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Daily Archives: June 17, 2014

Morris Communications – publisher of the Florida Times-Union, Augusta Chronicle, Topeka Capital-Journalmorrs and other papers – is launching a youth-oriented program called Renaissance of American Responsibility (ROAR) — “a one-stop shop for those interested in America’s founding principles of limited government; individual liberty; self-determination; free markets; property rights and more.”

The lead post on roar.us complains about Republicans having “an awful brand” even though they have “a terrific product.”

Morris newspapers veteran Michael Ryan is behind the project. He’s been editorial page editor at the Topeka and Augusta newspapers.

* Morris seeks social media/website manager for roar.us | roar.us

— h/t Charles Ward

Letter to Romenesko
From TOM ZELLER JR., freelancer and former New York Times staffer: Perhaps it’s unremarkable in the big scheme of things, but I’m surprised to find that Google News pushes unqualified “news” stories that appear to come from outfits called “Health Care News” and “Budget & Tax News,”heart but in reality link to items published by The Heartland Institute, a conservative/libertarian think tank that, most notably in my world of environmental and climate reporting, espouses profoundly unscientific views on global warming.

I’ve tweeted about this a couple of times — and I accept that Google News aggregates material from a wide variety of sources, from FOX News to The Huffington Post and everything in between. But it doesn’t seem to pass the smell test when there is literally nothing to suggest to a Google News user that these items, which are being offered up as journalism, are nothing of the sort — and indeed, are often vehicles of disinformation. An example of the sorts of headlines and source identifiers that crop up can be seen here. Click on any of the results and you’ll see where you end up.

Not sure what Google would have to say about it [I’ve asked], and I’d argue that such items have no place turning up in a news feed at all. But if they are to be included, they ought to at least bear the actual name of the organization that is publishing them, and ideally be labeled as opinion. My suspicion is that Heartland has found a clever way to game the Google News aggregation algorithm in order to disguise its name and draw readers into its content unawares.

Zeller just completed a one-year Knight Science Fellowship at MIT.

Update – Google spokesperson Maggie Shiels responds:
“You will see from our Help Center (User) page: Sites included in Google News that we include a wide array of different kinds of sites and publications with a huge range of perspectives and opinions – which Heartland falls under.

“The publisher did have many sources in our database under multiple names, but these have been consolidated under “http://heartland.org” – in line with our policy of ‘one domain, one name’ and appropriately combined their sections.”

minusScripps Treasure Coast Newspapers columnist Russ Lemmon wrote a piece [subscription required] last Thursday about U.S. Postal Service carrier Benjamin Minus (right) retiring after 42 years with the Vero Beach post office. “As the first black letter carrier in Indian River County, Minus was regularly subjected to blatant racism by some of the people on his route back in the 1970s,” Lemmon wrote. “Their comments were downright cruel, but he delivered mail to them anyway.”

Two days later, the columnist received this congrats-on-your-retirement letter from Rep. Bill Posey:

congressnewletter

In a column that’s behind a paywall, Lemmon writes today:

How Posey’s office got the wires mixed up is a real head-scratcher.

I realize Posey has more than 700,000 constituents, and congratulatory letters are mailed out on a routine basis, so mistakes are bound to happen.

Lemmon: Not retiring.

Lemmon: Not retiring – or delivering mail

But, geez, this one is a whopper — because of the “humor” value.

On Monday morning, I showed the letter to one of my colleagues, reporter Elliott Jones, and he planted his tongue in his cheek before responding:

“So, you’ve been moonlighting at the post office all these years, eh?”

Posey’s office declined to comment, which tells me they take things way too seriously in the nation’s capital.

We all make mistakes — goodness knows I’ve made my share during a 29-year career — and sometimes you just have to laugh them off.

