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Financial maneuvers bring McClatchy share price back up

McClatchy_logo-160x94Typically, having a stock trading at $1.26 a share is not cause for celebration. But when McClatchy stock closed at that level today, it represented a gain of 23.5 percent in the last three trading days.

McClatchy was threatened two weeks ago with delisting on the New York Stock Exchange.  The company responded with two moves that appear to have boosted investor confidence:

  • It authorized a repurchase of up to $15 million of its regularly traded shares (there is a second class of stock controlled by family members that is not affected.)
  • It paid down debt by $22.9 million, further chipping away at the large interest expense that has dragged down earnings for years.

Buying back shares is a slightly arcane practice, essentially a bet by the company that its stock is undervalued.  Read more

Posted: August 31, 2015, 9:03 pm

Behind a winning Trump tactic: feuding with the press

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers questions from reporters at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers questions from reporters at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Mischiefs of Faction

The resilience of Donald Trump includes his clearly relishing feuding with the press.

What’s up with that?

Richard Skinner, a George Mason University political scientist, contends that it’s part and parcel of a symbiotic relationship, including a somewhat complicated one with the “Conservative-Entertainment Complex.”

Skinner and Seth Masket, a University of Denver political scientist, oversee a site called “Masters of Mischief,” and Skinner’s latest blog entry in part tries to make sense of one element of Trump’s surprisingly early durability.

While Trump loves to feud with the mass media, his rise in polls matches up nicely with his disproportionate share of press coverage.

Read more
Posted: August 31, 2015, 8:15 pm

Romenesko is retired, but still tweeting

Tweets by @romenesko Now retired, but still online. Thank you for checking my latest tweets and occasional retirement-era posts. (I’m still posting to Facebook, too.) Please continue to send your news tips and memos to Sorry, but I’m no longer accepting sponsored posts or job ads. * Check out Romenesko’s posts – and reader …

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Posted: August 31, 2015, 8:05 pm

Today is NPR’s 10th podcast-iversary

Ten years ago today, NPR podcasts made their debut, with a directory of 170+ programs created by NPR and public radio stations. At the time, we didn’t know whether podcasts would crash and burn next to minidisks, but the format was a beautiful match for the audio programming our journalists had been shaping for decades, and it had potential. Potential to let us think about programming in new ways, to stick with our audiences as their lives became more on-demand and to take that step forward with our existing network in public radio. Read more

Posted: August 31, 2015, 7:54 pm

Cracking the case: Is there propaganda behind propagation?

The dentist was examining the patient’s broken tooth. “Oh, no,” he said. “It looks like that crack is in danger of propagating.” “Mmmpf, mffppp,” the patient responded, her mouth full of cotton and dentist’s tools. What she meant was, “I thought propagate meant creating babies or reproducing, not just getting bigger." The dentist immediately turned to Google and pulled up...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 7:30 pm

Salon apologizes for calling Nicki Minaj’s speech ‘savage’

Salon on Monday apologized for an errant tweet (since deleted) that called Nicki Minaj’s acceptance speech at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards a “savage, expletive-laden rant,” responding to criticism from readers who said the tweet was racist.

The bulletin, sent this morning from Salon’s main Twitter account, promoted a story summarizing a heated moment at last night’s VMA awards, when Minaj called host Miley Cyrus a bitch for remarks she made in the press. “The look on Miley’s face during Nicki Minaj’s savage, expletive-laden rant says it all,” the tweet read:

This @salon promo tweet for @NICKIMINAJ #VMAs post is worse than @wsj & China – no way to write it off as clueless.

— Staci D Kramer (@sdkstl) August 31, 2015

Salon quickly reversed itself, deleting the original tweet and posting a revised version that called Minaj’s rebuttal “raw” and “righteous.”

The look on Miley's face during Nicki Minaj's raw, righteous rebuke says it all

— (@Salon) August 31, 2015

But it was too late. Read more

Posted: August 31, 2015, 7:21 pm

Guaranteed ‘positive promotion’? Sorry, Vikings Cheerleaders, but that’s not how it works

Fargo (ND) Forum reporter Adrian Glass-Moore wrote to Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders co-coach and appearance coordinator Theresa Baugus and requested an interview with a rookie cheerleader from North Dakota who is making an appearance in Fargo. “Pretty simple story,” Glass-Moore tells Romenesko readers. “Then the coach gave me some absurd ‘stipulations’ and that was the end …

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Posted: August 31, 2015, 7:05 pm

Florida micro-media mogul breaks news, but is it journalism?

