Daily Archives: September 11, 2014


Fleshlight hasn’t responded to the Post-Dispatch, according to P-D online content coordinator Beth O’Malley.

* Fleshlight still hasn’t given photo credit to the Post-Dispatch (@Fleshlight)
* Here’s J.B. Forbes’ flag display photo from September 11, 2011 (

Status Labs Image Management to a freelancer:
“…I would be asking you to include our clients in stories you’re working on (assuming there’s a natural fit) or pitch your editors on new stories that include discussion of our clients. We’re not looking for you to promote or shill for anything. Just include discussion of our clients in a natural, organic way.

“What we’re paying varies wildly depending on quality of the secured hit. We’ve paid up to a dollar per word for great placement. What payment structure would you be comfortable with?”

How about …. none?

* PR pitch: We’ll pay you to mention our clients (

Earlier posts:
* PR man proposes writing story and putting reporter’s byline on it
* Journalists don’t want PR people telling them how to write their stories


Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy tweets: “@UTArlington students are still taking lots of newspapers – too many, it seems.”

Actually, this sign was put up because of outsiders, I’m told. University of Texas at Arlington Department of Communication support specialist Ashley Bustillo tells me that the warning was put up because non-students would come into the building and take coupons from the Sunday newspapers. (The “news center” is near the front door.) There are no cameras watching the newspaper box, she says; it’s faculty and staff eyes doing the “surveillance.” Bustillo says the Sunday papers are generally gone – or may not have been delivered – when she gets to Communication building on Mondays, so she doesn’t know if the warning worked.

* Earlier: Dollar Tree tells customers they can’t buy more than three Sunday Star-Telegrams (

* Dear brands: Stop remembering 9/11 (
* One guy’s great responses to 9/11 brand tweets (

Gawker editor-in-chief Max Read sent this memo to his staff this morning:

Please add to the below list of banned words and phrases (which you should revisit if you’ve forgotten!!) the following:

Headlines that start with “Sorry,” “No,” “Yes,” or otherwise appear to be written as the first line of a commenter response. This is, maybe, the worst headline I’ve ever read in my life, and I want to make sure that nothing like it ever appears on
These headlines are among the worst symptoms of a general digital-media problem: Headline writers and editors around the internet trying to write headlines that sound like what they think their Facebook or Twitter audiences will be fooled into clicking or sharing. Usually this takes the form of a terrifying social media uncanny valley: Headlines that sound like mutant, overwritten fake status updates; headlines that sound like lines of dialogue from Markov bots; headlines in conversation with invisible interlocutors; headlines that express opinions or reactions that no normal human would ever actually have. (I’m not quite ready to ban “Watch this…” or “Read the…” or “This is…” or “Here’s the…” headlines. But I’m close!)

Not only are the uncanny-valley headlines awkward and stilted and clearly ridiculous, they’re exactly what everyone else online is doing. Which is a good hint that we should go in the other direction: When you can’t tell a Gawker headline from a Slate headline from a Vox headline from a Buzzfeed headline from an Upworthy headline, there’s something wrong.

We should be always be careful that we’re not writing for social media only–even though it’s how many of us spend the majority of our time on the internet, it only represents about a third of our inbound traffic. Our shit is pretty good. We don’t need to pander to one (let’s admit it, particularly stupid) audience.

All this being said: Let’s also not revert to boring Times-y headlines. Be clear, be direct, be interesting, be loud, be funny, be smart. If you need help on headlines, don’t hesitate to come to me or another editor. If you need inspiration, Ken Layne-era Sploid had the best headlines of any site on the internet, ever.

* San Francisco Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub has some fun with a 1940s newsroom typewriter. (@peterhartlaub)
* Lancaster New Era apologizes for an editorial cartoon – submitted, not from staff – that compares the inconvenience of air travel with slavery. ( | The cartoon: (
* Beacon – a sort of Kickstarter for journalism – has funded over 150 reporting projects so far. (
* Kate Lanphear leaves the New York Times to become Maxim editor-in-chief. She says: “I hope to cultivate and broaden Maxim’s coverage of style and culture. It’s an exciting time for this boldly confident, unapologetic brand.” (
* Farewell, iPod. (
* Vice’s Shane Smith has the kind of magic that the media business hasn’t seen in quite some time. (hollywoodreporter.)
* Here are your 2014 Science in Society Journalism Award winners: (
bastards* Recalling SF Examiner’s BASTARDS! headline and other posts after the 9/11 attacks. (Romenesko’s MediaNews)
* Christine Brennan: Getting the Roger Goodell interview “was good, old-fashioned journalism. You ask and then you ask again.” (
* USA Today’s laid off “Pop Candy” columnist says goodbye to readers – but on her own website. (
* Bill O’Reilly‘s soft side. ( | O’Reilly says he has some liberal views. (
* JOBS: The Weather Channel is looking for a business/legal affairs director. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Columbus Dispatch’s editor explains why he unpublished a story. (
* How’d I miss him? John McCain showed up on all three cable news channels Wednesday night. ( | McCain vs. Carney on CNN. (
* In “the old days,” some reporters wore badges and – surprise! – occasionally misused them. “If you flash it fast, no one notices. They think you’re a real deputy.” (