Daily Archives: February 13, 2013

The Knight Foundation now regrets paying Jonah Lehrer a $20,000 speaking fee.

“Controversial speakers should have platforms, but Knight Foundation should not have put itself into a position tantamount to rewarding people who have violated the basic tenets of journalism,” says Knight, which invited the disgraced journalist to speak Tuesday at its Media Learning Seminar. “We regret our mistake.”

Knight said it was considering Lehrer as a speaker before he was exposed as a plagiarist last summer. After that happened, “we accepted the risk and invited him … to talk about decision-making to a conference of people for whom that is a necessary skill. We did not tell him what to say, but knew he would include an exploration of his own self-destructive decision-making, and thought that might make his talk even more poignant.”

Knight says of the $20,000 it paid Lehrer:

Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer

The fee was not unusual for a well-known author to address a large conference. But it was simply not something Knight Foundation, given our values, should have paid. We continue to support journalism excellence in the digital age. And we do not want our foundation partners to think that journalism controversies are too hot for them to handle. Instead, we want to send the message that when things go wrong the best action is to admit the error and get back to work.

* Knight Foundation regrets paying Lehrer speaking fee (
* Lehrer: “Here’s the text of my speech. I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve done” (@lehrer)
* Plagiarism pays: Lehrer gets $20,000 for speech (
* Hamilton Nolan: No more paid journalism jobs for people like Lehrer (

UPDATE: The Knight Foundation gave Lehrer as much as it gave the Miami-Dade Public Library “to encourage creative writing among the community’s teens.” It donated just a bit more — $25,000 — to the Minnesota State Fair “for a participatory public art experience called the giant sing-along.” Knight’s latest 990 tax form has more grants and the foundation leaders’ salaries. (President Alberto Ibarguen was paid $649,031 in the latest reporting period, while strategic initiatives vice-president Paula Lynn Ellis — a Poynter trustee and former Knight Ridder executive — was paid $298,791.)

* Form 990 for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Inc. (

Letter to Romenesko

From KURT FRANCK, executive editor, Toledo Blade: There has been some back-and-forth debate today about old vs. new media as it relates to a sports story reported by and The Blade/ Some may view our newspaper as “old media” — we prefer “traditional” — but we also have a Web site that is updated around-the-clock. We have several blogs and we break news. To assume our method of reporting is only to be found in the printed edition is inaccurate and a stereotype that “new” media supporters need to move past. We are “new” media, too.
both and reported early Tuesday about a texting scandal as being the root cause of a University of Toledo track coach’s resignation in January. Deadspin posted the story at 2:45 a.m.; posted the story at 7:13 a.m. With the quotes and details provided in the Ryan Autullo article on, there was no way that he could have followed the Deadspin story, as some have suggested. It is clear the Deadspin reporter and The Blade/ reporter were working on the story simultaneously, as they were published within hours of one another. For those online between 2:45 a.m. and 7:13 a.m., Deadspin did give Web users a head start of a few hours on reading about this coach’s texting problems.



Both stories have different styles, written for their respective audiences, but they each get the point across that the track coach sent inappropriate texts to at least one of his athletes. Credit goes to Blade sports reporter Ryan Autullo for developing good sources and for getting on-the-record interviews with both the ex-coach and the athlete who brought the sexual harassment charges. And credit to Deadspin reporter Doug Brown for the lengthy piece he wrote, the long list of text exchanges he shared, and his ability to include full content of some of the more profane texts that were sent, reflecting again the different audiences for the two Web sites.

I don’t view this issue as old vs. new media, but rather, more traditional media finding a way to gain equal footing with a growing online, up-to-the minute reporting. We are well aware that news doesn’t wait until tomorrow morning, and we intend to break the news when we have it confirmed, even if it is 7:13 a.m.

* Toledo Blade’s reaction to Deadspin may be about something else (
* What the Toledo Blade should have said (


Late month, New Hampshire Gazette owner Steve Fowle told readers that his postal expenses were going up 44.4% because of a “non-machineability surcharge” of 20-cents per paper — “an existential threat” to his business, he said.

I asked him today about that, and here’s what he wrote:

For five years we have been folding our eight-page tab down to 5.5 x 11.5 inches and mailing it to subscribers in forty some-odd states by First Class mail. It was costing us $0.45 per paper — we come in at just under one ounce. We can’t qualify for Periodical Rate because we give away (way) more than 50 percent of our press run.

We knew last fall that new regulations were coming, but because we were mistakenly told then that our category of mailing piece was not subject to the non-machineable surcharge, we did not try to engineer a way to make our paper “machineable.” Then January 11, and oops.

Fowle then learned he was subject to the surcharge. He was able to get two waivers in January while he dealt the problem.

