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Guardian US editorial staff move to unionize

The Huffington Post

Guardian US announced a move to unionize in an independent ballot conducted by the American Arbitration Association, on Wednesday. The company would be unionizing under the News Media Guild – an operation that represents over 2,000 digital workers at news publications.

“This is a big day not only for the writers and staff members at The Guardian US but for the news industry as a whole. Digital media is growing up, and it’s time our digital reporters received the same benefits and protections as their print media colleagues,” said Bernard Lunzer, president of The NewsGuild-CWA.

Guardian US is the latest addition to the list of digital only publications including Gawker and Salon that decided to unionize last month.

While Guardian US will be unionizing under the News Media Guild, Gawker and Salon unionized with Writers Guild of America, East. Read more

Posted: July 29, 2015, 11:14 pm

Why unpublishing a story without explanation doesn’t work

Last week, a CJR colleague emailed a story to me about an intriguing legal issue. I skimmed it and saved the link so I could read the story carefully the next day. But when I clicked the link 18 hours later, I was redirected to the site’s homepage. Wondering if the link had rotted (somehow, in such a short time),...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 8:15 pm

If Donald Trump is your publisher’s father-in-law, show a lot more nerve than New York Observer

There are ethical conflicts you can avoid and ones you can’t avoid.

The New York Observer has seemingly chosen to avoid one it can’t really avoid.

Donald Trump is the father-in-law of the publisher Jared Kushner, who is married to a Trump daughter, Ivanka.

The paper has made a solid reputation by covering wealth, real estate and lots of politics in New York. The presidential campaign would seemingly be right up its alley, especially with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton of New York and at least two New Yorkers running on the Republican side: Trump and former New York Gov. George Pataki.

Trump is, in a sense, all that the paper embodies: an important, if controversial, member of the city’s propertied class. But Ken Kurson, the paper’s editor, indicates that after talking it over with many people whom he respects, he’s decided to essentially take a pass on covering the father-in-law of his boss. Read more

Posted: July 29, 2015, 7:41 pm

Romenesko’s latest tweets

Tweets by @romenesko Now retired, but still online. Thank you for checking my latest tweets and occasional retirement-era posts. (I’m still posting to Facebook, too.) Please continue to send your news tips and memos to Jim@JimRomenesko.com. Sorry, but I’m no longer accepting sponsored posts or job ads. * Check out Romenesko’s posts – and reader …

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Posted: July 29, 2015, 7:30 pm

‘We’re simply looking to turn a modest profit,’ Boston Globe editor says in buyouts memo

The Boston Globe and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are offering more buyouts. “I think the following line is on the save/get key of every editor in America: This may be the last buyout we offer,” writes Globe editor Brian McGrory. “At some point, good or bad, that statement will be true.” The upbeat part of his memo: …

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Posted: July 29, 2015, 5:50 pm

The #mediadiversity conversation highlights newsrooms’ continued lack of diversity

What can newsrooms do to recruit more people from diverse backgrounds, and encourage more minorities into leadership roles? What opportunities, if any at all, are really out there for aspiring journalists of color to enter the field? What does it feel like — really feel like, on a day-to-day level — to be one of...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 5:32 pm

A comprehensive timeline of Gawker's internal breakdown

Thursday, July 16, at 8:26pm — Gawker staff writer Jordan Sargent authors a post on a media executive who, the headline states, “Tried To Pay $2,500 for a Night With a Gay Porn Star.” The story outs the publishing bigwig, who is married to a woman and exchanged text messages with a male escort to arrange a meetup that eventually...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 5:25 pm

NYT Public Editor: Glad to see Times editors rebut the complaints so strongly

Public Editor’s Journal, The New York Times

Margaret Sullivan, New York Times public editor, agrees with the paper’s firm defense against a critique of their series ‘Unvarnished’.

The critique that was written by former Times correspondent Richard Bernstein for the The New York Review of Books has received a range of responses, with the Times’ Editors saying that it was a piece of industry advocacy and not unbiased journalism.

“I was glad to see Times editors rebut the complaints so strongly. And I think they’re essentially right,” said Sullivan.

