Monthly Archives: August 2014

From the “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” show’s newspaper-related “Bluff the Listener” game this weekend:

Host Peter Sagal to the contestant:
You’ve probably heard that newspapers are dying; that’s because they are – it’s really sad. However, this week we heard about one newspaper that is fighting back – that is not going gently into that good night.wait Guess the true story of a newspaper fighting back and you’ll win scorekeeper emeritus and newspaper reader Carl Kasell’s voice on your voicemail.

Paula Poundstone’s entry
Morale at many newspaper offices has been low since the digital revolution has put an iceberg-sized hole in the hull of their business model. But the writers and staff at the New York Times arrived at work today to a spirit-lifting extravaganza: excerpts of the Broadway hit show “Newsies,” right on the front steps of their iconic building.

“The characteristic pluck and grit that has long been the hallmark of newspaper folk may well sustain the industry until our financial houses can be put in order,” claims publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. “And that’s what this is all about – a celebration of our do-or-die spirit.”

Many of the staff waiting to enter the building didn’t seem view it that way. Most waited silently, staring at their smartphones, while grown men in knickers leaped, tapped and belted out songs in front of them.

“‘Newsies’ is about the underaged abused workers who struck against the newspaper companies,” said a bewildered David Brooks, following a group of employees seeking an alternative entrance. “This industry is doomed!” …

Adam Felber’s [correct] entry
Have you ever been nostalgic for the days when our newsrooms were filled with the sound of typewriters – dozens of them, clacking busily away as desperate copywriters on deadline scurried to churn out their scoops? Well, this week some journalists are starting to become nostalgic for the days after that noise went away, because for staffers at Rupert Murdoch’s Times of London, it’s back. Not the typewriters, just the sound.

As part of an experiment to make journalists feel more productive and connected, a large speaker has been placed on a tall stand in the middle of the floor, for the express purpose of loudly piping in the clattering sounds of the busy newsrooms of yesterday.

A Times competitor, the Independent, points out that most staffers won’t get that nostalgic thrill because it’s been 30 years since newspapers did away with typewriters – and 20 years since one of Murdoch’s other holdings, Fox News, did away with news. And although The Times’ Lucia Adams calls it a “playful idea,” a helpful Twitter response suggests: “Why don’t they just pump in the noise of screaming tortured souls in hell?”

Roy Blount Jr.’s entry
Young people are going back to vinyl for music, so why not to paper for news?

So the San Francisco Chronicle has set up a special IT line for people who, having grown up online, want to learn how to operate a paper newspaper.

Odie Milo, who oversees the new help line, says the most frequently asked question is: “Where do I click to get, like, audio and video?”

We tell them it’s not really about clicking at all. Then, when they sort of absorb that, we talk them through the process of turning actual physical pages. They love it when we give them tips like: When you have trouble separating two pages, try licking your fingers.

Other questions Odie Milo has fielded are: “It’s so big! Why does it have to be so big?” And: “Mine won’t update; it’s stuck on last Wednesday.”

The contestant picked Felber’s typewriter story and won Kasell’s voicemail message.

* Listen to “Bluff the Listener” for August 30 (
* Typewriter sounds are added to the London Times newsroom (

- Washington Post, August 30

– Washington Post, August 30

* Ed O’Keefe: “Possibly my favorite letter to the editor ever” (@edatpost)
* Farmer Fred(R) asks: Would you publish this letter to the editor? (@farmerfred)
* FIU denies credentials to Miami Herald’s reporter, so the football team’s season opener won’t be covered. ( | Comments from my Facebook wall. (
* St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks the county family court for any juvenile records it has relating to Michael Brown. (
* St. Louis alt-weekly Riverfront Times says it’s seeking the juvenile records of Officer Darren Wilson. (
* Meet the man who acquired 30,000 old New Orleans newspapers via the Craigslist “free” section. (
* Investigating the Apple PR machine. (
* A #hyperlapse tour of the Washington Post newsroom. (
* Jon Friedman: Today’s journalism students “don’t have the slightest inkling why their coverage matters from a historical perspective.” (
* More than 1,000 copies of the Auburn Plainsman were stolen from different campus locations on Thursday. (
* Ebony parent Johnson Publishing is slapped with a $5 million lawsuit. (
* Longtime Providence Journal publisher Howard Sutton steps down. ( | Read his letter to staffers. (Google Drive)

poemsnpr* It’s been a slow week of “Fresh Air” reruns, so this happened (

One of the Friday Mike Smith Las Vegas Sun editorial cartoons that was rejected
- A rejected Mike Smith editorial cartoon

Greenspun Media Group executive editor Tom Gorman tells Romenesko readers: “Our editorial cartoonist [Mike Smith] at the Las Vegas Sun is starting to post on Facebook the three sketches he prepares daily for his editors to weigh in on. It’s giving readers a nice insight into the mind of an editorial cartoonist — what, he creates 3 cartoons a day and only uses one? … a kind of peek under the circus tent.”

