Columbus Dispatch staffers on Tuesday received the email below from recently appointed publisher Brad Harmon. My tipster – a retired journalist from that paper – notes that “dressing up in the colors of a major institution that we supposedly cover objectively flies in the face of integrity.” The Dispatch’s editor agrees, and has told his staff they’re exempt. His memo is below the publisher’s.

Let’s support our Ohio State Buckeye’s [sic]!

Wear your OSU gear to work on Friday, November 20th in support of the game with Michigan State on Saturday. If you have appointments with clients then accompany your OSU shirt with business casual attire.

Let’s have some fun!

Brad Harmon

I’ve asked editor Alan D. Miller if newsroom staffers have to wear Buckeyes clothing, too. The Dispatch was sold to the GateHouse chain in June after being family owned for over a century.

UPDATE — Miller tells Romenesko readers: “The publisher understands that the newsroom operates differently than other divisions of the company, so I sent this to the newsroom staff to clarify that:


While we appreciate the Buckeyes, and while staff members are free to cheer for their favorite teams in their own ways on their own time, we report the news and cheer for no one. So we won’t be wearing Buckeyes gear to work.



Tulsa World letter to the editor, November 13

Piraro is contributing to the K2 (synthetic marijuana) problem in Tulsa? Ridiculous, he says. Here’s what the “Bizarro” creator tells Romenesko readers:

I started putting K2 in my cartoons before the drug was invented, or at least before I’d ever heard of it. The idea that tiny “messages” like this could encourage drug use is utterly ludicrous, of course, but as the fourth commentor (Ron Hill) on that article clearly demonstrates, not everyone who can read has enough brain power to understand what they’re reading.

No matter how old and wise I get, the ignorance of some people still blows my mind.

* Letter to the editor: A subliminal message about K2 (
* Twenty-three hospitalized after exhibiting K2-like symptoms in Tulsa (

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review announced on Tuesday that it’s laying off 153 full- and part-time employees as part of a “sweeping restructuring.”

The CEO’s memo:

Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 10:15 AM
To: triball
Subject: Important Announcement
Importance: High

Dear Fellow Employees,

As you know, for the past several months the Board of Directors of Trib Total Media together with the senior leadership team has been engaged in a strategic review of our company in order to best position us for the future and to meet the changing needs of our readers, subscribers, advertisers, partners and employees.

Our founder, Richard Scaife, spent 45 years building this organization and we are proud of his legacy. However, we’ve been forced to take a close look at our bottom line and business operations in the midst of an evolving newspaper industry. In addition to the new financial constraints that the Trib must acknowledge, the industry’s digital landscape has dramatically altered how consumers get their news. We are not immune to those changes./CONTINUES Read More


Romenesko reader Gina Tenorio-Norris spotted this girl and her “I’m a journalist…I’m never wrong” hoodie at Friday night’s Grand Terrace (CA) High School/Colton High School game. “I saw the front of the sweatshirt,” Norris writes, and “it did say Titan Echo Staff.” That’s the name of Grand Terrace High’s student newspaper, which is apparently edited by some very confident teens.

- Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, November 2, 2015

– Lincoln (NE) Journal Star, November 1, 2015

* “William D. “Bill” Avey, 78 of Lincoln died July 5, 3015″ [sic] (Google cache)
* Correction: William D. “Bill” Avey is not deceased (

– h/t @KenPaulman

Earlier on
* Oops! George Soros is not dead yet
* Man is surprised to see his death notice in the Milwaukee paper

Staffers at National Geographic – now controlled by Rupert Murdoch – received this note from their CEO on Monday:

Message from Gary Knell – Important Information to Be Communicated on Nov. 3rd

To all NGS Staff:

After very careful and serious consideration, we are ready to communicate how our restructuring and transformation will affect each employee at National Geographic. To that end, please make every effort to be available tomorrow, November 3rd, either in your regular work location, and/or by phone.

If you are traveling for business, on vacation or plan to be out for any other reason, please notify Tia Freeman-Evans or Yvonne Perry in HR immediately, so we can make alternative plans to get in touch with you. If you know that someone on your staff will be out of the office on November 3rd, please let Tia or Yvonne know by 3 p.m. (Eastern) today, as well.

