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Daily Archives: September 16, 2014

On June 7, 2013, I sent this email to Bloomberg reporter Renee Dudley: “An anonymous tipster reports you were banned from Wal-Mart meetings all this week while other national media were allowed to cover them. Is this correct?”

Dudley referred me to a Bloomberg spokesman who confirmed that the reporter wouldn’t be in Bentonville, Arkansas, for Wal-Mart’s shareholders’ meeting.

I then called David Tovar, the retail giant’s PR guy. He said Dudley wasn’t allowed at Wal-Mart’s media week events because, he claimed, she wasn’t a fair reporter. His gripe, it seemed to me, was that she was too aggressive.

In March of 2013, Dudley wrote about Wal-Mart’s disorganized stores, empty shelves, and long checkout lines. In an April 2, 2013, follow-up, Dudley wrote that she got more than 1,000 emails from unhappy Wal-Mart customers.

In fall of 2013, Tovar accused Dudley of “having an agenda” and told CNBC that “we’ve tried to speak with her editors and it seems to fall on deaf ears.”

In June of 2014, Dudley was told that once again she wasn’t welcome at Wal-Mart’s media week events.

Last Friday, Northwest Arkansas Business Journal reported that Tovar was resigning his corporate communications position. Wal-Mart explained that he was “just ready to move on to his next adventure,” and left it at that.

Dudley, though, got the rest of the story. The PR guy who had been bad-mouthing her resigned after Wal-Mart discovered that he had falsely claimed he had a B.A. degree from the University of Delaware. He attended the school, but never graduated.

I asked Dudley about her “delicious scoop,” but she didn’t respond. Bloomberg’s spokesman says the company doesn’t have anything to say about its reporter and Tovar’s fall.

* Wal-Mart spokesman said to resign over resume falsehood (bloomberg.com)
* What?! Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar lied? (gawker.com)
* Earlier: Wal-Mart can’t stand Bloomberg’s coverage of Wal-Mart (huffingtonpost.com) | Dudley should be commended for her work (talkingbiznews.com)


DIGS
Gawker Media is moving to 114 Fifth Avenue in New York’s Flatiron District. “We’ve taken on three floors totaling nearly 60,000 sq feet,” Nick Denton tells his staff. (They’re currently at 210 Elizabeth St.) “We’ll be subletting one of the floors for a few years, with plans to expand into it later.”

Here’s Denton’s memo:

I have some big news about the company’s expansion and future plans. In particular, we will be moving out of the walk-up Nolita loft space that has been our home since 2008. Earlier today, we signed a lease for three floors of 114 Fifth Avenue.

It’s a long-term commitment funded from our growth over the last three years — and a mark of our confidence in the prospects for online media, and our own trajectory.
But let’s recap where we are first. As a company, we’ve been quiet — and that’s only in part to do with me being away on honeymoon and sabbatical.

We’re a financially sober independent company in an online media sector drunk on cheap finance and its own hype. And we’ve been heads-down, working on Kinja, the platform for bloggers that is our model for the future of independent media.

Our engineers have built the foundations of our own social discovery network, with functions such as follow and star proving increasingly useful signals for content recommendations./CONTINUES Read More

Republican millionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, who is running against Gov. Pat Quinn in Illinos, wouldn’t let a dozen journalism students cover his medical marijuana press conference this morning.

Chicago Sun-Times political reporter Natasha Korecki tweets: “Rauner tells Columbia College students/professor that pressers are open to ‘working press only.’ Locked them out.” She added: “Nor would Rauner stop to talk to students.”

Quinn’s communication director tweets: “What kind of bully candidate turns students away from his press conference? Reporters get sneak preview of what Rauner admin would B like.”

Columbia College interim journalism department chairman Leonard Strazewski tells me he’s looking into the matter. I’ve left a message for Rauner’s press office.

Update: Curtis Lawrence, who teaches a course called Covering Politics, tells Romenesko readers: “We’re covering the state and county races that are coming up on November. The students do their own reporting, and when we get a chance we cover things live. Rauner had an event this morning – an 11 a.m. press conference – and we hopped on the brown line [el train], thinking we were going to get in. …The plan was for them to tweet the event. …We were told we couldn’t come in because it was for working press only.”

Lawrence says the students “thought it sucked …They were disappointed.”

The teacher then tried to get Rauner to spend a few minutes with his students after the press conference. His request was ignored, though.

“He didn’t even look us in the eye or answer us.”


* “My biggest concern is how to cover the world right now when it’s really dangerous,” says New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet. “That’s the thing that keeps me most awake at night.” (thedailybeast.com)pie
* Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar, who got some attention in June for marking up a New York Times editorial with “editor’s notes,” resigns over a puffed-up resume. (bloomberg.com)
* “The new kid at work is making us a pie!” (@kimseverson)
* The editor of an Iowa newspaper is fired after writing a column critical of Ferguson police. His boss claims there were other reasons for the dismissal. (desmoinesregister.com)
* “Our ambition is to be the Amazon of our news environment,” says Minneapolis Star Tribune’s publisher. (usatoday.com)
* Denver Post hires a former CBS affiliate news anchor to run its TV unit. (westword.com)
* BuzzFeed reporter on the Ray Rice video: “I find it condescending that a news organization wouldn’t post something because they thought it was too graphic. …I’m glad I work at a place where we err on the side of exposure and honesty rather than concealing.” (ajr.org)
* Anti-dog magazine Poop & Pooches is a hit in Germany. (wsj.com)
* A college newspaper moves to Medium. (collegemediamatters.com)
* Joe Pompeo on gay media pioneers, with a mention of “closeted conservative firebrand Matt Drudge.” (advocate.com)
* Obsessed? Fox News has aired nearly 1,100 segments on the Benghazi attacks in the first 20 months after those attacks. (huffingtonpost.com) | (mediamatters.org)
* New York Times columnist David Brooks sells his home for $4.495 million in just 48 hours. (urbanturf.com)
* @PFTCommenter is “a parodic manifestation of the worst impulses of hype and inhumanity that surround the National Football League.” (slate.com)
* The NLRB – ruling on a 2003 labor dispute – tells CNN to rehire 100 employees and pay 200 others. (variety.com)
* Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner is scolded: “Your paper placed me right back there, in the 1st grade as the new kid in a new school with one hand, being gawked at, jeered, at, and pointed at.” (standard.net)
* Peter Canellos steps down as Boston Globe editorial page editor. (bostonglobe.com)pot* Report: The Washington Post editorial board refused to sit down with marijuana legalization initiative proponents before writing this editorial. (marijuana.com)
* San Francisco Chronicle’s 1949 Royal typewriter is now on Twitter as @NewsTypewriter. (sfgate.com)