FRIDAY’S LINKS: Woodward Fumes, Dirty Word Crossword, JOA’s Cost

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s edition, a New York Post gossip columnist is accused of trying to get billionaire Ron Burkle to pay him for keeping items out of Page Six. Also, Bob Woodward responds to criticism from Nation writer David Corn.


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‘NYP’ Gossip in Extortion Probe
Jared Paul Stern, a freelance columnist for Page Six, is being investigated by the FBI for an alleged attempt to extort money from billionaire Ron Burkle to the tune of $220,000. On Monday, Stern offered to keep Burkle out of the gossip column in exchange for $100,000 down, and a monthly stipend of $10,000.


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‘Another New Low for Journalism’
“I was genuinely shocked to read [The Nation writer David Corn’s] recent column Woodward and Reality,” writes WaPo writer Bob Woodward. “The column is thoroughly dishonest and represents another low for journalism.”


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‘NYT’ Readers Incensed by Dirty Word in Crossword
A clue in Monday’s New York Times crossword puzzle led to the word “SCUMBAG.” Most puzzlers, penciling in these letters, felt nothing more than mild satisfaction. But a small number, who knew the word’s etymology, were outraged.


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Adam Geller Named AP National Writer
As a business writer, Geller, 42, has covered labor, employment and workplace issues. He has produced stories about a company that struggled to recover from the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, the use of illegal workers to clean Wal-Mart stores, and what happened at one company when a male executive became a female.


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Among the Dinosaurs
“There are almost 1,500 daily papers in the U.S., so the gathering of publishers at this year’s Newspaper Association of America annual conference looked a lot like America,” writes BusinessWeek columnist Jon Fine. “An America of local monopolists, that is: overwhelmingly white, male, late-middle-aged, and predisposed to wear suits on Sunday, even when traveling. They gathered to hear, once again, that the whole problem is that they are no longer monopolists.”


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‘Seattle Times’ Lost More Than $14.6M From JOA in ’03-’05
The paper says it lost a total of more than $14.6 million in 2003, 2004 and 2005 under its joint operating agreement (JOA) with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The audited figures are included in two notices The Times submitted to the P-I’s owner, The Hearst Corp., last fall and last week in its continuing bid to trigger an escape clause in the JOA that could lead to termination of the agreement, closure of the P-I, or both.


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‘Wichita Eagle’ Apologizes for Deceptive Ad
The Wichita Eagle violated its own advertising policies when it published a two-page ad Thursday that resembled a news story and offered readers “free” money. The ad, which appeared on pages 4B and 5B of Thursday’s paper, ran under the headline “Free money giveaway kicks off new $10 bills.”


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Newspaper Giants Redesign Their Websites
“Simply put, the growth is in digital,” writes Steve Johnson. “From January to December of last year, newspaper Web sites collectively saw a 21 percent increase in unique visitors, and in November, more than a third of all Internet users visited a newspaper site, according to a recent study from the Newspaper Association of America. This growth, part of the reason newspaper sites are the dominant digital information providers in most local markets, comes as print circulation continues a decades-long slow decline.”


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Writer Says Bloggers Owe Jill Carroll an Apology
“In the hours between captivity and true freedom, Carroll was seen in one propaganda film describing the mujahideen as ‘good people fighting an honorable fight’ and in another interview saying she was never threatened,” writes Ellen Goodman. “An online jeering section bought it hook, line, and sinker without waiting to hear that the videos were made under threat. As Alex Jones of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center said, “They were gulled by a clever piece of propaganda and ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

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