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Memos Sent to Romenesko

Memos of media interest.

Return to Romenesko

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NYT memo on Schacter's new position
3/12/2004 12:43:11 PM

To: newsrooX@nytimes.com
From: Bill Keller
Subject: Score One for Culture


As most of you have heard -- and as Arthur announced to the assembled company earlier this week -- one of our major undertakings for this year is a renaissance of our beloved Culture Department. We will be taking on issues of staffing, design, deadlines, space and organization, in what we see as a critical investment in the long-term health of the paper. Fulfilling our ambitions while continuing to produce the best cultural reporting in the country will entail demand leadership, and I'm delighted to announce that we now have it. Jim Schachter, one of our most versatile and creative editors, will join Steve Erlanger in a newly created deputy position, alongside the excellent Bill McDonald. Jim's first responsibility will be to help honcho this project to fruition; he will then become a crucial part of the reinvigorated department. Nobody who has worked with Jim will be surprised that we have turned to him for this project. He is a force in both breaking news and enterprise, an inventive mind, and savvy about the visual aspects of coverage. To an area that we have increasingly come to recognize as, among other things, a collection of industries, he brings long experience in rendering business coverage sharp and approachable. Both in Bizday and in his prior life at the L.A. Times, Jim helped shape coverage of the television and film industries. Moreover, and this is no small thing, to a project that will sometimes strain nerves he brings a sense of humor. If culture isn't fun, what's the point?

He will leave Bizday at the beginning of April to take up this new assignment.


Tanenhaus named NYTBR editor
3/10/2004 12:24:06 PM


I'm excited to report that we have a new editor for the Book Review. He is Sam Tanenhaus, a writer of distinction, a thinker of tremendous range and ambition, a passionate consumer of books, a kind of literary and intellectual fire-hose. He will begin April 1.

Sam's list of accomplishments should probably be headed by his virtuoso 1997 biography of Whittaker Chambers, a finalist for both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. Richard Bernstein's review in our pages called it "the kind of writing that can keep you propped up against your pillow late at night." Sam is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and his writing on books and ideas has appeared in just about every significant venue in the English language (including our own magazine, Op-Ed page, Arts & Ideas page and, of course, Book Review). Taking charge of the Book Review means he will set aside his current work in progress, a
biography of William F. Buckley Jr. Though he has made his reputation in non-fiction, Sam's M.A. from Yale was in English literature, and in our interviews we've found him to be an avid reader and incisive critic of serious fiction. To anyone who might have fallen for the notion that we were looking to dumb down this precious franchise: take that!

In nearly four months of searching, we considered most of the most impressive talents in the world of book reviewing. Many of them wrote incisive diagnostic essays on the Review and its promise. Jill and I interviewed widely -- and, I confess, we may have prolonged the process a little because those conversations were so stimulating. In the end, we kept coming back to Sam, his ideas, his passion for the Review, his energy.

This will be a kind of homecoming, and not just because of his
double-digit byline count as a Times contributor. Until April 1999, Sam worked for Katy Roberts as an editor on the Op-Ed page. He gets The Times, which gives us great confidence that he will bring not only fresh creative energy but the ability to make things happen.

Chip McCrath [McGrath], who has been eagerly awaiting his liberation to the writing life, bequeaths to Sam an illustrious record and a staff dedicated to the highest standards.They have been patient with us and generous with their thoughts about the Review. I think they, and all of us, are in for an exciting time.

Bill [Keller]

Stephenson named to Boston Globe "Ideas" post
3/9/2004 11:17:03 AM

From: SchuesslXX@globe.com
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004 5:09 PM
To: BG_EditoriXX@globe.com
Subject: new deputy Ideas editor

To all:

I am pleased to announce that Wen Stephenson has been named as Deputy Ideas Editor, effective March 15. A Southern California native currently living in Wayland, Wen, 35, received a bachelor's in History and Literature from Harvard and a master's in English from the University of Chicago before joining the staff of the Atlantic in 1994. At the Atlantic, Wen was the founding editor of Atlantic Unbound, a Web magazine featuring content from the print magazine as well as a range of weekly online exclusives and
interactive features. Since 2001, he has worked as managing editor of the Web edition of the WGBH documentary series Frontline, where he commissioned original features, dialogues, and roundtables to accompany films on topics ranging from the invasion of Iraq to the Enron-Anderson accounting scandals to the Shakespeare authorship mystery. Wen also assisted in the development of Frontline's forthcoming documentary on American politics, to be broadcast this spring.

Wen's skills and experience will be a real asset as we work to build on the section's past successes while also broadening our readership, sharpening our story mix, and improving the writing. I hope you will all join me in
welcoming him to the Globe.

