Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day at Washington Post: About 54 Laid Off

Fishbowl DC reported on Friday that the Washington Post quietly gave layoff notices to about 54 people in a move that touched every department in the newspaper. Betsy Rothstein wrote:
Internal sources appropriately place the number at 54, though a publicist hasn’t confirmed the exact number. Every department facing cuts was asked to keep the news to their department only, as to not make it look like a mass layoff. We’re told those given pink slips include Beth Jacobs, General Manager of Mobile, and Ken Dodelin, Director of Mobile Products. Sources say the entire Mobile Product Management and IT Project Management staffs have been eliminated. “[CIO and VP Shaliesh] Prakash thinks these are ‘inefficiencies’ – that is the exact word he uses for human beings who are not useful according to him,” said a source who spoke only on condition of anonymity. “Get rid of experienced people to save money, under the garb of streamlining is the new trend inside the Post.” The news comes on the heels of the NYT, which recently offered buyout packages to 30 employees. That target number wasn’t reached; it isn’t clear how many employees were let go.
Here is the memo that was distributed internally as reported by Rothstein:
WaPo memo: As you know, evaluating our structure and reducing costs is an ongoing priority. As part of a broader restructuring across the commercial side, we identified several areas where we believe we can operate differently. As a result, and after careful consideration, we are planning to eliminate some positions, effective April 30, 2013. The employees affected by this position elimination have already been notified, and will have the opportunity to participate in a Separation Incentive Program that will include both separation payments and a company contribution to be used towards health insurance premiums. I will share more and take your questions at our upcoming all-hands tomorrow, Feb 14th, 2013. I fully recognize that situations like this are stressful and thank you for your understanding as we work through this process. – Shailesh Prakash VP Digital Product Development and CIO

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Provo Daily Herald's Executive Editor Gets a Pink Slip

Executive editor Randy Wright was released from his duties at the Provo Daily Herald after laying off nine other employees last week.
Wright, 58, confirmed Thursday he was the only one let go in a second round of cuts, the result of cost-cutting at the Lee Enterprises paper. Last week, the company laid off nine employees in various areas of the operation. The paper’s president and publisher, Rona Rahlf, declined to comment Thursday, saying only that it’s "a matter of policy we don’t respond to questions of an HR matter." In a Daily Herald online story last week, it was noted that the company had reduced "cash costs" by 3.7 percent in the quarter ending Dec. 30, compared with the same period a year earlier. Davenport, Iowa-based Lee has fallen victim to declining ad revenue and falling circulation as readers have moved to digital news.
Lee Enterprises, based in Davenport, Iowa, owns the Daily Herald, which has a daily circulation of 24,000.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What President Obama Will Not Say During the State of the Union Address But I Would Like to Hear

Good evening fellow Americans. Tonight I report to you that the United States is in good shape. North Korea has shown that it continues to improve its nuclear capability, and Iran is not far behind. Unemployment has been steady at about 8 percent or higher since I took office four years ago. Our deficit has grown from $1.3 trillion in 2009 to $16.5 trillion today. Health-care costs are increasing, and thanks to Obamacare small businesses are enjoying more paperwork. Gas prices have double since taking office. Guantánamo Bay is still open. Our military is still in Afghanistan, and there are still 45,000 of our bravest sons and daughters serving in Iraq.

Honesty would be refreshing.

Fake News and Pranks

Is it any wonder why so many people mistrust the media these days? The Daily Currant ran a "satire" piece on Feb. 4 that reported that Sarah Palin was joining Al Jazeera America.
Just weeks after leaving Fox News, Sarah Palin is bouncing back by joining the fledgling Al Jazeera America news network as a host and commentator. The former vice presidential nominee confirmed today that she has signed a multi-million dollar deal to host her own shows and to provide commentary on United States issues for Al Jazeera, which is best known for its news coverage of the Middle East. After leaving Fox News, Palin said she was hoping to reach a broader audience with her message. When contacted by phone, Palin said Al Jazeera - with its extensive international network - offered her the best opportunity to broadcast to millions of people.
In an effort to double down on stupidity, The Washington Post ran it as fact, then later had to correct itself.
An earlier version of this post and the post’s URL incorrectly reported that Sarah Palin had signed on as a contributor to the Al Jazeera America news network. The blogger cited a report on the Daily Currant Web site as the basis for that information without realizing that the piece was satirical.
Nice ... Even worse, CBS in LA was a victim of a Howard Stern prank call. KCBS/KCAL put on a guy on the air who had told them that he was an official from the U.S. Fish and Game Commission. He had claimed to have information about the
CBS Los Angeles learned that lesson the hard way during their coverage of the shootout between ex-Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner and law enforcement agencies. In the call, a man who identifies himself as Captain Janks pretended to be a California Fish & Game official and said his agency was the first to spot Dorner, but then things went a bit astray. "It was confirmed that there was gunfire. We don't know at this point. We believe it was Ronnie the Limo Driver firing at Mr. Dorner." Janks said Ronnie was driving to a block party when he spotted Dorner. The problem is, Ronnie is a popular feature on Howard Stern's radio show and not a game and fish official. Janks called the CBS reporter a few choice words before getting cut off. He has been a long-time fan and popular caller of the Howard Stern Show.
I'm old school. But this is total stupidity on "Captain Janks' " part.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

George Bush's Emails Hacked: What Happened to Ethics?

