Daily Archives: October 21, 2013

Chris Roush reported on his Talking Biz News site earlier this month that a Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) confidential strategic assessment report acknowledges that SABEW “seems stuck looking in the rear-view mirror rather than implementing changes that will catapult SABEW forward.”

The leaked report, according to Roush, “proposed widespread changes to the organization, including a total revamping of its membership structure and its pricing, re-doing its five-year-old website and improving in its fundraising and evaluating its training efforts.”
A week after Roush’s story was published, SABEW president and McClatchy economics reporter Kevin Hall sent a letter to SABEW board members reminding them that leaking information is a breach of the fiduciary duty to the organization. I’m told there is one board member “who is taking the heat,” suspected of leaking to Roush.

From Hall’s letter to the board:

Folks, this is to remind all board members of what their fiduciary duties are and offer some ideas for “best practices” for those serving on the boards of volunteer organizations such as ours.

If you haven’t heard by now, the confidential SABEW strategic assessment and response from the executive committee and executive director were passed along to Chris Roush at the University of North Carolina, which once was under consideration as a potential home for SABEW. He used the information for a posting on his Talking Biz News blog.

It’s tempting to say “this is what journalists do.” We do, after all, seek to publish things that others wish remain private.

However, those of us who have taken on the role of being a governor of SABEW have competing obligations — responsibilities to SABEW itself and your fellow board members.

Separate from the issue of whether the sharing of board documents is a breach of a governor’s fiduciary responsibilities, it’s without question a breach of trust.

chrisrHere’s what Roush (left) tells Romenesko readers: “My story was designed to foster discussion about SABEW’s future. I’m disappointed the organization has chosen to react in this way. A journalism organization’s business should be open and respect journalism practices that its members regularly use such as obtaining documents from anonymous sources.”

Hall writes in an email: “The letter indeed has my name on it and was sent to everyone who received the strategic assessment so that no one would feel singled out. I truly have no interest in learning who the person is who shared the information, just sent out a reminder of what are the fiduciary responsibilities are for SABEW board members. …kevin

“We respect [Roush] right to publish whatever he sees fit. But from where the SABEW board stands, being a member comes with fiduciary duties and a responsibility to colleagues. It is disappointing that information was shared, but we are certainly not the first board that’s suffered this, and it is a bit puzzling given that there is nothing under consideration that is seemingly so sensitive that it’d rise to a level of interest beyond our small world.”

Hall’s letter to SABEW board members is after the jump. Read More

Mark Schoofs, who joined ProPublica in 2011 after 11 years at the Wall Street Journal, has been named head of BuzzFeed’s new investigative team of six reporters.

Schoofs (credit: Lars Klove)

Schoofs (credit: Lars Klove)

BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith calls Schoofs “a brilliant reporter, teacher, storyteller with the sort of deep experience we need as we continue to expand the kind of rigorous reporting that people want to read and share.” Schoofs says “we plan to mix BuzzFeed’s energy, ambition and grasp of the social web with the best traditions of American investigative reporting to expose wrongdoing, hold people accountable and tell stories that need to be told.”

BuzzFeed’s release is after the jump. Read More

The Miami Herald reported Saturday:
Leonard “The Boob God” Hochstein and his “Real Housewives of Miami” cast-member wife aren’t holding their annual Halloween Make-A-Wish fundraiser this year because the Miami Herald wouldn’t promise not to write about it. The event was supposed to be held at the Hochsteins’ new – and controversial – home, which the couple wants to tear down against preservationists’ wishes.

Leonard Hochstein tweeted Sunday:

* Miami Beach “Boob God” cancels Halloween bash (Miami Herald via Bill Cooke)

Veteran photographer David Hobby says “the ballsiest request for free picture use that I have ever gotten” recently came from the National Association of Realtors.

The organization, which spent over $41 million on lobbying last year, apparently doesn’t have much in its budget for its HouseLogic website. It not only asked Hobby for free use of his “Cardinals in Snow” photo for that site, the realtors group also told him “we would appreciate if you could provide a high resolution version of this image, at least 1200 x 800 pixels” for use in a slideshow.

The letter to Hobby continues:

The image may also appear as a link back to that slideshow in such places as our email newsletter; social media, including Pinterest; marketing;cheap1 companion site for REALTORS®; and website home page. The use may require that we resize the image to fit the size constraints of our website.

We are asking you to grant the National Association of REALTORS® the non-exclusive, royalty-free right to use the image as described above for as long as the topic is included on the HouseLogic site.9 We would include a credit to you in the caption accompanying the image in its primary location on HouseLogic. If you would like we could also link that credit to your website.

I asked the realtors group about its letter to Hobby and got this response from media and consumer communications vice-president Stephanie Singer:

NAR is diligent about ensuring that any imagery used in our print and online properties adheres to the usage rights granted by the photographerreal and we frequently pay for photography and illustration. Like the letter sent to Mr. Hobby, HouseLogic frequently sends requests about imagery to professional and non-professional photographers to open the door to negotiate the use or cost of a photo. In this situation, Mr. Hobby’s response was such that we didn’t pursue the conversation further.

