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Daily Archives: April 22, 2013

“There was much great work from AP staffers [reporting from Boston] and we celebrate that,” Associated Press executive editor Kathleen Carroll writes in a memo. “But we had some missteps, too. And that’s what we want to talk about here today.”

MEMOS FROM CARROLL AND STANDARDS EDITOR TOM KENT:

From: Carroll, Kathleen
Subject: A note from Kathleen and important guidance from Tom Kent
Sent: Mon 4/22/2013 5:19 PM

All

Last week was an intense one. Big stories were breaking by the hour _ the Boston bombing and the investigation that stretched to the Russia and the Caucuses, the fertilizer plant explosion in the Texas town of West, ricin mailed to several lawmakers, congressional defeat for toughening access to guns, a large earthquake in China, potential flooding in the Midwest _ and so on.Memo

There was much great work from AP staffers and we celebrate that. But we had some missteps, too. And that’s what we want to talk about here today.

Tom Kent, our Deputy Managing Editor for Standards, finished a thoughtful breakdown of where our standards served us well and where we fell short. Two issues stand out.

· We made mistakes because we didn’t follow our own very good guidelines.

· And in one important case, we did not move quickly enough to clearly to fix that mistake.

The one-source rule is very firm in our guidance. We all know why this is important. The world only occasionally remembers when AP held the line and didn’t report something that turned out to be wrong. Our mistakes, however, live on and on and on./CONTINUES Read More

* Claim: Newspaper reporter is the worst job — ranked #200 out of 200 occupations in one poll. (blogs.wsj.com) || He nails it: (@tomgara)
* Reuters fires social media editor Matthew Keys. (chicagotribune.com) | Here’s what happened, according to Keys: matthewkeys.tumblr.com) | Newspaper Guild statement: “We intend to vigorously defend Matthew Keys”
* Reddit apologizes for what some have called a “witch hunt.” (usatoday.com) | (reddit.com)
* Bill Murray’s cameo performance in “Alpha House” was “beyond anything I imagined,” says Garry Trudeau. (washingtonpost.com)
* “I never took a journalism class in my life,” says war correspondent Carmen Gentile. (thinkpiecepublishing.com)
* Nora Ephron’s play about Mike McAlary “poses serious moral questions about journalism and its place in the quest for celebrity.” (commonweal.com)
* Twitter signs its biggest ad deal yet. (ft.com)
* Real estate developer’s lawsuit against O.C. Weekly is tossed. (ocweekly.com)

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Bill Glaberson wrote to his New York Times colleagues last week:

As some of you know, I am leaving the paper next week after more than 25 years. The buyout is giving me a chance to try to be a writer. I didn’t want to go without saying thank you for the great experience of working alongside all of you, whose drive to find out the truth and tell it better than we told it yesterday makes The Times better every week, every month than it was before.

I was curious about his mention of “a chance to try to be a writer.” Does he plan to write fiction after years of dealing with facts? He tells Romenesko readers:

My idea on the writing is to see what happens, which has not been the definition of my life in journalism for the last 31 years– I was at Business Week and at a trade paper before I came to The Times. Lots of people hear fiction when I say that. What I am thinking is narrative nonfiction, but if it goes somewhere else: how fun would that be? I have always loved telling the story.

The 60-year-old Glaberson — he interviewed me in 1995, when I was at Milwaukee magazine and he covered media for the Times — finishes his Times career on Friday. “Many of your readers may remember me because I covered the newspaper business at The Times for some years,” he writes in an email. “But I have done a lot of things at The Times, worked for every major desk except Foreign, including covering Guantanamo in the end of the Bush years and the beginning of Obama, and courts in many incarnations, including a series on the Justice Courts of New York where the judges are not lawyers.”

trek2“I thought with all that has happened this past week that perhaps some people could use a little laugh,” writes Romenesko reader Anthony Leone. “The local Philadelphia CBS TV news station ran a story [Sunday] morning with the headline: ‘Star Trek’ To Return To Big Screen For 1-Night Special Presentation.

“But the picture that they used is of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. I attached a screen grab and here’s the link.” [Note: Others apparently let the Philly station know about its mistake; the art has been changed.]

* Earlier: Reporter’s error indicates that she’s never seen “Star Wars” (jimromenesko.com)

Here’s what a journalist who has worked at the Baltimore Sun for more than two decades says about the possibility of the Koch brothers owning Tribune’s newspapers:

It would be nice for the House of Horrors ride to stop.

We went from Otis Chandler to cereal killer Mark Willis to Dennis Fitzsimons (who stuffed his pockets with cash on the way out) to lunatic Sam Zell and his Joy Boys of Radio to an entertainment guru who knows nothing of our business and says he doesn’t really care who he sells us to as long as he gets a good price.

The staff has been told that the Sun is turning a profit, but you wouldn’t know it to look at us.

