- Barbara Bester - Tom Stern wedding

– Barbara Bester – Tom Stern wedding announcement

Note the band “Butthole Surfers” makes it into Times here. When I lived in Austin in the 90s, the American-Statesman always and famously referred to the band as the “BH Surfers.” – a Romenesko reader who doesn’t want to be named

That’s confirmed by Austin American-Statesman managing editor John Bridges, who browsed through his paper’s index this afternoon and found the band’s name as either BH Surfers or B.H. Surfers in stories from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Did the Statesman have a prudish editor who banned Butthole? I ask.
No, says Bridges, “everybody was pretty conservative and cautious back then.”

Former Statesman music writer Michael Corcoran writes in an email: “I started at the Statesman in 1995 and was able to use band’s full name, but I remember earlier in their career, the Statesman used BH Surfers. During my time at AAS, we did have to shorten Nashville Pussy to Nashville P and the Yuppie Pricks were Yuppie P.”

What band names did your news organization refuse to publish? Post in comments or send me an email.


Andy Viner Seiler writes: “In the 1980s, I was an entertainment reporter for The Home News in New Brunswick, NJ. The Butthole Surfers played regularly at Trenton’s legendary, long-defunct City Gardens. Our calendar compiler always billed them as Bud Whole Surfers. I never knew if she was mishearing the name or if the new name was deliberate. I got such a kick out of seeing it each time, I never even dared jeopardize it by asking her, though she was sitting right next to me.”

The band was the “Buttonhole Surfers” in the old Los Angeles Herald Examiner, writes Kevin Allman.

“The Cincinnati Post used to call the Ass Ponys the Burro Ponys,” writes David Milstead.

“As I recall, the Rocky’s music listings for shows by the Fornicators called them the 4 Nikators,” writes Rob Reuteman.

A Romenesko reader from a Cincinnati publication writes: “I’d always heard that Ben Bradlee’s proximity to the Kennedy legend precluded publishing the Dead Kennedys name in the Washington Post for some years. Supposedly ‘the Dks’ was used.” I’ve asked a few Post staffers about that. Two veterans tell me that’s news to them. See my post in comments for more.

* Earlier: New York Times won’t print “WTF” (


Why would a luxury magazine make its Instagram account private?

In the case of HudsonMOD, it’s because freelance writers and photographers were using the comments section to ask for money that they’re owed. (Publisher Shannon Steitz doesn’t return their calls or reply to their emails.)

On March 13, I wrote about journalist Terry Ward getting a cease-and-desist order from the magazine after tweeting about her attempt to collect the $3,460 she’s owed. After that story was posted, I heard from other writers and photographers who had HudsonMOD collection problems.

“I would warn anyone not to get involved with this company on any level,” wrote an art director who had to get a court judgment against the magazine. A photographer told me: “I did two jobs for them. They paid the first one $1000.00 but the second never. …it was $800.”

Last week I heard again from cease-and-desist recipient Ward, who has hired an attorney to go after Steitz. He hasn’t had much luck, though. Here’s what the lawyer told the writer on Friday:

I spoke with Shannon from MOD Media LLC this afternoon. She claims that you harassed her individually through social media and that she [has] spoken to multiple attorneys who advised her to take a no-pay position in regards to her outstanding debt with you. She also indicated that if a lawsuit is instituted, she would file a counterclaim for harassment.

So the publisher, allegedly at the advice of lawyers, is taking a no-pay position because a writer is using every means possible to collect money she’s owed? Sounds like it.

I called Steitz this morning to see what she had to say, but she wasn’t in the office and the secretary wouldn’t give me a cell number. I then called Steitz’s lawyer, who said he remembered me from our brief March conversation. He said “no comment” when I asked about money owed to freelancers, and then hung up on me.

Please email me if you’ve had recent dealings with HudsonMOD and its publisher.

* March 13: HudsonMOD sends cease-and-desist to freelancer (
* HudsonMOD on Instagram

Top of the Tennessean's front page, April 12

Top of the Tennessean’s front page, April 12

“It feels like the Tennessean brass had a look at the attention the Indianapolis Star got a few weeks ago [after it ran its “FIX THIS NOW” front-page editorial] and said,fullpage ‘huh, we can do that,'” writes Nashville Scene’s Steve Cavendish.

Yes, says Tennessean opinion engagement editor David Plazas, yesterday’s front page editorial was inspired by the Indy Star. “That was certainly in my mind, and I think that was in the mind of the designers, too,” he says, adding that “this was not our first front page editorial since I’ve been here.”

Reaction has been “overwhelmingly positive,” says Plazas. “There has been some negative reaction – about 5% to 10% – people who say it’s an overly liberal stance, or that it should be on the editorial page.”

What about the local alt-weekly accusing the Gannett daily of grandstanding? “I’m pleased that they’re reading our paper; I’m pleased they’re commenting.”

