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Daily Archives: September 23, 2014

* A student looking into the Kansas University-Koch brothers financial relationship is told she’ll have to pay $1,800 for records. She’s raised the money. (ljworld.com via @NYTJamesCobb)
* Student editor investigating the ESPN-Mid-American Conference contract: “How can these universities agree to a confidentiality agreement without having a copy of the contract? The facts just don’t seem to add up.” (kentwired.com)
* Here’s the Des Moines Register/Iowa News Network “newsroom of the future” organization chart: (Google Drive) | The Register – a Gannett paper – is cutting 18 positions. (dmcityview.com)
* A Birmingham judge says the court erred by issuing a restraining order against the Montgomery Advertiser. (montgomeryadvertiser.com)tshirt
* [At right] You did see her shirt, New York Post, correct? (nypost.com)
* Washington Post has added more than 100 staffers since Jan. 1; it now has 650 newsroom employees. (nytimes.com)
* A strong season premiere – almost 18 million viewers – for “Sixty Minutes”; only “Sunday Night Football” topped it last week. (mediabistro.com)
* Ben Smith, the Daily Caller intern, slams Ben Smith‘s BuzzFeed. (@danprimack)
* Syracuse University’s Daily Orange corrects the spelling of Snoop Dogg‘s name; Monday’s paper had “Dog.” (collegemediamatters.com)
* Layoffs at the Orange County Register and Memphis Commercial Appeal.
* I’ll do you a favor, Jeff Zucker, and not ruin it by tuning in: The median age for CNN’s primetime viewership has fallen below 60 for the first time since 2008. (variety.com)
* Tennessean metro government/politics reporter Michael Cass is named Nashville Mayor Karl Dean‘s communications adviser and speechwriter. (nashvilleledger.com)

Update on Thursday: Rose Thayer reports that she’s covering the 1st Cavalry Division again. “The PAO [public affairs officer] in Afghanistan said he couldn’t get into [details of the reversal], just that everyone is back as it was and he hoped we could all move forward. I agree.”

Killeen (TX) Daily Herald military editor Rose L. Thayer told her Facebook friends last week: “Let it be known that on Sept. 15, I was officially banished from covering the 1st Cavalry Division. Not the Killeen Daily Herald, just me. I wish I could explain why exactly.”

Rose L. Thayer

Rose L. Thayer

I contacted Thayer, and she agreed to tell Romenesko readers what happened: A commander in Afghanistan didn’t like this lede:

FORT HOOD — The 1st Cavalry Division will return home from Afghanistan and uncase its colors in October, Maj. Gen. Michael Bills, division commander, announced Thursday during a town hall meeting.

Bills, who “banished” Thayer from covering the largest division at Fort Hood, was apparently upset because most of the division – not all, as the lede implied – will return to the United States – something Thayer had in the fourth paragraph of her town hall meeting story.

“My newspaper stands by the story I wrote,” says Thayer. “The editors don’t feel I did anything wrong.”

Here is what I heard Bills say at about 10:40 of this video of the Town Hall meeting:

We are seeing successes because of our Afghan partners, demonstrating the kind of independence and effectiveness that has come as the result of the many years of our military and civilian elements who have spent time working with them.

What this means is that regional command south headquarters transitions to a train, advise and assist command south on 15 October, going into resolute support. 1st Cavalry division will … uncase its colors in Fort Hood, Texas, on 17 October. A small organization and still very effective will continue the partnership with our Afghan partners and we’ve got all the confidence in the world in our Afghan partners to keep Kandahar and the outlying provinces safe.

Thayer, who is married to a soldier, says she’ll remain as military editor and “if something comes up, the 1st Cavalry won’t get covered. We don’t have the [size of] staff to go out of our way to accommodate them.” (The paper has six reporters.)

Thayer does have supporters at Fort Hood, and they’re trying to get Bills and his public affairs officer to work with her again.

“I think she’s a fantastic reporter,” says Fort Hood III Corps public affairs officer Col. Christopher Garver, who declines to comment on Bills’ action. (I couldn’t reach the commanding general in Afghanistan.)

The III Corps public affairs team, which outranks the 1 Cavalry, is trying to get a three-star general to intervene, says Thayer.