Please watch your inbox for important information about your employment status tomorrow.

I cannot thank you enough for your patience and hard work over the last few months. I am proud of how our teams and our organization have approached and responded to this transitional period. Looking ahead, I am confident National Geographic’s mission will be fulfilled in powerful, new and impactful ways, as we continue to change the world through science, exploration, education and storytelling.


Donald Winslow, editor of News Photographer magazine, is tweeting about the layoffs. “No one knows how many, at this point,” he writes. “Staff sitting by phones waiting to be called down one by one to HR.”

* Sept. 9, 2015: Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox buys National Geographic media (

UPDATE: “We’re changing our structure along with how we work,” Knell writes in a follow-up memo.

Date: Nov 3, 2015 2:30 PM
Subject: An Important Message from Gary Knell
To: “All”

To all NGS Staff–

To change the world through science, exploration, education and storytelling has never been as important as it is today. We are transforming National Geographic to be better positioned than ever to deliver on this mission./CONTINUES Read More

Freedom Communications, which owns the Orange County Register and the Riverside (CA) Press-Enterprise, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday. Also, publisher Rich Mirman announced that his investor group is bidding for the company.

The former casino marketing exec tells a Register reporter: “I’ve caught the bug of what news journalism can do in its community. I’m very intrigued by translating what we do into a long-lasting business. There are ways to make money in new and innovative ways.”

Register and Press-Enterprise staffers received this Mirman memo at 1 a.m. Sunday:


Nov. 1- Almost a year ago to the day, I made a commitment to you and the communities we serve that I would dedicate myself to improving the company’s financial well-being. My goal was to reestablish the company back on a trajectory of growth.

Thanks to all of you, Freedom Communications is on pace to generate a profit in 2015. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time.

Despite this momentum, however, the accumulated financial losses incurred in 2013 and 2014 under previous leadership have left its mark on the company. Even with our recent success, the business is struggling to cover its financial obligations and is overloaded with debt./CONTINUES Read More

A Romenesko reader writes: “In what has become a common occurrence for The Arizona Republic, another year has gone by and the company has shed another round of talented journalists. This time we lost them to Gannett’s early retirement buyouts. I just wanted to share this FANTASTIC letter written by an old editor of mine commemorating his 32 years in journalism.” (Martin Dolan took the buyout and cleaned out his desk on Friday.)

From: Dolan, Martin
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2015 2:40 PM
To: [Arizona Republic staff]
Subject: What’s a pica pole?

I write this fully aware that three-quarters of you have no idea who I am. Such is life, even when you’ve been around a place for nearly 32 years (trust me, that was never my goal; I just kept finding more things to keep me interested).

I started here as a copy editor — for the unaware, those are the folks who used to be a writer’s best friend, because they’re the heart and soul of a news organization — in 1984, in that low-slung slab across the street. I later was night editor (NOT coach; no whistles or polyester Sansabelt shorts were involved), assistant city editor, weekend editor, rewrite (look it up), copy editor again, “print finisher” and, finally, online producer./CONTINUES Read More


Sorry, but everything’s happening in the streets – not in the sheets.

From today’s Daily Hickory Record, Hickory, NC

New: Read comments about the hed from my Facebook friends and followers

Toledo Blade staffers received this notice on Monday:

No printed edition on most holidays
In an effort to encourage more traffic to our online products – and the eBlade – we are making an adjustment in our print-publication schedule.

There will be no printed version of The Blade on the following holidays: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. We will have a print edition on Thanksgiving. If any holiday falls on a Sunday, there will be a printed newspaper. The change will begin on Dec. 25 of this year.

So what does this mean for you? The Web desk will still be staffed as usual. And the news staffs will still need to gather news and take photographs And the copy desk will still need to create a newspaper, but it will be used to create the eBlade rather than a printed newspaper. The eBlade will also be our archived material for that day’s publication. And the eBlade will have that day’s advertising. Ads will continue to appear on as they do now.

In terms of deadlines or staffing levels, we are still working on those issues, but we will communicate more when things are firmer./CONTINUES Read More