(I doubt he saw The Tennessean’s front page, but Larry King tweeted shortly after midnight Monday: “Newspapers that editorialize on the front page are not newspapers…”)

* We are not that vulgar term you called us, Senator (
* The Tennessean goes grandstanding (
* PDF of Sunday’s Tennessean front page (

New: Read the comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers

* A University of Rhode Island student newspaper story gets a therapy dog kicked off campus. The editor says “I’m trying not to regret running this piece.” (
* Warning: You’ll lose your Twitter account if you repeatedly broadcast TV shows over Periscope. (
* [RIGHT] “I have no memory of when I wrote the letter,” says novelist Stacia Brown. “I have no memory of what prompted me to write the letter” at age 17. (
* Print book sales were up 3% in the first quarter of 2015. (
* NPR wants its name off Latino USA’s report on the Chicago mayoral election; it “does not meet NPR’s editorial standards.” (
* Garry Trudeau: “What free speech absolutists have failed to acknowledge is that because one has the right to offend a group does not mean that one must.” (
* How a freelancer survived without home Internet. (
* Fars news agency reports Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian is being accused of passing on sensitive information about Iran. ( | “Absurd” charges. (
* Twenty tech journalists talk about the state of news in part two of the Shorenstein Center’s Riptide project. (
* The Anderson Valley Advertiser is described by its editor as “the hometown paper for people without a hometown.” (
catch* Chris Hansen wants to catch more predators. He’s using Kickstarter to finance his online show, “Hansen vs. Predator.” (
* A small town in Indiana (15K population) still has two dailies. (

The Daily Mail posted this photo on Friday, claiming it depicts the recent execution of ten doctors who refused to treat militants. Actually, the photo is from 2014. I’ve invited the publication to comment.


* Daily Mail uses photo from 2014 to depict recent ISIS execution (@HaraldDoornbos)

Earlier: Daily Mail gets around photo embargo by grabbing video stills (

A few months ago I posted Milwaukee journalist Mike Juley’s “Top 10 Tips to the Newsroom.” His #5 was: “Don’t be afraid to pick up a ringing phone. It’s good to find out what an actual reader thinks.”

This afternoon, Suffolk Times editor Michael White picked up his ringing phone and heard from an actual reader who thinks their is spelled thier. Here’s part of the call:

Caller: …it’s spelled incorrectly.

Editor Michael White: It’s a possessive — ‘Their place.’

Caller: How do you spell their?

White: T-H-E-I-R.

Caller: And do you think that’s the correct spelling of that word?

White: What *is* the correct spelling?

Caller: It’s I-E-R.

White: Ah, OK. I-E-R you’re saying?

Caller: Well, you tell me how you guys came up with it, because I can’t find it in any dictionary, and I went to college, and I was taught it was t-h-i-e-r. ….[Garbled] Google it and let me know. I can hold.

White: I have other stuff to do. You should Google it.

Caller: Wow, okay, well, I already know that I’m correct.

* Listen to the editor and reader debate T-H-E-I-R vs. T-H-I-E-R (
* Don’t be afraid to pick up a ringing phone and other tips (

New: Check out the comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers

NewsGuild (formerly Newspaper Guild) president Bernie Lunzer has blasted the Elkhart County (Ind.) Prosecutor’s Office for demanding Elkhart Truth reporter Emily Pfund’s notes and recordings related to her story about a murder investigation.

Lunzer warns Curtis Hill: “If you continue this ill-advised pursuit, expect to feel the combined weight upon you of the nation’s journalists, media organizations and free press activists.” His letter:

April 10, 2015
Curtis T. Hill, Prosecuting Attorney
Vicki Becker, Chief Deputy
Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Elkhart County 301 S. Main St., Suite 100
Elkhart, IN 46516

Dear Mr. Hill and Ms. Becker,

On behalf of the 25,000 members of The NewsGuild-CWA, the union, until recently known as The Newspaper Guild-CWA, that has been representing professional journalists since 1933, I am writing to condemn your reckless, unconstitutional and shameful misconduct toward Elkhart Truth reporter Emily Pfund.

Emily Pfund

Emily Pfund

We call on you to rescind immediately your subpoena for Ms. Pfund’s testimony and her notes and other materials stemming from an interview with an inmate who accuses authorities of interrogating him under duress while needing medical care for a concussion and broken nose.

If you are genuinely concerned about the abuse-of-power allegations that Ms. Pfund’s interview raised, you can follow up with inmate Freddie Rhodes, with the police officers involved, and with the medical personnel who treated Mr. Rhodes’ injuries.

Instead, your pursuit of Ms. Pfund suggests a chilling attempt to punish her and the newspaper for publishing Mr. Rhodes’ charges, and to silence further such reporting. And it is not just the journalists’ First Amendment rights that are at stake. Your community has a fundamental right to know what its elected and appointed officials are doing, as well as the right and responsibility to hold those officials accountable.

If you continue this ill-advised pursuit, expect to feel the combined weight upon you of the nation’s journalists, media organizations and free press activists.


Bernie Lunzer, President
The NewsGuild-CWA
501 Third St. NW
Washington DC 20001

* Prosecutor wants Elkhart Truth reporter’s notes and recordings (

- Post and Courier fronts from Thursday and Friday

– Post and Courier fronts from Thursday and Friday

“The newspaper’s coverage of this tragedy has, thus far, been an excellent example of American journalism at its finest.”

