Daily Archives: June 24, 2014


“We got the tip [on the KFC hoax] last Wednesday,” Laurel (Miss.) Leader-Call owner Jim Cegielski told me in a phone chat this afternoon. “We were reluctant [to go with it] at first, but only because we didn’t have all the sources we needed. Once we got the strongest sources to cooperate with us, we were 100% positive we had the story. …It took us about five days to put together.”

The 7,500-circulation thrice-weekly paper has gotten calls from national media outlets — “CNN interviewed me,” says Cegielski — but the journalist who exposed the hoax isn’t around to talk about his scoop. Managing editor Sean Murphy went from the KFC probe to covering politics. “He’s on the bus with the [Senate] candidates,” says editor Mark Thornton.

The Leader-Call’s small staff has been working all day to keep their website up. “It’s been down for 50% of the time,” says Cegielski. The paper had 67,000 hits before noon, and expects – even with the frequent crashes – to make six-figures by the end of the day. Editor Thornton says gets 8,000 hits on a typical day.

* Kentucky Fried Hoax (
* Earlier: Leader-Call gets support after being criticized for gay marriage story (

Update: Read the comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers


- From today's Bangor Daily News

– From today’s USM Free Press

The commenter who set the Bangor Daily News straight on “Smiling Bob”:


* “A previous version of this story incorrectly noted…” (

Northwestern University’s handling of the “Itegrated” diploma embarrassment gets a Medill F from one of the school’s PR professors.

“They should have apologized profusely and immediately,” says Clarke L. Caywood, who teaches crisis management PR. He also says the misspelling should have been corrected before the diplomas were handed to students.
“Those diplomas could have been redone in an hour or two,” he claims. (Actually, it’s not clear if administrators knew about the misspelling when they handed the diplomas to grads.)

The mistake was all over social media and got national media attention. Medill probably could have avoided some of the negative press if it had answered a few questions on Saturday.

Medill grad Kit Fox was the first to let me know about the misspelling. Ten minutes later I sent this email to Northwestern spokesman Alan Cubbage: “Hi Alan, my readers have pointed out the misspelling on the Medill diplomas. Who is responsible for that? The school? An outsourced printing firm? Didn’t anyone at Medill notice it before Saturday?”

He didn’t respond. (“I was engaged in some other activities,” Cubbage told me today. When did Medill discover the error? I asked. “I don’t know.” Did Medill administrators see the diplomas before they were distributed? “I don’t know.”)

Finally, I got some answers from Northwestern registrar Jaci Casazza: The diplomas were printed by a company in Iowa and delivered to the registrar’s office last Thursday. Casazza says someone from Medill picked up that school’s batch on late Thursday or early Friday. (Graduation was on Saturday.) She doesn’t know when Medill administrators discovered the “Itegrated” problem. “They notified me on Sunday,” she says.

Cubbage, Casazza, and Caywood

Cubbage, Casazza, and Caywood

Casazza adds that the error “is not Medill’s responsibility”; it’s the registrar’s office that’s at fault, she says.

Casazza says her office didn’t know how many honors diplomas to have printed until early last week – after the other diplomas went to press. She assumed the printer would use the same template – with the correct spelling of “Integrated” – for the honors diplomas. She was wrong.

Medill honors graduates were told Monday that they’ll soon get replacement diplomas from the printer.

* “Integrated” is misspelled on some Medill diplomas (

Tweet from Angie Gonzalez, an anchor at Toledo’s NBC affiliate WNWO:

After she was scolded, the anchor tweeted again:

Marilyn Young of the Jacksonville (FL) Daily Record posted this on Facebook yesterday:


Young tells me that the marketing person works for a large company in Jacksonville and has had the job since October. I saw the complete email exchange and can vouch for what Young posted. (My first headline identified her as a reporter; in fact, she’s the editor.)

* Marilyn Young: “These are real quotes from an email exchange” (

Update: Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers

From Jason Feifer’s selfies article in the July Fast Company:

Selfie is now a word most often heard out of the mouths of marketing execs, the ones who call youth marketing agencies and say, “Let’s do something with selfies!”

- They didn't get the memo about selfies?

– They didn’t get the memo about selfies?

“I hear that all the time,” says Gregg Witt, chief engagement officer of Immersive Youth Marketing. “They’re either a full poseur or someone who wants to fit in. Man, it’s like 50 days late and a million dollars short to say that.” As the selfie makes its final duck face, let’s consider this last chapter of its legacy: Trend chasing in the Internet era is desperate and lazy. And bad for business.

* Death to corporate selfies: Clueless companies and Internet memes (

* A new study confirms there aren’t many female voices on newspaper opinion pages. (
* A New York Times intern has worked for Democratic politicians, but the paper says it’s “confident that his work for us is solid, accurate and fair, and that we can avoid any potential conflicts of interest.” (
* [At right] Orlando TV reporter Jackie Orozco takes a break from covering a double murder to smile for an Instagram photo. (
* Former Murdoch editor Rebekah Brooks walks; Andy Coulson doesn’t. ( | (
* Charter schools are in panic mode over the Detroit Free Press’s investigative reporting. (
* Quartz aims to do longer, ambitious stories that have higher impact, says editor Kevin Delaney. (
* The prison sentences for three Al Jazeera journalists are protested by journalists around the world. (
* A Scranton library pays former Allentown (PA) Morning Call reporter Matt Birkbeck $1,500 to talk about organized crime, then suddenly cancels the appearance. Hmmmm… ( | “I’m sure there’s more to this and the real reasons will eventually surface,” writes Birkbeck. (
* Register Citizen’s Shako Liu: “Due to the failure of obtaining my work visa, the first full time reporter job of mine has come to an end this month.” (
* Winners of the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism are announced. (
* Tribune Publishing spinoff is set for August 4. (
* NPR’s “All Things Considered” wants your digital detox story. (
* The American Press Institute building is still empty in Reston. (@AndreaUseem) | API left the building in 2012. (
* CJR examines yesterday’s SCOTUSblog ruling. (
* Disney isn’t interested in Vice Media (even though just about every story about VM says it is). (
* New York Daily News digital editorial director Lauren Johnston jumps to Yahoo. (