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On a rough day for American newspapers, investors aren’t buying Gannett’s story and Tribune’s not done chopping
Layoffs continued Thursday at Gannett newspapers, which recently merged with GateHouse to form the nation’s largest newspaper chain. At publication time, a spreadsheet tracking the layoffs listed 15 newspapers affected, with 27 total newsroom personnel laid off. Forty additional people were eliminated from pressroom positions at the Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader, which recently announced it was […]
This piece originally appeared in Local Edition, our newsletter following the digital transformation of local news. Want to be part of the conversation? You can subscribe here. Think, for a moment, about all the things you’ve had to learn to do your job. If you work in journalism, that list likely includes: Reporting Creating something […]
The post How do I…? Guides for writing, reporting, funding and more appeared first on Poynter.
No one cares that you were editor of your college newspaper: Reporter bios don’t improve readers’ trust in your news outlet
We’re all familiar with newspaper endorsements. But what about individual journalists whose job descriptions include expressing their opinions about politics and politicians? Is the old rule that opinion journalists shouldn’t reveal whom they’re voting for still relevant? I’m referring to columnists for newspaper op-ed pages, certain types of magazine writers, journalists for websites that combine […]
The post Should opinion journalists say who they’re voting for? appeared first on Poynter.
Was Wright really even wrong? » Trump campaign sues New York Times » We’re still debating Tuesday’s debate
The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Was Wright even wrong? ABC News has suspended one of its veteran reporters, a solid journalist who regularly appears on such broadcasts as “Nightline,” “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America.” Was the suspension justified, or is he […]
The post Was Wright really even wrong? » Trump campaign sues New York Times » We’re still debating Tuesday’s debate appeared first on Poynter.
Let’s make it very clear: There is no scientific data to support claims that a certain race or religion makes you stronger or weaker against coronavirus 2019. So if you see a post on Facebook or Instagram, a video on YouTube, a message chain of WhatsApp or Line, or a tweet with that kind of […]
The post No race or religion can prevent coronavirus — don’t fall for these hoaxes appeared first on Poynter.
What exactly was that Bloomberg video? U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s recent campaign video portraying other Democratic candidates as dazed and confused in response to a question he posed during last week’s Las Vegas debate generated considerable discussion in the misinformation and media worlds. The video wasn’t a fake, exactly, but it was edited […]
The post Campaign videos enter new territory with deceptive editing appeared first on Poynter.
On Wednesday, ABC News suspended correspondent David Wright after Project Veritas caught him on an undercover camera criticizing his network and expressing his own political views while covering the New Hampshire primary election. Let’s point out that the video Project Veritas posted is edited, so we may not have all the context we might want […]
The post Project Veritas stings ABC’s David Wright and reminds journalists that opinions cause trouble appeared first on Poynter.
Maybe publisher cooperation is a path forward for news, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of public media
This week, the Democratic primary got nasty. On Monday, the day after Bernie Sanders praised a literacy program in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Michael Bloomberg’s campaign tweeted out fake quotes “satirizing” Sanders’s flattery of dictators. (“Vladimir Putin is willing to poison anyone who disagrees with him, but have you seen how that guy looks without a shirt!! Mmm delish! #BernieOnDespots.”) Twitter, which recently suspended 70 pro-Bloomberg accounts for coordinated spam-posting, did not deem the Sanders “quotes” to have broken its rules; the Bloomberg campaign later deleted them. Yesterday, Tim O’Brien, the former top editor of Bloomberg Opinion who now works for the campaign, hit Sanders again during an interview on CNN: “Bernie has loopy stuff in his background, saying women get cancer from having too many orgasms or toddlers should run around naked and touch each other’s genitals to insulate themselves from porn.” In an interview with CBS, Diana Taylor, Bloomberg’s partner, told critics of Bloomberg’s past use of nondisclosure agreements to “get over it.” And the Daily Beast reported that a Sanders staffer used a private Twitter account to attack Sanders’s rivals and others, including journalists, with personal insults. (The staffer was fired.) Online, the Beast’s story took some harsh flak. Its author, Scott Bixby, was inundated with abusive messages.
