Daily Archives: September 12, 2013

Mark Lett

Mark Lett

Mark Lett, executive editor of McClatchy’s The State in Columbia SC, tells his staff that “no subject or individual is off limits for examination” by sports columnist Ron Morris and other columnists at the paper.

The editor says Morris was “asked …to focus first on coverage other than the USC football program.” That’s not quite right; Morris was ordered by publisher Henry Haitz III to sign a document pledging that he would never again write about University of South Carolina football — or talk about the program on radio and TV shows. My sources say Morris was told he’d be fired if he did.


I assume you are familiar with articles and talk about The State, Steve Spurrier and Ron Morris.

Please know this today: Ron Morris and other columnists at The State are free to pursue topics and stories as guided by their curiosity, their news judgment, their obligation to readers and our standards for quality journalism. No subject or individual is off limits for examination.

Relationships can be difficult between news makers and journalists, especially those who write analysis, commentary and opinion. You all understand why. Around here, much has been said and written about Spurrier and Ron — in blogs, on the web, on talk shows and in other publications.
As with any relationship, it sometimes helps to step back and allow conditions to cool. In recent months, we asked Ron to draw upon his considerable sports knowledge and experience to produce highly readable, relevant columns and enterprise features.The work has been outstanding and has given sports fans much to enjoy and to think about. During this time, we asked Ron to focus first on coverage other than the USC football program.

Moving forward, all topics — including USC football — are in play. As always, this is a newspaper committed to accuracy, fairness and holding accountable the news makers and institutions that serve our community and our state.

* Earlier: The State tells columnist Ron Morris he can’t write about USC football (

Salt Lake Tribune editor Nancy Conway and editorial page editor Vern Anderson are retiring at the end of this month and publisher William Dean Singleton is stepping down. The paper is cutting its staff by about 20 percent. (That’s 17 full-time and two part-time positions.)
* Salt Lake Tribune changes leadership, cuts 20% of staff (


* Greenwich paper halts operations following editor’s arrest ( | (


Palm Beach County political operative Andre Fladell‘s knocks against journalists — “no respect for their own profession … no respect for their country” — were too much for Sun-Sentinel reporter Marci Shatzman. She interrupted Fladell (aka “The Prince of Palm Beach County”) and walked out of the meeting. I’ve invited her to comment.

Shatzman: “I totally disagree [with the criticism of journalists]. I’m a member of the press and I’m not going to sit and listen to this crap. I’m leaving. …You won’t have a goddamn bit of coverage. Goodbye.”

Fladell: “The press does not know its bounds.”

Shatzman [to the audience]: “Don’t listen to him. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

* Watch the video on YouTube

* Sun-Sentinel reporter storms out of town meeting (
* UPDATE: Read what my Facebook friends/subscribers say about Shatzman’s actions (

NPR’s media reporter asks:

Access to the Tampa Bay Times’s will cost print subscribers $6 a month. “That’s unlike the situation for home subscribers for the NY Times, who don’t pay anything (even if you just get the paper three days a week),” notes Mitch Perry. “For non-subscribers, it will be $12 a month.”

* Tampa Bay Times installs paywall, but will it stick? (
* For some readers, starts charging (

The editor of @huffpospoilers writes: “The Huffington Post uses Twitter like KNBC uses the last seconds of a primetime commercial break. To compare it to high school journalism would be an insult to high school journalists. …

“And it’s an especially egregious public disservice to not include the location when discussing something like, oh I dunno, A PRISONER ON THE LAM:”


* Open Letter from @HuffPoSpoilers: We’re not gonna click it anymore (

Stew Rieckman

Stew Rieckman

I give Oshkosh Northwestern executive editor Stew Rieckman, 64, credit for bowing out a year early and admitting this to his readers:

The business is changing dramatically and it’s going to require a lot of innovative thinking, a lot of hard work. It just seemed like it would be starting a career all over again and I didn’t know if I was up for that at this point in my career.

* Rieckman to retire from Oshkosh Northwestern next month (
* Earlier: Editor admits he’s “in the way of progress,” and steps down ( has said farewell to its daily bloggers, columnists and features writers. Its freelance budget “is at $0 for the remainder of the fiscal year.” Here’s the memo freelancers received Wednesday:

As I’m sure most of you are aware, about 2 months ago, Microsoft announced a restructuring plan to move from being a software company to a services and devices company. A few immediate changes followed for us including a new VP overseeing all online services,msn including MSN, who has a vastly different vision for our Web site than anything in the past 15 years. Fast forward a few weeks and our CEO announced his retirement. Things are changing super-fast at Microsoft and those changes have quickly made their way to our work that we do at MSN and at MSN Entertainment specifically.

Unfortunately, I am writing you to let you know that effective 10/1/2013 our freelance budget has gone away entirely. I wish I could say it’s been lowered substantially and we’d just be reducing the work we are doing, but to be honest, it has been taken away and is at $0 for the remainder of the fiscal year.

I know many of you contribute consistently on a daily basis or write columns/features and attend junkets for us regularly, and sadly those will all end as well. While we aren’t quite sure yet of some final direction of the site, I am sure that I speak for everyone on the team when I say that working with each of you has been a pleasure and we will truly miss all the interactions we have had.

UPDATE — A reader writes: “They’re also, apparently, laying many people off today. I say this because I was just laid off from MSN News (”

UPDATE 2 — An MSN blogger writes in an email: “What I was told is that MSN is getting out of the original content business entirely but will content to publish content from other sources, such as the Wall Street Journal, Bankrate, etc. All the contractors who contributed to MSN Real Estate were told our contracts were ending Sept. 30. I believe this is also be true for the writers at MSN Money and some contract copyeditors, too.”

UPDATE 3 — An MSN spokesperson writes in an email: “We’re not saying anything on the record beyond the Seattle Times story.

* Jim Impoco leaves Thomson Reuters to become Newsweek editor-in-chief. (
* Barry Diller considers selling The Daily Beast. Tina Brown had discussed the sale plan with Diller before she announced her departure yesterday. (
wolff* Don’t believe it! “This may be the last time I write about Tina Brown,” says Michael Wolff. (
* Politico’s Jim VandeHei says “high traffic is way overrated. …for speciality sites, it is all about the right readers.” ( | Chris Seper: “A singular focus on traffic growth leads to publishers abusing linkbait, listicles and other traffic-driving tactics to the point they stop doing the job their readers want them to do.” (
* The old Detroit Free Press building in downtown Detroit goes for $4 million in an online auction. (
* ESPN says Jason Whitlock’s comments about SI’s Thayer Evans “are not acceptable.” (
* Movie critic Richard Roeper renews with the Sun-Times. (
* Texas Christian University student journalists team up with Fort Worth Star-Telegram investigative reporters. (
* Joe Ripp, Time Inc.’s folksy new CEO, tells employees he wants to hear their ideas. (
bs* Claim: Facebook’s news feed “is one of the most important, influential innovations in the recent history of the web.” (
* Longtime Christian Science Monitor columnist and newsmaker breakfasts host Godfrey Sperling Jr. dies at 97. (
* Former “Page Six” editor Richard Johnson gets a new Post column. It will be “a mix of gossip from both coasts, society news, business and politics.” (
* Carson Daly says getting a permanent “Today” show job is “a dream come true. … I’ve just been called up to the big leagues.” (