Thirteenth Amendment latest

Arianna Huffington wants 900,000 more contributors, who will work for her for nothing? Contribute here instead, and Testy Copy Editors will pay you TWICE or even THREE TIMES that much!


What’s one million mean these days? If we’re talking about unique visitors or even page views, that’s small potatoes as smartphone usage balloons all the usual digital metrics.

What about one million writing contributors? Now, that sounds like a lot. It is, though, now Arianna Huffington’s new vision for Huffington Post.

Huffington told her staff about the plan Thursday. Here’s the first behind-the-scenes look at the how, why and what of one million HuffPost contributors.

Before the end of this year, HuffPost will release new tech and a new app, opening the floodgates for contributors. The goal: Add 900,000 contributors to Huffington Post’s 100,000 current ones. Yes, one million in total.


Here we’re confronted with an immediate irony. If you are one of the million, in Indiana, Italy or India (one of HuffPost’s newest international expansions, says Arianna), you would now be essentially blogging—for free—for the phone company. Verizon, new owner of Huffington Post, will be monetizing—through the ad tech that we believe is the linchpin of its deal to buy AOL—all this new free content. In all the crazy Googlezon nightmares we’ve seen hypothesized about web futures—(check out this mostly dystopian one, out of the Netherlands)—who ever thought a million people will would work for free for the phone company?

(Ken Doctor in Capital New York)


This and that

The New York Times, founded in 1851 and apparently still answering mail from its original subscribers on split infinitives, like as a conjunction, the serial comma, the idiot epicene and the horror of seeing a sentence begin with and.



This and that

The good old days: The copy editor who had edited the front-page story would be given a headline order and would then write the headline. Then the slot, Art Milner or Carl Romansky, would approve it (or kick it back for a rewrite), and the copy editor would walk the headline over to the news editor, be it Harding Christ or Judd Shelnutt or Van Richmond. The head would be approved, or not, and if not then rewritten. Modern times: Everyone suffers from the punies, so no one has any time to waste on such frippery as reading headlines.

This week, I’m fielding questions and complaints from readers, starting with a couple of bad headlines.

A great many readers complained about the headline on Wednesday morning’s paper. “Not enough grit” struck many as too negative, or as inaccurate.  I didn’t like that headline, either, because I thought the team showed plenty of grit.  Indeed, to my inexpert eyes, that seemed to be the primary reason they went so far in the playoffs.

I wish we had said, “Grit was not enough”.  That’s what the editor who wrote the headline meant to say. He was thinking that grit wasn’t enough to make up for the injuries that sidelined some players, and the fatigue that drained others. He didn’t realize, until he saw his words in print, that he had sent a very different message.

Normally, a headline like this would go through multiple levels of review. But our production team has suffered a wave of illnesses among themselves and their families. They were short handed, and faced an immensely challenging deadline.  They had only seconds to marry the front-page photo and the front-page headline, then send the page to be typeset.  With everyone in the shop focused on the pages in front of them, no one else caught the headline on the front page before the presses started.

(Plain Dealer)


This and that

In your editorial, “SCSU needs Way’s influence to get direct assistance,” we thought a copy editor could have easily said, “A new Way out.”

(Times and Democrat, Orangeburg, S.C.)

And yet the copy editor didn’t. Thank you, copy editor.


Because it’s all about us


“I’m pretty sure we have a revolution coming,” said Nick Denton, founder and chief executive of Gawker Media. “It’s not 100 percent guaranteed, but the existing corporate structure is looking pretty hollow.”

It was a mild spring evening, and Mr. Denton, who is 48, was standing on the fire escape of his SoHo loft in a long-sleeve T-shirt and jeans, smoking a joint and drinking a glass of red wine with his husband, Derrence Washington; Tommy Craggs, the executive editor of his media empire; and me.

As Mr. Denton eased into his soliloquy — “Look at those Midtown towers: What are those people doing all day?” — Mr. Craggs started cracking up.

“What?” Mr. Denton asked.

“You just wrote the lead of his story,” Mr. Craggs said, nodding toward me. “ ‘Midway through his first joint, Nick Denton said a revolution was coming.’ ”

“He can’t use that,” Mr. Denton replied. “You can’t use that — I mean, realistically, in The New York Times.”

