The Cutline

Jim Romenesko, pioneering journalism blogger, announces ‘semi-retirement’

Jim Romenesko, the go-to source of aggregated media news for more than a decade, has announced what amounts to a "semi-retirement."

Romenesko's role at the Poynter Institute, which scooped up the then-Pioneer Press reporter and his fledgling but influential Mediagossip.com in 1999, will be scaled back.

"I went back and forth to renewing (my contract), not renewing," Romenesko told the Huffington Post. "In the end, I decided I wanted to go back and do my own blog, the way I was before Poynter picked me up."

According to Poynter's Julie Moos, Romenesko "will remain a part of Poynter's staff covering media and technology" but in a reduced role--posting occasionally from his Poynter blog and Twitter account, so he can to devote time to other projects, including an eponymous website slated to be next year.

"Jim's blog brought transparency to newsrooms, equipping readers and staffers alike to hold those organizations accountable in the way that they scrutinize the operations of others," Bill Mitchell, who helped to hire Romenesko at Poynter, wrote in farewell post. "He also 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."

Romenesko's penchant for posting potentially damning internal memos "made Poynter few friends in the corner suites of the nation's news organizations, print or otherwise," Mitchell wrote. And "hanging onto Romenesko also involved paying him one of the highest salaries at Poynter, a move not cheered in all quarters."

The downshift wasn't entirely unexpected.As The Cutline noted earlier this year, Romenesko has been doing sporadic original reporting in addition to news aggregating.

"After aggregating for a dozen years, I decided to shift gears a bit and do some reporting," Romenesko told The Cutline in April. "It's a good change of pace."

"Also," he continued, "when I started aggregating for Poynter in 1999, there were only a few journalism 'town criers' on the Internet; now with Facebook, Twitter, etc., there are millions. I just felt I needed to adjust to the world of social media."

The Romenesko blog, soon to be renamed Romenesko+, will continue to publish aggregated media news with several contributors, according to Moos, who said she plans to hire a media reporter "who has a unique sensibility, an interest in setting the day's agenda and a commitment to collaboration."

"If you're interested, send me an email," Moos wrote. "But don't call yourself 'the next Romenesko.'"

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