“God hates Gawker,” according to a Westboro Baptist Church press release announcing plans to picket Gawker headquarters from 3:15 to 3:45 this afternoon. They “roll out scores of blogs daily, full of mocking, irreverent, vulgar, base, worthless bilge … and lack the sense to think about eternity, and have an awful end coming.”

Here’s the editorial director’s how-to-behave memo to Gawker staff:

From: Joel Johnson
Date: Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 8:58 AM
Subject: WBC
To: [Gawker staff]

bagsThe Westboro Baptist Church may protest in front of 210 [Elizabeth St.] today for a few hours. Whether they speak from a place of genuine concern about society or just really love to trawl for lawsuit opportunities, we will comport ourselves with the may-careness and loving kindness that both the devil and Christ would ask of us. No yelling, definitely no touching, and lots of smiles and compassion for people who must truly be scared and miserable.

Also, if they arrive by today, Jane-Claire grabbed a few commemorative totes [at right] that will be awarded for good behavior.

* Westboro Baptist Church has some hurtful words for Gawker (thevine.com.au)
* Huffington Post is ready for Westboro Baptist Church, too (@noahmichelson)

* The 66-year-old data strategist behind U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings says “I personally don’t feel any superpowers,” but “I’m aware it’s a heavy responsibility. … We’re like the 800-pound gorilla of higher education.” (washingtonpost.com)
* A freelancer explains how she writes up to 30 pieces a week. “I treat freelance writing like a full-time job,” says Nicole Dieker. (contently.net)
* “Silicon Valley is much thinner-skinned than Wall Street,” says New York magazine’s Kevin Roose. “You write something mildly negative about a tech company, and suddenly your emails aren’t getting returned.” (capitalnewyork.com) thursday
* Unfortunately it’s only Wednesday, Star-Ledger. (newseum.org)
* “The only publications I can find that really called out the bogus ["inventor of email"] claims were Mashable… and Gawker.” (techdirt.com)
* New York Times correction: Dick Cheney was vice president, not president. “Easy mistake to make,” notes Dan Froomkin. (@froomkin)
* Jim Brady‘s BillyPenn.com hires its first reporter. Anna Orso, a former Penn State Daily Collegian editor, comes from the Patriot-News. (phillymag.com)
* “The art of writing a headline … has been on the decline since the rise of Twitter and Facebook.” (cjr.org)
* Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times – once fierce rivals – are considering working together more closely. (chicagobusiness.com)
tivo* You’re trying too hard, Tivo. (Its new $5,000 box has enough disk space to record over 26,000 hours of video.) (time.com)
* JOBS: Interested in public TV and radio? I have a couple of jobs for you! (Romenesko Jobs)
* A federal judge refuses to throw out a lawsuit seeking to undo the Salt Lake Tribune-Deseret News deal. (sltrib.com)
* Why cable news loves freak shows and horror. (saturdayeveningpost.com)
* University of Wisconsin’s Badger Herald – launched 45 years ago as a conservative alternative to the Daily Cardinal – got some help from Reader’s Digest. (badgerherald.com)
* Send anonymous news tips, link suggestions, memos, comment spam sightings, and typo alerts to jim@jimromenesko.com | Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Twitter
* Advertise your job opening for just $25 a week. Contact Tom Kwas at jimromads@yahoo.com for information. (He’ll take care of your Sponsored Post or display ad, too.)

…and then the audience gave the Apple Watch a standing ovation. | We’re apparently going to have to wait until 2019 to get a “thin and stunning” Apple Watch.

* Apple Pay mobile wallet unveiled (latimes.com) | …Apple Watch, too (mashable.com)

Letter to Romenesko
gqFrom JAY MARIOTTI: In its September edition, GQ magazine all but accuses me of extortion in an absurdly false report (at right) — claiming I used a camera-phone video of an ESPN executive to coerce the network into giving me assignments. It is a lie that would be laughable if not so damaging and such a reckless disregard of the truth. The author of the GQ story, from the trashy Deadspin site, never bothered to contact me or my representatives about this allegation and apparently didn’t bother to check a Deadspin story about the matter that never connected me to a camera-phone video.

So, we contacted GQ.

And quickly, GQ issued a retraction/editor’s note that appears today in a revised story in the magazine’s online edition. [Mariotti says he's been told by GQ it's going to be posted today.]

