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Axios, the bulleted list chimera of tech and journalism, conceived according to the premise that “Media is broken—and too often a scam,” is experimenting with a new format: “smart brevity” longform. Confused? Megan Swiatkowski, Axios’s Associate Director of Communications, explained in an email pitch, it’s “how to go deep, but write short.” If you are […]
Posted: November 16, 2018, 10:02 pm
In what appears to have been a cut-and-paste error, a routine filing in a completely unrelated court case revealed on Thursday that the Justice Department has finally laid charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The filing was a request for the court to seal all documents related to a case involving a man named Seitu […]
Posted: November 16, 2018, 9:47 pm
“Sixty-three dead, 630 listed as missing, 142,000 acres burned, 9,700 homes gone, 230 commercial buildings destroyed, and just 45 percent containment.” So reads the latest update from The Paradise Post, the newspaper whose town went up in smoke last week in the Camp Fire, which is still raging across Northern California. Since the fire began, reporters […]
Posted: November 16, 2018, 8:02 pm
On April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old white woman out for a run in Central Park was violently beaten and raped. Five black and Latinx teenagers were put on trial for the crime and convicted. In the tabloids, they were called the Central Park Five. Donald Trump placed a paid advertisement in all four of the […]
Posted: November 16, 2018, 4:27 pm
Federal District Judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate correspondent Jim Acosta's White House "hard pass" Friday morning.
Posted: November 16, 2018, 3:43 pm
After a month's delay in hopes of getting be
Posted: November 16, 2018, 3:00 pm
“I often think about our duty to warn. Mostly because, when we’ve neglected to, it’s ended up being a shitshow.” Thrillist has a fascinating piece from James Beard Award-winning food writer Kevin Alexander about how his rating of a small Portland, Oregon restaurant, Stanich’s, as Thrillist’s best burger in America inadvertently contributed to the restaurant’s...
Posted: November 16, 2018, 2:50 pm
This week, the BBC devoted attention to a series on the spread of false information: The BBC is launching a series today on disinformation and fake news, with documentaries, reports and features on TV, radio and online. There are conferences in Delhi and Nairobi, and new research from India and Africa into why people spread...
Posted: November 16, 2018, 2:33 pm
Notifications every 2 minutes. The most interesting real-news-about-fake-news this week was the BBC’s in-depth research into how information — and misinformation — spreads via WhatApp in India. Read all about that here. (Also elsewhere on Nieman Lab, be sure to check out this piece by Francesco Marconi and Till Daldrup on how The Wall Street...
Posted: November 16, 2018, 2:30 pm
After finally reaching agreement with the European Union on the details of Brexit earlier this week, Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, wobbled. Domestic critics assailed her from all sides—charging, variously, that the deal she struck would entail too close a relationship with the EU or not enough of one. Yesterday, two members of May’s cabinet—including the official who, in theory, had been responsible for the Brexit negotiations—resigned, saying they could not support the deal. Senior backbench lawmakers, desperate to sever as many ties as possible with the EU, threatened to trigger a vote of no confidence in May’s leadership. When May stood up in Parliament to promise a “smooth and orderly” exit from the bloc, mocking laughter pealed around the House of Commons.
Swathes of Britain’s press, which is reliably opinionated, have, predictably, piled on May, too, renewing long-held criticisms of her performance and the Brexit process as a whole. On the left, The Guardian offered rare, faint praise of May, but painted her deal as a disaster with flaws “intrinsic to the very idea of Brexit,” which the paper has always opposed. On the right, the Murdoch-owned Sun—which vociferously backed Brexit leading up to the 2016 vote and has since pushed for a cleaner break with Europe than May is offering—screamed yesterday, in melodramatic all caps, that “WE’RE IN THE BREXS*IT.” The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, has topped its front page with scathing opinion pieces for two days running. Yesterday, it went with a wounding assessment by Nick Timothy, May’s former right-hand man, that the deal was “a capitulation.” Today, it quoted columnist Allison Pierson’s call for May to resign immediately. “We need a chess grandmaster to wrangle with Brussels,” Pierson writes, “not the runner-up in the 1973 Towcester tiddlywinks competition.”