Subscribers to Sunburn, an email newsletter for Florida’s political class, got a chuckle one day not long ago out of a little scoop: A state legislator was making money on the side driving for Uber. Sunburn is the work of Peter Schorsch, a conservative political consultant and controversial blogger who has become, in recent years, a micro-media mogul. The plugged-in...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 7:00 pm

VICE journalists charged with terrorism in Turkey

Journalists for VICE News were formally charged with “working on behalf of a terrorist organization” by a Turkish court Monday, days after they were arrested by authorities for lack of proper accreditation.

The VICE crew was reporting in the city of Diyarbakir in the country’s predominantly Kurdish region when they were arrested last week for lack of proper government identification, “security sources” told Reuters Friday.

Kevin Sutcliffe, VICE’s head of news programming for Europe, called the terrorism charges “baseless and alarmingly false” in a statement, saying the arrests represented an attempt to “intimidate and censor” the journalists.

“VICE News condemns in the strongest possible terms the Turkish government’s attempts to silence our reporters who have been providing vital coverage from the region,” Sutcliffe said in the statement. Read more

Posted: August 31, 2015, 6:12 pm

Sign of print times: California daily moves to twice a week

Central Valley Business Times

The Madera Tribune, the only daily newspaper in the California county adjacent to booming Fresno, will no longer be a daily as of Wednesday.

The decision seems part and parcel of melancholy times for local mainstream media: it will move to a twice-weekly schedule, publishing each Wednesday and Sunday instead of five days a week.

“That change is due to tough economic circumstances, which nearly all newspapers seem to face these days,” Charles Doud, the editor and principal owner, told readers last week.

“Other small dailies in the San Joaquin Valley have cut back on publication frequency — some to become weekly, and some to become twice weekly. Examples of these are the Turlock Journal, the Hollister Freelance and the Gilroy Dispatch.”

He was also rather candid about one source of his changing circumstances:

“In the long run, California’s English language newspapers are going to continue to have a hard time because so much of the population is not conversant or literate in English.”

According to Doug Caldwell, the editor-publisher of the Central Valley Business Times, the paper sits in “both a bedroom community to Fresno and a pass-through for those heading to Yosemite [National Park].”

Madera County, for example, has the only children’s hospital between Los Angeles and the Bay Area/Sacramento, he noted by email. Read more

Posted: August 31, 2015, 5:43 pm

How 'democratators' threaten press freedom

As President Obama arrived in Ethiopia in July, his National Security Advisor Susan Rice was asked if she considered the country to be a democracy. “One hundred percent,” she quipped, referring to the tally in favor of the ruling party in national elections in May. Not everyone was amused. For the activists and journalists who face harassment, imprisonment, and exile,...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 4:05 pm

The legacy of puzzle master Merl Reagle and the gamification of news

Merl Reagle, a crossword-crafting master, died Aug.  22.  (Credit: Tampa Bay Times)

Merl Reagle, a crossword-crafting master, died Aug. 22. (Credit: Tampa Bay Times)

Merl Reagle had the soul of a copy editor and the style of a stand-up comedian. During his too-short life he was both of those and much more: musician, songwriter, author, and one of the world’s great puzzle masters. If you love crosswords – not cross words – send up a prayer of thanks to Merl.

My friend Merl died suddenly last week at the age of 65. Reports said the cause was an attack of acute pancreatitis. I am not writing this to note his passing but to celebrate a remarkable life spent swimming in the English language. “You need two things to do what I do,” he once told me. “You have to be passionate about words, and you have to be curious about trivial stuff on lots of different topics.”

Merl created his first puzzle at the age of 6. Read more

Posted: August 31, 2015, 3:17 pm

BBC host after on-air interruption: ‘It was a blue whale! Live!’


On Sunday, the BBC’s Steve Backshall reported live from Monterey, California, for the show “Big Blue Live,” when he got word that a blue whale had been spotted. Mashable’s Blathnaid Healy wrote about the broadcast on Monday, noting it was the first time a blue whale had been broadcast on live TV.

