Employees at Shaw Media, which has newspapers in Illinois and Iowa, will now get 30 cents per mile for personal car use; they had been getting been 35 cents. Has your company lowered its rate recently? Let us know in comments or on Facebook.


Washington Post letter to the editor, January 29unnamed

“Netflix and chill” on UrbanDictionary.com:

TOP DEFINITION: A slang phrase meaning to watch a program on Netflix, a popular home movie and television application, and often to have sexual intercourse during or after watching the program.

* “Netflix and chill” joke was funny but inappropriate (washingtonpost.com)
* “Netflix and chill” definitions via Urban Dictionary (urbandictionary.com)


“An occupation where you tell a lot of lies.”

(Screenshot from the “Family Feud” that aired on January 20, 2016. Via @nicholaspersac.)

* Read comments from my Facebook friends and followers

THE STORY: Gawker Media sells minority stake to investment company


Hey, everybody —

I’m pleased to let you know that Gawker Media Group has agreed to a minority investment from Columbus Nova, a firm with interests in companies such as Rhapsody, Harmonix, 300 Entertainment and Zoom Data — as well as the makers of Everquest.
The transaction is expected to close after formal approval of shareholders, tomorrow. It will be the first time GMG has taken outside capital.

The funding will strengthen GMG’s financial reserves as we prepare for trial this March in Hulk Hogan’s $100 million invasion of privacy lawsuit, in which we are defending our right to report truthfully on the conduct of public figures./CONTINUES Read More

Two-time Pulitzer winner Richard Read wrote this farewell note to Oregonian colleagues after taking the paper’s buyout and leaving the paper on Dec. 31. “Hopefully other reporters can get a little bit of his wisdom,” writes the Oregonian staffer who forwarded Read’s email.

From: Richard Read
Subject: Bye for now

Dear friends-

It’s time to say goodbye. I’ll miss each one of you. I can’t resist dispensing some advice, worth what you pay for it, to reporters especially.

Richard Read

Richard Read

Manage your editors with patience. Some of them labor under the misimpression that you work for them, not vice versa. Learn from each one. Learn from your fellow reporters. Always have 10 story ideas; editors fill a vacuum. Marvel each day that you get paid to receive an education. Treat your sources with respect. Every so often, try doing something instead of just writing about doing something.

Fight for the little person, the voiceless, the abused and seldom seen. Expose corruption, injustice and ignorance.

Stay safe. Some of us, including Helen Jung, who still works with you, have risked our lives in war zones for The Oregonian. Do not try this at home. Remember, when covering a volcano, not to interview the eruption. I knew two photographers and a volcanologist who died that way in Japan, along with their driver and a cop who tried to save them. Another time, Oregonian reporter Joan Laatz Jewett, speeding with a photographer at the wheel to cover a Clackistan shooting, noticed the end of a gun barrel and a puff of smoke. The bullet hit the news car’s windshield frame to the right of Joan’s head./CONTINUES Read More

Gawker Media union members received this email on Thursday morning [my boldface]:

Dear WGAE-represented Gawker employee:

The good news is that we are talking seriously with the company about pay. The bad news is that the company’s counterproposal is pure status quo. No raises at all (beyond what would cover dues) except what each individual employee might be able to wrangle on his or her own.

The whole point of joining together in a union is to ensure that people’s collective voice is heard, to improve conditions for everyone. The negotiating committee’s response has been very clear: the status quo is not enough and solid, reasonable across-the-board pay increases are essential. We will return to the bargaining table again in two weeks to keep the pressure on.

In Solidarity,

Lowell Peterson
Jeff Schioppa
Executive Director
Business Agent

Writers Guild of America, East
250 Hudson Street, Suite 700
New York, New York 10013

* June 2015: Gawker Media employees vote to unionize (gawker.com)

NBC Universal digital president Nicholas Lehman has been named chief strategy officer at TEGNA, the former Gannett broadcast and digital properties. Here’s the CEO’s memo:

From: A message from Gracia Martore
Subject: Welcome Nicholas Lehman TEGNA’s new Chief Strategy Officer

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Nicholas Lehman has been named chief strategy officer for TEGNA. Nick will join the TEGNA Leadership Team and report directly to me.

