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.


Medical Marijuana Kids

NYT will take pot questions at 4:20 today

Good morning. Here are 10 or so media stories.

  1. BuzzFeed fired Benny Johnson for plagiarism: “After carefully reviewing more than 500 of Benny’s posts, we have found 41 instances of sentences or phrases copied word for word from other sites,” BuzzFeed EIC Ben Smith wrote Friday night. (BuzzFeed) | Smith’s memo to staffers. (@brianstelter) | Johnson’s lifts offend “not only readers but Web journos everywhere who fiddle to no end with their copy to guarantee originality, who link neurotically to eliminate any suggestion of misappropriation, who close and reopen and close and reopen their posts before publishing to re-inspect this little thing or that little thing, and who finally hit ‘publish’ with a plume of palm sweat.” (The Washington Post) | The 34 sources from which Johnson lifted.
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The Guardian runs an excerpt from Nick Davies’ forthcoming book “Hack Attack,” in which he discusses the practice of “monstering” among media properties owned by Ruper Murdoch: “a savage and prolonged public attack on a target’s life.”

The punishment was equally harsh for the American writer Michael Wolff. In March 2009 he found himself on the receiving end of a thorough monstering by the New York Post when he was working on a biography of Murdoch. By some unexplained means, the mogul’s people had laid hands on an unpublished typescript and started to send clear warnings that the boss was not happy with some its contents. Wolff recalls a senior executive calling to ask him to make changes before the book was published.

“What will you do if I don’t?” Wolff asked.

“Then we will not support the book.”

“How bad is that?”

“It could be bad.”

And it was bad. The New York Post discovered that Wolff had been having an affair, and ran stories on 2, 3, 6, 25 and 30 March, and 3 and 9 April, publishing along the way a secondary story that accused Wolff of evicting his mother-in-law from her apartment, as well as a cartoon of Wolff in bed with his lover, portraying the Jewish writer in a style which might reasonably be described as antisemitic.

Nick Davies, The Guardian

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BuzzFeed is reviewing Benny Johnson’s work

Our Bad Media

BuzzFeed is reviewing the work of viral politics editor Benny Johnson, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith tells Poynter.

Two Twitter users who go by @blippoblappo and @crushingbort have published what they call “more plagiarism” from Johnson, who Smith told Gawker’s J.K. Trotter is “one of the web’s deeply original writers.”

Some of what @blippoblappo and @crushingbort uncovered is patchwriting, but Smith says, “There are three serious instances of plagiarism in this post.” He told Poynter yesterday that he planned to keep Johnson on staff.… Read more

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Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.17.58 AM

The history of TMZ, FT’s mobile revenue rises

Good morning. Almost there! Here are 10 or so stories.

  1. The problem with making a graphic about diversity in top newsroom positions over the years: “there isn’t really any racial diversity at all,” Manjula Martin writes. “Any way you click it, of the 183 top editors of mainstream English-language media outlets [Vijith] Assar counted here, one is a black man. Nine are white women (and two of them are Tina Brown).” (Scratch)
  2. Digital subscriptions up 33 percent at FT: Total circulation (677,000 across platforms) is up 13 percent over the first half of last year, FT parent Pearson reports in its half-year results. Mobile “now generates almost 50% of total traffic and 20% of new digital subscriptions,” and mobile ad revenue was up 9 percent.
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BuzzFeed changes posts that swiped text

Gawker | Our Bad Media

BuzzFeed has updated and attached corrections to three articles by Benny Johnson that swiped passages from other sources, J.K. Trotter reports in Gawker. The notes (1, 2, 3) were added Thursday afternoon.

Two Twitter users with the names @blippoblappo and @crushingbort outlined examples of Johnson lifting text, in one case from a press release from U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson.

BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith told Trotter BuzzFeed was “grateful to @blippoblappo and @crushingbort” for alerting it to the lifted text and said Johnson, the publication’s viral politics editor, “is one of the web’s deeply original writers, as is clear from his body of work.”