One month of talking with half a dozen uniformly pleasant, concerned, and helpful postal employees in five different locations, resulted in a mutually-agreeable method of folding and sealing our papers: 4.25 x 9 inches, sealed with three 1.5 inch paper stickers rather than a single 1 inch sticker.

Our papers are prepared for mailing by a team of six volunteers. This method is a lot more work for them, and produces a less-elegant piece, but they’re willing, and the PO assured us that the pieces would meet the new non-machineable standards.

As for the future, we’re a microscopic operation and we operate on ridiculously low margins. Had we not been able to come up with a way to overcome that surcharge, it would have thrown our survivability into question.

* New Hampshire Gazette, January 25, 2013 (

Letter to Romenesko

From TIM MULLIN: It’s worth considering that the whole Toledo Blade reaction to the Deadspin piece may be about something else.

Deadspin really breaks the unspoken, but long-standing tradition that sports reporters only cover what goes on between the lines. I remember covering Oklahoma during the Switzer era.Unknown-4 Sports covered the football, but when something went off the reservation in the football program (for OU that was rape, shooting and cocaine dealing), it fell on the news division to cover that story. And that really doesn’t make sense, since the guys with the best contacts and inside track in the athletic department are the sports reporters. You saw the same thing later with Sandusky….you don’t think there weren’t sports reporters on the Penn State beat who hadn’t heard the whispers and rumors about creepy Jerry? But it took Sara Ganim, the police beat reporter, to break the story.

I suspect that it has more than a little to do with the relationship between the sports departments and the institutions they cover. Sports reporters are totally dependent on those institutions for credentials and access. Unlike government and public safety, there’s really no pressing claim on the public’s right to know. So, sports reporters and editors are willing to put up with rules and restrictions that no other journalists would tolerate….and a lot of those rules are unwritten.

With stories on imaginary girlfriends and sexual harassment, Deadspin broke one of those unwritten rules, and reported on what happens outside the lines. That’s going to piss off a lot of sports reporters and editors.

* Toledo Blade managing editor disses Deadspin (
* Get used to Deadspin scooping your old media idols (

End-of-day piece: Time Inc. sale shocker (



UPDATE: Is this Warren Buffett’s next acquisition? (Apparently not, we now learn)

UPDATE 2: Time Warner is in talks with Meredith, reports the New York Times.

A three-byline Fortune magazine story says a serious buyer is negotiating with Time Warner to buy its Time Inc. publishing division. “A meeting of the buyer’s representatives has been scheduled for today to discuss a potential deal, which is still in a formative stage and may never come to fruition,” Fortune reports.

In one scenario, most of the company’s publishing titles, such as People, InStyle, and Real Simple, would be carved out and rolled into an independent company and sold to the undisclosed buyer. Under this plan, Time Warner (TWX) would maintain control of at least three titles — Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune — according to the sources.

A Time Warner spokesman declined to comment.

* Time Warner in talks to part ways with Time Inc. (

“I’m quivering with rage right now,” Deadspin editor Tommy Craggs writes in an email with a link to this John Koblin tweet: “The Toledo Blade is more trustworthy than Deadspin bc they employ “professional” journalists, says @BladeManagingEd.”

Deadspin’s Doug Brown had a long investigative piece yesterday about sexual harassment claims against a University of Toledo coach who recently resigned. In the comments section of today’s Blade story today on the coach, managing editor Dave Murray writes what I think is a cheap blast against Deadspin:

The difference between the coverage of this story by The Blade and Deadspin is that [Blade reporter Ryan] Autullo is a professional journalist who has named sources and you can believe what he reports.

“I think I get Murray’s frustration,” writes Dylan Byers. “As editor of a venerable, 175-year-old newspaper, it can be hard to lose a local story [emailers note the Blade has been on the story for some time; Byers has updated his post] it to a bunch of profanity-loving kids from New York. But the inability to accept that Deadspin is a legitimate news outlet — and a strong one at that — is so archaic and tin-eared I’m surprised Murray could even figure out how to post it online.”


* The sexual harassment claims that brought down Toledo’s running coach (
* UT track coach resigned in wake of texts to athlete (
* Old media vs. news media, sports edition (

Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly’s TV critic and “a fixture on NPR,” is taking Time Inc.’s buyout. He was on the start-up team that launched the magazine, notes editor Jess Cagle. (The first issue of EW was published on February 16, 1990.) Cagle announced just a week ago that Lisa Schwarzman is leaving the magazine after 22 years.

Cagle’s memo:

Dear Colleagues:

Ken Tucker was working at EW even before there was an EW. Way back in 1989, when the first Bush was president and was just a twinkle in Bill Gannon’s eye, Ken was on the start-up team that launched Entertainment Weekly with this original mission statement: “We must be opinionated and we must be talked about.”

Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker

Ken never stopped fulfilling that mission, and even though he’s leaving EW, his voice, sensibility, humor, passion, incomparable wit and humane spirit will have a lasting and benevolent impact. Please join me in thanking him for being such an invaluable colleague and great critic.

He has contributed to all parts of the magazine. He has written cover stories, including one on Sean Penn, with whom he shared a cigarette despite the fact that “I haven’t smoked since high school; this is my idea of ‘participatory journalism.’” He has provided reviews of just about every medium. He has edited the DVD section.

But his role as TV critic has made Ken an icon. He was an early champion of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The X Files”—two shows that became important EW franchises. Judd Apatow credited Ken’s review with saving “Freaks and Geeks” long enough for it to last one great season. When the Kennedy Center Honors needed an essay on David Letterman for the ceremony program, they turned, of course, to Ken. With great enthusiasm and skill, Ken has taken his talents into the digital arena; he has put up something in the neighborhood of 1,850 posts since 2008 on, home to the Ken Tucker’s Watching TV blog.

He has stepped in front of the camera numerous times, to great results, matching wits with Oprah, Craig Ferguson, the hosts of Today and GMA, and Bill O’Reilly among many others. He has even filled in for Charlie Rose. And he is a fixture on NPR. There’s no doubt we’ll be reading, and watching, a lot more of Ken in the years to come, and we wish him the best as he writes his next chapter. Thank you, Ken, for being the best kind of critic—for treating your medium and its artisans with tough, genuine love.



(h/t Erik Maza)

* Earlier: Lisa Schwarzbaum leaves EW after 22 years (

Letter to Romenesko

From JIM MORRISON: Every couple of days or so we read about some news organization or other gutting their newsroom, closing another bureau, replacing staff with freelancers, or replacing freelancers with unpaid bloggers. We don’t yet know who’ll supplant the unpaid bloggers.
Jobs are vanishing, salaries are withering, and a recent Gallup poll shows that the average person believes that journalists are less honest than bankers, but slightly more honest than business executives.

Wow. Really? I feel like I just got voted “Least Noticeable Lovehandles” at my high school reunion.

With increasing frequency, we read essays from former (recovering?) journalists who left the field after a long time in the trenches. We read how happy they are, how much more financially stable they are, and how much they miss their old jobs.

It’s all true, but it’s only part of the story./CONTINUES Read More

Date: February 13, 2013, 9:54:28 AM EST
Subject: MEDIA ALERT: Bishop John Noonan Starts Tweeting on Ash Wednesday

*Media Alert: For more information contact Michael Harker 386-547-3943

Bishop John Noonan Starts Tweeting on Ash Wednesday

Bishop John Noonan will follow in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI and start tweeting on the ubiquitous social network Twitter, beginning on Ash Wednesday, which is the start of the 40 days of Lent that lead up to Easter.

Bishop Noonan: Now tweeting.

Bishop Noonan: Now tweeting.

Viewing Twitter as an opportunity to reach more people with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, Bishop Noonan believes we are called to put technology to good use by sharing the Good News – even if it is only 140 characters at a time.

He chose Ash Wednesday to begin tweeting because this is a time set aside to reflect on the Gospel and how we live our faith in relation to the Gospel.

“The ability to reach thousands of people instantly with a Scripture reflection or another message of faith is a gift we have been given. I look forward to walking with many other Catholics on their faith journey in this special way,” said Bishop Noonan.

To follow Bishop Noonan on Twitter, search his handle @BishopNoonan.

h/t Mary Toothman

* Meanwhile, there are many Catholics who are giving up Twitter for Lent (

* Jonah Lehrer’s speech “wasn’t quite Lance Armstrong on ‘Oprah,’ but…” (
* Technology reviews site gdgt has been acquired by AOL. ( | (
* Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen joins Washington Post’s opinion team. (
* TV critic Hank Stuever reviews the State of the Union address. ( | Tom Shales reviews it, too. (
* Just-launched New York Times ad program uses the paper’s archives dating back to 1851. (



* Andrea Tantaros has become Fox News’s new “It” girl. (
* Washington Post book critic makes fun of NYT’s piece. (@RonCharles) | @sree learned from it, though. (@sree)
* Jim Roberts, who joined Reuters after taking NYT’s buyout, chats with Nieman Journalism Lab. (
* Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin hockey writer is accused of making up quotes. (
* Dan Gainor scolds the media for its coverage of Marco Rubio’s water break. ( | The pause that refreshes — and prompts a flood of tweets. (
* Will lawsuits prompt media companies to pay student interns? (
* Financial Times turns 125. The paper “has been held up as a rare success story,” writes Lucia Moses. (
* Check out the old photos that Chicago Tribune staffers recently found. (
* Look out, Timex! Bloomberg reports 100 people are working on Apple’s new watch. (