This image shows a Yelp web site on a computer screen in Los Angeles Thursday March 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Yelp reviews newspapers: ‘mediocre’ journalism, but teriyaki stir fry at cafeteria ‘delightful’

An underappreciated benefit of digital delivery of newspaper content: The news doesn't arrive on your doorstep covered with fleas. Turns out newspapers aren't immune to the bizarre — and often hilarious — complaints that bedevil restaurants and other small businesses on Yelp. But the review site also includes some appreciations of what only the local newspaper can offer and insight into how readers feel about the transition to digital. Here are some of the best reviews I found, putting aside most of those focusing only on politics or delivery/billing problems (which are what attract the most complaints and seem to plague every newspaper). Bold emphases are mine; all photos by AP.
The Wall Street Journal Malden G. (2013): Today's front page story about NSA privacy invasions should have been released in 2006. It is 7 years late. Tess M. (2012): Because I'm not a hardcopy kinda gal, as I HATE newspapers stacking up and the subsequent recycling, The WSJ Online, although pricy, speaks to me with news alerts throughout the day, In Today's Paper, hot off the presses that slips silently into my inbox, along with my customized preferences, The Personal Journal and Life & Culture that also arrive with regularity, regardless of the proverbial rain, sleet, or delivery contractor who overslept. Eric B. (2009): Many years ago, I was sitting at my desk reading the WSJ over lunch. A pipefitter at the large Houston Ship Channel chemical plant that we were both working, happened by. He took one look and hollered in his best Texas accent: "The Wall Street Journal! What are you, some sort of a G-d Damn tycoon?
The New York Times Vincent H. (2013): We walked by, it looked cool from the outside and fancy. Eric B. (2009): My NY Times usually arrives at 4 AM and all wrapped up in blue. My cat Socks and I are usually there waiting when it lands on my step. And as a Center-Left Democrat, this part of the "Mainstream Media" suits my political inclinations the best.
New York Post James H. (2010): Serious. I use to live in NY, ride the subways, ride the Staten Island Ferry, really get about and the only paper I saw NY's buying and reading was the NY Post. No shame admitting they enjoy a good story and headline like anyone else. At least you know what you are getting with this paper unlike the agenda from say the NY Times.
The Washington Post Realistsofly A. (2013): I didn't go in but I have always enjoyed a print newspaper Ruth C. (2012): News source bias debate aside, I was generally happy with my Washington Post Sunday subscription. With print publication suffering as a slowly dying breed in the face of "oh-noes-the-internetz," after the first year they were willing to throw free weekday deliveries at me until my old apartment looked like a candidate for Hoarders Allison A. (2010): I love the WaPo. ... My only beef is I wish they would stop trying to change the site and make it hip. Leave it alone! I like the format, as funky as it is.
Dallas Morning News Sam E. (2011): An icon of Dallas news. Love reading the quote on the facade of the building. With the changes in news over the past 20years it is soon becoming a thing of the past, so get a look at it while you can. Plus it is right across from Union Station. Lots of history was printed in this place.
Orange County Register Tom S. (2014): I am giving them a 5 star rating along with one big complaint! The complaint is that the newspaper is too large, and filled with so many interesting articles, that I can rarely get through it during my breakfast. I find that I am taking unread sections with me during my daily appointments in case I find myself waiting in waiting rooms for an appointment. Debbie P. (2013): I used to love getting the Register since it's a local paper and the prices were reasonable. Now, the prices have gone up and I recently lost my job and had to downsize to the LA Times only on Sunday's. The LA Times on Sundays are a whole lot inexpensive then the Register.
Star Tribune Nick. C (2010): Basically, the only thing I ever bother reading anymore is the comments on stories posted on the website. Take any story, it doesnt matter what...and some third-tier suburbanite will find some way to bitch and moan about illegal immigration, socialism, and Barack Hussein Obama. COMEDY FOR HOURS
