How a Florida reporter got Jack Kerouac’s last interviews

Tampa Bay Times

Last year, the Tampa Bay Times (which Poynter owns) reran this story by reporter Jack McClintock, who spent time with Jack Kerouac in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Kerouac was living with his mother. The article ran on Oct. 12, 1969. Kerouac died on Oct. 21, 45 years ago today. “According to Kevin Hayes, author of the book Conversations With Jack Kerouac, McClintock’s interviews were Kerouac’s last,” the story says.

McClintock returned to Kerouac’s home several times to report the story. Here’s the end of that piece:

Kerouac wanted to talk about the article he had written, which was selling rather well to Sunday magazines in major cities in the U.S.

“It’s about the Communist conspiracy,” he said. He eyed the reporter narrowly, and when satisfied with the lack of response, began to read. The article was typed on yellow legal paper. He read with broad, wild gestures, grinning and mugging and assuming various foreign accents. The voice went up high, dropped confidentially low. It sped along, it dragged portentously. And the words had an unusual eloquence, the allusions were astonishingly erudite, the sounds made a lush and rich cadence, all coming from this man with bare feet and two days’ growth of salt-and-pepper whiskers.

It was a wondrous performance, so much so that the reporter came away without the vaguest notion of what the article might have been about.

“I’m glad to see you ’cause I’m very lonesome here,” he said, and then talked for a moment about the proposed new novel.

“Stories of the past,” said Jack Kerouac. “My story is endless. I put in a teletype roll, you know, you know what they are, you have them in newspapers, and run it through there and fix the margins and just go, go – just go, go, go.”

Author Jack Kerouac laughs during a 1967 visit to the home of a friend in Lowell, Mass. (AP Photo/Stanley Twardowicz)

Author Jack Kerouac laughs during a 1967 visit to the home of a friend in Lowell, Mass. (AP Photo/Stanley Twardowicz)

In March of last year, Times’ reporter Ben Montgomery wrote about the house in St. Pete where Kerouac lived.

There’s not much left of Kerouac here, save some stories and old acquaintances and a favorite bar stool or two. And this house.

His mother died not long after Jack, and Stella passed in 1990, but the house has been mostly empty of humans since the ’70s. To walk inside is to be transported back 40 years. Tchotchkes from the era line the shelves. A ’72 Chevy Caprice sits on flats in the two-car garage. A Reader’s Digest from September 1967 sits on the record cabinet. A 1969 telephone directory for Lowell, Mass., is shelved on Kerouac’s desk in the bedroom. A Boone’s Farm box is in a closet. An official mayoral proclamation for “Jack Kerouac Day” in Lowell, Mass., hangs on one wall, near a Buddha statue and a crucifix.

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Heat mag to Jessica Biel: Sorry we made up your quotes. Also that JT ‘gets flirty’

The Guardian | Irish Times

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake settled a defamation suit with a celebrity magazine in Ireland, The Guardian reported on Tuesday. A September edition of Heat quotes Biel and writes about Timberlake’s behavior at a nightclub in Paris. Irish Times reports that Heat is published by Bauer Consumer Media, a German company.

From The Guardian:

In the agreed statement read in the high court, a lawyer for the Bauer group admitted the article – headlined “Justin Timberlake gets flirty with another woman, “It is not his wife!” and “The flirty photos that rocked Justin and Jessica’s marriage” – was based on an unfounded report.

The article also included purported statements improperly attributed to Biel which the publishers said Heat now understands the actor never made.

Irish Times reported that the couple was satisfied with the ruling. And don’t mess with their marriage.

(Solicitor Paul Tweed) said the couple will not be making any further comment in relation to the matter. However, he added, they will “not hesitate to take similar legal action if false allegations regarding the state of their marriage are repeated”.

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Career Beat: Ad Age gets new editorial director

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Eli Lake is leaving The Daily Beast, where he’s a national security correspondent. Josh Rogin is leaving The Daily Beast, where he’s a senior correspondent. (Huffington Post)
  • Simon Dumenco is editorial director at Advertising Age. Previously, he was a columnist there. (Ad Age)
  • Fran Unsworth is now director of the World Service Group at the BBC. She’s deputy director of news and current affairs. (The Guardian)
  • Chris Moody will be a senior correspondent for CNN Politics Digital. Previously, he was a political correspondent for Yahoo News. (Politico)
  • Jeffrey Schneider is founding his own PR firm, Schneider Global Strategy. He’s a senior vice president and spokesperson at ABC News. (ABC)
  • Sruthijith KK is now editor at Huffington Post India. Previously, he was editor of Quartz India. (Medianama)

Job of the day: U.S. News and World Report is looking for a Congress reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more

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Liberals and conservatives agree: You can’t trust BuzzFeed

