Monthly Archives: February 2014

City Paper staff writer’s tweet:

What was censored: “The missing Mr. Wrong and other indiscretions,” by editor Evan Serpick. (The outgoing owner – not the Baltimore Sun – “was concerned that ‘dirty laundry’ was being aired. And that we had lost our objectivity,” reports Ericson.)


“Times Shamrock [the company that’s selling City Paper to the Sun] now demanding CP Twitter and Facebook passwords,” tweets Ericson. “Presumably so they can fuck with editorial postings there.”

* Follow @EdwardEricsonJr for the latest developments.

* Under pressure from advertisers, City Paper spikes a review (
* Eight fulltime employees laid off from City Paper this week (

Update: As predicted, a post headlined “Times-Shamrock CEO discusses decision to control City Paper social media” was taken down. Read the piece after the jump. Read More

On Thursday, Wichita Business Journal editor Bill Roy told readers how the paper got its interview with Charles Koch. “[We] agreed to some terms, including some topics, photography and taking no more than 45 minutes of his time,” Roy wrote.

Charles Koch

Charles Koch

I asked the editor if Koch talked about the media and his interest in newspapers. (He was said to be eyeing Tribune’s papers at one time.) Also, I asked what topics couldn’t be discussed. Here is Roy’s response:

We did not discuss media interests. We did ask him about other companies or industries that he might be interested in, but he did not name media in the response.

In talking with his media liason we agreed to give them a set of sample questions and topics we might touch upon. We told them we would respect his time, and I committed to no more than 45 minutes for the interview.

They did not reject any topics or sample questions. We had a longer list and pared it down so we could hit all the topics we wanted to hit in the allotted time.

I don’t feel we were restricted to “safe” questions. …I wanted to make sure to touch on topics that my Wichita readers would want to know about, realizing that there would be national interest in his comments as well.

In the interview, Koch says that “we’ve been called every name under the sun. And some of this stuff is ridiculous.” He complains that “you cannot have a conversation with [some critics]. Either they’re just intent on anything to demonize us and destroy us and discredit us, or they’re just in outer space.”

* Charles Koch sits down with the Wichita Business Journal (
* What the paper did to get its Koch interview (

“We’d be lying if we said times weren’t a bit tough and all is not so quiet on the financial front,” University of Massachusetts Daily Collegian editor-in-chief Stephen Hewitt tells his readers. “So we’re innovating – but only a bit.”

The paper, he says, has recently reduced circulation and eliminated the Friday edition. Now, having an ad take over the front page “is an innovative (though not unheard of) tactic to help aid our funding.”

Former Daily Collegian staffers are discussing the ad in a public Facebook thread. One says: “The worst thing is the pain of seeing the paper’s slogan in the corner in this context: ‘A free and independent press’.”

* Editor’s note: Why we ran a full-page ad on Wednesday’s cover (
* Wednesday’s Massachusetts Daily Collegian (

Update: From Saturday’s Tampa Tribune:

Times officials declined to answer questions about the newspaper’s finances, but a review of their financial records show a company in declining financial health.

* Tampa Bay Times financials strained (
* The Poynter Institute is struggling too (

A commenter says he’s been told that the Tampa Bay Times newsroom will shrink by 10%, and that the copy desk will be hit the hardest.tampa “In addition, the regional sections will be published only once a week,” the commenter reports, and adds:

[Times staffers] also learned that the paper has hired a consulting firm to help it get through the current financial storm. The consultants reported — almost certainly with executive direction — that the Times’ copy desk is far bigger than those at comparably sized newspapers. …

There’s unconfirmed word that the consulting firm mentioned previously was mandated by the company that gave the Times a $28 million loan in December. Boston’s Crystal Financial LLC — a company that specializes in “making loans to companies who require more debt capital than is currently made available from traditional lenders,” according to its investment profile — provided the loan, which matures in 2016.

The post matches what I was told in an email yesterday afternoon. (Same person? I don’t know.) Here’s what my tipster reported: “10% of staff being laid off between now and September, and more beyond that if it doesn’t do the trick. Regional editions being scaled back to once a week, from twice. Layoffs begin on copy desk and move through newsroom. Deep financial troubles after stupidly gambling Tampa Trib would go out of business and spending millions to try to make that happen.”

Tampa Bay Times is owned by the Poynter Institute, which is also struggling.

I asked Times editor Neil Brown about the commenter’s report, but haven’t received a reply. (I emailed him at 7:54 a.m. today.) I also called Crystal Financial yesterday and didn’t get a return call. If you know anything about the Times situation, please drop me a line.