Mr. Craggs insisted that I could, and I would. They ended their argument with a bet.

Go collect your $50, Mr. Craggs.

(New York Times)


Obit twins of the day



Today’s abrupt transition

Well, some did dress as if they were invisible.

Consider the copy editor.

When I worked for a large magazine publication, I always felt bad for the copy editors. After all, when you think about it, it’s really a tough, thankless position. Catch all the typos and grammatical errors, and no one notices. But miss something, and everyone notices. But, without copy editors, text would be riddled with grammatical errors and typos and gibberish, and it would be impossible to understand.

Their job is to literally be invisible.

And sometimes, as a property manager, you need to be a copy editor.

(Multi-Housing News)



Uh …



(Talking Biz News)


Enough with ‘female Viagra’

Some say drugs like flibanserin could enhance women’s sex lives in the same way erectile-dysfunction medications have improved men’s. But experts in female sexuality scoff at the notion that a 100-milligram pill, taken daily at bedtime, will turn women’s sexual desires on with the ease of flipping a light switch.

(Los Angeles Times)

Flibanserin is said to increase a woman’s libido. Viagra does no such thing for men. The New York Times noted that, deep in a story whose headline nonetheless refers to “Viagra for women”:

Dr. Hylton V. Joffe, director of the division of bone, reproductive and urologic products at the F.D.A., said the agency “firmly rejects” the accusations of gender bias. He said that no drugs had been approved for either men or women to treat loss of sexual desire. (Viagra treats erectile dysfunction, not low sexual desire.)

Flibanserin will be in the news a fair amount in the coming weeks and months as the FDA completes its review of the drug. Of course, no one will bother dropping “female Viagra” or, worse, “pink Viagra, because the misleading terms are so “catchy.”



If you go bad, etc.

Neal White Editor

This week I moved back into the newsroom after having spent much of the past two years working the administrative side of the business. During that time I always kept a hand in the newsroom — I just wasn’t putting the paper together on a daily basis.

I missed being on the bridge of my ship — having my fingerprints on every story and taking an active role in every decision made regarding content and presentation.

Though feet instead of latitudinal degrees can easier measure my move, it is a significant move nonetheless. I do feel like a sailor returning to sea after an extended shore duty assignment.

I think the crew also likes having “The Old Man” back on deck. Throughout the day, there are so many teachable moments — opportunities to challenge and inspire. I truly love every aspect of this industry and this newspaper. But what I enjoy most is rolling up my sleeves and leading the crew, whether sailing with following seas or into the trailing edge of a hurricane.

We have a young news team. In terms of experience, it is one of the youngest crews I’ve ever commanded. But they are talented. They are passionate and they all have something to prove. My biggest challenge is getting them to concentrate less on what they know and see the wisdom of knowing how little they really know without breaking their spirit and passion in the process.

More times than not, my preferred teaching tool of choice is a story. In three decades as a working journalist, hardly a situation arises that I don’t have a story for.

Everyone likes a good story. If well told, it’s easy to get people to listen. And if told really well, folks are much more receptive to pick up on the lesson being passed on — even when they don’t realize they are being schooled.

Following the move back to the newsroom, one of the first stories we tackled this week was a preview for this weekend’s Gingerbread Trail Tour of Homes event. Admittedly, our newsroom has been having a problem with proofreading. While editing the story on the page, I saw this as an opportunity for a teaching moment by sharing the story of one of my greatest headline blunders.

I had their attention as I told the story. I can’t remember how long ago it was, but it’s been at least a decade. Just like this week, the city was gearing up for the big Tour of Homes and I thought we needed to show our support by running one more story on the front page listing all of the events, you know, helping get the word out. We were an evening paper back then and most folks read their paper over dinner — or saved it to read over breakfast the next morning. In that edition, the intended headline was meant to read: “Gingerbread Trail Begins” in 80-point bold type across the top of Page 1. Unfortunately I, nor anyone else in the newsroom, caught my blunder. In fact, I didn’t know about it until my phone rang the next morning.

(ME) — Daily Light newsroom Neal speaking, how may I help you?

(CALLER) — Do you know the Muffin Man?

(ME) — Excuse me?

(CALLER) — Do you know the Muffin Man? I want to know! DO YOU KNOW THE MUFFIN MAN?!!! He lives on Drury Lane. I am asking if you know him. Yes or no? It’s not a difficult question.