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Nobody trusts BuzzFeed much: Pew’s new report on Political Polarization & Media Habits says “There is little overlap in the news sources” conservatives and liberals “turn to and trust.” The Wall Street Journal is trusted across ideological boundaries, and the BBC and The Economist do well among all but the most consistent conservatives, who say they equally trust and distrust those outlets. Only one publication is rated “More distrusted than trusted” regardless of respondents’ political outlook: BuzzFeed. It’s important to note, though, that fewer than 40 percent of respondents had heard of BuzzFeed. (Pew) | BuzzFeed EIC Ben Smith emails: “Most of the great news organizations have been around for decades, and trust is something you earn over time. Our organization is new, our news operation is even newer, and it’s early days for us. The more people know BuzzFeed News, especially young people who make up a small share of these surveys, the more they trust us.” | Brian Stelter: “Among other things, the study underscores Fox’s unique position in the media marketplace, thanks to what it calls the ‘strong allegiance’ that conservatives have to Fox.” (CNN)

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  2. Jill Abramson plans a startup with Steve Brill: Investors “sound very interested.” (The Wrap) | “Abramson and Carr now discussing their teenage pot smoking habits. Jill smoked by a fountain. David liked to play frisbee.” (@ylichterman)
  3. The Guardian committed no foul by reporting on Whisper: A ruling from Ryan Chittum. “It would have been a journalistic lapse for the paper not to have told readers what it had learned.” (CJR)
  4. How Gamergate intimidates publications: The loose collective of shrill gaming “advocates” has a five-step plan for flooding advertisers’ inboxes about reporters it doesn’t like. And the attacks can work. (WP) | “The D-List Right-Wingers Who’ve Turned Gamergate Into Their Loser Army” (Gawker)
  5. What happened between the NABJ and CNN? NABJ President Bob Butler says the network bailed on supporting NABJ’s 2015 convention, and CNN says it was merely “reconsidering our relationship.” The dustup lays bare a “core conflict in what NABJ — and other journalism-diversity groups, for that matter — does from day to day,” Erik Wemple writes. “On the one hand, it monitors how well newsrooms embrace diversity; on the other, it pitches those same newsrooms to ante up for convention space and other stuff.” (WP)
  6. Nielsen will measure TV viewership across devices: It’s partnering with Adobe, which “sits at the very center of video distribution system and can track views down to the IP level.” (Reuters)
  7. It’s not a good idea to stalk a reviewer: But Kathleen Hale did it anyway. (BuzzFeed)
  8. Rachel Maddow points viewers to some excellent music: The MSNBC host offers five songs for the midterms, including Fugazi’s “Bad Mouth” and Sleater-Kinney’s “Youth Decay.” (HuffPost)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Floyd County News & Tribune fronts a polka party at the Strassweg Auditorium in the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library in New Albany, Indiana. (Courtesy the Newseum.)

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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Eli Lake is leaving The Daily Beast, where he’s a national security correspondent. Josh Rogin is leaving The Daily Beast, where he’s a senior correspondent. (Huffington Post) | Simon Dumenco is editorial director at Advertising Age. Previously, he was a columnist there. (Ad Age) | Fran Unsworth is now director of the World Service Group at the BBC. She’s deputy director of news and current affairs. (The Guardian) | Chris Moody will be a senior correspondent for CNN Politics Digital. Previously, he was a political correspondent for Yahoo News. (Politico) | Jeffrey Schneider is founding his own PR firm, Schneider Global Strategy. He’s a senior vice president and spokesperson at ABC News. (ABC) | Sruthijith KK is now editor at Huffington Post India. Previously, he was editor of Quartz India. (Medianama) | Job of the day: U.S. News and World Report is looking for a Congress reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org. Read more

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P-1962 World's Fair

Today in Media History: Back to the future at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair

October 21, 1962 was the last day to visit the Seattle World’s Fair. In case you missed it, here is a quick look back.

This TV commercial invites us to the fair with the line, “Welcome to the future and all the wonders of the 21st Century.”

The Seattle Times published a special souvenir edition for the World’s Fair in 1962. Fifty years later the newspaper pulled out an old copy and described the fair once again.

“Yes, Seattle was one swaggering city of Space Age superlatives when it put on the 1962 World’s Fair.

The excitement and hype had been building for years when The Seattle Times on April 8, 1962, published a 152-page, six-section souvenir edition dedicated to the World’s Fair. The sections were packed with stories brimming with civic optimism and statements of superiority.

And why not?

This remote outpost in a rainy corner of the country was booming. Seattle was home to Boeing, and the sky was the limit. So build that Space Needle with the rotating restaurant and the flaming top and let the world revolve around it.

And it did for six glorious months.

….It wasn’t all geeky scientific stuff. Seattle came across as a place to have fun and enjoy the natural beauty of the Northwest. Where you can buy a new home with ‘tomorrow’s pleasures and convenience.’

And all you visitors from out of town, you will ‘enjoy pleasant weather…Seattle is seldom hot. The summer sun feels good in Seattle.’

Soaring above everything at the World’s Fair and on the cover of the ‘Space Age Frontiers’ section was the Space Needle with elevators that moved with ‘rocketlike speed’ and a 40-foot ‘crown of flame’ natural-gas torch at the top.”

