Daily Archives: May 3, 2013

“‘The Great Gatsby’ is in form no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that.” – Chicago Daily Tribune; May 3, 1925

“A curious book, a mystical, glamorous story of today.” – New York Times, April 19, 1925

“A valiant effort to be ironical. His style his painfully forced.” – New York Evening Sun; April 15, 1925

“This book is a minor performance.” – St. Louis Post-Dispatch; April 25, 1925

“It is very great. Mr. Fitzgerald has certainly arrived.” – Los Angeles Times; May 10, 1925

* Why it took so long for “The Great Gatsby” to be considered a classic (

The Dallas Morning News’ Alan Peppard has a brief blog post about Jill Abramson’s talk last night at Southern Methodist University. “Ever since I was a kid growing up in Manhattan,” she said, “I have read my horoscope in the New York Post.” They’re uncannily accurate, she told the audience. (She also mentioned the Post’s horoscope in a recent email to Slate.)

The New York Times executive editor discussed more serious matters, too. Peppard tells Romenesko readers:

Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson

The thrust of her speech was that the the public and the news business are not particularly well served by the current stampede to get a story out first. Then she went through a rather sad list of all of the inaccurate reports from the week in Boston after the bombing.

She had a wonderful anecdote about the 2000 Bush vs. Gore Supreme Court decision. It came out at night and was dense and long and ambiguous, but that did not stop TV reporters from going immediately on the air and declaring (incorrectly) what it meant.

NYT Supreme Court correspondent Linda Greenhouse read the opinion in the cab on the way from the court to The Times office. She and Abramson called New York. She told executive editor Joe Lelyveld, “Turn off the TVs.”

And he replied, “They’re off, Linda. We are only listening to you.” And she explained what the opinion meant and The Times had an authoritative story.

Anyway, Abramson’s money quote was, “The prestige of our news organization does not necessarily come from being first.”

The Dallas journalist adds: “While here, she visited the Sixth Floor Museum (in the old Texas School Book Depository) and she watched Cronkite’s first bulletin. She commented on how, unlike today, the first report was quite accurate. ‘In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired…'”

Abramson’s speech was also blogged by someone at SMU.

* New York Times editor gets her daily New York Post horoscope fix (

doughnutsOn April 22, the Chicago Tribune newsroom sent pizzas to Boston Globe staffers to thank them for their Boston Marathon bombing coverage. Today Tribune journalists got this memo and letter:


The Boston Globe has graciously sent hundreds of doughnuts to the Chicago Tribune newsroom. Claim yours on the 4th floor by the Pg 1 conference room right now. Attached is the letter they sent along.



* Chicago Tribune sends pizzas to Boston Globe ( | A larger photo of the doughnuts (@pang)

rushRush Limbaugh told his listeners Thursday that David and Charles Koch “are as besmirched, impugned, character assaulted in the mainstream media and in the far-left blogs as anybody.”

Limbaugh says he’s played golf with Charles and knows David, and “I can personally attest to their character, their citizenship, their decency. They are good people.”

They’re successful at everything … they do. You would think that people at the LA Times — objective, good-hearted, true-to-the-cause journalists — would be interested in the place they work staying in business. But nope. If a couple libertarians walk in there or if a couple conservatives walk in there? “To hell with it!” Half of them claim that they will quit. You have a financially sound potential buyer coming in and the deadwood self-deports. I think that’s a great thing.

Limbaugh says it would be a good thing if half of the newsroom walked out. “Bring in some fresh blood — people who appreciate a paycheck, people who actually want to save a dying industry, find ways to save a dying beast, which is the problem.”

His advice to the Koch brothers: “If you guys are serious about buying the LA Times, you need to get a promise in advance from those members of the Times promising to quit if you buy it. Get a written promise from ’em before you sign the deal.”

* Liberals freak out over prospect of Koch brothers buying LAT (
* Chicago Tribune columnist doubts colleagues will walk over Koch ownership (

Veteran Seattle journalist Chuck Taylor writes about finding a 1,000-word future-of-newspapers memo that he wrote as a Seattle Times reporter in 1993. ( His blog post about the memo is from 2008; it was sent to me this week, on the 20th anniversary of the open World Wide Web.)

The memo, says Taylor, “predicts the demise of print, the use of mobile devices for information access, including video, and the likelihood that if newspapers didn’t seize the opportunity online, others would and might come to dominate journalism.”