Jenny Schuessler

Rochester news union questions cop story apology
3/8/2004 8:42:07 PM

Letter from executive committee of Newspaper Guild of Rochester, Local 17, to Rochester Democrat and Chronicle executive editor Karen Magnuson:

March 8, 2004

Dear Karen;

A number of  newsroom employees have expressed their concerns about our handling of the recent controversy over the initial news story of the death of retired police investigator Thomas Johns. We, in turn, told them that we'd pass along their issues, and questions.

No one who approached us challenged whether the apology was warranted. But there appears to be a growing thought that, after that apology, we've gone far beyond what was necessary to rectify any perceived mistake with the initial coverage. While even the obituary was perhaps justified, the coverage of our mea culpa meeting with the police seems excessive.

An open-door policy for those who have complaints is good, but will we now cover every meeting we have with community groups or community leaders or public servants who have an issue with our coverage? If the anti-abortion contingent continues to challenge our coverage, will we always air their grievances in print? If the mayor or county executive complain to newsroom management that the tenor of our news is not as bright and uplifting as they'd prefer, given the mayor's recent claims that our community is mired in negativity, will we give them newshole for coverage as well? Or, how about those citizens who aren't in the halls of power? What about the mother of a homicide victim who believes that mention of her child's drug-dealing criminal past was perhaps unnecessary in our news story, even though the police believed and stressed that it should be revealed? Will she too get the newspaper's ear, and will she then get the same coverage as did the police union and leadership?

We're hoping we didn't establish a bad precedent here. And we're also hoping that our newspaper will not now be constrained from tough - but fair and accurate - reporting on those public servants whom we should keep under constant scrutiny. In short, these are the questions the newsroom has: Why did we find it necessary to provide as much coverage as we did to rectify any perceived initial lapse, and should we be fearful that the Rochester police will have more say in our coverage of their actions than they rightfully should?

Any answers you can provide the newsroom, through whatever forum seems appropriate, would likely be welcome.


From the Executive Committee of Local 17, Newspaper Guild

Don Skwar leaves Boston Globe for ESPN
2/27/2004 6:21:37 PM

From: [Boston Globe editor Martin Baron]
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2004 4:20 PM
To: [Boston Globe editorial]@globe.com
Subject: note to the staff

To the staff:

The sterling reputation and consistently high standards of our sports
section are due in great part to more than 14 years of department leadership by Don Skwar. So, today I am disappointed to report that Don's many talents are about to benefit ESPN instead of The Boston Globe.

After more than 24 years as a staff member of the Globe, Don has
decided to join ESPN as a senior news editor. He leaves a marvelous legacy here -- a department populated with some of the nation's most accomplished writers and editors and a sports section that consistently ranks among America's finest.

Coverage of the Super Bowl was just the latest spectacular run, but
the section is a daily feast of top-notch sports journalism. In what has
become an annual ritual, the sports section this year again walked away with an impressive array of awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors

All of us are enormously proud that our sports section has become such
a valued destination for Globe readers. Superior sports coverage is at the core of our mission in a town that loves sports.

We will move as quickly as possible to name a new sports editor, keeping in mind that Don set the bar very high for dedication, energy, and imagination. I am deeply grateful for all that Don contributed to the Globe. Please join me in wishing him the very best in his challenging new job. We will miss him.


NYT editors' memo on Amy Spindler's death
2/27/2004 4:53:35 PM

To the staff,

We have some heartbreaking news.

Amy M. Spindler, who brought so much news, excitement and witty pleasure to the fashion pages of the Times Magazine as its style editor, died this morning after a heroic struggle with cancer. She was 40.

Amy joined the Times as its fashion news columnist in 1993, and a year later was named the newspaper's fashion critic, a position created for her, appropriately, since it was one of Amy's signal traits that things as they were could seldom contain her restless, inspired self. Her writing was incisive and authoritative, and as a journalist she was drawn always to the daring, the overlooked, the next. (We were looking forward to her return to writing as critic at large for culture and style at the Times, a post to which she was named in November of last year.)

But it was as an editor that she dazzled. Planning and editing the
magazine's style pages provided her with the opportunity to dream and scheme and produce just like the fashion designers and interior designers, architects and chefs whose creations she loved (or not).

We mourn the loss of such an original, and extend our condolences to her husband, Roberto, and to her mother and sister. There are no plans as yet for services or a memorial. We'll let you know if that changes.

Bill, Jill, John and Gerry

Orlando Sentinel memo on OxyContin series fallout
2/25/2004 1:55:12 PM

To the [Orlando Sentinel] Metro staff --

The time has come for us to move on from the turmoil of the past few weeks. There are some things I want to say now that will start us down that path.

