Daily Archives: April 24, 2013

* Brian Stelter on his boss, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson: “My sense is that she has the support of the news room.” (
* More on Politico’s Abramson piece from Tom McGeveran, Hanna Rosin, and Rebecca Greenfield. ( | |

"Give It Arrest" by ChartGirl

“Give It Arrest” by ChartGirl

* ChartGirl “Hilary Sargent’s work sometimes reads like A.J. Liebling turned graphics freak,” writes Jack Shafer. (
* Editor who quit over “Carpeteater” April Fools’ edition: “I’m going to be fine because I’m honest and open and I can admit when I’m wrong.” (
* Maxim magazine lost about $5 million last year, reports Keith J. Kelly in his third column item. (
* Deborah Turness of Britain’s ITV Network is being considered for the NBC News president post. (
* Michael Cooke changed the tone of the Toronto Star by “letting reporters report.” (
* Vancouver Sun and Province memo: “These two wonderful brands are in serious difficulty.” ( | (
* A journalism student on covering the Boston bombings: (
* Broadcast networks, which have taken a dim view of profanity, roll out the red-carpet for foul-mouthed A.J. Clemente. (

Former Los Angeles Times senior editor Noel Greenwood edited Steve LeVine’s first two books and was to edit his third, which is about batteries. LeVine, who is Quartz’s Washington correspondent, wrote this for

By Steve LeVine
noel2Noel Greenwood (right) died Sunday morning at his home in Santa Barbara. His daughter, Diana, called a few hours later to let me know, she said, “before it hit the papers.” Noel had cancer for years, and rang up recently to say he had decided finally that the chemo was too much. He had gone off of it, and been assigned home hospice care. My wife, our daughters and I flew out a few days later to say goodbye.

With Noel propped up in a hospital bed next to the window in his living room, a New York Times folded up next to him, we reminisced about the two books on which we had collaborated. Back in 1994, we had rendezvoused at a Santa Monica bar and, over beers, talked over the marvelous rogues, diplomats and prospectors who had turned up on the Caspian Sea, where I was living at the time, in what was a great oil boom set against a battle for influence between Russia and the U.S. I needed an editor as partner. With barely another word, Noel said, “I’m in.” I learned that Noel was jolly and good-humored, but also very tough – he discarded one entire chapter with a not entirely pleasant explanation. The resulting book, published 12 years later, was everything I had hoped.

Even before it was published, though, Random House called and wanted another one – Alexander Litvinenko had been murdered with Polonium-210 in London. Could I whip up a spy story? They wanted it in a year. I called Noel. He was in on that one, too (we did it in 13 months). It was a great read, and Noel and I continued to agree that the thesis stands up some five years later, even if some Russophiles don’t think so.

Steve LeVine

Steve LeVine

Noel was a literary editor with the deftest blue-pencil touch, and a sneaky way of motivating your best work. He despised Republicans, loved newspapers, and never forgave what the avarice of the Chandler family and the mindlessness of their successors did to the L.A. Times. But he loved life, good wine and beer, and a rollicking laugh.

When Noel called with the news about his chemo, he also said that I had better find a new editor for the book I’m working on now. I have not done so. But as we sat next to each other two weeks ago, I peppered him with questions that I should have asked long before – about pacing, about the unusual structure I intended for the new book. He warmed to the idea. He would take a look if he could. “Send a hard copy,” he said.

Richard Connor, publisher of Portland Press Herald and other MaineToday Media publications from June 2009 until October 2011, is accused of inappropriate use of company funds, including taking $287,224.78 in unauthorized salary increases and bonuses, and using $70,352.49 in MTM funds to pay off his personal American Express bill. He’s also accused of using MaineToday money to buy his son a Chevy Suburban. (He made that purchase three days on the job.)

