Only down 5,000: It looks like the retirees in Naples are sticking with print.
Former NBC and CBS News correspondent Ed Rabel wrote in a 2013 Charleston (WV) Gazette opinion piece that the people in local TV news are “bubble-heads and glib, young, sometimes pretty know-nothings” who “wouldn’t know a news story if it slapped them in the face.”
Station owners and managers forbid their news departments from stepping on toes and ruffling feathers, out of fear that such stories might insult local advertisers or offend politicians on whose toes reporters might stomp. And investigative or original reporting is costly, meaning real reporters must be hired to do real reporting, a job that requires lots of time and money that the stations have no time for.
Sixteen months after his op-ed was published, Rabel (current photo at left) announced he was running as an independent in West Virginia’s second congressional district race. Still upset about the op-ed, WCHS-TV news director Matt Snyder ordered his staff to ignore the former journalist’s campaign.
“Everyone in the newsroom was given explicit instructions [by Snyder] to not write [about] or air or interview me,” Rabel tells Romenesko readers, and assignment editor Mamie Buoy “reaffirmed to my source and everyone in the news department that Rabel was not to be reported on or interviewed.”
I’ve asked Snyder and Buoy about the coverage blackout.
Update — News director Snyder sends this response:
Eyewitness News at WCHS-WVAH TV is committed to covering news important to the people of West Virginia without bias or agenda.
WCHS-WVAH has and will continue to be committed to covering the elections, political races and candidates including the second district race important to our viewers both online and on TV. We will continue to cover these campaigns and candidates so that voters have the knowledge they need to make an informed decision this November.
– h/t Dan Mitchell
New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet updates his staff on the condition of war correspondent Alissa Rubin and freelance photographer Adam Ferguson:
To the staff,
As you all know, our colleague Alissa Rubin was injured in a helicopter crash in northern Iraq on Tuesday. The good news is that she is now in stable condition at the American Hospital in Istanbul. She is in the intensive care unit, mainly so she can be observed closely. Rod Nordland, her equally courageous, longtime partner in covering Afghanistan, is with her. Her husband, James, is on the way, and may even be there already. Joe Kahn is also headed to Istanbul. Rod reports that Alissa is in good spirits, occasionally managing to laugh.
Adam Ferguson, a freelance photographer who was working with Alissa, has aches and pains that he describes as minor. Rod had to talk him into staying in the hospital for observation.
I think our collective prayers were answered on this one.
This is a good time to reflect on our colleagues who are covering the world at a particularly violent, tumultuous time. I don’t recall a period when so many writers, photographers and videographers have been in harm’s way for The Times and other news organizations, taking risks and living away from their families to tell important stories. People like Alissa, Rod, Tyler Hicks and Chris Chivers have done it for more than a decade, through overlapping wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A new group of journalists is still working in those countries, as well as in Africa, Gaza, Libya and Ukraine. We are profoundly indebted to them.
Alissa’s mother, Enid, said she was tremendously proud of her daughter, and she asked if Alissa had gotten to file her story from the scene yet!
I am going to steal from a couple of late-night emails because I couldn’t say it better. Michael Slackman wrote that “we work with brave, committed people who risk it all to bear witness and make sure people are heard.” Adam Nossiter, when I wrote to him about his coverage of the spread of the Ebola virus, replied, “It is a hell of a paper, every day.”
Well, it is. But it would not be without the journalists who are risking their lives. There is no better moment than this to remember how lucky we are to have them as colleagues.
* Associated Press video journalist Simone Camilli and his translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, are killed in Gaza. (ap.org)
* New York Times foreign editor: “We are very concerned about protecting the safety of the reporters working on the [Ebola] story.” (capitalnewyork.com)
* Purdue student paper sues to get university surveillance video. (jconline.com)
* [At right] “Wow, plagiarize much @VICE?” tweets the editorial director at New York magazine’s The Cut. Your response, Vice? (@stellabugbee)
* An Iowa paper is forced to run “a ridiculous mug shot” after a judge threatens to hold its photographer in contempt for taking a picture of a defendant without permission. (AP via therepublic.com)
* The Wyoming Supreme Court rules for the state’s media in a records case. (trib.com)
* New York Times freelance photographer Whitney Curtis is hit by a rubber bullet while covering Ferguson protests. (@PDPJ)
* “Are you an embed from Gawker?” a conservative news site asks a new hire who wants to use a pseudonym. (theawl.com)
* AP veteran Linda Deutsch is celebrating Elvis Week. (Joe Strupp)
* Best paragraph in today’s Des Moines Register: “[Rick] Perry seemed pumped up after his enthusiastic, heckle-free reception at the Register’s Soapbox. When the Register’s moderator thanked him as he came off the stage, Perry said: ‘You’re welcome. I’m awesome!'” (desmoinesregister.com)
* Media ethics site goes after Seattle Weekly for its white guys/ethnic food story written by a PR person. (imediaethics.com)
* What Gawker Media’s doing about its rape GIF problem. (jezebel.com)
* JOBS: Interested in journalism and law? We have a job for you. (Romenesko Jobs)
* David Carr and other older journalists “refuse to acknowledge that their children never picked up the habit of reading at least one physical newspaper every day, and that the mass of print holdouts are dying off every year.” (splicetoday.com)
* Tina Brown is selling her oceanfront hideaway for $11.85 million. (variety.com)
This memo comes from the deputy managing editor of entertainment at New York Daily News digital.
From: Everett, Cristina
Date: August 12, 2014 at 5:33:00 PM EDT
Subject: ENTERTAINMENT handoff!
NOTES ON ROBIN WILLIAMS STORIES/HEDES!!
Thank you to everyone who did a great story [sic] with keeping our stories SEO strong with the * Robin Williams dead at 63 * header for the first 24 hours. Starting tomorrow morning, we can scale back on the robot talk (meaning no death header) just as long as the stories continue to *start* with his full name and include buzzy search words like *death, dead, suicide, etc.*
The strategy is working: a Google search for “Robin Williams dead at 63” puts the News on top.
What’s your news organization’s Robin Williams SEO strategy? Send me your memos. I’ll protect you, of course.
* “Robin Williams Dead at 63” (google.com) | @cristinaeverett
* “I think Robin Williams would have a lot of fun riffing on this memo” (facebook.com)
* Earlier: Unfortunate headline below LA Register’s Robin Williams tease (jimromenesko.com)