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Daily Archives: December 18, 2013

Letter to Romenesko
From GARRY JAFFE: Jeff Bezos has made his first change to the WaPo website and it’s a good one. He’s eliminated that incredibly annoying page splitting of their articles and columns.jeffb It took a guy who runs a huge successful web based company to tell those idiots that splitting articles just gets you phony page view statistics!

How do you know Bezos was behind this? I wrote back

Who else would have ordered such a change? The Post has been doing this forever and I know people have complained. I did years ago and got a BS answer in reply. They never even had a single page view button like the NYT. To read as a single page, you had to click on print view. …It had to be Bezos, as that is the only change at the Post.

It wasn’t, I’m told. I asked the online folks at the Post and was told this was “solely a Washington Post decision … a change we’ve been moving to. …matches our ‘enterprise longform template.'”

* Earlier: Bezos didn’t have anything to do with the Post hiring Costa (jimromenesko.com)

From Deadspin’s editor:

From: Tommy Craggs
Date: Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 3:39 PM
Subject: Koblin
To: Staff

John Koblin

John Koblin

Sorry to be so abrupt, but this all happened very quickly: Koblin’s leaving us for the New York Times, a local daily. His last day here will be Jan. 6. I’ll let him fill in the details at his leisure. On the one hand, this will be a great opportunity for him, and I find it admirable that he would set aside the stability and renown of writing for Deadspin to take a chance on a scrappy, up-and-coming outfit like the Times. On the other hand, fuck this shit. I’m heartbroken. More later.

UPDATE: Here is New York Times Styles editor Stuart Emmrich’s memo:

Folks,

I’m happy to announce the hiring of John Koblin. You may recall his work as a media reporter for The New York Observer and Women’s Wear Daily, where he developed almost unmatched sources and consistently broke news, sometimes even news concerning The New York Times. For the past year, he has been a reporter for the sports website Deadspin, writing both breaking news stories and features, with his main focus on sports media, primarily ESPN.

Over the past month, I have had several long conversations with John about our fashion coverage — discussing in detail how he might have approached some of our news stories differently, what other angles he might have pursued, what he would have done to try to raise them to the level of A1 – and in each case I have come away with the same reaction: Total excitement at the prospect of having him on the Styles staff.

John is a young, smart, talented reporter – much like Eric Wilson nine years ago – and he recognizes that the fashion houses that we cover are important cultural and business institutions and that the people who run them are worthy of creative, serious and aggressive reporting. I have no doubt that John will help us produce a newsier, more competitive fashion report in Styles in 2014, particularly on the Web, one that further solidifies our position as the journalistic leader in this category.

John will join us shortly after the first of the year, Please join me in welcoming him then.

* March 2012: John Koblin leaves WWD to write for Deadspin (capitalnewyork.com)
* Koblin classic: Why is ESPN spreading rumors about me being straight? (jimromenesko.com)


Thirteen years ago today — December 18, 2000 — I received this email from reader Mike Woods:

Can we do a little poll on holiday bonuses? Do any newspapers slip employees, especially the rank and file ink stained cads, a little something extra during the holiday season? I work at a big New York paper, and don’t even get so much as a lump of coal.
bonus

I received dozens of responses from readers. Here are some of their holiday bonus tales, originally posted on my site (at that other place I worked) in 2000:

From CRAIG LANCASTER: In 1992, I worked for the Texarkana Gazette. Our Christmas bonus was $15, minus taxes. Several months before Christmas, when the Lakers’ Magic Johnson announced the first of his many comebacks, I ran a centerpiece about his impending return. In my mailbox the day was a note from the newspaper’s vice president: “Magic Johnson is nothing but an immoral HIV carrier, and our readers don’t care about him.” As you can imagine, I took my $12.63 or whatever the hell it was and bought beer, which I drank to ease the pain.

From RICHARD A. MARINI: Back in the late ’80s I worked at US Weekly. Come Christmas that year, I received a $500 bonus check handed out by editor Carole Wallace, who’d taken over the position only a couple of months earlier. The first workday after New Year’s I was asked to vacate the premises (a.k.a. fired). I’ve never been able to figure out that particular disconnect, but the check cleared and, to this day, it’s the first and only cash Christmas bonus I’ve ever received.

From DAVID K. WRIGHT: I’m a former city editor for the Elkhart (Ind.) Truth, a daily of about 30,000 circulation in northern Indiana. Modest Christmas bonuses were passed out by owner John Dille, who also saw to it that all employees and spouses were given a holiday party. At the party, held early in December one year, a drunken employee lurched up to Dille and demanded to know when the bonuses were to be distributed. That marked the end of the bonus scheme at the Truth, though the annual Christmas party continued.

