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Daily Archives: January 15, 2014

Patch has a new majority owner: Hale Global.

CEO Charles Hale says in a release that “we are committed to bringing users, local businesses,patch writers and advertisers together into a Patch experience full of innovation and growth.” (AOL will have what CEO Tim Armstrong calls “a meaningful minority interest” in the venture.)

Armstrong says of Hale in his memo to employees: “We believe they are very well positioned to nurture and grow Patch. Hale has made investments in local commerce and platforms, and they have a strong team of leaders and technical expertise.”

Update: After telling his new employees that “I was up all night, so I’m a little ragged,” Hale said in his very brief conference call that “we’re turnaround specialists,” and that Hale Global looks to acquire companies that “have problems and potential.” Patch, he said, has both.

* AOL gives up control of money-losing Patch (businessweek.com)
* AOL strikes deal over Patch (ft.com)
* AOL to partner with Hale Global on Patch (news release)

Read AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong’s memo about the deal after the jump. Read More

-- From today's Virginian-Pilot front page

— From today’s Virginian-Pilot front page

A former WTKR (Norfolk, VA) anchor who hosted a news segment called “Taking Action Against Crime” pleaded guilty to tax crimes today, admitting that she falsely told the IRS that her $12,000 hot tub was a medical expense.

Juliet Bickford resigned last week after working at WTKR for 6 years. Her tax fraud scandal is on the front page of today’s Virginian-Pilot, and is getting big play on WAVY-TV and many other Norfolk-area media outlets.

- via @julietbickford

– via @julietbickford

WTKR, however, hasn’t said one word about its former anchor’s legal troubles. (There’s nothing about today’s guilty plea by Bickford on the station’s website.)

I called WTKR general manager Jeff Hoffman about his no-Bickford-coverage policy, but all he would say — and it was his response to every question I asked — was, “Juliet Bickford resigned last week for personal reasons.”

I didn’t even bother asking Hoffman who will be hosting the award-winning “Taking Action Against Crime” segment now that — in his words — Juliet Bickford resigned last week for personal reasons.

Bickford has agreed to pay $10,000 to the IRS, and prosecutors have recommend she get probation and no jail time.

* Former WTKR anchor Juliet Bickford enters guilty plea (wavy.com)
* “WTKR has made no reference on the air to her departure” (dailypress.com)
* Bickford: I love saving money on fashion and beauty (and hot tubs?) (@julietbickford)


Columbia University announced today that Sig Gissler, 78, will retire as Pulitzer Prizes administrator this summer. He’s had the job since 2002.

Sig Gissler

Sig Gissler

“Sig Gissler championed the embrace of new forms of digital journalism and helped to gain even wider recognition for the Prizes by introducing it to new audiences,” says Columbia president Lee Bollinger.

A Pulitzer Board committee will nominate the next administrator.

Read Columbia’s release after the jump. Read More

aushucksThis page one on the right offended Auburn fans? Really?!

“It is insulting and demeaning.”

“Whoever wrote that should GO TO HELL.”

Those are some of the messages that Montgomery Advertiser executive editor Tom Clifford got after running this hed the day after Auburn lost to Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game.

Clifford says some readers thought the paper was saying, “Auburn sucks,” and that the hed “is somehow evidence of our continuing bias against Auburn.”

I can accept that a few disappointed, diehard Auburn fans were hurting after the tough loss, and in their haste they read an insult in the headline’s colloquial play-on-words, where none existed. But the headline fit the accompanying photo of a dejected player, as well as the mood for fans near and far.

It was fine, Tom.

The tipster who forwarded the column and front page image makes this observation: “It’s hard enough to be responsible for errors and misjudgments we make that turn out wrong. Here’s one that was right, and the editor still has to apologize.”

* Some responses to “AU Shucks” headline shocking (montgomeryadvertiser.com)

It should be noted that Tom Hoffarth works for the Los Angeles Daily News and the headline he doesn’t care for is in the Los Angeles Times.

* Wanaah Bail sits and waits for more playing time at UCLA (latimes.com)

* Forbes is moving to New Jersey. Keith J. Kelly says “leaving the Big Apple for New Jersey is a shocker as Forbes has been based here for 97 years.” (nypost.com)
* Jim Rutenberg has been named New York Times Magazine chief political correspondent. (capitalnewyork.com/second item)
inform* Sherights.com editor Maureen Shaw calls Au Bon Pain restaurant chain’s website blocking “completely unacceptable.” (dnainfo.com)
* Denver Post has lost three Broncos reporters in just over a year. (westword.com)
* Robert Jensen on what’s wrong with “Informing the News”: “There is no chapter on the most crippling affliction of mainstream journalism in the United States: ‘The Ideology Problem.'” (dissidentvoice.org)
* WJXT (Jacksonville, Fla.) traffic anchor and reporter Ashley Mitchem gets her traffic tickets voided by the sheriff, who says “this is not someone getting special consideration just because they are a TV personality. That don’t impress me.” (jacksonville.com)
* Paul Farhi asks Gabe Sherman: Roger Ailes controls the American news agenda? Really? (washingtonpost.com) | Michael Wolff skewers Sherman. (slate.com)
* Was CNN’s Randi Kaye high during her marijuana report? (gawker.com)
* Erik Wemple: “I am eager for any opportunity to get Politico’s input on things.” (politico.com)
* The Wrap says its December web traffic topped Variety and Deadline Hollywood. (thewrap.com)
* TV critic James Poniewozik says “Duck Dynasty” has become the Chick-Fil-A sandwich of TV. (Watching the show will be a statement for some viewers.) (time.com)
* A spreadsheet of the media people who will be at Davos 2014: (capitalnewyork.com)