The San Francisco Chronicle Eduardo P. (2014): I don't read any paper, but I subscribed to help a boy that was selling subscriptions. So I received the paper every Sunday and I just recycled it without even open it every time. Then I discover that they continued sending me the paper after the subscription was supposedly over, so I asked and they told me that I have a debt for $15 because they auto-renew subscriptions. WTF? I never signed for auto-renewal, that is a dirty trick to try to keep money flowing in despite their pathetic content. I'm assuming that judging by their web site, because I don't even know how the printed version looks like. Richard T. (2013): What's that they now ask? If I want to read certain articles online in their entirety I have to pay for their premium edition? Hold on, can't do that right now...this lovely ad for Target just popped up on my computer screen and is blocking my view...
The Times-Picayune Jen. L (2012): Here's the thing about the TP. Everyone loves to pick on it but then I go read papers in other cities and I realize how lucky we are to have it. It has it's issues (get it, Ha!) but I think it is still solid. The online site ( is more likely to have typos and errors as they rush to get the news out, but most of these are corrected by the time they print. Marielle S. (2012) Sure, this paper has flaws, but who doesn't save the first page when something significant happens in this town (Katrina, Super Bowl).
The Plain Dealer Jim R. (2011): There are only 2 reasons to be awake at 5 am on a Sunday morning, One of them for me was to get groceries because i could shop without running into housewives in curlers the size of hula hoops, and to score a Plain Dealer.
Chicago Tribune Dorothy C. (2014): Quit littering my lawn and porch with your damn local values free papers. I've called. I've written, I've begged. I don't want them. Our tenants don't want them. What do we have to do to get you to stop dropping your trash all over our neighborhoods? Dodge S. (2012): There more to love than just their newspaper. I am a fan because of their excellent iPhone app. It is much better than some of the local news channel apps. Always updated and relevant. I am a fan because of their amazing Tribune Tower on Michigan Ave. Check it out! The building has stones from around the world embedded along the outside walls that you can look up from the sidewalk and see all the way around the perimeter of the building. Ben B. (2007): The tribune is overall a pretty good newspaper. ... However, they sometimes put their best stories on page 27, and the old-school broad page format is difficult to follow in my armchair, much less the El. Why the hell do I have to read one part of a story on page one, then leaf past all the stupid ads to read the rest on page 32? If the Trib. was more user-friendly, maybe tabloid format?, ITtd get a 4.5-5 from me.
Arizona Republic William C. (2014): Another thing, their alleged "New" website is a 100% rip-off of the USA Today !! How easy that was, "New and Improved", sure. Rudy D. (2014): Got to tour the inside with journalism teachers. Got to sit in on a budget meeting for the following days paper. These people are awesome! I have no idea about their newspaper delivery service, but they have a cool app and online presence, and they were super friendly to us and showed us how they operate! Plus I think i saw the AZ version of clark kent in a cubicle.
Los Angeles Times Melvin F. (2014) For the past several months, when I open the Times in the morning, Fleas (or some kind of tiny bugs) fly out of there newspaper.Very disconcerting. ... The last time I phoned, the representative offered to have my paper enclosed in plastic. That is being done now for a few weeks but it did not solve the problem. ... MY L A TIMES STILL HAS FLEAS Michael M. (2013): I think their journalism is mediocre at best. But I have to say that they have a fantastic cafeteria at their headquarters! Today I had a delightful teriyaki stir fry dish. In fact, my only complaint is that this isn't an everyday menu item. Fred C. (2013): Superior news articles, sports, and other content. One only needs compare to the internet articles to gauge quality. And using the coupons and ad circulars practically pays for the subscription.
The Oregonian W B. (2014): My experience with the delivery of the newspaper to my house could provide ideas for a PORTLANDIA episode. Again this morning my newspaper is soaking wet. Yes it was wrapped in plastic but only sealed on one end. They must train their carriers to keep one end open. This causes rain runoff to collect in the bag. Is this to help keep it from going into rivers to protect the Salmon? This must be such a common problem that there is now an OPTION on the automated phone reporting system to report A WET NEWSPAPER. It's not like its a suprise that it rains here.
Tampa Bay Times Connie M. (2013): I love this newspaper! But who wants to read a review about a newspaper? Well, I am here to tell you about the method that my paper gets delivered - on my iPad! Woohoo! I'm green!!

Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014

French journalists kidnapped in Syria released

Al Jazeera | RFI English | Committee to Protect Journalists Four French journalists kidnapped in Syria 10 months ago by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were found by Turkish soldiers. Al Jazeera reported Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier Francois were discovered on the Turkish-Syrian border Saturday, their hands and eyes bound. They were taken to a police station in Akcakale. Authorities later released them. The four, captured in two separate events in June, were reported in good health, RFI English reported. Two other French journalists remain in captivity in the Sahel. At least 61 journalists were kidnapped in Syria last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists; 63 have been killed in the country since 1992. The group has added Syria to its list of countries where journalists' murders are most likely to go unpunished. In a report Wednesday, CPJ said Syria's fifth-place ranking on its "Global Impunity Index" list "highlights the rising number of targeted killings there, a recent threat to journalists operating in the country." Related: Spanish journalists held in Syria for six months have been freed | Swedish journalists missing in Syria are freed | Photographer kidnapped in Syria is released | News organizations ask Syrian rebels to halt journalist kidnappings

Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 unveils responsive redesign as it begins competing with the Globe has freshened up for the spring, making it better prepared to compete across all platforms against its paywalled big brother, a responsive pioneer.

The free news source's responsive site is now in beta on both mobile and desktop, according to a press release. (Baseball fans will get a kick out of's new error page.)

Last year, Globe editor Brian McGrory told Poynter about his plan to "untangle" the company's two websites, saying the difference between them wasn't clear to “many people in this community and people in this newsroom.” (more...)

Journalist whose own mother died in Afghanistan maintains connection with AP’s Kathy Gannon

The Washington Post
On Friday, freelance writer Tracee Herbaugh wrote about the death of her mother for The Washington Post. Sharon Herbaugh, an Associated Press bureau chief, died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 1993. Herbaugh wrote about learning of the April 4 shooting of two AP staff in Afghanistan. Photographer Anja Niedringhaus died in that shooting, and reporter Kathy Gannon was injured.
Hearing of the attack on Kathy, who was seriously wounded and remains hospitalized in Germany, felt like my life had come full circle in a single moment. In 1993, my mother, Sharon Herbaugh, was the first woman bureau chief for the Associated Press to die while on assignment. In the days following the crash, the phone at my grandparents’ home in Colorado rang nonstop with calls from State Department officials, friends and journalists from all over the world. Kathy took charge of maintaining communication between my family and the AP. She also oversaw the return of Sharon’s body back home, to a farming town on the dusty plains of southeast Colorado.
Gannon has been hospitalized in Germany since the shooting.

"Kathy continues to undergo hospital treatment as part of her recovery," Paul Colford, director of AP Media Relations, told Poynter in an e-mail.

In her story, Herbaugh wrote about her own complicated relationship with her mother, becoming a journalist herself, and her continuing relationship with Gannon.
In the two decades that have followed Sharon’s death, Kathy has maintained a regular presence in my life. I exchanged e-mails with her only two days before she was attacked on the eve of Afghanistan’s elections. Much of what I know about my mother I’ve learned from Kathy. And she was often a source of support as my grandmother and I navigated the grieving process.

TLDR finds the guy who shared his passwords in the comments section

On The Media
On The Media's Alex Goldman went out in search of that guy who posted his passwords in the comments section of a Washington Post story about the Heartbleed bug. Naturally, his accounts were then hijacked.

Goldman started with Twitter, he explained on Friday on TLDR's episode called "What Happens When You Tell The Whole Internet Your Password." Goldman found the woman who gained access to Y. Woodman Brown's account, and she talked to him. That led him to the man himself, who, it turns out, isn't really that much of a risk taker.

"You won't find me bungee jumping," he said. (more...)

Photojournalist Maggie Steber’s first job was with the Galveston Daily News. She spoke about her career with Jim Colton in an April 15 piece for the National Press Photographers Association. The work wasn’t that interesting, she told Colton, but how she got the job was.

I went to apply for the job of photographer-reporter at the paper. The managing editor told me it was a night position and better suited for a man in case my car broke down or I got attacked. They were already considering two men for the job.

I asked the editor to wait 24 hours before hiring anyone. Then I went out and found a story that, by accident, was rather controversial; concerning a historic operating theater that was about to be torn down at the UT Medical School in Galveston. I photographed the theater; it was a beautiful old wooden theater in the round with sunlight pouring in through the slatted windows. I interviewed students and townsfolk about the theater’s fate, stayed up all night writing and printing photos, and slapped the whole thing on the managing editor’s desk the next morning at 9am.

