Monday, December 31, 2012

1,500 Posts Make for a Very Long Fence

Cafe, New Year's Eve (LOC)
(Photo credit: The Library of Congress)
"TUOL" has just published its 1,500th post. On the occasion of this milestone, the devoted staff of our modest blog would like to wish its just-as-devoted readers a safe and happy new year and a healthy and prosperous 2013.  Celebrate First Night (and the First Amendment while you're at it).
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Nashua Telegraph on the Block

The Telegraph (Nashua)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Nashua Telegraph, the daily newspaper reporting on New Hampshire's second-largest city, last week was put up for sale, the paper announced.

Owned since 1977 by Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania-based Independent Publications, Inc.("IPI"), the Telegraph publishes a daily, a weekly and maintains the Web site. IPI is also looking for a buyer for its other newspapers and holdings, according to the Telegraph story.

Earlier this year, IPI unloaded its Muzak franchises, for which the elevator-riding staff of "TUOL" is grateful.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Senate Committee Jettisons Anti-Leaks Measure

English: Dianne Feinstein Fran├žais : Dianne Fe...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pressure from media outlets, including The Washington Post, and a resounding thumbs-down from National Security Director James Clapper helped to derail an attempt by Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D.-Calif.) Senate Intelligence Committee ("SIC") to attach anti-leaks provisions to an intelligence spending bill, the Post reported.

The SIC passed the anti-leak measures last July to offset what Sen. Feinstein claimed were numerous leaks of government secrets to the press. Included among the provisions that were dropped from the intelligence spending package were measures that would have restricted ex-national security officials from taking jobs as tv commentators and that would have scrapped long-established, supervised "background briefings" during which intelligence analysts bring journalists up to speed concerning terrorists' threats and other national security issues, such as climate change.

Sen. Rob Wyden (D. Ore.), a member of the SIC, said he would place a hold on the bill, which procedurally would have prevented a vote on the spending bill, unless the anti-leaks amendments were deleted, according to the Post article.  The Newspaper Association of America and the Washington Post were among media groups that voiced their opposition to the abandoned anti-leaks provisions.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'Glock-al' Maps: Daily Publishes Location of Gun Owners

Hudson River Valley, N.Y, by Singley, B. L. (B...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gannett-owned The Journal News, which serves the Lower Hudson Valley (N.Y.) counties of Putnam, Rockland and Westchester, has triggered a firestorm of protest by publishing an interactive map identifying the names and addresses of those in the daily's readership area who possess handgun or pistol permits, ABC News reported.

In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, slaughter of elementary school children and teachers by a deranged gunman, the Journal News said the map, published last Sunday, was of interest to its readers who want "to know about guns in their neighborhood." The map, which involved clicking on a dot to reveal the name and location of the permit owner, touched off more than 500 comments on the paper's Web site the day it appeared, largely negative.

Although the material was gleaned from public records, "TUOL" believes the Journal News map was not newsworthy, violated the permitholders' privacy rights and perhaps made them vulnerable to burglars. Whatever one's views on the hot-button issue of gun control, informing readers about the location of individuals who legally obtained gun permits is not the same as alerting neighbors that a registered sex offender has moved into the area.
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London Times Sues Lance Armstrong. Backpedals on Libel Settlement

Lance Armstrong riding to victory at L'Alpe d'...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In 2012, Lance Armstrong was banned from competitive cycling for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the U.S. Doping Agency deemed him the mastermind of a performance-enhancing drug program on the teams he fronted.

Now, according to accounts by wire services UPI and AP, the Rupert Murdoch-owned London Times is suing the disgraced athlete for 1 million pounds ($1.6 million), seeking attorneys' fees, costs, accrued interest and the undoing of a 300,000 pound ($485,000) libel settlement the daily paid Armstrong in 2006 after the Times reprinted accusations in a book that the cyclist was doping.

Hard to know for whom to root in a Murdoch v. Armstrong battle or whether any courtrooms in London are large enough to contain both their egos.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

UPDATE: Italian Appeals Court Lets Google Execs Off the Hook

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

An Italian appeals court last week reversed the February 2010, convictions of three Google executives regarding a video on a Google site depicting a Down syndrome child being verbally and physically abused, the Associated Press reports.

