Monthly Archives: May 2014

* Toledo Blade is closing its production and mailing facilities. The paper says 131 jobs will be lost. ( | The paper’s letter to the city: (@bladeguild)
exclam* You didn’t end your sentence with an exclamation mark!? How unfriendly of you! (
* The departing Philadelphia Inquirer marketing chief kicks up some dirt on his way out. “If our Inquirer product was a soup, it would have been taken off the store shelves,” he says. (
* Lewis Katz didn’t expect to own the Inquirer. (
* Sources say Long Beach Register is going from six days a week to just one. (
* Vice Media drops F-bombs on Gawker. (
* Jeff Zucker tells his staff how proud he is to work at CNN. (
* Coming to the New York Times: “A sort of rock and roll period of change.” (@davidfolkenflik)
* The Daily Southerner (Tarboro, NC), which has been around since the early 1800s, is folding. Its website will go dark, too. (
* A suburban Chicago woman says she laughed when she was ticketed for a Facebook post. (

Romenesko reader Daniel M. Jimenez reports this aired today on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. The contestant and audience incorrectly guessed New York Times.

-- From Erin Biba's post

“I can write and report a kickass story with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back. But the algorithm that decides how much I get paid for all that badass-ness doesn’t put any value on how good I am. It cares not at all how well written this story is or how much experience I have. All that’s important is how many times you guys click.” — Erin Biba

Romenesko: So, did people click on your story?
Biba: Shockingly, I have gotten quite a lot of clicks. At the moment it’s at about 8,200 — which has me netting roughly $200. That’s waaaaay more then I ever expected to make on this piece.

Erin Biba

Erin Biba

At first I thought, oh shit, this invalidates my whole argument. But now I’m thinking it actually proves my point even further. Here’s a piece that I wrote in 30 minutes, barely edited, and said stuff that I’d never write in a journalistic piece and I also BEGGED people to click on it and share widely.

The only reason it went viral is because I did all that stuff. If the piece had instead been highly researched, filled with facts and figures about the industry, totally unemotional, and a true piece of journalism that was actually informative, the pay-per-click model would have netted me significantly less money.

“While I’m all in favor of this new world of media startups, where truly well-intentioned people are trying to figure out how the heck to make money from journalism on the Internet, I just need to step up right now and call bullshit on pretty much all the algorithms.”

What are you hearing about your piece?
For the most part the reactions have been extremely positive. Of course my fellow writers have been cheering and patting me on the back. But I’ve heard great stuff from editors and non-media folks too. And even Evan (who co-runs Medium and who I used to work with at WIRED) said to me in a tweet that he agrees the pay-per-click model doesn’t value writers and we need to find a different model. He also mentioned that Medium is experimenting with different ways of paying now.

That said, I’ve been also getting some very negative responses from the startup and new media folks who think I’m championing the old way of doing things. They think anything new is good universally and don’t appear to be able to accept my constructive criticism. They also seem to gloss over the fact that in my rant I say that I love the Internet and am all for finding new outlets for Journalism, but this particular one just isn’t working.

They point out that $0.025 cents per click is an incredibly high CPM and I should just accept that or get out of the business all together. Which basically proves my point on may levels. There’s a huge disconnect between the Internet folks and the journalism folks. Nobody (even within journalism) seems to agree what a reasonable pay-rate is. I *can’t* just accept low pay and expect to live a life above the poverty line. And if I *do* accept it and quit journalism, then journalism changes in a way that I think is terrible — and becomes made up entirely of folks doing it for fun or on their off-hours and not really dedicating time to doing it in a serious way.

* Your newfangled media algorithms are bullshit ( | @erinbiba

You weren’t the first to use 101, Daily Meal.
101COVERSTimes restaurant critic Pete Wells responded to Colman Andrews: “You guys got off the ground in, what, 2011? Four years after this?” After getting beat up a bit in the replies, Andrews tweeted: “Aw, c’mon, I was just pulling @nytimes’s chain, as much as I respect it.”

* @Colmanandrews


* “Recovering journalist” (self-described) Amy Vernon on Instagram (

Update: Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers (

* Dean Baquet says one of his first jobs as executive editor “is to make sure that the turmoil which was inevitable [after Jill Abramson‘s dismissal] doesn’t get in the way of what The New York Times does best.” (
buzz2* There was also a lot of turmoil at Automobile magazine yesterday. ( | (
* Howard Kurtz wishes Brian Williams had asked Edward Snowden: “Why do you deserve to be let off scot-free?” (
* Another day, another Daily Mail plagiarism accusation. (
* The spelling bee fan favorite – not the winners – gets the cover of the News-Press. (Jacob Williamson is a local boy.) ( | “The most colorful participant.” ( | Daniel Williamson calls his son “a free-range chicken.” (
* Scrips National Spelling Bee? Scripts? No, it’s spelled Scripps. | Meet the spelling bee racists. ( | ( | Earlier: Scripps says it’s committed to the bee. (
* Vice Media doesn’t pay much. (“His employees are pissed that they can hardly afford rent in Brooklyn.”) (
* “Can you all please click the shit out of this story so I can make a few bucks on it?” requests newfangled media algorithm-hater Erin Biba. (
* How to interview nudists: Just maintain eye contact. (
* What the heck’s going on at The Wire? Staffers at The Atlantic property “were told that the editor-in-chief search had been halted and that departed staffers would not be replaced in the immediate future,” reports CJR. (
* Google buys Nest, then removes a big competitor from search results. (
* People’s front-of-book “Picks and Pans” is being bumped for “a new franchise that better reflects the ways people are consuming culture online.” (
cavett* Dick Cavett recalls his worst show. (His three guests were drunk.) (
* Buffalo News’ TV critic can’t interview a local news anchor for his “flattering goodbye piece” because the woman’s bosses won’t allow it. “Foolishness,” says Alan Pergament. (

