JOURNALIST Q&A: Jim Romenesko

"I saw it on Romenesko" is a refrain heard daily in newsrooms across the US. It refers to the blog run by Jim Romenesko, a web junkie whose site is one of the most popular places on the web for journalists to congregate. Romenesko has been hosted through the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism school in St. Petersburg, FL, since late 1999.

"I saw it on Romenesko" is a refrain heard daily in newsrooms across the US. It refers to the blog run by Jim Romenesko, a web junkie whose site is one of the most popular places on the web for journalists to congregate. Romenesko has been hosted through the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism school in St. Petersburg, FL, since late 1999.

A former Milwaukee Magazine editor and St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter, Romenesko started blogging the media in May 1999 on the now-defunct MediaGossip.com before Poynter hired him away. Now, as his full-time job, Romenesko trolls the web during the workday for tidbits and insights about fellow journalists. Many a firestorm has been fueled and debated through Romenesko, and checking the site several times a day is a guilty pleasure - and a necessity - for many in the media. PRWeek: How do you choose what items to post? Jim Romenesko: I look for stories about journalism figures, news business-related controversies - the Scalia tapes confiscation flap is a recent example - and current events, [like] Iraq war coverage, for example. I also like quirky stories - the Southern Living warning about the "dangerous" recipe - and profiles of news organizations. PRWeek: Which items or types of items get the most attention once they're on your site? Romenesko: The New York Times Blair scandal drew a lot of traffic to the site in the spring and summer of 2003. The letter I posted from former Fox News employee Charlie Reina also got a lot of attention. He says Fox News execs put out a daily memo that tells employees how to handle - some would say, slant - coverage. Today [April 12], though, the most e-mailed story on my site was an essay by Anna Quindlen about teaching empathy in journalism school. PRWeek: What sort of hours do you keep with the site? Romenesko: I begin my workday shortly after 5am CST. I work at home until mid-morning, then go to Starbucks or some other place with wi-fi and work from there. I slow down after 4pm, but will post links and letters until 9pm. PRWeek: How often do you update your site? Romenesko: Several times a day. I generally post stories in the mornings, then work on memos and letters in the afternoon. PRWeek: How many pitches do you get per day from people wanting their stories, tales, pitches, articles, etc., to be posted on your site? Who or what sends the most? Romenesko: I encourage journalists to promote their work, but I only get a few pitches a day. My message is: Don't be shy. I often see a great story a few days after it's been published and wonder why the writer didn't suggest it for posting on Romenesko. People can't assume that I see everything because I don't. Name: Jim Romenesko Outlet: Romenesko Title: Editor Preferred contact method: jromenesko@poynter.org Website: www.poynter.org/romenesko

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