Jim Romenesko (born September 16, 1953) is an American journalist in Evanston, Illinois. His eponymous blog provides daily news, commentary, and insider information about journalism and media and is popular among professionals in the industry. Romenesko also runs the blog Starbucks Gossip, which covers the company Starbucks Coffee. It is one of the more influential websites regarding Starbucks, and has a large following of company employees and customers. He previously ran the blog Romenesko on the website of the non-profit journalism school the Poynter Institute.
Romenesko graduated from Marquette University and went to work for the Milwaukee Journal, serving as a police reporter for the newspaper. Initially repulsed by the sometimes grisly nature of his work, he would go on to publish the coroner's reports of unusual deaths in a book called Death Log (1981). From 1982 to 1995 he worked as an editor for Milwaukee Magazine, where he wrote features and a popular, award-winning column that covered the local media called "Pressroom Confidential". During this time he also taught journalism courses at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He went on to work as an Internet reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press from 1996 to 1999.
From 1989 to 1999, Romenesko ran a newsletter named Obscure Publications which covered fanzines. In 1998 he began the website Obscure Store and Reading Room, which linked to odd news stories, and which earned him the reputation of a "witty Matt Drudge." The Obscure Store was terminated in September 2011. In May 1999 he began another website, this one covering the media and called Mediagossip.com. It proved a success and later that year was acquired by the Poynter Institute. The site, renamed to Romenesko's MediaNews, was migrated to Poynter's domain and became hugely popular among journalists, helping Poynter get more than 14,000 page views a day in 2000. Romenesko's site, reputed as "the best-known newspaper blog," came to "surpass the journalism reviews as the place where professionals get their 'news about news'" and established itself as "an ad hoc, post-publication, peer review mechanism for the journalistic profession." Romenesko has also been cited as a predecessor to Gawker for having "opened the first and biggest hole in the sacred wall between news and gossip in reporting about the media."
On August 24, 2011, Romenesko announced his "semi-retirement" from the Poynter Institute, in preparation to launch JimRomenesko.com, a blog about media and other items of interest to Romenesko. Romenesko planned to continue with Poynter in a part-time capacity, while expanding the role of other staff members of the Poynter Institute to post items related to media.
In November 2011, an assistant editor for the Columbia Journalism Review noted that posts summarizing articles on the Romenesko page at the Poynter Institute's web site repeated, verbatim, text in the articles without the use of quotation marks or indentation. In the process of reporting, the online chief of the Poynter Institute, Julie Moos, was contacted and noted that this behavior had occurred since 2005. Although Romenesko had always attributed the source of the information, Moos claimed that the inconsistency of placing quotation marks or blockquoting text could cause the impression that text not in quotation marks was those of Romenesko, and not lifted directly from the text. Moos placed Romensko's blog on hold while the issue was being investigated, and following investigation ordered that all of Romenesko's posts be approved by an editor prior to post and to follow the Poynter Institute's attribution guidelines of placing quotation marks with any text used in the original article. Moos refused to accept his resignation.
Following Moos's comments many notable writers complained that the Poynter Institute was "micromanaging" Romenesko and expressed disdain for Moos's actions, noting Romenesko's historic role in media aggregation and coverage of journalism issues. Others criticized Moos for preempting the CJR story, while violating the spirit of Poynter's own standards. Other reporters called the criticism over the proper use of quotation marks "school-marmish" and "petty". Romenesko continued to offer his resignation, which Moos later accepted.
- Tarullo, Hope (2004). "Jim Romenesko". Current Biography Yearbook.
- Raines, Howell (2008-06-23). "Romenesko and the Dawning of Gossip Journalism". Wired. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
- Poniewozik, James (1999-06-10). "Please Mr. Link Man". Salon. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
- Robischon, Noah (1999-02). "The Obscure Store and Reading Room". Brill's Content. Archived from the original on 1999-04-17. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
- Romenesko, Jim (4 September 2011). "Dear readers: After 13 years, I'm closing The Obscure Store". Obscure Store.
- Benning, Jim (2000-02-07). "Romenesko Revealed". Online Journalism Review. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
- Wang, Andy (1999-08-02). "Cutting Through the On-Line Clutter". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
- Mitchell, Greg (2002-11-25). "Don't mess with Jim". Editor & Publisher. p. 19.
- Robertson, Lori (2000-09). "The Romenesko Factor". American Journalism Review. p. 28.
- Robins, Wayne (2002-04-15). "Blogrolling on a river". Editor & Publisher. p. 6.
- Raines, Howell (2008-06-16). "The Romenesko Empire". Portfolio.com. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
- Shafer, Jack (2005-04-18). "The Romenesko Effect: How a one-man Web site is improving journalism". Slate. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
- Moos, Julie (August 24, 2011). "Romenesko announces his semi-retirement". Poynter.
- Moos, Julie (November 10, 2011). "Questions over Romenesko’s attributions spur changes in writing, editing". Poynter.
- Estes, Adam Clark (November 11, 2011). "Fans Fume as Romenesko Resigns from Poynter". The Atlantic Wire.
- Wemple, Erik (November 10, 2011). "Jim Romenesko's resignation, and a scooped reporter". Washington Post.
- Peters, Jeremy W. (2011-11-10). "Romenesko Leaves Poynter After Conflict Over Quotes". The New York Times.
- Moos, Julie (November 10, 2011). "Romenesko resigns after 12 years at Poynter". Poynter.
- JimRomenesko.com site
- Romenesko's former blog at Poynter, now called MediaWire
- Obscure Store and Reading Room
- Starbucks Gossip
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