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Poynter.
  • Internships cause plenty of hardship and woe

    Bad internships are like ill-fated summer romances: You go into them with an open heart and all the hope in the world, only to find out after three sizzling months they were using you the whole time.

    I’ve been fortunate in my fledgling career — and my love life — to steer clear of these summertime abusers. But like almost everyone working in journalism, I endured my fair share of harrowing situations while I was still figuring out which end of the pencil was up.

    In the hopes of finding comfort in shared misery, I sent out a few tweets yesterday looking to hear about your worst internship stories. Here’s what you wrote back, on Twitter and through email:

    @Poynter I interned all summer, they hired me to freelance after. Then the company went under and they only paid half of what they owed me

    — Annie Johnson (@anneejohnson9) October 24, 2014

    @Poynter When I was a h.s. intern @WSMV, this mean guy named @atompkins made me rip & sort stories off the wire. :) #itwasafewyearsago

    — Mary Beth Mosley (@MaryBethMosley) October 23, 2014

    @Poynter Did an internship where I was tricked into running a web mag. My "boss" plagiarized content and would ask me what our purpose was.

    — Dawn Cherie Araujo (@Dawn_Cherie) October 23, 2014

    @Poynter had to contact HR 4-5 times. Last time I mentioned harassment and then they moved me to another department and another office

    — Jakob Dorph Broager (@jdbroager) October 23, 2014

    @Poynter When I left the station, The Intern was watching TV with his feet up. When I came back, he was asleep. Do better than that, kids.

    — Luke Rollins (@LukeARollins) October 23, 2014

    Steve Rhodes wrote in with this story about receiving a cold welcome when he arrived for his first day of work:

    When I arrived from Minnesota for an internship at the New Haven Register in the summer of 1988, I did as instructed and walked up the city desk on my first day to introduce myself. “Hi, I’m the new summer intern,” I said. The editors looked at me and each other and then one said, “What intern?” Apparently the managing editor of the paper, who hired me, hadn’t told anyone I’d be arriving. I was dispatched to a bureau in the middle of nowhere to basically rot for the summer. At least I survived longer than the managing editor, who was fired midway through my stay there.

    Poynter reader Robin Roger sent these stories from her business reporting internship at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

    I was so nervous/excited on my first day, that I got to the parking garage 30 minutes early. I walked around the building a bit before realizing that I was supposed to park in another garage to get reimbursed. When I made it back to the original garage, I realized I had locked my keys in the car, and my car had been blocking the entrance to the parking garage for 15 or 20 minutes! Needless to say the guys at the garage weren’t happy with me. I called a locksmith, and they were there in minutes to extricate my key. I ended up being only 5 minutes late to my first day on the job, but I was a sweaty, nervous mess, not the calm, cool collected intern I was when I first arrived.

    This one is more directly related to reporting:

    I was sent out to interview customers of a locally owned pharmacy that was being bought by the Eckerd chain. The Eckerd folks didn’t want me interviewing in the store, so I was approaching people in the parking lot. I didn’t get a lot of cooperation, and one woman who seemed very suspicious even asked me “How do I even know you’re with the newspaper?!” I realized at that point I had rushed out the door, forgetting to bring my hangtag ID, so I had no proof that I worked for the paper. I never left the office again without it.

    And one more:

    When China changed the way it links its currency to the U.S. dollar, I was sent to a Walmart parking lot to interview customers about how this might affect them. I had to take this very complex economic concept, explain it to people in a Walmart parking lot and then ask them how it might affect their purchasing decisions. It was a longshot at best. I got comments like “I buy all my underwear at Walmart, and I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else.” I got stuck in rush hour traffic for hours, and ended up having to call in the quotes I had gathered. I was also asked to purchase items made in China for a photo to go with the article, and when I came back with a wide variety of items, I was told by the editor that that’s not what he was looking for. He wanted me to bring back the “cheap plastic crap” that they make. I had to tell him they make a lot more than that! I ended up getting to share a byline on the front page for the story, so that made it all worthwhile.

    Former Buffalo News intern Brandon Schlager wrote in with this stemwinder about driving through a blizzard to interview for his internship:

    My story takes place in January 2014. To appreciate the importance of the setting in relation to the narrative, you must first understand that January in Buffalo inherently means lots of ice, plenty of cold and, well, you know … snow. Buffalo sometimes gets a worse rap for its weather than it deserves, but this particular winter lived up to (and probably exceeded) the stereotypes — two blizzards in a two-month span, the first of which made its way into town late on Jan. 6.

