brianNBC News anchor Brian Williams tells Stars & Stripes that he misremembered the events of 2003 and was sorry he claimed he was aboard a helicopter in Iraq that was hit and forced down by RPG fire.

I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in ’08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.

* Brian Williams recants Iraq story after soldiers protest (
* “He needs to go,” and other comments on my Facebook wall

Update: Joseph Miller writes in a Facebook comment: “I’ve been calling him out on this for a long time with no response. He was actually on my aircraft and we came in behind [the one that was hit] about 30-45 minutes later. He is a total POS! He had the audacity to tell me the whole thing was like “Saving Private Ryan” and that the whole army would be out looking for him. I called him an idiot in front of his camera crew and he didn’t come back to my bird for next 3 days!”

Update 2: What the anchor told “NBC Nightly News” viewers Wednesday evening: “On this broadcast last week in an effort to honor and thank a veteran who protected me and so many others following a ground-fire incident in the desert during the Iraq War, I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago. It didn’t take long to hear from some brave men and women in the air crews who were also in the desert.

“I want to apologize: I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.. we all landed and spent two harrowing nights in a sandstorm in the desert. This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran, and by extension: our brave military men and women – Veterans everywhere — those who have served while I did not. I hope they know they have my greatest respect.. and also now my apology.”

- "Stop the Presses"

- h/t Marc Levy

“Stop the Presses,” a music video about the sad state of print newspapers, features Mike Mills (R.E.M.); Colton Dunn (Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele”); Los Angeles rapper and comedian Zach Sherwin; and actor Brandon Johnson. They did this to raise money for the One Kid One World foundation. (There are a lot of comic strip references in the lyrics, and “goodbye” is used many times.)

* “Stop the Presses,” by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and others (

A tipster shares this document, which was given to journalists at Gannett’s Des Moines Register:

The Des Moines Playbook
Each reporter is responsible for monitoring news related to the assigned beat. If a news tip comes in, it is assumed the reporter will check on it.dmr If a breaking topic could touch multiple beats, a reporter pursuing the story should notify the homepage editor and his or her coach or strategist to avoid duplication.

Minimal job requirements of a self-directed reporter

(Your strategist or coach will provide more in-depth details and expectations on specifics regarding your beat.)


Define your audience: Work with your coach or strategist to define in detail the audience you are trying to reach for specific pieces of content. Also keep in mind our overall focus on the 25-45 age demographic.

Keep in mind the interests of your core audience as you decide what stories to write. You may pursue stories to build sourcing and topic expertise, but your main task is to write stories that matter to your core audience, such as reporting on a proposed retail development, documenting misspending of tax dollars or writing personal profiles of interesting local characters.

Dominate coverage of your beat. Be first with breaking news. Be recognized as an expert on your beat, regularly delivering exclusive news, and as the go-to source by tipsters and state and national experts. Deliver a wide range of work that covers all aspects of your beat: daily stories, profiles, news features,exclusive news and watchdog reports. Dominating beat coverage means dominating platforms, including regularly producing work that resonates with a digital audience or is displayed on Page One or section covers in print.

Regularly seek out enterprise and watchdog opportunities. A watchdog story is one that you develop and that alerts readers to abuses or inaction by public officials, government or other institutions, including nonprofits and businesses.

Look for the big-picture trend or explanatory story. If you see a trend but are not sure how to expand your reporting, seek out a coach. Produce stories that will resonate with audiences beyond your beat.

Use deep, diverse sourcing. Seek out people directly affected by the news as well as state and national experts. Be mindful of diversity in age, gender, race, ethnicity, etc.

Embrace a digital mentality. Work with your strategist/coach to identify the types and topics of stories your audience will engage with. Publish them at times that will get the most impact online. If the story doesn’t run in print until a couple of days later, that’s OK. /CONTINUES Read More

KTVA-TV (Anchorage) reporter Lauren Maxwell did a lengthy sweeps-week report Monday on the woman behind Alaska’s first medical marijuana dispensary.

