Saturday, December 5, 2015


The New York Times today ran a rare Page One editorial urging tighter restrictions on what it deemed "weapons of war."

The editorial stated, in part:

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

The Times reported it was the first such front-page editorial in 95 years, with the last a criticism of the nomination of Warren Harding to be president in 1920.

Read today's editorial HERE and see it below:

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Too much to say about the San Bernardino shooting, but the coverage so far has been heavy.

Two front pages caught my eye today.

This from The Sun of San Bernardino, the local daily in the heart of the crime scene:


And this from the New York Daily News, which takes a direct stand on violence and guns and public officials lack of action:


I cannot let this go with out noting how close this tragedy was to my former workplace at the Riverside Press-Enterprise's San Bernardino County bureau on Hospitality Lane, now closed. 

I spent nearly two years there and worked with a great team who reconnected a bit online after this terrible shooting.

See the P-E Page One below:



Wednesday, October 14, 2015


As the Chicago Cubs celebrate their victory in the National League division series and look forward to their next round of the playoffs, it is also being noted that today is the 12th Anniversary of the infamous Steve Bartman game.

Bartman, you may recall, was the Cubs fan who interfered with a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship series. A game that the Cubs were leading, 3-0, but later lost, 8-3. 

Angry, despicable fans took their frustrations out on Bartman right after the play, forcing him to leave the ballpark. And after the loss, there was a hatred that lasted for years in same cases.

But almost as despicable was the work of the Chicago Sun-Times, which published Bartman's name, address and place of employment. At the time, I was at Editor & Publisher magazine and wrote about this disgraceful misuse of journalism.

The Sun-Times told me it was considered proper journalism.

Not quite. Revealing his name and other information made him an easier target for fans who wanted to blame him for the team loss, which he had no part in.

The Society of Professional Journalists later noted the actions, calling them, "the media's foul ball."

A great ESPN 30 for 30 documentary recounted the entire episode and the detestable reaction from some fans.

It has been reported that fans are urging Bartman's return to Wrigley Field during the playoffs to accept their apologies. That would be the least they could do.

As for the Sun-Times, they are lucky they were not sued for endangering this fan's life. It has also been noted many times that Bartman made no money off of his infamy, not one dime.

But the Sun-Times did hurt their own reputation, at least in my eyes. 

Whenever talk turns to Steve Bartman, I think of how unfair he was treated, but also how this major newspaper abused its power of the press.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


A horrible tragedy in Virginia this morning as two journalists were murdered while doing their jobs.

Anyone who thinks reporters do not work in danger sometimes need only look at this terrible attack on our profession.

The Roanoke, Va., T.V. station, WDBJ, offered a brave, personal report on the incident that ended with the deaths of videographer Adam Ward, 27, and reporter Alison Parker, 24, during their morning news program soon after it happened. 

Among the sad elements is that both of them were in relationships with others at the station, including Ward, who was engaged to a colleague at WDBJ.

Watch it below:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


As the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., passed last week, the unwarranted charges filed against two reporters covering the story also made news.

And two major journalist groups, supported by dozens of news outlets, are calling for charges in those cases to be dropped.

A week ago, the Newspaper Guild of America issued its call for prosecutors to back off with a statement that said, in part:

The NewsGuild-CWA joins with other outraged journalists in demanding that the St. Louis County prosecutor drop the trumped-up charges against two reporters who were arrested a year ago covering the Ferguson protests.

Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post were doing absolutely nothing wrong when police stormed the McDonald’s restaurant the journalists were using for a reporting base.

While attempting to comply with officers’ orders to leave the restaurant, police decided they weren’t acting quickly enough. As The Washington Post reported, “Lowery said he was given conflicting information about where to exit and was attempting to gather his bag when officers grabbed him, slammed him into a soda machine and placed plastic cuffs on him. Reilly, speaking to the Huffington Post last year, said the police gave the reporters “a countdown like we were 5-year-olds.”

The reporters were taken to a holding cell at the Ferguson police station. After a half hour, they were told they could leave without any charges filed.

Now, inexplicably and reprehensibly, Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch has made the decision to formally charge the two journalists with trespassing and interfering with a police officer. The counts carry a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in a county jail.

“The prosecutor’s actions are a gross abuse of power and a vile assault on the First Amendment,” NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer said.

Then, just today, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, stated, in part:

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 38 other news outlets and media organizations, has sent a letter to St. Louis County officials protesting the recent filing of criminal charges against two reporters over incidents that occurred during the protests in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.
"The best way for Ferguson to show that it will respect the First Amendment rights of journalists covering the continuing controversy there is to rescind these charges immediately," the letter stated.
Joining the Reporters Committee on the letter are: American Society of News Editors; AOL Inc. - The Huffington Post; The Associated Press; Association of Alternative Newsmedia; Bloomberg News; Cable News Network, Inc.; California Newspaper Publishers Association; and the Center for Investigative Reporting, as well as dozens of others.

