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Daily Archives: August 8, 2013

The editor’s note below is posted at the end of Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss’s review of “Invasion!”:
deleted

The clip on the left is the “political opinion” that was cut from the online review; it appeared in the print edition:

missinggrag

* “Invasion!” arrives at a divisive time in the world (suntimes.com)

Jamil Koury writes: “We want an explanation from her as to why she would go so far as to publicly endorse the cruelty that is racial profiling.”

Hedy Weiss tells Romenesko readers: “One of my goals as a critic is to record my visceral reactions to a live performance. And as every actor will tell you, he or she brings the outside world with them each night to a performance, as does the audience.

Hedy Weiss

Hedy Weiss

“As I mentioned in my review of “Invasion!,” the news reports that were playing on my car radio as I headed to the theater were all about the global terror alert. And that was just one more reminder of all that I’d read about the closed-down investigation of the Tarnaev brothers well in advance of the bombings, and the horrifying photos of the amputee victims of that attack. Whether we like it or not, we are ALL being profiled every time we enter an airport, highrise or crowd of any kind these days — primarily out of a genuine necessity that the playwright, in my opinion, was not addressing honestly. For me to not honestly address that feeling would have been to write a dishonest review.”

* Read the comments about this on my Facebook wall (facebook.com/jimromenesko)

flash

An Associated Press journalist wasn’t happy to see FLASH attached to his colleagues’ story yesterday. He explains why:

The AP has three classifications of news alerts. The lowest level is called simply a NewsAlert and moves many times a day, every day. The next level is called a Bulletin and is fairly rare, perhaps used a couple times a week. The highest level is a Flash, and historically has been reserved for the most momentous of news stories — the Challenger explosion, the death of a pope, the election of America’s first black president. The downing of each Twin Tower got its own flash as well.

You’d be surprised how many AP staffers think the Flash should rarely, rarely be used and who like to compile lists of when Flashes have moved.

[Wednesday] the AP moved a Flash to alert that Obama canceled his meeting with Putin. Will that news event stand the test of time? I think we know the answer to that.

Why a Flash today? DC-bubble-centric news judgement if you ask me. #devaluingtheFlash

AP spokesman Paul Colford investigated for Romenesko readers.

“I learned it was sent out unintentionally as a Flash,” he writes. “It was intended as an APNewsAlert, like other alerts that moved through the day. Incidentally, my understanding is that we scooped everyone on this story. It was a significant AP break, all in all.”

chicagocomThe Chicago.com domain name was being peddled with an asking price in the millions, but it’s not known how much the Sun-Times paid for it.

A call to Sun-Times boss Michael Ferro’s family office “drew a long silence when asked about the purchase, followed by ‘no comment,'” reports Dan Pulcrano. “The spokesman said Ferro was not ready to talk about it yet.”

Josh Metnick, who sold the name, also refused to disclose the sale price.

It’s not much of a secret in the domain name industry, however, that Metnick was seeking millions. If Metnick fetched his asking price, it would be larger than any of the reported domain name purchases this year.

* Sun-Times owners purchase chicago.com domain (sv411.com)

zell

Sam Zell on journalists: “There’s this illusion that they and [Goldman Sachs CEO] Lloyd Blankfein are doing God’s work, and therefore if you’re doing God’s work you should get a pass on economic reality, you should get a pass when revenues go down 30%. [Journalists say] that instead of lowering the head count you should maybe increase it. …The difference between newspaper people and academics is very small…[but] based on my experience they had a lot of trouble adding and subtracting.”

Zell tells Neil Cavuto that coverage of the deal is excessive: “You just ran 16 different versions of everybody making this announcement. You’d think we had bombed Hiroshima. This is a 250 million transaction. You made reference to my 39 billion transaction. I didn’t get 20 anchors yelling about it.”

* Sam Zell on the Washington Post’s sale to Jeff Bezos (foxbusiness.com)
* Mel Karmazin says it’s terrific that Bezos is buying the Post (foxbusiness.com)

“As someone – the only one? – who worked at the heart of both The Washington Post and Amazon.com, I’ve been asked in private emails, and in public places (over quiet beers), what I make of Jeff Bezos’ purchase of The Washington Post.

