Jim Romenesko

From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


Censored

Seattle School Board proposal allows principals ‘to pretty much censor at will’

Seattle Times
The proposed policy would give Seattle principals the authority to review high school papers before they're published and would allow them to stop publication if they deem material to be libelous, obscene or "not in keeping with the school's instructional mission and values," among other criteria, reports Brian M. Rosenthal. Kathy Schrier, executive director of the Washington Journalism Education Association, tells him that the proposal opens the door for administrators to pretty much censor at will. "It's just sort of, if you don't like the way something sounds or you think it's going to cause a phone call or something, then all of a sudden it doesn't keep with the values of the school" in the principal's judgment. The board will vote on the proposal Dec. 7. || Related from KUOW: "Stop the presses, let the principal check them first" || "The district's statement about why this is OK is classic doublespeak."
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What happens when a community loses its newspaper?

CommonWealth Magazine
After publishing for 110 years, the Holyoke (Mass.) Transcript-Telegram went out of business and left the community of 30,000 without a daily newspaper. That was in 1993. "In Holyoke babies have been born, raised and sent off to college or war or other adult responsibilities without ever seeing their names in a T-T article taped to a refrigerator," writes former Miami Herald and Boston Globe editor Thomas Fiedler. "Congressmen, mayors, and city councilors have been elected, served, and retired without knowing a hometown daily’s beat reporter."

Journalist David Reid tells Fiedler that only rarely now does any reporter attend a Holyoke government meeting. “And when no reporters go to these meetings, or on a daily basis ask questions of city officials, government can operate in the dark," Reid says. "The citizens are not informed and they don’t know how to make decisions.”

But Fiedler says the Holyoke story isn't without the possibility of a happy ending for both journalism and the citizens. A group called CRUSH -- Citizens for the Revital­ization and Urban Success of Holyoke -- aims to “maximize Holyoke’s potential to reclaim its historic infrastructure and its reputation as an innovative, diverse, culturally vibrant and sustainable city" and has set up crushonholyoke.org. So far CRUSH has attracted 885 dues-paying members and has emerged as something of a hybrid of political party, social network, and information conduit, reports Fiedler. If the site becomes attractive enough to local businesses to draw advertising, a spokesman for the group says he could envision it supporting a professional reporting staff.

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Catholic League says Kansas City Star rejected its $25,000 ad

Catholic League press release
The rejected Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights ad is critical of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), saying it's "a lie" that the group represents those who've been abused by any authority. "It concentrates almost exclusively on the Catholic Church," says the League's ad. It also claims:

* "SNAP is so hateful that it even endorses Gestapo-like tactics used against the Catholic Church."
* "The reason why SNAP wants to bring down Bishop Finn is because it always shoots for the top"
* "Their real goal is control -- the control of the Catholic Church."
* "....fascistic means are acceptable to SNAP."

The Catholic League says the ad was written "because we strongly defend Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn against the politically motivated attacks on him." The group adds that it gave the Star its credit card information to pay the $25,000 fee, but on October 26 -- the day after the ad was submitted -- "we received an e-mail which said that 'The Publisher has respectfully declined' and did not share the details as to why." I've asked Star publisher Mi-Ai Parrish for comment. || Here is the ad that the Catholic League submitted to the McClatchy-owned Star.

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Merrill j-school announces Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism

Romenesko+ Misc.
The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland says the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism "will be a primary resource for research and debate in the public discussion of sports and society." It's named for the late Washington Post sports writer and columnist who died in 1998 at age 92 on the day he wrote his last column. The center is made possible by a $1 million challenge gift from Povich’s three children. (more...)
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mediaManager

College administrator tells student paper he wants to be paid for interviews

San Antonio Express-News | San Antonio College Ranger
San Antonio College student life director Jorge Posadas recently told student journalists at The Ranger that if they want to interview him, "we can set up a professional consulting contract and we can negotiate an appropriate fee." That fee, he said, is for serving "as professional source on the subject of student affairs." The college paper reports Posadas has long refused to do telephone or in-person interviews.

Posadas later told the San Antonio Express-News that he had misinterpreted the paper’s request for information about budget issues as a request for professional consulting. “I was confused. I was coming back off days of being away and it was like, ‘Whoops, that wasn’t good.' It has been stressful here with all these budget (cuts).”

College president Robert Zeigler says he's going to discuss the flap with his student life director. “Generally, when our people get inquiries from the press, they are free to talk, but we ask them to give our public relations office a heads up so we will know what is going on. I encourage people to talk to The Ranger when reporters ask questions."

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Publisher wants governor to apologize for reporter’s arrest at Occupy Nashville

Nashville Scene
Tennessean | Nashville Scene | News Channel 5
Nashville Scene reporter Jonathan Meador, 26, was one of two dozen or so people arrested over the weekend by Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers at Occupy Nashville. "It's extraordinary that after identifying himself multiple times as a member of the media and as he attempted to get out of the state troopers' way, he was still arrested," Nashville City Paper editor Steve Cavendish tells me in an email. (The Scene and City Paper have the same owner.) "At multiple points while he was in custody, he identified himself as media and was ignored, despite having a laptop, a camera and other equipment to cover the scene." Ferrell, CEO of Scene parent company SouthComm, Inc., says in a statement:
I expect the Governor to publicly apologize to him for this violation of his rights and to assure the people of Tennessee that this administration will not interfere with the right to a free press that has been a fundamental right in this country since our founding. I'm sure you understand that every media outlet in this country will vigorously defend our right to cover government action without fear of arrest or reprisal.

