CNBC’s baby bulletin
- New face at Facebook
Maybe it was subconsciously adverse effects of my half pastrami sandwich and chicken noodle soup for lunch. But I was engrossed by my meal and a CNBC mid-afternoon discussion of oil prices. Then, bingo, with requisite anchor solemnity, host Kelly Evans (who's sharp) announced we were going to the Bulletin Desk, or Breaking News Desk, or somewhere for Important News. We then learned that Mark Zuckerberg and wife just had a baby and, maybe more important to CNBC, were donating most of their $45 billion in Facebook stock (Bloomberg News says it's $46 billion, in case you're counting) to charity via a new family foundation. This was revealed in their very public "A letter to our daughter" on Facebook. (Facebook) This prototypical act of millennial self-regard left me wondering if the couple will also offer us a live-streaming nanny cam when they're not at home. The ensuing right turn of the CNBC discussion included broaching tax implications of the move and how this donation was going to actually be made over many years.
It also included a subtle frowning upon whether a nonprofit can really efficiently handle all that dough. Tsk, tsk. It's too bad the financial discussants didn't think of linking the previous topic and the baby bulletin. They could have suggested that the couple maybe give the $45 billion to the ExxonMobil Foundation, instead. Perhaps that's a philanthropy with which the free marketers would feel more confident.
- Yahoo mulling the once un-mullable
The Wall Street Journal broke the tale succinctly: "Yahoo Inc.'s board is planning a series of meetings this week to consider selling off the company's flagging Internet businesses and how to make the most of its valuable stake in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Holding Group Ltd." That stake is worth about $30 billion. (The Wall Street Journal) Whatever happens, this does not appear to be a vote of confidence in the tenure of Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer, especially amid the exodus of many top executives.
- Huffington workers at the union barricades
Despite their likely Manhattan-bred self-images as hip young sophisticates, does any editorial employee at Huffington Post know verses to "Solidarity Forever?" Well, a majority apparently at least hopes a union will make them strong. The Writers Guild of America, East said an "overwhelming majority" of 350 editorial employees have signed up with it and asked Arianna Huffington for voluntary recognition. That would mean no hassles with a formal election to certify the union as their collective bargaining agent. This follows a boomlet of union organizing in the digital "space," as they say. Workers at Gawker Media, Salon, VICE, Al Jazeera America and Guardian U.S. have cast their lots with a union, with only Gawker Media actually involved right now in trying to bargain a first contract. (Poynter) Even among new media, old workplace questions of management fairness, compensation and diversity, among others, are surfacing.
- Geraldo Rivera snubbed
The most famous graduate of the Mick Jagger School of Journalism tweeted a gratuitous pout about not being called on to ask a question at President Obama's presser during the climate change conference. (@GeraldoRivera) Obama "just concluded lame presser. Highlight? #climatechange is fixable. Didn't let me ask re Turks buying ISIS oil." Meanwhile, he's sulking about the apparent demise of his radio show and claiming that Cumulus Media is reneging on his deal. (Adweek) Could it be they think his show is lame?
- Why do politicians get away with lying?
And what's the media's role? A bunch of folks were asked by CNN, including yours truly. (CNN) Is this anything new? Do politicians actually lie less than in the past? Do our personal feelings toward somebody simply overwhelm the facts?
- Does the future of polling depend on Trump?
FiveThirtyEight, a sports and politics-driven site for data lovers, takes up a hot (even redundant) topic this election cycle, namely the seemingly declining quality of polling, including those beloved and even produced by the media. In particular, it looks at the unceasing variance between online polls and live-interview polls. Trump is doing better in the former but, Harry Enten argues, live-interview ones are much scientifically preferable. So Trump shouldn't actually fare as well in any real vote as is now suggested. Alas, "He has already lasted much longer than a lot of people (including me) thought he would. It wouldn't be shocking to see him break the old rules when it comes to polling as well." (FiveThirtyEight)
- A Chicago police chief canned
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's belated decision (after all, he couldn't fire himself) led the network newscasts last evening. (CBS News) It comes amid what Chicago-based journalist-author Alex Kotlowitz yesterday tagged "a confluence of events amounting to the perfect storm of questions surrounding police accountability." (The New Yorker) Now let's see how many of the same networks will spend any time reporting on the godawful underlying conditions that the ousted Garry McCarthy and his troops had to oversee. One can stipulate to the outrage of a cop gunning down a teenager. It's not as easy to delve into how big-city cops have been tasked to play not just law enforcers but to serve as surrogate social workers and amateur mental health specialists because society won't take on the same responsibilities. In Chicago, add that reality to the stunning poverty and segregation of some neighborhoods and you have a very complex challenge and story that's not as tidy as a quick hit on a tardy and expedient personnel announcement.
- Post-NYT digital faceoff
Chris Cillizza, a Washington Post reporter, wades into his paper's claim of being the new "paper of record," given how it lured more online visitors (66.9 million) than The New York Times (65.8 million) in October. It's worth a look, even if he is a loyal employee in chiding reflexive Times defenders who scoff at the Post for mixing traditional, serious journalism with stuff that's, well, of a different and more populist online sort. He concludes by underscoring the obvious, namely that the industry's business model is busted and, thus, "the rapid growth of the Post's audience is something that should be congratulated and studied, not sneered at." (The Washington Post)
- Don't hold your breath
Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize winner who is the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted that the U.S. (meaning her) will serve as president of the UN Security Council this month. "Busy agenda ahead on counterterrorism & pressing crises in Syria, Yemen, more." Now let's see how much press attention any of that gets since the UN remains a coverage wasteland for most American media, even if it's just a 10-buck cab ride for most New York-based folks. Too bad. She may have to hope Donald Trump shows an interest and drags us along. (@AmbassadorPower)
- 'Augmented reality' for the family room
Remember that little cardboard box The New York Times sent Sunday subscribers a few weeks ago for its virtual reality gambit? Compare that to this: "Amazon.com Inc. is trying to lower the cost of augmented reality to bring a technology normally associated with futuristic military training and video-game conventions to living rooms." (Bloomberg) Amazon has received patents for technologies that "would project a digital world into someone's room and let them navigate it by moving their bodies, or using some form of camera or headset to interact with it using virtual reality." Yes, it would let us control devices via hand gestures "monitored by cameras recognizing different parts of the hand." Yikes. Where's my old, comforting Smith-Corona electric typewriter when I need it?
- Leonard Pitts a winner
Leonard Pitts Jr., a Maryland-based Miami Herald writer, will receive the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ 2016 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award. His reaction? "Lifetime achievement award? Damn, I must be older than I thought I was." He's a tyke at 58. (Society)
- Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare
Today's front page of the day comes from The Grand Rapids Press, which led Wednesday with a feature on Rosa Parks and her "mark on Michigan." (Courtesy the Newseum)
- Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
Whitson Gordon will be editor in chief at How-To Geek. Previously, he was editor in chief of Lifehacker. (@WhitsonGordon) | Zazie Lucke is now head of brand solutions at Upworthy. Previously, she was global head of marketing at Bloomberg Media. (Upworthy) | Andy McCullough will cover the Dodgers for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, he covered the Royals for the Kansas City Star. (Email) | Job of the day: Lifehacker is looking for an editor in chief. Get your resumes in! (Lifehacker) | Send Ben your job moves: firstname.lastname@example.org.