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Monthly Archives: March 2013

The New York Times changed its obituary for rocket scientist Yvonne Brill after it was criticized for a lede that said “she made a mean beef stroganoff,beef followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children.”
* “Awful” Times obit for rocket scientist rhapsodizes about her beef stroganoff (jezebel.com) | (thewrap.com)
* New York Times fails miserably in obit for rocket scientist (io9.com)
* “The lede for this obit was more creative than most people can handle for some reason” (sassone.wordpress.com)

Also…
* Google’s Cesar Chavez doodle on Easter Sunday has conservatives fuming. (guardian.co.uk) | (huffingtonpost.com)
* A Princeton prof responds to an alum’s husband-hunting letter. (thedailyprincetonian.wordpress.com) | Her letter. (jimromenesko.com)
* Richard Rushfield departs as BuzzFeed’s LA bureau chief after five months. “Wasn’t the right fit,” he says. (mediabistro.com)
* Hollywood Reporter apologizes to Deadline.com parent for lifting its source code. (thewrap.com)
* Appeals court upholds dismissal of libel suit against the Detroit News and Charlie LeDuff. (detroitnews.com)
* Orange County Register’s advertising deal with three universities has some staffers concerned. (latimes.com)
* OC Weekly: Orange County Register doesn’t allow critical comments about its paywall. (ocweekly.com)
april* Dave Winer: “TechCrunch wins the award for the first inane April Idiocy post.” (scripting.com)
* Los Angeles Times editorial writer Dan Turner dies of pancreatic cancer. He was 49. (latimes.com)
* NYT’s Jim Dwyer and other journalists pose with the actors who play them in “Lucky Guy.” (nytimes.com)
* If DNAinfo.com can make it in Chicago and New York, it can make it anywhere, according to its staffers. (ajr.org)
* Tribute to an editor who is leaving The Awl. (“Carrie [Frye] is leaving her post here to focus on making more words herself.”) (theawl.com)
* Do you still print stuff out? asks Gizmodo. (Rarely; I have to go to the public library to do it.) (gizmodo.com)
* Pasadena City College puts newspaper adviser on leave; many suspect it’s because of the paper’s aggressive coverage of the administration. (pasadenasun.com)
* French postal service is testing drone newspaper delivery service. Stumbling block: “Quadricopters only have a range of about 164 feet and 30 minutes of flight time.” (gizmodo.com)
* Sorry, Bullett magazine, but you’re not the first publication to show a person holding a cat. (tmz.com)

satire

“How to find that perfect husband in college”
(University of Georgia Red and Black, July 6, 2012)

serious

“Find a husband on campus before you graduate”
(Daily Princetonian/March 29, 2013)

* Princeton alum’s letter crashes student newspaper’s website (collegemediamatters.com)
* Princeton mom wishes she’d married a Princeton man (nymag.com)
* Nina Bahadur: I’ve read the column 5+ times and I’m still dumbfounded (huffingtonpost.com)


noads

Matt Creamer reports more websites are trying to get by without ads and rely on readers for revenue. Good Men Media CEO Lisa Hickey says her site went ad-free after “it became clear that banner ads are annoying to people and they just aren’t that profitable.” With advertisers paying less for pageviews, “the number of ads we have to put on the site to break even goes up. It’s a balancing act that doesn’t get us to where we need to go.” I also answered Creamer’s questions about advertising and shaking the tin cup on this site.

* With online ad rates falling, more sites explore ad-free business (adage.com)

After moving to the Twin Cities to work for the Pioneer Press in the mid-1990s, I was surprised to discover that the No. 1 radio personality in Garrison Keillor-land was a loudmouth, Howard Stern-wannabe named Tom Barnard who was constantly offending minorities. (Star Tribune gossip columnist C.J. sometimes referred to him as Tom “Barnyard.”)

Tom Barnard

Tom Barnard

Whatever happened to Minnesota Nice? I wondered.

Barnard has killed the competition in the mornings for about a quarter of a century with his “Minnesota’s angriest man” shtick. The Strib’s Neal Justin wrote in a 2010 profile that the radio king “is showing signs of cooling down and growing up” and “in the past year, he has quit drinking.”

It looks like things changed.

After putting out a string of profane tweets Thursday night, Barnard told his listeners this morning that he’s going to get treatment for substance abuse (wine and pills).

