Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Times of London is now pumping typewriter sounds into the newsroom.

“This is just a playful experiment thought up by our Editor to generate some of the excitement of newsrooms,” a Times spokesperson tells me.images-2 “Some reporters are bemused and some like the hat-tip to our historic past now that digital deadlines are so fluid. We are very much a digital newsroom, see here, but we’re also one of the oldest newspapers in the world – 230 years in January – and we were the first to use The Times in the title, so we’re proud of our heritage.”

A journalism professor and former Times staffer points out:

Typewriters disappeared from newsrooms in the late 1980s. There will be very few people there who remember the noise of massed bands of typewriters in the newsroom. They will have to find out whether a crescendo of noise will make reporters work better or faster.

* Murdoch’s UK paper adds the sounds of Fleet Street to its newsroom (
* How about adding wire service teletype machine bells, too? (

Update: Check out the photo of the speaker pumping out the typewriter sounds – and don’t miss the replies to the tweet, including: “Why don’ t they just pipe in the noise of screaming tortured souls in hell?”

“Gannett thinks that advertisers still want ads that hit users over the head.”ganad

Go to or any Gannett-owned newspaper website and you’ll get a full-screen ad blocking what you’re trying to read.

“We want to make the entire [computer] screen a TV set,” says Steve Ahlberg, Gannett’s Vice President of Revenue Solutions.

Okay, Steve, then consider Gannett a blocked channel.

* Gannett looks to ignite the return of the giant banner ad (

University of Toronto professor’s tweet

Gazette editor-in-chief Iain Boekhoff (left) says of the story: “I’m surprised it’s got so much traction because it’s in our frosh week issue every year.editor Two years ago it was just straight ‘how to have sex with your TA’ as one of the 50 or 100 things to do before you leave Western. …I had one complaint late Sunday night which is after three days of people losing their minds on Twitter. This thing is entirely Twitter. I don’t regret publishing it. I regret that it caused offense to so many people, and it wasn’t well-received by some people.”

He adds that “Facebook stalk is a common term for students and is not a malicious term in any way.”

The London (Ontario, Canada) Abused Women’s Center has called for Boekhoff to step down. I’ve asked him to comment.

The provost says: “The Gazette has the right to run provocative articles but I find it objectionable that your paper would publish a column promoting the idea that students should attempt to have inappropriate relationships with graduate teaching assistants.”

* Western University runs article about dating teaching assistants (
* So you want to date a teaching assistant? (
* Western University’s provost blasts the article in a letter to the paper (

From the Archives: Ten years ago today, Jay Rosen wrote to me about Jack Shafer and why the Slate press critic (at that time) hasn’t emerged as the next A.J. Liebling. Rosen wrote on August 26, 2004:

A.J. Liebling wrote the Wayward Press column for the New Yorker. Shafer writes the Press Box column for Slate. Those are roughly similar activities. Shafer tells us that Liebling did 82 press columns over 18 years at the New Yorker.

Jack Shafer (left) and Jay Rosen

Jack Shafer (left) and Jay Rosen

Judging by the Press Box archive, Shafer has written 200+ columns over four and a half years. Is it fair to ask: why has Shafer himself not emerged as the “next” Liebling? After all, he has the most interest in the question. The opportunity has been there for him, week to week. He had motive, means. Is it the anxiety of influence? Other priorities at the time? Lack of competition, perhaps?

Rosen sent his letter after he was targeted by Shafer, who wrote: “Instead of producing the next Liebling, the field of journalism saddles us with the worry-bead analysis of Tom Rosenstiel and the goo-goo intentions of Jay Rosen, for which there is no audience outside the industry (maybe not even inside it).”

* Romenesko Letters: Jay Rosen has a question about Jack Shafer (
* Shafer on the uncritical worshippers of press critic A.J. Liebling (

