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Journos

Gawker’s John Cook: ‘I Think of Media Ethics the Same Way I Think of Plumber Ethics’

The journalist who crowdfunded $200,000 to try and break the story of a Toronto mayor’s alleged crack use wide open is back in that Canadian city. Tonight, Gawker editor-in-chief John Cook will chat with Jeffrey Dvorkin, director of the journalism program at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, as sponsored by the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

Ahead of the event, Cook spoke with Toronto Globe & Mail media reporter Simon Houpt about this and that. FishbowlNY got a particular kick out of Cook’s answer to the question, “What do you think of media ethics?”:

“I think of media ethics the same way I think of plumber ethics: I think that, as a human being, I’m bound by certain ethical precepts I try to live my life by, but I do not think as a profession that reporters and editors need to think of themselves as bound by an additional, secondary set of ethical restrictions – the way that, say, lawyers or doctors think of themselves as bound by an additional set of conditions.”

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Jimmy Breslin is A-OK with New York Journalism Hall of Fame Honor

“I’ll accept all awards!” the 82-year-old Breslin told New York Daily News reporter Stephen Rex Brown after learning that he, along with seven others, will be inducted in November to the Deadline Club’s revived New York Journalism Hall of Fame.

Breslin is an emblem of a bygone daily newspaper era. The November 14 honor at Sardi’s is a nice addition to a career that also encompasses the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Breslin told Brown he’s working right now on a novel and that his success tracks back to Queens:

“If you were in Ozone Park when my career started, you would have known I was going to get here!” said Breslin. “Because Ozone Park was a place that you had to work hard — and that brings vast rewards.”

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What Are The Downsides of Freelancing?

Journalism is an ever-changing profession and at the moment, freelancing is having a surge popularity. A quality piece of freelance writing is a hot commodity, but it better be meticulously researched, well executed and an all-around engaging read.

In theory, freelancing sounds great. You have flexible hours, you can work from home, you can spend more time with loved ones. But there are plenty of downsides too, like an unpredictable income, no benefits whatsoever and the isolation of working alone. In our latest Mediabistro feature, a freelance writer talks about the struggles of separating her work and home life:

When there’s no boss hovering over your shoulder, and you can’t get that vision of the overflowing laundry basket out of your head, and you don’t really have any immediate deadlines, it’s difficult to stay on task. It’s taken me four years to develop my little system, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still duck away for the occasional afternoon nap or throw in the towel early to watch TV on a bad day. But like any other job, when something isn’t working, you adapt to the drawbacks and work to restore balance the best way you can.

To hear how she overcame her freelance challenges, read Balancing Your Freelance Life With Your Personal Life

Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Q&A Series Resumes 9/11 with Reporter Who Covered 9/11

Next week, the great local discussion series “War Correspondents at the Brooklyn Brewery,” which launched this spring in Williamsburg, will kick off its impressive fall line-up. New York Times correspondent C.J. Chivers, who covered the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and has since reported from Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria, will be the Wednesday September 11 guest of honor.

Chivers will be interviewed by Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy, a one-time AP foreign correspondent. The work of award-winning combat zone photographer Fabio Bucciarelli will also be on display:

A former Marine who served in the 1991 Gulf War, Chivers’ expertise in weaponry and military affairs make him one of the most insightful reporters on conflict today.

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HuffPost Editor Recalls Impromptu Arianna Job Interview

At age 27, Laura Schocker is happily ahead of the NYC journalism career schedule she envisioned after graduating from the Medill School.

In short order over the past few years, she has progressed from freelancing, to editorial assistant at The Knot, to editorial assistant at Prevention magazine, to associate and now managing editor of The Huffington Post’s Healthy Living section. In an interview with the Altoona Mirror, Schocker remembers how fortuitously the HuffPost opportunity came about:

Schocker said she was at a press event when she met an editor for The Huffington Post and later that day, she was in the HuffPost office interviewing for a job.