The bad blood was still coursing last night, as seven candidates debated in Charleston, South Carolina, ahead of the state’s primary on Saturday. They attacked each other and, at times, they attacked the moderators from CBS News. Joe Biden—who, as the Times put it, was less “somnolent” than in debates past—showed flashes of anger with rivals who talked during his time and with moderators who cut him short; when one of them, Gayle King, called him a “gentleman,” Biden shot back, “Gentlemen don’t get very well treated up here.” He didn’t look like he was joking. Afterward, Sanders even rebuked the studio audience, which was noticeably rowdier than usual, and which booed when Sanders asked Bloomberg about his billionaire fans. “To get a ticket to the debate, you had to be fairly wealthy,” he said. “Most working people that I know don’t spend $1,700 to get a ticket to a debate.” (Sanders seemingly got this figure from a report by WCSC-TV, a local CBS affiliate, though some tickets, it seems, were handed out for free. Other aspects of the allocation process remain unclear.) However they got in, the audience members’ vocal interjections contributed to a broader air of farce. The candidates and moderators routinely talked over each other; at times, the debate sounded like when you have multiple tabs open on your computer and they’re all making noise at once. (Anyone who’s visited CNN.com will know what I mean.) At one point, Biden started to make a point, but was cut off by music leading into an ad break, like at the Oscars. Toward the end of the night, King had to interject to allow another ad break after her co-moderator, Norah O’Donnell, began, prematurely, to wrap things up.
O’Donnell could have been forgiven for expediting the end; the debate was exhausting to watch, let alone moderate. As it unfolded—and in subsequent commentary—many viewers, including other journalists, panned the moderators for losing control of proceedings. The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, The Hill, and Vox all ranked the moderators among their debate “losers.” (Vox asked: “Did you ever have a substitute teacher who was so mild-mannered, and commanded so little natural respect and authority, that you and the rest of your middle school class quickly realized you could just outshout him until he agreed to just crawl behind his desk and read a book while you did whatever you wanted for 45 minutes?”) CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted that “This is the first CBS debate of the season… and it shows”; Elizabeth Bruenig, an opinion writer at the New York Times, argued that weak moderation rewards “total psychopaths,” and “puts women candidates at a disadvantage because they’re less likely to just wantonly scream over people who are already talking.” Putting the melee to one side, some observers said the questions the moderators posed felt divorced from the immediate concerns facing the country right now. We waited 82 minutes for a question on the coronavirus, and there were no questions at all on Trump’s rampant politicization of the justice system, or on climate change. When Tom Steyer tried to raise the latter topic, during a discussion about China, he was cut off, because CBS had to ask Sanders whether he plans to give authoritarians “a free pass.” #BernieOnDespots.
CBS wasn’t the only debate host last night—the Congressional Black Caucus Institute partnered on it, as did Twitter. As CNN’s Oliver Darcy noted, Twitter’s involvement was “fitting” given that this debate, more than any other this cycle, mirrored “the disorderly dialogue” we often see on the platform. It’s ironic, then, that two of the more thoughtful questions of the night—on housing and education for minimum-wage workers, and on the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, Syria—came from Twitter users.
Though maybe it’s not ironic. Twitter is a cesspool, but it isn’t just a cesspool: at its best, it raises marginalized perspectives, facilitates overlapping focus on different issues, and allows everyday people to engage with the powerful. This is what elections should be about. There’s enough urgent mess in the world to keep candidates—and the journalists whose job it is to corral them—busy. Putting that in focus requires us to look past interpersonal nastiness, especially on debate nights, when the world is watching. We keep missing that opportunity.