* Hundreds of Turner Broadcasting veterans will be getting buyout offers. (
* CNN’s Jeff Zucker is praised for admitting you can’t do more with less. (
* Time’s Ferguson story – shared 4,076 times on Twitter – was the most social of the three newsweeklies. (
angel* Cartoonist Matt Bors predicted a he-was-no-angel story about Michael Brown. The cartoon on the right is from August 18. ( | “No angel” reference in New York Times’ Brown story “was a regrettable mistake,” says the public editor. ( | Did people read the entire story? asks the Timesman who wrote the piece. (
* When journalists become the story. (
* Former AP Jerusalem bureau staffer Matti Friedman tries to provide “a few tools to make sense of the news from Israel.” (
* Napa Valley Register’s newsroom is badly damaged by Sunday’s earthquake, but staffers still put out a paper. (
* Please pull the plug on the MTV Video Music Awards! (
* Longtime Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Karen Heller heads to the Washington Post Style section. She writes in her farewell piece: “The Inquirer has been roiled by turbulence. This was no place for the weak. Every spring or two brought a new owner, a new plan, and, often, chaos. This fabled paper kept churning, this amazing newsroom pushing against the tide.” (
* How New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor got Starbucks to quickly change its barista scheduling policy. (
* John Oliver explains things better than TV news broadcasts. (
abc* Big producer changes at ABC News. (
* Claim: “Mainstream journalists delight in their ability to get Al Sharpton on the phone for a quote.” (
* Philadelphia Public Record says it fired the staffer who added Asian slurs to a photo caption. ( | (
* Andrew Leonard: “A world in which the [New York] Times is struggling to survive does not sound like the golden age of journalism to me.” (
* “Who could do such a thing to the most open-hearted person any of us knew?” asks one of James Foley‘s friends. (
* Men’s Health: We stand behind our story on the costs of robotic surgery. (
* BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner is named NLGJA’s Journalist of the Year. (
* A new corporate headquarters for the Baton Rouge and New Orleans Advocate. ( AUTO-PLAY AD)
* The 2014 Online Journalism Awards finalists have been announced. (
* New York congressional candidate Elise Stefanik cuts a press conference short after being asked a question she doesn’t like. (
* Nothing on my feed: Tweeting photos of passed-out college students is said to be a “trend.” (


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. ferraroThe 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 ( | Her post: (
* Daily News reporters forced to defend Pulitzer-winning series (
* “A big Inquirer fan” says the meat of the Inky story was undercooked (

Chief Mike Yates

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 (
* Earlier: Reporter quits over chief’s Facebook posts (


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.” (
* 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.” (
* New York Times’ digital growth is slowing. New customers have mostly been subscribing to the recently launched cheaper NYT Now app. (
* Michael Wolff calls UK’s Mail Online “one of the few sites where homepage traffic has consistently grown.” (
* “Meet the Press” needs more edge, says NBC News boss Deborah Turness. “It needs to be consequential.” (
* 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.” (
* “Vice is deadly serious about doing real news that people, yes, even young people, will actually watch,” writes David Carr. ( | “Vice News isn’t TV news.” (
video* 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.) (
* 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.” (
* Detroit Free Press’s high school journalism program is saved. ( | Earlier: The Free Press abruptly ends a 29-year-old program. (
* Playboy’s now running listicles. “A title once known as a media innovator has now become a follower,” notes John McDuling. (
* North Carolina State U. newspaper kills the Friday print edition. ( | The Daily Sundial at Cal State Northridge is now a weekly. ( | University of Houston’s Daily Cougar is now “print weekly, digital daily.” (
* One writer on freelancing: “I despise it. It’s not worth my energy. They’re paying much less money for stupid stories.” ((
* “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. (

Time Inc. chief content officer Norman Pearlstine said on Wednesday that Sports Illustrated rating its online journalists on how beneficial they are to advertisers “is not a big deal”; he called it a controversy hyped by the Newspaper Guild.

Norman Pearlstine

Norman Pearlstine

The Guild has this response:

It’s not surprising that Time Inc. would try to spin its ‘advertiser relationship’ criterion as somehow not being about writers getting cozy with advertisers. And it’s quite possible Pearlstine’s subordinates haven’t given him the whole story, especially since he says he only found about the ranking system in the press.

But facts are facts. The ‘advertiser relationship’ criterion was indeed applied to seven Guild-represented Sports Illustrated magazine writers who had volunteered to work on, where the Guild does not otherwise represent employees. In return for their efforts, the seven volunteers were judged on criteria that they were never told about, that differed from the criteria used to judge their co-workers on Sports Illustrated magazine who did not volunteer for and that included how beneficial their work was to the ‘advertiser relationship.’ Two of those seven wound up getting laid off.

* Earlier: writers rated on advertiser-friendliness? No big deal, says content chief (