From LARKIN WARREN: Back when Chris Whittle and Phillip Moffitt owned Esquire (pre-Hearst), there were a few years when the mag was “closed” between mid-day Christmas Eve and the day after New Year’s; it was paid time, and didn’t count against vacation allotments the rest of the year. Of course, editing and production schedules got completely squooshed on either side of the break — and it was probably informed more by pragmatism than generosity (the theory being that nobody was going to get much done anyway), but who cares about the motivation — time plus money = a very nice gift./CONTINUES Read More

New York Times media reporter David Carr said “Bless you!” to this caller (“John in Memphis”) on a recent “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” radio show:

I just want to say I’m 25 years old and I subscribe online to the New York Times. This week in the New York Times they had this five-part sprawling story about one girl in foster care in Brooklyn, and along with the story,brands which I thought was expertly written, there are photographs and there are interactive maps that show you all these different parts of Brooklyn and how it’s changed over the past 25 years.

As I was reading it I thought to myself, you don’t get this with BuzzFeed, you don’t get this with Upworthy, you don’t get this with all the hundreds of sites out there that just grab things off the Internet and throw it back in our faces.

The point I want to make is newspapers are there for us to become more worldly, for us to learn more about parts of our own country and our world that we might not see. BuzzFeed and all those websites are just kind of — sort of fun little websites to distract you from those sorts of things. So to me, it seems like BuzzFeed and Upworthy are no different from guilty-pleasure sitcoms that you turn on after a hard day of work because you want to escape from things, but they’re no substitute for journalism.

Carr told the radio audience: “I would point out that BuzzFeed and Gawker and Business Insider and many of the nascent websites, when they do get money what they do is go out and hire reporters.”

He said of the “beautiful, scrolling environment” of his paper’s online features: “I don’t know if there weren’t new media outfits pushing on us and creating those [design] technologies that we ever would have got there.”

14Carr on the news media in 2014: “I think it’s going to be a really cool year. I’m super excited; between Mr. Bezos and Mr. Omidyar, [there’s] a half a billion dollars coming into the hard-news space. I see new nascent players investing in reporting, I see older more legacy brands starting to dance in a new era. I think it’s going to be a fun year.”

* David Carr on 2013 in media (wbur.org)


* The duPont Award winners have been announced by Columbia University. (columbia.edu)
* Businessweek editor: The best stories from 2013 that we didn’t write. (businessweek.com)
* Time Inc. won’t be buying Forbes, reports Keith J. Kelly. (nypost.com)
* Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy: When I started in the business in the 1970s, it was OK for sports reporters to be skeptical and critical. (bostonglobe.com)
santa* Roy Peter Clark fact-checks Santa. (Does he really live at the North Pole?) (tampabay.com)
* Laura Bennett: “Bloomberg View has largely failed to spark debate among the cultural elite or usurp the clout of The New York Times’ op-ed page.” (newrepublic.com)
* Rhode Island state government puts news stories in the “news releases” area of its website. They’re removed after reporters complain. (providencejournal.com)
* Susannah Breslin reveals what she was paid for recent freelance pieces. (susannahbreslin.net)
* Wichita news anchor who was fired for dropping an F bomb is “pretty positive I’m going to end up landing on my feet.” (kansas.com)
* CNBC apologizes for playing a song (B2K’s “Fizzo Got Flow”) that uses the N word. (hollywoodreporter.com) | The lyrics: (azlyrics.com)
* It could soon get tougher for newspapers to double-count readers. (bizjournals.com)
* Vast majority of Facebook users don’t want to see video ads. (wsj.com)
* Internet Archive maps 400,000 hours of television news and reveals which areas of the U.S. receive outsized attention and which are neglected. (archive.org)
* Why investors and other grownups are interested in teen-hit Snapchat: The company’s creating an entirely new form of communication. (cnn.com)
walt* Walt Mossberg: “This is my last column for the Wall Street Journal…” (allthingsd.com)
* Lifetime is turning Brian Stelter’s book, “Top of the Morning,” into a TV movie. (hollywoodreporter.com)
* “Patch as a technology platform is unrivaled. As a source for local news, it’s an afterthought.” (streetfightmag.com)
* Comcast is about to launch a new version of EveryBlock, which was killed by Vivian Schiller. (chicagogrid.com)
* The top e-book singles of 2013, according to Thin Reads. (thinreads.com)

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