He read the story, looked at the photos, and looked up at me and said, ‘The job is yours! Neither of those other male candidates would have gone to this much trouble and find a story I can use on the front page in tomorrow’s paper.’ It was published the next morning.

Maggie Steber


NYT abides by Israeli gag order, draws questions from public editor

The New York Times
The New York Times delayed publication of a story this week about a young journalist and Palestinian rights advocate held by Israeli authorities, abiding by a court gag order, the Times' public editor wrote Friday.

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren told Public Editor Margaret Sullivan that the paper is bound by the gag orders:
She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land, and that two of her predecessors in the bureau chief position affirmed to her this week that The Times has been subject to gag orders in the past.
The newspaper's newsroom lawyer told Sullivan “the general understanding among legal counsel in other countries is that local law would apply to foreign media,” but said the Times hasn't challenged the restriction in Israel.

Sullivan said holding the story for a few days "may have done no great harm," but she said she found it "troubling" that the Times should have to wait for the government's approval before deciding to run a story.

If the situation is unavoidable, she said, a "little transparency would go a long way" and that the story should include a sentence or two telling readers what is occurring.
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‘Gracias, Gabo’: Newspapers remember Gabriel García Márquez

Here's how newspapers around the world remembered Gabriel García Márquez on Friday, a day after the writer's death.

El Territorio, Posadas, Argentina:

Correio Braziliense, Brasilia, Brazil:


Gallery of good ledes, recommendation edition

"When they heard the screams, no one suspected the rooster," Kelley Benham French wrote in the St. Petersburg Times in 2002. "Dechardonae Gaines, 2, was toddling down the sidewalk Monday lugging her Easy Bake Oven when she became the victim in one of the weirder animal attack cases police can recall."
It's one of my all-time favorite ledes and a refreshing read after the last few days of sharing bad ledes, which I requested and a lot of people shared. Luckily, the same thing happened with the good stuff. While pulling this post together on Thursday, we learned of the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Vox memorialized the writer with a look at the opening sentence of "100 Years of Solitude." Like that one, some of these are a sentence. Some are a paragraph, even two or three. But in whatever form they take, good ledes are hard to forget.

Especially this next one.

Denise Zapata, senior editor at EdSource, sent it in.

One warm spring night in 2011, a young man named Travis Hughes stood on the back deck of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at Marshall University, in West Virginia, and was struck by what seemed to him—under the influence of powerful inebriants, not least among them the clear ether of youth itself—to be an excellent idea: he would shove a bottle rocket up his ass and blast it into the sweet night air. And perhaps it was an excellent idea. What was not an excellent idea, however, was to misjudge the relative tightness of a 20-year-old sphincter and the propulsive reliability of a 20-cent bottle rocket. What followed ignition was not the bright report of a successful blastoff, but the muffled thud of fire in the hole. -- Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic (more...)

Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014


Newseum relents, will display weeklies after protest by editors

Front pages from the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Biloxi Sun Herald are seen on display at the Newseum in Washington for their exhibit on press coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
A daylong protest by weekly newspaper editors from around the U.S. against the Newseum’s snubbing of community journalism resulted in the Washington, D.C., museum changing its policy to include weeklies in its Today’s Front Pages exhibit.

For years, the Newseum has featured a daily roundup of front pages, both electronically and along its Pennsylvania Avenue exterior. The electronic archive includes PDFs sent in each day by hundreds of newspapers, both U.S. and international. The ground-floor exhibit, visible to passersby, includes a newspaper from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and a dozen other countries. (more...)
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Media organizations challenge order to take down anti-Muslim video

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Major news organizations have filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Google and YouTube in their effort to overturn a takedown order for an anti-Muslim video that inflamed Islamic communities worldwide.

"Innocence of Muslims," a badly produced 14-minute video insulting to the Islamic faithful, prompted protests in 2012 after it was uploaded to YouTube and translated into Arabic. Some have blamed the video for the attack on a U.S. temporary diplomatic office in Benghazi, Libya, and death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (more...)

