In his piece about this saga, Bob Frump mentions that an Inquirer task force once “worked a story for two years about the corruption of a major national candidate … only to conclude that there were only smears there, not hard facts and firm links. The story never ran and no one felt any sense of a ‘cover up.'”
After I asked about it, Frump revised his post to note that Geraldine Ferraro was the task force’s target. The journalist, who worked at the Inquirer from 1976 to 1986, writes in an email:
In the mid-1980’s, The Philadelphia Inquirer assigned top reporters to investigate mob links to VP candidate Geraldine Ferraro’s husband. The paper broke several stories about possible connections but after months of looking into the affair, and renting hotels for weeks at a time in New York for its task force, the editors decided that the results did not warrant the patented Inky “take out” treatment for which it was famous because there was no clear evidence Ferraro was dirty.
The decision was accepted in the newsroom as a good journalistic reasoning, not a coverup, as I recall. This was an extreme example of quality control during the Gene Roberts years, in my opinion. It was not uncommon for a reporter to spend months on a story — and still not meet the standards set by editors. Not everyone was happy with that, but it marked the difference in my mind between in-depth journalism that sorted out truths and “at length” journalism, which just printed charges and denials.
* Ruderman responds to Inquirer’s takedown (phillymag.com) | Her post: (facebook.com)
* Daily News reporters forced to defend Pulitzer-winning series (cbslocal.com)
* “A big Inquirer fan” says the meat of the Inky story was undercooked (frumped.org)
Chief Mike Yates
Update: Jonesboro (AR) Police Chief Mike Yates has resigned “after careful and prayerful consideration.” He tells the mayor: “A man must take responsibility for his mistakes and I am prepared to do just that. I let my anger and pride override my judgment and wisdom by saying a number of things that are unacceptable given my position.”
* Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates resigns (kait8.com)
* Earlier: Reporter quits over chief’s Facebook posts (jimromenesko.com)
On Friday, the Jonesboro (AR) police chief was given a 30-day suspension for posting ugly Facebook comments (“smelly,” for example) about the local newspaper’s police reporter. The Jonesboro Sun’s Sunday editorial about the punishment is behind a paywall, but publisher David Mosesso forwarded it for posting.
Jonesboro Sun editorial
The past couple of weeks have been no fun for this newspaper as we’ve seen one of our reporters come under fire from mean spirited and personal Facebook rants by our local police chief.
We’ve had to fight for public information from the police department, information that previously has been relatively easy to receive and report on. We’ve dealt with this and a host of other issues as they relate to the freedom of information. We’ve lodged a complaint with our mayor and he has issued his reprimand, a 30-day unpaid suspension for police chief Mike Yates.
We had hoped and asked that the police chief be fired for his actions, but Mayor Perrin has elected to take the path of least resistance. At first blush, it might seem as though a 30-day suspension was the coward’s way out, but is it really? There may be more risk involved in a 30-day suspension than an actual firing /CONTINUES Read More
Mark Jurkowitz spent years documenting the decline of newspapers while at the Pew Research Center. He recently left his associate director position and … bought a newspaper.
“The weekly newspaper idea has long been a dream of mine,” the new owner of the Outer Banks Sentinel in Nags Head, NC, tells Romenesko readers. “I started my career 35 years ago at the Brookline/Newton Tab. And the Outer Banks, well it’s nice to be somehwere where people wear shorts and smile a lot.”
The 6,000-circulation paper has four full-time employees and three part-time, not including Jurkowitz and his wife. “I’ll be there full-time and she will be there part time. The focus is on print at this point and the community also supports another print-only publication. But we’ll be making our digital presence more robust over time.”
The press release is after the jump. Read More
Note the names in this cutline
* Chinky Winky and Dinky Doo: “An internal investigation is underway to uncover the source of this intolerable abuse and to prevent it from ever happening again,” says the Philadelphia Public Record. “We apologize whole-heartedly to the Asian American community and to all Philadelphians.” (phillymag.com)
* Time Inc.’s Norman Pearlstine: “I think all the journalistic instincts are to have heroes and villains. It’s either ‘this person is good, this person is bad,’ ‘this person is smart, that person is stupid.’ More often than not, there’s a lot of gray.” (nymag.com)
* New York Times’ digital growth is slowing. New customers have mostly been subscribing to the recently launched cheaper NYT Now app. (recode.net)
* Michael Wolff calls UK’s Mail Online “one of the few sites where homepage traffic has consistently grown.” (usatoday.com)
* “Meet the Press” needs more edge, says NBC News boss Deborah Turness. “It needs to be consequential.” (nytimes.com)
* Jeff Zucker tells CNN staffers: “We are going to have to do what we do with less. As a result, that means there will be changes.” (ajc.com)
* “Vice is deadly serious about doing real news that people, yes, even young people, will actually watch,” writes David Carr. (nytimes.com) | “Vice News isn’t TV news.” (theguardian.com)
* Hard to believe that the Purdue student newspaper had to sue to get this security video. (That’s a student photographer with his hands up.) (youtube.com)
* Philadelphia Weekly’s Randy LoBasso: “All that shit in your Facebook feed – the nip slips, the One Weird Tricks, the People of Walmart – people will click it, but does any of it actually matter? Probably not.” (altweeklies.com)
* Detroit Free Press’s high school journalism program is saved. (freep.com) | Earlier: The Free Press abruptly ends a 29-year-old program. (cjr.org)
* Playboy’s now running listicles. “A title once known as a media innovator has now become a follower,” notes John McDuling. (qz.com)
* North Carolina State U. newspaper kills the Friday print edition. (newsobserver.com) | The Daily Sundial at Cal State Northridge is now a weekly. (dailynews.com) | University of Houston’s Daily Cougar is now “print weekly, digital daily.” (thedailycougar.com)
* One writer on freelancing: “I despise it. It’s not worth my energy. They’re paying much less money for stupid stories.” ((digiday.com)
* “I knew we had a branding problem when people didn’t know we had a journalism program,” says the head of a Texas college’s j-department. (dallasnews.com)