Sal Recchi will be stepping aside soon as City Editor. He will stay in the post until a qualified successor is found, and will then step into another senior editing role to be identified in time. He will continue his career as a core contributor to this newspaper.

Many of you admire Sal as a passionate editor, an inspirational leader, a great mentor or friend. Since coming into the job in January of 2003, he has lifted the performance and morale of his department.

Sal, Mick Lochridge and Doris Bloodsworth have just been through a painstaking, grueling process. All three submitted to a tough examination of their work in an effort to get to the bottom of grave mistakes that put our credibility on the line. Their participation in this painful process helped safeguard that credibility, and they deserve your thanks and congratulations for that.

We value all three of them, and we had hoped that all three would choose to carry on at this newspaper. Sal and Mick both intend to do so. Doris late Monday submitted her resignation, effective Friday. But I want to thank her for getting as far as she did in the paper's self-examination process.

I  want also to take this opportunity to thank the people outside our department -- Dan Tracy, Jim Leusner, Ann Hellmuth, Bob Shaw, Manning Pynn, Elaine Kramer, David Bralow and Kathy Waltz -- for the difficult work they did to serve Metro during the past several weeks. And I want to personally express my gratitude to all of you for continuing to do exemplary journalism during that most distracting and disruptive time.

Like all ordeals in life, this one came with a lesson: We must protect our integrity, our honor and our credibility, and accept our accountability as a duty to the power we wield each day. That duty is bigger than any story or any prize. It is bigger than any mistake. It is bigger than any job.

We learned that lesson, and we did our duty. Now let us go forward.

Thank you,

Sean Holton
[Associate Managing Editor, Metropolitan News]

[MEMO #2]

To: Staff
From: [Managing editor] Elaine Kramer
Date: Feb. 24, 2004

In Sunday's paper, we published two items that all of us wished we'd never had cause to print - a story and a column about our errors in the "OxyContin Under Fire" series.

But we did have to publish them. These pieces were correct and necessary steps in assessing the causes of our mistakes and reporting on them fully to readers.

There is no question this has been a low point for the individuals involved, our newsroom and our newspaper. Now it's time to move forward. The measure of each of us as journalists and the Sentinel as a newspaper will be in what we learn from this experience and how we improve our journalism, beginning today.

Here are the steps we will take:

We will focus additional attention on background checks, including renewed training on conducting effective searches, and more active discussions during reporting and editing on when to do them, who does them, and how far to take them.

We will create a "request for research" form, such as we have for photos and graphics, which will clarify and record what searches should be conducted and will prompt more productive conversations between reporters, editors and editorial researchers.

Before a project is approved, senior editors will weigh and debate actively whether the project should be handled by more than one reporter, or by reporters with specific subject-matter expertise.

We will ensure that editing of long-term, complex projects will be done on the projects desk or by an editor who is freed up entirely from daily duties.

We will charge the primary editor on a project with the duty of ensuring timely and complete flow of information to senior editors on key developments, issues or turning points, including disagreements between the primary editor and reporter. We will insist on including the primary editor as the lead project representative in all higher-level discussions, including legal ones.

We will ensure that reader, source and internal reaction to major projects or particularly sensitive stories goes not only to the reporters and editors most closely involved in the story but also to the public editor. All will act with due and appropriate speed.

With Dana Eagles and the associate managing editors, I will be working out specific next steps on each of these points in the coming weeks. If you have ideas or specific concerns, please pass them along.

KR editor's memo on war coverage
2/24/2004 2:00:23 PM

TO: Knight Ridder Publishers
Knight Ridder Editors
FROM: Clark Hoyt [KR Washington editor]
DATE: February 23, 2004

Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel and John Walcott reported for our Sunday newspapers that the Defense Department is still paying millions of dollars to an Iraqi exile group that was the source of some of the fabricated and exaggerated intelligence President Bush used to make the case for war.

That report is only the latest in a string of Knight Ridder exclusives on intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq. It is a line of
inquiry that is at the heart of the most important decision a democratic society can face - whether to go to war.

In recent weeks, the media has been criticized heavily for failing to alert the public to the fact that there were deep divisions in the intelligence and military communities over whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq really posed a serious national security threat to the United States. Actually, Knight Ridder did report on those divisions, often on your front pages, starting in the fall of 2002. In fact, because of those stories, many of you have been receiving letters to the editor complaining that Knight Ridder's coverage has not been sufficiently supportive of President Bush's decision to invade

Because of the controversy, I'd like to review for you what Landay, Strobel and Walcott have been writing and why we believe it is in the highest traditions of watchdog journalism that helps readers be well-informed citizens.

