Monday, December 31, 2007

Corbett gets it up the ass

WILK talk-show host Steve Corbett holds forth on his blog about his recent trip to the doctor and about the importance of the regular colonoscopy.

Rich Connor of the TL on immigration and on Christmas

Times Leader Editor Richard Connor writes about immigration in his Sunday Times Leader column. Immigration = good. Fear = bad.

  • In Fort Worth, Connor writes about the joys of parenthood
  • Thursday, December 27, 2007

    The Scranton Times-Tribune is looking for an assistant sports editor

    Do you have a creative approach to the Web? Then apply to become an assistant sports editor at The Times-Tribune of Scranton!

    Tuesday, December 25, 2007

    "The cheapest man in the whole world:" Bill Lynett

    So writes V. Scott Beddome, a Wisconsin radio guy quoting fellow radio guy Lee Arnold. Beddome is publishing - on his blog - the story of how a group of Milwaukee radio guys tried to trick The Who into playing in Milwaukee. Surely an item of interest to broadcast people.

    Monday, December 24, 2007

    Randy Shemanski named new Electric City editor

    Times-Tribune assistant sports editor – and University of Scranton pitching coach and recruiting coordinator – Randy Shemanski will take over the entertainment weekly Electric City from Matt Smith, who is working on the new site

  • Read Shemanski's linkedin page

  • Check out the Web site Electric City Editor Matt Smith has been working on
  • The TL's Connor writes about his little girl, Santa Claus and a kid named Buster

    Times Leader editor Richard Connor tells readers about Santa, Virginia O'Hanlon and the old New York Sun. Merry Christmas.

    Former WBRE weather guy contemplating run for elected office

    Vince Sweeney, who used to do the weather on WBRE, is apparently making noise on his blog (click above) about following the paths of Keith Martin and Frank Andrews Shimkus to Harrisburg and/or going on to Washington. Judging by the blog – “I never saw a chestnut roasting on an open fire until I was probably in my 20s. It made for a great lyric in a marvelous song, but chestnuts roasting was never part of my reality” – he'll fit right in.

    Connor: Debit card guys are innocent until proven guilty

    In another rousing defense of vigorous journalism, Times Leader Editor Richard Connor writes that "the presumption of innocence in these matters would be a refreshing return to values of the past and gentler, less skeptical times." Skepticism. Who needs it?

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007

    “We pay overtime. We are very scrupulous about paying overtime."

    UPDATE: Joe Strupp wrote a story published this afternoon in Editor & Publisher. Read it here. Also, Romenesko linked to the TL story.

    It's go time. In Tuesday's editions, the Times Leader reports on the federal investigation of overtime practices in the newsroom of The Times-Tribune of Scranton. Editor Larry Beaupre says the newspaper is very scrupulous about paying overtime. Former reporter Sarah Molina told TL reporter Sherry Long that "Times-Tribune reporters often worked 14-hour days and 50-to-60-hour weeks without receiving overtime pay or additional days off."

    Um. So. Either Beaupre (who also called the story a "rumor") (?) or Molina is lying. Kudos to Molina for being willing to go on the record, though she'll probably be crucified for her courage.

    Monday, December 17, 2007

    Federal probe of Scranton Times-Tribune widens

    Former reporters of the Times-Tribune of Scranton have started getting phone calls from U.S. Department of Labor investigators inquiring into how the newspaper handled overtime. Letters had been arriving in mailboxes for a few weeks. The letters, from investigator Joseph Sabol in the department's Scranton office (570-961-2636), begin: "We are making an investigation of this firm to determine if it is complying with the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.... In doing so, it is customary to ask some of the present and former employees for certain information by direct correspondence. The fact that we are asking for this information does not imply that this firm has violated any law."

    The letter asks the respondent's duties, regular hours, and place of work. It also asks how often the person worked overtime and whether the person was paid for overtime.

    Click above to see scans of the letter.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    BREAKING: Feds investigating overtime practices at Scranton Times-Tribune

    Letters have started landing in the mailboxes of former Scranton Times-Tribune staffers -- letters from the federal government inquiring about how the newspaper handled overtime. At least two former reporters have received letters, we're told. More as it happens.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Welcome Roja Heydarpour to the Scranton Times-Tribune

    Well. The New York Times to The Times-Tribune of Scranton isn't a career track you see every day. But welcome to Roja Heydarpour, a Columbia University grad school product who has her own real Wikipedia page. Kudos.

