Daily Archives: February 14, 2013

In the fall of 2009, Edward Wasserman invited disgraced journalist Jayson Blair to speak at Washington and Lee University‚Äôs Journalism Ethics Institute. The title of his talk was “Lessons Learned.”

Did people protest it? I asked Wasserman, who recently left Lexington, Virginia, to become dean of Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Ed Wasserman

Ed Wasserman

“There was one guy from a very conservative media outlet who just lodged his teeth into my ankle about this and wouldn’t let go,” he recalled in our phone conversation. “Apart from him it didn’t get a lot of traction.” (I believe Wasserman’s referring to Media Research Center and its Newsbusters blog, which reported on Blair’s appearance.)

Wasserman says he paid Blair $3,000 for his appearance, which was the standard fee for ethics institute speakers in 2009.

“He came down for a couple of days. It wasn’t just a speech, it was a two-day seminar, so the compensation wasn’t ridiculous.”

I asked Wasserman if he’d consider inviting Jonah Lehrer to an ethics program.

“Sure, in a heartbeat. He’s a brilliant guy. I’d be very interested in having him speak.”

How much would he pay Lehrer?

“I’d pay him what I pay what I pay everybody else — it’s now $5,000 — but not any more.”

What does Wasserman think about the Knight Foundation paying $20,000 to Lehrer?

“I thought it was excessive. I have a lot of respect for the Knight people but I just think that that’s a lot of money.”

* Ex-NYT reporter Jayson Blair to address W&L journalism ethics institute (

UPDATE: Just as I finished this post, Jayson Blair responded to an email I sent earlier this afternoon in which I asked about Lehrer’s speaking fee.

Blair writes:



“I am a little surprised that the Knight Foundation got caught flat-footed on this one. It seems pretty obvious that you have to be cautious about compensating people for doing penance in their own profession. It makes sense to me for people to be paid to cover the expenses and modestly for their time. It’s a particutarly sensitive issue when you are educating an audience in a professional situation. When I speak, I’ll generally use the honorarium to cover my travel and lodging expenses, and sometimes, although not often, money I had forgone through not working. I usual take the rest and donate it to someone.

“I get it from Jonah Lehrer’s perspective in many regards. He probably needs income and believes that he’s figured out the lessons that can be learned from his situation. It seems naive to me, based on my experience in writing my book way too soon, to think you have a clear picture of those lessons so early on. In the long term, the issue of public perception comes at a cost that often makes the money not worth it. But, like I said, I get it, you’ve got to live even if it digs the public perception hole a bit deeper. It just seems from the stories I read that neither Knight or Lehrer saw what to anyone who had been down this road the mines and ditches that abound.”

Social networking giant Facebook is used by two-thirds of adults who are online. “Women are more likely than men to be Facebook users, and Facebook use is especially common among younger adults.”

Pew says 16% of Internet users are on Twitter — that’s double from November 2010. People 18 to 29 are the most likely to use Twitter, and urban-dwellers are significantly more likely than both suburban and rural residents to use the service.

pintVirtual scrapbooker Pinterest has attracted 15% of Internet users, reports Pew. “Whites, young people, the well-educated, those with higher income, and women are particularly likely to use the site. … Women are about five times as likely to be on the site as men.”

instaPew says 13% of Internet users are taking and sharing pictures using this service, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to use than whites. Also, women are more likely than men to use it, as are people under 50.

tumblrOnly 6% of those online use Tumblr. “It is much more popular, however, among the youngest cohort,” reports Pew. “Thirteen percent of those 18-29 are blogging on Tumblr.”

* The demographics of social media users – 2012 (

I finally got around to watching Monday’s “Colbert Report” and laughed when Stephen Colbert talked about the Huffington Post and the pope’s resignation. Here’s what he said:

popeThis morning I did what I always do – I went on Huffington Post to get my rage levels up and to check out the latest adorable panda nip-slips. But when I was there, I saw something truly shocking: actual news!

According to their 72-point font, POPE OUT. Naturally, I was shocked. The pope came out of the closet? I mean, it makes sense — the guy hadn’t had a girlfriend in like forever and he’s a total catch. But it turned out to be something much more shocking. [He cuts to a Fox News report on the pope’s resignation.] Resigned? The pope is quitting? Popes don’t quit. God has a way of telling when it’s time to retire. It’s called death.

* Colbert learns about the pope’s resignation from The Huffington Post (

Which staffer gets credit for writing that…

…and deciding against using ‘mascot’ in the hed to ruin the fun? I asked Daily Tar Heel editor Andy Thomason.

He responded:

All the credit goes to Melvin Backman, one of our senior writers, and Sarah Glen, who leads our enterprise. And while I was in class when the headline was conceived, I’m certain the decision not to use the word “mascot” had to do with ruining the pun. I think the headline still works since Twitter had been blowing up for an hour at this point about the mascot head, and we had a photo of the head with the blog.

* UNC gets head from Duke ( | The most perfect headline in the history of SEO? (

UPDATE: Here’s a funny retweet from the Washington Post’s Ron Charles.

* Tesla’s CEO goes after New York Times for John Broder’s review of his car. ( | (
* Hacker News: It appears the auto critic “was hell-bent on ripping Tesla a new one.” (
* What will NYT Co.’s financial condition be in 2016? Ken Doctor looks at the numbers. (
* Los Angeles Times is getting rid of its TV grid in the print edition. (
* Of course Marty Peretz doesn’t care for Chris Hughes’s “new” New Republic. (
dog* How journalism awards are like dog shows: “The tendency among judges was to reward entries that were different, cutting edge, not the same old good stuff,” says one editor/judge. (
* CNN gets a ratings boost from SOTU address and Dorner coverage. (
* “The Vatican is a tough beat even for seasoned reporters,” writes UPI’s former Rome bureau chief. (
* More newspapers are refusing to use “Redskins.” (
* Poor password security is blamed in Emergency Alert System hack that sent out zombie warnings. (reuters via
* Washington Post obits writer: There’s now a sandwich named after me! (
* It’s apparently OK to interrupt Bob Woodward if you see him at an airport reading a newspaper. (@racefortheprize)
* Emerson journalism student campaigns to get on “Today” while it’s in Boston. (
* Pakistani regulator warns the media about promoting Valentine’s Day. (