Google CFO George Reyes, Senior Veep David Drummond and Chief Privacy Officer Peter Fleischer originally received six-month jail sentences for violating Italy's privacy laws based on the 2006 video. (See "TUOL" post 2/25/10).  The executives were never incarcerated because as first-time offenders, Italian law commutes short-term sentences.

When notified by authorities of the incident, Google removed the offending video within two hours, according to the AP article.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Catching the Local: Boston Globe Names McGrory Editor

The Boston Globe
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fifty-one-year-old Brian McGrory, who joined The Boston Globe in 1989, has been named Editor, effective immediately, the paper announced today, replacing Marty Baron, 58, who ended his 11-year tenure at the helm of the Globe last week to lead the Washington Post beginning next month (see "TUOL" post 11/14/12).

McGrory, who has been penning a twice-weekly column in the Globe's Metro section since 2010, has held numerous positions at the Globe, including White House correspondent, general assignment reporter and deputy managing editor for local news. He will report to Publisher Christopher M. Mayer.

The Globe is owned by The New York Times. Rumors abound that the paper, which has suffered losses in circulation and ad revenue, may be unloaded by the Times. McGrory, who has also worked for the Quincy Patriot-Ledger and New Haven Register, has big shoes to fill, as the Globe earned six Pulitzer Prizes while Baron was at the helm.

McGrory, a Boston native, joins the fairly exclusive club of Globe Editors-in-Chief that has included Marty Baron, Jack Driscoll, Tom Winship, Michael Janeway and Matt Storin. He is the author of Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man.
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City Fever: Sun Times Will Run Suburban Papers from Chicago

English: Chicago Sun-Times building in Chicago...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Crain's Chicago Business ( is reporting that the Sun-Times Media Group ("STMG") will run its suburban newspaper operations from its flagship Chicago Sun-Times headquarters.

Reporters at the roughly 40 suburban Illinois newspapers, including the Evanston Review, (Aurora/Naperville) Beacon-News and Glencoe News, will file their stories remotely to editors at Sun-Times HQ from their various communities. Sun-Times Editor-in-Chief  and former Starship commander Jim Kirk hopes to complete the transfer by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

No word on whether centralizing operations at the Sun-Times River North location will result in staff layoffs, though Kirk indicated that streamlining procedures could create job redundancies.

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Where Ya' Been, Tapper? Talking to CNN...

ABC correspondent Jake Tapper during a prime t...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jake Tapper, Senior White House  Correspondent for ABC News since 2008, will leave the network after nine years to join CNN, where he will host an afternoon news program, The New York Times reported today.

Tapper, who hosted a weekend gabfest called Take 5 for CNN in 2001, will begin anchoring a weekday afternoon program for CNN in a yet-to-be-disclosed time slot beginning in January 2013. Additionally, he will be the cable network's chief White House correspondent. His departure from ABC was expected after he was passed over as host of the Sunday morning news program This Week in favor of George Stephanopoulous.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Beauty Queen Wants World Peace, $5m to Pay Libel Award

English: This photo depicts Donald Trump's sta...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Retired U.S. District Court Magistrate Theodore Katz has sided with the Miss Universe L.P. pageant operator in an arbitration against former contestant and Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, awarding the Donald Trump enterprise $5 million in a dispute involving alleged defamatory remarks about the competition.

Monnin resigned as Miss Pennsylvania last June, complaining about the Miss Universe pageant: "It's obviously rigged so the girl they want can shine; they kept several beautiful girls out for that reason."  A THR, Esq. blog post noted that Monnin repeated criticisms of the pageant on the Today Show. When Monnin turned in her Miss Pennsylvania sash, she was quoted on Facebook as saying: "In good conscience I can no longer be affiliated in any way with an organization I consider to be fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy."

Something fronted by Celebrity Apprentice maven Donald Trump trashy? Monnin better hope all the i's are dotted and the t's crossed on her birth certificate.

