The Year in Media: Errors and Corrections

While the year's end brings many summaries of the big news of 2007, I thought it might be amusing to see some of the media's biggest blunders. Regret the Error reports on media corrections, retractions, apologies, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the press. It was launched in October 2004 by Craig Silverman, a freelance journalist and author based in Montreal.

One of my personal favorites is the Typo of the Year from his list:
The Houston Chronicle, like just about every other North American media outlet, spent a lot of time reporting on Anna Nicole Smith this past year. In attempting to explain her, um, humble origins, the paper gave itself a measure of comeuppance. And that’s what makes it the typo of the year.

A photo caption in the paper read:

When Redding, a longtime scout for Playboy, discovered Smith, the model could barely right a sentence…

Who’s illiterate now?
Posted by Tonie Auer, president of the DFW ASBPE chapter.

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Strategies for Writers Plagued with Too Many Ideas

It truly doesn't sound like it would be a problem, but I bet if you're a writer or editor of a B2B and you look to the right of your monitor and then to the left (and maybe in the floor or your guest chair, too) you'll find stacks of story ideas, letters from PR folks promoting their clients and maybe your sack lunch from last week buried under some mail that you still haven't opened either.

If this describes you, you may suffer from Too Many Ideas Syndrome. However, has strategies to help you overcome your affliction. I'm not sure I can apply all the tips to my writing, but maybe you can take away a few worth trying.

Tonie Auer is the president of the DFW Chapter and chairwoman of the National Blog Committee. She's a freelance writer and editor for a number of B2B publications.

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Have you been E-inked yet?

I have often joked that at my first newspaper job I used a Fred Flintstone-style computer complete with a pterodactyl behind the monitor pecking out the letters. Now, print newspapers may truly be the dinosaurs of history.

Editor & Publisher reported earlier this month about the use of technology to virtually, ok, literally, replace print production of a newspaper and go strictly to an online format. And, why not? (aside from my love of getting a magazine in the mail, thumbing through it and pulling out pages to clip on the fridge) It is more cost-effective, quicker to access and availability is simply a mouse-click away. With less overhead and staff required, the opportunity is there for more money in the publisher's pocket. Or is there?
By E&P Staff
As print newspaper revenues continue to fall, Bill Richards wrote on the Crosscut Web site that papers may want to look to devices such as Amazon’s Kindle, which use E ink technology.Such devices could make up for the losses in print and make the newspaper industry very profitable.

The Web has taken away both readers and ad money from print papers, but it hasn’t grown ad revenue enough to make up for the losses. Hearst has announced plans to release a wireless online paper within the next two years, using E ink technology with a flexible screen device the size of a tabloid paper.

The costs of an e-paper are mostly fixed because circulation is not an issue. The devices are simply a new delivery system for old content, which eliminate production and distribution costs. The building and general and administrative costs at the paper would shrink with the e-paper being the only version. The staff, like in the hypothetical paper could also be cut in half.

Advertisers may be more interested because the ads are still displayed in the same manner they are in the regular print newspaper because the e-paper screen is the size of a tabloid paper. Ads could also target specific audiences.
Advertising Age has a similar story about how newspapers are looking to digital for ways to increase revenue as print becomes useful only for wrapping up Christmas ornaments to put away until next year.

Contributed by Tonie Auer, president of the DFW ASBPE chapter and national blog committee chairwoman.

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To be paid or not be paid; that is the question

As a freelance writer for the past six years, I have followed this case with some interest. While a court has ruled, I'm not sure that all the questions have been answered. Most editors and publications' representatives have addressed this issue with specific wording in writer agreements. I know for me, almost every publication I write for has wording in the agreements specifying that the rights to the story include online publication, too. Just be wary and read those agreements over.

On Nov. 30, the New York Times reported: A federal appeals court yesterday threw out a hard-fought agreement between publishers and freelance writers to pay the writers for electronic reproduction of their work.

In a 2-to-1 decision, an appellate panel ruled that the courts had no jurisdiction over the copyright dispute and that a lower court erred in accepting the writers’ lawsuit and approving the settlement.

People on both sides of the dispute said it was unclear what would happen next — whether the decision would be appealed, a new suit filed, or a new agreement negotiated.

“The decision is an outrage, and I hope it’s appealable to the Supreme Court,” said Gerard Colby, president of the National Writers Union, and a plaintiff.

In 2001, the United States Supreme Court ruled that digital reproduction of newspaper, magazine and other articles without the writers’ permission violated their copyrights. Publishers removed such articles from their digital archives and began requiring freelancers to explicitly cede electronic rights to their work.

But that did not resolve claims for monetary damages for the earlier violations. In Federal District Court in Manhattan, Judge George B. Daniels allowed a class-action suit by writers and their organizations; without that crucial step, each writer determined to win payment would have had to sue individually.

