Mark Fitzgerald


Dawdling while photographing is (technically) illegal in DC

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
As more news photographers get swept up in police action at Occupy Wall Street-type protests around the nation, those covering Washington D.C. protests just learned of a decades-old law that gives the cops even more power to clear out pesky photogs.

Seems it’s an arrestable offense in the Capitol to spend more than five minutes taking a photograph in a public place. As Kirsten Berg of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reports, the law was on the books but forgotten until a Washington Post blog included it on a list of similarly obscure statutes like the one requiring eel trappers — doubtless a big D.C. special interest — to, you know, check their eel traps. But in light of the Occupy conflicts between cops and cameras, the National Press Photographers Association is asking the city’s attorney general to repeal or revise that law and other ordinances that restrict photography. Read more

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Booted for plagiarism, California columnist finds his Patch

Montrose Patch | Glendale News-Press
A California writer who lost his newspaper column after plagiarizing has explained himself on the local Patch site, where he’s now a blogger. Why?

Nicole Charky, Patch editor for the towns of Montrose and La Crescenta, says the reason she welcomes Dan Kimber is “pretty simple: Patch is a forum for the entire community.”

There’s a difference between Patch articles and its blogs, Charky writes:

Patch articles are written by trained and paid journalists. Articles are subject to journalistic standards of accuracy, fairness, originality and ethics and are edited to conform to those standards. We own them and we are responsible for them.

By contrast, blogs are submitted by unpaid volunteers who are community members. Some are writers, but the majority are simply residents with something to say.

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Washington Post third quarter newspaper losses exacerbated by Kaplan declines

The Washington Post Co.
The Washington Post Co. swung to a loss in the third-quarter as advertising revenue fell for the fourth consecutive period and its one-time cash cow, the Kaplan education unit, reported a steep drop in profits.

Newspaper publishing division revenue declined 9 percent in the quarter to $149.3 million, pushed by a 20 percent decline in print advertising revenue at the flagship Washington Post. The company said its declines were largely due to drops in classified, zoned and general advertising.

Digital dimes are not making up for the print loss in the newspaper division’s online unit, which include the Post Website and Slate. Newspaper online revenue dropped 14 percent in the quarter to $23.3 million. Display online ad revenue plunged 17 percent and online classified dipped 5 percent. Read more


MaineToday Media sued for $124k by paper company

Bangor Daily News | The Citizen’s Voice | The Portland Press Herald
A North Carolina paper company is suing MaineToday Media Inc., claiming the Portland Press Herald parent owes $124,000 for more than 300,000 pounds of glossy paper.

But the lawsuit from Charlotte, N.C.-based McGrann Paper Corp. buries the lede. A more explosive revelation than an unpaid bill is the allegation that MaineToday is effectively in the hands of a “restructuring” firm, which is making all its financial decisions.

Michael R. Sisak notes that the lawsuit identifies CRG Partners as a firm “that specializes in restructuring companies at or near collapse.” The lawsuit says CRG has been making all decisions about paying vendors since Oct. 12, and that McGrann has been unsuccessful trying to collect on its bills. Read more


Sun-Times reporter: ‘Alex Trebek called me a saucy wench’

Chicago Sun-Times
As a contestant on the thinking person’s game show “Jeopardy” in the summer of 2010, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Kara Spak tore up the place, winning five nights in a row, amassing $85,401 in prize money and picking up a few devoted fans. That qualified her for more big money on the game’s “Tournament of Champions” that aired this week.

She tanked. “I lost on Jeopardy,” Spak writes in Friday’s Sun-Times, the inevitable lede from Weird Al Yankovich’s parody song.

On the stage, the 30-minute show went by in about 30 seconds, a complete blur of not being able to ring in and then finally getting in and answering with a wildly inappropriate answer (“What is a threesome?” to a question about a love triangle).

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