A Romenesko reader tells me that Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory informed his editors earlier today that “special dispensation” is needed for stories over 1,000 words. I asked McGrory about this and he said that “it’s not an outright ban [on long stories], but a very strong dose of guidance.”
Any memo to share? “No memo, just word of mouth. I did write a sternly worded memo last August that offered the same guidance, and we got lengths down for a few months, only to see them float back up again.”
Were you inspired by Digital First Media editor-in-chief Dave Butler’s memo about story lengths and rethinking old news rules, which was posted here earlier this month?
“I somehow missed the Butler memo, so no, that didn’t inspire me. What inspired me was looking at the scroll bar on the right that never seemed to move fast enough, or turning to a jump page in print and seeing a massive block of type.”
* Earlier: “Do we really think every story must be 25 inches?” (jimromenesko.com)
* A commenter says “if you can’t say it in 300 words, don’t” (facebook.com)
– Gresham Outlook letters page, June 16, 2015
– h/t Gresham (OR) Outlook reporter Jodi Weinberger
The Romenesko reader who forwarded this memo sent to Dallas Morning News staffers writes: “An announcement that the Dallas Morning News was selling the building might not have been more shocking. The word ‘institution’ gets tossed around a lot. This guy is the real deal.”
* From 2011: Sixty years, 7,543 business columns and still running strong (dallasnews.com)
Bob Miller, a pillar of our newsroom for almost 64 years, has decided to retire after decades of saying he’d never do it.
His last column will appear July 1.
Bob [left] started working here on Sept. 24, 1951. He worked as a City Desk editor (now Metro), as an assistant managing editor and he led an early effort into electronic news delivery.
It’s safe to say his tenure will never be matched. He was here for desegregation of schools, the assassination of President Kennedy and the economic and social transformation of Dallas.
On Nov. 22, 1963, Bob and his wife, Shirley, were among invited guests for lunch at the Dallas Market Center to hear a president who never arrived.
In 1985, Bob landed in Business, where he writes his daily column on philanthropy. He wrote six columns per week until a reduction in news hole four years ago required us to cut him back to five. At age 87, he was devastated. (The philanthropy column will continue to run in Business. Details to come.)
I’ve copied a story below [after the jump] that we ran 14 years ago, on his 50th work anniversary. It tells the Bob Miller story far better than I can.
We will hold a reception in Bob’s honor soon. In the meantime, join me in wishing Bob and Shirley the best.
The 50th anniversary story is after the jump. Read More
(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
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.
“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
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 (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