In the piece, Sullivan recounts her prior conversations with Bernstein stating, “although he makes some points worth considering, but they are minor ones that do not mar the overall quality of the project.”

Mr. Bernstein wrote to me about his concerns numerous times last spring, and I looked into them, talking to several editors, reviewing his complaints and corresponding with him several times.

Read more
Posted: July 29, 2015, 4:01 pm

Two out of two news organizations recommend user research

The phrase “user research” makes me think of Mad Men, with women sitting behind a one-way mirror trying on lipstick while men watch (and criticize their appearances). Not surprisingly, this isn’t a good way to think about the concept. User research isn’t just for testing beauty products; it also applies to news sites, apps, and...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 2:30 pm

A new app from NowThis wants to reduce the work of finding news to one big red button

The two-and-a-half year old distributed media company NowThis bears little resemblance to the “social news video startup” that we first covered nearly three years ago. It’s seen a name change, big staff turnover, the killing-off of its homepage, and a move toward even shorter, bite-sized pieces of video content that leans on repackaged videos from...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 2:00 pm

The decisions behind the New York Magazine’s Cosby cover

When New York Magazine began planning its stunning cover of 35 women who accuse Bill Cosby of assault 30 women had come forward. Now, six months later the number is 46.

The magazine had to navigate a range of ethical, journalistic and design challenges. For instance, is it fair to publicly accuse a person when he/she has not been charged? How would the magazine portray the women in still photographs? Even subtle decisions such as lighting, makeup and framing can affect reader impressions.

Lauren Starke, New York Magazine director of public relations, answered a range of questions I posed via email:

How and Why did you choose to have women wearing black and sitting in the chair with their hands on their laps for the cover photo? Read more

Posted: July 29, 2015, 12:05 pm

Think tank reporter in South Carolina still filling the gaps in accountability coverage

There's been plenty of news to cover in South Carolina lately, from a mass murder at a black church in Charleston to the Confederate flag's removal from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia. But when it comes to sustained coverage of the state's biggest political story before the killings and the flag—a powerful politician's guilty plea on ethics charges and fundamental...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 11:50 am

Morning roundup: New York Times flap may not be nail-biter as paper roundly defends expose

Good morning.

  1. Literati duel as Times chides New York Review of Books criticism

    Former Times reporter Richard Bernstein took after the big expose on the nail salon industry, both benefiting from and compromised by his role as a day spa owner. Executive Editor Dean Baquet on Tuesday responded with understated, convincing force. This may not be a very close call. (Poynter) He chided the literary bastion, whose current issue includes a characteristically cerebral homage to the Middle Ages (you know, Flemish and Byzantine art).

    Baquet mentioned how, "The [Korean American Nail Salon Association's] current president, Sangho Lee, declined a request to address issues of underpayment. So many owners do not pay minimum wage, he said, that he believed answering any questions would hurt the industry.

Read more
Posted: July 29, 2015, 11:44 am

There’s a Facebook group to help journalists figure out their plan B

Last May, Russ Kendall learned that another friend and journalist had been laid off. Linda Epstein, McClatchy-Tribune Wire’s senior photo editor for 15 years, would lose her job in July when the company shuttered its wire service. By July 21, Kendall launched a closed Facebook group. Here’s what he wrote on the page’s first post:

What’s Your Plan B? was created to be a forum for journalists who have been laid off and those who haven’t been laid off yet, to share ideas, business plans, anything that might give hope and help to those who need it.

Two days later, Jim Romenesko reported that the group already had 400 members.

Now, more than 2,670 people are part of What’s Your Plan B? (including me. Kendall reached out last month after I wrote “Advice for journalists who’ve lost their jobs from journalists who’ve lost their jobs.”) People share job openings on the page. Read more

Posted: July 29, 2015, 11:32 am

A New App From NowThis Wants to reduce the Work of Finding News to One Big Red Button

The two-and-a-half year old distributed media company NowThis bears little resemblance to the “social news video startup” that we first covered nearly three years ago. It’s seen a name change, big staff turnover, the kil ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 10:30 am

Freed Ethiopian Journalist Risks It All to Speak Out

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Three Ethiopian journalists were released from prison three weeks ago, ahead of President Obama's visit to the African nation. They are just some of victims who dared to criticize their government and went to prison for i ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 10:28 am

Two Out of Two News Organizations Recommend User Research

The phrase “user research” makes me think of Mad Men, with women sitting behind a one-way mirror trying on lipstick while men watch (and criticize their appearances).    Not surprisingly, this isn’t a good way ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 10:27 am

Why Reporters Should Let Potential Sexual Assault Victims Talk Off the Record

Most of the time, it’s a good thing when a news outlet pushes its sources and subjects to talk on the record. But a controversy that has dogged the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this summer offers an example of when it isn’t.   The ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 10:25 am

Companies House for Journalists: The Basics

Follow the money. The eternal phrase whispered by Hal Holbrook's 'Deep Throat' in All The President's Men is the basis for investigations the world over.   Learning to use Companies House is "as essential today as shorthand o ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 10:10 am

What's Up at RedEye?

At RedEye, staff members may be the ones feeling bleary-eyed.   The commuter tabloid has lost a dozen editorial employees since November, including the exit in May of its general manager, Amy Guth. Without replacements, that would amount to almo ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 10:08 am

NY Mag Lost Over 500,000 Page Views on Cosby Cover During DDoS Attack

The anonymous hacker behind the cyber attack that brought down New York magazine’s website for nearly 12 hours on Sunday and Monday claims he only did it because he hates NYC. Even if the attack wasn’t personal, it couldn&rsqu ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 10:03 am

Think Tank Reporter in South Carolina Still Filling the Gaps in Accountability Coverage

There’s been plenty of news to cover in South Carolina lately, from a mass murder at a black church in Charleston to the Confederate flag’s removal from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia. But when it comes to sustained coverage o ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 9:51 am

In Iran, Jason Rezaian’s Reporting Strengths Led to Suspicion, Then Detention

TEHRAN — For Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter now on trial on espionage charges in Iran, the incident was extraordinary but still looked like another example of the difficulties in covering the country’s politics. ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 9:48 am

The Financial Times Built a Handy Dashboard that Gives You a Snapshot of the U.K. Economy

Should you find yourself wondering the status of industrial production in the U.K., or the status of the housing market, or, for that matter, unemployment rate, the Financial Times has just the tool for you.    This morning, the FT launched ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 9:46 am

Stop the ‘Presses’?

In the wonderfully noir movie Deadline USA, Humphrey Bogart plays a newspaperman who battles corruption in New York City as he fights to keep his beloved newspaper from dying. In one of the final scenes, as the racketeer on the phone threatens Bogart ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 9:43 am

Don Oberdorfer Top Diplomatic Reporter for Washington Post, Dies

Don Oberdorfer, a highly respected diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post and the author of well-received books about Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War, died on Thursday in Washington. He was 84.   The cause was complications of Alzheime ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 7:57 am

ASNE Releases 2015 Newsroom Census Results

The percentage of minority journalists in daily-newspaper newsrooms remained relatively stable in 2014 at 12.76 percent even as newsroom employment declined by 10.4 percent, according to the annual census released Tuesday by the American Society of N ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 7:40 am

Ad Blocking: A Problem in Need of a Creative Solution

The adoption of ad blockers is climbing at an alarming rate, with usage doubling since 2013. The reason cited for this steep incline is that people hate advertising. Wrong. Sure, people hate irrelevant, intrusive and offensive advertising, but all yo ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 7:39 am

Twitter Asks for More Time to Fix Things

Twitter added just two million new core users last quarter, and while it also beat Wall Street revenue estimates, investors still aren’t buying the Twitter story. The company’s stock swung wildly in after-hours trad ...
Posted: July 29, 2015, 7:37 am

Community storytelling with the StoryCorps app

Sharing personal stories is a crucial part of how communities work, and how they might be strengthened or healed.  The nationally renowned oral history project StoryCorps offers a mobile app that makes it easy to collect, aggregate, and share stories about any community