Smith told Poynter that BuzzFeed plans to keep Johnson on.… Read more

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Quote approval isn’t necessary when White House insists on interview minders

The Washington Post | Politico | National Journal

The White House “may be the most diligent user of the chaperoned interview,” Paul Farhi writes in The Washington Post. Though many news organizations banned the practice of quote approval in 2012, the Obama administration makes diligent use of minders during interviews, which can accomplish a similar purpose.

“Let’s put it this way,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker told Farhi about the practice. “It’s not intended to increase candor.”

That’s assuming reporters can get near administration officials in the first place. The administration has kept the president unencumbered by reporters during two meetings with super PAC donors this week, and it limited coverage of an event in Washington Tuesday, Edward Isaac Dovere and Josh Gerstein report in Politico.… Read more

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Verge EIC Joshua Topolsky will join Bloomberg

The New York Times | The Verge | CJR

Joshua Topolsky will join Bloomberg “as the editor of a series of new online ventures it is launching as part of a revamped journalism strategy,” Ravi Somaiya reports in The New York Times.

Topolsky co-founded The Verge in 2011. Verge co-founder Nilay Patel left the publication in March to become acting managing editor of Vox.com, which, like The Verge, is published by Vox Media. Patel will become The Verge’s new top editor. Dieter Bohn will be its executive editor. “This is going to be rad,” Patel writes.

Topolsky’s move “is bucking the trend of young, web-native journalists leaving established media brands for smaller, more nimble startups,” Somaiya writes. The splashy hire comes on the same day as a CJR story that says Bloomberg News employees are becoming restless as they await the company’s reinvention under Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith.… Read more

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Ad revenue down at McClatchy

The McClatchy Co.

Advertising revenue was down 7 percent in the second quarter of 2014 at the McClatchy Co., which released earnings Thursday. “Audience” revenue, which is what McClatchy now calls circulation revenue, was up about 5 percent. Excluding revenue from McClatchy’s change to fee-for-service circulation delivery contracts at some newspapers, circulation revenue was down about 3 percent.

“Still, we continued to see growth in direct marketing and digital advertising revenues and together these two sources accounted for 43% of our total advertising revenue in the quarter,” McClatchy CEO Pat Talamantes said in a statement.

McClatchy’s results include $146 million it made by selling its share of Apartments.com and, “to a lesser extent,” its share in in McClatchy‑Tribune Information Services. Tribune bought out McClatchy’s share in MCT in May.… Read more

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Italy Monuments Man

MailOnline’s ad revenue soars, Clooney be damned

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Bloomberg News employees are getting restive: Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith‘s “broad goals still don’t add up to a rationale for the enterprise,” Dean Starkman writes. (CJR)
  2. Sorry, George Clooney: MailOnline’s second-quarter advertising revenue was up 49 percent over the same period in 2013. Digital advertising brought in £15m (about $25.5m), which “offset a £3m (5 per cent) fall in print advertising revenue from the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, which stood at £46m for the quarter.” (PressGazette) | The Daily Mail’s “great stories you may not have seen anywhere else” are often untrue or ripped off. (Craig Silverman) | More earnings: McClatchy’s Q2 earnings report is due today.
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AP sends clumsily worded tweet about MH17 victims, world reacts

No, the plane didn’t crash.

“This was an especially regrettable lapse that drew wide attention as Dutch families awaited the return of their loved ones’ remains,” AP spokesperson Paul Colford writes in a blog post.

I looked through the AP Stylebook for guidance on compound verbs (i.e., “crash-lands” as opposed to “crash lands”) and came up empty. I’d hyphenate that verb if that was the intended meaning, but the book advises “the fewer hyphens the better; use them only when not using them causes confusion.” It does advise against using “awkward constructions that split infinitive forms of a verb…or compound forms.”

A lot of Twitter hounds suggested a comma (e.g.Read more

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