Half of the Sun newsroom is boarded up to hide the empty desks. The space has been rented out to “House of Cards” [the Netflix series] to use as a newsroom “set.”

Every time we’re sold we tell ourselves it can’t get worse, but it does.

I can understand the Chicago folks loving Mother Tribune. It’s been no picnic to be owned by an entity that knows nothing of our communities yet dictates how we look and jams pre-packaged “modules” into our news pages.

The fear is that Koch Brothers will buy the Sun and either sell us to a local real estate developer and casino owner to give him a platform or use the Sun as a megaphone to try to reach (sorry, educate) Washington policy-making types.

Murdoch, at least, is a newsman.

* Earlier: Tribune journalist favors Murdoch over the Koch brothers (jimromenesko.com)


pizza

The Tribune told Globe journalists that “we can’t buy you lost sleep, so at least let us pick up lunch.” The Globe’s response: “Classy to the core.”

The letter:

reginaWe can only imagine what a heartbreaking and exhausting week it’s been for you and your city. But do know your newsroom colleagues here in Chicago and across the country stand in awe of your tenacious coverage. You make us all proud to be journalists.

We can’t buy you lost sleep, so at least let us pick up lunch.

Your friends at the Chicago Tribune

* Check out the boxes of pizzas in the Globe newsroom (vine.co)

The New York Times reported over the weekend that the Koch brothers are eyeing Tribune’s eight newspapers and that “the thinking inside the Tribune Company … is that Koch Industries could prove the most appealing buyer.”

What do the company’s journalists think of that? Here are two views:

I haven’t been at the [Chicago] Trib as long as most but I’ve already survived layoffs and gone long enough w/o a raise to understand what it has been like the last four or so years.tribkoch To survive so much (and to have done some pretty damn amazing work in the process) it’s extremely disheartening to know serious bids are being entertained to sell to the Kochs.

Murdoch, for all his flaws, is a newspaper man. The Kochs are not. I have no faith in their belief in the importance of a free and robust watchdog press. Frankly, such a press seems antithetical to their goals and harmful to their influence in the political process.

Doing fiduciary duty is one thing. Completely understand why the higher ups need to crunch the Koch numbers. But I think they need to examine who these people are outside of the margins in their ledgers. Is this really the society we want to live in? Where the hyper-rich control the politicians and the press?

Our leaders should ask themselves that question and then realize that this decision may go a long way in determining that society.

As much as we mock the phrase, we in this newsroom truly do love “Mother Tribune.” I hope we can find a buyer who shares in that very heartfelt love.

Perhaps we should buy it? Can we buy it?

Another view from a Tribune Co. journalist who isn’t in Chicago:

The news is a bit terrifying given the idea that the Koch bros. pitched “media” as the third prong of a strategy to push their political and social ideals onto a wider audience.

That said, it is nice to know that someone with deep pockets would want to invest in our newspapers.

I don’t think anyone has a sense of whether the Kochs would be benevolent owners or chain saw-bearing dictators.

One question is whether they would strip the cash out of the operation (we’re still pretty profitable) as a short-term investment to fund other things, say, right-wing media startups or think tanks; or would they actually pour a little money into the operations to fill vacant reporting positions, etc.

From a business standpoint, I can’t see the Kochs holding onto Tribune’s smaller properties – The Morning Call or the Hartford Courant – and those papers may be targets for someone like Warren Buffett to pick up in a second deal, further complicating things.

One thing is certain, it will be nice to have this whole thing wrapped up.

I’m interested in hearing from other Tribune journalists. (I’ll keep you anonymous.) Email me at jim@jimromenesko.com

UPDATE: He’s been fired.
—–
KFYR-TV (Bismarck, ND) anchor A.J. Clemente was suspended his first night anchoring after he opened the newscast with the F-bomb. He was heard saying “fuckin’ shit” just before he was introduced as the new anchor.

“He did not realize his microphone was on, but still, that’s no excuse,” news director Monica Hannan writes in her apology to viewers. Her full statement:

To all of you who are writing in…I want to apologize for an incident that occurred prior to our early newscast this evening, when one of our employees used profanity on the air.

He did not realize his microphone was on, but still, that’s no excuse. WE train our reporters to always assume that any microphone is live at any time. Unfortunately, that was not enough in this case. WE can’t take back what was said. The person involved has been suspended until we resolve the situation. All we can do at this point is ask for your forgiveness, and I can offer my personal assurance that I will do my best to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again under my watch.

Monica Hannan, KFYR-TV News Director

“That couldn’t have gone any worse,” Clemente tweeted after the broadcast. He added:

* Brand-new TV anchor’s first word on-air: “Fuckin’ shit” (deadspin.com)
* Read Clemente’s tweets | Check out the comments on KFYR’s Facebook page