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Posted: July 28, 2015, 10:57 pm

Snapchat’s Discover is sending more traffic to publishers again, after a design tweak made it more visible

After initial reports of insane traffic from Snapchat Discover to the few publishers allowed in, there was a (perhaps to be expected) decline from the stratosphere: While viewership to Discover channels was significant in the first few days after the portal’s Jan. 27 launch, it has dropped an average of 30 percent to 50 percent...
Posted: July 28, 2015, 9:23 pm

Why reporters should let potential sexual assault victims talk off the record

Most of the time, it's a good thing when a news outlet pushes its sources and subjects to talk on the record. But a controversy that has dogged the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this summer offers an example of when it isn't. The controversy began last month, after the Post-Dispatch reported that a former aide to Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat,...
Posted: July 28, 2015, 8:45 pm

Bloomberg news: Boss buys London home for $25 million

The New York Times

Perhaps Downton Abbey wasn’t on the market.

Michael Bloomberg, who parlayed a media fortune into three terms as New York mayor, is trading up by buying a seven-bedroom, 18th century estate in London for $25 million, according to The New York Times.

It’s about twice as big as his current home there, which is a mile away. There’s speculation that he may not give it up (his former wife is English and has occasionally visited him there).

Bloomberg is said to have more than a dozen residences, including in New York City, Bermuda, Colorado and Florida.

The Times suggests the move reflects both social and business predilections:

Mr. Bloomberg, who was recently made an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth II, is an Anglophile who runs with London’s elite.

Read more
Posted: July 28, 2015, 8:25 pm

New trial date in Hulk Hogan sex tape case could come at upcoming hearing

Hulk Hogan. (AP Image)

Hulk Hogan. (AP Image)

After a last-minute ruling that put off a trial days before it was slated to begin, representatives for Gawker Media and Hulk Hogan will appear together in court earlier than expected.

This week, lawyers for the Manhattan-based news organization will attend a hearing with attorneys for former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan in St. Petersburg, Florida. The hearing, which will take place in Florida’s Sixth Judicial Court on Thursday at 10 a.m., could result in a new trial date for the case, according to spokespersons for the court and Gawker Media.

This week’s hearing was convened in response to a motion from attorneys representing Hulk Hogan — real name Terry Bollea — who earlier this month submitted a request to Judge Pamela Campbell of the Sixth Judicial Court. Read more

Posted: July 28, 2015, 7:51 pm

The Financial Times built a handy dashboard that gives you a snapshot of the U.K. economy

Should you find yourself wondering the status of industrial production in the U.K., or the status of the housing market, or, for that matter, unemployment rate, the Financial Times has just the tool for you. This morning, the FT launched The U.K. economy at a glance, a bookmark-friendly dashboard that tells the story of the...
Posted: July 28, 2015, 6:39 pm

Enough with the Hitler comparisons, already

In this file picture a man holds a poster with a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a swastika. The leader of a German anti-euro party called  for Germany to leave the common currency, telling an inaugural convention that the euro forces German taxpayers to rescue bankrupt southern European countries whose people denounce them as Nazis for their efforts.  (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis,File)

A man holds a poster with a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a swastika. Merkel opposition said that the euro forces German taxpayers to rescue bankrupt southern European countries whose people denounce them as Nazis for their efforts. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis,File)

Presidential campaigns tend to fuel the dark art of the false comparison.

I covered this tendency in 2011, citing incidents in which presidential candidates, from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama were compared to Hitler.  That spectrum should be enough to reveal the emptiness of the comparison.  If politicians as different as Reagan and Obama can attract the Hitler zinger, it means that the content of the comparison is less important than the propaganda effect of comparing your antagonist to one of the world’s most notorious villains. Read more

Posted: July 28, 2015, 6:03 pm

Stop the 'presses'?