Katz found that Monnin's statements were false and made with actual malice, in arriving at the $5 million award. He said she complained about the pageant being rigged before she had any factual basis for making such an allegation. Neither Monnin nor her attorney participated in the arbitration proceedings, from which Katz drew an adverse inference in his 19-page decision.

"TUOL" wonders how anyone who watches the swimsuit portion of the Miss Universe pageant can suspect anything about the contestants isn't real.
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All the World's a-Twitter

English: A Twitter tweet
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 Twitter has surpassed 200 million users monthly, the San Francisco-based microblogger announced this week, via a tweet, naturally.

"There are now more than 200m monthly active @twitter users. You are the pulse of the planet. We're grateful for your ongoing support!", the company tweeted, within the 140-character limit, yet. As reported by, Twitter users produce one billion tweets every two days.

Never have so many done so much that means so little. Later this year, according to the Cnet post, Twitter is joining forces with tv ratings giant Nielsen to develop a tweet-based measure.

Twitter's vice-president of media described his company as "the world's digital water cooler."

Maybe because Twitter is refreshing but has no nutritional value.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Order a Medley of Your Greatest Tweets of Yore

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
Pining away for another look at your favorite 140-character missives from years gone by? San Francisco-based microblogger monolith Twitter has just the cure for you.

According to's LegalBlogWatch, if you can't already, you'll soon be able to access Your Twitter Archive in the Settings section of your Twitter account. Click on the button and soon a zip file of all your tweets in html. format will be headed your way via Email from your favorite Santa @ Twitter. A similar zip file has been available to Twitter users in the European Union for some time, but has only recently been introduced in the States.

The motivation for poring over your brief bon mots is less nostalgic than it is litigious, according to the post, as the 140-character messages could be a treasure trove uncovered during the discovery phase of litigation. Presently, tracking down old tweets on the Twitter Web site is a cumbersome process.

So, this holiday season, tell the social media geek in your life about Your Twitter Archive and give him the chance to scroll down the tweets where he's lived.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

N.Y. App. Court Applies 'Horse Sense'; Reinstates Libel Claim

Appellate Division of the New York State Supre...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In LeBlanc v. Skinner et al (Case No. 2011-03120), the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division Second Judicial Department last week unanimously reversed a trial court's dismissal of a defamation claim brought by a businessperson against a former town supervisor.

In a 12-page decision written by Judge Jeffrey A. Cohen, the appellate court said David LeBlanc need not prove damages against defendants Wayne Skinner and his spouse, Karen Skinner, who purportedly in an online post, alleged that LeBlanc had tossed a severed horse's head into a local politician's swimming pool. At least in The Godfather, author Mario Puzo had the good taste to confine a severed horse's head to the bedroom.

The trial judge tossed the defamation claim because the plaintiff failed to show he sustained monetary loss because of the alleged offending statement. "[P]roof of harm does not need to be shown if the comments concern a criminal offense or matters harming a person's business or profession," Judge Cohen wrote. "When any of these types of statements are involved, damage to the plaintiff's reputation is presumed."

Kudos to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press ( for reporting on this decision.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Continued Anonymity of Weebly Blogger May Be Wobbly

English: Michigan Supreme Court Historical Soc...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Michigan Court of Appeals for the Fourth District heard arguments this week in Thomas Cooley Law School v. John Doe (Case No. 307426) in which a former law student turned anonymous blogger asked for a reversal on First Amendment grounds of a trial judge's refusal to quash a subpoena seeking the blogger's identity.

According to a report by Reuters, the former Cooley student and other commenters in a blog post in July 2011, challenged the validity of employment statistics released by the Michigan-based independent law school, labeling the job-placement data as "criminal" and a "fraud." The school, claiming it was defamed by the blog item, subpoenaed California-based Internet Service Provider Weebly for information identifying the blogger.

The blog author asked a Michigan court to quash the subpoena, but the trial judge ruled the use of the words "criminal" and "fraud" was not protected speech under the First Amendment and held that Cooley would not have to meet the elevated burden of proof of actual malice to sustain its defamation claim against the blogger.

