Daily Archives: February 26, 2014

* “Old school” reporter Frank Munger‘s disclosure: “I’m not covering these topics because I’m gay. I’m covering them because they are issuesfull of growing national interest.” (
* Alex Pareene calls NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin “Wall Street’s most valuable flack.” (
* People won’t be publishing photos of celebs’ kids against their parents’ wishes. (
* The Mercury News considers a return to downtown San Jose. (
* NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan now realizes she doesn’t know what journalism will look like in 2020. (Nobody does!) (
* Adam Lashinsky: “LinkedIn’s ‘publishing platform’ looks more and more like a media property.” (
* Daily Caller staffers’ pay is now based in part on web traffic success. (
* Your local alt-weekly hasn’t been a weekly in a long time. (
* Marc Andreessen‘s tweets about news on a single page: (
* University of Wisconsin-Madison Daily Cardinal’s diversity issue is funded with a grant from the Capital Times. (
* What wasn’t in Purdue’s investigation of a student photojournalist’s detention. (
* The owner of the Baton Rouge/New Orleans Advocate says he has no plans to run for Louisiana governor, “but I wouldn’t rule it out.” ( | He says: “My social policies, my positions on certain litmus tests like gay marriage, abortion and all that, are on the conservative side.” (
* Report: Alec Baldwin has said no to a proposed panel that includes Nick Denton. (

The Gazette Company, owners of the Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, tell employees that effective March 1,gazette they’ll no longer receive payment of their unused PTO (personal time off) balance when they leave the company.

“First, it is a financially prudent move,” says a company memo. “PTO balances have accumulated over the years and most recently, the total unused PTO across the company was in excess of 40,000 hours. This represents a huge liability on our balance sheet. …

“Second, and more importantly, we believe that employees should have opportunities to enjoy time away from work.”

Read the memo after the jump. Read More

This is a rumor that’s been circulating at Indiana University’s School of Journalism:

Pulitzer-winning journalist and IU Journalism School Professor of Practice Tom French received a job offer from Arizona State University, took it to his bosses at IU and said he’d leave unless they hired his wife, Kelley Benham French, a Tampa Bay Times editor and reporter.

I’m told the rumor was recently brought up at a journalism faculty meeting, and that interim j-school dean Lesa Hatley Major declined to discuss it. “Her response,” my source says, “was that this was something that was being handled at a level higher than hers.”

Tom and Kelley French, with daughter Juniper

Tom and Kelley French, with daughter Juniper

I wanted to check out the reports I was hearing before contacting the Frenches.

IU School of Journalism spokesperson Anne Kibbler told me in an email: “All personnel issues at IU are confidential, so I’m afraid I can’t help you.”

A source suggested I contact IU provost Lauren Robel. I did, but she never responded.

I asked in an email to Arizona State University j-school dean Chris Callahan if he offered a job to Tom French. He didn’t respond, so I called his office. His secretary called back and said Callahan was traveling and he wanted to know what I was calling about. I never was able to speak with him.

Finally, I sent separate emails to the Frenches. Both responded.

“I’d heard you were possibly reporting on this and am glad to help if I can,” Tom wrote. “I can confirm that Kelley plans to join the faculty of IU’s new Media School as a professor of practice and start teaching in the fall.”

He added:

“The report of an offer from Arizona State is incorrect. Kelley and I have tremendous respect for the journalism program at ASU and for their brilliant dean, Chris Callahan, who has been a mentor to Kelley since her grad school days at Maryland. Chris invited us out to Phoenix early this past December to give a talk on Kelley’s Tampa Bay Times series about our micro preemie daughter and about our joint book project on the same subject. By that time, though, Kelley was deep into a conversation with Indiana about joining the faculty in Bloomington.”

Regarding the alleged ultimatum:

I have heard the rumor, apparently passed along by one or more of my colleagues, that I delivered an ultimatum and threatened to quit if IU didn’t hire Kelley. I can only theorize on the motives driving whoever is spreading this nonsense. Clearly they don’t have much interest in checking their facts, or they would have simply walked down the hall and talked to me. It’s a curious lapse in someone teaching journalism, where facts are the foundation of all that we do.