Starting in September of 2002 and continuing to this day, Knight Ridder aggressively pursued the failure and abuse of intelligence in making the case for the war in Iraq. Until well after Baghdad fell, it was a lonely endeavor. Other news organizations mostly amplified the Bush administration's claims that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction and had ties to al Qaida, even as we reported that many of the intelligence officials and military officers who were handling this top-secret information thought those claims were false or exaggerated.

As momentum for war increased, Landay, Strobel and Walcott reported that many intelligence and military officials did not think Saddam was a growing threat. The reporters wrote that some of these officials believed that classified information was being distorted to make the argument for war. Knight Ridder stories have described Pentagon offices, staffed by hard-liners, that were created after top civilian officials pushing for war felt they weren't getting enough intelligence ammunition from the CIA and other established intelligence agencies. The offices relied heavily on
information from suspect sources, such as the Iraqi National Congress, made up of exiles with their own motives for promoting a U.S. invasion.

After President Bush declared an end to major combat operations, only to be faced with a violent insurgency, Landay, Strobel and Walcott disclosed that the administration had failed to plan for a difficult post-war period. The decision-makers who led us into war ignored warnings of potential trouble because they were convinced that American soldiers would be hailed as liberators and that the country would transition quickly to a stable democracy./CONTINUED BELOW

Knight Ridder war coverage memo/CON'T.
2/24/2004 1:55:49 PM

Knight Ridder's groundbreaking work has received well-deserved recognition. Landay and Strobel earlier this month won the Raymond Clapper Memorial Award, given for outstanding Washington reporting. And The New York Review of Books said, "Almost alone among national news organizations, Knight Ridder had decided to take a hard look at the administration's justifications for war." New York Times columnist Paul Krugman twice
credited our reporting.

But, we don't publish newspapers in the opinion centers of New York and Washington, and some of those who create the buzz about excellent journalism may be unaware of all that we've done.

Just a week ago, Michael Getler, the outstanding journalist who is ombudsman of The Washington Post, under the headline, "Not Everyone Was Wrong," wrote about recent coverage of intelligence failures without noting Knight Ridder's work. Under information "we now know," Mike listed without credit a story that Knight Ridder papers published on Oct. 5, 2002. He praised a recent Washington Post story on the how the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate
that was used to help make the case for war contained caveats that were ignored. What he didn't note was that on the same day many Knight Ridder papers carried a 1A story by Landay describing how that intelligence document was actually rewritten before it was released to the public to delete all the warnings about the intelligence community's lack of knowledge about Saddam's weapons programs.

We appreciate all the support you have given this coverage, and we're pleased that other news organizations are now engaging the vital story of how intelligence information was used and disseminated before and during the war in Iraq. As they do, we will continue to pursue the story because we believe it is the most important one of our time.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr.'s memo re Lewis, others
2/19/2004 2:45:29 PM

Subject: Memo from Arthur

Dear Colleagues,

I have some important, yet bittersweet news to share with you today.Russ Lewis, our president and CEO, has decided to retire by the end of this year. When that happens, Janet Robinson, who we are naming chief operating officer and executive vice president today, will become president and CEO of our Company.

Having begun his Times career in 1966 as a copyboy, Russ has been with us for a long time and is well known to most of you. I've been fortunate to have had him as my business partner for over a decade, and as my friend for even longer. His wit, his wisdom, his drive and his basic humanity have served us extraordinarily well over the years.

After working for several years in the Times newsroom while earning his law degree, Russ moved on to the Company's legal department where he became a self-described "First Amendment zealot." His passion for the news, and then the business side of our enterprise have characterized his leadership efforts whether working in circulation, production, general management or corporate. When he retires at the end of the year, Russ can take pride in knowing that, working with all of you, he's left an indelible
mark on The New York Times Company.

One of Russ' strengths over the years has been his ability to
recognize and nurture our future leaders. There is no better example of this than Russ' partnership with Janet. So, despite Russ' departure, the business leadership of our Company will be in extraordinarily capable and experienced hands.

Janet joined our Company in 1983, working for our now divested
magazine group. She joined The Times newspaper in 1993 and the rest, as they say, is history. Among Janet's major accomplishments are her stellar stewardship of The Times' national expansion strategy -- a truly transformational event for the newspaper and her steady hand in guiding all of our newspapers through the past few financially difficult years. And, as those of you who have had the pleasure of working with Janet know, we've benefited a great deal from her leadership and mentoring skills, both of which germinated during her formative years as a teacher a role she's
never left. In her new role as chief operating officer and executive vice president announced today, Janet will oversee the Broadcast and Digital divisions as well as continue to oversee the newspaper groups.