ICYMI: The super typhoon American media forgot
Britain’s print media are not generally prone to changing their spots, yet the past few months have brought some curious, and important, realignments. A year and a day ago, the right-wing Daily Mail mocked up a mugshot-gallery-style front page with pictures of Conservative Party lawmakers who favored Britain’s EU membership under the headline “The Brexit mutineers” (afterward, some of them received threats). Since then, however, Paul Dacre, the Mail’s pro-Brexit editor, departed, and was replaced by Geordie Greig, a convinced “Remainer.” This morning, the Mail once again took aim at Conservative rebels—this time, however, it was those on the opposite, hard-right wing of the party that drew its ire. Calling them “preening saboteurs,” the paper asked, in its front-page headline, “HAVE THEY LOST THE PLOT?”
The Daily Express, a strident right-wing voice of yore, has been kind to May’s soft Brexit deal this week, too. It, too, got a new editor this year, appointing Gary Jones, who formerly led the Sunday Mirror, a left-leaning tabloid. At a Parliamentary hearing shortly after his appointment, Jones called some of his paper’s past content “Islamophobic” and “downright offensive,” and promised a softening of tone. Yesterday, the Express painted the “rosiest picture as far as May is concerned” of any paper, the Guardian observed, “with no mention of leadership challenges or cabinet troubles”; this morning, its front-page headline called May “defiant.”
Britain’s tabloids pride themselves on their ability to shape the country’s political agenda. In 1992, a now-mythic Sun front page famously claimed credit for an unexpected Conservative Party election victory (“IT’S THE SUN WOT WON IT”). The foundations of the country’s vote to leave the EU, too, were undoubtedly laid by decades of hostility toward Europe on the part of right-wing papers, the Mail and the Express prominent among them. May remains very much under-fire—not least from The Sun—though it will comfort her that at least a few strong media voices who would previously have ridiculed her deal are standing behind it, and her, for now.
The extent to which British papers lead their readers by the nose, rather than the other way around, however, has long been an open debate. A YouGov poll out today indicates widespread public rejection of May’s deal, with many citizens pushing for a second referendum instead. Like everywhere else, newspaper circulation in Britain is declining. If Brexit is the apotheosis of the country’s campaigning press, it might also mark the start of a new, steep decline.
Below, more on Brexit:
- A1: The Guardian has a good round-up of today’s British newspaper front pages.
- B3: While right-wing columnists in the Telegraph slammed May’s deal and called for a harder Brexit, the paper today gave page three to an op-ed by Tony Blair, former Labour Party prime minister, who is campaigning for a second vote to keep Britain in Europe after all.
- C you later: When May became prime minister after the Brexit vote, in 2016, she sacked George Osborne, who had served as finance minister under May’s predecessor, David Cameron. Osborne then quit politics to become editor of the Evening Standard, a London newspaper. He’s used that perch to relentlessly hound May: according to Esquire, he said last year that he would not rest until she is “chopped up in bags in my freezer.” It comes as no surprise that the Standard has been hard on May’s deal this week, calling it “dead.”
- D parts: In July, The Atlantic’s Tom Rachman wrote that Paul Dacre’s departure from the Mail could change Britain. “The Daily Mail still commands vast power, its thunderous front-page headlines all but causing the paintings to tremble at 10 Downing Street,” Rachman wrote. “And this is where Greig comes in, for he is about to take control at the inky institution, perhaps editing this country’s political chaos in the process.”
Other notable stories:
- On CJR’s podcast The Kicker, Kyle Pope, our editor and publisher, spoke with David Little, editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record in Northern California, on getting a paper out amid the deadliest wildfires in that state’s history. The LA Times’s Benjamin Oreskes also profiled the Enterprise-Record, noting that its staff has dwindled in recent years.
- Bucking expectations, the judge in CNN’s lawsuit against the White House did not rule yesterday on a temporary restraining order to restore Jim Acosta’s press credentials; he’s set to rule this morning instead. After a pack of news organizations, including Fox, filed amicus briefs on behalf of CNN, the pro-Trump One America News Network also filed a brief… on behalf of the White House.
- Prosecutors inadvertently revealed that the Justice Department has prepared to indict Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who lives in exile in Ecuador’s London embassy. “Though the possible charges against Mr. Assange remained a mystery on Thursday, an indictment centering on the publication of information of public interest… would create a precedent with profound implications for press freedoms,” the Times reports.