[This post was updated to correct Steve Cavendish's alt-weekly affiliation.]

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Newsweek, Daily Beast together have lost about $30 million

Adweek.com
Tina Brown says The Daily Beast website is on track to be profitable this year, but Lucia Moses points out that getting the combined NewsBeast into the black by early 2013 -- Daily Beast backer Barry Diller insists that's possible -- will be a daunting task. "If that task takes years and Newsweek can’t find a way to regain the relevance weekly newsmagazines have lost since the explosion of news on the Internet, then Diller and Jane Harman, Sidney Harman’s widow, could reach the point where they finally decide to cut bait," she writes. "The idea that NewsBeast could ever become a successful operation has always seemed far-fetched." On the bright side, Newsweek's newsstand sales are up under Tina Brown, "but newsstand sales are only 3 percent of the magazine’s circulation, and they don’t make it much money," notes Moses. Reed Phillips, managing partner at media investment bank DeSilva+Phillips, tells her:

I don’t think it’s a quick turnaround. Advertisers are going to take time to get comfortable that Newsweek is on a solid foundation. And the ad market’s jittery already. I think the biggest challenge is, it has to be redefined in a way that has to be engaging with readers. New York magazine did it. With the talent The Daily Beast has, there’s anticipation that that can be done. And it needs more of an edge compared to what it was in the past, before they bought it.

Brown said last November that it will take "a while" for her to make on Newsweek, and that the print/website combo is "a good model." She told WWD.com: “You’re seeing this with Bloomberg and BusinessWeek, and Politico and its newspaper, and now you’re going to see the Daily Beast and Newsweek.”

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Is WP’s Weingarten just ‘an old codger resisting necessary, healthful change in journalism’?

Washington Post
"Cantankerous old fud" Gene Weingarten tells his readers that "near as I can tell, the main message given to the conferees [at the recent Online News Association convention] was that, journalistically, to attract reader eyeballs, you want to publish more pictures of bacon taped to cats. Give readers what they want, whatever it is." He drew that conclusion after reading that one of the event's speakers was Cheezburger Network founder Ben Huh, who runs photos of readers' cats.

When this column is published, young journalists will once again call me a cantankerous old fud and allege that I am irresponsibly criticizing a brave new world I don’t really understand. Mostly, they’ll contend I am being shallow and superficial and shabby with the facts. I’m pretty sure they will do this without any sense of irony.

Weingarten was right about the name-calling:

His colleague, Alexandra Petri, was one of the first to respond and call him a COF. "What Gene is missing is that Old Journalism thrived only under the expensive delusion that people actually wanted Real News about Important Issues," she writes.

ONA speaker Ben Huh followed: "What’s killing newspapers isn’t the lack of new ideas, it’s people who obstruct the change that’s required to survive. Well, that and the lack of LOLcats in the Washington Post."

ONA executive director Jane McDonnell pointed out: "Ben Huh was actually our Friday night networking speaker, providing some comic relief, yes, but also giving the crowd some painless lessons on how to build sites that actually make money -- no LOLcats in sight."

EARLIER FROM WEINGARTEN
* J-schools are urging students to market themselves like Cheez-Doodles
* Weingarten smokes a little pot to get a source to trust him
* Weingarten says hooray to fisticuffs among colorful newsroom characters

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Washington Post creates Chief Experience Officer position

Romenesko+ memo
Post publisher Katharine Weymouth says the paper is creating this CXO post, as it's called, "to strengthen the voice of the consumer in our product development and execution." Laura Evans, who has spent most of her nine years at the Post as chief researcher, has been named to the position. Weymouth writes in a memo announcing the appointment:

One of the three foundational elements of our strategy is a relentless focus on the customer. While we all care about the customer and try to advocate for the customer, we do not currently have an executive owner of the customer experience. That was acceptable when we published one newspaper a day—when we had a well-honed product with over a century of research behind it. In a day when we have evolved to a 24/7 news operation publishing on multiple platforms, and when we operate in a hyper-competitive market, the customer must be the primary driver of our product-related decisions and changes.
New products and major changes to existing products will now require approval by the Chief Experience Officer, says Weymouth. Her full memo is after the jump. (more...)

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kelly_john

Doctor apologizes for fat jokes in Outpatient Surgery Magazine column

Philadelphia Inquirer | Former Fat Dudes
Facing deadline pressure, orthopedic surgeon and humor writer John D. Kelly IV collected 27 jokes about fat patients and put them in his monthly Outpatient Surgery Magazine column. Here are a few of them:

Be real concerned if:

-Your patient has more chins than a Chinese phonebook.
-Your patient has stretch marks on his teeth.
-Your patient has a dog named Twinkie.
-Your patient has more chins than a Chinese. (racial slurs too...they CAN'T be serious)
-Your patient has a daughter named Tostitos.

The doctor and part-time standup comic bombed with readers and his bosses at the University of Pennsylvania, who said in a statement that the "comments do not in any way reflect" the health system's views.

Kelly's apology tour included an interview with FormerFatDudes.com. "I have answered every email I received from this mistake," he said. "I ask the readers to forgive me for this lapse of judgment. I see this as a positive for me and other ‘comics’ who are not aware of the potential harm they may inflict."

His mea culpa hasn't ended the controversy, though. Outpatient Surgery Magazine is threatening to sue blogger and gastric-bypass surgery patient "Diva Taunia" for posting part of Kelly's column. "This page on your website needs to come down immediately or we will commence legal action next week," warned editor-in-chief Dan O'Connor. At last check, the page was still up.

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