The suit named major publishers and archive services, including the Thomson Corporation, The New York Times Company, Dow Jones & Company, the LexisNexis unit of the Reed Elsevier Group and the Tribune Company.

After years of negotiation, the companies and the writers reached a settlement in March, 2005, which the judge approved. It provided for mostly modest payments to freelancers, and capped the publishers’ payout at $18 million.

But yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan voided the settlement. In his decision, Judge Chester J. Straub wrote that federal copyright law allows claims for damages only by writers who have registered their work with the United States Copyright Office. The vast majority of freelancers did not register, so he said the courts had no jurisdiction over their disputes, and the case should not have been approved as a class-action suit.

He noted that the defendants had themselves made similar arguments before settling and stated that they settled the case out of “the desire to achieve global peace in the publishing industry.”

The settlement had recognized the gap in standing, providing higher payments for writers who had registered their work with the copyright office. Judge Ralph K. Winter joined in the majority.

In a dissenting opinion, Chief Judge John M. Walker argued that the registration requirement was a malleable procedural rule for processing a legal claim, not a strict limit on the court’s jurisdiction.

Contributed by Tonie Auer, president of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the ASBPE.

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ASBPE's National Blog:
The Antidote to Future Shock

By Steven Roll
ASBPE President

When I read Alvin Toffler's Future Shock in high school, I scoffed at his premise that the pace of technological change would accelerate so rapidly that people would someday be unable to keep up. After all, it didn't take me much time to master the first-generation word processing program on our family's green-screened computer. But given the technological advances since then, Toffler's prediction seems alarmingly accurate.

As business journalists we experience the impact of profound changes to communications technology every day. At ASBPE's national conference last summer attendees described how having access to all of these new forms of communication is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because learning how to use new technologies such as a podcasts is exciting and often enables us to present information in an interesting format. It is a curse because of the additional time we need to learn about them and effectively use them.

One thing that hasn't changed is that there are still only 24 hours in a day. Business journalists are often asked to juggle learning to use new forms of communication with traditional roles such as writing detailed feature articles on complex topics.

The primary goal of this blog is to equip b2b journalists to handle these demands.

To kick off ASBPE's National Blog, I'd like to define some words that each illustrate the nexus between technology and journalism. Knowing the meaning of these phrases might make the difference between being duped and finding your next scoop or market niche.

sock puppet: According to Poynter Institute's Web Speak Blog, sock puppetry is the act of creating a false identity to manipulate an online discussion. The "sock puppet" appears to be a neutral third party on a message board or blog. A sock puppeteer creates a fake identity while having a personal interest in the discussion -- usually as the author of a blog post in question or as a representative of a company under discussion. In July, the New York Times reported that John Mackey, the chief executive of Whole Foods Market used a fictional identity on the Yahoo message boards for nearly eight years to assail competition and promote his supermarket chain’s stock.

crowd sourcing: Poynter's Web Speak blog says it is taking a task traditionally accomplished by a professional journalist and includes outsourcing to a large group through an open call. The Oct/Nov. issue of the American Journalism Review describes how the Gannett newspaper chain reorganized its newsrooms to encourage greater reader involvement in the news reporting process. AJR reported that Gannett's goal is to "recruit readers at the beginning stage of stories, publishing inquiries on the papers' Web sites and in their print editions, and ultimately using citizen contributions to help produce high-quality content."

mashup: using software or Web applications to present data in a compelling format. The original mashup man is the 20-something Adrian Holovaty. A great example of his work is, which uses Google maps to report crime statistics.

social bookmarks: Wikipedia describes social bookmarking as a way for Internet users to store, organize, share and search bookmarks of web pages.

Social bookmarking sites include Digg, del.ici.ous, and Fark. Besides serving as an electronic filing cabinet in which you can store pages you'd like to see again, these sites rank popular items on the Internet. So the next time you hear someone say that the story they wrote was "farked up," you'll know they don't have a speech impediment, and their story was widely read on the Internet.

social networking: Web applications designed to facilitate interactions between people. Two of the most popular sites are Facebook and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is geared to an older, more professional crowd. The CEO of my employer, BNA, added his profile to LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago. Facebook caters to a younger, more casual crowd. But many publications and associations are taking it seriously because it offers "group pages" that provide an effective platform for communicating with their audiences. A good way to test the waters on Facebook is to join ASBPE's group page. Despite the recent controversy surrounding Facebook, the site reportedly has 50 million active users and is likely to retain its status as one of the most popular destinations on the Web.

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ASBPE National Blog Contributors

Contributors to the ASBPE National Blog include members of the national blog committee, which is responsible for its overall content, as well as other ASBPE national and chapter officers, working business-to-business editors, and consultants. Click an author’s name to see that person’s posts.