Today, we are also announcing well-deserved promotions for Len Forman and Scott Heekin-Canedy. Len, our chief financial officer, will add executive vice president to his CFO title. Len has an accomplished background in all forms of media, including print, broadcast, magazines and digital. Len will continue to oversee all of our corporate financial areas and investor relations, and will add responsibility for corporate information technology, corporate communications and our equity investments. Scott will succeed Janet in the critical position of president and general manager of The Times newspaper, a role for which Scott is well prepared. Since taking the helm of The Times circulation department, Scott has developed an unrivaled record of successfully growing copies, revenues and, just as significantly, talented people. Scott's
replacement in Circulation will be announced shortly.

* * * * *

Since its inception over a century and a half ago, The New York Times and the company that bears its name, have always strived to be exemplars of the high-quality journalism that is an essential element in our nation's democracy. Our ability to accomplish this important goal depends in great measure on the quality and continuity of our business leadership. I'm confident that the leadership transition that begins today will serve us very well in that regard long into our future.

Please join me in congratulating Janet, Len and Scott on their new
responsibilities. As Russ will still be CEO of this Company for some
months to come, we will have time later to thank him for his friendship and leadership as well as wish him well for the adventures he has ahead of him.


Dow Jones Newswires memo re spell-check
2/17/2004 10:45:03 AM

From: [Neal Lipschutz of Dow Jones Newswires]
Sent: Friday, February 13, 2004 9:30 AM
To: Gabriella Stern; Inside.Newswires; Jeff Sutherland; Newswires - Americas
Subject: Note from Neal Lipschutz, Senior Editor, Americas


We have had too many incidents where the use of the spell-check program within our editorial production system (news station) led to our publication of errors on Dow Jones Newswires. Most typically, this has involved the inadvertent changing, based on a spell-check suggestion, of a proper name of a person or company into a non-related word. For this reason, spell-check should no longer be used by reporters or editors in the Americas when writing or editing for
publication on Newswires.

As long as we are on the topic of errors, I want to reiterate long-standing policy. Anyone who receives a claim that something we published is in error must treat that claim with the utmost seriousness and speed. A supervisory editor should be quickly involved in the matter and the claim needs to be looked into as soon as possible. Of course, if we are in error, we want to publish a correction as soon as possible.

Thanks in advance for your help in these important matters.

Neal Lipschutz
Senior Editor, Americas

DJ union memo re "premium pay" at WSJ
2/10/2004 11:02:51 AM

From: [Dow Jones] Union
Sent: Monday, February 09, 2004 4:15 PM
To: Union
Subject: WSJ To Readers: Drop Dead

In recent days several groups of reporters at the Wall Street Journal have been told that the company doesn't want to pay reporters for working extra days, especially on weekends or holidays. Instead, that work would be assigned to reporters who will work Sunday through Thursday. In other words, breaking news stories for the Monday paper would be written by reporters who
probably don't cover the subject full time, and therefore are somewhat less knowledgeable about the subject. To put it another way, Dow Jones would prefer to pinch pennies and attempt to pressure IAPE than ensure that readers get the best possible news.

We aren't disparaging the reporters who would be working Sunday shifts, but the fact remains: those reporters wouldn't necessarily be the ones with the best contacts and deepest knowledge about the subject they suddenly find themselves covering.

The issue here is "premium pay." The contract is quite clear: If a Dow Jones employee works on a day off, he or she is supposed to be paid time and half.

But in some cases, Journal editors have told reporters that they must take a comp day rather than get paid, even though the contract says nothing about comp days. If an employee works on a regularly scheduled day off, and isn't paid time and a half, Dow Jones is violating its legal obligation to abide by the terms and conditions of employment that it has agreed to with its employees.

And now the company wants to use substitute reporters for beat reporters on weekends and holidays. That is a violation of the commitment from Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal to its readers.

As former journalists and Pulitzer prize-winners, Peter Kann and Karen House ought to be ashamed of themselves for putting news second to its squabbles with its union.

USA Today names Kelley investigators
1/29/2004 3:09:01 PM

From: [Craig Moon, USA Today publisher]
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2004 2:49 PM
Subject: Announcement

The following is a statement being released by Craig Moon this afternoon:

Three veteran editors will be on the independent panel that will review former reporter Jack Kelley's tenure at USA TODAY.

The panel will be led by John Siegenthaler [sic], former editor and publisher of the Nashville Tennessean. Joining Siegenthaler are Bill Kovach, chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, and William Hilliard, former editor of The Oregonian in Portland. Siegenthaler and Hilliard are former presidents of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Kovach was formerly curator of the Nieman Fellowships at Harvard University and chief of The New York Times Washington bureau.