Seattle Times Image, 1962

Seattle Times Image, 1962

Here is a preview of the 2012 KCTS 9 documentary, “When Seattle Invented the Future: The 1962 World’s Fair.”

“The fair was fun for all and fair for everybody, but all good things must come to an end. On October 21, 1962, 124,479 visitors arrived at the fairgrounds, 13,000 of whom had tickets for the closing ceremonies at Memorial Stadium. President John F. Kennedy was supposed to be there, but aides had called his regrets two days earlier, saying that he had a heavy cold. In actuality, as would be revealed, he was deep into the beginnings of the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

— “Century 21 — The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair
HistoryLink.org

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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

Opinion: Why it’s so disappointing that j-schools are panicking over Ebola

In the last week, we’ve learned that three U.S. universities have canceled invitations to journalists due to fears about Ebola:

  • Syracuse University rescinded an invitation to Washington Post photographer Michel du Cille because he had reported on the epidemic in Liberia, and even though he’d been home longer than the 21-day self-monitoring period and had no symptoms, “there have been questions raised about whether the incubation period is longer,” Lorraine Branham, the dean of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, told Donald R. Winslow of News Photographer magazine.
  • The University of Georgia rescinded an invitation to Liberian journalist Wade C.L. Williams, who was due to speak at the university’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “It just became abundantly clear we had a risk scenario and a situation on our hands that was a little more sensitive issue,” Grady College Dean Charles N. Davis told Brad Schrade of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The University of South Florida at St. Petersburg rescinded invitations to African journalists who are taking part in the U.S. State Department’s Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists. “We’ve cancelled out of upmost caution,” Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Han Reichgelt wrote in a letter to journalism-school faculty, students and staff.

“Caution,” “questions,” “sensitive” — these are all apparently synonyms for willful disregard for facts, which is a curious fit for journalism schools, institutions that purportedly train people how to report what they know.

Here’s something those schools could have gleaned from reading some journalism: Unless you’re in contact with infected individuals’ bodily fluids, you have almost no chance of getting Ebola. The virus could conceivably change its pattern of transmission, but as Joel Achenbach and Brady Dennis reported in The Washington Post Oct. 18, “such a major change in transmission has never been observed in a pathogen that already affects human beings.”

Another fact that inconveniences panic: There have been three cases of Ebola in the U.S. so far. One of those people has died. By contrast, Max Fisher reports in Vox, 30 people die in America every year and more than 40,000 are injured from their furniture falling on them.

Fearbola” has no place at journalism schools. There’s simply too much well-reported information available to justify these jelly-spined responses. Administrators at Newhouse, Grady and USF are teaching their students a dismal lesson: If they fear criticism — or possibly lawsuits — they should back off, facts be damned.

Two-thirds of Americans say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak, according to a Washington Post poll last week. Journalism schools should be training their students to battle such perceptions (seriously, you’re probably going to die from heart disease or cancer). Which is why it’s so disappointing to see them leading in the opposite direction.

Related: “In canceling African journalists’ program, fear trumps reason” (Tampa Bay Times) | When covering Ebola, “reports that lead to more questions than answers may also lead to harm.” (SPJ) Read more

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Gannett gives employees an extra paid day off

Most Gannett employees will get Dec. 26 off, President and CEO Gracia Martore tells employees in a memo. Anyone who has to work that day — “because as we all know, the news never sleeps,” she writes — can plan another day off before the year ends.

Martore also gives some details about what divisions will stay with each company as Gannett plans to split its publishing and broadcast businesses. Gannett Digital will stay with the publishing company, as will IT and its national sales division.

Likewise, HR will be part of the broadcast company and will provide shared services to the publishing company. Each company will have its own legal and communications teams, among others. The split, Martore writes, should occur “in mid-2015.”

Here’s the memo:

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to share some news in case you missed today’s employee Town Hall meeting.

The holiday season is fast approaching and I want to thank you for all you have done to help this company grow and thrive. The past three years have been fast-paced and exceptional as we continue to transform the company’s business and chart a new course. Without your hard work,
this company would not be in the terrific condition it is today.

Because of this, I want to give everyone a special holiday surprise: This year, the day after Christmas, Dec. 26, will be a paid day off —
a companywide holiday.

Of course there will be some of you who, like on any other holiday, will work that day because as we all know, the news never sleeps, or
takes a vacation for that matter.

For those of you who are called upon to work that day, please coordinate with your managers and plan another day off before the end
of the year. Every employee has earned this extra day off and your willingness to work on Dec. 26 is deeply appreciated.

Best wishes to all and thank you for helping to steer a strong course for our company and for your efforts in support of this journey of
transformation. I wish you and your families a very safe and joyous upcoming holiday season.

Meanwhile, on a different note, we are taking positive steps toward what we initially announced in August: the creation of two publicly
traded companies, one exclusively focused on our Broadcasting and Digital businesses, and the other on our Publishing business and its
dynamic digital assets.

