Adam Hochberg


Caucus participants Tony Muenster, left, Bernard Michel and Donald Sieverding sit in a closet due to the large attendance at the Jackson County Iowa Democratic Precinct 2 caucus Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008 in St. Donatus, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mark Hirsch)

News orgs in four states ban or limit journalists’ participation in political party caucuses

Five states will hold presidential caucuses in the opening weeks of 2012. But while the events likely will play an important role in deciding the Republican presidential nominee, many journalists will be prohibited by their employers from participating.

Unlike in a primary election, where voters cast secret ballots, caucus participants often publicly announce their candidate preferences. While the caucus procedure differs significantly from state to state, one common model requires supporters of each candidate to form groups in separate corners of a large room, then try to recruit members of rival groups.

“In a caucus you don’t just go show up and vote,” said Editor Lyle Muller of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette, whose journalists are banned from participating in the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses.… Read more

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IRS pledges to ‘adjust’ cut-and-paste letter writing campaign to local papers

The Internal Revenue Service says it will re-evaluate an initiative that encourages organizations and volunteer tax preparers to send canned letters to the editors of their local newspapers. An IRS Web page contains sample letters promoting the earned income tax credit and volunteer tax assistance sites. It instructs users to “just copy and paste” a letter onto their letterhead, sign their own name, and send it to a newspaper.

“I think this is going a little too far,” conceded IRS Communications Director Terry Lemons when he was alerted to the Web page.“This whole business of copy-and-pasting; we shouldn’t be doing that.”

Lemons said the agency will “make some adjustments” in the program.… Read more

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News orgs take to social media to find Va. Tech witnesses, photos

News organizations from around the country are using social media to locate witnesses and obtain interviews and photos of today’s campus shooting at Virginia Tech. “Call our newsroom if you know anyone that goes to Virginia Tech,” tweeted Buffalo, New York television station WKBW.  “Hey #vatech – looking to speak & get updates from students on campus,” wrote CBS News producer Joe Danielewicz. Meanwhile, the media pounced on a Flickr page of photos from the photo editor of the student newspaper, the Collegiate Times.The images of the crime scene and of police activity attracted requests for republication rights from CNN, the New York Post, NPR, Australia’s News Limited, and other news organizations. (The newspaper eventually posted contact information for media seeking reuse rights.)… Read more

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Journalists may want to think twice about defending Oregon blogger who lost suit

Forbes.com
Defenders of the Oregon blogger who was found guilty in a $2.5 million defamation suit “have not dug deeply enough,” writes Kashmir Hill at Forbes.com. While the blogger, Crystal Cox, promoted herself as an “investigative journalist,” Hill notes that Cox behaved more like somebody whose goal was to destroy the reputation of her target, an investment firm called Obsidian Financial Group. Cox started several websites with names like “obsidianfinancesucks.com” and “realestatehoax.com.”

Obsidian says Cox then offered it a service starting at $2,500 a month to protect its “online reputation.” (Obsidian founder Kevin Padrick forwarded a copy of the offer to Forbes.) “Most journalists would not want to include Cox in their camp,” Hill wrote. || Related: Dan Kennedy says ruling is bad because it means journalists have more constitutional rights than others (The Huffington Post) | Federal judge says Montana blogger is not a journalist (AP) | Cox “was never able to prove her accusations against Padrick were true” (Seattle Weekly)  | Who decides what is “real” journalism?Read more

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Media group calls on mayors to respect journalists’ rights at Occupy events

Free Press
Media reform organization Free Press has delivered a petition to the nation’s mayors urging them to protect the rights of journalists covering Occupy rallies. The group says 30 journalists have been arrested at rallies, and it’s tracking those arrests on a Google docs spreadsheet and a Storify page. Free Press delivered its petition with more than 40,000 signatures to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. | Related: Reporters say police kept them away from an NYC Occupy protest outside an Obama fundraiser | Occupy Wall Street protests a top story on blogsRead more

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Buffett buy spotlights Omaha’s digital potential