ASBPE National Blog Committee

Photo: Steven RollSteven Roll, blog chair, is senior state tax law editor of the Weekly State Tax Report, Multistate Tax Report and the Multistate Tax Portfolio series published by Arlington, Va.-based BNA Tax & Accounting. He was president of ASBPE from August 2007 through July 2009. Previously, he served as chapter president for ASBPE’s Washington, D.C., chapter from 2003-2007. He coedited Journalism That Matters, a book of case studies about B2B journalists whose stories triggered important changes within government or industry. The Multistate Tax Report has won ASBPE awards for newsletter general excellence and original research. Roll has been named as a finalist in BNA’s Editorial Excellence Award competition several times. He lives in Kensington, Maryland.

Photo: Warren HerschWarren Hersch is president of ASBPE. He is also senior editor, advanced markets and sales, for National Underwriter magazine's Life & Health edition, which he joined in 2004. He covers trends in estate planning, advanced markets and practice management. In addition, he is the lead writer for, and helps prepare, Annuity Sales Buzz, an e-newsletter published by NU for inexperienced annuity producers. Previously, Hersch served in various editorial capacities at Call Center Magazine, Teleconnect, and Computer Reseller News, all CMP Media publications. He also was an editor and analyst at Probe Research.

Photo: Martha SpizziriMartha Spizziri is a Boston-based freelance writer and is ASBPE’s web editor. She is also vice president of ASBPE’s Boston/New England chapter. She worked for many years at Reed Business Information, where she served as web editor of Modern Materials Handling, managing editor of Digital News & Review, and in various positions at Traffic Management (now Logistics Management). She has written for and for DC Velocity magazine. She can be reached at

Photo: Katy TomasuloKaty Tomasulo, president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of ASBPE, is deputy editor for Building Products magazine, EcoHome magazine, and, part of Washington, D.C.-based Hanley Wood Business Media. Katy’s eight years at Hanley Wood include serving as managing editor for ProSales and Tools of the Trade magazines and as associate editor and assistant editor for several other construction trade publications. She was an ASBPE Young Leaders Scholarship recipient in 2004.

Other Blog Contributors

Maureen Alley is editor for Woodland Management magazine. She is also a freelance writer and editor for other business-to-business publications. She was previously managing editor for Website Magazine and Residential Design & Build magazine. Alley has been an ASBPE member since 2006, and Azbee judge for the last two years. She can be reached at, or visit

Tonie Auer is president of ASBPE's Dallas/Fort Worth chapter. She helped launch the ASBPE National Blog and served as the blog committee chairwoman from its launch until mid-2010. She is an award-winning journalist working as a real estate writer for the Dallas-Fort Worth Bisnow on Business. She can be reached at

Dan Blank is the director of content strategy and development for RB Interactive, the online division of Reed Business Information. You can find daily updates to his personal blog at

Matt Bolch is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor. After a long career in newspapers (including nine years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Bolch became a full-time freelancer in 2002. He currently is managing editor of CDHCSolutions and magazines and writes for a dozen mainly B2B magazines. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1987 and has been a member of ASBPE since 2002. Bolch has been an Azbee Awards judge for three years and is a regular attendee at the national conference. His Web site is and his e-mail address is

Amy Buttell is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Journal of Financial Planning, Hospitals and Health Networks, American Executive, Better Investing Magazine and, as well as many other publications and websites. She reports on a variety of trends and industries including finance, healthcare, legal and real estate. In 2009, she earned an Advanced Certificate in Accounting from the Walker Business School at Mercyhurst College. She co-authored the book Personal Investing: The Missing Manual with Bonnie Biafore and Carol Fabbri. She lives in Erie, Pa., with her two sons and two cats. Her online home is at, her e-mail address is lecreative@ and you can find her on Twitter at

Jim Carper has started new magazines and revitalized old, tired magazines for large and small publishers. Currently an independent contractor, he is editing a new-products tabloid, consulting with a website owner, creating e-newsletter content for a marketer, and blogging for various clients. See more at and Gift & Home Today.

Photo: Erin EricksonErin Erickson is a board member for the Chicago chapter of ASBPE. She currently works at Putman Media in Itasca, Ill., as a senior web editor; she formerly worked at Reed Business Information as a group managing editor for the Residential Construction Group. She also created, a how-to website that aims to teach nontechnical people how to create, use and manage social media.

Photo: Rob FreedmanRobert Freedman is a past ASBPE president and senior editor at Realtor Magazine in Washington, D.C., published by the National Association of Realtors. He is also the author of How to Make Real Money in Second Life (McGraw-Hill: 2008) and editor, Broker to Broker (John A. Wylie & Sons: 2006). He can be reached at

Nikki Golden is the vice president of ASBPE’s Chicago chapter and communications manager of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, where she oversees the magazine The Remodelers’ Journal.