Below, more on 2020:
- The State of play: Ahead of the South Carolina primary on Saturday, the opinion page of The State, a newspaper in the state capital, Columbia, endorsed Buttigieg. In other endorsement news, Jim Clyburn—the House Majority Whip who is a power player in South Carolina Democratic politics—is expected to endorse Biden today. Further afield, the Boston Globe’s editorial board endorsed Elizabeth Warren ahead of the Massachusetts primary on Super Tuesday, less than a week away. That was a turnaround for the paper; in 2018, its editorial board urged Warren not to run.
- The cable news primary: Aides for every major candidate left in the race told the Daily Beast’s Sam Stein and Maxwell Tani that “they’ve been stunned by the degree to which the conversation taking place on cable and national news has impacted the trajectory of the race”; such narratives, Stein and Tani write, are “the main thing that is moving the electorate… and there’s not really a close second.” On Twitter, Peter Hamby, of Snapchat and Vanity Fair, disputed that conclusion: he argues that advertising and nontraditional media platforms have also played a crucial role.
- Rejecting reality: Over the weekend, Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor at the Post, published a piece arguing that “Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both reject the reality of climate change.” The article so infuriated Emily Atkin, of the climate newsletter HEATED, that she wrote a line-by-line response to it. “You seem to fear Sanders more than you fear the actual climate crisis, or the oil industry executives who lied about it for their own financial gain for so long,” she writes, addressing Hiatt. “This is a far more dangerous rejection of reality.”
- Garch money: In recent days, Bloomberg’s campaign has pushed back on critics who have described Bloomberg as “an oligarch”—so VICE’s Clio Chang asked Matt Simonton, an expert in ancient Greek oligarchies at Arizona State University, whether the label is fair. Simonton told Chang that it “absolutely” is. “With Bloomberg, it’s not just that he uses his immense wealth to get into the political process and buy limitless airtime,” he said. “What really makes him oligarchic is that he seems to have a vision of politics in which rich people deserve more political power.”
Other notable stories:
- Trump concluded his visit to India yesterday. While he held talks with Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, violent clashes erupted in a different part of New Delhi, related to Modi’s Hindu-nationalist, anti-Muslim policies; according to the Times, several journalists were hospitalized in the chaos. At a press conference, Trump said Modi was “incredible” on the subject of religious freedom. (Unlike Trump, Modi—who has never held a news conference since taking power in 2014—did not face reporters’ questions.) At the same presser, Trump reiterated recent criticisms of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—which he appears to have based on a misleading TV-news chyron—and confirmed that his administration is considering retaliating against Chinese journalists in the US over China’s recent expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters.
- Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the spread of the coronavirus in the US is a question of when, not if, and urged Americans to prepare for it. Later in the day, Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, broke with the CDC. “We have contained this,” he said, in an interview with CNBC. “I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight.” In other coronavirus news, Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing firebrand and Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee, said on his radio show that the press “would love” for the coronavirus to “wipe everybody out,” so they can blame Trump for the deaths. And CJR’s Amanda Darrach tracks racist tropes around the virus, including the idea that the US is “more sanitary” and “more evolved” than China.
- Wade Davis, the former chief financial officer of Viacom, and Searchlight Capital Partners, a private equity firm, are buying a majority stake in Univision, the Journal’s Dave Sebastian and Benjamin Mullin report. Davis is bullish about Univision’s prospects, but it has struggled, of late, with debt, cord-cutting, and Spanish-language competition.
- In local-news news, Mel Grau reports, for Poynter, on the six women who lobbied for a better parental-leave policy at the Boston Globe. Report for America will assign 19 journalists to cover Native American communities, Nieman Lab’s Hanaa’ Tameez writes. And NPR and its member stations will work together to cover voters “where they are.”
- For CJR’s series on freelancing, Alison Van Houten profiles OutVoice, a new digital payment platform that expedites payments to freelancers by triggering direct deposits as soon as their work is published. “But revolutionizing the status quo isn’t as simple as creating a shiny plug-in,” Van Houten writes—it’s about attitudes as much as logistics.
