Tag Archives: Jim Romenesko

How to be a hero – and get the story

We had an interesting situation on the weekend, when the Ottawa Police issued a missing man report.

This, in itself, is not that unusual – anyone who has spent some time in a newsroom will know that there are missing persons reports issued by the police every day. In most cases, the person is found within a day.

What was unusual about this one, was that our reporter, Zev Singer got the story – and the missing man, William Dupon.

Driving to an assignment, Zev spotted a man looking forlorn on a bench at a bus stop, wearing the same hat as the man pictured by police.  As he writes in his story, he was tentative about approaching the man, who police had described as having ‘some limitations in his mental functioning’:

… I saw a man at the bus stop on the other side of the street wearing a black leather cowboy hat that looked just like the one in the picture of Dupon. I turned the yellow Citizen car around. …

I walked to the bus stop, and, after a moment of comparing, I showed him my Blackberry and asked: “Is this you?”

For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to know Zev, he is a kind-hearted man and that he drove this missing man to the police station so that he could be reunited with his family isn’t that much of a surprise.

Continue reading How to be a hero – and get the story

The ‘New Journalist’: the tale of a sexy SEO headline

I have to say, this one bothers me.

Over the weekend, Kashmir Hill of Forbes.com had a sensational instant webhit “How Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did.”

A sexy little piece of business analysis, it got more than 680,000 page views on a President’s Day weekend, and Ms. Hill made a name for herself.

But here’s the thing: Hill didn’t do any of the reporting for it.

Nick O’Neill was the first to call her on it. In a blog post titled ‘How Forbes stole a New York Times article and got all the traffic‘.

The original 6,700-word story, which ran in the Times’ Magazine under the headline How companies learn your secrets, with its months of research, was a great piece, O’Neill wrote, but “didn’t have the headline it deserved.”

Hill “cut out the crap and got to the real shocker of the story,” O’Neill blogged.

Continue reading The ‘New Journalist’: the tale of a sexy SEO headline