Daily Archives: August 12, 2014

Seymour Topping, who worked at the New York Times for 33 years, and wife Audrey – also a journalist – say they may have to move out of Scarsdale because their property taxes nearly doubled.

The Topping residence

The Topping residence

The retired Timesman says on video:

Audrey and I are journalists, and we covered the wars in Asian – before we came home here, to live here in Scarsdale for about 25 years – and we’ve had a lot of shocks. But this was another kind of a shock when we got our new assessment, and the protected increase in our taxes.

Our property taxes doubled from $45,000, projected, to $85,000, and it was quite a shock. …We only paid $80,000 for this old house and a couple of acres back in 1967. …Audrey and I have to think now, can we continue to afford to live here? We live on a pension, and we’re not rich people.

Their 13-room home is now assessed at $4.2 million.

Audrey says: “Tops is 92 and I’m 87 – 86 – so it’s not easy for us to move out, but the taxes may make us – force us to move from Scarsdale.”

* Scarsdale reevaluation hits high-end homes hardest (

Update: Not a lot of sympathy for the Toppings on my Facebook wall (


Letter to Romenesko
From DAVID JACK BROWNING, visual journalist: In light of The Tennessean’s front page … the Los Angeles Register’s A-1 seems worse to me, given the nature of how Robin Williams died. The tricky part of those post-it ads is that newsrooms never know when or what they’re going to have stuck on their A-1. That placement for The Tennessean is truly unfortunate.

* Tennessean’s front ( | Los Angeles Register front (
* Another unfortunate ad placement – this one online (@jonathan_norman) | h/t John S. Reimer


The Rapid City (SD) Journal’s lead story today is about a family and their friends betting on how many bikers will die during the Sturgis motorcycle rally. A dozen people have put $5 each into this year’s pool. (They’ve done this for seven years now.)

“They base the final results on the state Department of Public Safety ‘Rally Tally’ that records deaths from the first Saturday of the rally until the final Sunday,” reports the Journal’s Meredith Colias. One pool participant tells her: “It’s not meant in any way to be malicious, or hoping anyone has a bad accident.”

Commenters on Facebook and the Journal’s website have lashed out at the family for running the pool and the newspaper for reporting on it. One writes: “Saw this on the front page this morning and was thoroughly disgusted. Whether or not individuals choose to do this sort of thing, it is not newsworthy, not front-page-worthy and treating it as such is an embarrassment to our community.” (A $60 pool does seem like small potatoes, but editors no doubt ran with it for its “water-cooler talk” and clickbait value. They had to know they’d be criticized for it. Update: The AP has picked it up.)

Former Rapid City Journal sports staffer Lenn Davis writes on Facebook that his former employer “just hit rock bottom” by running the piece.

He adds: “I am embarrassed to say I spent 19 years there… What a croc [sic] of shit and as a friend that had a buddy killed on a motorcycle while at the rally… You can kiss my ass Rapid City Journal forever more!”

I’ve asked reporter Colias what she’s hearing about her story. Update: She forwarded my message to editor Bart Pfankuch, and he wrote: “We’re not going to have any comment on that.”

* Pool held on number of dead rally bikers ( | Page One (
* Read the Facebook comments about the story (

– h/t Nick Penzenstadler


- From a Gawker post

– From a Gawker post

* Gawker Media’s Kinja discussion/publishing platform still mystifies employees (BuzzFeed)
* Gawker says over 4,000 BuzzFeed posts have vanished (

* Steve Cavendish: “Oh, cremation post-it ad, you couldn’t have been more ill-timed or ill-placed.” (
* Letterman writer Bill Scheft on Robin Williams: “Onstage, his brilliance was never questioned, but the route he might take was. Comics loved him as an actor, and actors loved him as a comic. That is as diplomatic as I can be.” (
* New York Times war correspondent Alissa Rubin is injured in a helicopter crash in Iraq. (
* The New York Police Department tells its officers that they can’t stop citizens from photographing or videotaping them. (
* Newspaper, magazine and website editors discuss diversity in their newsrooms. “It is not something that I think about on a forward-facing level,” says Vice’s editor-in-chief. (
* Will Bunch shows that even “newsrooms of the future” need copy editors. (
* Tribune Media profit up 25% in the second quarter. The broadcasting segment was strong; publishing wasn’t. ( | Tribune Publishing ad revenue was down 7.1% for the quarter. (
* Gannett’s Indianapolis Star announces the sixth round of layoffs in six years. (
* No surprise: Twitter admits that as many as 23 million of its active users are bots. (
* Matt Taibbi adds to his First Look Media team. (
* A San Antonio Express-News features editor shames people who don’t pick up their dog’s mess. ( Video plays after 10 seconds)
* Stop the presses! A newspaper reporter is honored by politicians. (

The Nashua (NH) Telegraph is closing its statehouse bureau, which means veteran reporter Kevin Landrigan is out of a job. He’s been with the Ogden-owned paper since the 1980s.

The Pew Research Center and AJR reported last month that newspapers lost a total of 164 full-time statehouse reporters between 2003 and 2014.

The Telegraph editor’s memo:

From Phil Kincade
Date: 08/11/2014 9:58 AM (GMT-05:00)

I deeply regret to announce, that as part of the recent newsroom staff adjustments, we will be closing our statehouse bureau Friday. The decision was an extremely difficult one to make, not just because of the hole it creates in our news coverage, but because it also means saying goodbye to one of The Telegraph’s most loyal, hard working and respected employees.

This is the end of newsroom staff reductions. There are no other shoes to drop. As always, I’m available to talk to anyone at anytime to discuss your concerns.

Kevin will be in Hudson Friday afternoon as we are planning a company wide get together to thank him for his decades of unparalleled service.

* Earlier: The precipitous decline of state political coverage (