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Daily Archives: February 21, 2013

imagesA letter to the Texas Student Media board says: “We urge the TSM Board to refrain from further reducing The Daily Texan’s print schedule without first consulting us — Texan alumni.” These people are “untapped resources” and “some of us may be eager to donate (in fact some already have on their own initiative).”
* Daily Texan support letter | Fund-raiser to get the letter published
* Journal Register Co. sale could put 844 Michigan newspaper jobs at risk. (mlive.com)
* Meet the first class of Google Journalism Fellows. (googleblog.blogspot.com)
* Facebook blocks NBC sites over hacking scare. (allthingsd.com)
* Human Events magazine, “sort of the cornerstone of the conservative movement,” looks for a savior. (politico.com)
* Soledad O’Brien is leaving CNN’s morning show, but staying with the network. (nytimes.com)
* Time’s James Poniewozik looks at the Tesla-NYT spat in his latest print column. (time.com)
* Andrew Sullivan: I’m all for innovative advertising, but don’t make advertorials indistinguishable from editorial content. (andrewsullivan.com)
* CNBC is acquiring “Nightly Business Report” — the third change of hands for the show in less than three years. (nytimes.com)
* Gannett, Tribune and other media bigs abruptly shut down quadrantOne. (sdkramer.com)
* Globe & Mail publisher delivers an upbeat paywall report to his staff. (marketingmag.ca)
* How Steve Brill’s “Medical Pills” piece went from New Republic to Time. (huffingtonpost.com)
* It’s Gawker vs. “The Politico.” (mediabistro.com)

-- The controversial story

— The controversial story

Laurel (Miss.) Leader-Call owner Jim Cegielski says he knew he’d get some hate mail and angry calls when he decided to put a gay wedding story on the front page of his Feb. 7 issue. “The majority of people in Mississippi oppose gay marriage,” he tells me, “but we didn’t know the reaction was going to be as vicious and hateful and as widespread as it was.” (The story was about two women — one with stage four brain cancer — getting married. It was the first known gay wedding ceremony in Laurel.)

“In the first week, before the backlash to the backlash, the calls were 100% negative,” says Cegielski. Two advertisers pulled their ads and 40 people canceled their subscriptions. (The 7,500-circulation paper is published Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.)

On Monday, though, the newspaper started getting love-bombed when a Mississippi college student wrote about the “hate-filled” reaction to the piece.

“Our phones have blown up ever since,” says the Leader-Call owner. “We’ve probably had 400 phone calls and 99% of them have been supportive.” The paper has added a new advertiser — a dog grooming business in Hattiesburg — and 100 new subscribers, almost all of them outside of Mississippi. (The Leader-Call website has blown up, too. It crashed earlier today and tech support was working on it as I chatted with Cegielski.)

Jim Cegielski

Jim Cegielski

“It was a kid from the University of South Mississippi who made this thing go viral,” says the 49-year-old publisher. (Later in the interview he identified the “kid” as Ashton Pittman, a blogger who is majoring in journalism, politics and French at USM.)

“He really is responsible for this thing happening. I believe he’s the one who got Rachel Maddow to blog about this.” (Actually, she tweeted it.)

Pittman, who has friends at the Leader-Call, tells Romenesko readers: “I decided to blog about it because I hoped I could get a few of my readers to send in a few thank you’s and maybe even gain them back a subscriber or two after they lost 15. I had no idea they’d start getting new subscribers from all over the country and even as far as Australia.”

The student-blogger explains the Maddow tweet: “She tweeted that on [Tuesday] Feb. 19. I’m not sure how she got wind of the story, but the day after I posted the blog, I woke up to a text. I was going to read it and doze back to sleep, but I saw, “OH MY GOD, Rachel Maddow just tweeted your blog!” I shot straight up and, well, by 10 a.m., my blog already had its single biggest day ever. My biggest day of traffic before was a few weeks ago, when I hit a mere 1500. On that day, it hit 5,500 visitors.”

Last Saturday, Cegielski ran some negative letters about the marriage story and posted his defense of it. “Before this went viral, we were trying to let it die down. We had made an editorial decision to run the negative letters and let this thing go. But we can’t do that now. In this Saturday’s paper I’ll address the outpouring of support we’ve received from the rest of the country.”

* Newspaper owner defends gay marriage cover story (yahoo.com)
* Hate-filled backlash after paper reports on gay couple’s wedding (deepsouthprogressive.com)
* Read what people are writing on the Leader-Call’s Facebook page

Sorry I wasn’t able to attend: Only one shareholder asked a question during the 25-minute Lee Enterprises annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.

Ed Reelfs of Davenport asked [CEO Mary] Junck when the companylee expected to pay off the $1 billion debt it incurred as part of its 2005 acquisition of the Pulitzer Inc. newspaper chain.

Junck said while she could not publicly disclose when the company expected that debt to be paid, the company is making progress.

