On Tuesday, employees at TEGNA – the former Gannett broadcast division – learned that they’re getting a $400 bonus “for all that you’ve done throughout our fantastic first year” as a spun-off company. Earlier today, the journalists at Gannett’s newspapers learned that they’re not getting cash for the holiday, but they are getting an extra day off. Here’s Gannett CEO Bob Dickey’s memo:

Unwrap a day off!

You are the best gift we’ve had all year.

Happy Holidays! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your efforts this year in our journey toward building our next generation media company. 2015 was a momentous year for the new Gannett and as it comes to a close, I want to personally say I appreciate all of your hard work. We’ve made significant progress in just a few months and there’s much to be proud of as we continue to leverage our combined strengths./CONTINUES Read More

Gracia Martore, CEO of TEGNA (formerly the Gannett digital/broadcast division), told her employees today that they’ll see an extra $400 in their checks or direct deposits this week. It’s a reward “for all that you’ve done throughout our fantastic first year.”

Dear Colleagues,

The end of the year is always a time for reflection. And as I look back at the past 12 months, I am incredibly proud of all that we achieved together and am thankful for all of your hard work and dedication. This has truly been a historic year for our company.

To celebrate our success and your efforts in making our company great, the leadership team and I wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve accomplished. All employees will receive a $400 (pre-tax) thank you gift for all that you’ve done throughout our fantastic first year. The gift will be distributed at the end of this week the same way you are paid, either through direct deposit or check./CONTINUES Read More

From Lee Enterprises’ Dec. 7 SEC filing:

Effective December 7, 2015, the Company’s Board of Directors approved amendments to the Amended and Restated Lee Enterprises, Incorporated 1990 Long-Term Incentive Plan … to modify its vesting provisions in the event of a change of control of the Company, along with certain immaterial changes and corrections.

lee2

Lee owns the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wisconsin State Journal and 44 other newspapers. Its share price, at last look, was $1.54.

* Lee Enterprises’ Dec. 7 SEC filing (4-traders.com)

UPDATE: Lee COO Kevin Mowbray replaces Mary Junck as CEO (stltoday.com)

Gannett announced Monday that former Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor and ex-Conde Nast Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman has been named the newspaper chain’s chief content officer. Gannett also appointed Daniel Bernard as chief product officer. Here’s the CEO’s memo to staff:

From: A message from Bob Dickey
Date: December 7, 2015 at 7:58:29 AM EST
To: A message from Bob Dickey
Subject: Gannett Announces Two Key Appointments

Team – as we continue to build upon the outstanding leadership acumen of the company, today we named two people with tremendous experience to key positions.

I’m very happy to tell you we have appointed Joanne Lipman our first-ever chief content officer. Most recently she was principal of Surrey Lane Media and was formerly editor-in-chief of Conde Nast Portfolio and Portfolio.com, and earlier deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

Our second key appointment is Daniel Bernard, who will be our chief product officer. He was previously head of product for Time, Fortune and Money Digital at Time, Inc.; formerly chief product officer for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network; and earlier general manager for The Wall Street Journal Online./CONTINUES Read More

No Bozeman (MT) TV news outlet covers the sheriff’s office as thoroughly, and fluffily, as KBZK and anchor/reporter Judy Slate.

Her reports have included Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin participating in a “cold water challenge”; attending a Washington D.C. conference (apparently with Slate); and giving a tour of a local high school.

The sheriff and the news anchor

The sheriff and the news anchor

What she’s never disclosed in her TV reports is that she’s dating the sheriff. On her Facebook page, though, Slate doesn’t bother trying to keep their relationship a secret. (I’m told that rival news outlets have known about it for at least 14 months.)

“Slate has changed her Facebook profile pic to one of herself and the sheriff, as she has posted photos of the two of them going to the Sturgis rally, as they’ve discussed their hot tubbing plans on social media, etc.,” a Bozeman journalist tells Romenesko readers.

Three weeks ago Slate did a story about county commissioners rejecting a dog leash law. After the piece aired, Slate noted on Facebook that “I got my dogs and my man in my story last night.”

Yes, the sheriff – her man – was in that news report, too.

“The TV station – the leading TV station here in Bozeman – has become a glorified PR desk for the sheriff,” says the journalist who alerted me to this conflict. “Slate gets to have her pick of time with the sheriff and her station gets notified of news that otherwise no one would have heard about, like remote traffic accidents in the middle of the night.
slate
“Meanwhile, our newsroom and other TV stations go through the regular channels to try to get a word from Gootkin.”

People in the KBZK newsroom didn’t want to discuss the conflict of interest.

News director John Sherer never responded to questions that I sent on Monday and Wednesday – Slate and Gootkin also ignored my emails – so I called KBZK on Thursday morning. The switchboard operator sent me directly to Sherer, and he told me: “I’m in our morning meeting and I’m not going to talk to you about it anyway.” He hung up while was I asking a question.

“We figured it should be the responsibility of KBZK’s news director to talk to her about it and to coach her on the conflict of interest,” says the rival journalist. “However, the fact that the relationship has gone on so long with seemingly no ethical guidance from the news director seems to us that they approve at KBZK.”

* KBZK News




ASS

- From The Oklahoma Daily, December 2

– From The Oklahoma Daily, December 2

Oklahoma Daily sports editor Dillon Hollingsworth tweets: “Good thing the semester’s about done, because we’re not beating this one.” I’m told by copy chief Mia Chism: “@kateclaire_b [Kate Bergum] gets creative credit for this headline. I just helped approve it to be published.”

* Norman PD officer puts escaped donkey into squad car (oudaily.com)

– h/t @jfdulac

At an all-hands meeting last Friday, Christian Science Monitor staffers were told that the paper is restructuring and will cut about two dozen jobs over the next 18 months. “We will retain the capacity to cover the most important stories of the day,” says a memo to staff, “but a significant share of our resources will be focused on targeted topics. …This means we will cover fewer topics, but do so with authority, insight, and healing impact.”

The full memo:

The Monitor’s Role in the World at this Hour
November 17, 2015

The Christian Science Monitor is a purpose­-driven organization. It is one of the most direct ways the Christian Science church engages the world. It’s integral to the daily practice of Christian Scientists as they pray and broaden the scope of their consciousness. And it’s a valued resource for anyone who cares about the world and wants to see healing and progress.

What does the world need now from The Christian Science Monitor?/CONTINUES Read More

Gawker Media executive editor John Cook announced Tuesday that Gawker.com is shifting its focus to politics. Gawker.com editor-in-chief Alex Pareene followed that up Wednesday morning with a memo stating “politics means the campaign, sure, but it also encompasses business, money, the Internet, culture, and most of the rest of the beats Gawker has always been on.”

Here’s the rest of his memo:

It is probably overdue for me to lay out my vision for Gawker, and how I plan, with your help, to achieve it.

It’s true: Gawker is going to become much more political. The Gawker I want to do is going to extensively cover politics, defined very broadly (and in more detail below). But at the most fundamental level, I want to be the editor of the Gawker that I want to read: One that is smart and arch and fast and slightly weird. Gawker should be a news outlet that regularly does what other news outlets would never do, because they’re too self-serious. Our ideal reader, and my ideal site, is smart as hell, but unpretentious./CONTINUES Read More

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:

All,

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.

Thanks.

Alan

Tulsa World letter to the editor, November 13
newdrug

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 (tulsaworld.com)
* Twenty-three hospitalized after exhibiting K2-like symptoms in Tulsa (tulsaworld.com)