The next time I buy a house, I’m going to start my negotiations with the seller’s realtor this way: “How about I take it off your hands for free?”

* Your realtor would like some free photography, please (

Mt. Lebanon magazine writer Merle Jantz’s piece (page 36) about DUI checkpoints begins: “The guy in the tropical print shirt is having a bad night. His Volvo was the very first vehicle to enter the DUI checkpoint that was set up…”

(Credit: George Mendel)

(Credit: George Mendel)

The face of the guy in the tropical print shirt was blurred in the magazine’s photo (at right), but John Pinto is still suing because, he says, he’s known for wearing tropical print shirts and people who recognized him thought he had been arrested for drunk driving.

From the Observer-Reporter’s story:

Pinto was not arrested that night, or, the complaint states, any other night for any other reason, and the defendants knew or should have known the statements and implications contained in the article and photograph were false and/or misleading.

“I have no comment,” said Susan Fleming Morgans, editor-in-chief of the magazine.

Pinto, who claims he has been brought into public scandal and disgrace resulting in financial loss, is suffering emotional distress and anxiety. He is seeking $35,000 or less in damages, will have his case be heard by a board of arbitrators.

* Washington County man sues over magazine photo (

Longtime New York Times tech columnist David Pogue is leaving the New York Times for Yahoo — “a company that’s young, revitalized, aggressive …[and] razor-focused,” he says. || Pogue’s announcement and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s statement.

Yahoo’s release:


SUNNYVALE, Calif. (October 21, 2013) — Yahoo today announced that technology columnist, best-selling author and television host David Pogue will join Yahoo to spearhead the company’s consumer technology content. David will lead a major expansion of consumer tech coverage on Yahoo and will publish columns, blog posts, video stories and more, starting later this year.

“Yahoo is a company that’s young, revitalized, aggressive and, under Marissa Mayer’s leadership, razor-focused,” David said. “We all thrive on new experiences, and as someone who loves to build cool new stuff, I’m excited to jump in head first.”

“Yahoo is in a unique position to bring to life great editorial about the technology consumers are using every day,” said Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. “David is tremendously talented, has a great sense of humor, and is one of the best technology experts I’ve ever encountered. I can’t think of a more perfect person to make technology more accessible and helpful for the hundreds of millions of people who come to Yahoo every day.”

David has covered the consumer technology industry for more than 25 years, most recently as a columnist for the New York Times.

“One would think the paper bearing the name of one of New Jersey’s highest profile gay enclaves would have celebrated the first day of gay marriage on its front page,” writes a Romenesko reader. “Instead, the paper had a story about a heterosexual couple getting married.” (I’ve asked executive editor Hollis Towns about his page one.)


* Straight couple on Asbury Park Press’ front page | Gay couple on Star-Ledger’s (

Update — A former Press staffer writes: “Here’s what many people don’t realize, Jim: While Asbury Park has a significant gay population, there is a very strongly conservative bent in the Asbury Park Press’ circulation area — as evidenced by the voting in the Booker-Lonegan election that was held to fill the seat of Frank Lautenberg. Lonegan won both Monmouth County (home to Asbury Park), 54 percent to 45 percent, and Ocean County voted 64 percent for Lonegan. It is a red enclave in fairly blue state.

“It’s also an area with lots of retirees — dozens of retirement communities fill the Press’ readership. They have always been a lot more conservative. We used courtesy titles until the mid-1990s, for instance.”

* Tech columnist David Pogue is leaving the New York Times for Yahoo. (@brianstelter)
* Esquire’s David Granger is Ad Age’s Editor of the Year; Bon Appetit is Magazine of the Year. (
* Here are the winners of the 2013 Online Journalism Awards: (
* Richmond Times-Dispatch’s conservative editorial board declines to endorse in the race for governor. “This marks, we believe, the first time in modern Virginia that The Times-Dispatch has not endorsed a gubernatorial nominee.” (
* David Carr: Quality news has become attractive to smart digital money. ( | Carr’s Q and A with Pierre Omidyar: ( | Newsosaur Alan Mutter on Omidyar’s bold, risky bet. (
* Gannett third-quarter revenue drops 4 percent. (
* Chalkbeat, an online-only nonprofit news site created by former newspaper journalists, is moving into new cities. (
* Goodbye, Indiana University School of Journalism; hello, IU Media School. ( | (
* Ex-NFL writer Len Shapiro’s big regret: Not focusing more of his writing and reporting on the brutality of football. (
* Lucia Moses: “The tablet may still represent great promise for magazines. But so far, it’s a promise nowhere near being fulfilled.” (
* Moody Foundation invests $50 million University of Texas at Austin College of Communication. (
dollar* Capital New York freelancers hope to get paid now that Politico owns the site. (
* Professor appeals the dismissal of his libel suit against University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student paper’s editor-in-chief. (
* Deadline editor Nikki Finke “has nearly stopped writing,” says Richard Johnson. ( | I’ve been on vacation, she says. (