Dare to chart your own course, journalism students!

* Alex Beam: “If they made a cartoon about a Baby Boomer newspaper columnist, they would name it Dora the Deplorer.” (
* Even background interviews at the White House have to be “chaperoned.” Also, writes Paul Farhi, “reporters who cover other parts of official Washington, such as Capitol Hill, can usually count on encountering an official escort, turning a one-on-one interview into a one-on-two.” (
toast* Everyone tells Lloyd Grove that David Gregory is toast. (
* Josh Topolsky leaves The Verge, where he was top editor, and joins Bloomberg. (@Tyrangiel)
* Unnamed sources in Washington “remain way too prevalent in contemporary journalism,” writes Rem Rieder. (
* BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner is named Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. (
ivy* “Don’t send your kid to the Ivy League,” says a magazine that has dozens of staffers from Ivy League schools. (
* Sorry, but the finger will never replace a good pen. ( | “Full-blown bullshit.” (
* Fired Louisville Courier-Journal circulation exec Mike Hout wants $1 million from Gannett. ( | After one Gannett exec complained that dealing with the Hout situation might kill him, Gannett HR vice president Randi Austin told him: “Just go for more Chardonnay. And make it the good stuff.” (
* Times of London chief tennis writer Neil Harman admits to plagiarism. (
* A few readers have pointed out that many AP stories are missing bylines. Here’s why: (
* A lawmaker’s op-ed in the Charleston (SC) Post and Courier looks familiar. (

ruiz2Frontera, a daily that covers San Diego and Tijuana, was redesigned for its recent 15th anniversary celebration. Political analyst and op-ed columnist Benedicto Ruiz Vargas (left) doesn’t like the new look and let readers know in a column that editors spiked on Tuesday.

A reader, who was slipped the column, sent me excerpts:

The changes at Frontera are with the idea of creating a newspaper that’s more attractive, easier to read, stressing photography and images, with information capsules, titles in large letters and short stories, with more stories about daily life about what happens to everyday people, with practical advice on family life or about aspects related to health, nutrition, etc. Sports and entertainment occupy are the centerpiece, with advertising on the front page, although these share the space with stories that tells of violence and crime.

Old (left) and new

Old (left) and new

The premise behind this orientation is that in the new consumer market there are hardly any readers, or the average buyer is seeking more entertainment and less information, more things that are practical, with no interest in fields such as economy, politics, government or democracy. This is a reader who is not interested in going any deeper, becoming more broadly informed, or following a debate…..

That is to say, we are witnessing a process in which the newspaper ceases to be a newspaper, converting itself into hybrid that combines information and entertainment. …

I’ve invited Vargas and Frontera CEO Juan Fernando L. Healy to comment.

Update: Vargas says in an email that he “agrees to a public debate with the owners/editors of Frontera on the subject.” I haven’t received a response from the CEO.

Google’s offices are contemporary and colorful; it’s a different story at Kickstarter. “Old school,” writes Rooster co-founder Jennifer 8. Lee, who took this shot of Kickstarter’s library. She was kind enough to post a few more photos of Kickstarter’s space this afternoon after I asked for permission to use the library picture.

(Photo: Jenny 8 Lee)

(Photo: Jennifer 8. Lee)

* Jenny8Lee on Instagram

Bob Eschliman was fired as editor of the Newton (Iowa) Daily News in May after complaining on his personal blog that “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo” are trying to reword the Bible “to make their sinful nature ‘right with God,” and that “we must fight back against the enemy.”
The head of Shaw Media – owner of the Daily News – wrote that while Eschliman “is entitled to his opinion, his public airing of it compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it.”

Eschliman claims in a complaint filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that he was fired by Shaw Media because of his religious beliefs. The former editor is represented by the Liberty Institute, a Christian advocacy law firm.

The attorney representing Eschliman says: “In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for expressing a religious belief in public. This kind of religious intolerance by an employer has no place in today’s welcoming workforce.”

Just asking, though: Who is the intolerant one here? (I’m hoping Eschliman’s lawyer, Matthew Whitaker, will return my phone call with his answer.)

* Editor who used “gaystapo” claims religious discrimination (
* Earlier: Editor blasts “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo” | He’s fired (

Russ Kendall, who quit his newspaper photo-editing job 18 months ago to run a pizza business, has created a Facebook group called “What’s Your Plan B?” He tells Romenesko readers that it’s “aimed at photographers, reporters, designers, and editors who have either lost their newspaper jobs or might lose them.”

I hope will offer resources to those folks who find themselves out of jobs suddenly and through no fault of their own. …When I read the recent Pew report that posits nearly 54,000 newspaper people lost their jobs in the past 6-7 years it really hit a nerve. That’s like the entire population of a reasonably sized town!

I wanted to create a meaningful space where those of us who have moved onto our successful Plan B could interact with those in need of one.

Most of the posts are serious, but I laughed at this one: “Um.. Photojournalism WAS my plan B. Plan A was to own a video rental store.”