* Report: More Tampa Bay Times cuts coming (

Reading the Times-Picayune's TP Street with a magnifying glass

Reading the Times-Picayune’s TP Street with a magnifying glass

Robert Morris of the Uptown Messenger in New Orleans, who has been covering Mardi Gras, tells Romenesko readers: “I almost didn’t notice but the rear of the float about the [New Orleans] Advocate lampooned the Times-Picayune’s tabloid edition. I attached a pic of that [at right].

“Muses also had a float about [Advocate owner John] Georges: ‘The emperor’s new clothes,’ but unfortunately we didn’t get a shot of it. (He doesn’t look too bothered by it in this Instagram I just found.)”

The second photo on this page mocks Georges’ purchase of the Advocate.

Morris adds: “It’s interesting that the satirical focus has shifted to The Advocate this year. But more broadly, if you want any explanation of why a small city like New Orleans has two major newspapers, I think the fact that the city cares enough about them to parade giant floats about them through the streets on a yearly basis should help explain it.”

* Earlier: Times-Picayune launches TP Street tabloid (

* In defense of hatchet jobs. (
best* There is no best journalism school in America. (
* New York Times Co. was the “revenue leader” in 2013, with a decline of just 1.1%. (
* Oops! A Michigan newspaper says the person interviewed for a story last month wasn’t a congressional candidate; the reporter dialed the wrong number. (
* New York Observer editor Ken Kurson tells us more about the “ice cream guy.” (
* “Headlines sure look a lot like tweets these days.” ( via @matthewi)
* Report: Philadelphia Inquirer city editor’s tough performance reviews made some journalists cry. (
* New York magazine’s Kevin Roose: “I have a standing desk and a sitting desk, that I custom built – basically a blogger cockpit.” (
* Former New York Post investigative reporter Brad Hamilton launches a social justice site. (
* University of Scranton newspaper pushes to get more information from administrators, including campus crime reports. (
* NPR’s David Folkenflik takes a look at changes at the Oregonian. (
* “I’m a big Sean Hannity fan,” says Ted Cruz. (
* Bill Lucey‘s new Daily News Gems site “draws attention to exemplary works of journalism.” (
* Weekly editor just isn’t into the job anymore, so he quits. (

Letter to Romenesko
From STEVE CHAPMAN (pictured), Chicago Tribune columnist: After cancelling Brent Bozell’s column upon learning it was ghostwritten, the editorial page editorchapman of the Quad City Times said Bozell and his assistant “are among the old-time columnists who keep cranking 700 word columns for print products with 500-word spaces.”

As a 700-word guy of long standing, I’m curious to know if other editors feel op-ed columns should be much shorter.

Post in comments, or send me an email to post. || Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers.

* Earlier: Bozell/Graham crank out 700-word columns for 500-word spaces (

The list was first posted here about a year ago and, at last check, had 193 comments.

From Robert Draper’s “John Dingell and the Tea Party” in Politico Magazine

Update: I emailed Alex Storozynski of the Kosciuszko Foundation after being told that he contacted Draper. He replied:

Draper said he would take out the word “Polack” from his copy. The word Polack in the U.S. is a derogatory term for Polish immigrants and as I am the son of immigrants, for me it means someone is making fun of my parents. …

If he changes the copy as he has promised to do, I think that would settle it.

It’s still in his story, as of 5 p.m. ET.

* “It appears the writer employed a paraphrased stream-of-consciousness in that segment” (
* John Dingell and the Tea Party ( | @draperrobert

Orlando Sentinel photographers have been told their old positions are being eliminated and they have until tomorrow to apply for new “videocentric” jobs at the Tribune-owned newspaper, according to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA.
Staffers will learn on March 10 if they still have a job with the paper. The Sentinel currently has nine staff photographers, “and in the new job definitions there will only be five positions where that’s what the person does primarily,” a Sentinel source tells NPPA. That person adds:

There are two new positions defined as ‘mobile photojournalists’ who will be shooting video in the field on iPhones or iPads, not using DSLR cameras, and posting video to the Web. And there will be two video editing positions, two video coordinator positions, and two manager’s positions.

In an email and a phone message, I asked in Sentinel design, graphics and multimedia editor Todd Stewart about NPPA’s report. I also asked editor Avido Khahaifa for comment. Update: Khahaifa’s secretary said the editor wasn’t available to speak to me. She promised to give him my number. | If you know more, or have memos, please contact me at

* Photo upheaval at Orlando Sentinel (