Daily Archives: December 6, 2013

ESPN on-air talent got this no-“sucks” memo late Friday afternoon from executive vice president, production John Wildhack and senior vice president, talent development & planning Laurie Orlando.

From: Talent Office
Date: December 6, 2013 5:13:56 PM EST
Subject: Important Reminder


All of us in Production and throughout the company take great pride in the work of our on air talent.espn You are our direct connection with sports fans and contribute significantly in making ESPN the leader in sports media. Recently, there have been numerous incidents in which the word “sucks” has been used on our air. This word is simply not appropriate for ESPN. What you say and the language you use is important for our audience and sports fans of all ages. Please be mindful of this starting immediately.

Thank you,
John Wildhack and Laurie Orlando

Update: “After seeing your post I thought it might be a good idea to follow up and confirm that the list was, indeed, a parody,” says the author.


“This is by far the most clueless, entitled, insane list of complaints I’ve ever seen,” writes the journalist who sent me a link to the gripes of PR people. “That it’s a BuzzFeedy listicle complete with goofy gifs makes it pretty much perfect. It almost seems like parody, but apparently it isn’t.”

What PR Newser’s readers don’t like about reporters:
1. Greeting pitches with total silence
2. Answering the phone like a jerk
gripes3. Refusing to use the phone at all

4. Evading us completely
5. Forgetting the client’s name during an interview
6. Deviating from the topic at hand
7. Expecting us to deliver resources at the last minute
8. Not letting us know when a story goes live
9. Agreeing to an interview/product review and never writing about it
10. Procrastinating on writing an “exclusive” story and then getting mad when we pitch it somewhere else:
11. Generalizing about how much “those people” suck

Care to add to the list, PR people? Want to comment, journalists?

* 11 things the media does that piss off PR people (

* Update: Read what my Facebook friends and subscribers say about the list

From one of the best Peter Kaplan tributes I’ve read:

There was once a crummy [New York] Observer reporter.obser After stewing a long time, Kaplan decided he had to do it. He had to fire him. He called the reporter into his office and closed the door. They were in there a long time. At the end of it the reporter emerged with a happy expression. In a little while we learned what had happened: Kaplan had given him a raise.

Any chance this “crummy” journalist wants to step forward and tell us what happened behind closed doors?

* The imperfect charm of Peter Kaplan (


Earlier this week, Charles Davis wrote a piece for VICE in which he shamed left-wing media outlets for failing to live up to their stated ideals in their practices of exploiting unpaid and poorly paid interns.interns While I’m on comparatively stronger footing as a freelancer right now (but by no means out of the woods just yet), I discussed the industry norm of being expected to write for free early in my career back in March and was fascinated by Davis’ story just by the nature of being a twenty-something working to establish a sustainable career in media.

Davis named names, shaming outlets like The New Republic, Washington Monthly, In These Times, and Salon for their low or unpaid internships. Mother Jones’ own living wage calculator found that the amount it was paying its fellows (a new, less derogative word for interns) to be substandard. (After the piece’s publication, MJ announced that it would soon begin paying its fellows slightly above California’s minimum wage, which is a start, I suppose.)

The primary takeaways were that these purported liberal publications were hypocritically practicing the labor exploitation that they denounce in corporate America, and that these industry norms consequentially marginalize all but the most genetically fortunate young journalists from making it professionally. This leads to a lack of diversity in voices, which waters down the quality of media across the board.

I reached out to Davis and asked him a few follow-up questions about his story:

Was there a particular catalyst for you to decide to tackle this story? Did you write it on spec or get the pitch approved from VICE before you started?
Working as an unpaid intern straight out of college was bad enough, but that was a couple years ago so the bitterness of making my boss richer while I worked for free had dissipated – until I started looking for jobs again. What I realized is that the unpaid internship was not behind me: a lot of the positions for which I qualified and sounded a hell of a lot like jobs to me were promising payment only in experience, something one used to gain as a paid employee but which we now consider a form of currency in and of itself.

Charles Davis

Charles Davis

It struck that, instead of leading to a staff position, my unpaid internship had simply allowed my boss to fill a staff position for free and that the effect of these internships was to drive down wages across an industry not exactly known for making people wealthy. And when I saw my partner get a paid position with an outlet that enjoys a budget smaller than most allowances in Orange County, the argument that publications simply can’t afford to pay all their employees a decent wage, much less anything, really struck me as ever-so-much bullshit.

VICE did not commission this piece nor did I set out with the intention of writing it for them. The problem I encountered is that no outlet one would consider part of the traditional “left” media would touch it, in part because they either exploit 20-something labor themselves or they wished to stay on friendly terms with those who do. VICE was willing to let me call out hypocrisy when no one else would.


What the critics said:
* Robert Lloyd: “There was no way to regard her as anything but an amateur” (
* Hank Stuever: “It’s impossible not to notice that she can’t act (
* “Deer in headlights have emoted more” than Underwood did last night (
* Underwood’s “a proud graduate of the school of ‘If I don’t blink, they’ll think I’m acting!'” (
* “She looked like an emoticon for being constipated, if such a thing existed” (
* With “Sound of Music,” NBC has its biggest Thursday night in four years (

John Judy, 1969-2013

John Judy, 1969-2013

Some of what we learn about John Judy from his death notice:

He went off to college in Ashland where he formalized his education in ancient aliens and lover to all women. After college, he set off on his sailboat for a journey to be forever known as “Noah’s Ark in reverse” where he endeavored to eat one of every animal. His only regret in life is that he was not able to complete this task.

* Obituary for “dragon slayer” and “world’s greatest man” John Judy (

Earlier death notices on
* “There isn’t enough space here to list all of the women from Freddie’s past”
* Don’t even think about wearing black to her memorial!
* Minnesota woman taught her family many lessons, including to never pay retail
* The family urges everyone to wear Cleveland Browns garb to the funeral

* Norwich Bulletin columnist writes about the mayor’s swearing-in 24 hours before she’s sworn in. “The column stated that all three previous mayors attended,” says the executive editor, “when only two were there.” (
* University of Alabama’s paper apologizes for a “This is what happens in Obama’s America” Iron Bowl cartoon. (
* Advance looks at ways for its New Jersey papers to work together more effectively. (
* Oops, WDIV-TV in Detroit: That’s not Nelson Mandela. (@klumpp13)
* Mandela on newspapers’ front pages. (
* Italian papers call Mandela “the father of apartheid.” (
* Brian Stelter wants “Reliable Sources” to have a “wider swath of stories and broader range of guests.” (
* Meddling? Philadelphia Inquirer owner Lewis Katz sits in on a morning news meeting. (
* Cyndi Stivers already leaving her AOL editor-in-chief post? (
* Rolling Stone plans to launch a website devoted to country music in 2014. (
* Gawker’s Neetzan Zimmerman gets treated like a king, with his own landing page and intern. (
* Boston Globe owner John Henry meets with Boston Herald boss Patrick Purcell to discuss “mutually beneficial” endeavors. (
* Fox News won’t comment on reports that it’s settled with fired PR boss Brian Lewis. (
* Chris Wallace celebrates 10 years with Fox News. (