The rights of journalists to cover news and not be unfairly prosecuted is paramount to the public receiving the news it needs, especially when it involves such serious, sensitive issues.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Here is how the hometown paper in Lafayette, La., reported the tragic theater shooting there in today's edition:


Saturday, June 27, 2015


My two favorite front pages today:

See more of them at the great gallery.

Monday, June 22, 2015


In case you missed it, The Post & Courier of Charleston, S.C. ran this great Page One tribute on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Great piece in The New York Times on this famed, bizarre photo from 50 years ago.

Would you ignore a burning building to watch a football game?

Check it out HERE.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


I saw this during today's coverage.

My Irish heritage recalls Paddy Wagon as an anti-Irish slur, no?

Sunday, April 26, 2015


The case of Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post reporter who has been held for nine months in Iran on outrageous claims of espionage and spying finally got a big boost of attention this weekend.

First, President Obama highlighted the detention of this journalist in his remarks at the White House Correspondents Association dinner, saying the U.S. "will not rest" until he is freed.

Then, on Sunday, Post Editor Marty Baron appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources and told host Brian Stelter that claims against Rezaian were "absurd," and there was "no evidence" that Rezaian engaged in anything other than proper news coverage. He also said the case may be heading to trial in Iran.

As Baron said in his appearance, reporters have been held by foreign nations, including in Iran in the past, but always released. This, as he said, is "entirely unjust" and would be even more unacceptable if he were to face trial.

You can imagine how ridiculous a trial in Iran would be and efforts to avoid one and bring Rezaian back safely need to be paramount. Not just for his safe return, but for the rights of all journalists who bravely seek to cover news in such unfriendly nations.

If Iran is allowed to get away with such actions, it is not only a crime against Rezaian, his family and the Post. But also against all journalists who seek the truth unfettered, and against the United States, whose democracy is served by a free press, whether in Washington or the Middle East.

Among the efforts to highlight Rezaian's plight is an online petition at demanding his release, while Free Jason pins were passed out at the WHCA dinner.

This type of abuse of journalists who travel overseas to cover wars, dangerous areas and international news is another reminder of what foreign correspondents go through. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists notes that, so far this year, 21 journalists have been killed around the world, while another 221 remained imprisoned at the end of 2014, with Rezaian among them.

CPJ stated on its website last week that it "is alarmed by reports of official charges levied against Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian. The charges included espionage, 'collaborating with hostile governments,' 'propaganda against the establishment,' and allegations that he gathered information 'about internal and foreign policy,' the Post reported today."

We should all be alarmed and do whatever we can to keep this tragedy in the public eye and support all efforts to make sure freedom is attained for one of our own.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


If you were wondering what notable names plan to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, this list was leaked to us. 

The guests range from Senator Rand Paul to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to stars of Modern Family and Blackish to Jane Fonda, as well as one-time Seth Meyers punching bag Donald Trump.

No surprises jump out, but for your information:

Abbott Greg Governor, Texas
Al Otaiba Yousef Amb. From United Arab Emirates
Anderson Anne Irish Amb. To US
Anderson Anthony Black-ish
Araud Gerard French Ambassador to the US
Ayotte Kelly Senator from New Hampshire
Bernard Jeremy The White House
Bharara Preet US Attorney, So. District NY
Bisogniero Claudio Italian Amb. To US
Blinken Antony Dept. of State
Boone Megan NY, NY
Bowen Sharon Commissioner, CFTC
Bowen Julie Modern Family
Bowser Muriel Mayor, Washington, DC
Breedlove Philip Gen., US Air Force
Brennan John Director, CIA
Britton Connie Nashville, TN
Brooks James L. Director & Producer
Buffenbarger Thomas Pres., Machinists Union
Burrell Ty Modern Family
Burwell Sylvia Secretary, Dept. of Health & Human Services
Bush Sophia LA
Caldiero Ray LA
Campbell Naomi London, England
Carter Ashton Secretary, Dept. of Defense
Chaffetz Jason Rep. from UT
Chasez JC LA
Coderre Denis Mayor of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Cohan Lauren actress
Comstock Barbara Rep from VA
Crawford Chace LA
Cummings Elijah Rep. from MD
Dane Eric Beverly Hills, CA
Dermer Ron Amb.  From Israel
Doer Gary Amb from Canada
Donnelly Joe Senator from Indiana
Donovan Shaun Dir., Office of Budget & Management
Eastwood Scott actor
Eichner Billy comedian
Fauci Anthony S. NIH
Ferguson Jesse Tyler Modern Family
Finer Jonathan Dept. of State
Fischer Stanley Vice Chair, US Fed. Reserve
Fonda Jane Beverly Hills, CA
Forbes J. Randy Rep. from VA
Foxx Anthony Secretary of Transportation
Gabourey Sidibe actor
Gayhart Rebecca Beverly Hills, CA
Gilbert C. Todd Delegate from VA
Hall Keith Dir., Congressional Budget Office
Harris Kamala Attorney General, CA
Helbig Grace LA
Hickenlooper John Wright Governor, Colorado
Hoffa James Pres., Teamsters Union
Hogan Larry Governor, MD
Hutchinson Asa Governor of Arkansas
Israel Steve Rep. from NY
Jabbar Kareem Abdul Athlete
James Deborah Lee Sec., U.S. Air Force
Jarrett Valerie The White House
Jenner Brody LA
Jewell Sally Secretary of Interior
Johnson Ron Senator, Wisconsin
Johnson Jeh Sec., Homeland Security
Johnson Kevin Mayor of Sacramento, CA
Johnson Steven NY/CA
Kaptur Marcy Rep. from Ohio
Kasich John Governor, Ohio
Klobuchar Amy Senator from MN
Kwanten Ryan LA
Lee Barbara Rep. from CA
Lerner Myla NY, NY
Lew Jack Sec. of Treasury
Lierman Brooke Delegate from MD
Love Mia Rep., Utah
Mabus Ray Secretary of the Navy
Maloney Carolyn Rep from NY
Markey Ed Senator from MA
McCarthy Gina EPA Administrator
McCaskill Claire Senator from Missouri
McHenry Patrick US Rep. from NC
Millett Patricia A. Circuit Court DC
Murphy Vivek Surgeon General 
Musk Elon Tesla Motors
Oakley Tyler LA
Parker Sean Napster
Pelosi Nancy Rep from CA
Perez Thomas Sec. of Labor
Piwowar Michael SEC Comissioner
Podwall Eric LA
Power Samantha US Amb. To UN
Priebus Reince Chairman, RNC
Rand Paul Senator, Kentucky
Reedus Norman actor
Rendell Ed Former Gov., PA
Rhodes Ben The White House
Rice Susan US Amb. To UN
Robinson Smokey LA
Rogers Mike Dir., National Security Agency
Romo Tony Dallas, TX
Rooney Tom US Rep from Florida
Ross Tracee Ellis Black-ish
Scalia Antonin Associate Justice, US Supreme Court
Schuette Bill Att. Gen of Michigan
Schultz Eric The White House
Scott Rick Governor, Florida
Seymour Jane LA
Spencer Roderick LA
Stabenow Debbie Senator from MI
Stanchfield Darby Actor
Stanchfield Darby
Stevenson Betsey The White House
Stewart Martha NY, NY
Stonestreet Eric Modern Family
Szubin Adam Treasury Dept.
Tatum Jenna Dewan LA
Trump Donald NY, NY
Trump Ivanka NY, NY
Vilsack Thomas Secretary of Agriculture
Washington Kerry actor
Waters Maxine Rep. from CA
Weingarten Randi Pres., Am. Fed. Of Teachers
Westmacott, Sir Peter British Amb. To US
Wetjen Mark Commissioner, CFTC
Wheeler Tom Chairman, FCC
Wittig Peter German Amb. To US
Woodard Alfre LA
Young Bellamy actor
Zients Jeff The White House

Monday, April 20, 2015


Some tidbits from The Pulitzer Prizes today:

* The New York Times adds to its list of most Pulitzers ever with three more. It now has 117.

* Two of The New York Times' wins today, in photography and international reporting, were related to the Ebola crises in Africa. The late David Carr of the Times also took a finalist nod in the commentary category.

* No online news outlets won prizes, with all of the awards going to newspapers that still have a print component.

* The Ferguson police shooting case won the breaking news award for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

* Bloomberg News won its first-ever Pulitzer, in the explanatory category, for coverage of corporate tax loopholes.

* The first magazine finalist was named, with The New Yorker being honored as a finalist in the feature category for a Riker's Island prisoner's story. This was the first year magazines were allowed to compete in two categories.


Here they are:


PUBLIC SERVICE - The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING - Two Prizes: - Eric Lipton of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal Staff
EXPLANATORY REPORTING - Zachary R. Mider of Bloomberg News
LOCAL REPORTING - Rob Kuznia, Rebecca Kimitch and Frank Suraci of the Daily Breeze, Torrance, CA
NATIONAL REPORTING - Carol D. Leonnig of The Washington Post
FEATURE WRITING - Diana Marcum of the Los Angeles Times
COMMENTARY - Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle
CRITICISM - Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times
EDITORIAL WRITING - Kathleen Kingsbury of The Boston Globe
EDITORIAL CARTOONING - Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News
BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY - St. Louis Post-Disptach Photography Staff
FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - Daniel Berehulak , freelance photographer, The New York Times


At a time when the news industry in many ways is continuing a slow demise into the world of cheap coverage, lazy reporting and greedy corporate control, it is always refreshing to find those outlets still willing to do the work that counts.