- The newspaper was confiscated because of this note

– The newspaper was confiscated because of this note

The principal of Neshaminy High School confiscated the student newspaper’s last issue of the school year because editors refused to run a letter advocating use of the word “Redskins.” A day later – at graduation – the newspapers mysteriously reappeared, reports Keith Olbermann. His ESPN show script from last night:

And a bizarre victory for the student journalists at Neshaminy High School in Pennsylvania — where they are trying to stop the administration from **forcing** them to print the racist name of the school’s sports team.

Months ago, the school newspaper editorial board voted 14 to 7 to no longer refer to the name quote “Redskins” unquote. They didn’t demand it be changed, or refuse to cover the teams’ games, or call for a fan boycott.

Administrators responded by telling them they **had** to refer to the teams by the name.

Last week, the paper received a letter to the editor from a student — the son of a School Board member — who said refusing to use the name was a violation of **his** First Amendment rights. The letter included the word and, using the Associated Press style book instructions for how to print an obscene or offensive word, they included the capital letter “R” and then seven dashes for the remaining letters.

Editors say in a meeting with Principal Robert McGee and others, they were told they had to print the letter with the word spelled out, or the paper wouldn’t be published.

The editors cut out the middle man and talked to — the printers.

The letter was removed outright and replaced by an editor’s note explaining the situation.

When copies of the newspaper arrived at the school Friday, staffers began to handle it out, only to find Principal McGee following them and **confiscating** as many copies as he could grab. One student said they saw McGee with a **cart** full of newspapers.

**That** was Friday.

Even more startling, at graduation the next day, Neshaminy students arrived to find their newspapers on tables and nobody preventing them from distributing them.

One editor told me they guessed the school’s attorney explained to the Principal that he couldn’t actually take the papers. I’m guessing somebody may have also explained the 1st Amendment, which protects you only from the **government** punishing you for free speech, and that if anybody in this equation is the government — it’d be the local school board.

* Can student journalists ban “Redskins” from their school paper? (npr.org)


* New York Times doesn’t hesitate to open the bank vault for its top execs. (reuters.com)
* Jack Shafer asks: “How did anonymous sourcing become the rule rather than the exception in American journalism?” (blogs.reuters.com)johnny
* Former Salt Lake Tribune employees want the paper to cut business ties with rival Deseret News. (sltrib.com)
* Cleveland Plain Dealer drops PolitiFact. (cjr.org)
* Nice job, Philadelphia Inquirer sports department. (sportingnews.com) | “Best USMNT front page.” (sbnation.com) | “Headline winner.” (@jensenoffcampus)
* Louisville Courier-Journal executive editor Neil Budde, who recently laid off his managing editor and metro editor, discusses changes at the Gannett paper. (wfpl.org)
* Will Shortz‘s 23-year-old assistant brings a youthful and female perspective to the Times crossword puzzle. (fastcompany.com)
* Michael Hiltzik: NBC News paid Chelsea Clinton $600,000 a year to curry favor with her family. (latimes.com)
* “[Chris Hedges‘s] talk went on despite recent accusations that he had plagiarized materials from a variety of sources in his past reporting.” (bangordailynews.com)
* New York Times is getting closer to charging for its new cooking site. (digiday.com)
* Morale committee recommendation? There’s a new fruit cart in the New York Times newsroom. (observer.com)
* Virginian-Pilot: “We will lose the op-ed page and publish just one opinion page per day, Monday through Saturday.” (hamptonroads.com) ­
* Stick to radio and get off Twitter, Ira Glass! (@iraglass)
* It’s time to kill the word disruption. (nymag.com)
* Dick Cavett: “The majority of television, by definition, is always crap” but “that which is up at the top is wonderful.” (chicgaotribune.com)
* Veteran editor Dave Burgin, who was often recruited to save dying newspapers, is dead at 75. (sfppc.blogspot.com)
* Josh Rottenberg, who was recently laid off from Entertainment Weekly, joins the Los Angeles Times. (mediabistro.com)
* Huffington Post apparently will post anything – and keep it online until someone points it out. (seattletimes.com) | (seattletimes.com)