Daily Archives: April 6, 2013

An emoticon day in the life of a newspaper reporter (@lisafleisher)

-- via @lisafleisher

— via @lisafleisher

* Reporters covering the Exxon oil spill in Arkansas are being threatened with arrest. (
* Mother of kidnapped journalist James Foley: “We don’t know who is holding him or why.” (AP via
* It’s hard to image that there will be much left of the Time magazine brand 36 months from now, says an ex-staffer. (
* Funeral services for Roger Ebert are at 10 a.m. Monday. Fans are welcome, but seating is limited. (
* Bob Greene on Ebert: “I wish you could have known him as a young man — his laughter, his stories, his sheer joy of being out around other newspaper people.” (
* Nikki Finke complains about Variety soliciting Roger Ebert tribute ads. (
* Wisconsin man sues Fox News over report about him running marathons while collecting disability. (
* New York Observer lays off 11 business-side employees. (
* Michael Wolff tells Columbia j-students: “The most important skill in the journalism business is figuring out how to fire journalists.” (
* Obama administration’s relationship with the press has been rocky from the start, says AJR’s editor. (
* NBC’s Chuck Todd finds out that an unpaid red-light ticket affects his credit report. (
* “I’m going to tell Romenesko about that!” Send letters, anonymous news tips, memos, and typo alerts to| Follow Romenesko on Twitter | Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Pinterest | Letters to Romenesko
* Have a conference to promote? Have news to share with the journalism community? Email me for Sponsored Post information.

A day after a Romenesko reader noted that Roger Ebert was an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor for reporters, A.A. sent a message to journalists on its email list. It says that “our fellowship does not comment on matters of public controversy, but we are happy to provide information about A.A. to anyone who seeks it.”

April 2013


From time to time we write our public media friends to thank them for helping us observe our long-standing tradition of anonymity for members of Alcoholics Anonymous.
First, let us express our deep gratitude to you. From the beginning of A.A. in 1935, its members have recognized that word-of-mouth is not sufficient by itself to carry the program’s message of hope and recovery to the many people still suffering from alcoholism. The public media has been a vital part of this effort, and today we estimate that there are more than 2 million successfully recovering members of Alcoholics Anonymous in more than 180 countries.

Second, we respectfully request that you continue to cooperate with us in maintaining the anonymity of A.A. members. The principle of anonymity is a basic tenet of our fellowship. Those who are reluctant to seek our help may overcome their fear if they are confident that their anonymity will be respected. In addition, and perhaps less understood, our tradition of anonymity acts as a restraint on A.A. members, reminding us that we are a program of principles, not personalities, and that no individual A.A. member may presume to act as a spokesman or leader of our fellowship. If an A.A member is identified in the media, we ask that you please use first names only (e.g., Bob S. or Alice F.) and that you not use photographs or electronic images in which members’ faces may be recognized.

Again, we thank you for your continued cooperation. Those who wish to know more about our fellowship are welcome to visit the “For the Media” section of Our fellowship does not comment on matters of public controversy, but we are happy to provide information about A.A. to anyone who seeks it.


General Manager, General Service Office
(Name not for publication)

I asked A.A. late Friday about the timing of this email but haven’t received a reply.

* Roger Ebert helped journalists with drinking problems (