Daily Archives: April 9, 2013

Sam Tanenhaus is stepping down as New York Times Book Review editor to become writer at large. Children’s book editor Pamela Paul replaces him. “Her versatility as an editor and writer has strengthened the Book Review and many other sections, including the Magazine, Education Life and Sunday Styles, where she originated the biweekly “Studied” column,” says the Times memo. (Here’s the memo I posted in 2004 when Tanenhaus got the job.)

April 9, 2013

Two New Titles

Sam Tanenhaus is taking on a new assignment as a writer at large. The new Book Review editor will be Pamela Paul. Read more in this note from Jill and Dean.

Pamela Paul

Pamela Paul

Sam Tanenhaus wrote a brilliant and now famous memo that catapulted him into the job of editor of The New York Times Book Review back in 2004. It was a fiery, passionate blueprint that brought pages and pages of fresh ideas and new vision for what is now the last free-standing newspaper book review in the United States. From his first covers (on Bob Dylan and Henry James, to name two) Sam had readers watching, talking and arguing over his every move. Working alongside the section’s many skilled veterans, Sam also recruited stellar new talent, including his successor, Pamela Paul, the features editor at the Book Review, whom he hired as children’s book editor in 2011.

It’s now Pamela’s turn to take the Book Review in new directions. Her versatility as an editor and writer has strengthened the Book Review and many other sections, including the Magazine, Education Life and Sunday Styles, where she originated the biweekly “Studied” column. Her weekly Q. and A. with authors, “By the Book,” has been a wonderful new addition to the Review, and she has assigned a galaxy of great writers including Martin Amis, Colson Whitehead and Meg Wolitzer, among others. Pamela has also written for The Atlantic, Time, Vogue and The Economist, and she is the author of three books.

In a superb run of nine years, Sam invented our popular book podcasts and did video interviews with authors ranging from John Updike to Henry Kissinger. He invited poets to lunch to celebrate the Review’s poetry issue. He still has readers arguing over the Review’s poll to determine the best work of American fiction published in the past 25 years. Meanwhile, Sam’s byline has appeared widely in The Times and he has managed to write political pieces for other magazines and journals. He also edited our Week in Review section during the 2008 election. Bill Keller had the right description for Sam: “He’s our public intellectual.”

Well, we were jealous of some of those smart political stories Sam was writing elsewhere. So, beginning in May, he will be a writer at large and take a Richard Hofstadter-like approach to reporting on the ideological and historical roots–and emerging character — of today’s roiling political movements. He will report to Rebecca Corbett.

We are both thankful to Sam and excited to inaugurate the Pamela Paul era of the Book Review.

Jill and Dean

* March 2004: Tanenhaus is named New York Times Book Review editor (


I saw a lot of people pointing out the Montgomery Advertiser’s incorrect headline, but I didn’t see an explanation of how it happened so I asked. Here’s what sports editor Bradley Zimanek wrote in an email:

A1 copy editor error on page 1 refer/promo. He’s actually a sports fan. He made the mistake and no other editor/copy editor looked at the page before it was sent.

I replied: “Was it, as they say, ‘a brain fart’? Seems that a sports fan would know Louisville won.” His answer: “That was his reply. He is obviously incredibly disappointed.”

* Front page of Tuesday’s Montgomery Advertiser (

Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker is asking his staff “to make a renewed commitment to improving accuracy” because “the reader’s trust is The Journal’s most precious asset.”

His memo:

From: Baker, Gerard
Sent: Tuesday, April 09, 2013 2:22 PM
To: WSJ All News Staff; Newswires_USERS
Subject: Accuracy

Nothing we do is more important than getting our facts right.
Given the volume and scope of our daily output our record for accuracy at the Journal is exceptional. But we can still do better. For instance, we publish too many avoidable errors– names, titles, dates, ages, locations and other basic facts that should have been checked before publication.

We also would publish fewer numerical errors if we took a few minutes to double-check our math, made sure that millions really aren’t billions, and double-checked every digit and decimal point in our work. Financial numeracy is especially vital in a business publication.

Accuracy – even in the smallest detail – underlies our hard-earned reputation as one of the most trustworthy sources of news and information around the globe. When readers see a spelling mistake, an incorrect name or a misplaced digit, they wonder what else we might be getting wrong that they can’t spot immediately. We must get it right first time and when we don’t, we must openly correct our mistakes wherever they appeared – online, in print, and on the newswires.

I ask every journalist at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones to make a renewed commitment to improving accuracy. The reader’s trust is The Journal’s most precious asset. We guard that trust with every accurate story, video, graphic and tweet we produce.


How does Arnold Palmer order an Arnold Palmer?

“It has to be a bit awkward, right?” the Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi writes from the Augusta National Golf Club. “Does he tell the waitress, ‘I’ll have a me?’ Does he just expect that she’ll know, because of who he is. That could lead to an awkward moment if, for a change of pace, he’d like a Dr. Pepper.”

Politi did some investigating:

I chased Kesley, the waitress serving Arnold Palmer yesterday, back to the bar where she was putting in another drink order.

Arnold Palmer: The man and the drink

Arnold Palmer: The man and the drink

“How did Arnie order his drink?”

“He leaned over and said, ‘I’ll have a Mr. Palmer.’ Then he winked,” Kesley said.

Of course he did.

* How does Arnold Palmer order an Arnold Palmer? (
* ESPN Films 30 for 30 Shorts: The Arnold Palmer (
* Check out Augusta Chronicle’s Masters app for the iPad, iPhone and Android

Headlines from the New York Times
* NYT standards editor: “Headline writers are especially enamored of channeling” (
* Earlier: Words journalists love to use that people never say (


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel TV reporter Duane Dudek points out that the “Today” show used a photo of Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson for its story about J.C. Penney ousting CEO Ron Johnson (shown on the bottom right).

* NBC’s “Today” show confuses its Johnsons (

Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline:

Later on Monday:
The Journal-Constitution says its incorrect report about Greg McCrary dying “was based on an ESPN reporter’s tweet, and information from high school coaches.”

* Former Falcons tight end McCrary passed away (
* Former Falcons tight end McCrary in poor health (

* “Just as the degrees of sourcing have changed, so have the degrees of believability” (


* More discussion of this post from my Facebook wall

Does really want to be associated with this tweet?

* “PSA to all you kids out there…” ( | (
* How British media covered Margaret Thatcher’s death. ( | The front pages. (
* TJ Sullivan: Why I was at Roger Ebert’s funeral. (
* “Jail time for a good journalist”: Judith Miller on the Jana Winter case. (
* From a reader: “You’d think that if the NY Daily News was planning to run a front-page “exclusive” about Nancy Lanza’s emails … they’d have been aware that they’d been posted on the PBS Frontline website for seven weeks.”
* Check out the winners of the Shorty Awards. (Journalist-category winner: Tim Pool.) (
* One man’s view: Journalists should take UFOs more seriously. (
* The “cool” guests who are expected at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. (
* Facebook is now charging $1 to email people outside of your friends circle. (
music* Ten songs that public radio can’t stop playing. (
* Aereo CEO: “All we are doing is giving consumers an alternative to what is now an utterly irrational system.” ( | (
* Ex-NYTer and HuffPo editor Tim O’Brien is named Bloomberg View publisher. ( | New hires at Politico. (
* Ogden Newspapers of West Virginia is buying the Nashua Telegraph. (

* “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
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