Daily Archives: October 18, 2013

Nate Silver spoke at ONA13 this afternoon. Here’s a short audio clip — under two minutes — and a partial transcript.

It will be no subscription fee. We hope you guys click on a banner ad, or the sponsorships or whatever. So just to clarify just a couple of things: the site will be called, as it was originally before I went to the New York Times. We’re going to launch very early next year; we don’t have an exact date to announce yet.

via @JMizgata

via @JMizgata

The content plan is to cover basically three buckets that are about equal in size, one being politics and political news – of course, emphasizing elections still very heavily; one-third being sports; and one-third being everything else put together, with a special emphasis on economics, for example, maybe topics like education, and probably having a little bit of fun from time to time — having a data-driven take on burritos, of course, kind of tongue-in-cheek.

The idea is that it’s a web product, first and foremost. I’m sure we’ll build out podcasts and video coverage over time, but really the core challenge is in identifying writers and journalists who have the right critical thinking ability. You can train people in methods, you can train people to some extent in writing technique and reporting skills, but do you have that critical thinking ability to look at the data sets and ask good questions? That’s kind of what we love to do — provoke people with questions, not be flashy or listiclely, but have interesting topics each day that are handled in a smart way and, hopefully, inform people a little bit better.

* Read what was tweeted during Silver’s talk (

A Romenesko reader spotted this in the Oct. 2, 2013, issue of The Communicator, a weekly in Clay, W.Va.

“We meant to spell clock but managed to leave out the ‘L’ in that word.”


* Earlier: Don’t forget the L – especially with clock and public (

New York Times food writer Jeff Gordinier was at one of Georgia Pellegrini’s three-day, $2,300 Girl Hunter Weekends, working on a profile of the “Girl Hunter” author. Missoula Independent writer and self-described “true” hunter Erika Fredrickson was also theregirl — and also hoping to get an interview with Pellegrini. She claims the Times reporter “[found] it unconscionable that a local reporter, woman or otherwise, dares infringe on his story.”

Her account:

“Well, this isn’t good,” [Gordinier] says when meeting me.

“What’s not good?” I ask.

“I’m not trying to be gruff,” he says condescendingly, “but I thought we had an exclusive.”

“I thought we did,” I say, half joking, trying to get him to lighten up. “You know, we’re an alt-weekly in Montana. You’re The New York Times. I don’t think we’re in competition here.”

“We’ll figure something out,” he says before walking away.

“We’ll figure something out” turns out to mean threatening Georgia’s publicist with pulling his article if he doesn’t at least get an exclusive on two of the weekend’s events: pheasant hunting and falconry. The publicist apologizes profusely to me and says her hands are tied. I tell her this doesn’t come off well.

“So you’re telling me that you’re going to let a man from New York come into a hunting weekend for women and push out a local woman reporter and a local woman photographer, both of whom are actual girl hunters?” I ask.

* Shoot to Thrill (
* Read what my Facebook friends and subscribers say about this (

The two reporters tell Romenesko readers…

Erika Fredrickson writes in an email: “I do want to say a few things in response to some confusion in the comments section.

“The publicist was in a tough spot and in my conversation with her she personally expressed support for me. I don’t think the decision to shortchange me on coverage was entirely up to her, though she was the brunt of the fallout. I don’t envy her position. I liked her.

Gordinier and Fredrickson

Gordinier and Fredrickson

“When I was on the phone with her she told me that The New York Times did NOT have an exclusive. I don’t know if she was misinformed and it actually did have an exclusive or if Gordinier was just making that assumption. In either case, we were both invited to cover Girl Hunter Weekend and we were writing very different stories for different audiences. We were both promised coverage of the entire weekend. And we were both expected to come back to our respective papers with a story.”

Jeff Gordinier writes: “I traveled to Montana with the great photographer Jennifer Livingston to cover the Georgia Pellegrini gathering. I thought I had an exclusive & I felt a bit duped and disappointed when another reporter showed up, as any professional would be. I dive very deeply into my reporting; it changes the dynamic to have another journalist present. Nevertheless I remained thoroughly polite (albeit at a distance) in my interactions with the competition. I never once demanded that the other reporter and photographer leave. I called my editor, Maura Egan at T magazine, and she sagely just said essentially, ‘You do your thing, and let them do their thing,’ and that was it. No games were played, at least none instigated by myself. I am sad to see that the Missoula reporter’s thing was to be petty and take the low road, but so it goes. I wish her the best. I did what I do: I wound up writing what I think is an engrossing, entertaining, accurate piece about the Girl Hunter weekend itself. Look for it in T soon.

“P.S. Would just add that if reporter Erika Fredrickson truly believes the publicist who “personally expressed support” for her, then she’s got a lot to learn about publicists. The publicist surely knew that this whole scenario wouldn’t go over well with either of us, but she pulled the trigger (so to speak) anyway. Hence my understandable & slightly world-weary vexation.

“Lastly, I sure wish that Erika Frederickson had simply called me for my side of the story, if she intended to write about me. Fairness & accuracy = our job. It’s always better to ask than to assume.”

* The AP suspends Bob Lewis for his Terry McAuliffe error. (
* Can rich tech guys save journalism? (Pierre Omidyar shown below) ( | ( | (
omid* Jack Shafer on “the bottomless optimism of billionaire publishers.” (
* Ex-WSJ managing editor Robert Thomson tried hard to keep a phone-hacking story out of the Journal. (
* Matt Katz quits the Philadelphia Inquirer and takes his “Christie Chronicles” to New Jersey Public Radio. (
* It’s like they’re reading a consultant’s script! News anchors around the country say: “Mike Myers says, ‘Yeah, baby!'” (
* Court orders Wall Street Journal not to divulge names in Libor case — “a serious affront to press freedom,” the paper says. (
* Elle is accused of trying to hide Melissa McCarthy’s plus-sized figure. (
* The Virginian-Pilot will lay off nearly 4 percent of its workforce by the end of the year. (
* The Richmond Free Press will no longer use “Redskins.” (AP via
* Pew says 43 percent of Americans 16 and older own a tablet or e-reader. (
* New York restaurant critic Adam Platt is kicked out of ZZ’s Clam Bar. (
* The Dartmouth examines the role of journalism on college campuses. (
buzz* BuzzFeed without GIFS reads like essays from second-graders, says Andy Baio. (@waxpancake)
* BuzzFeed has 340 employees – most under 35. (
* Reddit isn’t making money. (“We’re not grossly unprofitable, but…”) (
* Meet New York City’s newsies. ( “I get rid of all of them,” one says of his stack of papers. “We’re not allowed to have no returns.”) (
* Newspapers “slouching toward obsolescence”? (