Richard Connor

Richard Connor

Here is what Maine Today Media CEO Lisa DiSisto tells employees:

Letter to MaineToday Media Employees
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Friends and colleagues,

MaineToday Media has been under new ownership for one year and I have been CEO and publisher since the end of last year. This is a new company. We have a terrific team. We are hiring top quality people, producing award-winning journalism, building stronger relationships with our customers and investing in the future.

We need to remain focused on accomplishing our goals for 2013 and beyond, but today I am compelled to share some information about the past.

For the majority of you who worked here between June 2009 and October 2011, there have long been concerns, discussions and rumors about how company resources were used during that period. From what I have been told, it was a difficult time and employees worked to continue the company’s proud, 150-year tradition of serving Maine communities with quality journalism. /CONTINUES Read More

I called publisher Tony Lee and told him I thought it was brilliant that he put newspaper reporter dead-last in his Best/Worst job list for 2013. The 200 out of 200 ranking guarantees that nearly every journalist will tweet, blog or Facebook the survey and send huge traffic to

“What if I swore to God that’s not the case, because it’s not,” Lee said when I suggested he might have played with the rankings to get more publicity. “The data is the data. We didn’t manipulate it in any way. I can walk you through why newspaper reporter ended up at the bottom. …We take a very analytical approach. We try to remove all subjectivity.”

Lee tells me he thought the reporter job would do better than lumberjack in this year’s survey, but “the hiring outlook for lumberjacks improved. The mills started calling back laid-off workers.”

He adds: “There are very few jobs on our list that project negative growth or falling income” and the newspaper reporter position has both.

“We’re very literal” with the titles, notes the publisher. “When we say newspaper reporter we mean newspaper reporter; we do not mean a reporter who works for, say,” or any other digital job.

Lee tells me that his website’s traffic is up 10-fold since the 2013 jobs survey was first published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. (The Journal always gets it exclusively.)

“In past years, the coverage has been spread out over weeks, but this year it seems like it all came within 24 hours” because of social media, says Lee. “We’ve been covered by all the major media. Once the Journal broke it, everybody jumped on the bandwagon.”

I asked if there’s a chance he’ll expand the list to 225 or 250 so the newspaper reporter position can go even lower.

“No,” he says, “we’ll keep it at 200.”

* Ranking 200 jobs from best to worst (
* The worst jobs of 2013: No. 1 is newspaper reporter (

I checked it out after seeing this tweet. Here it is: “Dick’s In, Saks Out.” || Earlier: Duck Stamp, not Dick Stamp.

Ann Telnaes: “This is a clear case of a cartoon syndicate trying to maximize profits by offering the same artwork but changing a few words to address both ideological sides of an issue. An editorial cartoon is supposed to have a clear point of view.”

* What makes an editorial cartoon an editorial cartoon (

UPDATE: Daryl Cagle sends this response:

I think that as our profession has fallen on hard times, and I am perceived to be successful while other editorial cartoonists suffer, that some troubled editorial cartoonists look for any opportunity to bash the evil, cartoonist businessman. I suppose that is to be expected.

You can see my explanation in real time as I posted the cartoons on my Facebook page.

I got such a strong reaction from readers against the first version of the cartoon, with many well reasoned arguments, that I changed my mind – something that doesn’t happen much in this profession. So I posted a revised version of the cartoon. I learned that Tsarnaev was given his Miranda rights shortly before I posted the revised cartoon, so I doubt that the second cartoon got much ink.

The accusation by cartoonists that I posted two versions for marketing purposes, to get the cartoon reprinted by both conservative and liberal papers, is just silly. Some cartoonists are describing this is an insidious, ongoing business plan.

I’ve changed my mind before, not often, and usually over a longer period of time, but I won’t go back into the archive to delete the old cartoons. I posted them, I should live with my history. So both cartoons are up. My old cartoons supporting the run up to war in Iraq are still posted too – I’m more embarrassed by those.