    Update: Lest anyone think Heydarpour was exiled to Scranton, read the glowing memo circulated in the Times newsroom upon her departure:

    Roja Heydarpour is jumping from the NYT ship to become a full time reporter at the Scranton Times-Tribune. Today (Nov. 16) is her last day.

    As Sewell Chan pointed out in an e-mail, "Northeastern Pennsylvania had better watch out."

    Roja came to us almost two years ago, while still pursuing her master's at Columbia, and has been a rock solid anchor on the Metro desk ever since. No matter what chaotic news event broke out around here, she was there to calmly keep the desk humming along, providing a patient, steady presence for Metro reporters and editors. You never saw her sweat.

    Take a moment to reflect on just how many phone calls Roja has answered during her dayside Metro tenure.

    Most recently, she began contributing blog postings to City Room and moderating reader comments, gracefully incorporating new web duties into her often hectic day. "Roja has been a vital part of the city room blog since it launched in June," Sewell said. "She juggles blogging and comment moderation with her other duties in a way that seems effortless."

    True. So let's toast her, shall we. Come raise a glass in her honor today at 4 p.m. in the conference room near my office. Just wander over toward Margaux's desk and you'll find it.

    And that's just the appetizer. Roja asks that you join her afterwards, any time after 5:30, at Cafe Andalucia on Ninth Avenue between 39th and 40th. She'll be there into the wee hours.


    Christopher J. Kelly goes to Wal-Mart

    Have you heard of these "Bratz" dolls? They are dolls that look slutty. They are called "ghetto dolls" by some, Christopher J. Kelly reports in his Times-Tribune column. Crazy! We stopped reading at the word "anyhoo."

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    Richard Connor: Debit-card story is overblown, competition is overrated

    Rich Connor's Sunday column is a keeper. How would you like to work all week on the big story in town, pick up the Sunday paper and read this from your boss?

    • "We lost focus."

    • "My fear has been that we might rush either another story or an editorial into print to avoid being “beaten” by other media.

    • "It is difficult and perhaps unfair to criticize debit card users when there was no set of rules to follow."

    Slurp. Guzzle. And so on. The accompanying staff editorial minimizes the story, and includes this gem: "Skrepenak should think back to his football days. Right now, the county’s in the fourth quarter with little time left on the clock. Will he retreat to the sidelines? Or will he make the big play and lead the county to fiscal responsibility?" Calling Joe Pulitzer!

    Open thread: Advice for Jeff Sonderman

    Sunday's Times-Tribune carried a story (click above) announcing Jeff Sonderman's promotion to metro editor. For no reason, an assemblage of such stories:

    "Jeff Sonderman has an outstanding track record as a reporter and editor and will do a great job as The Times-Tribune continues to expand its local news coverage in print and online at" – Larry Beaupre on Sonderman, 12/07

    "Stephen Daily is an outstanding journalist who has been instrumental in the development of one of the best newspaper business sections in the country.... We look forward to his leadership as The Times-Tribune and Citizens’ Voice continue to expand business and personal finance coverage in Northeastern Pennsylvania." – Beaupre on Daily, 4/06

    "We were looking for someone with experience in business news and strong editing skills with imagination and leadership ability." – Beaupre on Fred Reinecke, 1/05

    "It is a pleasure to turn over responsibility for local news coverage to an editor with the experience, background, talent and integrity of Ken Knelly." – Beaupre on Knelly, 10/04

    "Mr. Knelly comes from a newspaper with a distinguished business section and he, himself, has an outstanding reputation as a business editor and journalist." – Beaupre on Knelly, 9/03

    Any management advice for the new editor? Career advice? Job leads?

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    Scranton Times-Tribune names new metro editor

    Jeff Sonderman has been named the new metro editor of The Times-Tribune of Scranton. Kudos. His linkedin resume (click above) has already been updated. Impressive. His Wikipedia page (!) (click below) has already been deleted. No word on a successor for business editor.

