“I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”
Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com parent Interstate General Media doesn’t want employees talking to reporters from other outlets about Inquirer editor Bill Marimow’s firing and the fighting among owners. Also, staffers are warned about their social media messages.
“I recognize that seeing a story posted could prompt your need to comment and/or respond to a post or blog, but that should not occur since you are not authorized to comment on behalf of our company and its publications,” says the HR boss. The memo:
From: Bonanducci, Chris
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 3:50 PM
To: All IGM Employees
Subject: Communicating with the Media Company Policy
All IGM Employees:
I want to take a moment to remind you of the Company policy relating to Communicating with the Media. Any contact you receive from the media regarding Interstate General Media (IGM) and IGM’s print/digital publications should be immediately directed to the attention of Mark Block, Vice President of External Relations for a response. You should limit your response to any media inquiry, by immediately forwarding Mark the telephone/email online request and/or advising the media source requesting comment that your request will be responded to by IGM’s Office of External Relations and then providing Mark’s name, email and office number (215)854-xxxx. Please refrain from engaging the member of the media contacting you in any exchange and/or discussion regarding the subject of their request.
In addition, social media and online publications that reach out to you in the context of social media platforms and blogs would also be applicable to our policy of alerting Mark Block to the media request and/or online story. I recognize that seeing a story posted could prompt your need to comment and/or respond to a post or blog, but that should not occur since you are not authorized to comment on behalf of our company and its publications.
Thanks for your cooperation. Please do not hesitate to let me or Mark Block know if you have additional questions, or would like to review our employee guidelines relative to media inquiries.
Vice President, Human Resources
* Statement in support of dismissed editor Bill Marimow (change.org)
* Co-owner George Norcross has been trying to impose his will on the Inquirer, and Marimow has been fighting that (citypaper.net)
* Why publisher Bob Hall says he fired Marimow (citypaper.net)
— Tom Sietsema (@tomsietsema) October 9, 2013
A Romenesko reader writes in an email: “I guess Patch is doubling down on clickbait as that’s the only way I can understand why this is a story.”
News director John Ness sent this memo to local editors explaining how they should deal with reader complaints:
More on the Divorce Maps, and Data Overall. Some of you got pushback on yesterday’s divorce map. The FAQ for weekdaily data is here to outline what we’re doing with data and how to best present it. Click through for the full rundown, but here are some excerpts you may find helpful.
The big idea to stress overall: Data is powerful stuff. We know that and we value reader feedback. Our goal with this ongoing series of maps is to allow users to understand their neighborhoods in a diversity of ways they didn’t before. We’re bringing increased transparency and context to our coverage with these maps, but we’re devoted to doing it responsibly.
There are a few important things to stress when you get complaints or questions about data. You can find more in the FAQ:
* Explain what you think is interesting locally, to guide the conversation in a constructive directions. (You can see examples of how to do this in the FAQ doc)
* Stress that we don’t publish discreet locations of individuals in these maps. A census tract is far too wide to target for crime. Some other news orgs have been criticized private residences. We don’t do that with these maps.
* Stress that these articles don’t exist in a vacuum, but are part of an ongoing series. In its totality, the series puts information about your town at your fingertips. If you see us cover one side of an issue, we’ve likely done the other side or will do it soon. If we ask about men, we’ll do women the next week, as we did with divorce #s. If we look at cheap houses one week, we’ll look at expensive houses the week after. Point your readers to the roundup you’ll be doing on Sunday. (We’re going to point users to the Sunday roundup in today’s post.)
– Update on 2/27/2015: An earlier version incorrectly identified the author of the memo.
Here’s what happened
Editor Dave Butler tells Romenesko readers: “The BANG [Bay Area News Group] production center got hit with some kind of virus yesterday afternoon, causing computers to crash. The Merc’s last page was 40 minutes late but all editions of all papers got out and the IT folks say they have solved the problem. If a missing cut line is our only mistake today we shall be thankful and appreciative of the extraordinary work of the news desks last night.”
* Philadelphia Inquirer editor Bill Marimow was fired after refusing to lay off five senior staffers. (newsworks.org)
* The Week magazine gets its third publisher in three years. (allthingsd.com)
* Of course New York Observer posted its High Times story at 4:20. (observer.com)
* President Obama had an off-the-record meeting with conservative journalists on Tuesday. (huffingtonpost.com) | Byron York: “Yes I was at WH meeting Tuesday.” (huffingtonpost.com) | (@ByronYork)
* Joey Scarborough, son of the MSNBC anchor, is “a hard-working kid” at the New York Daily News. (capitalnewyork.com)
* Palisadian-Post editor says he didn’t think hard enough before accepting Snapchat founder’s interview restrictions. (sfweekly.com)
* New Orleans Advocate publisher says the paper is adding 700 to 1,000 new subscribers a week. (theneworleansadvocate.com)
* The Daily Beast lays off two dozen staffers. (hollywoodreporter.com) | Layoffs expected at the Providence Journal. (wpri.com)
* Fox News’ Megyn Kelly finished second to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in the 25 to 54 demo on Monday. (nytimes.com) | More cable news ratings: (mediabistro.com)
* New York Daily News veteran JoAnne Wasserman heads to Capital New York. (observer.com)
* NYT standards editor: “For the most part, we have not used ‘Obamacare’ as our standard term in news stories outside of quotations.” (nytimes.com)
* BuzzFeed’s president says traditional media “have not made a commitment to tell stories that are interesting for people under 40 or 50 years old.” (theguardian.com)
* Is Mike Fleming being groomed to replace Nikki Finke at Deadline? (defamer.gawker.com)
* New York Times Magazine runs an excerpt of Nick Bilton’s “Hatching Twitter.” (nytimes.com)
* Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) “is at a crossroads.” (talkingbiznews.com)