burning Pentagon and my whole way home there were flags already up on all the streets and then I got home to our house and even my husband, who isn’t such an overt patriot, had hung our absurdly large 4th of July flag. And at that point I just sat in my car and kind of absorbed like, ‘Woo,’ it was changed.”

* What percentage of the people working with you now are men and how many are women? “Women are 37 percent.”

* “Everyone was saying that our paid [digital] subscription plan was a rash move and that news wants to be free and it would never work and it has created a very significant revenue stream for us. So it was a very smart decision of Arthur’s to go that way.”

* What’s the first thing most people read in The Times they tell you? “The captions on the front page photos.”

Howell Raines

Howell Raines

* “I have sympathy with the fact that [Howell Raines] was such – he is really a great writer and he had lots of story ideas and he could see in his mind’s eye how he wanted them to come out on the other end. It was very frustrating to him when things didn’t wind up the way he hoped they were and when I was on the receiving end of that displeasure when he’d think some of the work when I was Washington bureau chief that was coming from the political correspondence and the Washington correspondence fell short he seemed sometimes impatient and too quick to be angry, but I think my sympathy is he had high standards, but very little time.”

* Here’s The Thing: Jill Abramson transcript | Listen to the interview (

* Gannett’s fourth-quarter profit tops analysts’ expectations. (
* Greg Sandoval lands at The Verge after quitting CNET to protest CBS’s editorial interference. (
* David Carr says Journal News’ decision to publish its gun map “lacked a rationale.” (
* Andrew Sullivan & Co. moved over the weekend. ( | (
* Ex-ABC newsman Chris Bury says of Chicago TV news: “It’s not the crap you see in Los Angeles or New York.” (
* Why do the media go easy on Barack Obama? (
STANDBY* Will Leitch: CBS’s outage coverage “was like watching a cable news program fill time while waiting for a public official to start a press conference.” (
* A look at what happens when reporters get their “news” from trade associations. (
* WaPo’s Dana Milbank: “That looks like heckling to me” at Newtown meeting. (
* Greg Gumbel doesn’t tweet, have a Facebook account or read sports blogs. (
* Prince George’s schools consider a copyright plan that takes ownership of students’ work. (
* Social-gaming company Zynga has 3,000 employees; the firm that makes Minecraft has just 29. (