- Yesterday, Bob Iger announced that he’s stepping down as CEO of Disney after 15 years in post; Bob Chapek, of Disney’s parks-and-products wing, has replaced Iger, who will stay on as executive chairman. Following years of speculation about Disney’s CEO succession plan, the abrupt announcement blindsided business reporters.
- And CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn profiles the fourth-biggest magazine in America: the Costco Connection. The publication aims to foster a “sense of belonging” among Costco members—and to sell things, of course. Unlike Trader Joe’s, Giant Foods, and Kroger, Costco currently has no plans to launch a podcast. Who said print is dead?
Public confidence in scientists is on the upswing in the United States. According to a survey released by the Pew Research Center in August, 60% of Americans say “scientists should play an active role in policy debates about scientific issues.” This means that confidence in scientists is as high as confidence in the military. At […]
The post Six tips to make science and health fact-checks sexier (and trustworthy) appeared first on Poynter.
Debate goes off the rails — blame the moderators » It’s Trump vs. Acosta and everyone loses » Fox News tops ratings in a big way
The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Assigning blame for last night’s crazy train Moderating a debate is not easy. We know that because we’ve seen more examples of it done poorly than done well. While it’s a difficult job, unfortunately the CBS moderators in […]
A tool to take America’s pulse before the election, how to track your Reddit mentions and an extremely offline holiday
At the beginning of the year, as Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial got underway, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey—the New York Times journalists whose reporting on Weinstein helped spark the global #MeToo movement, in 2017—warned, with their colleague Jan Ransom, that the trial might not live up to the cultural burden resting on it. While “the outcome already is anticipated as a verdict on much more than one man’s alleged wrongdoing,” they wrote, “the jurors will be hearing a narrow legal case, with an already-fraught back story and a highly unpredictable result.” Yesterday, those jurors handed down a result: guilty. Weinstein was convicted of raping one woman and forcing oral sex on another. He was acquitted of three other charges, two of which, related to “predatory sexual assault,” were the most serious he faced; still, he faces up to 29 years in prison. (He’ll be sentenced on March 11, and held in custody until then; his lawyers plan to appeal that, and the verdict as a whole.) The ruling, Kantor and Twohey wrote yesterday, suggests accountability does, indeed, stretch “from the court of public opinion to the court of criminal law.” Their piece was headlined, “With Weinstein Conviction, Jury Delivers a Verdict on #MeToo.” The trial, in a sense, saw its cultural burden, and met it.
As I wrote at the beginning of the trial, the involvement of an actual court didn’t silence the court of public opinion. Before proceedings started, numerous Weinstein accusers who weren’t involved in them reminded the world of the stakes, including in a photo portfolio in New York magazine. Weinstein, for his part, sought to alter the pre-trial narrative via rare interviews, including one, with Page Six, in which he cast himself as a “pioneer” for women in Hollywood. When New York’s Irin Carmon reached out to Weinstein’s publicist for comment on the magazine’s package, she received back a 57-slide PowerPoint entitled, “The Proper Narrative for Addressing the Harvey Weinstein Case.”
As the trial progressed, Weinstein’s representatives continued to strike out, casting the women in his case as liars and the broader #MeToo movement as puritanical, and an erosion of women’s responsibility for their actions. Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lawyer, spoke with Twohey on The Daily, the Times’s podcast; when Twohey asked if she’d ever been sexually assaulted, Rotunno said she had not, “because I would never put myself in that position.” After the episode aired, prosecutors said Rotunno had violated an order barring discussion of the witnesses in the media during the period of the trial. Rotunno said she’d taped the interview “a while ago,” prior to the order, but the Times told Jeremy Barr, of the Hollywood Reporter, that it had been recorded on January 28—several weeks after the trial began. Shortly before the jury began its deliberations, Rotunno published an op-ed in Newsweek that called on jurors to “look past the headlines” and reach a verdict “solely on the facts, testimony and evidence presented to them in the courtroom.” On that occasion, prosecutors accused Rotunno of jury tampering, and the judge ordered her team to control “the tentacles of your public relations juggernaut.” Rotunno also taped an interview with an Australian version of 60 Minutes, in which she again accused Weinstein’s accusers of lying. It aired on Sunday.
