Monthly Archives: December 2014

* The Trentonian’s L.A. Parker wrote 365 columns in 2014. (
* New York Observer editor Ken Kurson calls his paper a “pro-business alt-weekly for the upper crust.” (
* Grammar gripes from NPR listeners. (
* A San Francisco pot-themed newspaper will launch in January. (
* Waiting for confirmation: Deadspin hears that Tim Marchman is the next Deadspin editor. (
* Deadspin is keeping track of Vox’s screw-ups. (
* How The Intercept got its Jay Wilds (from “Serial) interview. (
* Dismissals at Baltimore’s Fox 45 over the bogus “kill a cop” chant. (
* Five things we supposedly learned from the New York Times this year. (
* An Oregon judge rules that a TripAdvisor commenter is protected by the state’s shield law. (
* Of course, White House reporters – like all journalists – jump from one story to another. (
* There were 234 magazine launches in 2014 vs. 185 in 2013. (
* Parade magazine’s new owners snub smaller papers. (
* Philadelphia City Paper drops Tom Tomorrow‘s cartoon, which it’s published for 20 years. (

knob1 1. We started 2014 with some strange censorship from the Johnson City Press. The Tennessee paper didn’t want readers seeing a 4-inch knob sticking out of a 30-foot maple. “It’s a male tree, there’s no doubt about that,” the homeowner (at right) told the paper. Commenters wondered why the Press wouldn’t show the growth. One wrote: “While you’re at it, you’d better change the name of your town to something less offensive than Johnson City.”
* Very strange censorship, Johnson City Press!

bingo2. In February, two Boston University students sent me a “bingo card” with things they’d heard repeatedly from j-class guest speakers. Example: “There’s no better time to be a journalist.” I seem to recall that they’d drawn the card in November, had it taped to their refrigerator for several weeks, then decided to send it to me. (Correct me if I’m wrong, guys.) I knew right away it would be a hit with journalists. The bingo card item quickly went viral and was probably my most-shared Facebook post and most-retweeted tweet.
* Journalist guest speaker cliche bingo

3. This headline ran in April, but it had absolutely nothing to do with April Fool’s Day. Vilas County News-Review editor Gary Ridderbusch told me that “I’ve never heard one comment” about the name of the jerky-related event. I pressed him, and he admitted that maybe there was a “snicker” from those unfamiliar with the annual bash.
* Wisconsin paper notes “Great Northern Jerk-Off” anniversary/CONTINUES Read More

The Central Somerset Gazette’s “Village People Upset at YMCA Plans” headline went viral after it was recently tweeted by Mark Chapman. (“Take a bow,” he told the paper.)

Who wrote the hed? I asked Gazette editor Bede MacGowan.

“It was from 2012 by our talented former chief sub Tim Lethaby,” he replied. “He is now the editor of the Blackmore Vale Magazine in Dorset.” (The date of publication isn’t visible on the front page that was tweeted by Chapman; I wrongly assumed it was recent.)

Lethaby tells Romenesko readers that “it is fairly nuts how this headline has suddenly gone viral.”

In 2012, there wasn’t much reaction to it. “It got a few Facebook shares at the time but nothing much,” says the Dorset editor. “I even entered it into a few Front Page of the Year competitions but didn’t even make it as a finalist.”

But it eventually got notice in the UK when the comedy site The Poke tweeted it as “headline of the year.” Comedian David Schneider — he’s “in loads of British comedy shows” – posted it on Facebook and, says Lethaby, “I guess it has spread to the states from there.”

The headline itself took a little while to craft, maybe 15 minutes or so, but this YMCA story had been rumbling on for a few months and I had an idea that I wanted to do a Village People headline at some point. It just worked on this occasion. I have to thank the reporter Laura Linham for writing the story and my editor of the time Philip Welch for allowing it through!

* Central Somerset Gazette: Take a bow (@markbfc)
* Village people upset at Street’s YMCA plans (Central Somerset Gazette)

* Tom Luicci, who once covered Rutgers for the Star-Ledger, is now spokesman for controversial Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann. The two just canned popular sports information director Jason Baum – “the scapegoat for her gaffes.” (
* The AP overtakes New York Times as the media outlet with the most journalists on Twitter. (
* [RIGHT] The man with “the most famous beard in Wisconsin” – it’s considered lucky for Aaron Rodgers – can’t give interviews unless they’re approved by the Green Bay Packers. ( | Front page (PDF): (
* ESPN scrubs a “juicy” LeBron James quote. (
* Seniors love Charlie Rose? “CBS This Morning” attracted more viewers in 2014, but not in the key 25-54 demo. (
* Yes, “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau is aware of the problems with Rolling Stone’s “Rape on Campus” story. (
* 2014 was the year of the newsletter? No, says Rusty Foster, it’s just that “people who haven’t been paying attention to them have been paying attention to them in a way that they weren’t.” (
* JOBS: Virgin Islands Daily News is looking for a reporter. “This is not a job for raw beginners,” though. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Detroit Free Press “wins the Internet” for the way it handled its Harbaugh photo screw-up. (
* Climate change isn’t on the Oregonian’s 2015 editorial agenda because “weighing the costs and benefits of climate-change policy is best done at the federal and international levels.” (
* The worst of TV in 2014. ( | The best of Newsweek’s longreads. (