-- Story passage from

— From

“Here’s an interesting example of blog ‘telephone tag,'” veteran journalist Hillel Levin tells Romenesko readers.
It was announced at Cannes this week that Levin’s Playboy article, “Boosting the Big Tuna,” will be made into a movie starring Robert DeNiro and Robert Pattinson.

“Entertainment reporters interviewed Pattinson in Cannes and I was surprised to see in their accounts that the dispute between [Chicago mob boss Tony] Accardo and [burglar John] Mendell involved a ‘porn’ shop,” writes Levin. “In fact it revolved around the burglary of Levinson’s Jewelers, which was also a high-end ‘pawn’ shop. I then realized that the reporters heard Pattinson pronounce ‘pawn’ as ‘porn.’

“Meanwhile as more blogs continued to report on the story, the ‘porn’ element took center stage until the grim action thriller turned into a sex comedy. This blog tried to follow the thread. I tried to set the record straight here.”

* Small-time crooks accidentally rob a porn store owned by mob boss (


Transcribed from The New Yorker’s “Out Loud” podcast, hosted by New Yorker website editor Nicholas Thompson.

Nicholas Thompson: So, Ken, you recently set the Internet on fire. You wrote a post that that I believe has had 1.3 million readers so far, about the firing of Jill Abramson of the New York Times. Tell me about the moment it happened, how you heard, and how you went about writing your blog post, which appeared maybe three hours after the news hit.

Ken Auletta: It was 2:36 in the afternoon. I was sitting in front of my Mac, and I was working on the Hillary piece and there flashed across my screen a notice – I get push notices from the New York Times and other places – Jill Abramson been fired, and I said, Oh, wow.

Then Amy Davidson, who works for you, emails me literally within minutes. Have you heard about this? Can you do anything? And I was so shocked and curious what happened, so I began to make calls. And I called someone I know who’s extremely close to her, and this person first didn’t want to talk, and I called this person back five minutes later and then this person told me some things about her pay – the pay issue – as one of the issues, and that she had hired a lawyer, which became a bigger issue. …

If a man you call tough, and a woman you call pushy or bitchy – that’s a form of gender-based attitude, and that may well exist here with her. Certainly Jill Abramson felt that. That’s really a central thing. Clearly it was in Jill Abramson’s mind that she as a woman was being treated unfairly, which is why she hired a lawyer – my God! – and that act, which was not a team-like act, was something that was deeply offensive to Sulzberger. …

* Out Loud: Ken Auletta on Media (

- From The Huffington Post's home page

– From The Huffington Post’s home page

No, Huffington Post, this is a huge blunder (remember that?):

-- From The Huffington Post, December 9, 2013

— From The Huffington Post, December 9, 2013

* “Huge blunder”: New York Times has a page one headline typo (
* HuffPo: We incorrectly called Hawaii an independent country (

Call Comcast when your Internet goes down and you’ll be asked to describe your customer service experience. Hire Home Depot to install your carpet (as I recently did) and they’ll follow up to see if the job was done right.

And now…..

Fail in your attempt to get hired by NBCUniversal and you’ll be asked to fill out a survey.

A Romenesko reader writes:

I’ve never received a request to participate in a survey for a potential employer before. I didn’t get far in the process in a job I applied for at NBCUniversal,nbc but I thought it was an interesting concept.

Is this a positive, beneficial step to aid job hunters? Or, is this just adding insult to injury? If I’m busy sending out cover letters, do I really have time to answer your company’s questions about a process that concluded with my not being chosen? I wonder if other media companies are using this “The Talent Board.”

Here’s the letter that my tipster received:

From: NBCUniversal Talent Acquisition (NBCUniversal)
Date: Wed, May 28, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Subject: NBCUniversal Candidate Experience Survey

Dear XXXX,
Within the last twelve months you applied to NBCUniversal for employment and we would like your feedback on your experience. We are working with a third party, non-profit organization, The Talent Board, to analyze and improve the experience that we deliver to our employment candidates. The Talent Board is administering the survey on our behalf.

We are inviting you to influence us. We want feedback from anyone who applied for a job with us – no matter how far you went in the process. Your participation in this brief 10-20 minute online survey will help us to provide a better candidate experience to future job seekers.

Please click here to start your survey, or click on the “Tell Us What You Think” icon below.

Thank you in advance for your participation!

I called The Talent Board – “a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the candidate experience,” according to the phone recording – and left a message.