- Mark Zuckerberg hopped on a call with reporters to discuss Facebook’s community standards yesterday, but was quickly derailed by questions about Wednesday’s explosive Times scoop outlining a behind-the-scenes malaise at the company. As fallout from the company’s questionable PR tactics—which included hiring Republican spinners to link liberal activists to George Soros—intensified, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer and a key subject of the Times piece, pushed back. For CJR, Mathew Ingram writes that “Facebook’s instinct to deny, then apologize is baked into its DNA.”
- Saudi prosecutors announced yesterday that they would seek the death penalty for five people they said were directly responsible for the murder of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi last month—though the announcement once again shifted the official narrative, asserting that the killers were under orders to render Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but instead administered an overdose of sedatives. Also yesterday, the US government imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis it said were implicated. The list included senior officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
- Remember the migrant caravan? Fox News helped Trump whip up an immigration panic prior to the midterms, but then mostly dropped the story, according to data obtained by The Wrap’s Jon Levine. Mentions on CNN and MSNBC—who were criticized for amplifying Trump’s wild claims—also trailed off.
- BuzzFeed has a revealing round-up of the perks different cities offered Amazon as it hunted for a second headquarters, including an exclusive airport lounge for executives (Atlanta), a special taskforce to curb an “unacceptable murder rate” (Columbus), and… nothing at all (Toronto). Amazon decided to split its new base between New York and Arlington, Virginia.
- With friends like these… The Daily Beast reports that Trump has repeatedly mocked the “dumb” softball questions of his top media booster Sean Hannity.
- And for CJR, Karen K. Ho spoke with Sunny Dhillon, a reporter at Canada’s Globe and Mail who quit last month after his bureau chief would not let him focus on the lack of diversity in Vancouver’s newly elected city council.
ICYMI: Partisan voices are drowning out Britain’s Brexit debate
Posted: November 16, 2018, 12:46 pm
How misreading a culture changes the story
Posted: November 16, 2018, 11:44 am
Insight and revulsion over California’s worst fire; Facebook fallout; LION expansion
Posted: November 16, 2018, 10:37 am
For most of my adult life, I’ve had to answer that question: Are you THE Roy Clark, sometimes in jest, and sometimes, over the phone, with serious anticipation. The best I can come up with is, “Well, my MOTHER thinks so.”
Posted: November 15, 2018, 10:54 pm
ON THIS WEEK’S EPISODE, CJR Editor and Publisher Kyle Pope speaks with David Little, editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record, about running his newsroom during the Camp Fire disaster. SHOW NOTES: Camp Fire Thursday update: Grim numbers continue to rise on worst fire in state history, Staff Reports, Chico Enterprise-Record Climate change plays second […]
Posted: November 15, 2018, 8:57 pm
A new feature from The New York Times takes an in-depth look at Facebook’s response—or rather, lack of response—to criticism about Russian trolls using its platform to spread disinformation both before and during the 2016 election. The piece points fingers at a number of senior staff, including the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, as […]
Posted: November 15, 2018, 8:15 pm
In the winter of 1994, Dorothy Kalins decided that she was so bored with food magazines that she would start her own. “They were just totally deracinated,” Kalins recalls of the “Big Three”—Condé Nast’s sibling publications, Bon Appétit and Gourmet, and Food & Wine. “They were removed from the roots of the food.” Kalins, a […]
Posted: November 15, 2018, 6:45 pm
Earlier this month, CJR embarked on an experiment to convince people to take responsibility for the news they consume: we set up a newsstand in the middle of New York City, took out the real publications, and replaced them with fake titles featuring misinformation pulled from the internet. Then, we sat back and watched how […]
Posted: November 15, 2018, 6:31 pm
It's one of the great ironies of "anti-globalist" disinformation.
Posted: November 15, 2018, 5:00 pm
NPR experiments with personal stories; newsrooms challenge White House ban; investigation finds police routinely shelve rape cases
Posted: November 15, 2018, 4:55 pm
Global Fact is a practitioners' conference: Participants come to share their experience and learn about best practices.
Posted: November 15, 2018, 3:50 pm
It’s an easy, cliché thing to say, but it’s true: Without Poynter-ONA women’s leadership academy, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Posted: November 15, 2018, 2:29 pm
Artificial intelligence is fueling the next phase of misinformation. The new type of synthetic media known as deepfakes poses major challenges for newsrooms when it comes to verification. This content is indeed difficult to track: Can you tell which of the images below is a fake? (Check the bottom of this story for the answer.)...