    The next morning, Jan. 7, is when I was scheduled to interview for an intern position. I remember waking up, ignorant to the warnings heeded by weathermen the night before. And with no one having called to postpone the interview, I stubbornly set out on my trek to the newsroom in downtown Buffalo (I am from a Buffalo suburb about 15 minutes away), paying no mind to the 30-50 mph winds and the minus 28 degree wind chill that came along with it.

    The snow is hardly a deterrent for Buffalonians when it comes to driving. Navigating the flurries becomes second nature in time. So no big deal. The drive was a bit trickier than usual, but I made it to One News Plaza with 15 minutes to spare, proud of my punctuality. I won’t soon forget the look I received when I told the receptionist I had arrived to interview for an internship.

    She said something along the lines of, “You could have been two hours late and I don’t think anyone would have blamed you for it.”

    When I met with my interviewer, he was quick to share that the newsroom was particularly hectic because many of the reporters couldn’t make it into the office that day. They were stuck at home.

    Twelve to 18 inches of snow fell before Jan. 7 ran its course. The Sabres-Hurricanes hockey game scheduled for that night was cancelled. It was the first technical blizzard in Buffalo in 20 years, since 1993. Another one followed in March. We had a great run.

    Long story short, the interviews went well, I got the position and enjoyed a great (and sunny) summer with The Buffalo News.

    Do you have any terrible internship stories you’d like to be included here? Send me an email at bmullin@poynter.org, and I’ll add it to the article.

    Read more
  • Canadian ban on printing Rehtaeh Parsons’ name extends to advertisements, family finds

    Canada won’t allow its journalists to print Rehtaeh Parsons’ name, because she was a victim of child pornography. That ban extends to advertising, too, one of Parsons’ family members has found, even if an ad only includes what could be considered an oblique reference to the court case that invoked the publication ban.

    Rehtaeh Parsons (Photograph courtesy Courtesy Glen Canning and Leah Parsons)

    Rehtaeh Parsons (Photograph courtesy Courtesy Glen Canning and Leah Parsons)

    Rehtaeh Parsons died last year, and last month a young man pleaded guilty to taking a photograph that led to her being bullied and tormented. But Nova Scotia media could only refer to the plea as being in conjunction with a “high-profile child pornography case.”

    Rehtaeh Parsons’ uncle, Jim Canning, tried to place an ad in Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Chronicle Herald, the largest newspaper in the province, to make the connection between the conviction and his niece. But the paper refused, concerned such an ad would violate the publication ban.

    “I was pretty disappointed,” Jim Canning said. “We just wanted to say ‘Rehtaeh Parsons is her name.’ That’s it. We would have been fine with that.”

    Rehtaeh Parsons’ case attained worldwide notoriety last April, when she committed suicide after months of cyber-bullying. Her ordeal began after a photo got shared of her leaning out a window puking while a boy penetrated her from behind.

    She claimed she was raped by this boy and three others, but the boys say the sex was consensual and occurred at an alcohol-fueled party.

    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia investigated the matter for several months but never seized the boys’ cellphones and didn’t speak to the accused for 10 months. When the police finally took their evidence to the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service, the Crown Attorney that reviewed the file refused to prosecute because she didn’t think the likelihood of a conviction was high enough.

    After Rehtaeh’s death, her mother, Leah, turned to social media to tell her daughter’s story. The hacker collective Anonymous got involved and intense pressure from them, the public, and the provincial government prompted the police to re-open the case.

    New evidence turned up and was given to Halifax police, who laid charges in August 2013 — but not for sexual assault. They charged two boys: one with production and distribution of child pornography and one with distribution of child pornography.

    There is a statutory ban on the naming of victims in child pornography cases in Canada, yet the media continued to name Rehtaeh Parsons until April 2014, when Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Jamie Campbell ordered the ban. Rehtaeh’s parents opposed the order, as did Alex Smith, an Ontario Crown Prosecutor brought in to handle the case.

    Four Nova Scotia media outlets hired lawyer Nancy Rubin to fight the ban, but Campbell said the statute gave him no leeway. Because the law protects the victims of child pornography, he was not prepared to forge a ruling that could be misconstrued in the future.