The group, which was created on Monday, already has nearly 400 members. It’s invite-only, but send me an email and I’ll add you; it’s a charter-member privilege.

* A.H. Belo sells the Providence Journal to GateHouse Media’s parent for $46 million. ( | ( || “A pretty steep sum.” (
* “Yes, there are newspapers for sale,” Gannett CEO Gracia Martore tells analysts. (
greta* Greta Van Susteren blasts “snooty journalism magazine” CJR for not calling her before posting its Jill Abramson piece. (
* Houston Press will start using a freelance restaurant critic and reassign its fulltime critic. Will other Voice Media Group alt-weeklies follow? “We have no corporate policy to ‘do away with’ or otherwise molest staff restaurant critics,” says a VMG editor. (
* Alan Murray: “I think the No. 1 challenge [at Fortune] is to get the digital strategy on track. Fortune never really had the opportunity to develop a digital identity because it was subsumed by” (
* The “new” Mashable is more than social media and tech coverage. (
* Google considered buying Spotify, but didn’t like the $10 billion-plus price. (
* Tatiana SchlossbergCaroline Kennedy‘s daughter – is interning at the New York Times. “She was hired like any other intern,” says a Times spokesperson. (
* Jon Stewart asks his fans to help him buy CNN. (
* Hearst’s Albany Times Union fires an employee who had complained to the Human Rights Commission about a veep at the paper calling a colleague to say he wanted to take the fired staffer’s four kids to a movie and have them call him “Uncle Kurt.” (
* Scott Pelley wrote letters to NASA when he was a kid. (
* Cory Blair discovers that Kinja commenters are generally “informed, grammar-enforcing and well-meaning Internet denizens.” (
* I bet! “The first mosquito-repellent newspaper in the history of press was not easy to develop.” (
* Page Six reports David Gregory is losing his “Meet the Press” job. Source: “The discussion is whether to make a change before or after the midterm elections.” (
* Greg Moore, editor of Digital First’s Denver Post, remains upbeat: “Last time I checked, everybody was getting paid and on time.” (
* Wall Street Journal news graphics computer systems were hacked. (

Raleigh’s mayor knew nothing about the press release below — because it was put out by a PR firm and not city hall. A News & Observer reporter called PR man Scott Misner earlier today and asked about his fake announcement. “Let me figure out how we want to handle this,” the self-described “idea guy” told the N&O journalist. “I will call you back with accurate, factual information.” When he called back, Misner said that “at no point has there been a lie told.”


* PR firm issues fake release about mayoral announcement (

The jokesters at @BicycleLobby took credit earlier today for replacing American flags with white flags “to signal our complete surrender of the Brooklyn Bridge bicycle path to pedestrians.” The AP and New York Daily News believed them.

* The AP, NYDN fall for Brooklyn Bridge Twitter hoax ( | (
* The @BicycleLobby Twitter profile says it’s a parody account (
* @BicycleLobby has fun with the news organizations’ reports (@BicycleLobby)

Veteran Pittsburgh sportswriter Dejan Kovacevic has quit the Tribune-Review to launch DK on Pittsburgh Sports, which will be supported by $4/month subscriptions and a corporate sponsor.

Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic

“Why oh why would anyone, shy of momentary madness, even contemplate such a thing?” he writes. “The answer, to me, is simple: This is what’s at the other end of the tunnel.”

I want to be able to bring you the Pittsburgh sports scene at the pace that the online community expects rather than the one that follows print schedules. …Sports tend to happen at night. Readers don’t want to hear that a night game can’t be covered because of a print deadline. Or that writing only occurs on designated days of the week. They want their reading material as timely and relevant as possible.

Kovacevic, 47, acknowledges that “a lot of people will think this is nuts. And I’ll agree, at least regarding the perception. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work.”

Kovacevic says the corporate sponsor, which he’ll name next week, offered last Thursday to help “significantly.” He adds: “Wheels were already in motion, but at least now they weren’t heading for a cliff.”

He tells Romenesko readers:

I’m in a good spot here in Pittsburgh in terms of visibility, and I’ve been doing this long enough [24 years] that I’d like to think a trust has developed. Between me and readers. Between me and the teams and people I cover. I’m sure others have that in this business, but I can’t imagine it’s widespread. It’s a close-to-unique situation.

Kovacevic says of his wife: “She was nervously on board before the sponsorship, 100% after. She’ll actually be handling the business. I’m a complete idiot with that stuff. I just want to write columns and post stuff.” (The couple have a 13-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old son – and a mortgage.)

“[The site's] been up as a Beta since 10 p.m. last night, and I’ve got 750 subscribers, more than half going for the full three years. The goal is 10,000 subscribers after a full year. I’m confident in that figure.”

* Trib sportswriter Kovacevic quits the paper to start a website (
* Dejan Kovacevic introduces his news site ( | He takes questions on Facebook

* Kovacevic hopes to gets 10,000 subscriptions in the first year (