“Executive summary: Lots, and all of it good.”

Bill Curry was a Washington Post reporter from 1968 to 1980 and worked in Amazon.com’s PR department from 1998 to 2003. He posted his thoughts about the Bezos deal on an invite-only Facebook group for former Post employees. He gave me permission to share them with Romenesko readers. His post continues:

saleFirst, let me get this out of the way: I am arguably entitled to schadenfreude over Monday’s news, given the doomsday stories of yore by so many print reporters who wrote that people would never buy online, that Amazon would never turn a profit, that we were insolvent, that we’d go bankrupt, and that the stock bust of the dot coms proved, once and for all, that Amazon would never make it. Almost all of those reporters have since been shooed out of journalism, and the guy who was presiding over a supposedly doomed Amazon.com is now purchasing one of the highly regarded crown jewels of…those very reporters. I think this meets the dictionary definition of “irony.” But schadenfreude? Not at all. The stakes are too great.

Because Jeff Bezos may be the last exit before the end of independent, public-spirited journalism.

I declined to attend the 45th reunion of my graduating class from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism earlier this year; I was, quite frankly, weary of old newsroom bloats lamenting what’s become of the newspapers they knew and loved of, say, 45 years ago. Problem is, they don’t distinguish between newspapers and journalism – to them it’s the same — and that’s a mistake. It’s why they’re not the future of journalism, only its past. And why Jeff may be the future./CONTINUES Read More

Here’s what AOL boss Tim Armstrong told Patch employees in a conference call on Wednesday, according to tipsters:

patchlogoHe’s going to the board today to recommend “bold action” that includes killing “a bucket of sites” — as many as 300. Some states will be Patch-less, he said. He added that there’s “no scenario where we are closing Patch.”

Layoff details will be announced Friday and they’ll include “elimination of corporate overlays.” Up to 500 employees will be cut.

“Late last night, LEs [local editors] and mid-level field leadership were in a panic,” one editor tells me. “Why tell people on Wednesday that cuts will happen on Friday? My email was burning up.”

Armstrong complained about Patch’s new content management system, and said bloggers have stopped using the site because of the “upgrade” problems. Also, readers are complaining about the lack of news and ability to find relevant material.

Are you a Patch employee with more to add? Send me an email. (I’ll protect you.)

* AOL to shut down about 300 Patch sites (newsday.com)
* Patch editor on July 3: “From what I see on the ground, we are on our last legs” (jimromenesko.com)
* Earlier: Patch reviews bathrooms and does a report on a mom who treats her kids to water ice


* Slate stops referring to Washington’s NFL team as the Redskins. (slate.com)
* A bartender and general manager are fired over a Baltimore Sun review. (citypaper.com)
* GlobalPost founder: “We do great journalism; we’ve made a brand but it’s hard to crack the advertising world.” (usatoday.com)
* “Hurricane Elisabeth” tries to revive Jim Cramer’s TheStreet.com. (observer.com)
nixon* August 8, 1974: Fairgoers watch President Nixon resign. (groffoto.com)
* “Nixon wanted you to like him,” says Barbara Walters. “It was almost pathetic.” (businessweek.com)
* New York Times reporter James Risen asks the Justice Department to drop his subpoena. (washingtonpost.com)
* Julia Ioffe says she was “O’Reilly’d” by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. (newrepublic.com)
* Meet the young men who just bought Newsweek. (fortune.cnn.com)
* Forbes says it’s gone from 15 million monthly uniques to 49 million in three years. (forbes.com)
* Former Washingtonian editor Jack Limpert explains how his magazine paid for good journalism. (jacklimpert.com)
* There are plans to revive the Detroit Press Club. (prnewswire.com)
* In the UK, Nuts magazine rejects a demand that it hide its covers with “modesty bags.” (bbc.co.uk)