    Martin Herschorn, Nova Scotia’s Director of Public Prosecutions, and Lena Metlege Diab, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia, said they couldn’t promise to not prosecute any journalists who broke the ban until it was violated.

    That presented media outlets with a perfect Catch-22: The media couldn’t name Rehtaeh Parsons, and the only way to create a legal path to use her name in covering this case was for a journalist to break the law.

    Rehtaeh Parsons’ parents openly flouted the ban. They started a social media campaign and made T-shirts and buttons with the slogan “Rehtaeh Parsons is her name.”

    I broke the ban on my blog, and other media outlets picked up the story including Slate, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and the BBC.

    But no mainstream Canadian media followed, which is why Rehtaeh Parsons’ uncle, Jim Canning, took it upon himself to try to place an ad in The Chronicle Herald.

    He sent the paper the copy he wanted in the ad:

    Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons.
    She was raped at 15.
    She was bullied and died by suicide at 17.
    And then we banned her name.

    The Chronicle Herald objected to the last line referencing the ban and asked Canning if he would remove it. He said yes, and then the ad got reviewed again.

    “They were still too worried about it, even though basically at this point it’s just saying her name,” said Canning.

    He said the advertising executive he was speaking with told him “it’s kind of implied that you’re talking about the ban,” Canning said. “I thought that was just ridiculous.”

    Chronicle Herald Associate Publisher Ian Thompson told me it was purely a legal issue for the paper.

    “We got advice to say that we would be in violation of the ban if we ran that ad,” Thompson said. “We would have been happy to run the ad, but we don’t want to run afoul of the law.”

    Days after rejecting Canning’s ad the Herald ran a story by The Canadian Press on Oct. 1 in which it named Rehtaeh Parsons.

    “We’ve run her name many times, but it’s in the context of that particular court action where the ban comes into play,” Thompson said.

    When asked how the wire story about an anti-cyberbullying curriculum was different than the ad proposed by Canning, Thompson said when it comes to the law “there are often gray areas, and that’s why there are lawyers.”

    Put simply, the Herald asked these questions when considering Canning’s ad: “Would it be seen by the court as an attempt to overcome what Judge Campbell had said and was this an attempt to do from the back door what the court said you can’t do in the front door?” Thompson said.

    Toronto lawyer Brian Rogers says you have to consider Jim Canning’s intent, which Rogers says is to get around the ban.

    Photograph courtesy Glen Canning and Leah Parson

    Photograph courtesy Glen Canning and Leah Parson

    “Even taking that last line out, that’s still the intended purpose of the ad,” Rogers said. Even though the CP story mentions that Rehtaeh was the victim of cyber-bullying, and that this entailed the taking and distribution of the photograph, which is the crux of the child-pornography case, it’s different.

    “I can appreciate that some people may scratch their heads and wonder about the distinction, but it is one,” Rogers said.

    Rogers stressed that he wasn’t prepared to second-guess the advice the Chronicle Herald received, but he does understand the basis on which they made their decision.

    “It’s clear that the intent of the ad is to subvert the ban, whereas the other is an article talking about cyber-bullying legislation,” he said.

    He also agreed that the words in the ad, which echo those in the social media campaign by Glen Canning and Leah Parsons – an open defiance of the ban – would also be a factor worth considering.

    “This is by no means a simple black-and-white situation and you would take into account all kinds of factors,” Rogers said. “It’s really a matter for the client to decide what risk they are prepared to take. There are circumstances in which clients are more prepared to take risks than others.”

    In this case, The Chronicle Herald decided it wasn’t prepared to take the risk.

    “Lawyers are always going to take the most risk-averse approach to most things, so the advice isn’t surprising,” Jim Canning said. “But when you make business decisions or moral decisions, you don’t just solely base it off of what your lawyer tells you or no one would ever do anything.”

    Two Chronicle Herald journalists, Selena Ross and Frances Willick, shared a national newspaper award for their investigative work into the Rehtaeh Parsons case, so it’s unfortunate that their coverage has been hampered by this ban.

    “I do personally hope the ban won’t be enforced and that we can get away from this stilted, ineffective coverage,” Ross said.

    Thompson said, “Rehtaeh Parsons’ name will appear in our newspaper again – obviously.”

    It’s a name that carries power and brings weight to any discussion about sexual consent, cyber-bullying or suicide prevention, Canning said.

    “I think the name is important, just like my brother [Rehtaeh's father, Glen] does,” Canning said. “I just wanted to kind of make a statement: ‘Don’t forget her.’