"My colleagues and I hope and expect an extensive and expeditious examination of the facts surrounding this controversy will serve USA TODAY, its professional staff of journalists and its 5-million-plus readers," said Siegenthaler, who was founding editorial director of USA TODAY.
A team of USA TODAY reporters and researchers will assist the group in examining Kelley's stories. The reporters will be led by John Hillkirk, managing editor of the Money section.

The panel will examine all stories written by Kelley and any related matters it chooses to explore. It also will examine, and investigate if necessary, any questions or complaints that have arisen since Kelley left the paper in early January.

The results will be reported publicly.

Craig Moon

WSJ managing editor's memo re Stevens' promotion
1/28/2004 2:17:15 PM

January 27, 2004
To the staff,

I'm pleased to announce that Amy Stevens will become Weekend Journal's new editor, succeeding Jonathan Dahl.

Since August of 2000, Amy has been deputy Page One editor. She will start in her new post in March, reporting to Deputy Managing Editor Joanne Lipman.

Amy joined the Journal in 1990 as a law reporter in the Los Angeles bureau. In 1993, she moved to New York to originate a weekly column, "Lawyers and Clients," covering the legal profession and the business of law. In 1996, she was named a senior special writer on Page One, and later that year became one of the founding editors of Weekend Journal. She edited Weekend's entertainment and Home Front coverage before moving back to Page One.

Amy earned a bachelor's from Yale and a J.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Please join me in wishing Amy all the best in her new role.

Best regards,
Paul Steiger

ABC News president's memo re Barbara Walters
1/26/2004 7:47:31 AM

From: Westin, David L.
Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2004 9:29 PM

Monday morning the world will learn that Barbara Walters in September will step down as co-anchor of "20/20" after 25 years of leading the program. Some time ago, Barbara came to me privately and told me that, after having thought it over very carefully, she had decided that this season on "20/20" should be her last. She has already accomplished more than any human could have dreamed of accomplishing on the program. She wants time to do other things -- both personally and professionally -- that her commitment to a weekly primetime program simply does not permit. She correctly judges that "20/20" is in stronger shape today than it has been in years; she -- with David Sloan and John Stossel and the entire team -- have ensured that we have a program that is so strong that it will go on to future success even with Barbara cheering from the sidelines.

As determined as she was to step down from "20/20," Barbara is equally determined to remain a vital part of ABC News. She will increase significantly the primetime specials that she anchors. She will be available for coverage of major news events. She'll retain a staff and work closely with the "20/20" staff and others of us to do the work that she loves to do. She will be very much a part of all of our lives well into the future.

I'd be less than honest if I didn't confess to a moment or two of concern over losing Barbara Walter's weekly presence on one of our most important programs. But that concern was quickly overtaken by my confidence in Barbara's good judgment of what is best for her and, ultimately, for the program. And, in the end, we all want what is best for Barbara.  She's convinced that stepping back from "20/20" at the end of the season is what's best; she's convinced me that she's right; and I know that we all will support her in every way as she moves into the next phase of her life and her career.

CNN/US GM Princell Hair's memo to staff
1/23/2004 4:10:39 PM

[Memo from CNN/US general manager Princell Hair]

I have been at CNN for several months now and have come to understand and appreciate the enormous talent and complex machinery that gathers a story and brings it to air. What has become clear to me in that time is that as good as this news organization is -- and make no mistake, it is the best in the world -- it can be even better. I am proud, therefore, to announce today changes that I believe are in the best interests of CNN/US, our staff and, ultimately, the viewers whom we serve. 

Beginning at the macro level, Sue Bunda, Jack Womack and I have looked at the domestic bureau structure and have decided to increase the degree to which newsgathering and programming are fully integrated. Nowhere is this integration more important than in our DC bureau and I have asked David Bohrman to become Vice President of News and Production/Washington Bureau Chief. We are working with Kathryn Kross on a new role with the network and I thank her for her exhaustive efforts in DC. David becomes the new bureau chief immediately, bringing with him a level of passion for the news and skill as a producer that makes him well suited for a job to which all DC-based newsgathering and Washington programming now report. NewsNight will be ably run by its senior producers until an internal and external search for David's replacement is concluded. 

