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Daily Archives: April 16, 2013

Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker tells his staff that the paper’s website on Monday drew nearly 3 million more page views than usual. “It was a long day and ultimately a harrowing one,” he writes. “As humans, we flinch from the horrors visited on the innocent, but it is the job of journalists to make sense of mayhem and chronicle the cause and course of tragedy.”

From: Baker, Gerard
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 4:31 PM
To: WSJ All News Staff; Newswires_USERS
Subject: Our Journalism

Yesterday was a day that captured all The Wall Street Journal can do so expertly to bring news to our readers.

The US day began very early with a big scoop — Dish’s hostile bid for Sprint–which quickly became a full multimedia event and finally a compelling Page 1 news story for print.wsj At the same time, the markets team was swarming online with updates on the sharp fall in the gold price and the markets’ tumble. In Caracas, our reporters were making sense of the Venezuelan election. In Beijing, our writers were crashing out an in-depth story on China’s GDP figures.

Then at 3 pm came the first reports of explosions in Boston and the world’s attention turned from mergers and markets to anguish and loss. Within minutes we had reporters headed to the scene from multiple directions; working the phones in New York and DC; a live stream up on wsj.com; writers, graphics artists and editors scrambling for the web and paper; and our colleague, Colleen Nelson, who had run the Boston Marathon, writing a compelling first-person account. Today, we continued to cover the story with speed, good judgment, intelligence and compassion.

All this involved tremendous teamwork by reporters and editors from Beijing to Boston, Caracas to Atlanta, media and marketing to Marketplace and many more. The wires had great exclusive content; the website drew nearly 3 million more page views than usual; the paper, remade several times, featured six stories on A1 by night’s end.

It was a long day and ultimately a harrowing one. As humans, we flinch from the horrors visited on the innocent, but it is the job of journalists to make sense of mayhem and chronicle the cause and course of tragedy. You can all be proud of the teamwork and talent you brought to serving our readers.

Thank you

Gerry

* The Onion skewers the New York Post for its Boston bombings coverage. (theonion.com) | The strange tenacity of the Post. (capitalnewyork.com)
* Praise for Kevin Cullen and Charlie Pierce’s Boston pieces. (daily-download.com)
* Here is Time’s “Tragedy in Boston” tablet cover. (instagram.com)
* Michael Miner: There was nothing tearful about the Roger Ebert celebration at the Chicago Theater. (chicagoreader.com)
* A visit to the tiny startup that just won a Pulitzer. (InsideClimate News beat out the Washington Post and Boston Globe.) (forbes.com)
* NFL broadcaster Pat Summerall is dead at 82. (dallasnews.com)
* Texas Tribune is here to stay. The question is: What does it become next? (cjr.org)
* What Politico uses to keep a table from wobbling. (@petersagal)
* Once again, I apologize for the site outages and otherwise sub-par performance. DreamHost can’t support the site; my assistant Jim Spice continues to work on the move to Media Temple, which I hope is a more reliable host.

* Bill Iffrig – the man in the photo – was just short of the finish line when he heard a horrific noise and found himself on the ground (heraldnet.com)
* Boston Globe photographer’s eyewitness account (time.com)
* Gay cop appears in iconic photo from Boston Marathon (dallasvoice.com)
* Chicago Tribune sports editor explains his “unconventional” cover (shermanreport.com)

rushFort Collins police went to the home of conservative pundit Erik Rush on Monday after someone claiming to be Rush reported that men with AK-47 rifles were shooting at his home.

“But because no one else reported hearing gunshots, and because the call came to 911 through a third-party relay service, police dispatchers were immediately suspicious,” reports Coloradoan reporter Trevor Hughes. “Speaking outside his home after police left, Rush said he had ‘said something sarcastically’ on Twitter and things quickly escalated.”

Rush, a regular on Fox News, called “swatting” unfortunate and dangerous, but added that “it comes with the territory.”

* Conservative pundit is “swatted” after tweeting that Muslims are “evil” (coloradoan.com)

Bloggers and tweeters called the New York Times op-ed by a Guantanamo Bay prisoner “powerful,” “shocking,” and “deeply disturbing.” But what did the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg — the most veteran of Gitmo reporters — think of the piece? I wondered. I asked and she replied from Gitmo:

I thought the most interesting thing was the lawyer’s ability to give a specific detainee a voice, and to humanize a forced-feeding process that has gone on for many, many years here. As a reporter who has covered the camps since Day 1, I’ve never been allowed to speak with a detainee here, at Guantanamo. I have only heard from former detainees by phone and email, after their release, and I had never seen a forced-feeding but heard many stories.

Carol Rosenberg

Carol Rosenberg

There was a period down here some years ago when the Navy medical team offered on successive trips to feed ME that way, to demonstrate what it was like. I chose not to do it. I decided it would not inform my reporting. Volunteering to do it was far different, and the staff would surely be ultra careful to make sure it was not a painful or humiliating experience. So if it didn’t hurt, didn’t feel humiliating because it was voluntary, there was really no nexus to the experience of a captive who is strapped into a chair twice a day with no choice. So I passed on the invitation, which they haven’t extended in some years.

To me, as a journalist, I found the column interesting because it was a rare opportunity for a captive to tell his own story without rebuttal. Very unusual. I read it with interest, and I was curious to know more about the man who wrote it beyond the column. So I went to his leaked risk assessment on our website, a snapshot in time of what U.S. military intelligence believed him to be in 2008. Here it is. The military argued, at the time, that he one of the ‘Dirty 30′ — a group of suspected Osama Bin Laden bodyguards captured after coming down from Tora Bora into Pakistan. I noted, and then posted on Twitter, his photo for folks to see. These come from Wikileaked risk assessments that McClatchy got from Julian Assange. And then I also noted from my list that the op-ed page author was not among the 55 detainees that the Obama administration has said could be released without restrictions. It doesn’t diminish the power of column. Just informs it a bit more.

And btw I wrote this from Guantanamo, where I’m struggling with the military for more than show-tour brief access to the two main prison buildings here.

* Gitmo is killing me (nytimes.com)
* The beat from hell: Carol Rosenberg’s decade covering Gitmo (emptywheel.net)

tribune* Jeff Zucker says CNN has been like the spare tire in your trunk: “You only take it out when you really need it.” (accessatlanta.com)
* Pitt News columnist is fired after it’s discovered that he’s a “secret society” member. (post-gazette.com) | Letter from the editor: (pittnews.com)
* Chicago Tribune devotes its sports front to Boston. (@baxterholmes)
* What celebrities are tweeting about the Boston bombing: (wsj.com)
* Media show up at abortion doctor’s trial. It’s supposed to last another month. How many reporters will stick around? (nytimes.com)
* Philadelphia Inquirer reporter who has been covering the doctor’s trial is inundated with interview requests. (philly.com)
* How late-night hosts handled the Boston bombing. (vulture.com)
* Nick Kristof takes back “a low blow” on Twitter. (washingtonpost.com)
* Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the Boston explosions is free to read. (@wsj)
* Pulitzer board continues to snub Wall Street Journal’s reporting. (wwd.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
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