Daily Archives: February 11, 2013

* Watch Lehrer’s speech here at 12:30 p.m. ET or shortly after.

“I saw that Jonah Lehrer is going to be speaking at [Knight Foundation’s] #infoneeds,” Dan Pacheco tweeted this evening. “Is this to be an Oprah-esque confessional like Lance Armstrong?”

It might be.
“Yes he is going to speak about decision-making — including the bad decision-making that caused him to wreck his journalism career,” Knight Foundation spokesman Andrew Sherry tells Romenesko readers.

Lehrer is the closing lunch speaker Tuesday at Knight’s Media Learning Seminar 2013.

I told Sherry I was surprised that there’s no mention of Lehrer’s serial plagiarism in the bio that Knight prepared for this three-day event.

His response:

You’re absolutely right about the bio, it should have central mentions of plagiarism. Those will be a central part of his introduction tomorrow, and he has pledged to address them directly. Hoping it will lead to a thought-provoking discussion that will leave #infoneeds crowd more savvy about developing the promise and minimizing the perils of journalism projects — please watch the livestream to see.

* Knight Foundation Media Learning Seminar 2013

UPDATE: One of Lehrer’s friends has some questions for the disgraced writer.


KRTV (Great Falls, Montana) reports that someone hacked into the Emergency Alert System and announced over the air that “bodies of the dead are rising from their graves.” The station assures viewers that “there is no emergency” and says “our engineers are investigating to determine what happened.”

* Bogus emergency alert transmitted (

UPDATE: Here is the full warning that interrupted a teen cheaters segment of “The Steve Wilkos Show” on Monday:

Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages onscreen that will be updated as information become available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.

UPDATE 2: Station in Michigan also aired the dead-are-rising warning. “Our apologies to those of you who were scared, shocked or confused” by it, says WBUP news director Cynthia Thompson.

* Listen to the hacker deliver the emergency alert (

Here is what the Times says:

The Times’s Feb. 10 article recounting a reporter’s test drive in a Tesla Model S was completely factual, describing the trip in detail exactly as it occurred. Any suggestion that the account was “fake” is, of course, flatly untrue. Our reporter followed the instructions he was given in multiple conversations with Tesla personnel. He described the entire drive in the story; there was no unreported detour. And he was never told to plug the car in overnight in cold weather, despite repeated contact with Tesla.

* Stalled out on Tesla’s electric highway (
* Musk tells CNBC: “We think the article is a bit of a set up and is unreasonable” (

Last week a political pundit from Georgia posted this Photoshopped image of State Rep. Earnest Smith on his blog.fake Now the lawmaker is co-sponsoring a bill that would make stuff like this a misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine.

Smith wants his colleagues to agree that “a person commits defamation when he or she causes an unknowing person wrongfully to be identified as the person in an obscene depiction.”

Andre Walker, who did the “artwork,” writes on his blog: “I have the protected right to Photoshop the head of any elected official onto the body of anything I chose. …The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects all forms of speech, not just spoken word.”

He continues:

Rep. Smith needs to grow some thick skin if he’s going to be an elected official. Trust me when I say the altered photograph shown above was not the worst I could have done.

And by the way, I cannot believe Representative Earnest Smith thinks I’m insulting him by putting his head on the body of a well-built porn star.

* Lawmaker targets altered photos (
* Rep. Earnest Smith shows his thin skin (

Employees of the McClatchy newspaper chain were told today that the company won’t be making 401(k) supplemental contributions for 2012. “We understand this is disappointing news, especially given that we were unable make a contribution for 2011,” says the memo.

DATE: Feb. 11, 2013
TO: All McClatchy Employees
FROM: Heather Fagundes, Vice President, Human Resources
SUBJECT: 401(k) Supplemental Contribution

Last week, McClatchy released earnings for 2012. We reported that year-over-year operating cash flow was just under $321 million, down from $352 million in 2011. Operating cash flow is generally defined as revenues minus cash operating expenses.
As you may recall, the payment of our 401(k) supplemental contribution is contingent upon growth in operating cash flow. Therefore, the company will not be making a 401(k) supplemental contribution for 2012.

We understand this is disappointing news, especially given that we were unable make a contribution for 2011. While there was much to be proud of in 2012, including the launch of several new initiatives, the introduction of our digital subscription program across all of our papers and a bond refinancing that helps stabilize the company’s debt commitments and reduce interest expenses, revenue performance continued to be a challenge, especially at the end of the year. Despite ongoing and often difficult reductions in expenses, we were unable to offset revenue declines significantly enough to allow for operating cash flow growth. However, the rate of our revenue decline appears to be slowing. We are optimistic that a strengthening economy and new revenue initiatives will help us return to a position of growth in the future.

We often get asked when the 401(k) match will be reinstated. Although reinstating a company match is a priority, the company’s financial performance must improve before we can start making matching contributions once again. For now, we will continue to closely monitor the company’s profitability to determine when we can reinstate the 401(k) match. We will update you as soon as any decision is made. Thank you.