As for the other U.S. bureaus, it is readily apparent that the men and women serving as bureau chiefs in the other 11 cities in which CNN has a permanent presence are as hard working and dedicated as any in the business. Nevertheless, the system in which they currently operate does not fully make sense. We are, in many cases, asking talented and busy reporters to serve also as full-time administrators. Beginning today, that will change. In nearly every case, reporters will no longer be domestic bureau chiefs and will be replaced, instead, by those whose sole responsibility it is to manage the newsgathering and production apparatus in their region. I thank those reporters who have, for so long, done double duty and look forward to seeing them on CNN even more now that they are freed up to do what they are so good at./CONTINUED BELOW

1/23/2004 4:03:11 PM

In the spirit of freeing up even more resources for in-field, boots-on-the-ground reporting, I have also decided to merge the bureaus into regions under the leadership of a regional bureau chief. Going forward, the U.S. will be broken up into four regions, Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West as well as Washington, DC. Each area will be managed by a regional bureau chief and a supervising producer will be asked to manage day-to-day activities in the outlying bureaus. Boston and New York will make up the Northeast region and will be managed by Karen Curry in New York. Atlanta and Miami will occupy the Southeast region and will be led by MaryLynn Ryan in Atlanta. We've expanded the Chicago and Dallas bureaus and added Denver to make-up the Midwest region, to be managed regionally by Edith Chapin in Chicago. The Los Angeles bureau chief, Pete Janos, will manage the Western region, including Seattle and San Francisco. Each region will have a newly designated point-of-contact on the assignment desk and will continue to report directly to Nancy Lane, our VP for News. This new structure allows us to better concentrate our resources on developing news leads before they hit the national stage while, at the same time, remaining the breaking news network we've always been.

The lifeblood of any good news organization is its futures process and these new regional bureaus and their colleagues on the National desk will be fully integrated into a revamped and expanded planning unit to be led by Steve Robinson and his team. Steve, a long-time Time, Inc. reporter and editor, was most recently the head of CNN Sports Illustrated. He brings with him a wealth of experience as a working journalist and I'm pleased he's agreed to take on this important responsibility. The futures process will be separated into short and long-term coverage and Steve will be charged with constantly developing stories and series that will, I believe, be important to increasing time spent viewing. This unit is a critical companion to our breaking news efforts and I will be looking for story pitches to be coming from every corner of the network. Reporters, producers and crews in the field -- working through the National Desk -- will now be accountable to produce those ideas, and the pieces that follow, that will find their way on to our air each and every day. In their new and improved role at this network these men and women in the field will be heard as equals and held accountable as partners. 

Another area I look to play an even greater role in attracting and retaining viewers is the Features unit. Viewers rank medical, science/tech and entertainment news as among the most interesting and I plan to make those content areas an even greater part of our programming. Kim Bondy will bring her experience in special programming to her new role as head of this unit, now including Sports, and I think we can all look forward to her enhancing the presentation of this genre of news.  

As important as all these changes are it is just as critical that the writing, editing and vetting process at this network remain a top priority.  We are the most trusted name in news for a reason and I am committed to ensuring that we remain so. To that end, I've promoted Richard Griffiths to Editorial Director. He will manage "The Row," Wires.CNN, the copy editors/writer and the on-screen editorial group.  I have asked him to focus on fostering even better continuity in our reporting and serve as an important editorial guide for CNN. Better story-telling and more consistent editorial guidance will be his mission and he is well suited to this task.

Sue, Jack, and I have spent many, many hours talking about this network and the ways in which we can make it operate more effectively. No two people know this place better and their counsel and wisdom have been invaluable. Virtually all of newsgathering and production run up through them and their level of responsibility is matched only by their degree of professionalism and ability. All of these changes -- a robust futures process and a fully integrated and empowered bureau system -- are the most visible examples of the philosophy the three of us share. We are intent on creating an integrated newsgathering and production system that is merged at every level just as we are committed to putting real authority in the hands of line managers at a company as complex and fast-moving as this one. 

Today the blueprint has been laid, the map drawn. I sincerely hope you all share my excitement about tomorrow. 


AP sports reporter apologizes for phone list flap
1/23/2004 10:59:26 AM

Subject: Apology
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 19:15:59 -0500
From: Howard Fendrich (hfxxdrich@ap.org)
To: AllSports (AllSpxxts@ap.org)

Dear colleagues:

I want to offer my sincerest apologies for the wasted time and embarrassment I caused each of you individually and The Associated Press as a whole. It never should have happened, and I want you to know that I feel terrible.

I hope these words and my future actions will earn back your trust and respect.


(EARLIER: AP's outdated sports phone list is accidentally sent out.)

(E-mail addresses altered by Romenesko to stop spam.)

Newsman goes from war reporting to sex beat
1/21/2004 5:24:38 PM

[Memo to San Francisco Chronicle staffers]

I am delighted to announce that John Koopman, who has been a metro reporter or editor in San Francisco since 1997, is joining the Datebook staff as a special assignment writer. His beat is sex. He'll be covering everything from the sex-workers industry to nights out with the vice squad to Amateur Nights at the Power Exchange. His stories will appear in different sections of the paper. In the Features sections, they will appear with the logo SKIN - they'll be hard to miss.

