Jim Romenesko Weighs In on His Departure from Poynter

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Jim Romenesko, patron saint of aggregators and online journalists, has launched his new eponymous site and in case you missed it, opened the blog with a long read of his side of his fallout with Poynter. Here are the gory bits we gleaned from the first post:

Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism wanted his help.  It's a bit puzzling considering Julie Moos cited the Columbia Journalism Review as what spurred her to scold Romenesko for his attribution practices: 

Four days after the press watchdogs at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism posted their “Romenesko Saga” story, I received an invitation to return to aggregating — from, of all places, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
Here’s a portion of Mark Glassman’s email:
Columbia’s Journalism School is putting together a new website about
business journalism education, and we were wondering if you might be
interested in contributing. …
We think your skills as an aggregator and your critical eye make you
an excellent candidate for this type of piece, and we’d love to get a
dialog going. I realize this must have been a rocky last few days for
you, but if you’re interested, we’d love to discuss the opportunity as
soon as possible, as the site is launching next month.
Thanks, I said, but I’m going to pass.

His dad is proud of him and uses Facebook. 

I gave him a short version of what happened and suggested he look at my Facebook wall to see what people were saying. I also sent him the stories by David Carr and Paul Farhi for more background. That evening he added his own message to my Facebook wall:

Hi Jim, It looks like your Journalism friends are backing you 100% as are your family members. We’re all very proud of you. Dad

Poynter wanted to use his name, and did (for a while) after Romenesko left.  Well it's also how MediaWire was invented.  Though it seems to be a collaboration between Romenesko's threats of a cease and desist letter and a Poynter lawyer. 

Poynter’s lawyer called about 15 minutes later. I told her I had already written what I would be tweeting on Monday morning if my name was still on the site: “Dear Poynter: You took me off your payroll on Friday, but you haven’t taken my name off your site. Don’t make me call a lawyer.” (134 characters). She said she’d call back in a few minutes.
Would you license your name? she asked in our second conversation.
Would you be interested in collecting salary and benefits through the rest of the year and, in exchange, let Poynter use your name through 2011?
Not interested.
Within hours, Romenesko+ became MediaWire.

His numbers were actually down.  And it's Twitter's and Facebook's fault. 

I was told that traffic to my page had dropped about 30% in 18 months. It was easy to explain why: I was one of the few journalism town criers on the Internet a decade ago; now every news junkie with a Facebook page and Twitter feed is shouting out stories about the news business. Lots of readers thought I wasn’t needed anymore

What really happened between him and Julie Moos. Romenesko at first thought it was about competition for advertisers (advertisers that would follow Romenesko to his own site when he left Poynter), but points to a heated conversation on November 8 with Moos as part of the reason he was scolded. 

I talked with Julie on Tuesday, Nov. 8, about a few matters. She told me she was thinking about using the Romenesko name on Poynter’s site through January, or “possibly the first quarter” of 2012.
I reminded her that my new contract states that Poynter will stop using my name on December 31, 2011.
“I haven’t read the contract lately,” she said.
“I have,” I replied.

Romenesko left Poynter on November 10. Despite his sagging numbers, the half-hearted allegations of plagiarism, it's a bit odd that Poynter and Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism had no problem associating with the Romenesko brand--all this fighting for a name that was smeared and scolded in the process.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.