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Media Circus

The Examiner’s First Scoop

By Gadi Dechter | Posted 5/17/2006

The new Baltimore Examiner achieved a milestone of sorts this month, when the words “first reported in The Examiner” appeared for the first time in The Sun, 30 days after the Examiner’s April 5 launch. On May 4, Sun reporter John Fritze wrote about Mayor Martin O’Malley’s responses “to questions about the seven-member [Baltimore] pension board’s travel, first reported in The Examiner, that has included trips to Paris and Monte Carlo for what board members have called educational conferences.”

Examiner reporter (and former City Paper contributor) Stephen Janis first reported the questionable junkets on April 12 and followed up with seven related stories before The Sun addressed the issue earlier this month. (The pension board’s sumptuary travels were also reported on April 12 by City Paper, in a Nose column titled “Exotic Ethics.”)

“We were looking at the merits of the story and trying to find a way to put it in context,” says the Sun’s Fritze. “When the mayor had something to say about it, that was, I think, a pretty good way to advance it.”

Competing newspapers are often reluctant to credit each other’s reporting, though Fritze says he had no hesitations about the attribution in this case. “Obviously, they did have the story . . . and it was absolutely appropriate to credit The Examiner.”

The Examiner’s sister tabloid in Washington scored its first “first reported” nod from The Washington Post just eight days into the D.C. freebie’s 2005 launch, in a Feb. 8 high school sports brief.

New Pubs, Second Chances

Apropos of high school sports, former WMAR-TV sports broadcaster Keith Mills has a high school sports column in Press Box, the new weekly sports paper that launched last month. Mills was fired from the Baltimore station earlier this year after he was arrested—and later convicted—for stealing pain medication from an elderly cancer patient who lives next door to him. Mills was sentenced this month to nine months of house arrest. He isn’t the only Baltimore journalist to get a second chance from a new Baltimore publication. Former Sun classical music critic Stephen Wigler was fired in 1999 for plagiarism. The respected music journalist recently has been writing theater and music reviews for The Examiner.


It’s Getting Hot Out There

The Baltimore Business Journal reported on Friday, May 12, about the increasingly competitive print-advertising climate in metropolitan Baltimore, due in part to the entrance of The Examiner into the market. Apparently, the heat got to one Examiner ad-sales representative, who parted ways with the paper shortly after having the following e-mail exchange with a prospective advertiser.

The confrontation began when the ad rep was unable to open an e-mailed graphic file of the advertiser’s logo. (Names and other identifying information have been withheld at the request of the advertiser, who also advertises in City Paper.)

Examiner Rep: You documents do not open you need to configure them

Advertiser: sorry—maybe because it’s a Mac, never had any previous problems . . . I’ll . . . resend?

Examiner Rep: Yes it is its not the correct type of file.

Advertiser: I’ve had this file for 2 or so years and use it for imagery on my graphics, business cards, shopping bags and even checks and not one of these people has a Mac. (I’ve just emailed it to a graphic designer for ‘STRUT’, w/ no problems, this morning) Maybe your computer is having difficulty. What do you suggest . . . ??

Examiner Rep: Would you like to fucking see what it is saying come look at my computer.

Advertiser: Your negative attitude is not welcome, I’ve endured it for too long. Kindly put me in touch with another representitive who can assist me from here on out. Be sure to brief them of your progress, (or lack there of).

Examiner Rep: Not a problem. I will cancel this contract because I have giving you multiple discounts and you are not apreactive of what I have done. your saving $1500 off the regular rate because your sister is nice, I will bring you the cancelled contract and you can go through another rep who will not offer you the same price I have. I’m Not sue if you realize I’m giving you a rate that is not on the rate card and you are getting a price that I could potentially get in trouble offering to you, but not a problem ill be more than happy to cancel your commitment through me and you can be charged the regular rate. Best of luck!

Advertiser: I expect for you to do so in a timely manner. We have a strict deadline and I’m sure you would not like to be held accountable for missing that. I will NOT have different pricing because I have signed a contract w/ the Examiner and not with [you]. Therefore, instead of starting over please forward me your superior’s contact info and I’m sure they will understand that our sense of urgency should not be undermined w/ that of attitude. I’m merely attempting to place an ad and need assistance— and am paying for assitance to do so. I look forward to your prompt email.

Examiner Rep: You will have different pricing. I did you a favor! I gave you a rate that is not on the rate card. I plug the rates into a system if you use someone else the WILL plug the proper rate into the system and you will be billed full price! But because I have a good relationship with your sister I did you a favor and looking out for you but going under the radar as far as rates for your business. I determine what rates are put in the system we use for billing and so do each rep if you really want to get a deal which im giving you then relax and let me do my job which I’m or you can get charged full price so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Advertiser: I am insisting you redirect me. Money is not an issue for me when it comes to my business and personal welfare. You are wasting my time and I can not locate a direct number. Salvage your reputation and swallow your pride and send me to the correct official.

Examiner Rep: Not a problem. I will forward you to another rep. they will be in touch first thing tomorrow.

Examiner publisher Michael Phelps says the ad rep in question no longer works for the paper, but he wouldn’t confirm that the salesman was fired. “I have no way of knowing the verisimilitude of the e-mail exchange,” Phelps adds. “The language, style, selling approach, [and] treatment of customers reflected of the rep in the e-mail, of course, and obviously bears no resemblance to that employed by The Examiner. Period."

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