At that point I recognized the caller’s voice. It was Eric Feinman, who at the time worked as the director of Pleasant Manor Health & Rehabilitation Center.

(ME) — Eric, what in the world are you talking about?

(ERIC) — You put in big letters on the front page that the Gingerbread Trial begins. I just wanted to call to see if you knew the Muffin Man. I figured that would be one of the first questions they would ask at the trial.

(ME) — Hold on.

I’m sure he heard me put the receiver down on my desk as I walked to the rack at the front of the office and grabbed a copy of the paper, rushed back to my desk and looked at the headline while putting the receiver back to my ear. My heart didn’t skip a beat — it literally stopped as I could feel every drop of blood drain from my head.

(ERIC) — Are you there?

(Waxahachie, Texas, Daily Light)



No, it isn’t

Through sickness and injury, family emergencies and unforeseen incidents, five Marion County seniors have made it to school every day, from kindergarten through 12th grade, since August 2002.

That is 13 years, or 2,340 school days, without being absent. It is a feat similar to that of Cal Ripken Jr., a retired Major League Baseball infielder nicknamed “The Iron Man” for playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games.

(Ocala, Fla., Star-Banner)


Blaming the copy editor



By Rosemary Goudreau O’Hara
The night when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the 2004 Stanley Cup marked the worst screw-up of my career.
While South Floridians continue to hold out hope that new owners will breathe new life into the Florida Panthers, folks in Tampa Bay are thrilled this week to see their professional hockey team, the Lightning, again reach the Stanley Cup finals.

Not so many years ago, people never would have put Florida and Stanley Cup in the same sentence. But something magical happened in June 2004, when the upstart Tampa Bay Lightning outplayed the Calgary Flames and brought the cup to Florida.

That magical night also marked the worst screw-up of my career. It was so bad, in fact, that on his MSNBC talk show, Keith Olbermann named me one of the three “worst people in the world.”

I was the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune at the time, and the folks in our department were as excited as everybody about the Lightning. Win or lose, we planned to publish something the next morning saying, “Thanks, Lightning, for a great show, and for bringing our region together.”

Knowing the match would run late, we prepared two editorials, one for if they won, one for if they lost. And, well, you can guess what happened next.

We published the wrong editorial.

About 5:30 the next morning, the deputy editor, Joe Guidry, called to alert me. Despite the safeguards we’d put in place, there it was in black and white: the wrong editorial. The headline said something like: “Thanks, Lightning. You’ve made us proud.” But the first paragraph said the team had come up short.

Given the headline, my first naive thought was, “Maybe no one will notice.” But driving in, our screw-up was all over the radio. And when I got to work, TV crews were waiting. Our mistake was getting equal billing with the team’s win. It was just awful.

I crafted a statement that said we “took a puck in the gut” this morning when we published the wrong editorial. That quote made Time magazine’s quotes of the week. And on Google, I saw my name and “puck in the gut” had made sites in China, Russia and around the world. It was just awful.

The phone rang, and it was Howard Kurtz, the media writer from The Washington Post. My head hit the desk. Next came Keith Olbermann’s show. Then, a politician called to say she was certain we’d been running the wrong editorials about her, too. It was just awful.

Everyone wanted to know how it had happened. And until now, I’ve never said anything more.

Here’s what happened: in producing the daily newspaper, there’s a certain order to printing the pages, and the editorial page generally goes early in the line-up. That night, because our page was going to go late, I alerted the news editor, who alerted the production supervisor.

So far, so good.

Meanwhile, we got the rest of the computerized page ready to go. Then, to get an accurate word count for the editorial, we arbitrarily placed the “losing” piece on the page for the moment. As soon as the match was over, we replaced it with the “winning” piece, proofed the page for misspellings and released it to production.

Unbeknownst to us, however, a front-line production guy had called the news desk earlier in the evening to find out where the editorial page was. A copy editor who didn’t know the plan went into the computer system, pulled up our page and sent it along, without telling anyone.

Later, when we sent over the correct page, it was ignored because the production crew believed the editorial page was already done.

So even though we believed we had covered our bases, the process broke down.

Maybe you’ve experienced a similar process breakdown sometime in your life. But did it land you on national TV?