Posted: November 15, 2018, 1:48 pm
Amazon may have gone with the most predictable of picks for HQ2, but that doesn’t give media organizations an out for hunkering down in the country’s elite metropolises. This directory of local reporters who actually know their communities wants to take away excuses for parachute journalism a little more firmly. Shoeleather, launched this week by...
Posted: November 15, 2018, 1:47 pm
Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are rapidly gaining in popularity, but use of news on the devices is lagging, according to a report released Wednesday night by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Use of the devices for music and weather is still far ahead of news use. And among...
Posted: November 15, 2018, 12:01 am
The Department of Justice claimed Wednesday that "the President and his staff have absolute discretion over which journalists they grant interviews to, as well as over which journalists they acknowledge at press events. That broad discretion necessarily includes discretion over which journalists receive on-demand access to the White House grounds and special access during White House travel for the purpose of asking questions of the President or his staff. No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House." Dozens of media companies filed legal briefs Wednesday saying if CNN loses its lawsuits all journalists may be at risk if they cross the president.
Posted: November 14, 2018, 10:49 pm
On Nov 1., Nikki Delamotte and Anne Nickoloff made a pitch to their Cleveland.com editor:
Posted: November 14, 2018, 10:29 pm
At The Guardian, Jim Waterson has the story: The Financial Times is automatically warning its journalists if their articles quote too many men, in an attempt to force writers to look for expert women to include in their pieces. The media organisation found that only 21% of people quoted in the FT were women, prompting...
Posted: November 14, 2018, 3:08 pm
How zen is a non-breaking news notification? We may find out in 2019. Today, the ambitious, contrarian founders of Dutch phenomenon De Correspondent launch a $2.5 million funding campaign to fund the launch of a sibling publication, The Correspondent, in the U.S. That initiative has been gestating for almost two years, ever since editor Rob...
Posted: November 14, 2018, 2:33 pm
A bunch of strangers walk into a room, and journalists try to get them to get to know — or at least not hate — each other. That’s not a joke; it’s the goal of 25 news organizations’ engagement initiatives studied by the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. The...
Posted: November 14, 2018, 2:00 pm
The path forward for premium media is seemingly clear: Put up a paywall. Digital advertising is a duopoly-dominated mess; any print or broadcast cross-subsidy you might have is declining at one speed or another. Your loyal core digital readers may be only a tiny fraction of that big “monthly uniques” number you put into press...
Posted: November 13, 2018, 6:06 pm
If you’re a news organization sending out email newsletters with Mailchimp, you probably know that the company offers some metrics so you can track how your newsletters are doing. But if you want to know how your organizations’ newsletters are doing compared to those from other publishers, there hasn’t really been a way (beyond keeping...
Posted: November 13, 2018, 4:09 pm
Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 185, published November 13, 2018. Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project enters the wild. Sydney Pollack had a great line in Michael Clayton where he wags his finger at George Clooney’s down-in-the-dumps fixer protagonist saying: “Fer chrissakes, Michael, you’ve got something everybody wants! You have a...
Posted: November 13, 2018, 4:01 pm
The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos from its archives — some dating back to the 1800s — with help from a variety of Google technologies. The photos will be used in a series called Past Tense. (First up: a package focusing on how the paper covered California in the 20th...
Posted: November 9, 2018, 4:28 pm
Facebook has not “fixed it.” While nothing totally horrible, fake news-wise, appears to have happened on the United States’ Election Day this week, extensive research published this week by Jonathan Albright (whom I interviewed last year) shows what was still happening on Facebook three days before the midterms, in a three-part Medium series. “It’s the...
Posted: November 9, 2018, 2:46 pm
Newsletters abound in 2018’s reshaping media market — helping to expand the subscription funnel and subvert social media algorithms, among other causes. There are plenty of panels, case studies, and lists of questions about how you can improve yours in the newfound age of email newsletters. The trend continues: Use email newsletters to build a...
Posted: November 8, 2018, 4:24 pm
If you spend dozens of hours learning about a subject — say, government procurements — for an article, you might want to find some way to use that knowledge beyond just hitting Publish on a story. As a journalist, obviously, there are some hesitations; the debate on where the line falls between journalism and activism...
Posted: November 8, 2018, 4:21 pm
The idea that news and politics are in the male sphere, with domestic duties relegated to women, might feel outdated. But these beliefs are alive and well for many, and the act of consciously avoiding the news comes with a hefty component of gender dynamics, new research suggests. In interviews with lower- and middle-income women...