“My understanding it isn’t legal,” Maxwell tells Alaska Cannabis Club owner Charlo Greene in a somewhat snippy manner.

- Charlo Greene in Monday's KTVA report

– Charlo Greene in Monday’s KTVA report

What the reporter fails to tell viewers is that Greene once worked at KTVA-TV and made headlines last September when she ended her report on medical marijuana by saying “Fuck it, I quit.”

I’ve asked Maxwell and KTVA-TV news director Bert Rudman why it wasn’t mentioned in Monday’s report that Greene is a former KTVA news staffer.

Update — Maxwell writes in an email:

Honestly, I think that is pretty common knowledge. We did stories closer to when she quit that acknowledged that fact and even interviewed people who questioned our integrity as journalists.

Our News Director went on air and was very open about asking our viewers to accept his apologies for her behavior and to assure people that we are a serious news organization that strives to hold reporters to the highest standards.

That being said, Charlo Greene continues to make news and her past employment wasn’t the focus of this story.

Alaska resident Casey Grove writes on Facebook: “The fact that almost everyone in this market, and beyond, knows her history there is precisely why it should have been disclosed, yet again.”

* KTVA profiles Alaska Cannabis Club owner (and ex-employee) Charlo Greene (
* Anchorage reporter drops the F-bomb on live TV and quits (

* Gannett considers selling its Tysons Corner headquarters. (
* Time Inc. CEO: “I said from day one that we are not a magazine company anymore, we are a media company.” (
* “It’s not for sale, as far as I know,” Michael Bloomberg says of the New York Times. (Throw out the right price and it is, though.) (
* Independent bookstores get big play on the front page of today’s Asheville Citizen-Times. ( | (
* Lloyd Grove: CNN’s Don Lemon is Geraldo 2.0. (
* Bob (“Better Call Saul”) Odenkirk considers adapting David Carr‘s “Night of the Gun” as a screenplay. (
* A plea to kill the kill fee. (
* Steve Ladurantaye: “My new favorite ‘work is hard’ quote by a newspaper columnist”: (@sladurantaye)
* New Orleans investigative website The Lens resorts to “special begging.” (
* Why “the best comment section on the Internet” can’t last. (
* Watch for big changes at MSNBC. (
* Daily Beast’s Justin Miller tweets “fuck you” to Rand Paul after the senator announces that he’s getting a measles vaccination. (
* Sprite uses free tickets to get on the good side of reporters and bloggers. (
* Temple journalism students partner with Philly news organizations to cover the mayor’s race. (
* BuzzFeed editor: “We’ve gone from having relatively few Latino readers to being read, proportionally, more by Latinos than white Americans.” (
* Reuters’ new iPhone app is “TV news for the Netflix generation.” (
* RIP Chicago journalist (and longtime Romenesko contributor) Andrew Patner. He was 55. ( | (
* The Guardian’s digital editor says turning off comments is a “monumental mistake.” (
* Thumbs up for Vanity Fair’s 2015 Hollywood issue. (
* FYI: Facebook launched 11 years ago today. (@SimonOstler)


Back in November, Dow Jones CEO William Lewis announced that Wall Street Journal Sunday “will come to a close over the coming months.”
We learned today that the section, which appears in business sections of newspapers around the country, will be published for the last time on February 8.

Editor David Crook tells his email contacts: “As of Feb. 12, I will no longer be at this email address. We are closing my section, The Wall Street Journal Sunday after this weekend’s edition, and I, the soon-to-be former editor, am taking my leave of The Journal and Dow Jones.”

I asked Crook about his next chapter, and he replied:

“I’ve had discussions with various other organizations, but, for now, I’m going away for a week with my wife, then taking some time off for the first time in a long, long time. Then I’ll look at the job situation.”

* November 2014: Wall Street Journal to drop Sunday Journal (

The Chicago Sun-Times, which laid off 28 photographers in 2013, has now dismantled its video team. I’m told the unit had two full-time staffers and two freelancers; executive producer Dustin Park, who led the team, was cut in early January and his former colleague, Peter Holderness, was let go today.

