Daily Archives: April 26, 2013

New York Times Magazine contributing writer Jeff Himmelman tells Medill student Gideon Resnick:

Jeff Himmelman

Jeff Himmelman

I honestly don’t know what advice to give. The times I have been most successful in my life have been when I was able to identify something I really do care about. There are still places where people are having fun. Find the people that are having fun and go work there. I didn’t want to be the guy standing by a locker with a recorder in the air. That eliminated a lot of options for me. I think we’d all like to think we really want to know what all the op-ed writers are saying, but I don’t really care. It’s taken me 37 years to figure out I don’t have to care.

* Jeff Himmelman talks Frank Ocean, Ben Bradlee (

Florida Voices, a website co-founded by Tampa Tribune alums Rosemary Goudreau and Rosemary Curtiss, is folding.

“We had such high hopes when we launched 18 months ago,” editor Goudreau writes in an email to friends and colleagues. “But as you know, the business of online media is a tough slog [and] we couldn’t drive the audience needed to grow advertising dollars. We operated Florida Voices on a shoe string and paid people next to nothing, but still we’ve run out of money.”

Her memo:

From: Rosemary Goudreau
Date: Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM
Subject: Florida Voices
To: [Multiple email addresses]

Dear friends,

I’m writing to tell you that we’re closing Florida Voices. Our last day of publication will be Friday, May 3. We plan to keep the site live for a few weeks because of all its great content. But because of monthly hosting fees, we won’t keep it live long.
I’m sorry to have to tell you this news. We had such high hopes when we launched 18 months ago. But as you know, the business of online media is a tough slog. While we managed to secure syndication agreements with more than 30 Florida news outlets, we couldn’t drive the audience needed to grow advertising dollars. We operated Florida Voices on a shoe string and paid people next to nothing, but still we’ve run out of money. It’s really thanks to my partner, Rosemary Curtiss, that we’ve been able to stay afloat this long./CONTINUES Read More

Legal journalists in Australia were surprised last week to see Michelle Boatley’s byline back in Australasian Legal Business (ALB), a Thomson Reuters-owned publication.


A few years ago, Boatley was cranking out stories left and right — short pieces about law firm layoffs, merger deals, and firm expansions.

Then she vanished.

People who knew the secret about Boatley thought she had been killed — by her editors.

The prolific legal writer was not real, but a creation of ALB bosses. (They also used a fake George Beveridge byline on occasion, I’m told, but I can’t find any of his stories.)

“The names were there to make it look as if the ALB teams were bigger than they really were,” one of my sources writes in an email. “Also, so editors don’t have to use their own names on certain stories (no particular reason).”

ALB editors set up a fake Gmail account for Boatley a few years ago after an Australian PR firm tried to contact her about an error in a story.australasian-legal-business-alb-logo The firm’s email to her – it had ALB’s standard email-address format – kept bouncing back, so they contacted another ALB journalist. That Boatley colleague alerted editors to the no-contact-information problem, and a real email account was set up for the fake reporter .

A Facebook page was also created for the fictional reporter. [UPDATE: It’s been taken down.] It’s a sad space, though: Boatley only has two Friends displayed on the page — her editor, Renu Prasad, and fake journalist George Beveridge.

I’ve asked Prasad and Thomson Reuters communications veep Barb Burg about the company’s policy on fake bylines and will post their comments when/if they come in.

UPDATE — A source on why Boatley’s byline reappeared: “Reporter Olivia Collings had left ALB recently to join a law firm so Boatley’s name was probably used again to ‘boost staff count.'”

Debra Pickett

Debra Pickett

Debra Pickett, who resigned from the Chicago Sun-Times in 2007 after being told — by a female editor — to breast-feed her infant son in public for a story, writes about Politico’s Jill Abramson story and describes her experiences in the Sun-Times newsroom.

The case that Politico makes against the New York Times executive editor “could be made against virtually any woman who dares not to act like a Mommy all the time,” writes Pickett. “And, let’s be clear, the skills necessary to succeed as a reporter, like, say, making your voice heard at a press conference, are not soothing, lullaby-singing skills.”

It did not dawn on me then that the few women who’d managed to thrive in the old school newsrooms of the 70s and 80s had no choice but to be tough as nails. It didn’t register that they were, uniformly, single or childless or both. The personal decisions that had led to their professional success were invisible to me then, in my naiveté. I just wondered why they weren’t nicer.

Pickett says she didn’t leave the Sun-Times the way she would have liked to. “And I didn’t get to apologize to those newsroom bitches. They deserved my admiration, not my contempt.”

* Newsroom b*tches: An appreciation (
* Pickett quits Sun-Times, but she doesn’t nurse a grudge (
* Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn: Farewell to Pickett (

Excerpts from David Folkenflik’s report:

Former Chicago Tribune managing editor and Los Angeles Times editor James O’Shea: “I think with the Koch brothers, people will probably look at it and say, Well, OK, here are people with a lot of money,Newspaper and maybe they’ll actually invest in the place and maybe they’ll have some ideas about how we diversify our revenue base and get away from this heavy, heavy, heavy reliance on advertising. …I don’t think anybody’s going to object too much if the Koch Brothers buy the Chicago Tribune and [the paper] has a libertarian, kind of right-wing editorial page.”

Former Los Angeles Times assistant editorial pages editor Matt Welch: “It would be such a culture clash inevitably between them [the brothers] and the newsroom there that it would be kind of open conflict for a long time. I would have a hard time imagining how they’d get out of that – how they’d calm that down in a productive way.”

THE PROGRESSIVE’S VIEW: “Choosing between [the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch] is like being asked whether you’d prefer the firing squad or the electric chair — either way, your long-term prospects aren’t so good.”

* Koch brothers could buy Tribune’s newspapers (
* Earlier: Why are Chicagoans afraid of a couple of “reactionary rich guys from Kansas”? (

* Journalists are largely beside the point when it comes to their employers’ WHCA dinner weekend parties. (“Journalists are likely to be in the minority at most of these gatherings.”) ( | Don’t call it “nerd prom”! (
* Claim: The public sees “nerd prom” as “the press playing Hollywood in an atmosphere designed to present them as celebrity facsimiles.” The truth: Most people aren’t aware of this weekend’s events. (
* A win for Louisiana news outlets: LSU is ordered to release the names of candidates for president. (
* U-T San Diego columnist Dan McSwain’s full disclosure: “It’s been nearly 16 years since my last drink, drug, car wreck or jail term.” (
goodbad* Re today’s big story on Politico: “This is the journalistic equivalent of glaring at the dog after you fart at your in-laws’ house.” (@FakeJimVandeHei)
* Re today’s big story in the Boston Globe: “Hand the Pulitzer to the @BostonGlobe now. The carjacking victim’s exclusive story reads like a Tarantino script.” (@DVNJr)
* Boston Globe home delivery prices go up next month. (
* Politico national politics editor Charlie Mahtesian joins NPR’s digital news team as politics editor. (
* What two Midwest newspaper columnists say about the survey: ( and (
* Steve Buttry was once accused of “losing” his newsroom, too. (
* College papers turn to student fees for funding. (
* What did Matter’s 2,566 Kickstarter supporters get out of the Medium deal? Nothing, says Stephen Robert Morse. (
* A new law puts an end to most cases of “libel tourism” in England. (
* On average, people have 342 friends on Facebook. (