Regular readers of this site know about HudsonMOD publisher Shannon Steitz stiffing her freelance writers and photographers – and even making the luxury magazine’s Instagram account private so the journalists can’t plead for their money in the comments section. In this condensed letter, former HudsonMOD editorial consultant writes about his dealings with Steitz.
Letter to Romenesko
From TY SAWYER: I was the editorial consultant for HudsonMOD who hired Terry Ward [and others who are trying to get paid by publisher Shannon Steitz]. Early on during my tenure, I came across people who worked for the magazine before I took over who complained that Shannon didn’t pay them and still owed them money, including previous art directors and other freelancers. Not knowing this was a serial issue, I thought it was just complaints from disgruntled past employees.
However, it didn’t take long for this serial non-payment issue to impact me. About two issues in, I would get calls about payments and ask Shannon, who would tell some version of, “oh, that was just mailed,’ or “it was sent last week,” etc. Boldface lies, as I came to discover, but I would pass along the information to the freelancer, only to hear back a month or few weeks later about the lack of payment. Shannon was the only person who wrote checks while I was there and she always knew who was hired and for how much from our weekly meetings. She almost never responded to the emails or phone calls from any freelancer looking for payment, even to acknowledge the issue and seek a resolution.
In the case of a photographer who refused to issue hi-res images to HudsonMOD because she hadn’t been paid for 5+ months, Shannon’s response was indignation that the freelancer “dared to hold the magazine hostage” because she wanted to be paid! It was an extraordinary thing to witness.
I, too, have not been paid my last consulting fee or expenses, and have been lied to and told the “check was mailed” enough times to know better than to believe it will ever show up. She also tried to get me to sign a non-disparagement agreement to get the check (which would never have come, anyway), which, of course, I did not sign. I cannot even get her to respond to my request for a 1099 for my taxes.
Multiple calls to publisher Steitz’s office number (973.249.6157) and cell phone (201.207.4816) haven’t been returned. Her business partner, Jason Lembo (973.332.1828), hasn’t returned calls either.
Larry Wilmore told “The Nightly Show” viewers on Wednesday:
Before we get started, I didn’t want to mention this, but I feel like I have to. Last night I’m at home, trying to figure out something to watch. So naturally, I hit the TV Guide channel and noticed that TV Guide lists ‘The Nightly Show’ like this in the onscreen guide; absolutely true. [Laughs from the audience] Really, TV Guide? You couldn’t even fit the H in? That H would go a long way, right? I mean, can you maybe make the font a little smaller? How about that?
A University of Florida journalism student’s quiz answer: “How would you grade it?” asks University of Florida journalism professor John Kaplan, who got this answer from one of his students. (I’d give the student a half point … and a copy of the magazine.)
“How would you grade it?” asks University of Florida journalism professor John Kaplan, who got this answer from one of his students. (I’d give the student a half point … and a copy of the magazine.)
* Ohio University Post’s opinion editor is suspended for two weeks for striking a deal with the school’s president. (athensnews.com)
* “I really question their judgment,” a journalism school dean says of Poynter’s newspaper’s role in Wednesday’s gyrocopter flight. “There is no end of the ways this could have gone wrong.” (washingtonpost.com)
* Jacob Silverman: “It’s troubling that BuzzFeed apparently caved to advertiser pressure, but…” (thebaffler.com) | (cjr.org)
* Bill O’Reilly says Brian Williams is “definitely going to come back,” but maybe not as “NBC Nightly News” anchor. (latimes.com)
* Chicago Reader judges say Isabel Wilkerson‘s “The Warmth of Other Suns” tops Studs Terkel‘s “Working” as the greatest ever Chicago book. (chicagoreader.com)
* Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp‘s message to young journalists: “You can write listicles all your career, or you can come do some serious stuff here.” (digiday.com)
* SPONSORED: Learn from Steve Brill, Emily Bazelon and other storytelling masters at THREAD at Yale, June 7-10. (thread.yale.edu)
* Snapchat’s popularity is overstated. (observer.com)
* Anyone have a fresh angle on Hillary and Chipotle? (@jonfavs)
* Twitter’s lawyer admits “certain types of abuse on our platform have gone unchecked.” (washingtonpost.com)
* JOBS: Interested in sleeping? We have a writing/editing position for you. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Today’s fun fact: NPR sold 2,000 tote bags last year. (theatlantic.com)
* National Geographic is a social media champ. (nypost.com)
* Magazine trade group ASME softens its stand on native advertising. (wwd.com)
* Follow today’s International Journalism Festival doings on Twitter … or via livestream.
Andrew Gully, who worked at the Boston Herald for 21 years before going into PR, has been named Boston Globe’s content marketing director.
“Sponsored content will play a very important part of our growth,” writes Globe CEO Mike Sheehan, “and it was important to me to find a leader who knows how to tell a great story, understands the inner workings of marketing departments, and has the high standards, metabolism, and curiosity of a journalist.”
From: Sheehan, Mike
Date: Apr 15, 2015 4:44 PM
Subject: Andrew Gully
For the past several months, I have been looking for someone to oversee the creation of sponsored content for all our properties. I knew what I was looking for, someone trained as a journalist who at some point sold his or her soul and made the glorious leap over to The Dark Side — marketing communications. It just took a while to find who I was looking for.
I am pleased to announce that Andrew Gully [left] has joined Boston Globe Media Partners as Director of Content Marketing. Many of you know Andrew very well from the seven years he spent as a reporter at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune and/or his 21 years at the Boston Herald where he was Managing Editor for a decade. Prior to that, he served as a city editor, political editor, investigative editor, and general assignment reporter. After leaving the Herald, Andrew held top marketing communications posts at Brandeis University and Sovereign Bank as it transitioned to Santander. Most recently, he headed up the global press operations for Sotheby’s in New York, where he was responsible for all auction coverage, corporate and internal communications, and crisis management during a prolonged period of shareholder activism.
Sponsored content will play a very important part of our growth, and it was important to me to find a leader who knows how to tell a great story, understands the inner workings of marketing departments, and has the high standards, metabolism, and curiosity of a journalist.
Please welcome Andrew when you see him. He’s the one wearing a tie. For now.
CNN served munchies – of course! – to celebrate the launch of its pot series
* Did a stoner select your treats, CNN? (instagram.com) | They’re ruled “delicious.” (@brianstelter)
* Colorado Springs radio station switches to a marijuana format (gazette.com)
* Authors of newspaper’s anti-pot series are coming out with a book (csindy.com)
* Weed dealers “confess” to Creative Loafing Charlotte (clclt.com)
* ICYMI: High Times mag’s softball team is called the Bong Hitters (clclt.com)
“Somehow, I don’t think ‘kissing the cold goodbye’ is on the to-do list of those reading the Obituary page,” writes Romenesko reader Eileen Kerrigan, who spotted this today on The Trentonian’s website.
Also: St. Louis Post-Dispatch obituary writer Michael Sorkin writes about the death of his dachshund, and notes that “this may be the most difficult obit I’ve ever had to write.”
Richard Lloyd Parry, an editor at Rupert Murdoch’s London-based Times, posted a link on Facebook to a Times piece about the BBC “suffocating local newspapers by being a ‘monopoly broadcaster.'” Central European University professor and former Agence France-Presse reporter Robert Templer quickly blasted the Times and owner Murdoch for the anti-BBC post. Here’s the opening of their spat:
Parry responded after “having wiped the fine spray of warm spittle from my spectacles.” Read the full exchange here.