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Daily Archives: April 4, 2013

“For obvious reasons I’d like to keep this anonymous,” writes a Romenesko reader, “but I think it’s one salutary aspect of Roger Ebert’s character that has never been divulged; at least not as far as I know”:

Back in the nineties I had a high-profile co-worker with a drinking problem that was about to cost him his job. A few of us planned an intervention as a last-ditch effort to save him,aa but he was tipped off before we met and then confided that he would be joining an AA group with Roger Ebert as his sponsor. If not for Roger, I doubt whether he would have ever gone to AA, but the meetings would prove instrumental in his return to sobriety and ability to keep his job.

Over the succeeding years I learned of other prominent journalists similarly saved by Roger. Although he was candid about his own alcoholism, I have never seen Ebert mention his role in helping others with the disease. It may have been among his greatest contributions to Chicago’s media.

* August 2009: My name is Roger, and I’m an alcoholic (suntimes.com)

“For the past four years I have been photographing the rapid transformation of The Philadelphia Inquirer as the paper emerges from bankruptcy and struggles to adapt to a digital era. Through a depiction of The Inquirer’s efforts to prevail despite depleted ad revenue, a steady decline in circulation, layoffs, buy-outs, and bankruptcy, my intent is to reveal the challenges and harsh realities that face the newspaper industry today.” – Will Steacy

* Will Steacy is honored for his “Deadline” photos (lenscratch.com) | “DEADLINE” (willsteacy.com)

(Credit: Will Steacy)

(Credit: Will Steacy)

* Chicago Tribune: “A film critic with the soul of a poet”
* He started his journalism career as a kid “publishing” out of his basement (nytimes.com)
* Sun-Times’ obit is behind a registration wall — for now | “We’re trying” to lower it (@suntimes)
* Ex-colleague: “Roger wore his fame lightly & treated the copy desk with faux disdain. He knew that we were good at what we did & loved to make us laugh.” (@elesscom)
* Hollywood Reporter: “The most famous film critic in history” dies at 70 (hollywoodreporter.com)
* “My Roger Ebert Story”: Will Leitch’s post from 2010 (deadspin.com) | Chris Jones’ interview from 2010 (esquire.com)
* April 2: “I must slow down now, which is why I’m taking what I like to call ‘a leave of presence’” (suntimes.com)

UPDATE:

Sun-Times Media’s statement is after the jump. Read More

The Harvard Crimson interviewed Jason Alexander for its “15 Questions” feature and noted that the actor “speaks with a confidencejason that seems worlds away from his notorious television alter-ego, George Costanza.” Alexander told the Crimson’s Noah Pisner that…

The first time I really thought, “Oh my god, Jerry Seinfeld is brilliant” was when he did a joke about newspapers, and how relieved the editors of a newspaper must be when exactly the right amount of things happen everyday to make the paper come out perfectly, so that at six o’clock at their deadline, you don’t go, “Oh, one more thing happened,” and now you have a blank page with two paragraphs.

The Harvard Gazette reports Alexander told students that he doesn’t have a favorite “Seinfeld” episode, but the episodes that had the greatest impact on him are “The Chinese Restaurant,” “The Parking Garage,” and “The Contest.”

* Fifteen questions with Jason Alexander (thecrimson.com)
* Jason Alexander, front and center (harvard.edu)
* “The Parking Garage” * “The Chinese Restaurant” * “The Contest”


The latest Weekly Notes memo to Bloomberg News employees says the game changer label “is trite and trivializes the subject.” Sources who use it should be asked “to expound,” reporters are told. (Maybe something to add to your list, Washington Post Outlook section?)

From the memo:

GAME CHANGER
This label is trite and trivializes the subject. The global economy isn’t a game. National elections aren’t a game. When used by a source, ask him or her to expound. What is the impact and significance that would overturn the status quo? If they’re unavailable, make the point with a different part of the direct quote, or paraphrase.

Before:
Players and sports marketing analysts said short sleeves could be anything from a style game changer to simply a sales stunt.
After:
Players and sports marketing analysts said short sleeves could be anything from a style revolution to a sales stunt.
game
Before:
“What could really be the game changer right now would be a really strong performance from Grillo,” said Peter Ceretti, a Eurasia Group analyst in New York. “He might take votes and seats from all of the forces across the board and make life a little more difficult for Monti and Bersani in the Senate.”
After:
A strong performance from Grillo may determine the outcome of the election, said Peter Ceretti, a Eurasia Group analyst in New York.

“He might take votes and seats from all of the forces across the board and make life a little more difficult for Monti and Bersani in the Senate,” Ceretti said.

