Monthly Archives: February 2015


That’s right! Job security is almost guaranteed for newspaper employees these days, so why the heck would they need a union? Milwaukee Journal Sentinel award-winning columnist Jim Stingl wrote this piece just as Wisconsin journalists working for the state’s Gannett papers were getting laid off. None of them had Guild representation, by the way. [Correction: The Sheboygan Press still has a newsroom union.]

I asked Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports reporter and Milwaukee Newspaper Guild president Tom Silverstein what he thought of Stingl’s column. His response:

When I hear non-members in our newsroom say that they don’t feel they need the protection of a union I smile because it means they are definitely benefiting from the protections of our union. Over the years, we’ve worked hard to assure that everyone can express their individuality and still have the strength of 105 (what our bargaining unit is down to) committed journalists behind them.

We aren’t just about better wages and benefits. Together, we maintain the highest standards of journalism and are committed to our paper thriving.

Stingl declined my invitation to tell Romenesko readers more about his union views.

* Stingl: Unions put up another uphill fight against labor bill (

New: Read what my Facebook friends and subscribers say about Stingl’s column

* USC Annenberg’s media center is now called the Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center. The university isn’t saying how much the couple donated to get their names in front of students. ( | (
* Jill Abramson won’t be writing “a score-settling book,” says her publisher. ( | A $1 million book deal. ( | Hamilton Nolan: A “future of media” book from her? (
* Why do we need newspaper columnists? Mike Royko answered that question. (
* [RIGHT] “A+ lede: ‘An Oklahoma artist’s not kitten around when he says he wants to draw a cat version of all 100 U.S. senators.'” (@erinruberry)
* Rajiv Chandrasekaran: “I’m leaving The [Washington] Post after two decades to form a small media company based in Seattle that will create and produce nonfiction, social-impact content, some of it in partnership with the Starbucks Coffee Co.” (
* Magazine readership is up, thanks to mobile devices. ( | Newsstand sales are down, though. (
* The March Vogue will have 12 pages of Apple Watch ads. (
* Errol Morris directs six short films for ESPN. They’ll go online next month. (
* NPR ombudsman: Diane Rehm‘s participation at fundraising dinners “is a step too far for someone associated with NPR.” (
* Minnesotans recall David Carr‘s time in the Twin Cities. “He helped reset the philosophy about what journalists are in this town,” says the former Twin Cities Reader publisher. (
* SPONSORED: Boston University’s Investigative Journalism Certificate Program is for recent grads and working journalists. Next session: June 1-6. (
* The voice of The New York Times Audio Digest is Phoenix public radio host Mark Moran. (
* Michael Roston: “People [at the New York Times] have to have a very specific set of carefully developed skills before they’re able to post something under our [social media] accounts.” (
* “The Daily Show” presents 50 Fox News lies in just six seconds. ( | Why the Bill O’Reilly flap matters. (
* A nice car-bus crash photo in the Chicago Tribune: (
* JOBS: The Colorado Independent is looking for an associate editor. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Crain’s sells TVWeek to longtime staffer Chuck Ross. (
* Place a job ad for just $25 a week on Contact Tom Kwas at for information. (He’ll take care of your Sponsored Post, too.)
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* Nebraska still waiting for same-sex marriage ruling (

The Los Angeles Times sent this memo to staff on Wednesday afternoon:

From: Goldberg, Nick [editorial pages editor]
Subject: Juliet Lapidos — Op-Ed Editor


We’re extremely pleased to announce that Juliet Lapidos will be the new op-ed page editor of The Times.

Juliet Lapidos

Juliet Lapidos

Juliet is a staff editor at the New York Times, where she has spent the last four years writing editorials and editing “Taking Note,” the blog of the editorial board. She’s a former associate editor at the online magazine Slate, where she wrote frequently and edited the Explainer column, as well as regular columns on subjects as disparate as food, drink, religion and television.

She’s also written for the Atlantic, the New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, the Awl, the New York Observer and the websites of the New Republic and the New Yorker, among other places.

She’s the recipient of a number of awards including, most recently, the 2014 New York Times Publisher’s Award for her role in that paper’s editorial page series endorsing the legalization of marijuana. She is a graduate of Yale – but also has an M.Phil in English literature from Cambridge University.

The op-ed page has for many years been a critically important part of our daily report – allowing outsiders of all sorts to opine about the world, the nation, California and L.A., on subjects from politics and culture to science, sports and history. With Juliet’s arrival we intend to build on that tradition, continuing our move into the digital future, using video, audio, graphics, art and text together to broaden the public conversation and to engage readers with provocative ideas and arguments.

Please join us in welcoming Juliet to The Times. She will begin in mid-March.

[Publisher] Austin [Beutner] and Nick



defeatRahm Emanuel failed to get 50% and one vote on Tuesday, so he now has to face Chuy Garcia in a runoff mayoral election April 7. The Chicago Reader has some fun with Rahm’s “defeat” on the cover of the issue that hits newsstands tomorrow.