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Jersey Journalist’s Career Began the Day After Hitler Invaded Poland

Jake Schaad Jr. is still doing what he has always loved to do – write newspaper articles. The main differences today are that he works on a computer instead of a typewriter and files from a home office rather than some newsroom.

The 91-year-old vet tells fellow Wildwood Leader reporter Christie Rotondo that he is likely the oldest working print journalist in the United States. In fact, we have written about at least one other reporter who has a few years on Schaad. But who’s counting?

In talking about the origins of his epic career, which began unpaid on September 2, 1939 at the Patterson Evening News, Schaad drifts into childhood memories worthy of Jean Shepherd:

Schaad says he fell in love with writing when he was about 10 and his parents bought him an Underwood typewriter for Christmas. Earlier that year, his mother, a singer, had pushed him to sing in the church choir and play piano. Schaad says he wasn’t very good at either…

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After 18 Years in London, NYT Correspondent Comes Home

In her delightful essay “Ta-Ta, London. Hello, Awesome,” Sarah Lyall explains what it’s like to be back in New York following a taste of three decades in London as a New York Times foreign correspondent.

The headline is a reference to the fact that she has relocated from a place of off-the-cuff Latin to a land where the word “awesome” has ingrained itself into casual conversation. Among Lyall’s other observations about what transpired here in her absence:

New York City’s center of gravity shifted to Brooklyn, at least according to the people who live in Brooklyn…

The Kardashians arrived and would not leave.

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Ousted Village Voice Theater Critic Reviews His Recent Dismissal

The departure this spring of Michael Feingold came right after Backstage magazine chopped its reviews section and just before the AP announced it would no longer cover Off-Broadway.* But the former Village Voice theater critic writes in an essay for theatermania.com that he understands the motivation for these moves. And that his piece today is not a personal rant.

In the hit-tastic world of digital media, theater reviews don’t draw the clicks. So, freelancers are put in place of former full-timers, and able hands borrowed as necessary from other departments:

At my termination meeting, the Voice’s editorial director told me, in a compassionate tone, that management now felt having a full-time theater critic on staff was a “luxury” the paper could do without.

I found it ironic (albeit slightly flattering) to be classed as a luxury, by an executive whose salary was probably triple mine; that she considered a full-time theater critic not a necessity for a New York media outlet struck me as genuinely dismaying.

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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Applauds New York Post Alum

For Class of 2008 grad Kate Briquelet, the perks of working for Business Traveler magazine were certainly nice. But it wasn’t until she jumped to The Brooklyn Paper that this focused, ambitious UW-Oshkosh and NYU Master’s of journalism grad felt she had finally hit her professional stride.

Briquelet has since moved on to the New York Post, where she works as an enterprise reporter for the Sunday edition. Later this fall, she will be honored at UW Oshkosh along with nine others as part of Homecoming Weekend. From a write-up in UW Oshkosh Today by current student Alyssa Kadansky:

Gersh Kuntzman, a former editor at The Brooklyn Paper, called Briquelet the “real deal.”

“She was relentless and driven, and she hates getting beat,” Kuntzman said. “During her time at The Brooklyn Paper, she tirelessly covered the case of the South Slope Sex Fiend — a mysterious groper who terrorized women in family-friendly Brooklyn and who for months evaded police. Her extensive reporting led police to step up their patrols and eventually led to an arrest.”

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Perez Hilton Needs a New PR Rep

It sounds like the unnamed rep for Perez Hilton quoted in today’s New York Daily News @Confidential item is completely out of touch.

Ahead of Hilton’s August 16 NYC visit and media round, the rep told the paper that the gossip writer credits every Internet source that he borrows from. This despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

Even more disappointing, given the genesis of Hilton’s blogging career, is the suggestion that @Confidential’s interview request was turned down because the columnists would not guarantee a “favorable” article:

“What’s the angle?” his spokesman asked. “He’s moving to New York City for a few months, he LOVES it there. I just want to make sure the article is going to be a favorable article :)

While we didn’t promise favorable coverage, we did say we would be “fair.” Perez’s rep replied with, “that’s a pass.”

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