Daily Archives: September 29, 2014


A former New York Times employee was surprised to see the word “fucking” in yesterday’s New York Times Book Review. (It’s in the last paragraph of a book excerpt.) He wrote in a Sunday email:

This may not be the absolute first time that a form of “fuck” has been in the paper (accidents and the Starr report, perhaps?), but it I’d bet it’s the first time it has ever appeared so casually. When I was there, that would have gone at least to the executive editor, and maybe even to Arthur. (And, of course, if that word found its way into the paper without a high editor passing on it, there is going to be an internal shitstorm.)

I passed on posting the letter and image yesterday; BFD! – as the kids say – I thought. But today I wondered: How did Book Review readers react?

“I haven’t had a single complaint,” says editor Pamela Paul. “Don’t know of anything,” public editor Margaret Sullivan writes in an email, noting that she’s “semi off the grid today.”

* Book excerpt: “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” (

Owen Thomas wrote as “Jonathan Van Decimeter” on He explains why:

Jonathan Van Meter was a magazine editor and writer and he was most noted for asking if we were living in a, quote-unquote, post-gay moment. …The kind of post-gay thing really spoke to me and I thought, Well, I’m only a tenth the writer that Jonathan Van Meter is, so I will call myself Jonathan Van Decimeter.


The funny thing is that someone at some point thought that Jonathan Van Meter had written my essays, so Jonathan Van Meter actually got in touch with me and said, “Hey, who are you?” and we had a nice exchange. It was a little bit of a fanboy moment to hear from one of my literary idols.

Uh, oh. Was I responsible for that? From, February 3, 2000: “ [my old site] gave the story a welcome plug but unfortunately attributed it incorrectly to the actual Van Meter. We apologize for any confusion, and we can assure the real Van Meter that he’s 10 times the man Van Decimeter is.”

* Owen Thomas discusses Hotwired and Suck (
* “Mr. Van Decimeter, who identifies himself as post-postgay…” (

Maybe they’ll even salt the pasta water for this special occasion.


What similarly “newsworthy” press releases have come out of your governor’s office? Please post in comments or send me an email.

— via Reid J. Epstein

* Check out the photo of Gov. Quinn cutting the Olive Garden ribbon (
* Read the full Olive Garden “wait is over” press release (

FSU football is to blame.
Ernest Mashburn, 78, who wrote this letter, tells me he’s been delivering papers for 30 years. He currently has about 400 customers, works seven days a week and makes about $1,400 a month. “I net about $1,000 a month” after spending $400 on gas, he says.

— Via @FSURich with h/t to Peter Schorsch

* Former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, 93, is now in hospice care. “His health has been so fragile that the organizers of a local Alzheimer’s and dementia support group asked him to stop attending the thrice-weekly meetings,” Paul Farhi reports. (
ny* “The New Yorker is one of the few billboards left for cover art,” says ex-editor Tina Brown. ( | “The New Yorker cover is a GIF. What a time to be alive.” (@zoeschlanger)
* Online journalism “is trapped in something of a bubble right now. The big fixes have all been done.” (
* The will-online-kill-newspapers? debate has been going on since the ’80s. (
* Check out the winners of the 2014 Online Journalism Awards. (
* Ann Marie Lipinski: “Lots of journalists on Twitter calling out journalists who aren’t on Twitter. That’ll work.” (@AMLwhere)
* Bill Cosby biographer Mark Whitaker “not only seems out to protect Cosby, but, further complicating the tale, to be threatened by him.” (
* A judge rules that a one-man news operation in New Jersey doesn’t have to turn over its notes and emails to Parsippany officials. (
* It’s National Coffee Day – “or, as we say in newsrooms, it’s another day that ends in ‘y.'” (@hfuhrmann)
* An AP reporter apologizes for his incorrect tweet about Oakland Raiders’ coach being fired. (
* Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Sally Kalson didn’t want her obit to say “after a courageous battle with cancer.” (
* A Charleston journalist responds to Huffington Post. (
* Hundreds of Drake student newspapers are destroyed and dumped in front of the paper’s office over a pregnancy center ad. (
* Web pioneer Metafilter unveils its first new design in nearly a decade. (
* Someone gave up their weekend for this: Politico asks astrologers to predict Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky‘s future. (
* Minneapolis Star Tribune is blasted for running an anti-transgender ad. ( | (
trump* Donald Trump is tricked into retweeting a photo of serial killers. (
* JOBS: KTOO in Juneau, Alaska, is looking for a news director. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Matthew Keys: “Why don’t newspapers include a unique code in the printed edition that “unlocks” a paywall for 24 hours (a-la Starbucks free song download)?” (@MatthewKeysLive)
* Not even the National Enquirer could find dirt on Derek Jeter. (