She adds:

“The whole thing has just been disheartening, because I hate that one man can spoil the good work that his soldiers are doing. While we do report the good and the bad, he is blocking my ability to report on the good. When soldiers do bad things, it’s pretty easy to get the information from outside sources, like the police.”

* Bills announces 1st Cav’s early return to Fort Hood (kdhnews.com)
* 1st Cavalry Town Hall (youtube.com)

Larry King on the WGN-TV set

Larry King on the WGN-TV set

Larry King’s USA Today column was killed 13 years ago this month, but the TV-radio legend is still having fun with it. On the “WGN Morning Show,” King read a producer’s random thoughts in the style of his old column. (He also did some ad-libbing.) King “was GREAT with this,” says the show’s Facebook page.
* Larry King reads producer’s random thoughts on-air (wgntv.com)
* WGN Morning News promo: “Nobody f#@king likes you” (wgntv.com)

bill
* Hinting at a presidential run, Bill? (@CBSThisMorning) | (mediamatters.org)
* Even Wall Street Journal’s doing quizzes now. Which dot drawing are you? it asks. (wsj.com)
* How U-T San Diego would run as a nonprofit. (“Instead of [profits] going to the owner for the investment, we will, in effect, reinvest it into the community.”) (voiceofsandiego.org)
* Report: There had been bias complaints about Alaska TV reporter Charlo Green‘s pot coverage. “Rumors of her involvement in a pot business had circulated before Sunday night” when she quit on air. (adn.com)
* NPR ombudsman: “Listeners have found no major problems with the [radio network’s Ferguson] coverage.” (npr.org) | …but they’re complaining about “begs the question.” npr.org)
* New York Times launches “Watching,” described by the paper as “a stream of developing and noteworthy news designed to amplify the scope and urgency of The Times’s digital report.” (niemanlab.org)
* Dave Winer: “Why should an online news site be organized the same way a print home page is? It shouldn’t.” (scripting.com)
* Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori was paid nearly $8.8 million last year. (robertfeder.com)
* Eric Deggans says “too many…parts of [Alessandra Stanley‘s Shonda Rhimes] piece read like backhanded compliments couched in racially clumsy language.” (npr.org)
swear* Angry publisher of weekly papers in Queens asks cop: “Do you know who the fuck I am?” (I’m guessing he didn’t.) (dnainfo.com) | “I’m going to have your job,” she warned. (nydailynews.com)
* Atlantic Media’s TheWire.com will be folded into TheAtlantic.com. (observer.com)
* Gannett’s Des Moines Register tells readers about its “newsroom of the future” plans, which include making staffers reapply for jobs. (desmoinesregister.com)
* NBC’s “Nightly News” is still the most-watched evening newscast, but ABC’s “World News Tonight” wins with younger viewers. (mediabistro.com)


Orange County Register owners Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz announced Monday that they’re pulling the plug on the five-month-old Los Angeles Register.

“Pundits and local competitors who have closely followed our entry into Los Angeles will be quick to criticize our decisionla to launch a new newspaper and they will say that we failed,” the owners write in a memo. “We believe, the true definition of failure is not taking bold steps toward growth. While we tried an important new initiative and determined it did not meet our criteria for success, it does not mean that our business as a whole has failed.”

* Los Angeles Register to immediately cease publication (latimes.com)
* Rem Rieder on LA Register’s launch in April: “It will be fascinating see how all of this plays out” (usatoday.com)

Memo from owners Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz

When purchasing Freedom Communications a little more than two years ago, we committed to investing in and improving upon the quality of the Register and its two-dozen community newspapers. We’ve recruited some amazing journalism talent, added new sections, and acquired a wonderful portfolio of family, business and golf-themed magazines.

Last November, we added The Press-Enterprise to our portfolio. Freedom expanded its regional footprint even further with the addition of the Easy Reader newspaper and magazine portfolio in January, and the Los Angeles Register in April.

With every new investment, you have risen to the challenge by creating an amazing caliber of product. Freedom’s total revenue has grown in an industry where many of our peers are in perpetual decline. Our local print advertising business isn’t just up, it’s up double digits over last year. Our advertiser account base has increased. So has our circulation and commercial printing revenue. Digital revenue and traffic have also now begun to trend upwards with the successful launch of our Digital Freedom products./CONTINUES Read More