What he wrote 20 years ago:

— “We have returned to the pamphlet journalism of the 18th Century. As never before, the people will be setting the civic agenda.”
— “We are on the verge of a massive liberation from limitations that presently define for us what constitutes news.”

— “Space will not be a problem. Electronic newspapers will be capable of always offering users a hierarchy of options for every story or topic — from headlines to capsules, full-blown stories, transcripts, encyclopedic background and biographies.”

— “The deadline will always be now because of electronic dissemination. Text journalists will need to react as broadcasters do today.”

— “Printing will become an anachronistic hobby-art form. Printed news media won’t immediately vanish. But they will languish as younger generations, bored by media that aren’t three-dimensional and interactive, shun comparatively unstimulating newspapers and magazines.”

UPDATE: I asked Taylor who, if anyone, received the memo. He writes in an email:

I’m quite certain I must have sent it to someone, probably via Atex message. I was a pain in the ass when it came to sounding the alarm about new tech. But I can’t verify that I sent it and I don’t recall the response.

In the early 1990s, the Seattle Times actually was pretty cognizant of the Internet and launched a very early text-only dial-in product, the name of which escapes me. I remember creating a Mac client for it using the telecom software application MicroPhone. I also remember getting pretty excited when the Mercury News launched on AOL. That seemed to be a real breakthrough, just before the Web was born.

I was totally into that stuff. Here’s a story I wrote around that time.

* A 1993 Seattle Times memo (
* Howard Weaver: The digital revolution I saw coming but didn’t do enough to prepare for (

Just for the heck of it, I did a search to see what I was doing online 20 years ago. What I found:


Let’s hope this doesn’t mean more fawning over overpaid CEOs.

From: Waller, Nikki
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2013 10:32 AM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Subject: Executive Ambition

The Wall Street Journal’s Management bureau is seeking a New York-based reporter to cover executives, management and corporate leadership trends.job The right candidate has an eye for big ideas and emerging trends, writes with panache and shares our obsessions, which include (but are not limited to): CEOs and how they lead, how companies cope with change, and the inner lives of top executives.

The reporter must have at least four years of experience, deep sources within companies and work well across bureaus. The reporter will write section-front stories packed with insightful takes on the news and frequent, lively blog items.

Must love robots, hate buzzwords and harbor beliefs in the power of bald executives.

Interested? Contact Nikki Waller and Dennis Berman.

* New York wins Magazine of the Year at the National Magazine Awards. National Geographic wins the most Ellies with four. ( | (
* Washington Post Co. reports an 85% drop in first-quarter net income on weakness in its education and newspaper units. (Reuters via | (
kurtz* Politico on the Howard Kurtz saga: “Quite a tumble for a reporter who, in 2000, was dubbed ‘the most important media reporter in America’ by The New Republic.” (
* Jeff Jarvis: “I believe coverage of his departure from Daily Beast has focused too much on his now-retracted post this week. There’s more to the story and I hope he tells that story in the spirit of openness and disclosure.” (
* Matt K. Lewis: “If anyone should be sympathetic to [Kurtz’s] plight, it should be journalists who will make errors of their own someday, too.” (
* Michael Bloomberg has talked to aides about whether he should buy The Financial Times. (
* Cory Pein on quitting an editor-in-chief job after just five months: “My decision had everything to do with Corbis management.” (
* Drudge falls for satirical website’s made-up Bloomberg story. (
* Hearst says it has a million digital edition subscribers. (
* Susannah Collins leaves Comcast SportsNet Chicago over a flubbed sentence on live TV and raunchy YouTube videos. (
* University of Maryland’s Diamondback runs the last of its three-parter on Jayson Blair. (
* “I am not a guy who complains,” Matt Lauer tells Jay Leno. (
gene* “After four years, I have finally changed my Twitter avatar from a pile of poop to a drawing of me in my underpants,” the Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten tells Romenesko readers. “It’s mostly an experiment to see if people are really the big wusses they claim to be: Will I get new followers from people nauseated by the turd? …I did get 16 new followers immediately. Within an hour.” (@geneweingarten)
* Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy writes People Magazine a check for $1,234.62 to cover his White House Correspondents’ Dinner expenses. (
* @sree: “I hate to break it to you, folks, but RTs are implied endorsements.” (
* St. Louis Post-Dispatch parent Lee Enterprises reaches an agreement with Berkshire Hathaway to refinance $94 million of long-term debt at 9% interest. (
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