This is — and will be — a long and complicated process as there are literally thousands of decisions, large and small, to be made as we go
down this road.

One of our initial considerations has been determining where the many parts of the business would be located — in other words — which group
goes with which company. And while we do not have all of the answers today, I want to share with you some of the preliminary decisions we
have made.

Obviously — the vast majority of you already know which company you will be going with — USCP, USA TODAY and Newsquest employees will go
with Publishing. Broadcasting and Digital Ventures employees will go with the Broadcasting and Digital company.

However, there are other groups that provide services across divisions. Some of the preliminary decisions on where those groups
will be housed have been made and I wanted to share that information with you.

As mentioned earlier, Digital Ventures, including G/O Digital, will stay with the Broadcasting and Digital company. G/O Digital will be a
shared service, providing its products to both companies. In addition, Cars.com will continue to offer its portfolio to the Publishing
company through affiliation agreements. Pointroll will transition to Digital Ventures over the coming months and will become part of the
Broadcasting and Digital company.

Gannett Digital will be a part of the Publishing company, where the majority of its clients are. The digital team will continue to provide
top notch products and services to Broadcasting and Digital Ventures. Over the next several months, we will be working to ensure that the
Broadcasting and Digital company has the appropriate digital expertise on staff as well.

National Sales will be housed in Publishing at separation, given it does the lion’s share of work for them but we will continue to look at
opportunities, even after the separation, to leverage both companies’ scale and reach together.

I.T. and Gannett Supply also will be a part of Publishing and provide shared services to the Broadcasting and Digital company.

Labor Relations and HR will be a part of the Broadcasting and Digital company. They will provide shared services to the Publishing company.

The Legal, Finance, Internal Audit, Investor Relations and Communications groups will be split between the two companies at the
time of separation, as each company will need its own independent teams.

I want to make it clear — I know we have the best people and corporate functions anywhere. In fact, supporting the two companies created by the separation will generate greater career opportunities for many of our current employees as we look at how to support both businesses.

Of course, until the day of separation, we are ONE company. We need to continue to produce the outstanding, trusted content our consumers and
communities expect from us; and we need to continue to support our clients by helping them grow their businesses with our strong products
and services.

So please keep up the terrific work you are doing today throughout this process — straight through to the separation, which we expect
will occur in mid-2015.

There are many more decisions to come and we will be sure to keep you updated.

Warm regards,

Gracia

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Gannett

Gannett earnings strong, but publishing revenues continue a steep slide

FILE - This July 14, 2010 file photo shows the Gannett headquarters in McLean, Va. Gannett Co. reported Overall company revenue growth of 15 percent. The media company said, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

FILE – This July 14, 2010 file photo shows the Gannett headquarters in McLean, Va. Gannett Co. reported Overall company revenue growth of 15 percent. The media company said, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Embedded in otherwise excellent third quarter financial results reported today by Gannett are some sobering numbers on the continuing decline of revenues for its newspaper division.

U.S publishing ad revenues year-to-date are down 6.3 percent. At Gannett, that difference is more than made up by booming broadcast operations and freestanding digital ventures like CareerBuilder.  So revenues for the entire company are up a healthy 13.4 percent.

But I also consider USA Today and Gannett’s 81 community newspapers a reasonable proxy for the entire newspaper industry, which has stopped reporting its financial results quarterly.  If the rest of the year is roughly in line, newspapers are on track again in 2014 to lose $1 billion-plus in advertising.

That’s against a 2013 base of $17.30 billion industrywide in daily print advertising or $23.57 billion including all form of advertising, according to estimates by the Newspaper Association of America.

Gannett’s advertising decline to date (-6.3 percent) roughly matches the industry rate in 2013 (-6.5 percent).  So 2014 is proving no better than 2013.  Recent waves of staff cuts as companies budget for 2015 suggest that revenue growth is not expected next year either.

At Gannett (and probably most U.S. papers) circulation revenues were up slightly for the quarter and holding even for the year. The papers are now cycling past one-time revenue gains of roughly 5 percent in both 2012 and 2013 from introduction of paywalls and price increases for print and print + digital subscriptions.

Digital advertising is increasing, mostly at USA Today, but not nearly enough to offset the print losses.  And the continued growth of digital marketing services, sold to local businesses, is another plus.

In an earnings conference call, CEO Gracia Martore said another bright spot for the company has been the introduction of a section of USA Today news at its 35 largest papers.  Surveys show a positive reader response, she said, in some cities justifying another round of subscription price increases.

There is an echo of that strategy throughout the industry.  This weekend both The New York Times and Washington Post introduced print supplements which regional papers can include in their Sunday editions.  The Post had earlier made a free subscription to its digital report available to digital subscribers of partnering regional papers.

This arrangement allows papers to focus on their local news report, while offering subscribers, especially the older demographic that prefers print, a fuller report of national and international news, as was standard in better financial times.

Gannett’s broadcast revenues are up 97.2 percent year-to-date in large part because the operation is much larger after acquisition of Belo’s 20 stations. Retransmission fees paid by cable systems to local stations continue strong, up 61 percent for the quarter.