And that is what will happen later today when the Pulitzer Prizes are announced. The 14 awards in the journalism category continue to bring out the best and brightest of news and give a much needed spotlight on investigations, explanations and editorializations that are still what makes journalism great.

During my 11 years at Editor & Publisher, from 1999 to 2010, I was lucky enough to cover the awards nearly every year and still look forward to the prestigious announcement.

The 3 p.m. revelation, still done in person at the World Room on the third floor of The Graduate School of Journalism building at Columbia University, has all the trappings of a royal event. For many years I looked forward to seeing former Pulizer Administrator Sig Gissler come out to the waiting press and announce that the winners are chosen and they will "change some lives forever."

Today, Pulitzer Administrator Mike Pride does the honors, but it is available on livestream. (See it HERE, complete with a countdown clock.)

The names and stories are then posted online where many of the winners keep tabs via computer screens in their newsrooms. It was always fun at E&P to get the photos of these moments in newsrooms, which all looked similar with eyes fixed on a screen, or later champagne popping.

Final results of presidential elections or the choice of a new pope or king came to mind with the same anticipation, secrecy and impact the Pulitzers have, at least in the news industry.

The Pulitzer remains the most prestigious award in news, beyond an Emmy, Polk, or any of the other well-deserved honors. Part of this is its history, dating back to 1917 when just two awards were given, to the now defunct New York World and New York Tribune.

The impact of hard-nosed news coverage has been well-represented with the awards, especilaly the prestigious Public Service prize, which is the only Pulitzer given to a newspaper or news site and includes no prize money. 

From the 1921 prize for the Boston Post for taking down the original Ponzi scheme to the Pentagon Papers reporting by The New York Times and the Watergate coverage from The Washington Post in the 1970's to Hurricane Katrina coverage by the flooded-out Times-Picayune of New Orleans and The Sun Herald of Biloxi, MS. in 2006, these winners have shown how good journalism means battling legal, governmental and even natural challenges.

Today the Pulitzer categories have expanded to more than a dozen and online-only submissions have been part of the nominees for years. Still, it is essentially a newspaper award, with television and radio still barred from competing. Magazines are being allowed to compete for the first time in two categories, investigative and feature writing.

At one point in my E&P tenure, I was fortunate enough to get leaked finalists. For several years, we had spies who were kind to reveal the finalists weeks ahead of time. Gissler, to his credit, helped put the end to this and they usually remain secret until today. 

But I still get inquiries each year from interested parties wondering about the finalists.

Winners, who were chosen by the 19-member Pulitzer Board last week, still get out, at least among those who are chosen. It is likely that some of the lucky few who will be named later today have known about their victories for at least a day or two.

With Pulitzer Board members from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and Bloomberg, it is almost certain any word of their victory is already spread through the newsrooms there.

One of the great attractions of the Pulitzers and one of the reasons the finalists are not revealed in advance of the winners is that they can be changed. Pulitzer veterans know that the Pulitzer "juries" sift through the submissions months in advance and choose three finalists in each category. It is these finalists that we used to be able to leak. 

But the leaks are frowned upon because they are not necessarily the finalists that will be chosen later. The Pulitzer Board has the power to move finalists around, drop them, bring up other submissions to be finalists, award multiple winners in a category, or no winners in a category.

It is this power that makes the board's work even more intriguing and mysterious.

And for the news business, the pride and quality of news that is marked by the Pultizers should not be limited to one day per year, it should be the goal on every day of the year in every newsroom.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


If you didn't see The Indianapolis Star's Page One editorial Tuesday demanding changes to the state's religious freedom law, here it is.

A rare, bold move for a major daily paper.

 Embedded image permalink

Friday, January 2, 2015


You may have missed it during the holiday season, but Associated Press legend Linda Deutsch called it quits last month after nearly 50 years writing about the biggest and wackiest celebrity trials in Hollywood, and elsewhere.

Linda is a class act and always a great reporter as she chronicled big time court events from Charles Manson to Michael Jackson. 

She also gets high praise from me as a fellow Elvis fan.

We got to know each other during my time at Editor & Publisher. I was lucky to profile her back in 2007 for a story that also included my one phone interview with O.J. Simpson, who had always said she was the only fair reporter at his murder trial.

Linda said she will finally write the long-awaited memoir. I will be first in line to get a copy.

Good luck Linda!