Daily Archives: February 19, 2013

Former Chicago Tribune and Crain’s sports journalist Ed Sherman has been blogging about sports media for 10 months now, and I recently noticed that he has never put an ad or a tip jar on his site, The Sherman Report. Why does this suburban Chicago father of two teen sons start blogging at about 6:30 in the morning and even work weekends when there’s absolutely no financial reward? Why does he constantly monitor traffic – as he tells me he does – when there are no advertisers to satisfy? Sherman answers those questions and others in my Q-and-A.

(Disclosure: I got to know Ed about a year ago after he emailed about using Jonathan Liss, my site designer, for his website. For a long time we’ve emailed about meeting in person for coffee but that has yet to happen. Blame me for that.)

You took the Chicago Tribune’s buyout in 2008. Why?
I was about to turn 50 and had been considering making a move for a couple of years. I had burnt out on the travel and working nights and weekends. [He had worked at the paper for 26 years.] My boys were just turning 12 and 10, and I felt like I had been missing out by being gone so much. Obviously, the biggest part of the decision was to spend more time with my wife and boys, and it’s been great.

Ed Sherman

Ed Sherman

From a career perspective, I felt like I had done all I wanted to do at the Tribune. Plus — and this was before the economy collapsed in the fall of ’08 — there was a healthy buyout package on the table for me. I thought if I was going to leave the company, I might as well get the going-away prize. Also, I had a book deal in place that I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had stayed at the Tribune. So a lot of things were at play. I just felt like I needed to make a change and see if I could make it on my own.

What did you learn from your Crain’s experience after working at the Tribune for decades?
Crain’s was terrific. I really enjoyed covering sports business and getting to know the various executives within the teams. It is a beat that deserves more coverage at mainstream sports outlets. Crain’s gave me the opportunity to gain experience operating my own blog – a chance to experience the pace of updating and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I was growing along with them.

As for why I left, after 3 1/2 years, again I just felt it was time. Crain’s was making some changes with new editors, and I had an idea to launch a sports media site. So the timing was good on both ends.

At what point did you say, “I’m going to start The Sherman Report”? And what niche in the sports blogosphere did you see it filling?
I had done a sports media column for 12 years at the Tribune, and really enjoyed it. I had been kicking around the idea of bringing it back in the form of my own web site. To be honest, I was influenced by your site. I wanted to see if I could do it for sports.

There are a few sites that cover sports media, and they are quite popular. I felt I could be a bit different by doing more Q/As with people in the industry. I also want to explore the process of how sports news gets reported. I saw the site as an opportunity to have a voice in an area of high interest to me. Hopefully, a chance to have some impact./CONTINUES
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“I would like to propose engaging in a relationship where once in a while I supply you with fully developed stories (completed articles) that you can publish under your byline, with or without editing, at no fee.”
— PR man’s pitch to a newspaper reporter

Letter to Romenesko

From A ROMENESKO READER who is trying to get didn’t get permission from her editor to put her name on this:

I received this email yesterday, and my jaw dropped. Just blatantly unethical.

And his blog posting explains his ideas in Orwellian terms.

Media consultant Jan Hutchins writes:

The demise of paper-based journalism threatens to put down our watchdog, weaken the forces that traditionally comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, eliminate the institutions in our society which enforce civic accountability through their ability to expose and hold other institutions accountable.

How can we create an economic model that supports investigative and accountability journalism? I say we start with beauty and work our way to truth.

I’m here to cut through the problem, disrupting the existing business model, to help media break even or even make money acquiring first rate content.

I’m here to help entrepreneurs rethink their publicity process to obtain guaranteed media coverage where traditional PR can’t. I do it bypassing press releases and media pitches – I investigate, come up with a story that is relevant for editorial and develop articles that media is interested to publish. Both win. Media get quality content – visionaries get their dreams told and gain an audience for their idea.

I’ve been sending this email around to other reporters and my executive editor, who teach journalism classes. I was wondering if you or other readers had seen anything like this before.

Here is Hutchins’ email to the Romenesko reader, a daily newspaper reporter:

On Feb 18, 2013 5:28 PM, “jan hutchins” wrote:

Good afternoon,

I am a business and political journalist with 20+ years of covering major stories. I would like to propose engaging in a relationship where once in a while I supply you with fully developed stories (completed articles) that you can publish under your byline, with or without editing, at no fee.