Posted: November 8, 2018, 3:47 pm
Big night! The U.S. midterm elections yesterday mostly went according to expectations: Democrats retook the House of Representatives, Republicans kept (and grew) their control of the Senate, and a variety of governor’s races went a variety of ways. Back when I was a kid, the best source of information on a big slate of elections...
Posted: November 7, 2018, 7:27 pm
As a younger-generation American who wants to be informed about my local area, is there a good option to get local news that doesn’t involve reading a site that feels like its pop-ups are draped with cobwebs? Younger Americans are paying for news in greater numbers. Younger generations are better at telling fact from opinion,...
Posted: November 7, 2018, 4:01 pm
As much as we rag (mmm, rightfully!) on the major tech platforms for their algorithms getting “don’t amplify disinformation” wrong, YouTube as a platform occupies a very peculiar spot. Unlike its more social peers, YouTube isn’t primarily about making meaningful connections, snippets of snark, or perfected selfies. It’s closer to a pure consumption platform, at...
Posted: November 7, 2018, 3:00 pm
Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 184, published November 6, 2018. Good Tuesday, everyone. It’s midterm elections here in the United States, which means, naturally, I’m dedicating a good chunk of this newsletter to Canada. Anyway, if you’re an American reader, I hope you’ve already voted, or plan to. I...
Posted: November 6, 2018, 4:13 pm
Neil Chase knows the painful realities of managing and motivating a daily newsroom in 2018. “You can’t ask dedicated, veteran career journalists to completely change the way they work without explaining why,” the Mercury News executive editor said at a panel discussion I moderated at Stanford two weeks ago. (The panel’s fitting title? “The Last...
Posted: November 6, 2018, 3:43 pm
If Election 2018 has had a Word of the Year, it might be “bothsidesism,” a second cousin to “whataboutism” and au courant rhetorical weapon against those who treat two disparate phenomena as being of comparable importance. (Broadly speaking, whataboutism is a disease native to cable news pundits, while bothsidesism primarily infects newspaper writers.) But Election...
Posted: November 6, 2018, 1:00 pm
This election might have less misinformation than 2016’s race, but “Christine Blasey Ford — proudly posing with Soros” and “We’re making a Woman’s Vote Worth more by staying home” are still out there. The New York Times’ Kevin Roose (and other reporters and editors) sifted through more than 4,000 examples of misinformation on social media,...
Posted: November 5, 2018, 4:59 pm
The first time the National Observer tried to raise money on Kickstarter, they couldn’t get the framing quite right. The Canadian investigative news outlet reached out to Kickstarter’s team for guidance. A few tweaks here and there and things were off and running: The National Observer has since raised $204,842 Canadian ($155,884 USD) for reporting...
Posted: November 5, 2018, 4:06 pm
A newsy photo of a public figure shows up on your social media feed, with a clickbait-y headline and a provocative comment, all linking to a site with juicy political content. Did you share it? Somebody did. It wasn’t a paid ad, or even recommended-for-you content — it was shared by someone you know. The...
Posted: November 5, 2018, 2:43 pm
Newsrooms: When you let your readers attack your reporters in the comments — U R SO BIAS YOU STUPID LIBTARD #FAKENEWS — does it impact your journalists’ credibility in the eyes of other readers? How about your organization’s credibility? Yep and yep. But at least it’s not worse for your female journalists than for your...
Posted: November 2, 2018, 3:08 pm
Halloween is over so you know it’s time for sleigh bells — and Santa’s bringing matched funding for your favorite nonprofit newsroom. NewsMatch, an initiative from the Institute for Nonprofit News and the News Revenue Hub, officially opened for donations this week for its third year. More than 150 nonprofit journalism organizations that have signed...
Posted: November 2, 2018, 3:07 pm
“Extreme users,” disinformation version. Mandy Jenkins, a 2019 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and the former editor-in-chief of Storyful, will soon be setting out to do in-person interviews with consumers of disinformation across the U.S., to investigate what newsrooms can learn from them. She wrote in a recent post: Right now, I am...
Posted: November 2, 2018, 1:41 pm
The Failing New York Times released its third-quarter numbers this morning and, well, if the rest of the news industry was doing this well, we could shut down Nieman Lab and grab some worry-free beach time in warmer climes. Its ongoing transition from print to digital revenue has been managed without the staffing disruption just...
Posted: November 1, 2018, 5:00 pm