Here are just a few of his Thursday tweets. Twin Cities alt-weekly City Pages has compiled more.

barnard

* KQ’s Tom Barnard says he’ll get treatment but remain on the air (startribune.com)

UPDATE – The Strib’s C.J. tells Romenesko readers: “I guess I am not surprised by Tom seeking treatment. When I shot my video interview with him, I left with the nagging feeling that he was dealing with some stuff. …I’m not a doctor but I thought he seemed depressed. I decided that he was just tired.”

Hundreds of Philadelphia Phillies season tickets — 324, to be exact — and 81 parking passes were supposed to be sent to News Journal Media Group publisher Howard Griffin. (That Gannett unit publishes the newspaper in Wilmington, Delaware.)

Scott Lascala

Scott Lascala

Instead, the baseball team sent the package — valued at over $37,000 — to the CT Group. Scott Lascala, the mailroom manager there, took the tickets and had a field day. He gave them to friends and co-workers, and sold some on Craigslist.

The publisher’s secretary spotted them on Craigslist and called police. (She started checking there after UPS claimed the tickets had been delivered.)

Lascala, 40, was charged Tuesday with theft and conspiracy.

* Police: $37,000 in Phillies tickets stolen (delawareonline.com)

The Los Angeles Times asked the spokeswoman for former D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee if Rhee’s kids attend public or private school.

Michelle Rhee

Michelle Rhee

“She is a public school parent,” said Erin Shaw.

The Times then reported that the former D.C. chancellor’s two kids attend public school in Tennessee.

Not true, said the American Federation of Teachers; one of her daughters attends a private school.

LAT’s Michael J. Mishak writes:

The Times asked Rhee’s spokeswoman again about what type of school Rhee’s children attend.

Shaw declined to answer the question directly. Instead, after multiple emails and phone calls from Times reporters, she issued a statement apologizing for “misleading” the newspaper with her initial response.

“It was not our intention to be misleading. It is our policy not to discuss where Michelle’s children attend school out of respect for their privacy,” the statement says. “While it is true Michelle is a public school parent, we understand how that statement was misleading, and we apologize to the Los Angeles Times.”

Shaw tweeted the first Times story about Rhee, but has yet to send the follow-up article with her apology to her Twitter followers.

* Michelle Rhee, “a public school parent”? (latimes.com)


Last month, we had a PR man proposing to write “fully developed stories” for a reporter and then letting her slap her byline on his articles.

Now we have a PR woman telling journalists how they should do their job.

“Check out this press release I got from stacey@visitingangels.com,” writes Denver Post reporter Claire Martin. “The ‘How To Tell This Story’ part is especially galling.”

How To Tell This Story:

Interview local families about the emotional struggle when deciding how to best care for an aging loved one. Talk with local senior care experts and caregivers about the options for elderly care and why in-home care is a viable solution.

I asked Stacey Hilton about the “especially galling” part of her email to the reporter. She responded:

We certainly don’t mean to offend anyone. We’ve always received positive feedback from other journalists about that section of our release. They receive so many emails a day and are so busy writing a number of stories that they’ve appreciated that quick little summary paragraph.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. Have a great day!

Stacey Hilton | Senior Public Relations Manager
919 Marketing | www.919marketing.com

My suggestion, Stacey: Instead of instructing the reporter on “how to tell this story,” try suggesting ways to pursue it.

Thoughts from PR people and reporters?

* Earlier: A PR man’s “jaw-dropping” offer to a reporter (jimromenesko.com)
* “I flak for a living and consider it a term of endearment” (facebook.com/jimromenesko)

Hilton’s letter to the reporter is after the jump. Read More


* Friends of the “Bad Lieutenant” are threatening New York Post reporter Candice Giove for writing about the man’s racist tweets. (nypost.com)
* NPR is pulling the plug on “Talk of the Nation.” Host Neal Conan will depart after more than three decades with the network. (npr.org) | (nytimes.com)
* The Sun-Times is late in paying Chicago Tribune for printing and distribution. (chicagotribune.com)
* Assistant DA wants McAllen (TX) Monitor reporter held in contempt for naming Border Patrol agent who testified in open court. (themonitor.com)
* The Atlantic’s Molly Ball wins the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. (newhouse.syr.edu)
* Why twenty-somethings have a hard time paying for content. (finance.yahoo.com)
* Huffington Post Live thrives on tape. (allthingsd.com)
* Longtime Syracuse Post-Standard editor Mike Connor has resigned. “The time feels right to try something else,” he says. (syracuse.com)
* Paul S. Williams, the founder of Crawdaddy magazine, dies at 64. (hollywoodreporter.com)
* Edward Felsenthal is named Time.com managing editor. (nypost.com)
* Fired Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine says he’s suing ESPN. (AP via usatoday.com)
* Brian Stelter now has a “Top of the Morning” tumblr ((thetopofthemorning.tumblr.com)
* Former editor of Appeal-Democrat has been missing since March 6. His car was found in a parking lot near the Golden Gate Bridge. (appeal-democrat.com)

AMGOODAmazon.com buys Goodreads
San Francisco-based Goodreads was founded in 2006 by Otis Chandler. Terms of his deal with Amazon weren’t disclosed. Author Hugh Howey says in Amazon’s release: “I just found out my two favorite people are getting married. The best place to discuss books is joining up with the best place to buy books — To Be Read piles everywhere must be groaning in anticipation.”
* Amazon buys book-based social network Goodreads (paidcontent.org)

Also…
* Bill Keller’s talks with Columbia j-school about the dean job “didn’t go anywhere.” (washingtonpost.com)
* Orange County Register’s paywall is going up in April. (ocweekly.com)
* Roland Martin is named NABJ’s Journalist of the Year. (flcourier.com)
* What the…!? Judge orders journalists to not photograph teen who’s being tried as an adult or report in detail any evidence from his proceeding. (AP via mysanantonio.com)
* Time’s “How to Cure Cancer” cover is called wrong and cruel. (slate.com)
* CommonSense Media files for bankruptcy; lists prominent blogs and news sites as creditors. (huffingtonpost.com)
* Chicago public radio newsman asks listeners to help him to get answers from the governor’s office. (chicagotribune.com)
* Los Angeles Times’ heavy investment in local elections “runs against broader trends across the media industry.” (cjr.org)
* A story that journalists are missing: how new laws and regulations are promoting monopolies to the detriment of consumers. (ajr.org)
* New York Post transit reporter Jennifer Fermino jumps to the Daily News. (capitalnewyork.com)


Former NBC News correspondent Ed Rabel complains that local TV news “is populated by bubble-heads and glib, young, sometimes pretty know-nothings” who “wouldn’t know a news story if it slapped them in the face.” (They’re lucky to have consultants writing scripts that are read by small-market anchors across the country.)

Viewers don’t get real news on local TV because “station owners and managers forbid their news departments from stepping on toes and ruffling feathers, out of fear that such stories might insult local advertisers or offend politicians on whose toes reporters might stomp.”

Investigative or original reporting is costly, meaning real reporters must be hired to do real reporting, a job that requires lots of time and money that the stations have no time for. Instead, I remember one Huntington TV station leading its newscast last December with the astonishing news that Christmas tree sales were on the rise. Hold the presses!

* Local TV “news” is a waste of your time (wvgazette.com)

A Romenesko reader sent this screenshot from Wednesday’s 5 p.m. KUTV (Salt Lake City) newscast. She writes:

The two pictured on the screen are high-ranking state politicians. The man on the left is John Swallow, the state’s embattled attorney general. Gary Herbert, the governor, is on the right.

Needless to say (this is Utah, right?), neither of the Republican lawmakers are fans of gay marriage or, probably, gay people in general.

kutv

The AG’s media rep, Paul Murphy, thinks “it’s pretty funny.” He writes in an email: “Attorney General John Swallow also thought it was hilarious. I don’t think anyone in Utah will mistake the Governor and the Attorney General as one of the ‘gay couples’ filing the lawsuit.” (I’ve also invited the governor’s spokesman to comment.)

I also called the KUTV newsroom and was told that news director Jennifer Dahl will want to comment when she gets out of a meeting. I’m still waiting for her call back. [FRIDAY UPDATE: Still waiting.]

* Gay couples sue Utah for the right to marry (kutv.com)
* Utah’s governor was the keynote speaker at a “traditional marriage” rally (mediabistro.com)