Daily Archives: January 29, 2014

It appears the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) will not be changing its name to Society for Professional Journalism.
Some at SPJ wanted to change the focus of the organization to upholding and advocating the principles of professional journalism rather than the people performing it, but the SPJ Name Change Task Force found that most SPJ members “didn’t see an urgent need to change the name,” says SPJ president David Cuillier.

The full SPJ board will discuss the 10-member task force’s findings in April.

“I can’t predict the actions of the board or delegates,” Cuillier writes in an email, “but if I were to place a bet, I suspect the name will stay the same: Society of Professional Journalists.”

He adds:

What excites me the most about this is that the task force has asked to continue its work, except to figure out how SPJ can be more relevant to younger journalists. They are gathering a group of under-30 journalists to determine what SPJ can do to better serve them and the future of journalism. They plan to provide some specific, achievable recommendations by this summer.

They call themselves the Future of SPJ Task Force. It’s really about the future of journalism. And really, this is what the whole name-change discussion has been about. It’s about what we can all do to strengthen journalism for generations to come.

* Read the Name Change Task Force’s report, which starts on page 18 (
* “Someday SPJ will change its name and widen its reach” (
* Earlier: Society of Professional Journalists considers changing its name to Society for Professional Journalism (
* Earlier: SPJ president says “we are the society for journalism” (


Bob Driver, who says he’s “older than most Americans” and “can recall when journalism stood for providing information, much more than entertainment or titillation,” misses the old Time magazine. He complains about today’s Time story selection, small type, and large photos, then adds:

In fairness to the people who write and publish TIME, I must concede that dozens of good reasons may exist for the many changes to the once-worshipped magazine. … High on the list of any publication’s headaches is the unpredictable nature of the public’s preferences. Plus columns like this one, whining and kvetching because life ain’t like it used to be.

* The sad decline of Time magazine (

Update: The Los Angeles Times’s Michael Hiltzik responds to Kushner’s memo.

Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner, who is buying life insurance policies on some of his employees, advises his staff to print out yesterday’s Los Angeles Times story — headlined “The O.C. Register’s supremely ghoulish financial strategy” — and use it “as a reminder of the kind of newspaper and journalism of which we want no part.”
“Life insurance is not ghoulish, nor are the people who sell it, nor are those who buy it,” says Kushner. “Life insurance, by its very nature, was created to benefit the people we love and care about most. That is why it exists. And in our particular case, that is exactly why we are buying it. …And in spite of what the LA Times would like you to believe, we’re not czarist Russians nor gamblers and the beneficiary of the insurance is not the company.”

Read Kushner’s memo staff after the jump. Read More

Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron’s says the Jeff Bezos-owned paper’s plans for 2014 include:

post* Lots of newsroom hiring;
* Creation of an 8 a.m. to midnight breaking-news desk;
* A website redesign “that should improve load speeds and navigation”; and
* An expanded Sunday magazine, “bigger in dimension and in the number of pages, with a new design and a range of new features.”

* Marty Baron on what’s to come in 2014 (
* Baron in 2012: Newspapers are badly bruised but not beaten (
* The Post passed on Ezra Klein’s project because “it just didn’t make sense for us” (

I’m told that hundreds — two tipsters claim two-thirds of the editorial staff — have been laid off by Patch’s new owner, Hale Global. I have asked the company for confirmation. (It bought Patch from AOL on January 15.)
Excerpt of the 10 a.m. ET conference call transcript:

Hi everyone, it’s [Patch COO] Leigh Zarelli Lewis. Patch is being restructured in connection with the creation of the joint venture with Hale Global. Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not. Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and today will be your last day of employment with the company. …Thank you again and best of luck.

* Listen to Patch COO’s you’ve-been-fired announcement (

Emails that are coming in from Patch employees, current and former:

“Technically, we were laid off by AOL. I presume that was a condition set by Hale. Second, I have it on good authority the layoffs were 80 to 90 percent of Patchers.”

“The patch years were years of being aol’s tool and plaything. Killed myself, almost literally. Left with literally nothing. Better off dead.”

“I was a local editor for Patch for 3.5 years, up until about an hour ago. ..We knew it was coming. but the silence from New York over the few months was deafening. They left us in a state of suspended animation. For those of us who killed ourselves working for this company, it was a real slap in the face.”

“Patch editors in Michigan were laid off today.”

“I was hired in 2010, survived two rounds of layoffs but not the third. I was told middle managers in editorial were on a call earlier this week and being asked about which local editors are worthy. Based on info from HQ, I had one of the top sites in all of Patch for the past 2 years, but now I’m on the outs. Sounds like politics and not performance is the deciding factor for most, if not all, of us.”

Dan Friedell writes: “When I was there I wrote 150 articles, video presentations, photo galleries, multimedia displays and things like that for Patch in northern Virginia from about October 2010 until early in 2012. My biggest worry about the way Patch has been handled right now is that all of the archive disappeared. My best work from that era is gone seemingly forever.”

Please send your Patch information to

Update: Patch senior vice president/revenue Jim Lipuma has also left the company. He writes on his blog: “I am unemployed. Long and short of it, I chose ‘Happiness.’ Now, I won’t go into details, as I have nothing but love for my organization and the people in it. It was an amazing journey, but today it ends.”


“Let me be clear to you,” Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm told NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto. “You ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.” ( | “Not an isolated incident,” says NY1. ( | Scotto: “He seemed angrier than I have ever seen a politician.” (
* Ex-staffer: “Grimm has anger issues. This is not the first time he’s tried to intimidate a reporter.” (
* Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden wants Facebook to disclose who’s behind a “Peaceful Rioters” page. (
* Time Inc. is expected to cut about 500 employees. (
* What political commentators tweeted about the State of the Union address: (
ajc* Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s editor and publisher served soup to staffers before they went out to cover the storm. (@AJCBuzz) | Today’s AJC front page: (
* “We’re not interested in innovation for the sake of innovation,” says First Look Media’s Eric Bates. (
* Digital First Media launches Project Unbolt, a plan to rebuild the newsroom from the ground up. (
* Orange County Register staffers are concerned about management’s plan to take out life insurance policies on some of its journalists. (
* How “brainiac” Melissa Harris-Perry landed her own cable news show. (
* Joe Scarborough‘s cocaine joke is edited out of the MSNBC “Morning Joe” 8 a.m. re-air. (
* “Don’t worry, be happy”: Conan O’Brien – again! – catches local anchors from across the U.S. reading the same script. (