    Read more
  • The Globe rolls out red carpet for documentary film

    This year, editors at The Boston Globe noticed that they shared something important with Hollywood’s biggest night: three directors, all trained at nearby Harvard University, each got Oscar nods for documentary filmmaking.

    That got the paper’s attention. Globe editors had known for awhile that New England was a hotbed for documentarians, with big names like Ken Burns and Errol Morris calling the region home. The arts staff, under film editor Janice Page, had long discussed expanding the paper’s coverage of documentary filmmaking; now they had a newspeg.

    Now, a few months later, The Boston Globe is rolling out a red carpet of its own for the region’s filmmakers and cinephiles. On Thursday, the paper announced GlobeDocs, a bid to celebrate the city’s nonfiction film scene. The initiative, headed up by Page, will include a series of free screenings (at least one every month) at independent theaters throughout Boston that will include panel discussions with filmmakers and industry experts. The paper is currently working to identify advertisers to sponsor the screenings, said Boston Globe CEO Mike Sheehan.

    In an effort to become a hub for the film community, The Globe is also planning to put on a film festival sometime in 2015 and has begun a fund “to support up-and-coming filmmakers,” according to a release announcing GlobeDocs.

    In the weeks leading up to Thursday’s announcement, the paper was already beefing up its documentary coverage. Earlier this month, The Globe began devoting a full page of its Sunday arts section to nonfiction film. The paper brought aboard Peter Keough, the former film editor of the now-defunct Boston Phoenix, to anchor the section; he writes a weekly roundup of the region’s documentary news called “Doc Talk” and asks a prominent movie-lover for recommendations in a feature called “Documania.”

    Close watchers of The Globe will notice this isn’t the first time the paper has invested in specialized coverage of the city. This year, the paper rolled out two standalone sites — BetaBoston and Crux — to chronicle the startup and Catholic communities, respectively. In June, the paper added a Friday print section, “Capital,” dedicated exclusively to politics coverage. And there will likely be more specialized verticals to follow, Sheehan said.

    The homepage of Crux, The Boston Globe's new vertical for Catholic news.

    The homepage of Crux, The Boston Globe’s new vertical for Catholic news.

    And as with the other new initiatives, The Globe is planning to kick off GlobeDocs with a live event — in this case, a screening of “The Irish Pub,” featuring a discussion with director Alex Fegan moderated by Globe columnist Kevin Cullen. This echoes other launch events held for verticals like Crux and Capital.

    The business thinking behind these live meetups — from next year’s film festival to events the paper’s has been putting on for years — is to position The Globe to become a convener of the community in addition to its chronicler, Sheehan said. The events, which build and showcase the verticals’ respective audiences, have the potential to indirectly drive revenue by making them more attractive to advertisers.

    “Newspapers were traditionally experienced in someone’s hand, something someone read,” Sheehan said. “At their best today, newspapers are something that bring people together.”

    Read more
2010 Wall of Distinction Honorees

The Syracuse Press Club bestowed its most prestigious award Thursday night to five outstanding Central New York journalists.  In a dinner held at Drumlins in Syracuse the club installed the five to its Wall of Distinction.

 

 

The honorees are:
Robert Atkinson, Executive Editor of The Post-Standard
(Retired)
Janis Barth, Managing Editor Local News, The Post-Standard
John Krauss, General Manager WRVO Stations (Retired)
Ron Lombard, General Manager, Your News Now
Hart Seely, Reporter, The Post-Standard

The Wall of Distinction is in the theater lobby of the John H. Mulroy Civic Center in downtown Syracuse.  Matt Mulcahy of WSTM-TV.CNYcentral served as the MC for the evening. Former WSTM anchor and now CBS News weekend anchor Jeff Glor was the keynote speaker.  


 

 

 

Robert Atkinson

Like many in our community, Robert Atkinson began his career in journalism by attending Syracuse University. After six years in the U.S. Navy, where he began his career as a journalist, he returned to Syracuse to get a job with The Post-Standard. He began his forty year career at the paper with a posting as bureau correspondent in Saranac Lake in 1954.  He spent time as the Watertown Bureau reporter before making it as a reporter on he city desk. By 1965 he had moved up through the ranks to become Managing Editor, overseeing the paper's entire news operation.  In 1981 Atkinson was named Executive Editor, overseeing the paper's news operation and its editorial voice.
While Atkinson was at the helm of the paper it was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for a series of reports in 1992 on how poor medical care in New York's prisons made them the deadliest in the nation.
Atkinson also showed editorial courage in a community in love with Syracuse basketball when a series of articles titled "Out of Bounds" revealed NCAA violations in basketball recruiting.  The series resulted in sanctions against the basketball team.
He retired in 1993.

