Daily Archives: December 16, 2013

Associated Press national political editor Liz Sidoti, who joined the wire service in 1999, has resigned to become US head of communications for BP. The AP Washington bureau chief’s memo:

From: Buzbee, Sally
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2013 4:24 PM
To: WDC – Washington DC News; News – WDC-Editorial
Subject: Liz Sidoti


I wanted to let you know that Liz Sidoti is resigning from the AP to take a job as US Head of Communications for BP based in Washington.liz

Liz has told us she’s interested in taking on a new challenge and developing business skills after 15 years as a reporter and editor with the AP.

Because her new employer is someone AP covers, she will no longer be involved in any reporting, editing or news management for AP, effective immediately.

Liz began with the AP in Cincinnati as a relief staffer in 1999 and it wasn’t long before she was knocking on the door for a job in Washington. She later became AP’s national political correspondent, and from that, she took on the role of national political editor in early 2011.

Liz did a great job putting together a strong political team for AP before the 2012 elections, recruiting talented reporters out in the field to join Washington reporters in covering the race.

Please join me in wishing her all the best in her new adventure.

Best, Sally

Tweet from CBS Evening News correspondent and Sunday anchor:

A PR man’s take:

* Jameis Winston handler cuts off questions at press conference (

I called the Florida State athletic department and was told there are no restrictions on interviews with the Heisman Trophy winner. The spokesman said he didn’t know anything about the CBS News interview that was canceled because of topic restrictions. CBS says Glor was told he could only ask Winston about two things — the national championship game and the Heisman Trophy; questions about the sexual assault case weren’t permitted, FSU said.

Nearly 50 years ago, Newsweek lodged these complaints against newspaper bosses:
“Many papers have had the same old-guard ownership and management for decades. These men are complacent, see no serious fault with their papers. They live in the past; in theory, they agree that to thrive a daily must present more and better local news but they hire no extra reporters. They still run columnists who are not even scanned by the present generation. And when questioned about their newspapers, they go off the record, as if publishing were the most sacred of cows.”


After Newsweek editor Jim Impoco tweeted this cover over the weekend, I went to the library to read the story from 1965. Some highlights:

Papers aren’t keeping up with technology
“With a few notable exceptions, like The New York Times, a dismayingly large number of papers have become fat, smug and, of all things for a daily paper, out of date. It is no sin to fall behind the Times, but they have fallen behind the times — technologically, as employers and, most damningly, in the professional tasks of reporting, writing and editing the news.”

A dart for the Times-Picayune
“Some papers seem almost contemptuous of their readers. The Newhouse chain’s New Orleans Times-Picayune has no regular education, science or medicine writer. ‘People here are more interested in other types of features,’ explains the paper’s president, John F. Tims.”

Slop for the readers
“Many newspapers appear to be assembled rather than edited with any care. Like housewives uninterested in the meals they serve, many editors are content to dish out the canned goods furnished by the syndicate salesman and by the Associated Press and United Press International. …Too often the packaged column substitutes for a local point of view.”

Lousy pay for journalists
“On the average paper, salaries are as laggard as imagination. The top American Newspaper Guild scale for a journeyman reporter averages under $150 a week. With perhaps three exceptions – The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times – salaries at non-guild papers are worse. Starting salaries top $100 a week at only 25 guild papers. In Austin, Texas, the morning American and afternoon Statesman pay starting reporters $60 a week.”

The newspaper of the future
John Diebold – a pioneer in automation – suggests that papers “may be transmitted into the home via television, then printed on a copier under the set.” He adds: “I’ve never seen an industry that will be more completely changed than the newspaper industry, and one that realizes it less. Tomorrow’s newspapers may not be in the same form as we know them today.”

The New York Times isn’t worried about profits
“Last year [1964], the Times grossed more than $136 million and made a profit of $2.7 million from its newspaper operations. Most publishers would regard a mere 2 percent margin with dismay, but [Arthur Ochs] Sulzberger rests on the family tradition: ‘We put back in what we think is required to publish. The budget goes out the window when anything pops.'”

Praise for the Wall Street Journal
“While many papers still tiptoe around stories involving business, the Journal is not afraid to go after the Establishment it serves. Last year, for example, when Journal reporter Norman Miller won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the DeAngelis salad oil scandal, his story soiled the button-downs of many avid Journal readers.”

faceA Romenesko reader writes: “It’s a shame that the CBS-TV cameras didn’t show the look on Bob Schieffer’s ever-dignified face when two of his ‘Face the Nation’ panelists had this exchange on Sunday, Dec. 15”:

Radhika Jones, executive editor, Time magazine: “But isn’t it still the case that it’s extremely hard to know who to support in Syria?”

Clarissa Ward, CBS News foreign correspondent: “Of course, and we have royally screwed the pooch on that front.”

* Watch “Face the Nation” (Ward’s comment is at the 15:11 mark) (

Bill Lucey asked several news organizations which stories from 2013 drew the most web traffic. Here are a few of the online hits: Men who still play “tag” /link The teacher who, for 40 years, wore the same shirt and sweater for school pictures. (left) /link
New York: “My Life as a Jonas Brother.” /link Which state matches your personality? /link “Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building” /link
The Smoking Gun: The hacker who grabbed the Bush family’s email. /link Rare vintage beach photos. /link

* News outlets reveal their most-viewed stories of 2013 (

* AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong tells David Carr that he’s finally giving up on Patch. “Even though Patch is being dismantled or perhaps sold off to various partners,” the media columnist writes, “[Armstrong] still believes that he had the right product in the right space, and that he just ran out of runway.”
Armstrong asks: “At the end of the day, could Patch have been run better? We don’t know. We were doing this while we navigated turning around the rest of the company. Patch was one of the big bets that we made, among others, and I still believe local will be a big opportunity whether it is Patch or someone else.”

A Patch employee wrote last week that “the potential partners (plural) will be large companies, not small local publishers.” I was told last week that AOL/Patch has talked to Gannett and Tribune about taking over Patch sites. No word on their interest.
* AOL chief’s white whale finally slips his grasp (
* Patch’s mistake was acting like an old-media company (
* Read what my Facebook friends say about the latest Patch developments (

* Christian Science Monitor’s managing editor is being promoted to editor. John Yemma asked to step down, the paper says. (
* Inside the search for a New York Times Magazine editor. (
* NPR gets $17 million in grants from four foundations — Ford; Knight; Wallace; and Bill and Melinda Gates. (
* More news organizations are explaining to readers why their sources aren’t named. (
* Pitchfork and other online publications go the print route for a “boutique audience, with small runs, sporadic issues (either quarterly or annually) and high quality.” (
* NBC News pays for a five-day trip to New York for 15 people connected to the Nevada rescue story. (
* Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone piece on Camden is called “a drastic overstatement” and “not a real representation” of the city. ( | (
* Yahoo! is paying Katie Couric $6 million a year, according to TMZ. (
* A small price boost for New York Times home delivery subscribers. (
tmp* A $50 donation gets Talking Points Memo readers “a more user-friendly experience.” (
* Tech A-listers help ex-WSJ reporter Jessica Lessin celebrate the launch of her site. (
* tells readers how to discuss racial issues in the comments section. (
* Pacific Palisades publisher, 34, says he’s doing the community a service by running a paper that “sucks money every month” from his pocket. (