cartoon

Indianapolis Star executive editor Jeff Taylor decided to pull Gary Varvel’s cartoon after it was widely criticized on social media over the weekend. He writes:

I was uncomfortable with the depiction when I saw it after it was posted. We initially decided to leave the cartoon posted to allow readers to comment and because material can never truly be eliminated once it is circulating on the web. But we are removing the cartoon from the opinion section of our website, as well as an earlier version posted on Facebook that showed one character with a mustache.

The editor calls his conservative cartoonist‘s depictions “inappropriate” and says Varvel could have made his point in other ways.

“There’s no humor in it,” one of my readers writes, and “it is clearly racist. However, I think the paper erred in taking it down and apologizing for it. If you printed it in the first place, you should stand by your decision, leave it up, and take your lumps.” I agree.

* We erred in publishing cartoon, says executive editor (indystar.com)
* Immigrant’s mustache is removed in one version of the cartoon (@BradwellsNFL)
* There was a heated discussion about this on my Facebook page (facebook.com)

The Discretionary Time Off policy that Tribune Publishing unveiled last Thursday has been rescinded,nevermind “based on valuable input from employees.”

A Los Angeles Times employee says in an email that “a group of Times employees had been planning to sue Tribune Publishing over the new policy, which would have removed the monetary value of the vacation days that long-term staffers have accrued. Traditionally, staffers cashed those days out when they left the company.”

The CEO’s memo:

From: Jack Griffin
Date: November 21, 2014 at 7:13:35 PM PST
Subject: A Message From Jack Griffin

Colleagues:

Last week, a Company communication went out regarding a new Discretionary Time Off policy for exempt employees. The change in policy outlined in the note created confusion and concern within the Company. The purpose of this note is to let you know that, based on valuable input from employees, the DTO policy is rescinded.

In reversing the decision, our Company is reverting back to its long-standing policy of providing a fixed amount of vacation, floating holidays and sick days per year based on level and tenure with the Company. Additionally, employees in California will continue to retain accrued and unused vacation.

As we go forward as a new Company, the management team and I will ensure that any significant changes to policy will involve better opportunity for input from many constituencies within the Company.

Thank you for your understanding and continued commitment to helping shape our new Company.

Best,

Jack

* Earlier: Tribune Publishing implements Discretionary Time Off policy (jimromenesko.com)

bandit

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner opinion editor Tom Hewitt gives the Headline of the Week award to the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Managing editor Roni Toldanes gets credit for it; he tells Romenesko readers that “I just thought it was quite accurate.” (My Facebook friends and subscribers like it.)

The headline only made sense after my interview with the suspect’s mom, minutes after she visited her son in jail. After the underwear bandit’s arrest, I had a phone interview with the suspect’s latest victim, who explained how investigators caught the suspect by connecting the polka dots.

The story requires a subscription, but Toldanes forwarded it for posting. It’s after the jump. Read More

Dan Evans, editor of the Los Angeles Times-owned Times Community News, writes: “This is really weird. Not sure how common this is, but it would hurt my soul that ‘A lot of editors use this as a sort of fund-raiser for their publications.’change I mean, for what? A soda? A slice of pizza?

“I mean, my ink-stained heart maybe isn’t worth that much, but isn’t it worth more than $3 for a 200-word PR piece? I mean, c’mon. At least a fiver.”

I’ve asked Ashley Mitchell how many news outlets have taken money for running her firm’s articles.

Date: November 20, 2014 at 2:13:27 PM PST
From: Ashley Mitchell
To: Dan Evans
Subject: Cash for Clips

Hello Dan,

My name is Ashley Mitchell, and I am a Media Relations Specialist for NewsUSA, a media placement firm with 25 years experience placing quality articles for our clients with newspapers around the country.

I would like to interest you in our Cash for Clips program, where we will reward you a one-time $25.00 reward, just for publishing our articles! After this you will receive a payment for each time you publish them (you may use as many as you want and be paid for them individually!) A lot of editors use this as a sort of fund-raiser for their publications. You would be amazed at how much money you can make from our special promo!/CONTINUES Read More

redskins

“It’s not profound,” Bruce McCall writes in The New Yorker, “you know – nothing I do is profound – but I wanted to address the whole kerfuffle over the Redskins name.”

* Full cover: Bruce McCall’s “First Thanksgiving” (newyorker.com)

Matt Waite says his Story Bots course at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this semester “is really a programming class disguised as a journalism class.”

One of the assignments was to make a Twitter bot. They could do what they wanted with it, but it had to use Twitter and had to run on a simple cron job. It had to tweet, and they had to put their bot on Github when they were done (sans access keys).

The Homer Simpson quotes bot is cute, and this Lady Plath creation is clever, too: “Lady Plath takes a line from a Sylvia Plath poem and a line of Lady Gaga lyrics and randomly combines them into gloriously weird tweets.”

* A classroom experiment in Twitter bots and creativity (mattwaite.com)
* Students were told to make Twitter bots and “the results were awesome” (@mattwaite)

eb
dmrFrom the Des Moines Register and Iowa City Press-Citizen websites

* An ode to Thanksgiving (with recipes) (press-citizen.com)

* A soldier is demoted after threatening Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Carl Prine‘s family. (thenewstribune.com)
* NPR’s ombudsman praises Scott Simon‘s Bill Cosby interview. The host confronted the comedian “with genuine professional aplomb.” (npr.org) | Why didn’t journalists ask Cosby about the allegations a decade ago? (cjr.org)app
* New York Times public editor on the Minnesota Grape Salad kerfuffle. (nytimes.com) | NYT’s Iowa cookie recipe is actually from Illinois. (desmoinesregister.com)
* [Right] The Family beat, sponsored by AARP! (app.com)
* How Daniel Asa Rose hurt the New Yorker’s feelings, and was punished for it. (observer.com)
* A marriage proposal is hidden in a crossword puzzle. (startribune.com)
* New York Times memo: “If we do go to layoffs, there will not be any taps on the shoulder.” (motherjones.com)
* Brian Hieggelke on print publications: “We’re the cat of the media world, perhaps, working our way through our nine lives. …Print media – the realm where I’ve spent most of my adult life – has died at least three times in the last century.” (newcitynetwork.com)
* What media company CEOs say, and what they really mean. (thefirstward.net)
* Another college newspaper tries crowdfunding: Daily Californian seeks $15,000. (gofundme.com)
* What next? Gawker and Bloomberg strike a partnership deal? (ibtimes.com)
* “It seems evident that Us Weekly made a serious error in either its reporting or headline writing” with its “Today” show report. (thewrap.com)
* San Francisco Bay Guardian alums are raising money for a final commemorative issue. (altweeklies.com)
* Was there a font large enough for this station’s EXCLUSIVE headline? An arsonist confesses to a TV crew at the fire scene. (wjla.com)

rapa

I called the WAFF-TV (Hunstville, AL) newsroom this morning and got a confirmation that this aired Thursday. “It was just a big mistake,” I was told by an employee. | Via @telesara

* Read rap/rape comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers (facebook.com)