I’ve long been disgusted about false, fabricated and poorly reported/researched stories by irresponsible media outlets concerning me, my media career and a fallacious 2010 legal case. Even after its retraction, GQ still doesn’t have the ESPN story anywhere close to its accurate form; I also see untruths about my legal case and career. But at least GQ has linked to my original and accurate column about the ESPN executive, which I wrote in July only to correct Deadspin’s typically erroneous interpretation of events that took place in January 2012./CONTINUES Read More

* Could TMZ win a Pulitzer for its Ray Rice coverage? “Why not?” writes a veteran Pulitzer-watcher. (Joe Strupp) | No surprise that an “outsider” like TMZ posted the video. (philly.com) | “Fox & Friends” spends 13 seconds addressing yesterday’s “take the stairs!” comment. (huffingtonpost.com)
* Richard Prince: “Few in the mainstream media are rushing to embrace TMZ’s newsgathering tactics.” (mije.org)
sun* Front page of today’s Baltimore Sun. (newseum.org)
* NPR Standards and Practices editor: “Let’s keep this simple. There’s nothing vague about the word ‘confirm.'” (npr.org)
* New York Times Baghdad bureau chief Tim Arango did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) yesterday. (nytimes.com)
* We have a winner! Millionaire Arianna Huffington convinces the public to give her $40,000. (Actually, her goal was exceeded.) (theawl.com)
* Ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Won’t somebody please buy the St. Paul Pioneer Press? (sfweekly.com)
* Did any Penn State students make their 8:00 classes this morning? (@Will_Bunch)
* Scott Pelley: News viewers need a trusted source that will tell them “if what they heard today [on the Internet] was true.” (variety.com)
* New York Times unveils its “revolutionary college index.” (insidehighered.com) | US News releases its college rankings, with Princeton in the top spot. (wsj.com) | Claim: The rankings are terrible for students. (vox.com)
* “Why am I doing this?” asks new daytime chat host Meredith Vieira. “What was I thinking?” (washingtonpost.com) | Lloyd Grove‘s verdict: “All in all, a jam-packed, fun-filled, tear-streaked debut.” (thedailybeast.com)
* Vanity Fair insists that editor Graydon Carter “has absolutely no plans to retire.” (wwd.com)
* David Krajicek: “Ferguson affirmed Twitter’s position as the piston that drives the engine of spot-news journalism.” (thecrimereport.org)
* Politico’s European plans are “much bigger than anyone is thinking,” says CEO Jim VandeHei. (huffingtonpost.com)
* Chuck Todd‘s “Meet the Press” debut is a ratings winner. (mediabistro.com)
* How the late Bruce Morton saved one journalist from making a career-killing mistake. (npr.org)
* The managing editor of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly is nominated by Gov. Deval Patrick for a district court bench seat. (masslawyersweekly.com)
* Hector Tobar leaves the Los Angeles Times to teach at the University of Oregon. (laobserved.com)
* Meet the new paywall giant. (niemanlab.org)

A Raleigh journalist sends the emails below – he uses the subject line, “The N&O’s sandwich Nazi” – and describes Nathan Custis as “a young, well-meaning news clerk.” Andy Curliss, who responds to the clerk’s note, is a veteran Raleigh News & Observer reporter.

Your thoughts on this “ethics case”? Please post in comments.

On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM, Custis, Nathan wrote:

Hi everyone,

My wife and esteemed editor of the Campbell Law Observer, Katherine Custis, is looking for one or (preferably) two people with the N&O or one of our community papers to come in to Campbell Law School (just a few blocks from us) from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, to have a Q&A with her and her staff about best practices, article writing, style and technique.
They’d like to have, between the two reporters (or editors!), a 5-10 minute presentation (something like Top Ten Writing Tips for Interesting Articles) with time for questions afterward.

The trouble is not without its perks; they are offering to buy you lunch at Café Carolina.

Let me know if anyone’s interested.

Nathan Custis
News Clerk
The News & Observer l newsobserver.com l triangle.com

From the newsroom veteran, sent three minutes later:

From: Curliss, Andy
Date: Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 12:05 PM
Subject: Re: Anyone looking for a free lunch 9/22?
To: “Custis, Nathan”
Cc: RAL Newsroom Staff

Reminder that our ethics policy generally prohibits accepting free food.

* 2.4 MEALS

* Newsroom employees will not accept free food, except under one circumstance listed below. If scheduling makes it imperative that you eat while the captive of the news or a source, the newspaper will make arrangements to pay.

At political meetings and sports events, there is usually a lot of food. We should avoid taking it when possible, and we should pay for it when it’s necessary to eat. Sports reporters, for example, often work under tight deadline, and the spread at an athletic event may be their only chance to eat. There’s no need for the reporter to attempt to pay for the food at that moment. The newspaper will make arrangements to reimburse the school or team. The exception is that it is OK to accept free food in cases where refusing it would be rude or insulting. An example would be a reporter accompanying a political candidate who is campaigning door-to-door and who is invited in for a barbecue sandwich or a piece of cake. If the reporter decides that good manners dictate accepting the food, then it is all right to do so.

I’m guessing that News & Observer journalists have been slipped honorariums for speaking to journalism classes and other groups. A lunch instead of payment seems acceptable to me.