Janis Barth Managing Editor Local News, The Post-Standard

Janis Barth began her career in journalism in radio working as a reporter in the North Country. She later switched to print as a part-time North Country reporter for the Syracuse Newspapers in 1978. By 1990 Barth joined the main newsroom in
Syracuse as a reporter on the city desk.  She quickly was named an assistant city editor.  In 1992 she was promoted to city editor for the Herald Journal/Herald American.  Barth later rose to the positions of Assistant Managing Editor and Managing Editor, leading the paper's news staff and coverage.

Barth's story ideas, newsroom leadership and editing skills lead the staff of the paper as it reported some of its most compelling and award-winning stories.  Among them the six month long investigation  by Jon Craig and Hart Seely that toppled the management at the NYS Division for Youth. The report found physical and mental abuse of young people incarcerated by the state.  Barth was the prime mover and final arbiter for every word and phrase of the series. 
Barth also personally led the paper's coverage at Woodstock '99. Staying with a team of reporters in a  rented trailer at the site. As the concert weekend came to a close, a riot erupted and Barth was there personally directing her team caught between thousands of rioters and state police.

John Krauss-General Manager WRVO-FM (Retired)

John Krauss is one of the rare people in broadcasting today who has spent more than forty years at one station, and the listeners of WRVO-FM are he better for it.  Krauss joined WRVO  when it signed on the air as a 10 watt educational radio station on the campus of SUNY Oswego. As the station grew in size and power, Krauss worked in all facets of station operations becoming its first news director and also served as morning host.
As WRVO increased its coverage area by adding stations in Utica and Watertown, Krauss was promoted to Assistant General Manager.  Ten years later he became the station's General Manager. Under his leadership the station continued its growth in  size and news coverage.  WRVO now broadcasts at 50,000 watts and in HD.  The station continually ranks as one of the top eight stations in the Syracuse area. In recent years its strong local news department and its affiliation with NPR has filled the gap in radio news coverage as fewer commercial stations in the area make a commitment to local news coverage.  That success can be seen in the growing number of SPC awards as well as statewide awards WRVO has won.

Ron Lombard-General Manager Your News Now

Your News Now, (originally News 10 Now) is an ambitious endeavor by Time Warner Cable to deliver 24 hour news across New York State. Ron Lombard was selected by Time Warner to handle the tremendous job of putting this operation together from scratch; hiring the staff, supervising the build out of studio and newsroom facilities, and training a young staff to make it all happen.  The Syracuse operation he oversees covers news stories from Binghamton to Watertown and from Utica to Auburn providing viewers with local news any time of the day.
Lombard is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication. He began his career in central New York as a reporter and anchor at WSYR radio. He later moved to WIXT (Now WSYR-TV) Newschannel 9. Ron started as assignment editor before moving on to the position of assistant news director. He was news director from 1991-2001, helping lead the station to its place as the dominant ratings leader in the market.

 

 

 

 

Hart Seely-The Post-Standard, Author

Hart Seely is a reporter, author, essayist, political commentator and so much more. Hart is one of the most versatile reporters and writers in central New York. He's written hard-hitting investigative pieces like his expose on abuses of teen inmates in New York, and his reports from Iraq while embedded with the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division.
Seely is also an accomplished writer of features and humor columns.  His work is not just seen in Syracuse. Seely's writing appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington, Slate.com and National Public Radio. Seely is also a published author of "Mrs. Goose Goes to Washington: Nursery Rhymes for the Political Barnyard," (Simon & Schuster, 2007). He is the co-editor of "O Holy Cow: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto" (Ecco Press, 1993), "2007-Eleven and Other American Comedies" (Random House, 2000), and editor of "Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld" (Simon & Schuster 2003).
 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 October 2010 19:56 )
 
"Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of [achieving] a free society."
Felix Frankfurter, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court

Wall of Distinction


Ron Curtis

WTVH (WHEN), WFBL

Ron Curtis got an early start on his career. He was only 15 when he was hired by WFBL as a radio announcer.

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