Reader managing editor Jake Malooley says of the cover: “It was masterminded by Reader creative director Paul John Higgins. In the photo holding the cover mock, that’s our political columnist, Ben Joravsky, in the office on election night. Along with the Reader’s Mick Dumke, Ben has been writing about why a runoff would be good for Chicago (and potentially for Rahm).”

* Dumke on February 18: Why Chicago needs a mayoral runoff (
* Joravsky & Dumke: Now it’s time for a real mayoral debate (
* “A national political embarrassment” for Rahm Emanuel (

NBC “Late Night” host Seth Meyers’ discusses the Brian Williams controversy with Howard Stern and Robin Quivers on Tuesday’s “The Howard Stern Show”:

Did you do any jokes about it?th
We haven’t done any jokes about it, no.

Does that trouble you? Because you can’t joke – I mean, it’s a major story – has NBC said to you, lay off it?
No, we never hear from NBC.

Really? They didn’t say, “Look,it’s embarrassing to us. We don’t want you talking about it”?

Have you personally – because you’re friends with Brian and Allison, you feel it would be a bad thing [to make jokes]?
It would be a lot harder for me and, again, I feel like this is a really hard time for them. You know, at the same too, there are good jokes to be made; don’t get me wrong. But when it’s somebody you personally trust and you personally believe in, then you give them the benefit of the doubt.

* Why Seth Meyers doesn’t joke about Brian Williams (
* AUDIO: Listen to Meyers and Stern discuss Allison and Brian Williams (

From LOGAN CARLSON, former Gannett Wisconsin Media journalist:
I’m surprised you haven’t heard any fallout from the Newsroom of the Future restructuring currently underway with Gannett Wisconsin Media, given how it’s been going (terribly) at other Gannett sites across the country. [Actually, I have, and I’m trying to confirm that some top editors have resigned. Please email me if you have information.] What’s been true at other sites that have gone through the restructuring has been true for Wisconsin.
For the last month the 10 daily newspapers in Wisconsin that Gannett owns have been going through the restructuring process. When we first began hearing rumors of NOTF, we all knew it was essentially company spin for reducing the newsroom positions while making it sound like that wasn’t going to be the case. All told, I believe the company goal was to reduce payroll by 15 percent. As with any change anxiety and trepidation follows, and its fair to say reporters and editors in the company experienced that in abundance in the weeks and months prior to the announcement GWM would be going through the process.

When editors and general managers met with newsrooms to discuss the new organizational charts and how the whole process would work out, I have to admit my thoughts and feelings regarding the changes were positive. I still knew some people would draw the short straw, but overall I thought the direction the company was taking was going to better position it for the future. But it became clear as the process went along that no matter how much those editors – who spent countless hours planning – didn’t have a clue how things would eventually shake out, and any they were winging it by the seat of their pants./CONTINUES Read More

Letter to Romenesko
MICHELLE LEDER, who monitors SEC filings for a living, writes: There was an amazing disclosure in the 10K that NYT filed today regarding circulation. I may be missing something, but I don’t remember seeing these numbers anywhere else.paper In prior years, they gave numbers for circulation for print, online and other digital platforms. In this filing, they just gave print stats and it showed that M-F print circulation was 648,900, while Sunday was 1.18m. [A Times spokesperson: “She says that ‘in this filing, they just gave print stats.’ That’s not at all true. We gave our print circulation, according to AAM and we also gave our digital subscriber number, among other various facts around digital circulation and audience.”]

This is what I sent out to my paid subscribers:

The company also provides numbers for print subscribers for the first time in four years. Print subscribers for the M-F edition were 648,900 and 1.18m on Sundays in 2014. In 2010, the last time it provided this breakdown, the numbers were 906,100 for M-F and 1.35m on Sundays. A quick check of SEC filings shows that 10 years earlier, in 2004, the print circulation number for M-F was almost double that number at 1.12 million.

* New York Times Co. 2014 Annual Report on Form 10-K (

Update: A New York Times spokesperson says: “We made the change this year to a print subscriber number and a digital subscriber number for the sake of clarity. We’ve found that people find this level of detail more useful.”

Update 2: The circulation numbers are “no surprise to anyone with access to the AAM data,” writes a Romenesko reader. “In fact the Sept. 30, 2014 numbers are even lower. See attached.”

News sources for 18 to 24 year olds:

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communication reports:

More than half of young adults who prefer traditional news sites said they were “very informed,” a rating chosen by only four out of every 10 who prefer online-only news sites. Yet online-only news is the primary source of news for nearly 35 percent, compared to 22 percent for traditional news sites.

* Young adults using traditional media feel most informed (

From Wednesday’s New York Times:

* Commodes have improved at Port Authority bus terminal (

Update: Times public editor Margaret Sullivan writes: “The article has a light touch, and Mr. Barron — the rewrite man who can turn mush into poetry — was probably just sending up the whole matter of how freely anonymity is granted and for what absurd reasons.”

New: Read the comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers