Just a few days ago, I was writing a blog pot for 10,000 Words about the Romenesko saga. To make a long story short, Poynter editor Julie Moos posted an announcement that it had come to the organization’s attention that there were attribution issues with posts written by Jim Romenesko, the site’s revered columnist and founder of the Romenesko blog. Drama ensued, Romenesko resigned, the Twitterverse exploded in criticism of Poynter and Moos.
Now, Moos has announced that the Romenesko Blog will be renamed MediaWire.
This move isn’t in response to the Romenesko fiasco — it has been planned for quite some time. (Originally, when Romenesko said he was semi-retiring this summer, the blog was just going to be renamed Romenesko+.) In fact, a job posting for a new reporter for that specific blog asked applicants to suggest new names.
But I am wondering about the timing of the naming announcement. Moos/Poynter received some scathing comments for the way they handled the Romenesko issue. Now, before the dust has really settled, they are renaming the blog. I simply can’t decide if this is good or bad PR.
On one hand, it’s good to move away from the name Romenesko. The blog needed a new name and it had to be announced sometime.
Conversely, it looks like Poynter is trying to distance itself from an ugly situation and almost sweep it under the rug by making the new name public now. Based on my interactions with some of the Poynter staff, I really don’t think that is the case but some naysayers might think otherwise.
I’ll be keep my eyes and ears open to reactions.