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On a rough day for American newspapers, investors aren’t buying Gannett’s story and Tribune’s not done chopping

Today’s a rough day to root for American newspapers. In particular, for the country’s No. 1 and No. 3 newspaper chains. (The No. 2 chain, McClatchy, declared bankruptcy two weeks ago today. No. 4, MNG Enterprises, is owned by Alden Global Capital, which is roughly two Infinity Stones short of killing off half of American...
Posted: February 27, 2020, 8:57 pm

Gannett layoffs underway at combined new company

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 […]

The post Gannett layoffs underway at combined new company appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: February 27, 2020, 8:11 pm

The one way Sanders is the new Trump

The Wednesday morning after the 2016 presidential election, I wrote a piece for CJR criticizing the American press for its coverage of the rise of Trump, which I argued would “stand among journalism’s great failures.” In the second paragraph, I wrote: Reporters’ eagerness first to ridicule Trump and his supporters, then dismiss them, and finally […]
Posted: February 27, 2020, 5:00 pm

Year of Fear, Chapter Three: Red Streets v. Blue Streets in McKeesport

Welcome back to the Year of Fear. Each week until Election Day, CJR and the Delacorte Review will bring you another chapter from one of our four towns. Click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter. About six years ago, I started doing a weekly talk show for one of the AM radio stations in my hometown of […]
Posted: February 27, 2020, 4:55 pm

How do I…? Guides for writing, reporting, funding and more

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.

Posted: February 27, 2020, 4:43 pm

No one cares that you were editor of your college newspaper: Reporter bios don’t improve readers’ trust in your news outlet

If you’re reading this, I’d bet you’ve spent a solid amount of time crafting your bio (whether for work or for Twitter) and choosing just the right photo. You only get 100-something characters to show that you’re fun but professional, approachable but serious about accountability journalism. You take restaurant recommendations and story tips via email...
Posted: February 27, 2020, 4:34 pm

Should opinion journalists say who they’re voting for?

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.

Posted: February 27, 2020, 1:00 pm

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.

Posted: February 27, 2020, 12:53 pm

No race or religion can prevent coronavirus — don’t fall for these hoaxes

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.

Posted: February 27, 2020, 12:45 pm

Why Twitter and Facebook treat Bloomberg differently

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 used to be the high-water mark (or low-water mark, depending on your perspective) for the aggressive use of social networks in targeting voters. This time around, it’s another billionaire—Mike Bloomberg—who is testing the limits of what is permitted on various platforms, and so far they seem to be treating […]
Posted: February 27, 2020, 12:35 pm

Campaign videos enter new territory with deceptive editing  

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.

Posted: February 27, 2020, 12:00 pm

The risks and rewards of freelancing with a disability

Often, freelancing for a publication means that you work without the assurances of full-time employment; expenses and risks are offloaded onto you.
Posted: February 27, 2020, 11:55 am

Project Veritas stings ABC’s David Wright and reminds journalists that opinions cause trouble

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.

Posted: February 26, 2020, 9:00 pm

Ever wonder why Gmail doesn’t put your newsletter in subscribers’ primary inbox?

Ah, deliverability — the bane of email newsletter producers everywhere. You’ve worked hard to promote your newsletter, gotten lots of people to sign up, and started dishing out that HTML gold. But even if your email gets delivered — where does it get delivered to, exactly? Did it get stuck in a spam filter? Locked...
Posted: February 26, 2020, 8:35 pm

Maybe publisher cooperation is a path forward for news, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of public media

When making just about any kind of international comparison around news media, one thing quickly becomes clear: The Scandinavians blow the curve for everyone else. While the U.S. government spends a measly $3 per capita on public broadcasting, Sweden spends $95 and Norway $125. What percentage of a country’s residents pay for online news? In...
Posted: February 26, 2020, 5:47 pm

What Martha Graham can teach us about covering the election

The dancer and choreographer Martha Graham and her company toured twenty five countries as cultural ambassadors for the United States during the Cold War. But it was important to Graham, as high-profile as dancers get, that her audiences understood she was not a propagandist for her country. “My dances are not political,” she announced, as […]
Posted: February 26, 2020, 5:00 pm

The Twitter debate

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 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.