The cartoon above lost out to this panel. (Here’s the rough sketch.)

* Which one of these cartoons would you use? (

Randall Roberts and other photographers received a request from Alaska magazine for shooting tips for readers and a “courtesy photo.” In return, the professional photographers get their websites listed in the magazine.
Roberts responded to editor Michelle Theall: “While exposure is nice, it doesn’t help feed my family nor compensate for the time and effort required to create a quality package of reader tips and images, especially under a tight deadline.”

Theall wrote to Roberts and others who complained about the solicitation: “First of all, huge apologies if I offended anyone regarding the request to participate in this round up. …This is no different than a writing magazine contacting me to ask my tips about writer’s block or adventure travel writing and then asking for an excerpt of something I’ve already published to use as an example.”

Roberts tells Romenesko readers: “I think a lot of professional photographers who are trying to feed their families have grown weary of publishing companies and other organizations holding up the equivalent of a cardboard sign asking for handouts. I doubt if the Alaska Magazine staff is forgoing payment for that edition, so why should professional nature photographers do so, especially when they’re responsible for the crux of the ‘annual Alaska photo issue?'”

The editor’s letters to photographers and Roberts’ response are after the jump. Read More

* Jon Stewart: “Look, there’s a lot of reasons why I hate myself — being Jewish isn’t one of them.” (
* Om Malik would like to see Google create tools just for journalists. (
* Chicago Tribune gets a Kaiser Family Foundation grant to help pay its Obamacare-beat reporter’s salary. (
* Chelsea Clinton quits NBC News. (
* Betsy Fischer Martin leaves NBC News after 23 years. (@mcalderone)
* Mathew Ingram: “Is this the best of times for journalism? No. But it’s hardly the worst of times either.” (
* Who’s behind the site that posted unflattering photos of Nikki Finke? “Everyone in this town is a suspect,” says a Hollywood Reporter editor. (
* JOBS: The Dodo is looking for an editor and a staff writer. …and other openings. (Romenesko Jobs)
* A Washington Times reporter FOIAs a WUSA9 reporters’ FOIA after a story credit dispute. (
* A Minneapolis Star Tribune sports columnist says his paper’s owner “set a high standard on Tuesday for the most-foolish comment to be offered by a Minnesota sports figure.” (
* Michael Wolff apparently felt he had to watch “beheading after beheading” to write this column. (
* The Orlando Sentinel may have to find a new home; the city has big development plans for the downtown property. ( | (
* A Texas sheriff says only a Spanish-language TV station is allowed in a robbery suspect’s hearing. (
* Gawker gets great numbers – while its senior editorial staff is in Budapest. (
* Reddit invites you to check out its “shittiest” content. (
* The 2014 Equal Voice Journalism Fellowships and Scholarships winners have been named. (

CNN producer Kim Segal is leaving the network to work as an attorney in the Broward County Public Defender’s Office. In a farewell “love letter” to her employer, she writes:

Oh how I long for that wonderful time when news was the star. Even then, some folks still called us Chicken Noodle News but more often we would hear Communist News Network.cnn This was because of Ted. (Remember him? His name is still on a few sister networks, for now anyway) But Ted’s relationship with Castro did not influence our coverage and the things people said didn’t bother us because we were a very proud bunch of journalists. And a lot of journalists there were. Those of us pounding the pavement outnumbered the people behind desks pushing paper. There were no pundits or opinions just a 24 hour quest for objectivity and balance.

Read the full post on her Facebook wall. (I’ve reprinted her “love letter” after the jump for readers who aren’t on Facebook.) Read More


* Also: The making of NYT Magazine’s August 31 “Abortion by Mail” cover (

The Washington Post reports this week that it warned in 2003 that the Knee Defender device is “a recipe for air rage.”defend

What the paper doesn’t report is that in 2004 it called the Knee Defender a “solution” to the problem of reclining airline seats. From that story:

* SNAG: The guy in the seat in front of you has reclined his seat so far back your knees are in your face.

* SOLUTION: If the guy won’t compromise, whip out your Knee Defender (, a plastic device that snaps onto your tray table and controls how far your nemesis can put his seat back.

The Post’s decade-old mention is being used as an “endorsement” for Knee Defender.

* “The Post noted presciently in 2003: ‘It’s a recipe for air rage.'” (
* “If the guy won’t compromise, whip out your Knee Defender” (