Newspaper moves:

* Carl Hulse is named Washington editor at the New York Times. (David Leonhardt is still bureau chief.) (
* Former Washington Times editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden is named the paper’s Commentary editor. (

* Steve Gunn leaves the Charlotte Observer to become editor of Capital Gazette Communications in Annapolis, MD. (

* Cameron Barr is promoted to national editor at the Washington Post. The memo announcing his appointment is after the jump. Read More

The Wall Street Journal launched its NYIndex: Our Guide to Who’s Up and Who’s Down this morning; editors describe it as “a first-of-its-kind ranking that tracks people in real time and scores their influence based on key measures.” A WSJ memo thanks 33 people for their work on NYIndex.

From: Martin, Alex
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 9:14 AM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Subject: NYIndex


Today we launched the NYIndex: The Wall Street Journal’s Empirical Guide to Power, Fame and Infamy. We believe it’s a first-of-its-kind ranking that tracks people in real time and scores their influence based on key measures.
There are countless folks across the newsroom who helped, and we’d like to mention core team members here:

The tech contingent was instrumental in taking data feeds from Factiva and bringing them to life with a dynamic “index” that tracks almost 300 people. There were lots of challenges along the way — some requiring early-morning calls to Bulgaria to help with Factiva’s programming. This simply couldn’t have happened without Jovi Juan, Roger Kenny, Palani Kumanan, Kurt Wilberding and Anatoliy Zaslavskiy. Keeping it all on track were project managers David Biderman and Nabanita Chakraborty./CONTINUES Read More

It was announced last week that Jeremy Renner will play journalist Gary Webb in the upcoming film, “Kill the Messenger.”

Gary Webb

Gary Webb

Webb committed suicide in 2004, eight years after the San Jose Mercury News ran his series linking the CIA with the South Central Los Angeles crack cocaine explosion — a 20,000-word three-parter that was discredited by the Los Angeles Times (and other news outlets) and caused Webb to be exiled from journalism. (Webb’s series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)

Scott Herhold, who was Webb’s editor, writes in today’s Mercury News that “the thesis [of ‘Kill the Messenger’] is that Webb was punished for having the story essentially right in describing the agency as the catalyst for the crack cocaine epidemic.” He tells readers to be skeptical of the movie.

The late journalist, he says, was “a man of passion, not of fairness” and “when facts didn’t fit his theory, he tended to shove them to the sidelines.”

Herhold continues:

“Dark Alliance” marked an institutional failure by a newspaper eager for its own prizes and stature. By then, most of us understood Webb needed very capable editing. Our best editor, sadly, was not part of that project. No one raised enough questions about the thesis. The original story didn’t even have a comment from the CIA.

Webb paid a bigger price for that failure than anyone else — and in that sense, you can sympathize with the version of the messenger hounded to his death.

* Thinking back on journalist Gary Webb and the CIA (
* LAT in 2006: “‘Dark Alliance'” contained major flaws of hyperbole that were both encouraged and ignored by his editors” (
* AJR in 2005: The sad saga of Gary Webb (

Editors of The Verge (a website “covering the intersection of technology, science, art, and culture”) might put out a print edition.
“It’s something we’ve talked about quite a bit and something we have seriously looked into (and continue to look into),” editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky writes in an email. “I don’t have any specific news on it right now, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.”

I sent Topolsky a note on Sunday after hearing him on a Longform podcast discuss the possibility of a print-edition Verge. Here’s what he told Aaron Lammer:

Could we do a monthly that’s a round-up of our features for the month that’s published as an iPad magazine or even as a physical magazine? Those are all things I think would be completely reasonable and possible and we’ve talked about and thought about. …We’ve talked about doing a quarterly or a monthly. I would love to do that.

Topolsky, who subscribes to about 20 print magazines (“I’m a big, big magazine nerd”), adds that “no one at the Verge [is saying] ‘I hate physical media!’ there’s no divide — we’re not, ‘All digital and screw physical!'”

Topolsky resigned as Engadget editor in March of 2011 and launched The Verge eight months later.

* Listen to Topolsky on the Longform Podcast (

* “Obama may be the least newspaper-friendly president in a generation,” writes Paul Farhi. “When Obama does media interviews these days, it’s not with a newspaper. TV gets the bulk of the president’s personal attention.” (
obama* How four newspapers are turning ideas into dollars. (
* Anyone who has had their newspaper stolen off their porch (or from their apartment lobby) will appreciate this piece: (
* Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover is leaked. “We are investigating it,” says a Time Inc. rep. (
* Noted: 18 million women read that annual Sports Illustrated issue. (
* “Rational voices are scared off” by nasty commenters, so the Miami Herald starts using Facebook Comments. (
* Hey, Google Plus, we’ve found a celebrity spokesman for you! (Gavin Newsom says he prefers G+ over Facebook.) (
* NBC’s G4 network is being changed to the Esquire Network – “an upscale Bravo for men.” (
* Howard Finberg: “In 1993 I collected more than 150 front pages from around the world for a single day: Wednesday, Feb. 10.” They’re posted here: (
* Jeff Himmelman discusses his Frank Ocean Times Magazine cover story. (“This was my first profile of a ‘celebrity.'”) (
* Hearst’s online magazines are getting a new look. (
* Anderson Cooper is No. 1 in the “Media and Publishing” category of WSJ’s new NYIndex. (
* Ben Schott drops me a note about his “Java Jive” op-art piece in yesterday’s New York Times. (