NetNewsCheck
Warren Buffett’s purchase of the Omaha World-Herald could intensify an already heated competition among the city’s digital news providers. The World-Herald’s Omaha.com has aggressively been rolling out apps for news, real estate, garage sales, and Nebraska Huskers sports, and the newspaper operates several specialty websites devoted to such topics as health news and tips for moms (Momaha.com). Meanwhile, the website of WOWT-TV has equipped its reporters with backpack units that allow them to push live video onto the Web from almost anywhere, even moving cars. Analysts say Omaha’s economy is relatively strong, and the media consulting firm Borrell Associates predicts online advertising in the market will “take an enormous leap” next year.  ||  Related: How World-Herald staffers learned about Buffett’s purchase (JimRomenesko.com) | Is Warren Buffett the new Citizen Kane?Read more

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Eltahawy says security forces exacted revenge ‘through me and my body’

NPR.org
Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy, who says Egyptian security forces beat and sexually assaulted her near Tahrir Square, says her alleged attackers were “exacting revenge on the activists in Tahrir through me and my body.” Eltahawy, who is one of several female journalists who have been targets of sexual assault and other violence in Egypt this year, told NPR’s Michel Martin that she believes police would have treated her even more brutally if she hadn’t been a journalist and American citizen. Eltahawy, who tweeted details of the attack shortly after it occurred, continues to provide Twitter updates as she receives treatment in the United States for injuries including a broken left arm and right hand. || Earlier: Reporters’ organization reverses position on whether female journalists should cover Cairo unrest | French TV correspondent allegedly assaulted | Committee to Protect Journalists reports at least 17 attacks over one recent weekend.… Read more

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Mississippi TV station reverses reporting about new Penn State Paterno replacement

The Clarion-Ledger | WAPT-TV
Jackson, Miss. television station WAPT backed away from a report that Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen “is close to signing a deal to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State.” Mullen — who says Penn State hasn’t contacted him — called the WAPT story, “the most irresponsible reporting that I’ve ever heard of.” In an interview with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, WAPT sports reporter Ray Coleman said that a source told him Penn State would announce Mullen’s hiring today. The station has removed Coleman’s original report from its website and replaced it with a story that calls the “rumor” untrue. A MSU spokesman tweeted that Coleman apologized to school officials. || Earlier: No penalty for reporting on rumors about NFL draft prospectsRead more

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Cooks bring crowdsourced recipes to the holiday dinner table

My wife keeps more than two dozen cookbooks in our kitchen, giving her access to the collected culinary wisdom of Martha Stewart, Molly O’Neill, the staff of Better Homes & Gardens, and a variety of other gastronomic gurus.

But the cranberry sauce recipe she chose for Thanksgiving this year comes from an anonymous online source whom she knows only as “Leeza.”

Like many amateur chefs, my wife nowadays is more likely to seek out meal ideas from her iPad than her cookbooks. And typically, she relies on popular websites like Allrecipes.com or Food.com which allow her fellow home chefs to submit recipes — as well as review, comment on, and even alter those submitted by others.

The sites — which combine elements of crowdsourcing, social media, and an old-fashioned recipe swap — are popular destinations on the Web.… Read more

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Newsrooms can buy Facebook friends, but user engagement is not for sale

The WFSB-TV Eyewitness News Team really wants to be liked. So much so that the Hartford, Connecticut television station is offering a generous reward for its newfound friends.

The CBS affiliate is running a contest this month on its Facebook page. Visitors who click the page’s “like” button can enter a drawing to win a new Nissan Maxima. So far, the station says about 20,000 people have responded, driving up the total number of likes on the WFSB Facebook page to more than 75,000.

“Facebook in general is a promotion tool to get people to watch us and go to our website,” said WFSB’s Executive Producer of Digital Content, Shannon Kane. “You want as many people to like you on Facebook, just like you want as many people to watch you on TV.”

While WFSB’s giveaway features an unusually extravagant prize, many TV stations are using contests and rewards to attract likes.… Read more

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