“This is one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen,” Backshall said.

When is it okay to abandon a live interview? When a blue whale suddenly appears behind you… #BigBlueLive

— BBC One (@BBCOne) August 30, 2015

I've always been teased about my over-enthusiasm,but…It was a blue whale! Live! A special & important moment #bigbluelive @BBCBigBlueLive

— Steve Backshall (@SteveBackshall) August 30, 2015

And then we got back to @MontereyAq harbour, & the humpback was still there!

Read more
Posted: August 31, 2015, 2:45 pm

New press freedoms for students in North Dakota (yes, North Dakota)

The Associated Press

Did you figure on North Dakota as a free speech bastion?

It appears that journalism students working at state public high school and college papers will do so with a lot more confidence in their own legal protections, according to The Associated Press:

The measure that took effect this month guarantees student journalists the right to exercise free speech in school-sponsored media, regardless of whether the school supports the media financially or students participate as part of a class. The law puts North Dakota among a few states that have enacted legislation meant to counteract a 1980s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said limits can be set on the free-press rights of high school students.

That 1986 ruling offered a seemingly expansive view of a school’s authority when it came to discipline. Read more

Posted: August 31, 2015, 2:03 pm

Larry King live plots Larry King dead

Good morning.

  1. CNN legend also plans to freeze himself

    Life's not been quite the same for workaholic, vain, celebrity-loving Larry King since CNN pulled the plug on the gabfest icon. He's now 81, on his seventh marriage (this one's gone for 18 years with just one brief hiatus after his fling with his much-younger wife's sister) and clearly obsessed with his death. So Larry King live is mulling Larry King dead. "King would love to attend his own funeral. He would watch invisibly over the proceedings and laugh. 'I would like the ceremony to begin, 'Today we are honoring a 160-year-old man who was caught in bed by an irate husband,’" King said in a characteristically droll Mark Leibovich profile.  ‘"And the funeral is late because it took six days to wipe the smile off his face.’"

    He wanted Mario Cuomo to speak, but Cuomo's gone.

Read more
Posted: August 31, 2015, 11:39 am

Tweeting Across Borders: With a New Mobile App, Meedan Is Working to Improve Social Media Translation

Construction of an expansion of Egypt’s Suez Canal was supposed to take three years. But at the insistence of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, it was built in only one — it opened earlier this month.   The day the new ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:30 am

Jason Rezaian’s Status Unclear After Iran Sentences Two People

TEHRAN — Iran’s judiciary sentenced two people to 10 years in prison on Sunday for spying for the United States and Israel, but their names were not released, local media reported.   It was not clear if the Iranian-American r ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:27 am

Maybe Murdoch Should Sue

From the early days of the commercial Internet, Rupert Murdoch has expressed his frustration and anger over the disingenuousness that has allowed, under the guise of freedom and innovation, a widespread appropriation of otherwise protected content. O ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:24 am

How ‘Democratators’ Threaten Press Freedom

As President Obama arrived in Ethiopia in July, his National Security Advisor Susan Rice was asked if she considered the country to be a democracy. “One hundred percent,” she quipped, referring to the tally in favor of the ruling ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:22 am

Mozambique Journalist Is Shot Dead While Jogging

A Mozambican journalist and publisher was shot dead on Friday (28 August) while jogging in the country’s capital, Maputo.   Paulo Machava was exercising in the city centre before starting work when armed men in a car shot him four time ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:20 am

China Pins Market Plunge on Financial Journalist, Airs ‘Confession’

What's roiling China's stock market? A journalist, apparently.   Wang Xiaolu, a reporter for a respected Chinese business magazine, "confessed" to causing chaos and panic in the markets, state media reported Sunday.
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:17 am

How The Young Turks Plans to Crowdsource Local News Around the World

The Young Turks Network plans to crowdsource its way to providing local news and commentary across the globe.   The online news network is launching a program to recruit new hosts and local correspondents around the world. The program, called ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:15 am

How and Why Journalism Schools Should Teach Podcasting

A buddy of mine who also teaches journalism and is a guy who’s on it when it comes to data and longform popped into my office recently with a great idea for a radio story. Small problem: He’s never produced audio before and the wh ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:09 am

