Daily Archives: February 7, 2013

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan says of the Medill Magazine cover story: “Of course, it’s always fairly painful to read one’s own quotes but the piece is certainly accurate, from my point of view, and those interviewed were very kind. And it’s nice to be recognized by Medill, a wonderful place where I learned a lot, back in the ancient days when tweets were produced only by birds and glue pots ruled the world.”

She jokes: “Given my year of graduation [1980], I’m just glad most journalists aren’t that good at math.” (My Facebook friends try to guess her age.)

* Medill Magazine: Winter 2013


“Guess which Minnesota Playwright was invited to BLOG for Beliefnet?” Kristine Holmgren wrote on Facebook in early January. “Yup! Your favorite cupcake, me!!! I’m negotiating “terms” right now…!” beliefnet

Beliefnet staffers “were very excited about me” blogging for them,” Holmgren told me on Wednesday, a day after negotiations broke down over use of the word “feminist.” The editors and marketing people “gushed” over her portfolio, which included columns that Holmgren says had been picked up by the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun.

“I said to them [during a group interview], ‘You’ve got to know that I’m a Presbyterian pastor, but I come to the world as a feminist.’ They said, ‘That’s fabulous. We want a wide range of views on the site.'” (Beliefnet, which was briefly a News Corp. property, was acquired by BN Media in 2010. It calls itself “the leading website for spirituality, inspiration and emotional wellness.”)

Two days ago, Holmgren got this email from Beliefnet marketing and business analyst Sharon Kirk:

We’re ready to get started on the header for your blog however first we need the title of your blog and any creative direction you may have (i.e. colors you want to include, any themes, a headshot, etc.). I believe you and Jana previously tossed around a few title possibilities including “Feminist Pulpit Notes.”

While I agree that title is certainly straight forward, I think it would resonate with our readers more if the title was a bit “softer.” Our readers are looking for editorial that’s uplifting, motivational, inspirational, etc. and I think your blog will perform better if the title speaks to that aspect of your blog. Do you have any ideas along those lines?

Holmgren replied: “How about – “Sweet Truth – Thoughts of a Faithful Feminist” – ?”

Kirk had problems with that, too.

I love “Sweet Truth” however I would suggest changing the tag line or deleting all together as I’m concerned about the negative connotation that our readers may associate with the word feminism. In addition, we’ll want this blog to focus more on Christianity/spirituality as opposed to issues related to feminism. What do you think of simply “Sweet Truths with Kristine Holmgren”?

“I think we need a conversation about this,” Holmgren told Kirk. “Please phone me.”

The pastor/writer says she asked Kirk over the phone why she had a problem with “feminist.” The Beliefnet marketer said she didn’t, but that “we know our readers are offended by the word.”

Holmgren tells me: “I asked, Why did you contract with me? I made it very clear who I am. I said, I’m afraid this is a dealbreaker. I said was I stunned. I felt like I was talking to somebody from 1955.” (I emailed and called Kirk for comment, but have not heard back from her. I did the same with Beliefnet marketing vice president Brandy Grenier, who hasn’t replied.)

Holmgren announced to her Facebook friends Wednesday that the Beliefnet deal was off:

I spoke a few moments ago with the contact at BeliefNet. She told me – not only can I not use the word “feminist” in my title, I cannot use it on the blog.

Kristine Holmgren

Kristine Holmgren

“The word offends so many people,” she said. She said I should come up with a word that was “softer.” I told her I didn’t think there was anything “softer” than feminism; a word that denotes equality for men and women and respect for children and families. She said “I agree, but. . . ” so I told her their inflexibility on this was a “deal breaker.” She regretted my “feeling” on this (by the way – – this isn’t a “feeling.” It’s a “thought system.” Some people’s kids!!! ) and said, “We can conclude this without rancor.” I said, “Oh, no we can’t.” I’m writing about this one.