Example:
“This is a game changer,” Robert Greenberg, president and chief executive officer of Sylmar, California-based Second Sight, said in a statement. The product “represents a huge step forward for the field and for these patients who were without any available treatment options until now.”
((The Wall Street Journal and numerous other publications used the same canned cliche.))

Example:
This year will be a “game changer” as investors reallocate money after risks such as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis recede, Dalio said last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
((What game is being changed? Who will be helped or hurt? Is the year the agent of change, or the investors? Does he mean that the year will be a turning point? Is it worth repeating a quote 2 1/2 weeks later without seeking interpretation?))

* Washington Post Outlook section’s “Things We Do Not Say” (jimromenesko.com)

fired

Mark Saxenmeyer

Mark Saxenmeyer

“Out and proud” Minneapolis newsman Mark Saxenmeyer was fired from KSTP-TV this week after a co-worker failed to delete the “big HOMO dads” line he jokingly put in a story about a gay couple attending the White House Easter Egg Hunt.

Saxenmeyer pitched the piece, then turned it over to colleague Katherine Johnson when he couldn’t make the interview with the dads.

“She was in the process of writing her Web script on her computer,” he says, “so I wrote a few things into the Web script to make her laugh.”

The big HOMO dads line was one of those things.

“I said, ‘Make sure you delete that because obviously that would not be funny out of context,’” says the fired newsman. “She deleted most of it. There was one little part she missed when she closed it.”

The story was posted on KSTP.com, then flagged. An editor’s note added to the update said: “Earlier today comments were published erroneously regarding this story. KSTP does not condone the comments. Action is being taken to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Saxenmeyer tells Star Tribune columnnist C.J.:

Bizarre ironic is what it is. I’m not sorry for me. I’m a big boy; I’ll get over it. I made a profoundly stupid mistake. There’s just no getting around that.sorry I have apologized profusely. It was stupid, inappropriate, irresponsible. It is beyond comprehensible. …

When you are gay, you sometimes feel you can say things because they are coming from a place not of disrespect or evil.

I don’t want KSTP to suffer in any way. I know KSTP knows it did not come from a place of malice. I had nothing but a terrific year and a half there. I’m old enough to understand this was a grievous mistake. I hate to have the other reporter’s name dragged into this. I just feel so terrible. I feel like I’ve kicked myself in my own butt here. I will forever regret this.

* Fired KSTP reporter can’t stop apologizing for slip-up (startribune.com)
* The unedited version of the gay dads/egg hunt story | The edited piece


The Cleveland Plain Dealer says that beginning late summer, it will cut home delivery to three days a week. Those days are still being determined, but will include Sunday. Unknown-1 The print edition will continue to be published seven days a week and home delivery subscribers will get free access to the 7-day e-edition.

Plain Dealer publisher Terry Egger says in a release that staffing decisions for the digitally focused Northeast Ohio Media Group haven’t been finalized, and that the planning process should be completed later this summer.

* Letter to Plain Dealer readers (cleveland.com) | Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATE: Cleveland magazine reports Plain Dealer managing editor Thom Fladung said today: “We will still have staff reductions. That stinks, but it’s dictated by the continuing struggles my industry faces. We have to find a way to break out of this cycle of cuts and find the approaches and the products that will again allow us to grow.”

The press release is after the jump. Read More

* Tiger Woods and reps snub Sports Illustrated for cover story. “I told them my goal was not to defend or criticize Tiger, but to explain him,” says reporter Mike Rosenberg. (shermanreport.com)
* News manager’s misdirected email refers to Mobile Press-Register reporters as “turds.” (lagniappemobile.com)
gop* National Republican Congressional Committee website redesign borrows from BuzzFeed. (nationaljournal.com)
* Women’s Wear Daily executive editor Bridget Foley is “perhaps the most powerful voice in fashion without a public face.” (nytimes.com)
* J-prof and ex-editor Tim McGuire: “Wipe out the $1.6 billion in debt and McClatchy newspapers are in good shape.” (biscaynetimes.com)
* Fired Santa Barbara News-Press journalists decide not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. (independent.com)
* The investigative reporter who sees evil everywhere, and other “scary” kinds of writers. (jacklimpert.com)
* New fee saves student media at Western Michigan University. (mlive.com)
* WaPo job posting for Politics & Money opening: “Following the money, it need not be said, has a long history at The Washington Post.” (@jfdulac)
* Real estate beat: Arianna Huffington paid about $8 million for a “marvelous Mercer Street luxury loft.” (nypost.com)
* “I’m going to tell Romenesko about that!” Send letters, anonymous news tips, memos, and typo alerts to jim@jimromenesko.com| Follow Romenesko on Twitter | Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Pinterest | Letters to Romenesko | Email me for Sponsored Post information.