Yesterday’s verdict reverberated immediately through the court of public opinion and its media. When Whoopi Goldberg announced the news during The View, on ABC, loud whoops from the studio audience drowned out the end of her sentence. The reactions of many of Weinstein’s alleged victims echoed through articles in multiple outlets. “What I wanted to do was cause a massive cultural reset. We achieved that today with what happened,” one of them, Rose McGowan, said during a telephone press conference. “With today, the trashman came and he said to all of the little girls and the little boys who get hurt in this world, ‘Some day, maybe you, too, can have a voice.’” On NPR, Rosanna Arquette, who also accused Weinstein of sexual abuse, teared up during an interview with Mary Louise Kelly. Arquette and many others thanked the journalists—Kantor and Twohey, as well as Ronan Farrow, of the New Yorker—for the journalism that made Weinstein’s conviction possible. On Twitter, Farrow, in turn, paid tribute to the women whose testimony made the journalism possible. “Please keep those women in your thoughts today,” he wrote.
Legal and journalistic standards are different, of course. Journalism, rightly, can’t put people in prison; likewise, if Weinstein had been acquitted on all counts yesterday, the measure of justice achieved in the work of Kantor, Twohey, Farrow, and others would not have been erased.
Yesterday showed, however, that journalism can profoundly influence the legal system—by shining a public spotlight on the misdeeds of powerful people, but also, as importantly, by scrutinizing the iniquities and limitations of the system itself. As Kantor and Twohey wrote, the criminal case against Weinstein was “a long shot.” The evidence presented—which showed, among other things, that the victims had consensual sex with Weinstein after he abused them—was messy, and lacking in corroborating forensics or direct witness testimony; as such, the case was a step beyond typical prosecutorial boundaries. Its partial success, Kantor and Twohey wrote, “could prove a symbolic turning point”— showing “that sex crimes don’t necessarily follow neat scripts and reshaping public beliefs about which victims deserve their day in court.” Journalism didn’t just fell Harvey Weinstein. It’s had institutional impact, too—however flawed our institutions may still look.
Below, more on Harvey Weinstein:
- A huge story: Amid burgeoning fears about the coronavirus, the Dow had its worst day in two years yesterday—yet, as CNN’s Brian Stelter notes, last night’s newscasts on CBS, ABC, and NBC all led with the Weinstein verdict.
- The women who covered Weinstein: For the Associated Press, Mary Altaffer has a photo gallery spotlighting the “core group of women journalists” who covered the trial. The women, Altaffer writes, “put their natural journalistic competitiveness aside.” During lulls in the trial, “they’ve turned the adjacent women’s bathroom into a lounge and a news bureau, making calls, jotting notes and taking time for themselves to recharge.”
- “Withering away”: After the verdict yesterday, Weinstein was remanded to the jail on Rikers Island in New York. En route, he was taken to the hospital; according to Rotunno, he was monitored for high blood pressure and heart palpitations. Elsewhere, Yahoo’s Erin Donnelly has an interview with Jane Rosenberg, a courtroom artist who illustrated the trial for the press. “From his arraignment to today, he just really withered away,” Rosenberg said, post-verdict. “His pallor is gray, he doesn’t stand up straight at all.”
- Touring the studios: Farrow and Rich McHugh, his former producer at NBC News, have alleged that that network killed Farrow’s initial reporting on Weinstein, forcing him to take it elsewhere. Yesterday, McHugh told Fox News that he found the verdict “validating, in a professional way.” This morning, Farrow will be on Good Morning America, on ABC, and New Day, on CNN; Twohey will be on the Today show, on NBC, and Morning Joe, on MSNBC.