ICYMI: Why COVID-19 is not the problem

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:

ICYMI: The new coronavirus and racist tropes

Posted: February 26, 2020, 1:13 pm

Six tips to make science and health fact-checks sexier (and trustworthy)

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.

Posted: February 26, 2020, 12:45 pm

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 […]

The post Debate goes off the rails — blame the moderators » It’s Trump vs. Acosta and everyone loses » Fox News tops ratings in a big way appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: February 26, 2020, 12:28 pm

Why can’t we pay freelancers in days, not months?

OutVoice dares publishers to pay freelancers promptly
Posted: February 26, 2020, 11:50 am

“Big tech is watching you. Who’s watching big tech?” The Markup is finally ready for liftoff

Five weeks. That’s how long it took The Markup — the new digitally savvy investigative publication, focused on tech accountability, that launched today — to find someone who could send out its email newsletters without violating its privacy standards. The Markup tested and rejected eight different email providers — including the industry’s 800-pound gorilla, Mailchimp...
Posted: February 25, 2020, 7:22 pm

The new coronavirus and racist tropes

Last month, as news of the coronavirus now known as covid-19 spread, the New York Times published a story about “China’s omnivorous markets.” One of them, Huanan Seafood Market, was identified as a likely source of the outbreak. The story surfaced concerns, first raised during when SARS flared up, in 2002, about the sale of […]
Posted: February 25, 2020, 4:55 pm

You can tune into the Knight Media Forum 2020 from your desk

The Knight Media Forum 2020 kicked off this morning and though the conference is (a) invitation-only, (b) in Miami, and (c) at capacity, there’s a livestream if you want to tune in. Last year, Knight — the most journalism-focused of the major national foundations — pledged an eye-popping $300 million to local news, free speech,...
Posted: February 25, 2020, 4:52 pm

Can Rupert Murdoch and Boris Johnson team up to kneecap the BBC?

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 247, dated February 25, 2020. Times Radio: Murdoch’s big radio play [by Caroline Crampton]. Over the past five years, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has been quietly building a major position in the U.K. radio scene. This effort has been led by Rebekah Brooks, CEO...
Posted: February 25, 2020, 4:26 pm

The conviction of Harvey Weinstein

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.”

ICYMI: Why COVID-19 is not the problem

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:

Other notable stories:

ICYMI: As Bernie Sanders wins in Nevada, pundits freak out

Posted: February 25, 2020, 1:01 pm

Freelancers resist precarity by sharing rates and organizing

For many workers, openness about pay has helped to make conditions more equitable. Still, they fear retribution.
Posted: February 25, 2020, 11:30 am

How screwed are we? Experts don’t see a bright future for technology’s impact on democracy (or journalism)

If, on this Monday in an election year, you are hopeful that technology and the internet will improve democracy in the next decade, you’re in the minority. A new Pew Research Center report (done in partnership with Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center) surveyed hundreds of technology experts about whether or not digital disruption will...
Posted: February 24, 2020, 7:29 pm

Report for America will support 19 journalists to cover Native American communities

It’s hard to say that Native Americans have, historically, gotten the kind of journalism they deserve. Mainstream news outlets typically pay them little attention, and when they do, indigenous people are more often the subject of reporting than its target audience. Less than one half of one percent of journalists at U.S. news organizations are...
Posted: February 24, 2020, 7:17 pm

Who needs deepfakes? Simple out-of-context photos can be a powerfully low-tech form of misinformation

When you think of visual misinformation, maybe you think of deepfakes — videos that appear real but have actually been created using powerful video editing algorithms. The creators edit celebrities into pornographic movies, and they can put words into the mouths of people who never said them. But the majority of visual misinformation that people...
Posted: February 24, 2020, 2:37 pm

There are lots of ways to combat misinformation. Here are some creative ones from across three continents

There are many studies on misinformation and ways to combat it, but they’re often focused on traditional reporters and editors. In four new reports published today, Full Fact, an independent fact-checking charity in the United Kingdom, partnered with Africa Check (which fact checks in several countries on the continent) and Argentina’s Chequeado analyzed academic research...
Posted: February 20, 2020, 6:59 pm

Newsonomics: In Memphis’ unexpected news war, The Daily Memphian’s model demands attention

At first blush, it looks a bit like an old-fashioned newspaper war. (For our younger readers: Long ago, some cities had two or more strong newspapers that fought each other for scoops, talent, readers, and advertisers. Really.) In Memphis, two newsrooms — each with about three dozen journalists — slug it out, day after day....
Posted: February 20, 2020, 6:15 pm

The New Yorker’s new weekly newsletter on climate change will try to break through the daily noise

What’s the right pace for journalism about climate change to maximize its impact? Hammering people with a constant torrent of stories can make some people feel helpless and overwhelmed by the onslaught — not to mention the sheer scope of the problem. But checking in only sporadically, like when there’s a major new international report,...
Posted: February 19, 2020, 8:15 pm

Spotify is gaining a podcast audience quickly. But is it an audience that isn’t as interested in news?

We’ve written a lot (well, Nick Quah has written a lot) about Spotify’s efforts to move in on Apple’s 15-year position as the undisputed No. 1 platform for podcasts. The Swedish streaming giant has made podcasts more central to its apps, negotiated exclusive deals with production companies, and thrown a ton of money around —...
Posted: February 19, 2020, 4:32 pm

Feeling panicked about coronavirus? Media coverage of new epidemics often stokes unnecessary fear

New contagious diseases are scary. They frighten us because they’re unknown and unpredictable. The ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has received extensive media attention — coverage that can tell us a lot about how uncertainty in the face of such an epidemic can all too easily breed fear. For about a decade, I’ve...
Posted: February 19, 2020, 3:00 pm

Need cash fast? Patreon is now lending money to its creators to launch projects with high startup costs

I was tempted to kick this story off with a platitude along the lines of: “Starting something is the hardest part.” Then I thought better of it, because that’s not strictly true. Keeping something going can be much harder, as in the case of a conversation, relationship, or even this newsletter, because with starting something,...
Posted: February 18, 2020, 5:40 pm

I’d like to thank my family, my agent, my manager, and of course the Podcast Academy

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 246, dated February 18, 2020. The Podcast Academy. Last Friday, a group of podcast publishers and related operatives announced the formation of something called The Podcast Academy — not to be mistaken with what appears to be a semi-amateur Australian resource for podcasters of...
Posted: February 18, 2020, 5:40 pm

Share and share alike: A new tool from AP is helping New York’s local news outlets spread their stories more widely

A few years ago, during some routine staff turnover, the Associated Press Albany bureau wasn’t producing as many stories as usual. That meant that, according to Cortland Standard managing editor Todd McAdam, most of the state wire stories that his Finger Lakes newspaper was seeing from the AP were about New York City, 200 miles...
Posted: February 18, 2020, 3:56 pm

News organizations just want to get readers hooked, whether their habit’s news, podcasts, or puzzles

Newspapers once relied on their readers’ daily habit: starting the morning with a cup of coffee and a rifle through the print paper. Those days are going or gone for most, but publishers know that their future success will come down, at least in part, to how well they’re able to form new habits in...
Posted: February 14, 2020, 7:57 pm

Newsonomics: Six takeaways from McClatchy’s bankruptcy

What McClatchy’s Thursday bankruptcy filing lacked in suspense, it makes up for in our ability to game out the next skirmishes in the Consolidation Games, now ramping up its second season. That massive movement within the newspaper industry — equal parts financialization and consolidation — has so far combined the No. 1 and No. 2...
Posted: February 14, 2020, 4:12 pm

McClatchy files for bankruptcy, likely ending 163 years of family control and setting up more consolidation in local news

It’s been a very public possibility for months, but this morning it became official: McClatchy, America’s second-largest newspaper chain, is filing for bankruptcy. (You can find the legal filings here.) Here’s The New York Times: McClatchy, the publisher that operates The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee and other newspapers, filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday,...
Posted: February 13, 2020, 4:06 pm

Americans of all political stripes expect 2020’s fake news to be biased against their side

Fake news, misinformation, and disinformation will be major concerns in the 2020 presidential election. According to previous research by the Pew Research Center, half of American adults describe misinformation as a “very big problem” — more than who say the same about climate change, racism, and terrorism (though fewer than who say healthcare affordability, the...
Posted: February 11, 2020, 7:59 pm

In one move, the Dayton Daily News gets to avoid (a) private equity ownership, (b) the daycutting knife, and (c) a misused federal regulation

In December, I wrote about the unusual case of the Dayton Daily News — a core part of the Cox newspaper chain for more than a century, but sold a year ago to Apollo Global Management, a private equity fund of the sort that seems to be the only entity buying newspapers these days. Apollo...
Posted: February 11, 2020, 6:15 pm

If people will pay for MP3s of people whispering them to sleep, why won’t they pay for podcasts?

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 245, dated February 11, 2020. Pay to snooze [by Caroline Crampton]. Pretty much every night, I take a train journey north along the coast of Norway. As a chronically bad sleeper, I’ve tried a lot of different remedies. Some were a disaster; turns out...
Posted: February 11, 2020, 4:48 pm

In New Hampshire, local news goes national (in more ways than one)

Every four years, all eyes turn toward New Hampshire as the first presidential primary gets underway. Even the Granite State’s media scene is getting a closer look from national publications. This weekend, the Los Angeles Times profiled WMUR, a station with an influential role as the state’s only commercial television outlet and outsized ad dollars...
Posted: February 10, 2020, 7:51 pm

The Wall Street Journal joins The New York Times in the 2 million digital subscriber club

Earnings season means it’s time for successful publishers to brag about their digital subscription numbers. On Thursday, it was The New York Times Company’s turn, throwing out some big numbers: 5,251,000 total subscriptions across all print and digital, 4,395,000 total digital subscriptions (including Cooking and Crosswords), and 3,429,000 digital news subscribers. Perhaps most impressive to...
Posted: February 10, 2020, 7:44 pm

Readers reign supreme, and other takeaways from The New York Times end-of-year earnings report

The New York Times’ decade-plus march from crisis to sustainability to growth hit another happy milestone today: The company announced it had generated more than $800 million in digital revenue in 2019. That meets a corporate goal set four years ago to hit that number by the end of 2020. (Like a good journalist, the...
Posted: February 6, 2020, 6:53 pm

The New York Times is using The 1619 Project to market how “the truth can change how we see the world” (and subscriptions)

The New York Times is using one of its most prominent — and provocative — editorial projects to market itself to current and potential subscribers, starting with movie fans. On Sunday, during the 92nd Academy Awards telecast on ABC, the Times will kick off a national ad campaign with a commercial highlighting The 1619 Project,...
Posted: February 6, 2020, 4:50 pm

Protocol — think Politico, but for tech — launches into a crowded space

The tech industry is littered with startups once framed in a pitch meeting as “[successful existing company], but for [some other line of business].” Uber, but for petsitters. Airbnb, but for barns. Sofi, but for gamblers. Lime, but for unicycles. Squarespace, but for birthday cards. Casper, but for pillows. That Silicon Valley DNA is alive...
Posted: February 5, 2020, 8:58 pm

Spotify is buying The Ringer, expanding its podcast footprint (and dipping its audio toes into plain old text)

“What we really did with The Ringer, I think, is we bought the next ESPN,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek during the earnings call this morning, shortly after the company sent out word that it had officially acquired The Ringer, the distinctly podcast-heavy digital media company founded by former ESPN personality Bill Simmons. It’s something...
Posted: February 5, 2020, 5:14 pm