Andrew Beaujon

Andrew Beaujon reports on the media for Poynter Online. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture. He lives in Alexandria, Va., with his family. His email is abeaujon@poynter.org, his phone number is 703-594-1103, and he tweets @abeaujon.


Denver Post strengthens sponsored content designation on energy section

Center for Western Priorities | ThinkProgress | Wonkette
Following articles that said a Denver Post-sponsored energy section wasn't marked clearly enough, Post President and CEO Mac Tully told Poynter in an email the paper decided to "strengthen the sponsored content designation and included a definition of custom content." Tully said he hadn't "seen one complaint that misunderstood the content to be Denver Post generated."

The change comes after reports in several publications about the "Energy and Environment" section, which is sponsored content from Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, a group formed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy "to provide scientifically sound information about fracking."

The section looks too much like regular Denver Post content, Erin Moriarty writes for the Center for Western Priorities: "Advertising is, of course, crucial to newspapers’ existence, but there is a line that has been crossed."

A "former Denver Post staffer who asked not to be named" told ThinkProgress' Katie Valentine, “If I weren’t a journalist, I’m not sure I could tell the difference here.”

(As long as we're discussing the Post's decisions, why on earth did ThinkProgress let a former employee zing his former employer under cover of anonymity? "​​The source was concerned about the impact of commenting publicly on his current employment," TP Editor-in-Chief Judd Legum told Poynter in an email. "We wanted to try to get various perspectives in the piece and thought it was valuable to include." Here's more of me spouting off about anonymity.)

Tully said the paper's "goal is to be just as clear online as we have been in the print editions by clearly designating the custom content as advertiser sponsored. We feel that's the key to maintaining the separation of news and paid content."

In a funny post about the section, Wonkette's Doktor Zoom made a discovery about the section: "If you have Adblock Plus turned on, everything but 'The Denver Post: Energy and Environment' is blocked out."
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Whoopi Goldberg launches column for Denver Post pot site

The Cannabist | Digital First Media
Goldberg at the 2008 Tony Awards (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Whoopi Goldberg loves her vape pen: "her ability to help me live comfortably with glaucoma makes her one of the more important figures in my day to day," the actor and TV host writes in The Cannabist, the Denver Post's weed-focused breakout site. "What kind of kush is in my vape pen at the moment?" she writes. "The indica-dominant Platinum OG, of course." Goldberg will write a column about every two months, Post owner Digital First Media says in a press release. In the release, Cannabist Editor Ricardo Baca says he and Goldberg "instantly connected" when he appeared on "The View." Goldberg's "curiosity and desire to discuss the issues surrounding America’s ever-changing marijuana laws immediately reminded me of my colleagues back in Denver,” Baca says.

Baca on Monday teased a new celebrity columnist. Goldberg was among nine other "possible candidates" he wrote might be a good fit, including Michelle Malkin, Miley Cyrus and Sanjay Gupta.
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Michael Wolff no longer writes for the Guardian

Capital | CJR
The Guardian has discontinued Michael Wolff's media column, Joe Pompeo reports.
"It has been a longstanding and productive relationship for which we are grateful," a Guardian U.S. spokesperson told Capital in a statement. "It's always been interesting, never dull and more often exciting. We wish him the best of luck."

Asked if there was any specific reason for the split, the spokesperson would only say: "It's time to go our separate ways."
Wolff's hasn't written for The Guardian since late March. Last week, CJR's Ryan Chittum wrote about Wolff's columns, noting he is the founder of Newser, a news aggregator that competes with some of the companies he covers. Wolff also writes a column about media for USA Today.

The Guardian didn't answer Chittum's queries about Wolff, but USA Today Editor-in-Chief David Callaway did: “I’ll discuss with him and his editor," Callaway wrote. "We’re happy to disclose all relationships that might appear to cause conflict."

Related: No one predicts failure like Michael Wolff
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New Star Tribune owner: Paper will be less liberal when current reporters retire

MinnPost
In an interview with MinnPost's Britt Robson, new (Minneapolis) Star Tribune owner Glen Taylor said the paper's reputation as a liberal outlet will change whether he owns it or not. That said: "Will it change because of the ownership of Glen Taylor? Yeah. To say it won’t wouldn’t be accurate," Taylor says, continuing:
But it isn’t like Glen Taylor is going to come in there on day one and say, “I’m going to fire people” and do all sorts of things. I am going to say — and I have already told them this — that first of all it has got to be fair and it has got to be accurate.
Taylor says he detects "a little bit more of a balance" among new reporters. "But I think traditionally, some of the reporters that have been hired and they have been there for a long time, I don’t know how you are ever going to change those people and what they write, but through time itself, some of those people will retire."

He says he envisions a bifurcated system in the future: "My thought is that you are more likely to find two different reporters, one not seeing it from one side and the other not seeing it from the other side, and both of them reporting."
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The Supreme Court Building is seen, Thursday, March 5, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

SCOTUSblog will appeal Senate’s denial of press pass

SCOTUSblog
The U.S. Senate Press Gallery denied SCOTUSblog's request for a press pass last week. "We were disappointed in that decision," SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein writes in a blog post. The publication plans to appeal:
We do not have a written list of the reasons for the denial, which makes the process more difficult. Our impression is also that the appeal may go to the same group that denied the application in the first place. If the appeal is denied, then we expect to litigate the issue. We’re now coordinating all those efforts with other groups that kindly have offered to support us.
A Senate Press Gallery credential is usually a prerequisite for a Supreme Court press pass, which SCOTUSblog still, somewhat inexplicably, lacks. The Senate granted the publication a press pass last April. "We then presented that credential to the Supreme Court, thinking that the issue was resolved," Goldstein writes, but the court declined to recognize it. “We are in the process of reviewing our credentialing procedures and are not issuing new credentials until that process is complete,” court public information officer Kathleen Arberg told Poynter last fall.

