Daily Archives: March 9, 2015

* Kent State to pay marketing consultants at least $101,750; parts of contract kept secret (
* Earlier: Kent State shredded documents to hide information about presidential search (

In his Monday column, Bloomington (IN) Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg revisits the story of the boy who complained in a voicemail about his favorite comics getting canceled. (The kid called Zaltsberg and his colleagues “shitholes,” “jerks” and “idiots” for yanking the strips.)

Zaltsberg says he knew after I called last Monday that the “the H-T’s 8-year-old critic was going to become an Internet sensation ­— and I would be a very well-known (naughty name) for a few days.”

He writes in today’s paywalled column:

Within 36 hours after Romenesko picked up the story — which we had posted on HTO and distributed on Twitter and Facebook — we’d also heard from,,, the New York Daily News, New York Magazine and radio stations in New York and Indianapolis.

Digital heavyweights Gawker, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post had run the story, as had The Independent of London, the Irish Times and various other digital publications. Within 72 hours, the audio had been played more than 140,000 times.

A representative from a company that distributes books with collections of Peanuts comics — one of the comics the young man wanted back — said she’s sending five books along, “not to reward his cursing, but to acknowledge the heart behind his activism.”

Zaltsberg notes that many commenters who blasted the boy’s parents “did the same kind of name-calling for which they were denouncing an 8-year-old. …I saw this from the beginning as a ‘kids say the darndest things’ issue, not some morality play about child-rearing.

The editor adds: “I don’t believe for a minute Mom, Dad or any adult knew what he was saying or would condone it. But he’s a kid, and he was frustrated. …Mom told me the family has used this as a teachable moment about civility. Son believes he might find some favorites in our new comics and has decided to draw some of his own.”

* Time to re-focus after boy’s call goes viral (
* Earlier: Boy calls newspaper editor a “shithole” for pulling his favorite comics (

Tim Johnson, who was laid off by Gannett’s Burlington Free Press last October, has won a “Best of Gannett” award.
It was announced in late February that Johnson took third place in the Narrative Writing/Voice category and was praised by judges “for insightful reporting and storytelling” and being “committed to engaging the reader with crisp, deep reporting and delightful narrative and tone.”

John Walters reports:

Somehow the Free Press never bothered to report this great victory. And it’s usually so quick to brag about any honor it wins, no matter how trumped-up.

Here’s a final indignity: The awards come with cash prizes. Unfortunately for Tim, the money goes not to the writers, but to their employers. Or, in Tim’s case, ex-employer. [UPDATE: That’s not correct; see the comments section.]

Are there other laid-off journalists on this list? If you spot any, please let me know.

* Gannett honors laid-off Vermont journalist (


Conan O’Brien in Cuba: “The dog has stopped barking now. We await now to see if the dog will continue barking, because this is what they do on CNN. …I think what we’ve pretty much proven here is I could fill six hours a night on CNN.”

* Watch Conan “report” from a Havana roofop (


* New York Times veteran David Firestone is named FiveThirtyEight managing editor. (
* Public radio host Diane Rehm will no longer do fundraising for Compassion & Choices. (
haunt* Gabriel Sherman investigates the NBC News train wreck. ( | Sherman’s piece makes the covers of the Post and News. | How to fix NBC News. ( |
* No joke: Toronto Star lowers its paywall April 1. (
* Oklahoma student paper is on top of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon story: “Daily photographers saw individuals exit the fraternity house with suitcases around 11:30 p.m. Around 12:15 a.m., Daily photographers witnessed a man cross the street and write on the building with spray paint.” (
* Washington City Paper editor Mike Madden jumps to the Washington Post. (
* “The Times-Picayune has agreed not to release the number of officers working during [Bobby Jindal‘s prayer rally] because of security concerns.” Huh? The rally is over. (
* Former Sun-Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti joins the San Francisco Examiner. (
* The Record’s Herb Jackson on “the most bizarre thing I’ve encountered in this job.” (
* A small win for a Utah columnist crusading against a “news” site that steals content. (
* “At least you’re not writing sponsored content …lots of young people with dreams and journalism degrees are.” (
* New York Times joins Instagram. ( | “A really important thing.” (
* The Times did not crop the Bushes out of its Selma photo. (
vice* Vice’s cancer-cure report on HBO may have been “overstated a bit.” (
* Chicago Sun-Times threatens more cuts unless the Guild agrees to shift six full-time employees to part-time. (@LynneMarek)
* [SPONSORED] Deadline is approaching (March 15) for the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. (
* Meerkat explained. ( | Brian Stelter used it on “Reliable Sources” yesterday. (@brianstelter)
* Oops! “Header will go here …. Header will go here…” (
* Interested in placing a job ad or sponsored post on Romenesko? Contact Tom Kwas and he’ll get on the site.
* Send news tips, link suggestions, memos, reports of comment spam, and typo alerts to (I’ll protect you, of course – unless you do want a h/t.)

Fox News has the most trusted network and cable news coverage, according to a Quinnipiac University survey of American voters. But 26% say they don’t trust Fox News at all – the highest among the cable news and broadcast outlets. More findings:
photo 3
* 20% of American voters say they trust Fox News “a great deal”; 35% say “somewhat.”
* CNN: 18% “a great deal”; 43% “somewhat”
* ABC News: 14% “a great deal”; 50% “somewhat”
* CBS News: 14% “great deal”; 50% “somewhat”
* NBC News: 14% “a great deal”; 46% “somewhat”
* MSNBC: 11% “a great deal”; 41% “somewhat”

Other poll findings:
– Local TV news is trusted by 19% of voters “a great deal” and by 52% “somewhat.”
– Only 3% of Democrats trust Fox News the most, with 32% for CNN, 15% for NBC, 14% each for CBS and MSNBC and 8% for ABC.
– Thirty-five percent say Brian Williams should be fired for “misremembering” things; 42% say he should be allowed to return to work.
tina– Nineteen percent of voters choose Tina Fey to replace Jon Stewart; 16% favor Dennis Miller; 8% want John Oliver; 7% pick Brian Williams and Craig Ferguson; and 5% choose Chelsea Handler.
– Bill O’Reilly should be fired for inaccuracies, say 12% of voters. Eleven percent want him suspended, and 23% say he should stay put.

* Read the Quinnipiac University release on its national poll (Google Drive)