The “haha” was removed and a we-regret-this note was added to the story:
* From my Facebook wall: “It looks like someone thought they were typing in an IM window and typed on the web post instead. This is what happens without editors to double-check posts before they go up, and when people don’t use spell check.”
USA Today confirms what my tipsters have been telling me today: The paper is offering early retirement packages.
“An announcement was made to staff today that employees who are at least 55 years old and have 15 years of service to the company are eligible for a buyout,” USA Today spokesperson Heidi Zimmerman tells Romenesko readers. “Terms are two weeks pay for every year of service – not to exceed one year. Insurance remains in effect as long as you’re getting paid.”
One tipster says: “I’ve heard from an editor that there are 150 employees who would qualify, but that the company retains the right to deny the buyouts to some of them.”
TV columnist Lisa de Moraes is quitting the Washington Post when the television season ends in May to be with her husband in Los Angeles.
“I am truly sorry to be leaving this column, but I really miss my husband,” she tells Romenesko readers. “I would see him only four months out of the year. I was doing the back-and-forth because of the nature of his job.” (Her husband, Jeff Copeland, is a content producer at Santa Monica web company and a former Washington Post employee.)
Will fans of De Moraes’ funny, snarky voice be able to read her column in another outlet?
“I hope so.”
Does the 15-year Post veteran have something lined up?
“I don’t have anything that I can say about that now.”
Hmmm, I’m just guessing here… Entertainment Weekly, maybe? (The magazine just lost TV critic Ken Tucker.)
UPDATE — De Moraes writes: “How kind of you to speculate I might land at EW. If, by some miracle, that happens, I will owe you a fee — or at least a dinner!” (That’s not necessary, but I wouldn’t say no to an EW iPad subscription renewal.)
* TV columnist Lisa de Moraes is leaving the Washington Post (thewrap.com) | (politico.com)
* Diehard de Moraes fan wishes Lisa would just divorce her hubby (facebook.com)
Earlier JimRomenesko.com posts:
* Entertainment Weekly is losing TV critic Ken Tucker
* Lisa Schwarzbaum leaves EW after 22 years
I received emails in recent days about Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner telling his staff at a March 6 newsroom meeting that he doesn’t believe in “afflicting the comfortable.”
In a phone conversation today, Kushner confirms he made the statement.
“I don’t believe it is our job” to afflict people. “I do reject that. I don’t believe that’s the role of newspapers.”
Kushner says he’s an advocate of investigative reporting — “we’ve massively increased the size of that group” at the Register — but “we should be careful and respectful. It’s not an issue of us avoiding stories that may be negative, it’s about the tone. In this day and age. once we say something negative about something, not only does it carry a lot of weight but it lives forever in the digital archives.”
Kushner says his comments at the meeting were received “very positively” by the staff. (One of my emailers had a different take. He said of owner’s no-afflicting remark: “People in the newsroom didn’t like that at all.”)
“As an institution, we love Orange County. I think everyone understands that tone does matter, and that having multiple sources on the record does matter.”
Finally, I asked him about his interest in the Boston Globe and Tribune’s newspapers. Kushner says he’s “been on the record” about wanting the papers, but he has nothing to add. Is he preparing offers now? He declined to say.
Tickets for the New York Post’s 2 1/2-hour tour cost $49. “Overall, I want it to be fun for people,” says publisher Jesse Angelo. “That’s the whole point. Every tour on earth tells you about The Plaza. None of them tells you about Charlie Sheen.” (The Post’s tour guide discusses Sheen’s coke-and-hooker antics at the Plaza Hotel.)
* NY Post-themed bus tours reveal city history and scandal (nypost.com)
Letter to Romenesko
From DAVE KELLETT: After your very kind 2011 write-up of my documentary film on comic strip cartoonists, I thought I’d send you a fun follow-up: The movie’s about a month from completion, and we were able to land the first-ever audio interview with Bill Watterson, the famously reclusive cartoonist of Calvin & Hobbes! You can hear his voice in the first 10 seconds of the new trailer, here. …thought you’d get a kick out of that!
* “Stripped,” a documentary love letter to comics, gets Kickstarter funding (kickstarter.com)
The South China Morning Post says media outlets in China have been fooled by a satirical report about Paul Krugman declaring bankruptcy. They’re not the only ones: The New York Times-owned Boston.com also has a post about the New York Times columnist’s alleged Chapter 13 filing. It’s been online for four days now. [UPDATE: It was removed about two minutes after I posted this.]
* Paul Krugman files Chapter 13 bankruptcy (boston.com/story now removed)
* Krugman: I’ve been “Breitbarted” (krugman.nytimes.com)
Update: Globe editor Brian McGrory tells Erik Wemple: “The story arrived deep within our site from a third party vendor who partners on some finance and market pages on our site. We never knew it was there till we heard about it from outside.” The paper, he says, did “urgent work to get it the hell down.” He adds: “The idea that we’d have a partner on our site is actually news to me” and the Globe plans to “address our relationship with that vendor.”
* A publishers’ paywall letter we’d like to see: “Don’t make me come around twice a year and do a little dance for money like a public-radio pledge drive.” (wbur.org)
* Gawker (not The Onion) headline: “Somebody Should Figure Out How to Pay for Journalism, Says Guy Whose Job It Is to Do That.” (gawker.com)
* Al Jazeera considers using the old New York Times building for its New York headquarters. (wsj.com)
* Advice for reporters in Rome: When an editor wants a prediction of how the new pope will act, just say, “God only knows.” (jacklimbert.com)
* Write a 36-page magazine article and there’s a good chance you’ll get something wrong. (Hospital says Steve Brill got profit figure wrong.) (news-leader.com)
* Claim: Public relations is winning the battle for control of consumer content. (minnpost.com)
* Chinese media fall for satirical report about Paul Krugman being broke. (scmp.com)
* Meet Egypt’s Jon Stewart. (thedailybeast.com)
* Watch out for stock hoaxes on Twitter and Facebook. (chicagotribune.com)
* New York Times acknowledges misstating the level of literacy in Viking culture. (@mattzeitlin) | (nytimes.com/ 13th correction) | Who complained to the Times? (Romenesko Letters)
* How David Carr views paid content. (paidcontent.org) | Read tweets about Carr’s Sunday talk at SXSW. (twitter.com)
* How many sales does it take to make a book an Amazon bestseller? (publishersweekly.com)
* PSA: University of Missouri’s looking for someone to teach magazine journalism. (facebook.com/)
* The Who Pays Writers? tumblr has been around for some time; now we have Who Pays Photographers? (whopaysphotogs.tumblr.com)