(Credit: Bob Scott)

(Credit: Bob Scott)

Seth D. Michael tweeted after seeing this in Thursday’s New York Times Bits section: “Extremely optimistic NYT illustration has a guy in a driverless car reading a print-edition newspaper.” Was it the artist’s idea, or Times editors’? I wondered. Did he consider a drawing a tablet instead of a newspaper? Here’s what illustrator Bob Scott tells Romenesko readers:

Yes, that was my idea. I thought the concept of having this driver in the future still reading a newspaper (no doubt the NY Times) was amusing, but had no idea it would get such a big reaction. [Over 4,000 retweets for Michaels, and check out the replies!]

I never seriously considered a tablet, or any other high tech device for this and was glad that the editors went along with it. In a small way it was also an homage to printed publications- with the hope that they will still be around in the future.

* Tipping point in transit (nytimes.com)


Letter to Romenesko
From SHAWN CLUBB: I work for a research and monitoring company that provides issues intel and analysis to a broad range of clients in the food and agriculture space globally. This [astroturf campaign] came across our radar and we noticed you reported on a similar item back in April 2013. The wording in this letter to the editor campaign appears to be similar to that earlier one, so we wanted to share it with you.

I have added links to everywhere we’ve found this item over the last week, along with the text of the item [after the jump] as it appeared in the Indianapolis Star.

The same letter attributed to other authors appeared in The Tampa Tribune, The Sentinel in Carlisle, Pa., The Key West Citizen, The Argus-Press in Michigan, The Daily Reflector in Greenville, N.C., Moultrie News in South Carolina, The SandPaper in Surf City, N.J., Bluefield Daily Telegraph in West Virginia, The Spectrum in St. George, Utah, The Desert Sun in Palm Springs,/CONTINUES Read More

Never mind!

I asked Kimberly-Clark, which has the Cottonelle brand, about the order to cover the toilet paper sponsorship and got this response (with my boldface) from its PR agency, Ketchum.

We’d like to clarify that invited media are welcome to join us for the concert, however, media invitations to events like this are not contingent upon any expectations of media coverage.

I called Ketchum’s Dane Roth and he told me that this was “inaccurate language” released by “someone we work with to reach out to the press on this.” That person, he added, is not an employee of Ketchum or Kimberly-Clark.

It’s good news, of course, that the press isn’t being told what to write about, but I’d still like to hear the New Kids on the Block members’ “very poignant thoughts” about toilet paper.

Don’t miss the NKOTB/toilet paper wisecracks from my Facebook friends and subscribers.

* Cottonelle and New Kids on the Block encourage Americans to go commando (prnewswire.com)


So, how did this happen?
“Oh, man,” were the first words East Oregonian managing editor Daniel Wattenburger (pictured below) said over the phone when I asked about the “amphibious pitcher” headline.

“It’s just kind of a silly mistake, and I’m trying to craft a column about it now,” he says. “There was just some confusion [about amphibious vs. ambidextrous] from the person laying out the page on Friday night.

“A former colleague [Neill Woelk] shared it on his Twitter feed and that’s how it got picked up” by, well, just about everyone else on Twitter. (Woelk is now Rocky Mountain Student Media adviser.)

“It’s a little embarrassing,” the managing editor says of the hed.

Wattenburger notes that this is the second item from his paper that’s gone viral recently; a funny letter about farts circulated on social media in late May.

* Favorite headline of the week (@NeillWoelk)
* Earlier: Fart letter in East Oregonian goes viral (jimromenesko.com)
* Check out comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers

New — Editor’s column: “Just a few weeks ago we were Internet heroes, showing the courage and temerity to publish a letter about farts. Now, we’re lowly Internet zeros, publishing unconsciously about frogs.”

Last week, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Jennifer Graham turned in a piece about Caitlyn Jenner that said “Mr. Jenner joins Chaz Bono and Laverne Cox in the don’t-call-them-freaks parade … But have at it; whatever makes you feel pretty. Just know that, for every person cheering your courage, there are others wishing you were a bit more of a coward.”

Four Post-Gazette opinion section staffers read the column before it went to press, according to editorial page editor Tom Waseleski.

Jennifer Graham

Jennifer Graham

“No one raised questions about the column to me and I’m not aware of any discussion in which one or more of my colleagues argued against using it,” he says. “Our intern told me as he was leaving for the day that the column was sure to generate a reaction. I agreed that it would, but that’s nothing new at the Post-Gazette. We have a robust opinion section, and we’re used to strong reactions — from all points of the political compass — to various columns, editorials and editorial cartoons.”