  • Jeff Sonderman's Wikipedia page
  • Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    Hazleton is en fuego

    First, the penis on the high school football field is picked up by Gizmodo, Gawker Media's gadget blog. Then Gawker's consumerist blog inexplicably runs an awful vintage commercial for the Game Store at Laurel Mall in Hazleton.

  • Watch the commercial at
  • Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    Corbett: I love, love, love the TL

    We understand that Corbett posted this blog piece a cool two weeks ago. But "I’ll always be part of the Times Leader" is too good to pass up. Corbett blogs about his love for the paper at the same time as the big birthday party, though it seems he didn't attend.

    Joe Sylvester leaves Scranton for the Times Leader

    Longtime Pittston reporter Joe Sylvester, who had recently been covering Old Forge and surrounding towns, has left The Times-Tribune of Scranton for the copy desk of the Times Leader. Kudos.

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    Kudos to the Voice and reporter Michael Buffer

    Kudos to the Citizens' Voice, which broke the story this week of the prison official who put his trip to a Vegas nudie bar on a county debit card. Reporter Michael Buffer has been on the case from the beginning, and in Monday's editions writes about how another $2,700 in charges from the same guy - Sam Hyder - are also suspicious. The story has been on the state wires.

    It's been funny to read the CV lead the story, read Steve Corbett credit the Voice, and then read the TL credit Corbett.

    Sunday, December 02, 2007

    Court upholds firing of Scranton Times-Tribune source

    A state attorney general's agent who fed information about a grand jury investigation to the Scranton Times-Tribune has failed in his bid to get his job back. The Commonwealth Court ruled that James Kolojejchick -- who was fired and later jailed because of information he shared with newspaper editor John Murphy -- knew what he was doing when he told investigators that he hadn't been in contact with the newspaper. The contact was about a story the newspaper wrote that generated a still-pending libel suit.

    The court writes: "The newspaper editor needed a second source to confirm the story
    published in January 2004 in order to mitigate the newspapers’ exposure in the
    lawsuit. The newspaper editor met with [Kolojejchick] in December 2004. [Kolojejchick] told the editor that he had heard from the OAG attorney conducting the grand jury investigation that the Commissioners had testified in an evasive manner. In response to a further plea from the editor, [Kolojejchick] put this information in the form of an affidavit."

    Kolojejchick was fired, and his union took the case to arbitration and lost. This case was an unsuccessful appeal of that arbitrator's ruling.

  • Read the Commonwealth Court ruling in full
  • Hazleton penis made famous by Google Maps

    Has everyone else noticed that Google recently upgraded their northeastern Pennsylvania images -- and now you can see the penis vandals created on high-school football field in Hazleton a few years ago. The Standard-Speaker wrote about this in a story Saturday that will undoubtedly make it's way through the Internets in the coming days. A tipster passed along this item.

  • Read the S-S story
  • Richard Connor on what makes a good publisher

    The only reason we're posting this three-week-old column from Fort Worth is because Times Leader Publisher Richard Connor holds forth on newspapers and publishers. Regarding the new publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Connor writes: "The first test of common sense and business acumen for new publisher Gary Wortel will be to see how long he puts up with the lunacy emanating from the newspaper’s third-floor newsroom." Nice!

    Richard Connor sees dead people

    The Times Leader editor writes (in a rerun of a 1994 piece) about how his first news job was writing obits. Why do these columns run in Fort Worth but not Wilkes-Barre?

    A little story about little WGBI-AM of Scranton

    While hunting for art for the WEJL item (see below), we found a wonderful item from the radio site about radio station WGBI, which started broadcasting in 1925 from a tiny building on Davis Street in Scranton -- between Colliery Avenue and McCarthy Street. It's a fun read by a guy who clearly knows about and loves radio. He visits the top of the Times-Tribune building in the process.

    Ode to the antenna atop the Times-Tribune building

    Cheryl Kashuba of the Lackawanna Historical Society writes a nice piece about the history of the Christmas lights on the WEJL tower. Did you know: Santa used to arrive atop the Times building in a helicopter?

    Photo: Erin Nissley's flickr page