* Lee chips away at debt ahead of schedule (muscatinejournal.com)
* Lee execs get big raises in an unprofitable year (jimromenesko.com)

This just went out to AP staffers:

From: Jacobsen, Sally
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 1:00 PM
Subject: Stylebook new entry: husband, wife

All,

A new entry has been added to AP Stylebook Online and will be in the upcoming text version of the Stylebook:
ap
husband, wife Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. Spouse or partner may be used if requested.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Sally, Darrell and Dave

* AP came under fire after memos were posted on Romenesko (politico.com) | (cjr.org)
* Here are the memos with Romenesko readers’ comments (jimromenesko.com)
* WordPress glitch causes some to get 404 message on link above; this should work

Ken Doctor figures the Globe group — it includes the Worcester Telegram & Gazette — will go for $100 million to $150 million, if pension obligations aren’t part of the deal.globe “Metro newspaper properties are today worth about a tenth of what they were worth at their height,” the former Knight Ridder exec points out. “So, for the Globe, that’s $1.1 billion 20 years ago, and maybe $110 million today. Newsrooms may have suffered a 30-50 percent decline in numbers, but the newspapers themselves itself have lost 90 percent of market value.”

Doctor mentions the Taylor family — the Globe’s previous owners — and Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner as potential bidders.

* The newsonomics of the Boston Globe’s sale (niemanlab.org)
* Unclear whether Globe and T&G will be sold separately or as a package (telegram.com)
* Earlier: 25 potential buyers of the Boston Globe (smartertimes.com)

The funniest thing I’ve seen today: Bloomington (Ill.) Pantagraph readers’ comments about this sketch of a Kroger grocery store robber, which ran in yesterday’s paper. (The snark comes from the Pantagraph’s website and Facebook page.)
* “Next time I see a nintendo mii character running around the twin cities, ill call the cops.”
* “It’s a sketch of the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz!!! Obviously!!”

Police sketch of robbery suspect

Police sketch of robbery suspect

* “This guy should be readily recognizable to anyone who faithfully watches reruns of ‘Rocky The Flying Squirrel’. And no, I’m not gonna give any more clues.”
* “Get a new sketch artist already, my infant grand daughter could do better than that!”
* “So, it was The Great Cornholio?”
* “I seen this guy on a video game I think.”
* “What I would do is put some definition to it to at least make it look like a person versus an alien-looking humanoid.”
* “So let me get this straight… there were Eyebrows? yes, oh yes, eyebrows. What about eyes? Yeah, I think there were those. A nose? Oh heck yes. What about a mouth? Mmmmmm… no… well, yeah, maybe. How about a neck? No… but the sweatshirt looked embedded into the skin where one might find a neck. Thanks! That was a big help, we’ll have this guy in no time!”

I asked Pantagraph humor columnist Bill Flick what he thought of the sketch. His response: “My God, is that Ray Bolger?”

* Police department releases images of robbery suspects (pantagraph.com)
* Read the comments about the sketch on the paper’s Facebook page


* Fox’s Bob Beckel apologizes for suggesting that rape isn’t a problem on college campuses. (politico.com)
* Ira Stoll’s list of 25 potential Boston Globe buyers, including Washington Post Co. and ESPN/Disney. (smartertimes.com) | Boston Herald has a shorter list. (bostonherald.com)
time* Steve Brill’s Time cover story, “Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” runs 36 pages — the longest single piece ever published by a single writer in the magazine. (time.com)
* The Economist is considering an audio-only subscription. (journalism.co.uk)
* Carol Marin to host a Sun-Times online newscast. (timeoutchicago.com)
* HuffPost Live video views have grown from 15.6 million in November to 27 million in January. (fastcompany.com)
* Why won’t the NCAA meet with sports editors? (shermanreport.com)
* Margaret Sullivan on NYT and the self-satisfied idea of “it’s news when we say it’s news.” (nytimes.com)
* “I prefer hiring philosophy or English majors,” Politico’s Charles Mahtesian tells Yale students. (yaledailynews.com)
* Howard Kurtz: Is MSNBC turning into an Obama administration in exile? (daily-download.com)
* Atlantic editor-in-chief James Bennet explains the magazine’s redesign. (theatlantic.com)
* Thank goodness there was a file photo of a parking lot for this parking lot stabbing story! (nj.com)
* Challenge for Vatican reporters: Figuring out if the smoke is black or white. (mediabistro.com)
* Would the Jack Daniel’s newsroom have a no-booze policy? (digiday.com)
* Kent State journalism prof proposes a National Apology Day for the press. (whenjournalismfails.blogspot.com)

Letter to Romenesko

From FRED LEONHARDT: Subject — The Oregonian’s Oscar party recipes.

Good thing this isn’t the year of “Schindler’s List.”

[From the Oregonian's feature]

Baked Falafel Burgers: In the grim CIA thriller “Zero Dark Thirty,”fal a prisoner is given falafel after he begins cooperating with his interrogators. These vegan falafel burgers are perfect party food because they can be assembled ahead of time on a cookie sheet for easy transport, then tossed into the oven once you’re at the Oscar party.

And what better way to celebrate putting the blood back in bloodhound than with a good cocktail?

Sazerac: Quentin Tarantino’s bloody “Django Unchained” seems a tough filmdrink to inspire a potluck dish, until you consider the Southern plantation setting of the film’s final act. The Sazerac is a classic Southern cocktail that’s perfect with the spiciness of the Cajun Jambalaya. What’s an Oscar party without a good cocktail?

* Oscar party potluck dishes, inspired by nominated films (oregonlive.com)