VICE News Crew Faces Terrorism Accusations in Turkey

Reporters on assignment for VICE News in southeast Turkey are scheduled to appear in court Monday to face accusations of terrorism, allegations the international media company says are unsubstantiated.   The VICE crew was reporting in the city o ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:07 am

Life After Content Blocking

Ad blocking started as an initiative by independent developers who wanted to improve our browsing experience. Now that at least one company, Apple, has made Content Blocking “official”, ad-supported publishing business models are ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 10:05 am

News Startups Like 'LittleThings' Are Trying to Tackle Viewability Early

The issue of viewability, online ads people can actually see, is the cause of much Sturm und Drang among publishers and advertisers these days, but a new wave of media upstarts are hoping to sidestep the issue by designing ad-friendly sites early on. ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 9:54 am

On Ad Pricing, Condé Nast Bows to the Reality of Digital

Digital media companies may aspire to be the “Condé Nast of the Web,” a nod to the publishing house’s standard-setting reportage and photography — and, often unspoken, its ability to charge fat premi ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 9:52 am

New Publisher to Scrutinize Separate Newsrooms of Inquirer, Daily News,

Big changes could be coming to the Philadelphia Media Network.   The company runs the Inquirer, Daily News, and, and for now, runs them using three separate newsrooms, perpetuating (in the case of the newspapers) a journalistic r ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 9:50 am

EPPY Awards Entry Deadline Extended to Sept. 11

IRVINE, CA (Aug. 31, 2015) –The entry period for the 20th annual EPPY™ Awards, which honor the best websites presented by media-affiliated companies, has been extended to midnight Friday, Sept. 11, 2015.  Entries are accepted ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 8:02 am

Trib Total Media Selling Nine Newspapers in Western Pennsylvania

Trib Total Media, the North Shore-based media organization behind the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is offering for sale nine of its 77 publications.   The company announced Friday that it will sell four daily newspapers: The Valley Independent in ...
Posted: August 31, 2015, 7:54 am

September 4 early bird registration deadline for Women's Hackathon in Los Angeles

Fri, September 4, 2015 | 5:00 p.m. PDT
Fri, October 9, 2015 | 5:00 p.m. PDT

read more

Posted: August 30, 2015, 11:03 pm

Knight News Challenge on Data opens for applications on September 8

Tue, September 8, 2015 | 9:00 a.m. PDT
Wed, September 30, 2015 | 5:00 p.m. PDT

read more

Posted: August 30, 2015, 9:47 pm

[UPDATED] What it takes to get your newspaper delivered to the right place these days

Norman W. Larson, a retired University of St. Thomas professor and former staffer at the Minneapolis Tribune (it merged with the Star in 1982), posts on Facebook (friends-only setting):
Posted: August 28, 2015, 5:00 pm

Why a drone journalism educator is getting his pilot's license

Matt Waite has already enjoyed a varied career as an investigative journalist and author, as the principal developer behind PolitiFact, and, most recently, as an educator. He’ll soon add one more title to his CV: pilot. Waite, a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been working toward his light-aircraft pilot’s license all summer—not because of any particular ambition...
Posted: August 28, 2015, 4:10 pm

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

In this week's Lower case... From NYCityNews (submitted by Bill McHugh of Bush, Louisiana). And this one, from Twitter, we couldn't stop laughing at: I am 87% sure my local paper doesn't know how pie charts work.— Philip Townley (@empressburger) August 23, 2015 Have a headline you want to share? Snap a photo and email it to or tweet it...
Posted: August 28, 2015, 11:50 am

Nice try, government officials, but this time the law is on the citizen’s side

Government officials can get creative when they want to hide information from public view. They sue people who request records. They try to kill programs designed to allow citizens to resolve FOI disputes without filing a lawsuit. They make decisions in open meetings without public deliberation. They even use Sunshine Week to propose bills to make it more difficult for...
Posted: August 27, 2015, 7:45 pm

As the WDBJ tragedy evolves, how will journalists frame the story?