Also pleased to say we have boosted the gravitas of the Travel section. John Flinn becomes Executive Travel Editor, Jeanne Cooper joins him as Travel Editor, along with a new Deputy Travel Editor, Spud Hilton.

Meanwhile, the Pink section now benefits from the work of Walter Addiego, who specializes in film.

Carolyn White, Deputy Managing Editor/Features

"It's about trying to kill Stars & Stripes
1/21/2004 2:16:15 PM


The memo below makes it sound like selling the press and firing the pressmen is just a proposal, but we talked about it at length in the meeting. They said the pressmen firings will be humane, and Stripes could keep the proceeds from selling the press, etc.

It's important to understand how Stripes operates to appreciate this. Our budget is $30 million a year. The Pentagon gives us $11 million. (This is absurd. We cover the Pentagon. Why doesn't Congress give us some money instead? Probably because the Pentagon prefers to have that power over us and be able to yank our chain when it feels like it.)

Beyond this, we're told to operate self-sufficiently to the greatest extent we can. Again, this is ridiculous. We don't have huge car dealerships and department stores and malls to advertise with us. We can't possibly function as a real newspaper from a business standpoint. We exist as a service to the troops, particularly in wartime. Yet we're told to operate this way.

So we're behind the eight ball from the get-go. Then Iraq comes along. There's a war. There are 130,000 troops in Iraq. We send reporters there. We expand the newshole. It costs money -- a lot of money beyond Stripes' normal operating costs. Congress gives the Pentagon $87 billion to fight the war, because fighting a war in Iraq costs money -- a lot of money beyond the Pentagon's normal operating costs. Yet the Pentagon tells us to forget it and forces us to SELL OUR PRESS to have money to continue to cover the war and be a newspaper.

And this comes just a few months after our survey of the troops got front page play in the Washington Post and was a huge embarrassment to the Pentagon.

So the Pentagon is basically telling us that the reason Stars and Stripes exists -- to provide a real newspaper to troops during wartime -- is just too gosh darned expensive to fund. And we're talking about just a few million dollars here, piss in a pot for the Pentagon's bloated budgets. It's not about money. It's totally political. It's about trying to kill Stars and Stripes.

From: Bush, Matt 
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 1:48 PM
To:   ES&S All
Subject: All Hands Notes

ES&S Transformation All Hands Meeting
15 January 2004
I. Current Situation – Financial
A. Cash loss in FY03 of $1.6 million
B. Budgeted loss in FY04: $1.7 million
C. Current Dollar-Euro exchange rate is expected to impact losses by an
additional $850,000
D. FY04 first quarter Circulation figures are down by $302,000
II. Transformation Report – Transformation studies have shown areas in which
Stars & Stripes can reduce or eliminate expenses. Declining financial picture
requires these actions be taken immediately. The basic costs associated with
newspaper operations are pages & personnel.
A. Steps already taken to reduce expenses:
i. Changing to a lighter weight newsprint; to be implemented Feb 04
ii. Reducing returns to absolute minimum without compromising
iii. Replacing commercial rental vehicles with long-term, government leased vehicles,

Feb 04
B. Further measures pending implementation
i. Eliminate publishing on government holidays
a. Financial study is being undertaken to determine the
b. If, as expected, results of studies show substantial
savings, President’s Day 04 will be the first non-publish
government holiday
ii. Combining standing sections into one, all-encompassing Sunday
a. This decision has been made to go forward with this plan
b. Committee will be appointed to develop new Sunday section
c. New section comprised of the best of current sections, and then some
d. Sunday single copy price may increase to $1.00 as a result
e. First actual publish date for this product will be late Spring
f. Adequate lead time will be provided to Advertising Teams to allow for rate adjustments and accommodate
restructuring with current advertisers
C. Printing & Production Outsourcing in Europe
i. Preliminary studies show potential for substantial savings
ii. Detailed assessment of all printing and production operations will
be translated into a highly-specific Requests for Proposal (RFP)

iii. RFPs will be submitted to contractors

iv. ES&S General Manager will determine effects on other sections of

the ES&S organization, should print operations be outsourced

v. This will be a complex process, taking anywhere from 6-24 months

V. Pacific Stars & Stripes expense cuts

A. PS&S will seek formal RFPs and continue developing plans for a “publishing partner” in Guam

i. PS&S General Manager to develop timeline within next week

ii. Publishing partner would likely assume printing, sales, service, delivery, collections, and advertising sales ...

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