Tom French won his feature-writing Pulitzer in 1998 when he was at the St. Petersburg Times. A decade later, he accepted an offer to join the Indiana University j-school faculty. Kelley, though, stayed in Florida.

“She had more journalism to do, so she stayed at the Times, where she edited two Pulitzer finalists and wrote a third, her series on our daughter,” says Tom. “I have been commuting between Bloomington and St. Petersburg every week for the past four and a half years. ..The logistics were wearing, both to me and Kelley. Our daughter Juniper is two now, and she gets upset when either one of us leaves the room, much less flies off to a job a thousand miles away. Over the past year, we realized that we needed to get our lives together in one zip code or another.”

Kelley says: “This move helps Tom and I simplify our lives, and it allows me to get back to doing what I love most: working closely with talented writers to tell the best stories of their lives. I can’t wait to get started.”

She adds: “It’s sad if anyone thinks I need my husband to arm-twist someone to get me a job. Maybe someone saw an episode of Mad Men and got confused, but in my world, my qualifications have so far been enough. My credentials are not hard to look up, and I’m not hard to reach. Everyone is welcome to visit my classes and see the exciting work that my students and I are going to do together. There will no doubt be lessons on reporting and fact checking which might be of particular use to anyone who thinks rumors have a place in our profession.”

As I was working on this post this morning, Indiana University officially announced Kelley’s appointment.

Veteran Baltimore Sun editorial writer Peter Jensen posted this on his Facebook wall (Friends-only setting):

One year ago today, The Sun lost its inspirational leader. It is a pity that the institution that she worked so hard to maintain – and continues to produce outstanding journalism – must suffer somesun cheap shots this week because its ownership had the temerity to buy a local tabloid with Village Voice aspirations.

The Sun is not the newspaper it was a decade ago but I’d put its current staff up against any I’ve encountered in my 28 years here. They are more creative, harder working, smarter and more energetic than the print-averse ownership has any right to expect from mere mortals. I am proud of what my co-workers are able to produce each day in print and online and I am confident Mary Corey would be, too.

I’ve asked Jensen about the “cheap shots” he mentions. Update: Jensen refers me to this Gawker piece and today’s City Pages commentary.

* February 26, 2013: Baltimore Sun editor Mary Corey dies at 49 (

Update 2:

That would be the Sun.

Hey, David Steinberg (the journalist, not the comedian), is this a joke?
* David Steinberg, “Coby Desk Cheif” ( | Update: David posts about this in comments.
* J-student: “Who gives a shit about research when a teacher is excelling so much at connecting with the kids in his class.” (
* Reporters aren’t allowed to ask MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow personal questions at a Princeton Club benefit tonight. ( | Wrong, says Farrow’s rep. (
* A freelancer says the New York Observer wanted a negative piece on New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman while he wanted to report it objectively. He got off the story. (
* Ex-Observer media reporter Sridhar Pappu: “For the sake of everyone who once loved the paper can @jaredkushner just rename the @NewYorkObserver the Trump-Kushner retaliation weekly?” (@sridharpappu)
* Ex-Observer editor Kyle Pope is revamping some Manhattan weeklies. (
* UC Berkeley drops hyperlocal news site Mission Local. (
* Dallas hyperlocal news site Pegasus News is swallowed up. ( | Farewell letter
dilbert* Journalists at Philadelphia’s dailies are being introduced to performance reviews. (Of course, there are staff concerns. “The guild tends to be against reviews,” says its president.) (
* New York Times Co. allocated $55.6 million of its New England newspapers sale to the Boston Globe and $7 million for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. (
* An activist hedge fund that’s taking a 2.5% stake in Tribune sees the company as “a treasure trove of value.” (
* Comments currently on will vanish with the debut of a new comments platform. (
* Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones interviewed Sting at Tribune Tower yesterday. (
* Reddit moderators delete “one of the most important stories ever leaked by Snowden.” ( | Reddit has a new live-reporting feature. (