And political advertising is booming beyond expectations.  At the company’s Denver station — where Colorado has both a competitive governor’s and U.S. Senate race — this year’s revenues are even outpacing those of 2012, a presidential year, said Martore.

The different trajectories of broadcast and print have prompted Gannett to plan splitting those operations into two companies, a spinoff Martore said should be completed by mid-2015.

News Corp., Media General, Tribune and the Washington Post (now Graham Holdings) have already completed such a split and Scripps and Journal Communications plan one as part of a merger.

Other public newspaper companies, New York Times, McClatchy and Lee, do not own TV stations. So, soon there will be no combined print and broadcast operations among public companies, and some larger private companies like Hearst have separated TV and newspaper divisions as well.

In theory the print-only companies will benefit from management focused exclusively on their digital transformation, audience and advertising issues.  And they won’t be competing internally with fast-growing broadcast for capital.

All that, however, leaves the big question lingering — can the companies slow the print advertising losses, generate enough digital ad growth, increase circulation revenue and bring in enough income from new ventures to make up the difference. Read more

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Sun-Times, attacked by both sides in governor’s race, defends coverage

Chicago Sun-Times | Crain’s Chicago Business

Bruce Rauner, a candidate for governor in Illinois, tried to squelch a critical Sun-Times story, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Jim Kirk writes. The Sun-Times also endorsed Rauner, who used to be an investor in the Sun-Times’ ownership group. That move brought criticism from Rauner’s opponent, Gov. Pat Quinn.

“Those former ties mean nothing when it comes to the Sun-Times’ ability and determination to report on him and his campaign fairly and accurately,” Kirk writes, saying the paper “has been fearless in its reporting.”

The paper’s endorsement of Rauner was its first since it announced in 2012 that it would no longer make endorsements.

Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney co-bylined on the story that angered Rauner, which reported on a lawsuit that claimed he’d threatened Christine Kirk, an executive at another company who is no relation to Jim Kirk. “There’s no ‘there’ there,” Rauner told the Sun-Times.

McKinney has hired an attorney “to investigate whether the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner tried to interfere with his employment,” Lynne Marek reports in Crain’s Chicago Business. Rauner, a Republican, complained to the Sun-Times that McKinney is married to a Democratic consultant. “Recently, Mr. McKinney was inexplicably absent from his statehouse beat for five days despite one of the hottest gubernatorial races in recent memory,” Marek writes.

Kirk tells Marek that “Out of an abundance of caution, we did review this matter and we are convinced Dave’s wife, Ann Liston, receives no financial benefit from any Illinois political campaign because of the extraordinary steps they’ve taken to establish business safeguards.”

McKinney “has been and remains our Springfield bureau chief for all the right reasons: because he continues to do great work covering both sides of the aisle,” Kirk writes in his editorial. Read more

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USF cancels on African journalists due to Ebola scare

Administrators at the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg have decided to cancel a visit from Edward R. Murrow journalists from African countries, citing concerns over the ongoing Ebola outbreak, according to a letter from regional academic affairs vice-chancellor Han Reichgelt.


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The 5-day visit, which was scheduled to begin Oct. 31, was part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, which brings “emerging leaders” in journalism from around the world to the U.S.

According to the letter, “faculty, students and staff” have expressed fear of the Ebola epidemic and “expressed reservations about their involvement in the program.”

In an email addressed to faculty, USF St. Petersburg journalism department chair Deni Elliott wrote “it would be helpful to me to get any input that you get from your students regarding this decision” and said “It may be that some folks think that the decision to cancel the program was over-reaction.”

The University of Georgia recently canceled on a Liberian journalist who was scheduled to give a talk on her experiences covering the Ebola epidemic. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michel du Cille was recently turned away from a speaking engagement at Syracuse University because of Ebola fears.

Ebola is “spread only through direct contact with virus-laden bodily fluids, and is not as transmissible as such airborne viruses as influenza and measles,” according to The Washington Post. Read more

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Politician won’t talk to ‘muckraking’ outlets

KPBS

Carl DeMaio is running for Congress and “prefers direct communication with the public either in person or over email, and makes media outlets that are ‘just muckraking and not interested in the truth’ low priorities,” Claire Trageser reports for KPBS.

DeMaio’s camp was unhappy with a Los Angeles Times profile last May and has refused a subsequent interview request, the paper’s San Diego bureau chief, Tony Perry, tells Trageser. He “refused at least five interview requests from KPBS,” she writes. U-T San Diego reporter Mark Walker “said he has been able to interview DeMaio when necessary.”

DeMaio has already been at the center of a couple of fairly weird media stories: Last year Voice of OC reported that a city council colleague claimed he’d seen DeMaio masturbating in a men’s room.

And a group called Spotlight San Diego paid former San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Caitlin Rother $23,000 to investigate DeMaio during a previous mayoral run and compile a “200-plus page dossier of court records and other documents that was distributed to nearly every local media outlet in early 2012 on the condition of anonymity,” Craig Gustafson reported for the U-T last year.

