February 25, 2021

Jim Romenesko, an Original Blogger About Journalism, Retires

He was an aggregator before it became a dirty word. He was a blogger before there were blogs.

But early next year, Jim Romenesko, the go-to source for news about the news, will retire from the blog that bears his name.

Mr. Romenesko, whose blog on the Poynter Institute Web site became an addictive distraction for journalists across the country who found their work promoted on his page and their office gossip laid bare, said on Wednesday that he was starting a new venture that would report more general interest news.

Aggregating news has gotten tedious, he said. The ease with which anyone can create a site of their own, and the proliferation of social networks like Twitter has made it harder to break through.

So he’s going back to what he got into journalism to do in the first place: reporting. He said his new site, JimRomenesko.com, would still cover media but would also touch on other topics he’s interested in, like food, finance and real estate. He will still contribute casually to Poynter.

“I’m not going to be doing three-sentence summaries of other people’s work. That’s behind me,” Mr. Romenesko, a 57-year-old former newspaperman, said.

“My role kind of vanished. I was a town crier but just one of many,” he added, acknowledging that the social media revolution had left him somewhat disoriented but determined to find something more rewarding.

“I was recently criticized by someone who said I didn’t tweet very well. Then he went on to write about his lost luggage. If that’s tweeting, well, I don’t know,” he said.

Mr. Romenesko was a pioneer of a form of online journalism that is now commonplace. Sites like Gawker and Dealbreaker would become popular years later using similar models.

He identified the hunger for niche news, and connected his readers through an online community in which they could debate and comment on the story of the day. And if they had an internal memo they wanted to leak him, all the better. He would post it and guarantee anonymity. His last name became a verb that editors hoped they would never find themselves on the other end of — as in, “You just got Romenesko’d.” That typically meant one of their memos had leaked on his site.

Mr. Romenesko, said Bill Mitchell, a Poynter faculty member, in a send-off on Poynter’s Web site, “flattened the journalism landscape so interesting things that happened in small newsrooms — whether painful examples of plagiarism or award-winning work — were as likely to be Romenesko’d as developments in the nation’s media centers.” Mr. Mitchell helped recruit Mr. Romenesko to Poynter in 1999 after seeing how much cachet his first Web site, MediaGossip.com, had built up in media circles. Mr. Romenesko has slowed his pace recently, posting fewer items to his blog and relying more frequently on other Poynter contributors. He used to rise at 5 every morning and comb the Web for items. He would never take vacations.

“I get up at 6:30 now,” he confessed. And he said his new schedule would be much more conducive to taking trips, which he planned to do more regularly.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=e2c521c1111579e4f07fdf69096e9f99

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