Denver Post strengthens sponsored content designation on energy section

Center for Western Priorities | ThinkProgress | Wonkette
Following articles that said a Denver Post-sponsored energy section wasn't marked clearly enough, Post President and CEO Mac Tully told Poynter in an email the paper decided to "strengthen the sponsored content designation and included a definition of custom content." Tully said he hadn't "seen one complaint that misunderstood the content to be Denver Post generated."

The change comes after reports in several publications about the "Energy and Environment" section, which is sponsored content from Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, a group formed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy "to provide scientifically sound information about fracking."

The section looks too much like regular Denver Post content, Erin Moriarty writes for the Center for Western Priorities: "Advertising is, of course, crucial to newspapers’ existence, but there is a line that has been crossed."

A "former Denver Post staffer who asked not to be named" told ThinkProgress' Katie Valentine, “If I weren’t a journalist, I’m not sure I could tell the difference here.”

(As long as we're discussing the Post's decisions, why on earth did ThinkProgress let a former employee zing his former employer under cover of anonymity? "​​The source was concerned about the impact of commenting publicly on his current employment," TP Editor-in-Chief Judd Legum told Poynter in an email. "We wanted to try to get various perspectives in the piece and thought it was valuable to include." Here's more of me spouting off about anonymity.)

Tully said the paper's "goal is to be just as clear online as we have been in the print editions by clearly designating the custom content as advertiser sponsored. We feel that's the key to maintaining the separation of news and paid content."

In a funny post about the section, Wonkette's Doktor Zoom made a discovery about the section: "If you have Adblock Plus turned on, everything but 'The Denver Post: Energy and Environment' is blocked out."

OK, now let’s read some good ledes

That was fun. Thanks for sharing your bad ledes, and I hope you enjoyed a few of ours.
Let's take this thing one step further now and talk about good ledes. Luckily, Poynter faculty and staff have done good work gathering some now and then. If you're particularly proud of a good lede of your own, or you've seen one that's memorable, send it to me at or @kristenhare on Twitter (with links if possible), and I'll start a collection.

-- In 2012, Poynter's Roy Peter Clark shared tips for writing a good lede. As part of a live chat with that piece, Clark points out several good ledes, including this: (more...)
Sean Combs and Wale are seen performing at “Revolt’s Music Revolution Party” on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Donald Traill/Invision /AP)

Newspapers mentioned in rap songs: A brief history

I love rap music, and I love first-person narrative journalism, for some of the same reasons. Rappers, like writers, tell stories -- about the places they've been, the things they've done, and the people and institutions (newspapers included) that have shaped them.

And while print newspapers certainly face a precarious future, they're still seen as a totem of success. Make the newspaper, and you've made it. (Though it could be for the wrong reasons -- in the crime blotter or the obituaries instead of A1.) They also play a vital role in framing how our society views certain people and cultural phenomena.

But instead of think-piecing about how rap and journalism intersect, I decided to go back 20 years and put together a list of almost every instance in which newspapers have been mentioned in rap songs.
DJ Clue and DMX pose with a newspaper featuring DMX (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Paul Wall, "Break 'Em Off" Chasin' paper in the mornin', call me Houston Chronicle

Whoopi Goldberg launches column for Denver Post pot site

The Cannabist | Digital First Media
Goldberg at the 2008 Tony Awards (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Whoopi Goldberg loves her vape pen: "her ability to help me live comfortably with glaucoma makes her one of the more important figures in my day to day," the actor and TV host writes in The Cannabist, the Denver Post's weed-focused breakout site. "What kind of kush is in my vape pen at the moment?" she writes. "The indica-dominant Platinum OG, of course." Goldberg will write a column about every two months, Post owner Digital First Media says in a press release. In the release, Cannabist Editor Ricardo Baca says he and Goldberg "instantly connected" when he appeared on "The View." Goldberg's "curiosity and desire to discuss the issues surrounding America’s ever-changing marijuana laws immediately reminded me of my colleagues back in Denver,” Baca says.

Baca on Monday teased a new celebrity columnist. Goldberg was among nine other "possible candidates" he wrote might be a good fit, including Michelle Malkin, Miley Cyrus and Sanjay Gupta.
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