In the interim, Weebly coughed up the requested information to Cooley, purportedly consistent with its terms of service with "John Doe," and the law school identified the blogger in a court filing. The California judge, however, stayed the proceedings in the California defamation case pending the outcome of the blogger's interlocutory appeal in Michigan, according to the Reuters article.

The blogger's attorney argued before the Michigan appellate court that in determining the proper rule for disclosure of an anonymous blogger's identity, the state should adopt a developing consensus standard, similar to what a New Jersey court articulated in Dendrite International Inc. v. Does 1-14, 2001 WL 770406 (N.J. Super. A.D.) (Case No. A-2774-00T3). Under the five-part Dendrite test, a party seeking to identify an unnamed Internet poster, must: (1) try to contact the poster and allow the person a reasonable amount of time to respond; (2) identify the poster's precise statement(s) at issue; (3) state a prima facie case in his or her complaint; (4) present sufficient evidence concerning each element of his or her claim; and (5) the court must balance the First Amendment interest in anonymous speech against the strength of the prima facie case and the necessity of disclosure of the anonymous individual's identity.

Cooley counters that Michigan law does not require evidence of the likelihood of success of its claims on the merits before allowing it to obtain discovery. The former Cooley student-turned-defendant is still getting a legal education, but not the one he bargained for.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

UPDATE: 2nd Circ. to HuffPo Freelancers: Joy of Writing Your Just (& Only) Reward

English: Logo of The Huffington Post
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday in Tasini, et al. v. AOL, Inc. et al (Case No. 12-cv-1428) upheld a trial court ruling in March that dismissed a putative class action brought by unpaid contributors to The Huffington Post seeking a share of the bounty received by the news aggregating site when it was purchased by AOL in 2011 (see "TUOL" post 2/7/11).

The appellate court affirmed the trial judge allowance of the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim [Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)] brought by defendants AOL, Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer and The Huffington Post against plaintiffs Jonathan Tasini, Molly Secours, Billy Altman, Richard Laermer and Tara Tublin. The plaintiffs, whose blog posts appeared in HuffPo, sought on behalf of themselves and other uncompensated HuffPo writers, a $105 million slice of the $315 million AOL purchase price.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge John Koetl in a March 30, 2012, decision rejected the plaintiffs claims that the defendants were unjustly enriched by publishing the plaintiffs' work gratis, and acted deceptively, allegedly in violation of N.Y. General Business Law section 349 (see "TUOL" post 4/2/12), holding that the writers were not entitled to payment after the fact and could simply write elsewhere if they didn't like HuffPo.

According to accounts by Reuters and the THR, Esq. blog, the Second Circuit opinion noted that the plaintiffs knew from the get-go that HuffPo was a for-profit enterprise that could someday be attractive to a buyer as it gained traction among news sites and generated a significant advertising revenue stream. More to the point, the court opinion stated: "[A]t all times prior to the merger when they submitted their work to The Huffington Post, plaintiffs understood that they would receive compensation only in the form of exposure and promotion."

The unpaid bloggers are going to have to be content with the sheer joy of  just being published and perhaps, as insiders, the chance to see "side-boob" photos of celebrities before they are posted on the HuffPo site.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Philadelphia Freedom: Dailies Seek Independent Paywalled Websites

The sign above the entrance to The Philadelphi...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Web site, which for years boasted the online shared presence of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, will remain live, even as the two papers plan in 2013 to launch separate paywalled Websites, according to a post by

Interstate General Media this year assumed ownership of the two financially troubled dailies, which have had a common owner for more than half a century. Details about the forthcoming News and Inquirer paywalls and subscription rates have yet to be released.
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UPDATE: Wrestler Victim's Heirs' Privacy Suit Pinned by High Court

Chris Benoit, one of the World Wrestling Enter...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The U.S. Supreme Court this week denied certiorari in the invasion of privacy suit brought by the heirs of Nancy Toffoloni Benoit against Hustler magazine, thereby leaving in place the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that overturned a jury verdict for the plaintiff, the Associated Press reported.