In this new role, Nick will help guide TEGNA’s overall vision and strategy. He’ll work across our company to identify and develop new business opportunities. He’ll also help cultivate company-wide strategic partnerships and help drive innovation initiatives throughout all areas of TEGNA./CONTINUES Read More

A good percentage “Making a Murderer” tweets are about two attractive reporters who covered the Steven Avery/Brandon Dassey case and appear in the Netflix documentary. Some of the comments:

* Major crush on the female reporter with the horned rimmed glasses. Definitely a plant of the producers…but still. @tjstaffordmusic

Angenette Levy

Angenette Levy

* My favorite character on Making a Murderer is the brunette reporter with the glasses who isn’t buying anyone’s bullshit. @nlpaulhus

* Her skepticism is inspiring. @ADPotratz

* Hey prematurely silver haired news reporter from “Making a Murderer”. Just want to say that I think you’re terrific. @imnatecorddry

* That one handsome reporter in Making A Murderer is always just like “I have no idea what’s happening and I never should have moved here.” @LesleyScheu

* The biggest question I have watching #MakingAMurderer is who is that fine, grey-haired reporter? #silverfox @9_is_my_doctor

Aaron Keller

Aaron Keller

The “Silver Fox” is Aaron Keller, who worked at NBC26 in Green Bay from 2004 to 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile. After stops at other TV stations, he went on to get his law degree and he’s now an English/Communications professor at NHTI, Concord’s Community College in New Hampshire.

The no-BS journalist is Angenette Levy, who was a general assignment reporter at Green Bay’s WFRV-TV from 2004 to 2010. She’s been at WKRC-TV in Cincinnati since leaving Wisconsin.

I asked Levy about “Making a Murderer” and the attention she’s getting since the documentary debuted December 18. She responded in an email:

I finished episode 7 but it’s taken me more than a week to get to this point. I have been too busy with work to binge watch! The producers had tremendous access to the Avery family and to the defense attorneys. I am surprised at the number of people who have tweeted me, sent Facebook messages and emailed. It’s been very flattering. I didn’t know I would be featured in the documentary until I received a text a couple of weeks ago. I’ve tried to answer questions about the cases, and I hope that people realize that I attempted to ask a lot of questions as those cases were moving through the court system – questions that I believe people wanted answered. This story is a tragedy on so many levels.

Keller hasn’t responded to my email, but an admirer writes on Reddit:

Believe it or not, Aaron (Silver Fox) Keller was also only 25 years old at that time [of the trial]. Good looks aside — that guy also happened to have astrophysicist-esque intelligence. He had uncanny ability to interpret, digest and critically analyze any kind of complex academic/theoretic subject matter — before articulating his own profound responses in spitfire fashion.

Strikingly intriguing and, magnetic and annoyingly charming, (or charmingly annoying), is Smart as a whip and socially awkward articulating profound responses instantaneously being able to , and reflect on complex subject matter was superior command of the English language combined with uncanny uncanny articulate at articulating complex Almost as if he were the embodiment of a fictional film character — created of a stock character.

The comment after that post asks: “Are you his mother?”

* Angenette Levy on Facebook
* Aaron Keller on LinkedIn

Some of the fun we had this year…

* Readers pointed me to great accident-related headlines from the Brandon Sun (“Bread truck rolls over, hundreds of loaves toast”) and the Riverside Press-Enterprise (“CHiPS respond to hot sauce crash”).

* A Denver Post photojournalist baked an excellent farewell cake (“Fuck ESPN”) for a departing colleague. Labor reporter Steven Greenhouse also got a nice cake when he left the New York Times in March (“Walmart shares up 22%”). /CONTINUES Read More

I’m told that Tribune Publishing is going to have discussions with the bank that screwed up and make it clear it’s unhappy about the “Christmas Eve surprise.”

From: Tribune Publishing
Sent: Thursday, December 24, 2015 1:29 p.m.

Dear colleagues:

A processing error at our clearing bank is causing a delay in the direct deposit of some employee’s paychecks.

The bank notified our company this morning that some customers of major banks (like Chase, Bank of America and other national banking institutions) will begin receiving direct deposits today through Saturday. Customers of credit unions and regional banks will receive the direct deposits on Monday. If you normally receive your paycheck via regular mail, your payment is unaffected. The company will ensure that all employees who have been adversely affected through overdrafts or other bank fees will be reimbursed. We apologize for this unfortunate situation and plan to remedy fully.

Thank you for understanding.