A reporter snapped this photo on the wall of the Supreme Court press room last October; it shows who has permanent credentials (click to view bigger). (more...)
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Kushner: ‘Only in the newspaper business’ would L.A. Register’s launch draw criticism

Los Angeles Register | LA Observed | Associated Press | Reuters
The Los Angeles Register launches Wednesday. Owners Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz "are hand-delivering copies of the newspaper on Wednesday to business and civic leaders across Los Angeles," the paper says in a press release.

Wednesday's L.A. Register (photograph by Sandee Oshiro)
The paper promises heavy local coverage and opinion columnists who "will bring a right-of-center perspective and engage in civil debate," as well as "more than a dozen new community editions," the release says. Some of the staff moving north from the Register's homebase in Orange County, where Kushner publishes the Orange County Register, include sports columnist T.J. Simers; food writers Brad A. Johnson, Nancy Luna and Cathy Thomas; and film critic Michael Sragow. (more...)
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Don’t post your passwords in Washington Post comments section

The Washington Post
"I couldn't give a flying fig about the Heartbleed thingamajig," a commenter posted on a Brian Fung story in The Washington Post. He posted his passwords and welcomed others to:
read all the eMail I have. Sneak into my WaPo, NYT or CNN accounts and go crazy making comments in my name. Break-into my Facebook or Twitter profiles and change my hometown to Gas City Indiana, swap-out my avatar with a picture of your nads, make friends with people I don't know.
Guess what happened next.

"It's possible that this is a hoax," Fung allows. (Fung couldn't get in touch with the person, and he tells Poynter in an email that the Post removed his comment.) "But the lesson is no less valid: Share your credentials online, and you won't have to worry about getting hacked — you'll have done all the hard work for the criminals."
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This person has it worse than you. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Newspaper reporter: Now better than being a lumberjack

CareerCast | The Wall Street Journal
CareerCast's annual report of the "Top 200 Jobs of 2014" has "newspaper reporter" at No. 199 -- one slot better than lumberjack, which beat it last year. Some of the jobs better than newspaper reporter, per CareerCast: enlisted military personnel (198), butcher (179), actor (151), security guard (134). "Publication editor" comes in at 139 (I've known some who would have made great butchers) and photojournalist comes in at 186, just below welder and just above police officer.

This person has it worse than you. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)


In its blurb about newspaper reporting, CareerCast says it's a "job that has lost its luster dramatically over the past five years is expected to plummet even further by 2022 as more and more print publications abandon operations." It even found someone at the nexus of journalism and logging: Eric Johnson, the executive editor of Northern Logger magazine. “The two industries have changed dramatically since I started,” Johnson said.

Writing about last year's report, Will Oremus noted it "ignores intangibles like autonomy, excitement, or fulfillment."
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Nate Silver: Pulitzer-winning newspapers aren’t immune to circulation losses

FiveThirtyEight
A newspaper's Pulitzer Prize count has very little effect on its circulation losses, Nate Silver found after a spin through some data:
Does that mean that newspapers might as well forget about quality as an economic strategy? That’s not what this data says. There is a relationship between Pulitzer Prizes and circulation (the correlation is .53 among the 50 newspapers listed here). It’s just that this relationship hasn’t changed much from 10 years ago. The vast majority of newspapers have seen their circulations decline; the ones that win a lot of Pulitzers have suffered about as much as the ones that don’t. You could spin this result as a negative for high-quality journalism — newspapers that win Pulitzers are doing no better at retaining their readers — or as a positive — almost all newspapers are struggling, but the ones that win Pulitzers continue to have more readers.
Silver looked at daily circulation figures, which led to some strangeness: The Times-Picayune dropped 100 percent by his count, for example, because it no longer publishes daily.

Increasingly, though, it's nearly impossible to wrest any meaning from the circulation figures publishers report to the Alliance for Audited Media. The data are, as Silver might say, very, very noisy.

Some papers count average daily circulation as Monday through Friday. Some do Monday through Saturday. Others, like the Times-Picayune, break out circulation data by individual day. At any rate, Sunday is "by far the most valuable audience for advertisers," Rick Edmonds wrote in 2012.

Here's what I wrote last October about circulation in Louisiana in September 2013: (more...)
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Eli Saslow thanks his sources for their ‘huge act of courage’

The Washington Post
Speaking to The Washington Post newsroom after he won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting Monday, reporter Eli Saslow said that a friend had told him, "Oh Pulitzer Prize winner, now I know the first three words of your obituary."

Saslow saluted colleagues, editors and the Post itself. Referring to former owner Don Graham, Saslow said he's excited about its new ownership but is "so, so grateful that if I was ever going to get lucky enough to win one of these things that some of the stories were published when it was Don's paper." Saslow also talked about the people "I owe the most to": His sources.
They're the ones who take the huge risk. It's a huge act of courage to have somebody call, who you don't know, from out of town, and say that they want to come be with you constantly in sort of, you know, every corner of your life in this moment where things are usually not going well and there's a lot at stake. That's an incredible thing to ask of people, and yet they say yes, and I wonder a lot about that because I'm not sure I'd be the person who said yes. And I think it's because people are so -- they really crave to be understood and they want to know that what they're dealing with matters. And I think our journalism should validate that and it should take good care of the trust they're giving us to come into their lives.
He likened the prize to the experience of having a nice sandwich after reporting on a family without food security.

"In some ways this moment is a little bit like eating a sandwich," he said. "It's like, it's great. It feels really, really good. I hope some of the attention goes to the people who are letting us into their lives." Related: Saslow's author page at the Post.
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