In 2008, Hustler published, without permission, then-24-year-old nude modeling photos of Nancy Toffoloini Benoit, one year after she and her seven-year-old son were strangled in June 2007, by her professional wrestler husband Chris Benoit, who then killed himself (see "TUOL" posts 1/27/12, 6/20/11). A jury returned a $19.6 million verdict against Hustler in 2011 that the trial court reduced to $250,000 before the 11th Circuit tossed the verdict altogether in May 2012.

The appellate court said the jury's mammoth punitive damages award was unfounded because Hustler reasonably--though wrongly--believed her photos' "newsworthiness" were a defense against an invasion of privacy claim.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't Divest of Me, Argentina...

Coat of arms of Argentina
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A four-year antitrust battle between the Argentine government and the South American nation's largest media conglomerate is not over yet, according to Bloomberg News, which last week reported a judge issued an injunction postponing divesture of media holdings.

Grupo Clarin SA ("GCSA"), which owns four tv stations, 10 radio stations, 240 cable tv operators and Internet Service Providers and Clarin, the nation's largest newspaper, dodged the effects of Article 161 that requires divestiture of tv and radio stations. (See "TUOL" post 10/6/10.) A judge last week delayed the deadline for GCSA having to submit a plan to sell assets without setting a new deadline, pending another court ruling on the constitutionality of Article 161.

Argentina's 59-year-old President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner and GCSA have been at loggerheads over what the government perceives as media bias in the coverage of an export tax dispute involving the government and farmers. According to the Bloomberg article, GCSA's cable entity, Cablevision SA, would have been forced to pare its 168 licenses nationwide down to 24 to comply with the antitrust measure,
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Court Sides with Daily News in Judge's Libel Suit

New York Daily News logo
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In his 17-page decision last week in Martin v. Daily News, LP et al. (Case No. 100053/08), New York Supreme Court Judge Martin Shulman ruled against Brooklyn Judge Larry Martin, who alleged he was defamed in a 2008 article by the New York Daily News.

Judge Martin alleged the offending article accused him of hearing a case involving an attorney who previously had represented him in an action before New York's Commission on Judicial Conduct, a purported conflict of interest. Judge Shulman held that Judge Martin, in his capacity as a public official, failed to satisfy the elevated actual malice burden of proof to sustain his defamation claim.

"[B]ecause defendants' statements about Martin related solely to his role as a public official, the burden rests with (Martin) to demonstrate not only that the statements are false, but with clear and convincing evidence that defendants acted with actual malice in publishing the falsehoods," Judge Shulman wrote in his opinion.

Tip of the hat to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press ( for its coverage of the case.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Zimmerman Sues NBC News Over Trayvon Martin Coverage

Image representing NBC Universal as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase
Facing trial for second-degree murder for allegedly shooting teenager Trayvon Martin last February 26, George Zimmerman has filed a 24-page Verified Complaint against NBC News and three broadcast journalists, including counts alleging defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

In George Zimmerman v. NBC Universal Media, LLC et al (Case No. 2012CA006178), filed this week in Circuit Court in Seminole County in Florida's 18th Judicial District, the plaintiff claims defendants NBC News and its then-correspondents Ron Allen, Lilia Rodriguez Luciano and Jeff Burnside covering the story that captured national attention allegedly misreported and deliberately edited the audio of a 911 call Zimmerman made to police that purportedly falsely depicted him as "a racist and predatory villain," according to his complaint.