Elena Gontar is a real estate writer in Brooklyn. She can be reached at

Photo: Roy HarrisRoy Harris, immediate past national president of ASBPE, has been a senior editor at The Economist Group's Boston-based CFO magazine for nearly 13 years. Previously, he was with The Wall Street Journal as a reporter and editor for 23 years, including six as deputy chief of its 14-member Los Angeles bureau. He recently became the author of his first book, Pulitzer's Gold, a history of a near-century of the most coveted Pulitzer Prize: the gold medal for newspaper public service. His email address is

Photo: Paul HeneyPaul J. Heney is editorial director for Questex Media's Hotel Group, which includes Hotel & Motel Management, Hotel Design, and Luxury Hotelier. A member of the ASBPE Cleveland Chapter board, Heney served as national president of ASPBE from 1999-2003. He is also president of TABPI, an international b2b think tank that promotes b2b journalism and professionalism.

Harry McCracken is the founder and editor of Technologizer, a new site that evaluates and comments on technology. Until recently, he was editor in chief at PC World. In that position, he received awards and recognition including a mention on the Folio: 40 list of media industry movers and shakers, ABM’s Timothy White award for editorial integrity, and the Jesse H. Neal award for best editorial or signed column, all in 2008. MIN named him one of its 21 Most Intriguing People in 2007 and in 2006 awarded his PC World blog a Best of the Web award for best blog. Inspired in part by a post he wrote on this blog, he launched the blog McCracken on Media to share some of the lessons he's learned about the media business.

Paul Miller has held the dual role of editor-in-chief of All About ROI magazine (formerly Catalog Success) and editorial director of eMarketing and Commerce since early 2006. You can reach him at

Marisa Palmieri is senior editor of GIE Media's Golf Course Industry magazine and an ASBPE Cleveland chapter board member. Previously, she was associate editor of GIE Media’s Lawn & Landscape and ancillary publications. She also has been an associate editor on Paperboard Packaging and Official Board Markets. She has written for various trade publications, including Interior Business, Commercial Dealer, Snow Business and Hotel & Motel Management and served as the editor-in-chief of Southeast Ohio magazine and a student writer for Ohio Today magazine. She was a 2007 recipient of ASBPE's Young Leaders Scholarship. She can be reached at

Abe Peck became director of business to business communication at Northwestern University’s Medill School after 27 years as a professor there. He consults to Advanstar and other B2B media in the United State, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China and India, and received the ASBPE Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He can be reached at

Christina Pellett is the managing editor of the Agent’s Sales Journal, a business-to-business publication for life and health-licensed insurance agents published by Summit Business Media. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in 2002 with a focus in magazine writing and editing.

Photo: Jennie PhippsJennie L. Phipps is the editor and publisher of Freelance Success, a subscription newsletter and online community for independent nonfiction writers. She can be reached at

Photo: Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi is founder and chief content officer for Junta42, the leading media/bookmarking site for content marketing and custom publishing. Junta42 Match is the industry's only buyer/seller marketplace for custom publishing solutions. A writer, speaker and evangelist for content marketing, Pulizzi was named American Business Media's "Custom Media Innovator of the Year." He is coauthor of the book Get Content. Get Customers. Contact Joe at joe[at]

Howard Rauch is president of Editorial Solutions Inc., a consultancy focusing on B2B magazines. Rauch is the 2002 recipient of ASBPE’s Lifetime Achievement Award. You can contact him directly at

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, Virginia. He is a mechanical engineer with and MBA and writes about business and technology. His new leaf in 2010 is to network more and start calling himself a technology evangelist because it sounds cool!,

Robin Sherman is a principal at Robin Sherman Editorial and Design Services. He has directed the content and design for more than 50 titles, including numerous launches. He is also associate director and newsletter editor for the ASBPE; he edits both the print and email newsletters. Previously, he was editor and associate publisher of Adhesives Age. He also spent six years as a newspaper journalist, including at the Atlanta Constitution. His email address is

Jim Sulecki has more than 25 years of editorial, publishing management and sales/marketing experience in business-to-business and consumer media. Currently he manages Meister Media Worldwide’s 20 brand and custom websites, 12 branded e-newsletters, custom e-media, webinars, and online video/audio, crafting sales and marketing strategies and developing online content and search engine optimization programs. He was named “Innovator in Business Media: Online Executives” by BtoB Media Business magazine in June 2009.

Thomas R. Temin is a consultant with 30 years of publishing experience in media and information technology products and services. He is co-host of “The Federal Drive” with Tom Temin and Jane Norris, a weekday morning news and talk program on Federal News Radio AM 1050 in Washington D.C. You can see his weekly column on the op-ed page at and contact him at

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1. Unless otherwise stated, views expressed are the individual author's and may not reflect official positions taken by ASBPE.

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