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Romenesko

Gawker staffers started their week with this note from the editor-in-chief:

From: Max Read
Date: Monday, July 13, 2015
Subject:
To: Gawker Writers

Between Food Babe, O’Reilly, the Duggars, and the recent Reddit storms, we’ve had a good few months, but we’re coasting on our successes and slipping at the margins. Cucumber season is here, and it’s easy, in the wake of good stories and solid traffic, to get lazy and let the day-to-day work decline in quality. It’s also the worst time to do so. Keep the following in mind as you work:
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1) Headlines — as I said in Slack the other day headlines are slowly getting lazier and more boring (on the one hand) or too cutesy and self-amused (on the other). If they’re too straightforward, they’ll put readers to sleep; if they’re too ironic or in-jokey, they’ll drive readers away. We can be descriptive and also intriguing, challenging without being alienating.

Headlines should inspire a reaction, tell a good story, express an opinion (ideally, all three!); as much as anything else, they’re a good gut-check to make sure your story has an angle or a point. If you can’t come up with a good headline for your post, you need to ask yourself why you’re writing it.

2) Glibness — is our worst and most frequent sin. You can be blunt and candid without being glib. Gawker is a very loud megaphone, and its history means it’s accompanied by set of often unfair expectations about tone and angle. When people assume everything you say is meant to be cruel or mean-spirited, a small amount of sarcasm goes a very long way.

This is as much a rhetorical strategy as anything. We can subtly and correctly acknowledge that Christian Audigier’s clothing was worn by horrible people, or that Reddit is a hive of scum and villainy (to name two recent examples we talked through in edits), without overburdening posts with weak or overwrought jokes. Commenters will always make the bluntest and most obvious jokes; let’s leave those to them.

3) Obsession — Our most recent big, excellent, smart stories–Allie on the Duggars, Ashley on Reddit and Victoria Taylor, Andy on the subway shooting, Keenan on Buzzfeed–have come because writers became obsessed–they came across a big (or small) story, dove deep, wrote it all down, and asked every question that came up–blogging the whole time. Even in cases where we aren’t able to break the news or get the scoop, obsession leads to the kind of smart, comprehensive, popular, can’t-find-it-anywhere-else stuff that we’re all proud of.

This kind of story-hunting obsession is the first that goes when we start feeling ourselves too much. (Or when we spend too much time dicking around in Slack.) Allow your obsessions to carry you; whatever you do, don’t ever throw up your hands and figure someone else will do it, or that we’ll get it next time. If you’re having trouble prioritizing, talk to me or Leah B and we’ll help. And generally, on all these points, avail yourselves of your editors and Politburo! We’re here to help.



“It’s really touching!” my tipster says of Wall Street Journal reporter Nick Casey‘s farewell note to colleagues. He’s right.

No matter what war zone or rich potentate I’d been writing about, when I came home to the trailer park for Thanksgiving, I wasn’t a Wall Street Journal reporter — I was my mother’s son, living in place she’d raised me in. Those trips home kept me from getting a big head.

From: Casey, Nicholas
Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2015 6:56 AM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Subject: The House the Journal Bought

Hi everyone. It’s been eight years, but it’s all done now. I’m finishing my time at The Wall Street Journal this week. I’m heading to The New York Times.

Nick Casey

Nick Casey

I want to ask you to watch over some of the great leaders this paper produced like Bruce Orwall, Rebecca Blumenstein, Matt Murray. They were my guiding lights, and they can be yours too if they aren’t already. And keep an eye on what the great writers at this paper are up to, like Miriam Jordan and John Emshwiller; Joe Parkinson and Nour Malas; Bill Spindle and David Luhnow; Meg Coker, Jose de Córdoba, Gary Fields, Charles Forelle, Adam Entous, Gordon Fairclough.