Letter (and photo) to Romenesko
From A ROMENESKO READER: After using the fitness room in the National Press Club last night, I stumbled upon this sign. Entirely appropriate for the setting, of course. Thought you would find it amusing. …I am slightly concerned that they would disapprove of my taking photos [so I ask you not use my name].

* EveryBlock shuts down (
* Farewell, neighbors (


Memo from NBC News’ chief digital officer:

From: Schiller, Vivian (NBCUniversal)
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 11:37 AM
To: @NBC UNI News Digital; @NBC Uni iVillage Core
Subject: Everyblock


I’m writing to inform you that as of this morning, EveryBlock has shut down its operations. EveryBlock was acquired by the Msnbc Digital Network in 2009. I’d like to thank Brian Addison and his team for all of the great work they have done with the site— providing an engaging user experience and an opportunity for people to connect with their neighbors and share hyper-local news and information.

As we continue to grow and evolve the NBC News Digital portfolio, we are focused on investing in content, products and platforms that play to our core strengths. The decision to shut down the site was difficult, but in the end, we didn’t see a strategic fit for EveryBlock within the portfolio.

We will continue to support and expand in strategic areas; whether it’s a flagship like, a new venture like, a nimble startup like Breaking News, or other businesses with big ideas. As we move forward, I want us to be thoughtful about how we invest, taking a hard look at where we can and should win, and how we deploy the resources to make it happen.

Let’s stay focused and keep up the good work.


On Tuesday, Teri Buhl asked if she could use my site to respond to Techdirt, which reported that she was threatening to sue a lawyer for publishing her tweets.

I let her do that.

Teri Buhl

Teri Buhl

Today, Buhl is threatening to sue me for using the photo from her Twitter page. She says she owns the image and never gave me or others permission to publish it. She adds that she’s going to file a small claims suit against Mark Bennett and Techdirt for keeping the photo on their sites after being told to take it down.

“I don’t want add you the same list [sic],” she writes. “I’m asking Poynter and Knight to do the same thing today before I file.”

My response to her: “Really, Teri?”

She replied:

yes really Jim – I am going to push it. It’s a matter a principle I am sick of other publications lifting other jurnos ideas, photos, words etc… and printing them on their publications with out permission or proper credit with links etcc. I think it’s an issue that should have been challenged a long time ago. I took the photo I own it etc…

She pointed out in another email: “USC’s publication agreed to take it down yesterday.”

Earlier posts:

* Investigative journalist claims her public tweets aren’t publishable (
* Teri Buhl responds to Techdirt’s post (

UPDATE: Gizmodo has posted her photo, too, and says Buhl “needs a lesson on the law and common decency and the Internet.”

UPDATE 2: She’s apparently using Hearst’s photo without permission on, according to a former executive producer for the Hearst Connecticut Media Group who once worked with Buhl.

Unknown* New York Times Co. posts “ho-hum” fourth-quarter numbers, reports slow digital growth. (paidContent via | ( | (NYT Co. release)
* Wall Street likes NYT’s report. Shares are up 9% (at last look). (
* Single-copy sales of U.S. consumer magazines were down 8.2% in the second half of 2012; paid subs were up slightly. (
* Digital now comprises about 2.4% of the magazine industry’s total circulation. A year ago, digital was under 1%. (
* Lawyer who quit Drew Peterson’s legal team sues the Chicago Tribune, Patch and others for libel. (
* Jason Whitlock is disappointed to learn he can’t win a Pulitzer this year. (
* Boston Globe starts limiting social-media sharing. (
* Robin Roberts is returning to “Good Morning America” on Feb. 20. (
* NYT reminds us – again and again – that former pro boxer Michael Olajide Jr.’s fitness classes are popular with the fashionable set. (
* Woman who was prepped to be heir apparent to the Tribune Company dies. Ruth Tankersley was 91. (
* Young people — the “asset-light” generation — don’t want to own CDs, haul around books, or subscribe to publications.(