Daily Archives: August 7, 2014

* Dean Baquet: “From now on, The Times will use the word ‘torture’ to describe incidents in which we know for sure that interrogators inflicted pain on a prisoner.” (
* Why so few female opinions on sports talk shows? (
* Dan Le Batard‘s billboard “stunt” gets him a two-day ESPN suspension. ( | (
* NPR editor: “Some people require longer conversations about the potential lingering effects from the reports we do” about them. (
* Layoffs at Bloomberg and a TV show cancellation. ( | (
* Two-page anti-gay letter in the Newfoundland Herald prompts a complaint. (
* BuzzFeed’s new CEO says the mandate is “to build a significant, independent media company.” (
* Ashton Kutcher‘s uses material from other websites without their consent. (
* Mesfin Fekadu is promoted to music editor at the Associated Press. (

Sacramento Bee editorial writer Pia Lopez took a leave from the McClatchy-owned paper earlier this year after husband Jim Read announced he was trying to take Michele Bachmann’s seat in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. He suspended his campaign in early May and Lopez went back to work.

Bee readers are told today:

Pia Lopez

Pia Lopez

Since her return to The Bee, however, we learned that in some email conversations with Sacramento-area sources prior to her leave, Lopez discussed Read’s campaign as she conducted editorial board business. Lopez used her board title and company email for other campaign-related communication as well. She also failed to notify her supervisor of potential conflicts of interest between topics addressed by the board and campaign donations and support in the Sacramento area. …

Because of this, Lopez and The Bee have parted ways.

I’ve invited Lopez to comment.

Update: A tipster suggested I ask about Pulitzer-winning reporter Tom Knudson leaving the Bee, so I did.

Tom Knudson

Tom Knudson

Knudson tells Romenesko readers: “After more than two decades of in-depth, prize-winning reporting from the field, they wanted me to return to the newsroom to focus more narrowly on environmental news in and around Sacramento – and generate a lot more of it. I declined.”

He adds: “I was the last bureau person standing for the Sac Bee (based in the Tahoe region). Over the years, my work had brought numerous accolades to the paper,” including a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1992, and most recently, a 2013 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism.

What’s next for the 61-year-old newsman? “Not sure yet … maybe journalism, maybe something else.”

* To our readers: Editorial writer Pia Lopez has left the paper (

On the day that St. Louis Post-Dispatch parent Lee Enterprises posted a $9.5 million loss for the quarter, CEO Mary Junck was asked about restoring the dividend. That’ll happen down the road, she said. Lee, by the way, hasn’t given its journalists raises in years.

From the transcript of today’s earnings call dividend

* Lee Enterprises earnings call transcript, August 7, 2014 (
* Earlier: Post-Dispatch staffer last got raises in 2008 (

Edward Schumacher-Matos, who has been NPR’s ombudsman since 2011, answered questions on Reddit yesterday. Some highlights from his AMA (Ask Me Anything):

Regarding false equivalence:
“NPR’s guiding ethic is not ‘balance,’ in the sense that you present two sides as equal in their merits. Often factually they are not. “Our responsibility is to give listeners and Web readers the correct facts and context. nprThere might still be two opinions on how to interpret the facts, or which ones to give more weight to. NPR’s responsibility is to allow listeners to hear those opinions, especially if they have influence. Wacko or irrelevant opinions can be disregarded. What is wacko is a judgment call.”

The most difficult part of the job:
“Getting reporters and editors to understand that they, too, have to be held publicly accountable.”

On attracting young listeners:
“The website skews younger and keeps getting more and more innovative and cutting edge. But it doesn’t and shouldn’t use ‘click bait’ to try to attract a young audience just to attract it.”

Regarding the New York Times drug-testing new hires:
“The NYT does? I used to work there. First I have heard of this. I am opposed to drug testing. NPR does not test.”

On bias perceptions:
“I get more complaints that NPR is too conservative instead of liberal. I am not saying it is, but this is to give you an idea of how others see bias at NPR. …audience surveys show that the audience is in fact fairly evenly divided.”

I asked Schumacher-Matos a few questions about his AMA – and the search for his replacement – and he responded:



Some questions were better than others, but all reflected standard listener and reader concerns and deserved a considered response. This was especially true for questions that seemed to come from young people whose “softballs,” as you put it, were not terribly well informed but honestly curious.

I was surprised that there were no trolls and no nasty invective. I will leave it to you to say whether there were missed opportunities, though I found it interesting that the Juan Williams episode remains alive. It was for me a good oppportunity to give some overall perspective on news directions at NPR.

I can’t tell you about how the replacement search is going. I am not—and should not be—part of the process. But I can say that I have gotten lots of call from interested candidates, which is good to see.

* I am Edward Schumacher-Matos, the outgoing NPR ombudsman (

* Magazines report for the first half of 2014: Paid subscriptions dip 1.8%, and single-copy sales down 11.9%. (
* Rap and the New York Times crossword puzzle. (
* Suggestion: Don’t let interns post things for you while you’re away. “Some of the Community posts shared under my name were taken from articles on other websites,” writes Muscle & Fitness Hers editor-in-chief Mona Muresan. (
* From the “newsroom of the future”: Gannett’s Tennessean puts a story about Kroger’s lower prices on page one. (
* Kids are still delivering newspapers in Carroll, Iowa – and making 10 to 12 cents per copy. ( | Earlier: NPR wants your old newspaper delivery photos. (
* Tribune papers without the “morons.” (
* Cincinnati Enquirer editor Carolyn Washburn on why the domestic-violence arrests story on the right was pulled: “An editor determined — and I agreed — that it did not meet our news standards for publication. The Mr. Castellini in question is not a public figure, has nothing to do with the Reds, etc. … while that was being discussed, someone posted it. We quickly took it down but not before it began to get traction.” ( | Cached story
* Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) asks for an apology for this headline: “Rate That Genocide: Which Was Worse, Slavery Or Treatment Of Native Americans.” ( | Update: It gets one.
* Study: Job market recovery for journalism grads stalls. (
* Someone in a newsroom actually thinks women managers have to imitate Ben Bradlee?! (
* Steve Outing presents three scenarios for the future of newspapers, including “it all turns out just fine.” (
* Former Milwaukee Journal columnist Joel McNally on the Scripps/Journal Communications deal: “I’m hoping for an upside, but it’s hard to shake the fear this really is the beginning of the end.” (
* Today’s Journal Communications earnings report: TV revenue up; digital revenue up; radio revenue up; publishing revenue down. (
* Newspaper chain Lee Enterprises reports a 3Q loss. (
editions* Whatever happened to AOL’s Editions, a so-called “Flipboard-killer”? AOL PR didn’t respond to Lucia Moses‘ request for comment. (
* The NPR One app “is a bold effort. You might even call it innovative.” (
* A private equity firm buys the publisher of American Banker and the Bond Buyer. (
* Philadelphia City Paper is “evaluating strategic alternatives.” (
* Mo Rocca is not doing the Conde Nast/Monsanto project. (