It’s a hard time at the Journal now with many people suddenly going away this summer for all sorts of reasons around the Empire. I just want to say before I leave that even if it takes the gestation period of a llama to report your story, sometimes that’s the time it takes. I believe that llamas are noble creatures and it’s those llama-length stories that are remembered. Find new ways to write them!/CONTINUES Read More

Portland (Maine) Mayor Michael Brennan has trouble understanding a tip credit concept:

pressherald

* City’s higher minimum wage comes with unforeseen hitch (pressherald.com)

– h/t Joe Lawlor

March 7, 2015threat

While the administration and the state Department of Justice have been able to document other threats against Walker and his family, officials have been unable to produce any record of this particular threat …In January 2013, the State Journal sought records of all threats received by the governor. The [‘gut her like a deer’] threat against Tonette Walker was not included among the documents released in response to that request.

* No record found of graphic threat targeting Tonette Walker (madison.com)

July 6, 2015poststory

* Scott Walker’s wife is ready for fires of a campaign (washingtonpost.com)



Memo to the Gawker Media staff:

From: Nick Denton
Date: Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 3:06 PM
Subject: Gawker financials ahead of Hogan trial
To: All Staff

Hey, a heads-up that there will be a negative story on Gawker’s financial position by Keith Kelly in Monday’s New York Post.
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Kelly is the same guy who wrote of the “disgrace” of the hacking of Gawker in 2011. And the Editor of the Post owes us no favors, especially after John Cook [Tom Scocca, actually] called him a pig-fucking drunk. It’s payback time. We dish it out; sometimes we have to take it.

Anyway, we got out ahead of the slam by releasing company financials that would have come out in trial anyway. The more facts that are out there, the harder it is to twist the story.

The information has gone out widely, but here’s the Observer pickup.

Breaking: Despite Hulk of a Lawsuit, Financials Show Gawker Making Money, Moves

By the way, I know I’m deluging people’s inboxes with all this press pickup. I assume you’d all rather know more than less.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Nick

——–

Update: Here’s Keith Kelly’s story

Denver Post editor Greg Moore sent the memo below to his staff earlier today. Some key points:

* No one should assume he or she will be doing in the future what they do now. We are going to have to reassign some people after the buyout is completed.

* Beginning July 6, you’ll notice the Monday and Tuesday newspapers are smaller. These days were our weakest in terms of circulation and revenue.

* We want to create an Audience team that will sit (figuratively) between Digital and the content departments. This will include an expanded social media team that will also dig into our analytics in real time.

Colleagues:

When we announced the buyout, I mentioned there would be changes to the print product, our work processes and new assignments. I also said that there would be dialogue about some of these changes. We will start some public meetings to share ideas the week of July 13. newmemo

In the meantime, here is where we are so far.

Beginning July 6, you’ll notice the Monday and Tuesday newspapers are smaller. These days were our weakest in terms of circulation and revenue. Denver and The West will start on page A2 Monday through Saturday. It will remain a stand-alone section on Sunday. On Monday, we will go to a two-section newspaper. The A section will have DTW, Nation/World, and editorials and weather on one page. The B section will have Sports, comics, puzzles and a single page of TechKnow. We are eliminating the $mart pages.

Tuesday’s newspaper will be similarly slimmed down. It is already a two-section newspaper. We will keep Fitness to one page on the back of the Sports section. The editorial page and weather will remain where they are.

These “quick read” newspapers will require much tighter editing of stories and virtual elimination of jumps. We imagine fewer jumps off Page One and Sports with maximum lengths of about 20-25 inches on stories. The space savings are significant but these changes also allow us to realign people and processes. We are beginning to think about that./CONTINUES Read More

dougdied
From the Fargo Forum story on Doug Legler’s obituary:
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* “Doug died”: Fargo man has the last laugh (inforum.com)

– h/t Len Iwanski




gannettusage
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” (facebook.com)

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,Unknown “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 nytimes.com.co domain]. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish fact from satire. A counterfeit source doesn’t help.
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Story #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5.

And Facebook is participating in this by including further bogus nytimes.com.co 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.