“Strong reactions” came in quickly after the column was published last Thursday. “Defamatory,” one person tweeted; “shockingly anti-transgender,” tweeted another. The Human Rights Campaign told P-G executive editor David Shribman that “Ms. Graham has no business serving as a columnist at a publication with a reputation as sterling like yours.”/CONTINUES Read More

Jezebel editor-in-chief Emma Carmichael and her cousin suffered serious injuries Thursday after a three-vehicle accident. “With one surgery down and another to go, she’s expected to make a full recovery, as is her cousin,” reports Gawker Media executive editor Tommy Craggs.

From: Tommy Craggs
Date: Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 2:27 PM
Subject: Emma Carmichael
To: edit

For those of you who haven’t heard, Emma is in the ICU, recovering from serious injuries sustained in a car accident Thursday. (Details are here.)

- Emma Carmichael (via Forbes.com)

– Emma Carmichael (Forbes.com)

In deference to Emma’s wish not to be fussed over, I’ll be brief: She has no head, spinal, or internal injuries, and with one surgery down and another to go, she’s expected to make a full recovery, as is her cousin. A few of your colleagues saw her over the weekend and report, via Jia Tolentino, that Emma is “doing fucking great.” We can now add pickup trucks to the list of things that should not fuck with Emma./CONTINUES Read More


* New York Times corrections for June 8, 2015 (nytimes.com)

Earlier on “Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle”:
* “I think the right answer is Yes sir, Yes sir. I always thought the questioner starts with BAA, BAA”
* “Good catch. I say, ‘Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?’ And the sheep responds, ‘Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full…'”

New: “The Times regrets that it has readers for whom this correction is necessary,” and more comments (facebook.com)

A Monday morning memo to USA Today staffers:

Date: June 8, 2015 at 10:46:56 AM EDT
To: A message from Bob Dickey
Subject: Announcement

I want to share with you all that Larry Kramer will be joining the board of the new Gannett and will be stepping down as president and publisher — effective at the time of the corporate split.

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer

As most of you know, Larry passionately took on the challenge of making USA TODAY a digital first news organization in May of 2012. During his three years at the helm, he has helped USA TODAY and its related brands reimagine the iconic “newspaper.” This 40-year veteran newsman and online pioneer came out of retirement to help us forge a path in a rapidly changing landscape — while keeping a keen focus on quality journalism. His personality, personal brand and joy for the industry have given us numerous contributions.

Over the last three years, our USA TODAY newsroom has proudly earned numerous journalism and product awards. During his tenure our mobile page views are up 50% and visitors are up 150%. Larry helped implement our USA TODAY Local print edition that has brought USA TODAY content to 35 Gannett local markets, as well as a growing number of non-Gannett markets, more than doubling our print circulation.

Before arriving at USA TODAY, Larry was president of CBS Digital Media. Prior to that, he founded and led MarketWatch for 12 years before selling it to Dow Jones in 2005. His journalistic roots come from his more than 20 years as a reporter and editor.

We will be conducting an extensive search for our Chief Content Officer role.

And, we will soon share details for a reception honoring Larry’s role with USA TODAY. Meanwhile, please join me in thanking him for his service and welcoming him to his new role on our board.


* Gannett board approves completion of spin-off transaction (gannett.com)

He was the Sun-Times’ Homicide Watch reporter

You’d think a reporter covering murders in violent Chicago would have some job security, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case for Michael Lansu. The laid-off journalist tells Romenesko readers:

For nearly two years, the first thing I did when I woke up in the morning was check last night’s murder totals. I am going to enjoy having a cup of coffee before logging on.
I have nothing lined up yet. I plan on taking a few weeks off to recharge and then maybe start freelancing until I can find something permanent.

I really believe in the Homicide Watch project and hope the Sun-Times can continue to tell the stories of Chicago’s 450 annual murder victims.

In a city where police murder totals have been called into question, I think it’s vital to have somebody keep tabs for accurate reporting.

I’m told that Homicide Watch will continue, but the paper is “integrating the HW reporting more into our overall content mix.” Lansu was the only Sun-Times staffer laid off today.

* Homicide Watch Chicago (suntimes.com) | @mikelansu (twitter.com)

New: Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers