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!
2. 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.” (nj.com)
* The AP overtakes New York Times as the media outlet with the most journalists on Twitter. (muckrack.com)
* [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. (wausaudailyherald.com) | Front page (PDF): (newseum.org)
* ESPN scrubs a “juicy” LeBron James quote. (deadspin.com)
* Seniors love Charlie Rose? “CBS This Morning” attracted more viewers in 2014, but not in the key 25-54 demo. (latimes.com)
* Yes, “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau is aware of the problems with Rolling Stone’s “Rape on Campus” story. (washingtonpost.com)
* 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.” (digiday.com)
* 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. (usatoday.com)
* 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.” (oregonlive.com)
* The worst of TV in 2014. (variety.com) | The best of Newsweek’s longreads. (newsweek.com)