Daily Archives: May 2, 2013

Brian Nielsen, sports editor of the Mattoon (Ill.) Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, says he’s “bothered by the hero’s welcome that [Jason] Collins seems to be getting across the country this week with his announcement” that he’s gay.

collinsYears ago Jackie Robinson fought a courageous, pioneering battle — a battle that was unfair for a man to have to fight just because he was born with a certain color of skin.

To compare the plight of Collins with his own lifestyle choice to Robinson’s should really insult Jackie’s family today. It even bothers me.

Still we have people calling Collins a pioneer.

I never heard that, and rightfully so, when NBA player Shawn Kemp had fathered several illegitimate children with different women.

Nielsen, 57, says Collins’ coming-out “comes during a time in our society when so-called political correctness has overwhelmingly trumped Christian morals and a time when Collins was going to get positive feedback. Somehow, many have decided they know the rules better than God.”

The sports editor says his opinion “is so against the current trend that it needed my publisher’s approval,” and “if you are reading this it means that it has made our paper along with my acknowledgement that Collins’ future in the NBA should depend on his ability to help a basketball team.”

I’ve called and emailed Nielsen and publisher Carl Walworth for comment. Their Journal Gazette & Times Courier is a Lee Enterprises newspaper.

At last check, there were only two comments about Nielsen’s column. One reader wrote: “I don’t read the sport section to get bible thumping. Stick to sports.” The other said: “I have to admit I was surprised to read such a homophobic diatribe on the sports page of the JG-TC.”

UPDATE– Nielsen writes in an email: “Early today I received probably 10 positive emails and one negative from a nearby town. As more people saw it on the website, maybe about six or more negative reactions.”

* Sports editor Jason Collins — human, yes; a hero, no (

About half of the Los Angeles Times staff say they’ll quit if the Koch brothers buy the paper.

It’s a different story at the Chicago Tribune, according to veteran columnist Rick Kogan. “Frankly, I can’t see anybody in these perilous times walking out of here no matter who buys the place,” he tells Michael Miner.

I don’t know if anybody has the ideological balls to quit. Murdoch was a different scene back in ’84 [when he bought the Sun-Times and some staffers resigned in protest].

Rick Kogan via

Rick Kogan via

There were other newspapers, other jobs, many of us were quite young and didn’t have families. It was a different environment. Some guy here who’s 37 years old and has a wife and three kids — you can always excuse it [the sale] with a ‘let’s wait and see’ attitude.

There’s nobody I know who’d go, “Oh, it’s the Koch brothers. I quit.” Nobody I know. Everybody would be in a wait-and-see attitude.

He adds that “there are very few people around who remember what a strange owner and imperial owner Robert R. McCormick was. And what his politics were, which would probably fly in the face of 95 or 99 percent of everybody who works at the Tribune.”

Kogan says the Koch brothers “may not realize if they want to make a sea change is that there’s a shitload of work involved. There are editors at all these papers, editorial pages at all these papers. Basically, you’d have to go out and hire a bunch of like minds to run them.”

* Will two too many Kochs spoil the Tribune? (

* Daily Beast drops Howard Kurtz (
* Earlier: Howard Kurtz’s ties with Daily Download website raise questions (

kentuckyBrenna Angel, a reporter for the University of Kentucky’s WUKY-FM, filed an open records request seeking information about the head of the university hospital’s pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program. The university refuses to give her the records, even though the Kentucky Attorney General says she has a right to them. Last week, the university sued the persistent Angel. (The school’s radio station was not named in the suit.)

* University of Kentucky sues reporter at public radio station it owns (
* Editorial: University errs in suing reporter at its radio station (
* AG’s office says university violated open records act by withholding information from WUKY reporter (


I’m told that Sidney (Ohio) Daily News news editor Melanie Speicher wrote the headline.

UPDATE: Speicher (in the photo) tells Romenesko readers:

melanieIt was a bad day at work and it was probably my second or third choice as the headline. As I typed it, it clicked what I was typing and I laughed. So I needed the laugh as much as anyone else. …As far as I know, there’s been no reaction from the readers.