The suit, reported by the Legal Intelligencer (, seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Zimmerman contends the allegedly doctored audiotape of the 911 call and alleged misrepresentations by the defendant journalists about the shooting incident have subjected him to death threats. No date has been set for the criminal trial in which Zimmerman entered a plea of not guilty.
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WaPo Hints at Paywall

A girl holds The Washington Post of Monday, Ju...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Not only will The Washington Post roll out former Boston Globe Editor Marty Baron as its new Editor in January (see "TUOL" post 11/14/12), but also, 2013 appears to be when the WaPo finally will overcome its reluctance and join its digital newspaper brethren by erecting a paywall. picked up on the story, originally reported by The Wall St. Journal, that the Post plans to limit digital readers' unpaid access to its homepage and section fronts, though print subscribers will continue to have unlimited access to the Post's online edition. Paywalls impact about one-third of daily online newspaper readers, the Poynter post noted, and WaPo would be joining a roster of more than 300 dailies nationwide that have erected paywalls, including The New York Times, Wall St. Journal, and Baron's Boston Globe, which has attracted a disappointing 25,000 subscribers to its year-old premium digital service.

The Post has sustained circulation losses at a higher rate than the newspaper industry ovrall, according to the Poynter post.
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Cleveland Journos Deal with Plain Truth: Cuts Loom

Full page Sweetest Day editorial published in ...
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A crippling decrease in advertising revenue underlies massive cuts planned at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which may see the Advance Publications-owned daily's workforce reduced by one-third from 168 to 110, beginning in May 2013.

Crain's Cleveland Business this week reported that the Newspaper Guild chapter that represents the daily was told by management that the staff shrinkage would be accomplished through pink slips and job offers from, which operates the daily's Web site. The Crain's article indicated that the Plain Dealer may follow the path of other Advance-owned dailies, such as the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and reduce its publishing schedule to thrice weekly, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Plain Dealer's staff size presently is frozen by a contractual agreement that expires January 31.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cod in the Act: Cape Daily Fires 31-Year Veteran Who Made Up Sources

Cape Cod and Cape Cod Bay from space. "Pr...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cape Cod Times Publisher Peter Meyer and Editor Paul Pronovost have published an apology to readers regarding 59-year-old Karen Jeffrey, a Times staff writer, who was fired after an internal audit revealed she allegedly had used fake names and invented sources in 34 stories dating back to 1998.

Jeffrey joined the Times in 1981. The daily is owned by the News Corp. subsidiary Dow Jones Local Media Group. According to the published apology, Jeffrey either used false names or concocted sources in "lighter" feature articles, such as a story on a Boston Red Sox home opener and a piece on young voters, rather than in crime and other "hard" news stories.

A recent piece by Jeffrey concerning Veterans Day raised red flags. The daily's audit purportedly revealed 69 "people" quoted in her stories whom the paper was unable to verify existed.
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Murdoch Hacks Off The Daily

The Daily
 (Photo credit: Scott Beale)
Less than two years after its splashy debut (see "TUOL" post 1/28/11), News Corp.-owned iPad newspaper, The Daily, will cease publication December 15.

According to reports in Fortune, The New York Times and Business Insider, The Daily was losing as much as $30 million annually since it first appeared in February 2011. Its Editor-in-Chief, Jesse Angelo, will become Publisher of the New York Post. News Corp. chair Rupert Murdoch said an undisclosed number of Daily staffers, along with technology and other assets of the electronic paper, also will be folded into the Post.

"We could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long term," Murdoch conceded. Business Insider reports that editorial staffers being jettisoned will receive three-months severance pay. 

The Daily lost a third of its then 170-member workforce last summer because of lagging ad revenue and circulation (see "TUOL" post 8/1/12). Reuters first reported The Daily's imminent demise late last week.
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Journalists Prevail in Inaugural Application of Wisconsin Shield Law

A newspaper rack displaying The Capital Times ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The first journalists to seek protection under Wisconsin's shield law [2009-10 Wisc. Stats. 885.14] (see "TUOL" post 4/22/10) have successfully withstood efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice to subpoena them, the Associated Press reports.

A Sauk County judge declined to issue subpoenas to two broadcast journalists for WISC-TV and WMTV-TV and a reporter for The Capital Times, whose testimony the DOJ sought regarding a story about Amish farmer Vernon Hershberger, who faces trial in January over four misdemeanor license violation counts involving the alleged sale of raw milk.

Judge Guy Reynolds denied the government's request, ruling the DOJ had failed to prove it was unable to obtain elsewhere the information it sought by subpoenaing the journalists.
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