But news outlets thought the resulting info was “old, irrelevant and an untoward attempt to draw attention to DeMaio’s homosexuality during the race,” Gustafson wrote. The group later filed a financial disclosure about its backers to end an investigation. Read more

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University of Georgia j-school rescinds invitation to Liberian journalist

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. University of Georgia panics, rescinds invitation to Liberian journalist: It canceled Wade C.L. Williams‘ invitation to speak Oct. 23. “It just became abundantly clear we had a risk scenario and a situation on our hands that was a little more sensitive issue,” Grady College dean Charles N. Davis tells Brad Schrade. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) | Williams: “A woman with a pleasant voice delicately told me that parents were panicking and the general public was against my coming to the university.” (FrontPageAfrica) | What sort of lecture was UGA planning? “Ebola in humans is spread only through direct contact with virus-laden bodily fluids, and is not as transmissible as such airborne viruses as influenza and measles.” (WP) | Related: Why Guardian journalist Monica Mark decided not to wear a hazmat suit while reporting on Ebola: “It’s really difficult to get someone to open up to when you’re wearing it.” (IBT)
  2. The ethics of the Guardian’s Whisper scoop: Was it OK for it to report on something it learned during a meeting about a potential partnership? (Re/code) | Whisper’s responses to Guardian story. (Scribd) | “Part of the problem with the Guardian‘s coverage, [Editor-in-Chief Neetzan] Zimmerman said — and that done by other media as well — is that it doesn’t distinguish between anonymity and privacy.” (Gigaom) | Sort-of related: Gawker Media mulls a Twitter policy. (Jim Romenesko)
  3. Virginian-Pilot shrinks its newsroom: About a quarter of its journalists are going, they learned Friday. “Those leaving include veterans in reporting, column writing, editing, photography and design,” Philip Walzer reports. “The company declined to publicly identify them.” (Virginian-Pilot)
  4. NYT public editor sees some progress: Margaret Sullivan looks back on her second year on the job and spies less false balance, more environment coverage, a commitment to staff diversity. “We’re not going to stop hiring — I don’t believe in hiring freezes,” Executive Editor Dean Baquet tells her. (NYT)
  5. William Luther Masingill dies at 92: The Chattanooga broadcaster “first sat down behind the radio microphone on December 31, 1940. He personally signed on WDEF Television in April of 1954, and over the decades, informed and entertained generations of listeners and viewers alike with a charm and grace unique to him alone.” (WDEF)
  6. What the Boston Herald hasn’t learned from its cartoon blunder: It won’t discuss its staff’s diversity. “In journalism, staff diversity isn’t just about soothing hurt feelings or avoiding embarrassment; it’s a journalistic value,” Eric Deggans writes. “Few quality newspapers would shrug off conditions where they published 10 factual errors a day. So its time to realize diversity is an important a tool for delivering accuracy and context to all kinds of coverage.” (NPR)
  7. Aaron Kushner says LAT is “spreading rumors about us”: The OC Register owner “emphasized last week that his papers remained on a path of success and said he stepped down as publisher of The Orange County Register — and brought in Richard Mirman, a former executive at Harrah’s Entertainment, as interim publisher — because he had too many jobs to handle.” (NYT)
  8. Rewrite that sentence! Book blurb in NYT marries Ann Patchett to her dog. (NYT) | “Sparky’s great, but they’re just friends.” (@GilbertLiz)
  9. Front page of the day, not curated by Kristen Hare: An insta-classic New York Daily News swipe at Donald Trump: “Trumpty Dumpty.” (Courtesy Newseum)

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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Holly Gauntt is now news director for KDVR/KWGN in Denver. Previously, she was news director for KOMO in Seattle. Sarah Garza is interim news director for KOMO. Previously, she was assistant news director there. Nick McDermott is now executive producer at KTVA in Anchorage, Alaska. He has been a producer there. James Doughty is now communications director for a San Antonio city councilman. Previously, he was a reporter for KENS in San Antonio. (Rick Geevers) | Stacy-Marie Ishmael will head up editorial operations for BuzzFeed’s news app. Previously, she was vice president of communities at the Financial Times. (Nieman Lab) | Lindsey Bahr is now a film writer for The Associated Press. Previously, she was a correspondent for Entertainment Weekly. (AP) | Janelle Nanos is now editor of Beta Boston. Previously, she was a senior editor at Boston Magazine. (Muck Rack) | Matthew Schnipper is now a senior editor at GQ. Previously, he was editor-in-chief at Fader. (email) | Terry Savage is now a contributor at Tribune Content Agency. Previously, she was a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. (Robert Feder) | Job of the day: the AP is looking for a news research manager in New York. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org.

Correction: This roundup originally linked to a story about Virginian-Pilot layoffs from last year. That planned round of reductions was targeted mostly outside the paper’s newsroom, the story said. Read more

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When writing about Ebola, what images should you use?