When the photographers were laid off nearly two years ago, the newspaper said there was a need to shift to online video. Wrapports, the Sun-Times and Chicago Reader parent, says it plans to use freelancers and remaining newsroom staff for video work.

Update: A Wrapports spokesperson sends this statement: “Two video producers have been laid off as part of our reorganization after the sale of suburban titles to the Tribune. We will continue to produce video content and continue to focus on building the Sun Times Network and reinvesting in the iconic Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper.”

Update 2: Dustin Park writes in an email:

My time at the helm of the Sun-Times video team was the best job of my career. I am extremely proud of the work my team put together. This included exemplary in-depth work from multimedia journalist Jessica Koscielniak. We also had two wonderful freelancers we used regularly, Melissa Klauda and Chris Buddy, who shouldered much of our series work. And, my right hand man, Peter Holderness who did anything and everything I asked of him and more.

In the two years we were producing work, we generated over 1,500 videos of high quality week in and week out. … We also were lucky to work with some of the best journalists in the business. I can’t speak for the others, but I will say we gave it our all and will always stand by the quality of our work. I wish nothing but the best to all the talented men and women in the Sun-Times newsroom, who are delivering incredible content under extraordinary demands.

* Sun-Times parent pulls plug on entire video team (@pmontoro)
* “Sad to hear the Sun-Times video team is no more” (@Brotractor)

From Neil Steinberg’s column about the nobody-lunches-anymore “bogus trend story”:

* Neil Steinberg: It’s just lunch. Really. (
* 2002: Chicago Tribune fires Bob Greene over his relationship with a teen girl (

New: “In a previous lifetime, it was my lot to write heds for Bob Greene columns…” (

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apparently doesn’t want to discuss today’s New York Times story about his “fondness for luxury benefits when others pay the bill.”

* Christie declines to take questions on last day of UK trip ( | “Press pack literally circling” (@RAGreeneCNN)
* Christie’s $30K weekend paid for by king of Jordan ( | (

Nicholas Stewart, the Western Illinois University (WIU) student who was suspended from his editing duties last month for selling a campus-disturbance video to news outlets, tells Romenesko readers: “As of 4:21 p.m. [Monday], I was reinstated as editor-in-chief of the Western Courier. …This was a drain on me both physically and mentally. But the enormous outpouring of support from all over the country really helped me get past it all.”
Stewart was initially accused by WIU student services vice-president Gary Biller of violating a no-freelancing policy, but the administrator told the student editor on Monday that “a preliminary review … has revealed that no complete policy exists within the Western Courier to guide us in determining a finding regarding your association with the Western Courier and your work as a freelance journalist.”

“Given the lack of guidance available regarding Western Courier policies and procedures, I am lifting your suspension immediately, and I will inform the publications board of this action.”

Stewart writes in his email to Romenesko readers:

Biller essentially blames the Western Courier for the whole incident claiming there was a “lack of guidance available.” I disagree entirely.

Nicholas Stewart

Nicholas Stewart

The Courier operations manual states, “Permission to work for an off-campus medium and/or freelance work should be sought in advance of the commitment. It is permissible when such work does not conflict with the staff member’s or freelance employee’s obligations to the Western Courier…”

It’s pretty clear that they didn’t take the time to read the manual or ask the publications board their policy on freelancing prior to handing out the suspension. In the letter, Biller states that he wants the publications board to “develop policies, procedures, and a code of ethics appropriate to this publication.” Again, it’s always been clear that not only is freelancing allowed, it’s encouraged to build our brand. Unfortunately for Western, my work put them in the national headlines in an unflattering way.

It’s a shame they keep passing the blame instead of just taking responsibility for their drastic actions. But, I’m looking forward to focusing back on school and the Western Courier.

* January 23: Student editor suspended for selling campus-brawl video (