This time, because automobile crashes in the U.S. kill eight teens every day, are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 34 and cost Americans nearly $100 billion dollars each year on medical care, rehabilitation and lost wages, I offer this well-researched 1700 word article “Evangelizing driving safety through technology”. Photos available upon request.

In this article I introduce your audience to a man whose love for his teenage daughters and obsession with safety inspired him to become an evangelist preaching an end to distracted driving, offering at least relative peace of mind to the parents of teenage drivers and helping families and truck fleet owners use competitive instinct to lower their insurance costs.

I placed a few expert quotes by some of my clients into the piece, so I am not looking for compensation or acknowledgement.

Please see the article below. I would appreciate if you let me know ASAP whether you are interested in publishing it.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Respectfully yours,

Jan Hutchins
CEO, Co-founder
SocialAgenda Media


Suggested title: Evangelizing driving safety through technology

Every parent fears receiving “that” call. Every loved one cringes at the thought. Distraction or inattention at the wrong moment, a drunk driver, bad road conditions and suddenly someone we love is stolen from our lives, or injured beyond imagination.

Handing the keys over to a teenager brings up huge fears. We feel out of control, helpless to protect them. What if something terrible does happen and you are left to think about what you could have said or done, but didn’t? …. [There are 19 more paragraphs that I haven’t posted.]

imagesShame on you, Old Town Flower Shop.

You didn’t treat the Palm Beach Post’s entertainment writer with the respect that she deserves …. well, thinks she deserves.

You’d better not hang up on Leslie Gray Streeter again — even if it’s on a busy holiday — because, as she reminds you on Facebook, she’s “a Palm Beach Post columnist with a really big FB family.” Yes, in her words: “Big mistake. Huge.”

(Asked for comment, the shop’s co-owner tells Jose Lambiet: “Who calls a flower shop on Valentine’s Day? Most flower shops don’t even answer the phone on Valentine’s Day.”)

* Palm Beach Post columnist flexes Facebook muscle (

Posted on Facebook this morning:

Uh-oh. What happened, Michael?

“It’s actually not as dramatic as it seems,” Michael Barrientos tells Romenesko readers. “I was doing some non-profit photo work this weekend and was out photographing with a group helping homeless. Apparently someone spotted me (they had photos of me photographing) got license tag numbers and reported the suspicious activity to Homeland Security.”

And then…

This morning an agent came knocking on my door. He was actually incredibly nice and understanding. I actually did say “of course they reported me; there was a brown guy taking pictures,” but in a humorous way.

-- Photo by Michael Barrientos

— Photo by Michael Barrientos

He said he was following up and said they get a lot of similar reports only to find out the person taking photos is a professional. I went on to talk about how I much prefer this than my experiences overseas in Europe and Africa where authorities were not nearly as nice or understanding for photographing in sensitive areas.

The officer was very respectful and cool, and had a clear understanding that photographers, including the general public, have the right to take photographs in public places.

My wife works for the Dept. of State and we have a lot of friends who do similar types of govt. work, so this situation didn’t really phase me. And seriously after getting in so many more hairy situations overseas, I guess I’ve just gotten much thicker skin.

Here’s one of my pics from the said shoot.

* Politico says Obama’s a master at “limiting, shaping and manipulating” his media coverage. ( | Congratulations, Politico, you’ve learned how PR works. (@robpegoraro)
* Obama goes off-the-record with “frustrated” White House press corps. (
* NYT public editor: I’m convinced John Broder took on the Tesla test drive in good faith, but… (
* Jay Rosen on the rise of niche journalism and other changes in the news business. (
mags* Meet the men who sell newspapers, magazines and candy at NYC newsstands. (
* David Axelrod joins NBC News as a senior political analyst. (
* Katherine Bouton: I managed to work at the NYT for 22 years after losing hearing in one ear. (
* Mississippi paper’s page one story about a same-sex wedding prompts “hate-filled” backlash. (
* Exec at Advance’s Alabama Media Group: We expected a decrease in print circulation, but Sunday circ is up 1%. (
* Felix Salmon apologizes for “an ill-advised detour into gender politics” in a blog post last week. (
* Pretty in pink: NYT’s Brian Stelter and David Carr before their social media talk. (@Rasiej) | Watch them (and others) here: (
* Four Mardi Gras floats poke fun at the Times-Picayune. (