- Has the culture changed?: #MeToo-era journalism has always been as much about the structures that enabled and protected the likes of Weinstein as individual perpetrators—in the entertainment and media industries, in particular. On NPR yesterday, Kelly asked Arquette whether the culture of Hollywood has evolved post-Weinstein; Arquette replied that it’s complicated. For the LA Times, Ryan Faughnder and Stacy Perman list five things that have changed.
- Where next?: On the first day of the Weinstein trial, prosecutors in LA unveiled surprise new charges against him, including rape and sexual battery. According to Laura Newberry and Maura Dolan, of the LA Times, Weinstein’s conviction in New York will likely help the LA prosecutors make their case, which is expected to proceed sometime after the sentencing in New York.
Other notable stories:
- This morning, CJR is out with a new series on freelance journalism, which, for its practitioners, is harder to sustain than ever. “The ranks of writers grow while the pool of available money dwindles,” Kyle Pope, our editor and publisher, writes. “We see this series as the start of a critical conversation about repairing a freelancing ecosystem that, for many, can be perilous.” First up, Elizabeth King writes that some freelancers are organizing, including by sharing information about pay rates, in a bid to improve their conditions—but fear they will suffer retribution for this greater openness.
- Last night, Chris Matthews apologized on air for comparing Bernie Sanders’s victory in the Nevada caucuses to the Nazis taking France. Matthews’s initial remark exacerbated growing tensions between his network, MSNBC, and the Sanders campaign; yesterday, Joe Pompeo reported, for Vanity Fair, that MSNBC brass take Sanders’s criticisms of the network seriously, and may add “more smart, pro-Sanders voices” to make its coverage more balanced. In other 2020 news, Linsey Davis, of ABC News, taped a jailhouse interview with Myon Burrell, whose past murder conviction—which Amy Klobuchar oversaw when she was a prosecutor—has been called into question. Klobuchar and six other candidates will debate in Charleston, South Carolina, from 8pm Eastern tonight, ahead of the state’s primary on Saturday. CBS will host. Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell will moderate, with help from Margaret Brennan, Major Garrett, and Bill Whitaker.
- Cenk Uygur, the founder of progressive news network The Young Turks, has tried to discourage his staff from unionizing. Uygur, who is running for Congress, told HuffPost’s Dave Jamieson that he supports the unionization of big companies, but that it would be untenable for his smaller digital news outlet. “We’re in a precarious position,” he said.
- Gabe Bullard writes, for Nieman Reports, that outlets including the New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Economist are increasingly offering narrated audio versions of their articles. Narration, Bullard finds, exists in a space “in between podcasts and text.” Publishers offering the service “find that listeners… will listen for longer than they read.”
- Fallout continues from China’s decision, last week, to expel three Wall Street Journal reporters. Per Bloomberg News, the Trump administration could retaliate by expelling Chinese journalists working in the US; some officials want “hundreds” of them to be kicked out. Administration leaders—including Matt Pottinger, who worked for the Journal in Beijing and is now deputy national security adviser—met yesterday to discuss options.
- In divergent British-journalism news, right-wing tabloid The Sun suffered significant losses last year due to declining sales and ongoing legal costs related to phone-hacking allegations against its parent company, The Guardian’s Jim Waterson reports. And following last year’s Cairncross Review into the state of journalism, the government is giving money to 19 news organizations. Jacob Granger has more for Journalism.co.uk.
- For the Telegraph, Josie Ensor, who has reported on the war in Syria from neighboring Lebanon, reflects on her coverage as she leaves the region. “Syria is where the world collectively lost its humanity,” she writes. “It’s a hard thing for a journalist to acknowledge, looking back on a body of work, to realize it has had so little impact.”
- And Katherine Johnson—the influential NASA mathematician who, in 2016, finally came to prominence thanks to Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures and the movie of the same name—died yesterday. She was 101. The Times has an obituary.