Raymond Price RIP: His Still Relevant List—the Dirty Dozen—of How Journalists Get It Wrong

From the February 14 New York Times: Raymond K. Price Jr., a cerebral, pipe-smoking speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon who helped write the first and last words of his presidency, his Inaugural Addresses and his resignation speech, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 88.

In 1977 Raymond Price wrote a story for the Washingtonian titled “The Dirty Dozen,” with the deck “No Surprise: Nixon Aide Attacks Media. Surprise: He Makes Some Sense.” Much of what Price wrote about Nixon is echoed in today’s coverage of President Trump.

Editors at Work—John McIntyre: “We Heal With the Knife”

I tell students in my editing class at Loyola University Maryland that editing is like surgery.

Every time surgeons open up a human body, they create the possibility of doing damage to healthy tissue, of creating an injury in the attempt to cure one. Similarly, every time an editor opens up a text, the possibility of doing damage, of creating an error where none existed previously, is always there.

What Was Once Wisdom in Politics and Journalism

Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.

—Sam Brown, director of Action, a federal domestic volunteer agency, in 1977.

Media Bias? What Media Bias? Trust Us, We’re Saving the Country.

The country’s most powerful media voices—the New York Times, the Washington Post, the important magazines, the big digital sites—are in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump got 10 percent of the vote in Manhattan and 4 percent of the vote in Washington, D.C.

The Washington reaction was mostly shock—31 states voted for Trump? That TV clown is our next president? How did this happen?

Another reaction in Washington was we don’t want him here. This is our city and there’s nothing about him we like. (Along with the disdain, there was some journalistic looking in the mirror: How did we miss this? Are we out of touch with the country?)

James Salter on Irwin Shaw: In the Fewest Words. . .

James Salter, in his book Burning the Days, writing about author Irwin Shaw:

There was a game that he liked that he had once played all the time. It was who could get you to cry in the fewest words? There was a line in The Three Sisters: “You mean, I’m being left behind?” But Irwin always quoted the article by Gay Talese about Joe DiMaggio: On their honeymoon Marilyn Monroe had gone off on a USO tour and come back and said, Joe, there were a hundred thousand people  there and they were all cheering and clapping; you’ve never seen anything like it. Yes, I have, DeMaggio said.

The Copy Editor’s Lament: “No One Gives a S**t”

This is the third of a series of odes on NiemanStoryboard that chronicle the legacy newsroom. Each is written from different first-person perspective. Together they create the mumbled narrative of a special  and sadly contracting culture. The author, Don Nelson, has been a newsman for almost 50 years.

To see previous poems:

Ode #1, City Editor, Friday night

Ode #2: Reporter on deadline



I am the last bastion,

The guardian

Of grammar and syntax,

Spelling and style,

Structure and clarity,

Accuracy and context.


Turning Points in Journalism: When Big Newspapers Decided Readers Wouldn’t Have to Pay for the News

In 1995, big newspapers decided they should make digital readers pay for a newspaper’s news. James O’Shea, former editor of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, described what then happened in his book, The Deal From Hell.

When the Internet was just heating up, a number of newspaper executives realized the possible threat to revenues. This was the era of “Information wants to be free!” So the biggest metropolitan newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Knight-Ridder, the Tribune Company, Times Mirror, Advance Publications, Cox Enterprises, Gannett, and Hearst, got clearance from their antitrust lawyers to meet and they hammered out a plan to form an organization, the New Century Network, that would pool their content and place it behind a paywall.

You Want to Be the Editor? What Kind of Stories Would You Do?

Several years ago when Politico, the DC-based website that covers politics and government, started a glossy magazine, it was to be edited by Susan Glasser, who appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” to promote it.

In a segment on “The Rebirth of Longform Journalism,” the show’s host, Frank Sesno, asked Glasser about her plans for the new magazine and she said she wanted it to be something “truly original.”

But, he asked, what kind of stories? Glasser said it would be “more ambitious journalism.”

Patrick Sloyan on a Memorable Day in Journalism: “Give Me the Goddamn Phone!”

One of the great stories of journalists at work came out of Dallas 51 years ago. Merriman Smith of United Press International and Jack Bell of the Associated Press were riding in the wire car as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade drove through Dealey Plaza. Smith and Bell heard a bang, followed by two more bangs, that some people thought was a car backfiring. Smith, a gun enthusiast, knew what it was.

“However much we dreaded and feared them, those Irish nuns taught us how to write”

This excerpt is from the book, Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Changes, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper, by Art Cullen, editor of The Storm Lake Times, a twice-weekly newspaper in Iowa. The excerpt is about Cullen’s high school days in Storm Lake and his growing love for journalism. In 2017 Cullen won the Pultizer Prize for Editorial Writing for stories about how agri-business was poisoning the rivers and lake near Storm Lake.

Every morning five of us would walk the six blocks down the gangplank to school. Ann would start out, about five minutes late, and then each of us would follow five minutes later. I came up last, about a half hour late, ready to wrestle with the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.