Retired newspaper editor Steve Fagan adds:

To say the very least, The Post and Courier’s coverage has been riveting, but that’s almost automatic with an an event this sensational. It’s the sort of incident that virtually any daily newspaper worth its salt should be able to cover well.

However, The Post and Courier’s coverage has been so much more than just good. It has been exhaustive and exemplary.

Update: Executive editor Mitch Pugh (pictured below) tells Romenesko readers that Fagan’s praise “means a hell of a lot,” and that “it’s been a challenge, but I have to tell you this newsroom is fearless.”

They didn’t shrink one bit from the challenge. They feel the crushing weight of the responsibility to get this right, no doubt, but they are all in.mitch We were the first to report the tape existed and what was on it, and we believe we’ve offered the most comprehensive, nuanced and authoritative coverage since.

Any time the national media swoops in, they are going to get exclusives and scoops. The bright lights are impressive for a lot of folks, and we understand and accept that. Our job is to get it right, be fair and go to sleep at night knowing we’ve served this community well.

When the circus leaves town, we’ll still be here covering this important topic and playing a key role in putting all of the pieces back together.

Pugh says single-copy sales are up about 25% in recent days, and that website traffic has skyrocketed.

“Tuesday through Thursday, compared with the same period last week, we saw a 563% increase in unique visitors and a 207% increase in page views,” the editor says. “We exceeded 1 million unique visitors and hit almost 2 million page views in that span. …Our page views from Facebook grew 409% and 778% from Twitter.”

* Paper distinguishes itself with Walter Scott shooting coverage (Steve Fagan)
* Post and Courier’s Thursday front page | Friday’s front page (


A Romenesko reader writes: “I was a finalist for a job there in 2012. Reporters told me Twitter and Facebook were blocked on their computers and their computer use was closely monitored. …Thankfully I did not take that job.” (I’ve asked editor David Houston about blocking Twitter and Facebook.)

* Work a beat without the distractions of social media reporting (

Update: On Friday, I invited Daily Journal editor David Houston to comment on keeping social media sites off work computers. He responded: “Is this for your blog… or is this a genuine conversation?” Both, I said. I didn’t hear from him again.

Here’s what current and former Daily Journal journalists say about the place:
– Use of Gmail isn’t allowed. “Not having access to it is a joke.”
– The “draconian Internet filters” often prevent reporters from seeing a law firm or law school website.
– “We found ourselves using our personal phones to look up information for stories on a regular basis, since the filter was so strict.”
– “Right as I walked into the office on day 1, that local manager greeted me with ‘the pleasure is all yours.’ This line characterized our relationship for the month or so that I worked there. My direct boss was also a major dick to me, owing largely, I think, to how he was treated by David [Houston].”

* “Our day begins no later than 9 a.m.,” David Houston tells staff (
* Daily Journal staffers to get monthly evaluations (

Have you worked at the Daily Journal? Tell us about. (I’ll withhold your name if requested.)


* WTF?! A reporter for the Elkhart (IN) Truth has been ordered by a prosecutor (below) to testify at a murder trial and turn over her notes and recordings. Want to let the public official know what you think about this?prosec Call his office at (574) 296-1888. ( | [RIGHT] Check out the hands: Meet the Elkhart County prosecutors. (elkhartcounty
* A $50,000 grant from Hugh Hefner has kept a Chicago high school newspaper alive for the past five years. (@chicagotribune)
* A University of Texas at Austin journalism course teaches students “it’s important to be first and essential to be accurate.” (
* The Santa Barbara News-Press has been sued by a photographer who says he was fired for complaining about mold in the offices. (
* About two dozen reporters had an off-the-record dinner with Hillary Clinton‘s campaign team last night. (
* ABC tops NBC and CBS in most time spent promoting itself in the 7-9 a.m. time slot. (
* WaPo’s Joel Achenbach on his Rand Paul profile: “This was not the easiest story I’ve ever done, in part because the senator didn’t talk to me, but…” (
* A kidnapping suspect calls the Orange County Register while holed up in a mobile home. (
* Report: Four parties are bidding for the New York Daily News. (
* The city of Elmira (NY) still has Brian Williams on its welcome sign. The mayor asks: “Where do you get the money to take it down and who decides who goes back up?” (
buzz* What BuzzFeed should have done: Leave the Dove post up and talk to staff about why it’s “flawed” by BuzzFeed standards and what they should learn from it. Instead, editors yanked it and created a shitstorm. (
* RIP David Laventhol: “His ambitions were not for himself but for his papers.” The Washington Post points out that the late newsman – creator of its Style section -“was one of the least stylish people in the newsroom.” (
* JOBS: 89.3 KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) is looking for a political correspondent. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Detroit News page one features “21 Elephants in the Room” – photos of all the GOP who’ve expressed interest in becoming president. (
* The Onion, formerly a newspaper, is now big on video. (
* “I’m not hating against blondes or anything like that,” says Fox’s Pam Oliver. (
* Good riddance, Time Warner Cable! (