From Paul Farhi at the Washington Post:
The Smoking Gun published apparently private Bush family photos from the hacker’s cache, such as a shot of George H.W. Bush sitting up in his hospital bed in December (the photo was taken down a few hours after it appeared). It also quoted from e-mails that revealed deep family concerns about the elder Bush’s health, including one from George W. Bush seeking input from his relatives for a eulogy to his father. Further, it posted images of paintings made by the younger Bush that he had sent to his sister Dorothy, including paintings of a man showering and one in a bathtub.
The Smoking Gun went way out of bounds here. There is no journalistic value in publishing such private communications. No public policy is affected by these emails.

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Baaaaaaaack, Sorta

I've been away for a while growing in my new job. I'm planning to come back to this blog after the holidays. Hope all is well with everyone. I was amazed to find that I was still getting about 1,000 legitmate page views a day despite the fact I haven't posted anything in years. That's 1,000 after subtracting the robot and spam visits. Either this blog is fairly popular or Statcounter is totally bogus. I'll be tinkering with the layout for a while. So don't be surprised to see the format change often. Once again, enjoy the holidays! --- Jeff

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gould (Ark.) City Council Tries to Ban All Organizations From Meeting in Private Homes Unless Approved by City Government

Government Gone Wild (Big Time): A small city's council in Arkansas votes to ban citizens from meeting together in private homes or forming organizations unless they get City Council approval. The mayor is vowing to fight the council over the most ridiculous ordinance I have ever seen.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mother of Slain 9-Year-Old: Stop the Hatred

Roxanna Green, mother of the 9-year-old child who was shot and killed by a gunman in Arizona who was targeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said on MSNBC that she wanted the memory of her daughter Christina to live on.

"I just want her memory to live on, she's a face of hope, a face of change," Roxanna Green told MSNBC. "Stop the violence, stop the hatred."

Green spoke about how her daughter had been born on Sept. 11, 2001 and had been featured in a book called "Faces of Hope."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chelstowski Named Publisher of Newsweek/Daily Beast

In another sign that the two organizations are ready to merger, Ray Chelstowski, a former publisher of Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly, has been named publisher of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, reports Jeremy W. Peters of The New York Times.

Chelstowski is the  former publisher of Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly.

Peters offers this background in his report:

Under Mr. Chelstowski’s plan, the advertising sales staffs of Newsweek and The Daily Beast will eventually become one, and sales people will sell print and digital ads for both brands.

That could lead to further staff downsizing, but Mr. Chelstowski said it was premature to say whether there would be job cuts.

“Right now there are two separate sales staffs, two separate operations,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “I think the best way to go to market is in an integrated capacity.”

Since Barry Diller, whose IAC/InterActiveCorp started The Daily Beast, and Sidney Harman, who bought Newsweek late last year, agreed to merge operations in November, both organizations have been figuring out how to coexist. Newsweek will remain as a distinct magazine brand, while the Daily Beast Web site will become the vehicle for news online. will no longer exist in its current form, and readers who type that address into their Web browsers will be redirected to

Tina Brown, a former editor at The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, who was leading editorial operations at The Daily Beast, is now the editor of Newsweek as well.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Philly Inquirer’s Loeb Bounces Back to Washington Post as Local Editor

 Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli announced today that Vernon Loeb, Philadelphia Inquier's deputy managing editor/news, is returning to the Post as local editor.

Loeb's resume is a document of back-and-forth adventures betwen the two papers. Previously, he was a reporter for the Post. He started that stint in 1994 after leaving the Inquirer for the first time.

Romenesko posted the memo earlier today:

From: Marcus Brauchli
Sent: 01/05/2011 12:17 PM EST
Subject: A New Local Editor

To the Staff:

We are pleased to announce that Vernon Loeb will be returning to The Post as Local Editor.

Vernon joins us from The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has been deputy managing editor for news, overseeing the metro, business, health & science and national/foreign desks, as well as the newsroom’s interactions with It’s his second stint at the Inquirer, having previously covered the statehouse and City Hall and done a tour as a correspondent in Southeast Asia.


The last time he decamped from Philadelphia, in 1994, it was also to The Post, where he covered the second round of Marion Barry as mayor, before moving to the National Staff to cover the CIA and the Pentagon. He left The Post after a decade to run California investigations for the Los Angeles Times.

Vernon is a tremendously talented, high-energy journalist, whose enthusiasm for what we do is infectious. In his new job, he will drive our coverage of the region, ensuring we are serving our readers, both print and digital, the smartest, freshest and most authoritative news and features on the issues that matter most to them. It’s a good match: this is a highly competitive market, and Vernon is an intensely competitive editor.

He will start on Feb. 1 and report to Liz Spayd.

As part of this transition, Senior Web Editor Jane Elizabeth and the team will soon join the Local staff, with Jane spearheading Local digital initiatives and reporting to Vernon. Prior to joining the Post as Local Web News Editor a year ago, Jane was a senior editor at The Virginian-Pilot, supervising teams covering the military, politics and government, as well as medicine, health, environment, transportation, religion and consumer issues. At the Post, she has been instrumental in’s growing success. This move, which will combine our Local content creation and web teams into one seamless operation, is aimed at ramping up our Local efforts across all platforms. David Marino-Nachison will continue to be Local Innovations Editor.

Vernon is married to Patricia Ford Loeb, a distinguished public and commercial radio reporter and editor. They have four children – one out of college, one in, and twins who are seniors in high school. Loeb has been known to run a marathon or two (54 actually, ed.) and is an ardent Phillies fan.

Please join us in welcoming Vernon back to the newsroom.