Lately, I’ve noticed the predominance two kinds of images with stories about Ebola — the virus itself and people in hazmat suits. I’ve used both for stories myself and wondered about the tone and message they’re sending. Unlike what we’ve seen from West Africa, in the U.S. there aren’t a lot of images of the two people with confirmed cases of Ebola. There are, mostly, press conferences, people in hazmat suits and the virus itself. It feels almost sci-fi.

Here are three front pages from Friday that show the Ebola virus super up close, via Newseum:

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On Tuesday, I tweeted this front, from the Times-Journal in Fort Payne, Alabama:

Earlier this month, I wrote about front pages from around the world that showed masked cleanup crews and health care workers.

The New York Daily News offered both the virus and the hazmat. Also Sofia Vergara sans pants.

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So, with the practical need for images online and in print, what images should news organizations show while reporting on Ebola?

Kelly McBride, Poynter’s vice president of academic programs and media ethicist, says to also look at the whole package you’re presenting and the message it sends.

“A blowup image of a big scary virus, people in hazmat suits, alarming words in the headline, all that can overwhelm a completely reasonable story,” she said in an email. “Pushing out mobile alerts that scream: ‘More contagion, another person falls ill,’ make people think that they have to act now. Editors have a duty to envision how a reasonable consumer will respond. What information does that consumer really need first and foremost?”

“When it comes to images, I believe journalists (writers, photographers, page designers and editors) need to be responsible – as I hope they would in any situation,” said Andrew Seaman, a medical journalist with Reuters and the ethics chair of the Society of Professional Journalists, in an email. “The images must tell the story accurately. For example, the image should probably not be that of a person suffering with Ebola in a small Liberian medical center if the story is specifically about what is happening in Texas. Instead, it would be more appropriate to show images of the patients walking onto the planes carrying them to Maryland. Or, it could be of the well-wishers outside the hospital as the patients drive by in ambulances. The experience of people with Ebola in Liberia is – for the most part – much different than the experience of patients in the U.S.”

I sent Seaman two of the front pages from Friday, the San Diego Union-Tribune and The New York Daily News, and he doesn’t think either crossed an ethical line, “because images from a microscope can be shown in different ways,” he said. “Headlines, of course, are another matter.”

Most people get that Ebola is a serious medical condition, he said.

“Journalists shouldn’t pander to that fear or anxiety by including the most shocking or ominous images they find. The SPJ Code of Ethics applies to photography as it would to any other form of journalism. The images should reflect the truth – as should the other pieces of journalism it accompanies.”

Previously: Journalists struggle to balance reporting on Ebola with HIPAA

Why AP isn’t moving stories for every suspected Ebola case

From Dallas, 5 tips on covering Ebola
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Today in Media History: In 1967 Walter Cronkite imagined the future of online news and communications

In addition to anchoring the CBS Evening News, Walter Cronkite also hosted a documentary series called “The 20th Century” that was succeeded by another program titled, “The 21st Century.” The original show premiered on October 20, 1957.

Here is one of the most interesting segments from these two programs. It aired in 1967. Cronkite imagined the future of online news and the ability to work at home on a “computerized communications console.”

The program, “The 20th Century,” is described in the following excerpt from the Archive of American Television. “The 21st Century” began in 1967, which is when the segment on computerized communications was broadcast.

“From the one-hour premiere episode ‘Churchill, Man of the Century’ (20 October 1957) to its last episode The 20th Century unit produced 112 half-hour historical compilation films and 107 half-hour ‘originally photographed documentaries’ or contemporary documentaries. Narrated by Walter Cronkite, the series achieved critical praise, a substantial audience, and a dedicated sponsor, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, primarily with its historical compilation films. The compilation documentaries combined actuality footage from disparate archival sources — national and international, public and private — with testimony from eyewitnesses, to represent history.”

This is an example of how the “The 20th Century” program usually ended. According to the closing credits, the music was performed by the CBS Orchestra.

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Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

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Journalists struggle to balance reporting on Ebola with HIPAA

A medical staff member, right, watches as others in protective gear escort Nina Pham, left, from an ambulance to a nearby aircraft at Love Field, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Dallas. Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan who died of the same virus. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

A medical staff member, right, watches as others in protective gear escort Nina Pham, left, from an ambulance to a nearby aircraft at Love Field, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Dallas. Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan who died of the same virus. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Journalists covering the Ebola story are struggling to find a balance between patients’ rights, the public’s need to know what is going on and the uncomfortable feeling that innocent people caught up in this story will be “marked” for life.

A little more than a week ago, Nina Pham was a nurse who was helping to care for a Liberian man who was dying from Ebola in a Dallas hospital. This week, she showed up on a YouTube video, lying in a hospital bed recovering from the virus herself. 

Carolyn Mungo, WFAA-Dallas News Director

Carolyn Mungo, WFAA-Dallas News Director

WFAA-TV News Director Carolyn Mungo, a frequent guest faculty member at Poynter, told me that she worries about the long-term effect being linked to the Ebola story will have on Pham and so many others.