The leaders of the Lightning were great sports about it all. They even brought the Stanley Cup by to visit the editorial board.

I’d love to kiss that cup again, here in South Florida.

But for today, watching the Lightning try to recapture the Stanley Cup has triggered a recurrence of my nightmare.

Rosemary O’Hara is the opinion page editor of the Sun Sentinel. Her last name was Goudreau when she made the news described here.








Today’s ambiguous headline





BEIJING—The captain at the helm of the Chinese tour ship that sank this week with hundreds aboard was a respected veteran of those waters, said a co-worker and official media—and his wife was on board when it capsized.


Fang Lanyang, captain of the Eastern Star’s sister ship, the Eastern Pearl, defended Mr. Zhang. “He’s a man of few words, but is a warm guy and a reliable person,” Mr. Fang said Wednesday in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “People of all ages and both sexes in our company call him ’brother.’ He is a hardworking and responsible man.”

(Wall Street Journal)


Empty paraphrase

A Chicago Tribune spokesman would not confirm the number of layoffs but said the newspaper is working to improve efficiency and productivity across departments.

(Chicago Tribune)



World easily stunned

The biggest news story of the year was breaking, but the journalist responsible was fast asleep.

It was just after dawn on May 27 when Andrew Jennings’s phone began ringing. Swiss police had just launched a startling raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich, arresting seven top FIFA officials and charging them and others with running a $150 million racket. The world was stunned.

(Washington Post)

“Biggest news story of the year.” Really?


After all, it was supposed to be secret.

First, how do we know the NSA has shut down its data-collection program. Second, “so now what?” is lazy and unnecessary. (Los Angeles Times)







This and that

Fulfilling a guarantee, but not a boast.

A lion attacked and killed an American woman on Monday as a tour guide drove her around a South African animal enclosure, police and park officials said.

“The lioness approached from the passenger side and bit the lady through the window,” said Scott Simpson, the assistant operations manager at Lion Park, an open-air facility north of Johannesburg.


The park’s website guarantees “super close-up views” and boasts that guests can “get closer to a pride of lions and other animals and still be completely safe.”

(NBC News)





This and that

My direct report and her staff have made a recommendation for a candidate to fill a current opening. They interviewed a number of people, scored them on a matrix, and were unified in their choice.

When I reviewed their pick’s résumé, however, there were numerous spelling errors, including in the job titles of the candidate’s last two positions. (My staff indicated they did not notice the errors.)

This is a client-facing position and the ability to communicate clearly and professionally is important. However, it is an assistant-level, non-salary position, with hourly compensation.

Do I veto the selection, since the candidate did not demonstrate the ability to use available resources (spell check, second reviewer) to produce a clean résumé? Or should I overlook that issue and follow my staff’s recommendation? ANONYMOUS

(New York Times)

Dear Anonymous: Another choice comes to mind, but you’ll have to go through a lot more résumés.


Taste treat


Archaeometry is an international journal covering the involvement of the physical and biological sciences with archaeology and art history. The topics covered include dating methods, artifact studies, mathematical methods, remote sensing techniques, conservation science and the study of man and his environment. The journal began in 1958 as the Bulletin of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Oxford University who published it for some 40 years. As from 2001, the journal has been published on behalf of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Oxford University, in association with the Gesellschaft für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie Archäometrie and Society for Archaeological Sciences by Wiley-Blackwell.

And like all good magazines, Archaeometry  includes recipe tips.

Savoury Recipes and the Colour of the Tlatelcomila Human Bones


  • cannibalism;
  • temperature;
  • DRX;
  • AFM;
  • EDS;
  • UV–VIS;
  • SEM;
  • Pre-hispanic;
  • axiote

Bones from Tlatelcomila (Tetelpan, México D.F.) were characterized by several complementary physical and chemical techniques, such as X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, energy-dispersive spectroscopy and ultraviolet spectroscopy, to determine whether they were boiled or grilled. The usual correlation between thermal treatment and colour is revisited in terms of microscopic structure, morphology and texture. At temperatures less than 100°C, it is shown that colour depends not only on temperature or diagenesis but also on the cooking procedure; that is, on the presence of spice dyestuffs such as axiote (Bixa orellana) or chilli (Capsicum).