Andrew Beaujon

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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.


USA Today gets a lot of traffic from Google News

Adam Sherk | Gigaom

USA Today received more than a hundred million visits from Google News between January and November of this year, Adam Sherk mhelpdesk
reports. That’s almost a third of all news search traffic to the site, he figures.

Here’s his Top 10:

sherk-google-news

I’ve asked publishers in the Top 5 if they have any strategy for getting their stuff into Google News. “The only strategy is being on top of breaking news,” USA Today spokesperson Steve Kidera said. The New York Times said it wasn’t ready to discuss whether it had a Google News strategy. It’s “organic traffic,” Reuters spokesperson Heather Carpenter said. I’ll add others’ comments when I get them.

Anecdotally, Poynter has seen really good traffic when, for whatever reason, one of our posts got snagged in Google News’ net. Read more

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Guy Vidra: ‘change does not mean discarding your principles’

The New Republic

In a letter to New Republic readers, CEO Guy Vidra talks about his vision for the publication. Vidra and New Republic owner Chris Hughes removed Franklin Foer as editor of the publication last week, and many staffers resigned in protest.

Before a press tour Monday, Vidra and Hughes had mostly expressed their plan for the publication with jargon like “vertically integrated digital media company.”

In his post, Vidra notes he “started my career in journalism” and says “I firmly believe that those who say that this publication was only ever meant to reach a small audience are wrong.” He praises the magazine’s past accomplishments, including its “an unparalleled back of the book,” and promises to provide “depth.”

But: “we will begin to tell our stories more effectively in other ways,” he writes. Read more

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Glenn Greenwald will live-blog the torture report

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. U.S. Senate will release torture report today

    Glenn Greenwald will live-blog. (The Intercept) | Former intelligence machers launch a website to respond to criticism. (Foreign Policy)

  2. Chris and Guy's press tour

    New Republic owner Chris Hughes and CEO Guy Vidra went on a press blitz Monday. Vidra told me remaining staffers at the in-turmoil publication were enthusiastic about its new direction after a Q&A on Friday. (Poynter) | He told Joe Nocera Vox was something like what he wanted to build under the New Republic brand. Nocera then gets browsing. "After we spoke, I went to the Vox website. I scrolled down until I saw a headline that stopped me cold. 'Everybody farts,' it read.

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TNR doesn’t want to be BuzzFeed. But maybe Vox

The first thing I asked New Republic CEO Guy Vidra to do was to explain his vision for the company in plain English. “It is unfortunate that our vision for the company has not been articulated clearly enough, and I take full responsibility,” he said.

He also says it “is just not right” that he was looking to boot New Republic Editor Franklin Foer from the moment he started at the company. Foer lost his job last week in a messy coup followed by many staffers resigning from the company.

His plan? “We need to succeed in digital,” Vidra said. “What that means in reality is to take technology, to take experimentation in digital, and to leverage all of that in the service of great journalism.”

That could take the form of expanded presentations of longform stories, for instance. Read more

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Rolling Stone’s lawyers were OK with UVA rape story

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. How Rolling Stone blew the UVA rape story

    Managing Editor Will Dana says "he, other editors and fact-checkers felt that Jackie was credible, and the magazine’s lawyers had no problems with it, so the magazine ran it." (NYT) | The magazine amended its original apology to take blame for the mistakes it originally attributed to its source, Jackie. Compare the notes. (Diff Checker) | Erik Wemple: "Fire the Rolling Stone editors who worked on this story." (WP) | Matt Taibbi: "People also need to understand that the mistake here did not involve the fact-checking department." (@mtaibbi) | Rolling Stone succumbed to confirmation bias, Judith Shulevitz argues: "Erdely and her editors were all in the grip of a myth.

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Rolling Stone says its trust in source for UVA story ‘was misplaced’

Rolling Stone | The Washington Post

Rolling Stone says “there now appear to be discrepancies” in the account of a rape at the center of its blockbuster story about rapes at the University of Virginia.

The magazine has “come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” Managing Editor Will Dana writes. “We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account.”

Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house  at the University of Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The piece’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not contact the men that main character Jackie said raped her. “I’m satisfied that these guys exist and are real,” Sean Woods, who edited the story, told Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi. Read more

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USA Today kills weekend magazine

Dec. 28 will be the last issue of USA Weekend, USA Today President and Publisher Larry Kramer tells employees. (Memo below.)

Gannett, which owns USA Today, began distributing a “butterfly edition” of USA Today to its local papers in 2013. Reader research led USA Today to conclude the weekend product “provides our readers and affiliates with a superior product,” Kramer writes, and with the closure, “many of you will say farewell to great colleagues.”

Here’s Gannett’s statement:

USA WEEKEND Magazine will end publication effective December 28. Over the past year, USA TODAY has developed a weekend Life product for local publications, which has been well received by millions of readers nationwide due to its timely entertainment and lifestyle news coverage. We look forward to offering our existing USA WEEKEND affiliates the opportunity to bring this exciting product to their readers.​

Kramer’s note to staff:

Dear Colleagues:

After careful consideration, we have decided to close USA WEEKEND Magazine.

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‘Dark social’ is mostly Facebook

Good morning. The weekend awaits. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. “Dark social” = Facebook

    For years, publishers couldn't identify the source of a hunk of their traffic. Chartbeat this week "flipped a switch on its real-time dashboard to place that traffic in its proper bucket"; “We saw mobile Facebook traffic increase by about 40% on sites with big Facebook presences,” its chief data scientist, Josh Schwartz, said. (Marketing Land) | "The only question is how much Facebook traffic you’re not counting," Alexis Madrigal writes. (Fusion) | "Dark social comprises only a small percent of overall desktop traffic, but commands a fairly significant chunk of mobile traffic." (Chartbeat) | "That kind of dependence on a single site raises all kinds of issues." (Gigaom)

  2. J-school student arrested in NYC Garner protests

    City University of New York grad student Desiree Mathurin reported on a protest at the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday night and got popped with 82 others.

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Washington Post reporter’s recorder fails at a really bad time

The Washington Post

Joe Heim’s first question to Valerie Jarrett in a Q&A describes a reporter’s nightmare: “What do you think of a reporter who interviews you for 25 minutes, then later finds out his recorder stopped working and asks you to do the interview again?”

Heim, an assignment editor for The Washington Post’s Sunday magazine, told Poynter in a phone call he did the interview a few weeks ago in the Old Executive Office Building. He used his iPhone’s Voice Memos app to record the interview, as he’s done for previous Q&As. He’s not sure why the phone stopped recording; the only thing he suspects is that some sort of alert interrupted his record of the interview.

Check it out, Jarrett uses two phones. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Check it out, Jarrett uses two phones. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

After the interview, Jarrett left with her spokesperson, Rachel Racusen, and Heim looked at his phone, which indicated he’d recorded two minutes and two seconds of the interview. Read more

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Franklin Foer leaves The New Republic

New Republic Editor Franklin Foer told staffers in an email Thursday that he is leaving the publication. Gabriel Snyder will be the new editor, New Republic CEO Guy Vidra tells staffers in a memo. (An earlier version of this post said the publication would move to New York. Please see correction below.) It will also cut print frequency. His memo follows, too.

Snyder “reflects the ‘straddle generation’ of journalists and editors who remain deeply rooted in the qualities of traditional journalism…but also understands what it takes to create content that will travel across all platforms,” Vidra writes. The publication will be reimagined as a “vertically integrated digital media company,” and “we will also be making some changes to staff structure.”

Given this digital focus, it shouldn’t be a problem that Ryan Lizza asked to be taken off the masthead via Twitter. Read more

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