Daily Archives: November 26, 2013

From a “Off the Beat” crime story:

* Journalist goes the extra length to define what a pizza is (@MatthewKeysLive)

The news team from Duluth’s Northland News Center dressed warm to cover the annual Christmas City of the North parade — even though they were doing their live commentary from a warm studio with a green screen. They were busted by a local radio station, which asked: “Why are hardy Duluth anchors sitting indoors wearing big winter jackets?”

News director Barbara Reyelts (pictured on the right) tells me there was no deception because viewers weren’t told that the anchors were outside. In fact, she says, the news team was both inside and outside during the two-hour parade.

— The smaller photo is from the station’s Facebook page.

* Duluth anchors fake being outside from warm comfort of studio (
* Did you notice anything strange while watching the parade? (
* Duluth TV audience demands its anchors freeze like everyone else (

David Skok, director of and co-author of “Breaking News: Mastering the art of disruptive innovation in journalism,” is joining the Boston Globe as digital adviser to the editor.

David Skok

David Skok

Editor Brian McGrory says in a memo that Skok “will play a key role in our upcoming push to further define our two brands — as a broader, more ambitious site that better reflects the creative journalism of the Globe, and a redesigned as a sharper, edgier site with a strong news spine.”

He’ll work with the entire room to help develop even bolder ways to tell our stories online, and to tailor story-telling for a mobile viewership. He’ll help imagine and build additional sites devoted to more focused topics — verticals, in the parlance of the day.

Read McGrory’s memo after the jump. Read More

Bend (OR) Bulletin parent Western Communications told employees Monday that it can no longer afford to provide health benefits and that the company-sponsored insurance plan will end on January 1. (Western owns six papers in Oregon and two in California. The 28,000-circulation Bulletin is its flagship paper.)
“This decision was not made lightly,” publisher Gordon Black writes in a memo. “We considered and researched every conceivable alternative. We found nothing was fair or affordable. …We would not be doing this if it wasn’t absolutely essential for the well-being of the company and by extension, you as an employee.” (The company has 280 employees on the insurance plan.)

A Bulletin staffer tells me: “Everyone knew that health insurance was going to be changing, and probably not for the better. But I don’t think anyone really thought that scrapping health insurance entirely was going to happen.”

Update: Publisher Black tells me “the alternative is a hell of a lot of bodies” being laid off, “and we’ve tried to maintain the workforce.” He adds: “We believe if we don’t create the content, we start the death spiral.”

The family-owned chain is making some money, says Black, but just “eeking by.”

Read Gordon Black’s memo after the jump. Read More

A Romenesko reader, who didn’t want to be named, writes:

James Rensenbrink

James Rensenbrink

Let me break that down. He expected reporters to be able to spell? He thought a deadline meant something? Fiend! In 1969, a gallon of gas was about 35 cents, a first-class stamp was six cents and the median income was $8,400. That “little” $25 was a lot better than the “exposure” I see most publications offering now, and in purchasing power, depending on the online calculator I use, it represented the equivalent of about $175 or so in current dollars. Not a king’s ransom, but a lot better than the spiteful pittance most publishers grudgingly toss from the BMW parked in their second home’s driveway.

Update: Romenesko readers discuss what they were paid in the 1960s through 1980s.

* James Rensenbrink, whose alternative paper endured, dies at 81 (

* Bloomberg’s CEO should step down as chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner, says an ex-CPJ honoree. (
* The Pentagon considers pulling the plug on Stars and Stripes and the Pentagon Channel. “In this budget environment, we’re looking at everything,” says a spokesman. (
* “The funniest photo you will ever see in the New York Times.” (See the red-haired guy with his tongue out.) (@chrisyoungcpi)
* Texas Observer says “no newspaper has experimented more, tinkered more, or thought about survival in a big, public way more than The Dallas Morning News.” (
* Kansas University journalism professor says he received death threats over his NRA tweet. (
* Matt Katz calls covering Chris Christie “one of the wildest rides in American journalism.” (
* The Advance-owned paper’s rivals having been sending me this: “Two of the suspects were wearing Times-Picayune polo shirts at the time of their arrest.” (
* The county commissioner “looked the [Las Vegas] Review-Journal reporter in the eye, smiled, and whispered, ‘Fuck you.'” (sixth column item) (
* Chattanooga Times Free Press is criticized for its “worst of the worst” mug-shots display. (
* Philadelphia Inquirer owners’ no-meddling pledge was ignored. ( | Why would anyone want to be Inquirer editor? asks Rem Rieder. (