In the wonderfully noir movie Deadline USA, Humphrey Bogart plays a newspaperman who battles corruption in New York City as he fights to keep his beloved newspaper from dying. In one of the final scenes, as the racketeer on the phone threatens Bogart’s character to prevent him from printing a story, he is disturbed by noises coming from Bogart’s end....
Posted: July 28, 2015, 4:01 pm

July 31 deadline for discounts to LION Annual Summit October 1-3

Date:
1443745800
Thu, October 1, 2015 | 5:30 p.m. PDT
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Posted: July 28, 2015, 3:59 pm

“Modern” homepage design increases pageviews and reader comprehension, study finds

News sites with modular, image-heavy designs receive more pageviews and have stronger user engagement than sites with more staid, newspaper-inspired designs, according to a report released Tuesday by the Engaging News Project. Modern, modular homepages received at least 90 percent more unique pageviews than traditional sites did, the study found. Users viewing the modular homepage...
Posted: July 28, 2015, 12:30 pm

Newsonomics: The halving of America’s daily newsrooms

Cigar maker. Elevator operator. Pinsetter. Iceman. Lamplighter. Switchboard operator. Local daily newspaper reporter? How soon will we have to add this once-stable occupation to the list of jobs that once were — occupations once numerous that slid into obsolescence? (Not to mention the even more colorful spittleman [hospital attendant], rotarius [wheelwright], and hamberghmaker [horse collar...
Posted: July 28, 2015, 12:01 pm

BuzzFeed’s eye-opening report reveals modern-day 'slavery’ in US

It took Jessica Garrison and Ken Bensinger nearly five months of full-time reporting, 80 interviews, and thousands of public records to research their sweeping investigative story on temporary foreign workers, “The New American Slavery,” published Friday on BuzzFeed News. The 8,000-word report includes repeated allegations of the exploitation of foreign workers and paints scenes of gun-toting guards, stolen pay, sexual...
Posted: July 28, 2015, 11:50 am

Can storytelling and engagement techniques from investigative reporting help community groups reach out?

That is the question at the center of a new collaborative investigative reporting project in New Jersey led by the Center for Investigative Reporting and funded by a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

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Posted: July 28, 2015, 5:00 am

A redo of the popular Timeline JS to give more flexibility to authors and developers

The new Timeline JS 3 is a full rewrite of Knight Lab’s most widely used tool and is available now to use. However, the new version is in “beta” until about September 2015.

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Posted: July 28, 2015, 5:00 am

Startup Weekend DC Media Edition

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Fri, July 31, 2015 | 6:30 p.m. PDT
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Posted: July 28, 2015, 3:53 am

Podcasting Collab/Space San Francisco Workshop, September 12

Date:
1442073600
Sat, September 12, 2015 | 9:00 a.m. PDT
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Posted: July 27, 2015, 9:43 pm

3-D: Digital, Diversity, Disruption: theme of ASNE-APME conference October 16-18

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1445040000
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The nation's top editors gather at the ASNE-APME annual conference October 16-18 in Silicon Valley at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.  The Associated Press Photo Managers is also a conference partner. 

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Posted: July 27, 2015, 9:26 pm

So a hacker brought down your news site. Now what? New York magazine found out today

So let’s say you’re a New York–based publication which has just published the words and portraits of 35 women who have accused Bill Cosby of rape — on your cover no less. Then a hacker decides to launch an all-out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, bringing your servers to their knees. The first reports...
Posted: July 27, 2015, 6:37 pm

A Politico investigation could change the way you look at food safety

For anyone who eats food, Politico food policy reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich’s recent investigation, “Why President Obama and Congress turned their backs on food safety,” is a must-read. Evich takes readers on a ride through the maze of the country’s food safety system, a ride scary enough to make anyone who takes a bite of a peanut butter cracker or...
Posted: July 27, 2015, 5:23 pm

Gimlet wants to become the “HBO of podcasting” — here’s what its founder’s learned trying to get there

Last summer, radio reporter Alex Blumberg made a decision that, by his own admission, was “crazy.” Blumberg — known for his work with Planet Money, which he co-founded with economics journalist Adam Davidson, This American Life, and for sounding exactly like Ira Glass — left public media and started a podcasting company called Gimlet. Its...
Posted: July 27, 2015, 4:43 pm