* Drinkwine on the job (Sidney Daily News)

The winner of this “dream job” is Chelsea Marshall, who leaves TV to cover animals for BuzzFeed starting May 13. (Here’s the job posting.)

She most recently worked in the control room at “CBS This Morning”; before that she was at “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
BuzzFeed Animals editor Jack Shepherd tells Romenesko readers:

Chelsea distinguished herself amongst a pool of (literally) hundreds of applications for this position. With great posts like The Story of the Ides of March as Told by Sloths and 10 Signs Your Pet is a Conspiracy Theorist she demonstrated a natural understanding of how to write about animals in a compelling original way for an audience that has come to rely on seeing more and cuter animals on a daily basis. We’re super excited to have her on the team.

Marshall, who also studies sketch and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade, writes in an email that she’s “so excited” to be joining the Buzzfeed Animal team next week. I asked how she won out over the hundreds of others applying for the job. Marshall replied:

When I was “auditioning” I tried to give a variety of types of posts-from stories, to cool dogs on instagram, to educational to satire. …

Chelsea Marshall

Chelsea Marshall

I think what really made me stand out though was that I came in with a bunch of ideas to expand the vertical beyond the fun lists. Of course those are still the focus and I love making them, but there’s so many possibilities to make the vertical even better! Jack [Shepherd] and Summer have already started that with quizzes and some video so it’s a really exciting time to be joining the team.

I definitely wasn’t surprised by the amount of interest [in the position]! The community contributors at Buzzfeed are awesome and since this really is a dream job, I knew I couldn’t have been the only one to go after this gem! I can’t think of anything better than getting to find and create shareable content that makes people happy.

As a community contributor, Marshall created posts like “20 Dogs Who Cannot Believe You Just Farted,” “15 Animals With Better Mustaches Than You Will Ever Grow,” and “16 Cats Interpret Margaret Thatcher Quotes.”

* BuzzFeed job listings stipulate that “no haters” need apply (

“I don’t remember where or how I acquired my copy of the 1982 [Los Angeles Times] budget report, and even if I did I’d go to jail to protect my sources,” writes former Los Angeles Times staffer Bill Steigerwald. “But truth be told, I probably swiped it off the desk of the Times’ late, great and under-appreciated Sunday Calendar editor, Irv Letofsky. Or I fished it out of his trash basket when I was emptying it for him. All I know for sure about the budget is that it’s authentic. And it’s a sad document from a happy newspaper era we will never see again.”

Steigerwald also writes: “As a libertarian, and as the only open libertarian I knew working at the Times in the 1980s, I hope the fabulously rich libertarian Koch brothers buy the paper with their pocket change and give some of my few surviving liberal friends there a taste of their own medicine.

“It’ll be interesting to see how my fellow journalists react to having bosses — i.e., devout libertarian/conservative publishers and the non-liberal editors they will certainly hire — who don’t have the same political biases they have (and don’t know they have).”

Editorial budget in 1982: nearly $45 million
Editorial budget in 2013: about $60 million, according to a knowledgeable source

* The LA Times – before it became the Daily Titanic (

* Los Angeles Times stories will no longer refer to individuals as “illegal immigrants” or “undocumented immigrants.” (
* New York Times shareholders are told there’s no plan to take the company private. (
* Former Boston Phoenix staffers launch an online alt-weekly. (
nymag* New York magazine’s Hurricane Sandy cover (left) wins ASME’s cover-of-the-year award. (
* “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how Sports Illustrated is going to cover something,” says ESPN The Magazine editor Chad Millman. (
* Charleston City Paper rejects Larry Flynt’s ad. (
* “I regret the mistake I made in writing about Jason Collins’ essay,” says Howard Kurtz. ( | Kurtz explains his Daily Download connection. (
* Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair and other Conde Nast titles are expected to unveil web programs by the year’s end. ( | (
* San Francisco Examiner headline from 1975: “Journalist Discovers a Straight in Gay Sports.” (
* Search traffic to publishers takes a dive: traffic from Google dropped more than 30% from August 2012 through March 2013. ( | Danny Sullivan’s take: (
* D Magazine in Dallas starts a national search for a new editor after Tim Rogers resigns. (
* The last Miami Herald section printed Wednesday from the paper’s downtown facility was Travel. (
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