I remember when the Miranda decision came down in the 1960’s, on a 5-4 vote. It was controversial for a long time; the only area of the law where “ignorance of the law is no excuse” didn’t hold true. I got a large enough sampling of e-mails in response to the cartoon (and you can see from the Facebook comments as well) that I realized the Miranda decision no longer seems to be controversial – it has become a part of our national fabric. Most of the responses conflate reading the Miranda warning to the suspect with the suspect’s overall civil rights; I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a good thing.

A San Jose Mercury News staffer notes: “Once upon a time, there were something like 1700 people working in this old building; 400 editorial staff. Now, less than 100 edit staff remain here (supplemented by copy desk in Walnut Creek) and a grand total of 400 employees work at 750 Ridder Park Dr.”

I seem to recall that the Mercury News — about a dozen years ago — was so hot to add staff that it was paying its journalists a “finder’s fee” for bringing in new reporters. Do I have that right? Please let me know.

UPDATE: Former Mercury News executive editor David Yarnold confirms this. “I don’t recall the exact amount,” he writes in an email. “It was at least $1K…and if memory serves, more for biz writers.”

ALSO: “Saw your Mercury News question,” writes a reader. “I don’t know about them, but the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (bought by new LOCAL owners in January) is giving $100 bonuses for referrals who are hired. Thank goodness for the local owners, too – we got rid of Halifax out of Florida, who were HORRIBLE!”

* A columnist’s memories of the Mercury News building (
* Washington Post building advertised for sale in the Washington Post (@burgessev)


* Correction: Duck Stamp story (
* Six-year-old Duck Stamp winner brushes off doubters (

jillA Politico piece says New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson “is very, very unpopular”; “a source of widespread frustration and anxiety within the Times newsroom”; “stubborn and condescending”; and has a “brusque approach” that’s “beginning to reach Howell Raines-like proportions.”
– “Man editor [Dean Baquet] punches fist in wall, he’s a gem. Woman editor [Abramson] tells colleague to change homepage photo, she’s just impossible.” (@BGrueskin)
– The change-the-homepage-photo “anecdote … is presented as if it is somehow appalling behavior. Explain?” (
– “Abramson hatchet job is unusually scorching (and unsourced) …mild by UK standards though.” (@emilybell)
– “Abramson is brusque. That’s all you got, Politico? (@johnmcquaid)
– “Politico to @JillAbramson … Quit acting like you run the joint.” (@carr2n)
– “Here’s a hug for all the @NYTimes-men + -women now crying themselves to sleep b/c Jill Abramson hurt their feelings.” (@Sam_Schulman)
My take: If I had a dollar for every similar editor profile I’ve read (or written) over the years, I’d be retired. Oh, wait… I am.
* Turbulence at the New York Times (

* Nicholas Lemann is annoyed when people ask: “How can you in good conscience take students’ money when there are no jobs out there?” (
* “The billionaire Koch brothers” might become “the millionaire Koch brothers” if they buy Tribune’s newspapers. (
* USA Today readers can expect to see more personality in the paper. (
* Robert Lipsyte on his appointment as ESPN ombudsman: “I’m not going into this as an enterprise investigator.” (
* New York Times shifts on “illegal immigrant,” but doesn’t ban its use. (
* Interesting: NYT’s piece on Amazon Singles editor David Blum doesn’t mention that he’s believed to have edited the NYT critique blog, The NYTPicker.
* What publishers can learn from Google’s news article rankings. (
* It’s “kinda frantic” for Uni-Watch’s editor when three football teams unveil their new uniforms on the same day. (
* The Nation (super-liberal) and National Review (super-conservative) are co-hosting a White House Correspondents’ weekend party. (
* How did I miss this? It’s coffee week on NPR. (
* SMU Daily Campus will be live-tweeting Thursday’s George W. Bush Library opening. (
* Hey all you small-market TV anchors: Want to get to New York City — and maybe bump into Snoop? Just drop the F-bomb while on the air. (@tiffanywen) | (@Late_Show)