Daily Archives: February 13, 2014

A Marin Independent Journal reporter’s announcement to Facebook friends:

See that passage in the “About Parkmoble” portion of this release.

Mara tells Romenesko readers: “When I started the joke, I was at Adweek covering the dotcom boom in 1999, and I used it with fellow techno-journalists. Over the years I continued to mock the endless stream of pathetic and meaningless cliches emanating from Silicon Valley as a reporter at the Hayward (Calif.) Daily Review and the Oakland Tribune.”

* Janis Mara: My joke jargon showed up in an actual press release (


A journalist from Austin writes: “I didn’t want to make a fool of myself for being behind the cultural curve, but has the word fart become accepted? It surprised me and I couldn’t think of anyone who would have a bead on this latest degradation.” Online? Why not? I’ve heard it used on “family” TV shows. (I just checked the American-Statesman’s print edition and didn’t see the hed used there.) Go ahead and share your thoughts in comments.

Update — I asked the paper about the fart hed and got this clever response from managing editor John Bridges:

fartFortunately, flatulence is rare in news coverage, and, like everyone, we try not to air it in public. But occasionally it does slip out. Our frank choice of wording might be jarring to the more delicate of sensitivities, but we didn’t set out to make a stink or even a journalistic statement. So, we must stand behind the headline – or perhaps we’ll just blame the dog.

Update 2 — From the Fargo Forum: “Assault alleged at jail after repeated farting, racial slur.”

* Police officer kicked, farted on co-worker/check out the comments (

The conservative Media Research Center often urges liberal news outlets to TELL THE TRUTH, but the Reston, VA-based press watchdog isn’t telling the truth about its own leader: Brent Bozell doesn’t write the syndicated column that appears under his byline.

Brent Bozell (pictured here) wants the media to tell the truth

Brent Bozell (pictured here) wants the media to tell the truth

It is longtime MRC media analysis director Tim Graham who writes “almost everything published under [Bozell’s] name,” a former MRC employee tells me in an email. “That includes his weekly column. Same goes for his books, which at least carry Graham’s name in a secondary billing, but also aren’t written by Bozell (but Bozell keeps 80-90% of the advance and all profits!)”

Two other people with ties to MRC confirmed that Graham is Bozell’s ghostwriter – and that Graham is not happy with the assignment.

“Tim just resents having to do it,” says a former employee.

Graham’s wife, too, is so angry about the arrangement that she refuses to attend Media Research Center events.

“She hates Bozell,” I’m told. “The forced ghostwriting is the issue,” says an ex-employee. (Laura Haugan Graham did not respond to an email sent Wednesday via Facebook. I also emailed Bozell and Graham for comment on Wednesday, but did not get responses. I called the Media Research Center offices on Wednesday and left a message that wasn’t returned.)

Tim Graham (left) writes the column; Brent Bozell (right) gets the byline

Tim Graham (left) writes the column; Brent Bozell (right) gets the byline

I was advised to contact a third MRC employee who, I was told, would confirm Graham’s ghostwriting duties. He did that, but defended the practice of “people signing off on agreeable words written for them.” He asked me: “How many speeches has Obama written the last ten years? Should he have prefaced the State of the Union with ‘My fellow Americans – I didn’t write this?'”

I asked Pittsburgh Tribune-Review colunnist and National Society of Newspaper Columnists president Eric Heyl about this remark. He said:

“The argument that the columnist should be allowed to use a ghostwriter because the president has speechwriters is as limp as pasta left overnight in boiling water. The comparison is ludicrous. The columnist doesn’t have to spend much of his time dealing with a dysfunctional Congress or fretting over Iran’s nuclear program.”

The column with Bozell’s name is distributed by Creators Syndicate. Earlier this week I asked Creators about its ghostwriting policy, but did not name Bozell at the time because I was still trying to get additional confirmation. I sent my email to Aimee Kuvadia at Creators — the column is emailed to her by Graham — but got a response from Creators president Rick Newcombe. He wrote:

Aimee sent me your email, which I found strange. Obviously someone is spreading malicious gossip about someone else, whether it is true or not. If you know of one of our columnists who supposedly is not writing the column but rather “assigning an underling to pen them (an underling who is not credited),” I think it only fair that you tell us who has been accused of this so we can talk to the columnist. Yes, we expect all of our columnists to write their own columns, though we understand that some work closely with researchers.

From Tim Graham's computer to Creators Syndicate

From Tim Graham’s computer to Creators Syndicate

On Wednesday afternoon, I gave Bozell’s name to the Creators president. Newcombe responded this morning (with my boldface):

It is absolutely false to say that Brent Bozell does not write his column. … I remember years ago when Brent suggested that he share the byline for his column with Tim, and I said it would be better for us to promote a single individual. We have decided, however, that since Tim works so closely with Brent on the column, we have changed it to a joint byline. But I will say it again, it is absolutely incorrect to claim that ‘Brent Bozell does not write the column you distribute.'”

I read that statement to the ex-MRC staffer who tipped me off about the column. His response:

“Oh wow, that is classic” — and wrong, he said. “What they really need to do is make it Tim’s column and take Brent’s name off it.”

* MTV “Real World” creator Jonathan Murray gives $6.7 million for a documentary journalismimages program at Missouri’s journalism school. ( | Earlier: What the stars from MTV’s “The Paper” are doing now. (
* New York Times is close to naming a magazine editor. (
* New York Times Magazine’s Wendy Davis cover story is criticized. (
* The Truth About Cars: We’ve disciplined the writer who lifted from Automotive News and we’re discontinuing our “TTAC Staff” byline. (
* Ken Auletta explains why Comcast wants to buy Time Warner Cable. ( | Winners and losers in the deal. (
* Orange County Register publisher Aaron Kushner is launching a new weekly called Desert Enterprise. (
* Global Post hasn’t made money after five years. “We’re doing well, but the road (to profitability) is longer than we might have thought,” says founder Phil Balboni. (
* Why writers procrastinate. (
* Six Columbia University journalism students launch The 545, a site focused on the Indian general elections. (
* A critic says the author of “The News” doesn’t have many real suggestions for people reporting the news. (
* Legendary Washington Post military correspondent George C. Wilson is dead. (

“I spoke to a business journalism class today at Medill-Northwestern University. My 10-year-old daughter took notes,” writes best-selling author and ChicagoSide editor-in-chief Jonathan Eig. (It appears he stayed away from the usual guest-speaker themes.) h/t @daniellibit

* If you don’t want to write about something, make yourself want to * What everyone’s doing how I do it better and different * Take another story + make it yours * Antena [sic] up .. think