It is less than an hour’s drive from Roanoke, due south across Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway, to Smith Mountain Lake, where WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward—24 and 27 years old, respectively—were shot to death by a former colleague on live TV early Wednesday morning. Nothing prepares journalists anywhere for the murder of our own. Yet the news...
Posted: August 27, 2015, 4:40 pm

Math doesn't get the media attention it deserves

Last week, a story of an unusual nature managed to break into the regular news cycle. It was a story about math--more specifically, the discovery of a five-sided shape that can be used to cover an area without leaving gaps or overlapping pieces (a trick known as “tiling the plane”). The Guardian picked up the story, as did The Huffington...
Posted: August 26, 2015, 5:15 pm

Messaging apps: Worth trying (carefully) for community engagement

Messaging apps are gaining in popularity in the U.S., according to new Pew research. They offer some potential for community engagement, especially among younger and lower-income community members. However, exploring this communication channel should be handled sensitively. Pew also highlighted other current trends in social media engagement.

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Posted: August 26, 2015, 4:15 pm

In Katrina's wake

Hurricane Katrina attacked New Orleans in August 2005. Among the many ways in which the city was unprepared for the disaster was the absence of a chain of command among local police. “There were no rules in place other than ‘Wait it out and, when the winds wind down, begin your patrols,’ ” a former narcotics officer tells Ronnie Greene in...
Posted: August 26, 2015, 4:10 pm

Should news organizations share the video of the WDBJ7 shooting?

On Wednesday morning, two journalists near Roanoke, Va. were fatally shot during a live taping. The video was posted to various news outlets, prompting a discussion on Twitter about whether it was appropriate to show the footage. [View the story "Journalists react to WDBJ shooting footage" on Storify]
Posted: August 26, 2015, 3:43 pm

As legacy media cuts back on FOIA, digital-only news outlets step in

Ask any journalist and they’ll tell you the Freedom of Information Act process is broken. Denials are at record highs, navigating the bureaucracy can be a nightmare, and the federal agencies recently killed a modest reform bill. But a series of FOIA lawsuits also have just shown how the 50-year-old transparency law can still be indispensable. And absent any change...
Posted: August 25, 2015, 8:05 pm

How a Reuters investigation exposed a little-known side of the medical industry

In January, a pair of Reuters journalists spotted an unusual court motion filed by Johnson & Johnson. The pharmaceutical giant is one of seven companies that make a product known as pelvic mesh, used to treat conditions like urinary incontinence and uterine prolapse, that is at the center of a major wave of personal injury litigation. Johnson & Johnson claimed...
Posted: August 25, 2015, 7:40 pm

Why stock market reporting should be treated with caution

US stock markets sank, bobbed upward, and ultimately sank again on Monday, in what many financial journalists and Wall Street bigwigs described as a “wild ride” worthy of the history books. The reporting on what the numbers meant was as dizzying as the markets themselves. Often ominous horse-race journalism charted the swings and searched for a culprit, while mellow explainers...
Posted: August 25, 2015, 5:05 pm

‘The rapacious Ms. Huffington seems to believe that journalism skills are worth nothing’

David Sze, who works for Arianna Huffington, sent this note to veteran journalist Lauren Lipton last week: Subject: Inquiry from Arianna Huffington’s office: Hi Lauren, I’m David, a Research Editor from Arianna Huffington’s office. Arianna is currently working on a book about the importance of sleep in our lives. In our research, we came across …

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Posted: August 25, 2015, 4:00 pm

Among millennials, usage and subject mix in online news consumption differ by race, ethnicity

Overall online access to news about the world is similar among African American, Hispanic, and white millennials but distinctions emerge when in comes to patterns of usage and topics, according to a new study.

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Posted: August 25, 2015, 5:00 am

Hearken: A new tool that brings the public into the news making process

Designed for newsrooms, editors and producers, Hearken provides modules to enable the public to pitch story ideas, determine assignments, report and finally publish stories online.

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Posted: August 25, 2015, 5:00 am

Sales & Revenue Bootcamp for news organizations, October 19-20

Mon, October 19, 2015 | 9:00 a.m. PDT
Tue, October 20, 2015 | 5:00 p.m. PDT

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Posted: August 24, 2015, 9:47 pm

American Journalism Review's former editor picks out its best pieces

Rem Rieder, the top editor of American Journalism Review for 22 years, highlights the publication's "greatest hits."   The Sad Saga of Gary Webb The hard-charging investigative reporter's career imploded in the wake of his much-criticized “Dark Alliance” series about the CIA and crack cocaine. But while Webb overreached, some key findings in “Dark Alliance” were on target--and important. Last December Webb...
Posted: August 24, 2015, 7:45 pm