Daily Archives: February 5, 2014


Definition: “The irrational hope that someone more knowing than the current executives and managers in the media business will, in deus ex machina fashion, transform your obsolete medium and save your job.”

* Michael Wolff on Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos (
* Washington Post loses more staffers to Ezra Klein’s venture (
* The Post will continue to invest in Wonkblog, says Marty Baron (

Press critic Karl Idsvoog on today’s CVS no-more-cigarette-sales news: “Why weren’t reporters questioning an industry supposedly concerned with health about why they continued to sell death?”

They were! respond Idsvoog blog commenters and Romenesko reader Todd Wallack.

“Other media have already done the drug store tobacco sales [story],” writes Wallack, who sends these links:
* Drugstore tobacco sales under fire (
* Health and hypocrisy at the drugstore (
* Board to vote on expanding ban on tobacco sales (

* How did newsrooms ignore such an obvious story (


KSAZ Fox 10 Phoenix morning news producer Juliana Vasquez‘s now-deleted tweet “is emblematic of the troublesome ‘what bleeds leads’ mentality of local news,” writes Sun Burns,crash “and a reminder that, despite the sympathy in the voice of the reporter, it’s these stories which drive the advertising revenue and keep producers needing the next big tragedy.”

As a cub police reporter, I’d mention to colleagues that a good triple-ax murder would make my shift fly by, but I never shouted that to the world.

* Fox 10 producer thankful for drunk crashing into home (

“Want to know what kind of class act David Cay Johnston is?” writes Romenesko reader Mark Obbie. “The Pulitzer winner, IRE president, best-selling author, and former NY Times reporter gave a talk in my small town recently. A reporter for the very small local daily covered it. Johnston then took the time to write a letter to the editor praising the reporter’s story, and in sufficient enough detail that it comes off not as thanks for a press-release story but genuine and gracious praise from a big name to a not-so-big name. You gotta like that.”

Here is Johnston’s letter to the 8,000-circulation Canandaigua (NY) Messenger Post:

Reporter John Addyman did a marvelous job in his very readable and smartly organized story about my remarks Sunday evening. 
Over the decades many hundreds of reporters have written up my talks on four continents. Many wrote so-so pieces. Addyman’s was a gem.

David Cay Johnston

David Cay Johnston

Addyman paid close attention to both the exact words spoken and the plethora of details. Addyman even captured perfectly a slip-up in my off-the-cuff remarks, where I left the impression that a fact came from a source I had just cited (the CIA) because when moving on to the next fact I did not name the source (the World Health Organization).

Most impressive than Addyman’s fidelity to what I said was how he put everything in appropriate context. Often journalists get the specific facts right, but without context or they give context, but rely on vagaries instead of telling details. Addyman got it all across clearly and solidly, evidently from taking notes while seated in the audience as I never met or even saw him. Synthesizing so much material in the hour or two before deadline requires a level of skill and critical self-evaluation that only comes from years of hard work and dedication to craft.

Bravo, John Addyman!

David Cay Johnston


* Journalist says reporter got it right (
* David Cay Johnston holds forth on politics and the press (

Update: After the jump, Johnston explains why he wrote his letter. Read More

* Downer of the day: UT San Diego’s “30 great songs that have something to do with heroin.” (
* New York Times’ Jill Abramson blasts New York Observer’s “Tyranny and Lethargy” “This article bears no relationship to reality,” says the executive editor. (
* Journalists in Sochi are tweeting their hotel horror stories. ( | (
* Chicago Tribune: “If there’s a gold medal for tweeting, we have a winner” with Stacy St. Clair‘s Sochi hotel water post. (
* Veteran Olympics writers are nervous about being in Sochi. (
* Conor Friedersdorf wonders what will Ezra Klein‘s Project X look like. (
* A new look for ( | They’ve been working on the redesign for a year. (
* Journalists should have long ago questioned why CVS was selling cigarettes. (
* Why doesn’t Gannett split up the company like everybody else is doing? The CEO responds: (
jay* A Center for Media and Public Affairs study finds that Jay Leno mocks Democrats more than Republicans. (
* “I don’t wanna be freewheeling on the Internet,” says comedian Sandra Bernhard. “I don’t want to engage with these people.” (
* BuzzFeed releases its Style Guide. (