Daily Archives: December 17, 2014


The director’s note:medill

* Medill Watchdog is closing its doors in the coming weeks (

The Houston Chronicle’s Karen Chen sends this email:

I’m a recent Medill grad (BSJ ’14) and frequent intern with our school’s investigative journalism team Medill Watchdog. Watchdog was the most valuable part of my education at Medill and I am only able to be part of the Houston Chronicle’s investigations team because of what director Rick Tulsky and the experiential training at Watchdog taught me. Not only did Watchdog give me skills to start out in this field, it inspired a fiery passion for investigative journalism and some of my most cherished college memories (even though many center on “boring” records requests)./CONTINUES Read More

A student posts on Reddit: “Hey all, have my journalism final tomorrow. It’s to write a lead on whatever story he gives you. Tips on writing good leads?”
You’re asking this late in the semester, Mr/Ms. Procrastinating Student? I’m not sure how much help this is, but here’s a good lead – or lede – from the Romenesko files. Let’s hope your prof gives you a UFO story.


* Hey all, have my journalism final tomorrow…” (
* “Peeing in his compost”: Best lede ever? (

New: “Most stories are better starting with the second paragraph” (

“Gotta love this classy upsell,” tweets Ryan Holiday.

Malala Yousafzai was 15 when she was shot by a Taliban gunman in 2012, so NPR always referred to her as “Malala” on second reference. mal2

“Two years later, should we still refer to her as ‘Malala?'” asks NPR standards and practices senior editor Mark Memmott.

That’s under discussion. For now, “Malala” remains OK even though that goes against the AP’s guidance (which the wire service isn’t following, by the way; it continues to call her “Malala”). One major reason not to change yet is that she’s known as “Malala” around the world.

* When it’s OK and not OK to use first names on second reference (

Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird has been missing for nearly a year now and the paper – after keeping him on the payroll for monthsdavidbird – has changed his status to “unpaid leave of absence.”

“This means that David’s wife Nancy, a stay-at-home wife and mother caring for their two children, has no income with which to provide for her family,” the Journal’s newsroom union tells members. “Imagine the anguish she faces each and every day – not knowing where her husband is or what happened to him AND wondering how she will manage her financial hardship.”

The union is asking members to contribute to the Bird Family Trust.

From: Your Union: IAPE 1096
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 10:23 AM
Subject: PLEASE GIVE: The Bird Family Trust

On January 11, 2014, Wall Street Journal reporter and IAPE member David Bird left his house in Millington, N.J., to take a brief walk to get some fresh air. He never returned.

Despite a widespread manhunt by the Long Hill, N.J., police and volunteers, nothing has turned up since last January to indicate what happened to David./CONTINUES Read More

* CNN, Netflix, NPR and other 2015 duPont winners have been announced. (
* Michael Wolff: “There’s only one media model that works, and that’s television. Digital media has managed to kill music, kill newspapers. It’s only television that exists now.” ( | “Wolff is wrong about almost everything to do with digital media.” (@mathewi)farl
* [RIGHT] Marquette roommates James Murphy and Chris Farley “dreamed of launching careers in cartooning and comedy, respectively.” (Murphy’s now with Pixar; RIP Farley.) (
* Ex-Oregonian editor Peter Bhatia tells j-students: “You will find the way because you are not wed to a traditional past. You are the new wave of content creators, born in a remarkable age of discovery.” (
* The parents of journalist Steve Sotloff light the first Hanukkah candle during a celebration. (
* A publication only survives if it’s “a must-read,” writes John Battelle. (
* Covering Ferguson: “We got gassed, we went home, we drank. Then we did it again, a day later.” (
* Layoffs begin at the New York Times; the media desk is hit hard. ( | (
* Prediction: BuzzFeed will hire a public editor in 2015. (
* David Mattingly is leaving CNN after 23 years to try something new. (
* Jerry Garcia‘s letter to a Vogue model is up for auction. ( | via FishbowlNY
* How Sony “edits” New York Times stories. (
* A Christmas tip sheet for reporters. (
* Good luck journalists, but newspaper management doesn’t care if you withhold your byline. (
* Mic dumps comments and tells readers to post their opinions on Facebook. (
* Pittsburgh Tribune-Review owner Richard Mellon Scaife didn’t leave any money for his kids. (
* “The Newsroom” finale “was beyond criticism and anyone who snickers needs to leave the room now,” writes Michael Miner. (