“When health officials said that Thomas Duncan (the first Ebola patient to die in the United States) could have exposed several children who attend Dallas schools, the school system alerted parents at those schools. Parents wanted to know which classes the children attended,” Mungo said. “The school system cited privacy concerns and would not identify the classrooms. But the parents pointed out that when there is a lice outbreak, the schools send home notes naming classrooms. They wanted to know why this potentially more serious alert provided less information.”

That was just the beginning of the privacy concerns that would arise.

“The police released a name and a photo of a homeless man who Duncan might have come into contact with. They just wanted to talk with the man, but we had to decide how much we would spread the man’s name and picture. Eventually we chose to show his picture and not name him, then when police found him and talked with him and found out he was not sick, we quit using the photo,” she said, but Mungo agreed that the images probably do still exist online somewhere.

“Mr. Duncan’s family is quarantined right now and will be for a few more days. We know where they are but we have chosen not to report that,” Mungo said. “There has been a lot of pressure from the public for officials to say where the family was moved. Our concern is where can this family go to start over? They have been branded, they may be forever linked with this virus.”

Then there was the tough call about whether to name the deputy who stopped by a medical clinic saying he was feeling sick and that he had been inside Duncan’s apartment. The response was overwhelming.

“People showed up at the clinic in hazmat suits. One of our people noticed the license plates of the man’s car and we traced the plates. We realized that a few days before, we had interviewed him as he complained that he had been sent into the apartment without protective gear.” Mungo said, “Because he had talked with us on camera, complaining about not being protected, we made a decision to use his name and image. He chose to go public before and that became a big part of our decision.”

Journalism v. HIPAA 

A health story of national proportions like the Ebola story pits the role of journalism against HIPPA rules. HIPAA (American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) restricts patient information to doctors, direct caregivers, insurance companies and others expressly named in the Act.

A top medical ethicist says the law allows some leeway when a national health crisis is involved, but those loopholes do not apply to journalists.

Dr. Arthur Caplan

Dr. Arthur Caplan

“There is a clause about ‘contact tracing’ that lets public officials not directly involved in the patient’s care to get information,” said Dr. Art Caplan, head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center. “Even when an otherwise private health matter becomes a national concern, the medical community has to use some common sense about HIPAA. The public may need to know where the infected person went, who else may have been exposed.”

The Health and Human Services website gives similar advice, “the Rule permits covered entities to disclose protected health information without authorization for specified public health purposes.” In fact, HHS says, there are several HIPAA exemptions.

The Privacy Rule permits covered entities to disclose protected health information, without authorization, to public health authorities who are legally authorized to receive such reports for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability. This would include, for example, the reporting of a disease or injury; reporting vital events, such as births or deaths; and conducting public health surveillance, investigations, or interventions. See 45 CFR 164.512(b)(1)(i). Also, covered entities may, at the direction of a public health authority, disclose protected health information to a foreign government agency that is acting in collaboration with a public health authority. Covered entities who are also a public health authority may use, as well as disclose, protected health information for these public health purposes.

When Thomas Duncan died from Ebola in Texas, the hospital where he was being treated pointed out that patients can “opt in” or “opt out” of allowing their information to be released to journalists or others who call the hospital asking about the patient’s condition. A patient can even restrict who knows if a person has been admitted at all. And even hospital employees who are not involved in a patient’s care cannot go pawing through a patient’s records. Two hospital employees in Nebraska were fired for looking through Dr. Rick Sacra’s records when he was being treated for Ebola.

MedPage Today interviewed Michelle De Mooy, deputy director for consumer privacy at the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology, who helped sort out what is an is not private in times of a national health concern:

So “when the hospital workers in Nebraska looked at the records of the doctor with Ebola, they still violated HIPAA, but when the ‘hospital’ officially announced the negative test results of a deputy sheriff in Dallas who was tested for Ebola, they did not,” she toldMedPage Today in an email. “My guess is their explanation for publicly announcing this would be to keep the community from panicking.”

HIPAA privacy rules would allow hospitals to release general information about a patient without releasing the person’s name, Caplan said.

“The public should know where the infected person traveled, who else could have been exposed, for example.”

Mungo said even when people on the periphery of the Ebola story volunteer to be named and interviewed, she urges them to be thoughtful about the long-term effect of being on TV.

“We heard from a man who was on the Frontier airline flight from Ohio to Dallas,” Mungo said. That was the flight that Ebola-infected nurse Amber Vinson flew on.

Two schools in Royse City, Texas closed Friday because the man’s kids went there,” Mungo said.

There is no proof the man or the children were exposed at all, but the schools closed to clean classrooms they attended and sent a systemwide alert out. Other school systems sent out alerts saying they too had children of parents on that flight. Three other Texas schools closed on Thursday.

“Every day we face these kinds of decisions,” Mungo said. “We want to report as much specific information as we can, but we worry a lot about what lasting damage will come to the people who get caught up in this story.” Read more

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