Her work:

* Lowell police: Do not attempt to capture escaped goat (

New: Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers (


* New York Post editorial mentioning the death of Eric Holder Garner (
* September 2014: New York Post editorial on “Eric Holder’s contempt”
* April 2014: New York Post editorial on “Eric Holder’s whine”

– h/t @whit_richardson

A tipster writes:

In a routine announcement from real estate investment trust Rayonier Inc., the Reuters Bangalore bureau reported that one “John Bush” will resign from the company’s board, effective Dec. 31.

Thing is, “John Bush” is actually Jeb Bush, who is currently exploring a run for the American presidency. I’m told by a journalist at Reuters that U.S. editors tried to get the Bangalore bureau to issue a correction. But Bangalore refused, noting that Jeb’s full name is “John Ellis Jeb Bush” and that “John Bush” was not incorrect. I’m also told that a compromise was reached in which Bangalore will update the story to say that John is known as Jeb.

* John Bush resigns from Rayonier’s board (

Update: This version “corrects headline and first paragraph to change Bush’s first name to ‘Jeb’, the name he is best known by, from ‘John’, his given name.”

In a piece titled “The Virologist,” Andrew Marantz profiles 27-year-old “Internet-media entrepreneur” Emerson Spartz (right)emer for this week’s New Yorker. Spartz’s specialty is making things go viral; “I’m passionate about virality,” he tells Marantz, adding that “I’m really, really good at writing headlines.” (Check them out at his main site,

Some lines from “The Virologist”:
* Spartz built the world’s most popular Harry Potter fan site, MuggleNet, when he was 12.
* He “has been successfully launching websites for more than half his life. In Chicago’s small startup subculture, he is an envied figure.”
* His goal now is to “disrupt the disrupters” – sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy – with his 30 websites.
* “Facebook has been very generous about linking to our content,” says Spartz. “I’m aware that they might not be so generous forever.”
* Marantz writes: “Spartz does not call what he makes journalism, even if he employs a few journalists, and he does not erect barriers between his product and his means of promoting it.”

How Spartz would cover Uganda:

-- From The New Yorker

— From The New Yorker

* How a young entrepreneur built an empire by repackaging memes (

New: “The saddest story I’ve ever read,” and more comments (


* The last issue of Long Beach Register came out Sunday. ( | (
* Milwaukee cops vs. journalist: “Tensions eased considerably” after police were told Jabril Faraj was a Northwestern University j-school grad – and didn’t steal any of his equipment. (
* Oops! Detroit Free Press puts a John Harbaugh photo on page one. ( | @freepsports promises “we’ll have the right one tomorrow.” (@freepsports)village
* The best longform journalism of 2014. (
* Alt-weekly editors’ favorite stories of 2014. (
* [Right] UK paper’s headline from earlier this month goes viral. (@markbfc)
* Have an innovative news business model? Steve Outing wants to hear about it. (
* Lansing State Journal: “Our editing ranks have been thinned to allow for more reporters.” (Could we see numbers to prove you now have more reporters?) (
* Quartz writers’ obsessions. (Gwynn Guilford is obsessed with jellyfish.) (
* Demise of UC Davis student paper’s print edition is called “a tragedy.” (
* Twitter is not dying. (
* Peoria Journal Star photographers return to tornado devastation areas. “These images only show a view of brick and mortar, but each house contains a family that has their own story.” (
* Vintage video: Lesley Stahl, Jonathan Capehart and others at the 1998 NLGJA Convention. (
* “Cool, digital company … Gawker has apparently delivered a grand total of four pieces of paper to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.” (
* Noted: USA Today’s weather map is no longer on the A section’s back page. (
* Of course, you’ll find them on MTV: “Nothing makes me feel better about myself than being reminded that people who mispronounce words like ‘muscle’ even exist.” (
* A large black bear was spotted outside the PennLive/Patriot-News building. (A reporter locked eyes with the bear, then “retreated behind a set of double doors.”) ( | h/t @ckrewson
* The Los Angeles Times garage is cleared after a suspicious package is found. The finding: “It’s not a bomb, just some nasty messages that someone decided to leave for the police.” (