Monthly Archives: June 2015

Letter to Romenesko
From DUANE MARSTELLER, former Gannett employee: In celebrating its first day on its own, the “new” Gannett has been touting a stat that claims that it accounts for 40% of Internet usage.

The company also has made the claim in earnings reports, on its web site and I also saw it included in one USA Today story on company earnings. There was no attribution for the figure, which seemed rather high to me, so I looked into it.

I found a comScore report from January that said Gannett sites have 105,237,000 unique visitors/viewers, which is about 40 percent of the total of some 252 million.

My question is: Is this the source of Gannett’s claim, and if so, is the company representing the data accurately? To me, the comScore figures are a measure of audience reach, not internet usage as Gannett is claiming.

If I’m wrong, then it’s staggering that a news company could so dominate an Internet full of porn sites and cute cat videos. If I’m right, then it’s ironic that a company whose newspapers take glee in calling out others’ misrepresentations is guilty of misrepresentation itself.

* “Here’s a #NewGannett stat that will blow your freaking mind” (@Riley_Sarah)

New: “It’s reach, not usage – and those are different things” (

STATEMENT FROM GANNETT SPOKESPERSON AMBER ALLMAN: “The stat is via comScore per multi-platform visitors and speaks to the fact that Gannett sites REACH 40% of the U.S. online internet population. It is saying 40% of internet users access New Gannett (USA TODAY and our domestic publishing assets) content via their PC, phone or tablet devices. 40% of total internet visitors (according to comScore universe).”

Last Tuesday, the union representing journalists at the Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones properties asked members if they wanted to extend their contract with a small raise, or negotiate a new one. “The results are in,” the union says, “and your answer is clear: extend the contract.” The memo:

From: IAPE TNG/CWA Local 1096
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 8:01 AM
Subject: IAPE Contract Update: Survey Says . . . !!

IAPE members – thanks to all who responded to our survey request last week.

To refresh your memory, we asked whether you would prefer to extend our current contract for another year – keeping all terms, including the Company’s flexibility to modify healthcare – or negotiate toward a brand new agreement with Dow Jones.

The results are in, and your answer is clear: extend the contract. That’s the message we received in 497 responses, while 148 told us to negotiate and 17 were undecided./CONTINUES Read More

Romenesko reader “Pasquino” shares this email he sent today to New York Times editors:

Subject: Bogus New York Times stories popping up on FB

Several of my very astute, very politically involved friends have posted these stories [linked below] this morning thinking they came from the Times [because of the domain]. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish fact from satire. A counterfeit source doesn’t help.
Story #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5.

And Facebook is participating in this by including further bogus stories in their “suggested” links below these and other stories.

This bogus news site is trying to inoculate the Right and confuse the Left––and everyone else. Why? Just as a joke? I don’t think so. It’s meant to make us cynical. To get us to discount the real nonsense these people actually say. To make us think politics is a joke, something to laugh at rather than participate in, which is the opposite of what genuine satire like the Daily Show, Borowitz and Colbert aim to do.

- Excerpt of obituary.

– Excerpt of obituary.

* Christine Helen Bullock, June 26, 1943 – June 25, 2015 (

– h/t Peter Mattiace

Update: Tentative agreement reached.

Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News human resources chief Keith Black tells Guild members that, in case of a strike, they can continue working and “we will make arrangements for security to protect everyone’s safety.” He adds that “at your manager’s discretion, you may be permitted to work from home or from another remote location.”

Journalists who choose to strike are welcome to return to the newsroom when there’s a settlement “if there is still work available … [but] if there is not work available for everyone, then some of the striking employees will not be able to return at that time.”

The Philadelphia Newspaper Guild says the HR boss is trying to scare journalists into settling with management.

From: Guild Bulletin
Date: 06/25/2015 11:04 AM (GMT-05:00)

Guild members,

Keith Black’s memo regarding strike–related issues is a rather clumsy and predictable attempt to frighten our members to accept the Company’s inferior contract offer. His ‘helpful advice’ in the FAQ on how you can work in the event of a strike, that he claims the company “created” is a disingenuous blueprint on how to become a scab, that has been used by union busting employers for decades. Plagiarism in its purest form. As your bargaining committee can assure you, Black’s absence of credibility and incompetence has been consistent throughout these negotiations./CONTINUES Read More

Bruce Murphy, editor of Urban Milwaukee and a former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staffer, asked Journal Sentinel editor George Stanley about the paper’s latest staff changes. Here’s how he responded:


I’m guessing my emails to Stanley go to spam, too. Disclosure: I worked with Murphy at Milwaukee Magazine two decades ago.

* More staff changes at the Journal Sentinel (
* Earlier: Stanley blocks Romenesko on Twitter (

- From The Guardian

– From The Guardian

Letter to Romenesko
From PATRICK CASEY, Reporter Andrew Gumbel was just flat wrong to assert in the lead to his recent Guardian story on the Charleston shootings that like Dylann Roof, starting a race war was Timothy McVeigh’s motivation for the Oklahoma City bombing.mcv

I covered the OKC bombing for The Associated Press from the day it happened until transferring to the AP’s New York headquarters in mid 1999 and think it completely wrong to report that starting a race war was McVeigh’s motivation.

Common sense says the OKC attack did not involve race at all. McVeigh parked his truck bomb in front of a federal building that was filled with government workers and children of all colors. There was no racial intent in that. If McVeigh had wanted to start a race war, he would have bombed a more obvious target such as a historically black church or perhaps a dormitory at nearby black Langston University, not a racially neutral federal building./CONTINUES Read More


“Am I reading too much into LA Times’ link text?” asks Romenesko reader Peg McNichol.

The union representing Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones employees is asking members if they want a new contract or extend the current contract, with a small raise. The memo:

From: IAPE TNG/CWA Local 1096
To: [Union members]
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 8:13 AM
Subject: ONE QUESTION: 2015 IAPE Contract Survey

IAPE members – this morning, we’re asking you to answer one question: would you rather have the Union engage in full negotiations for a new contract with Dow Jones, or agree to an extension for one more year? Weigh in here: [Survey link]

Late last month, Dow Jones negotiators approached IAPE representatives with an offer to extend our contract for another year, just as we did in 2014. The IAPE Board of Directors has been wrestling with the choice: take the extension and a guaranteed raise for all (knowing that the Company will have the same flexibility to modify healthcare as they did in January of this year) or demand negotiations for a new contract (knowing that anything we take from Dow Jones – in cost-cutting mode – will only be achieved by membership action and visible support in every workplace)./CONTINUES Read More

Forum Communications, parent of the Fargo (ND) Forum and other newspapers and broadcast outlets in four states, recently set up an online bulletin board for employees to post concerns. I’m told that Forum journalists are using it to complain about the company’s insurance not covering birth control. My tipster writes:

It’s the most common question people are asking, and the company finally admitted it won’t cover birth control because “the board feels it is a moral issue.” There is obviously a lot of frustration, and for good reason. It seems The Forum doesn’t have to cover birth control as required by the Affordable Care Act because the company’s policy was grandfathered in.

One message from the company’s employee bulletin board:


The company’s response to these messages is that the matter “will be presented to our board and discussed.” Fargo Communications CEO Bill Marcil Jr. hasn’t returned my calls for comment.