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.


Colorado Shooting-Batman Mythology

21st Century Fox gets back into the newspaper business

Good morning. Here are 10-ish media stories.

  1. Another tough year for newspapers? Gannett’s earnings report showed weak national advertising and “just how unequal the local broadcast and local newspaper businesses have become.” Circulation “is a relative bright spot, though overall it was down slightly.” (Poynter) | A “a well-programmed computer could have done better” than I did in yesterday’s morning roundup, Alan D. Mutter writes. The post highlighted the report’s statement that circulation revenue increased at local papers. “[I]n his haste to crank out a story, the author evidently relied on the bafflegab in Gannett’s press release, instead of looking at the several pages of detailed financial tables appended to it.” (Reflections of a Newsosaur)
  2. Alan Murray leaves Pew to edit Fortune: Pew “will promptly begin a search for the new president” of Pew Research Center.
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Newspaper tries to keep publishing in fire-pounded region

The Wenatchee World | Methow Valley News (Facebook)

While Washington state’s Methow Valley is being ravaged by wildfires, the Methow Valley News is trying to keep publishing. That’s complicated, because its working from a region where few have electricity.

Publisher Don Nelson obtained a generator after his partner, Poynter Editing Fellow Jacqui Banaszynski, put out a call on Facebook and Twitter. Two former coworkers arranged to get him one, Banaszynski writes in an email.

Now, “Reporters have been out gathering stories with pen and paper and bringing or phoning them in so office staff can type them in on a cell phone with Internet service to get stories on the paper’s Facebook page,” Rick Steigmeyer reports in The Wenatchee World. … Read more

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Alan Murray: Fortune ‘feels like a calling’

Murray in 2008, when he was an executive editor of The Wall Street Journal. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In a memo to Pew Research Center staffers this morning, President Alan Murray said he hadn’t pursued the job of Fortune editor. He was named to the post this morning.

The magazine was “one of only two places I applied to work after finishing my graduate degree,” he writes, saying the opportunity to go there “feels like a calling, and it is one I find impossible to resist.”

Pew “will promptly begin a search for the new president” of the research center, Pew Charitable Trusts President and CEO Rebecca Rimel told Poynter this morning. Jim McMillan will act as president during the search, Murray writes.

Memo:… Read more

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Pew’s Alan Murray will edit Fortune

Alan Murray will leave his post as the president of the Pew Research Center to become the new editor of Fortune, Fortune announced Tuesday. Current Fortune Editor Andy Serwer “is leaving Time Inc.,” the release says. Murray left The Wall Street Journal to run Pew in 2012.

Pew “will promptly begin a search for the new president” of the research center, Pew Charitable Trusts President and CEO Rebecca Rimel tells Poynter in a statement. (Here’s Murray’s note to Pew staffers.)

Murray’s “experience at The Wall Street Journal gave him a keen understanding of evolving media trends, and he also brought to the job a high level of enthusiasm and appreciation for the unique attributes of the Center,” Rimel says. “His work over the last year and a half has positioned the Center well for the future.… Read more

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Earns Gannett

Circulation revenue rises at Gannett’s local papers

Good morning. Here are 10 (OK, perhaps slightly more than 10) media stories.

  1. Gannett had a good second quarter: Broadcast revenue was “almost 88 percent higher in the quarter compared to the second quarter last year.” Publishing advertising revenue fell about 5 percent; circulation was roughly flat, and “At local domestic publishing sites, home delivery circulation revenue was up in the quarter due, in part, to strategic pricing actions associated with enhanced content.” (Gannett)
  2. Washington Post fights the “wonk wars”: The Washington Post’s new “Storyline” project is “dedicated to the power of stories to help us understand complicated, critical things,” Editor Jim Tankersley writes. (The Washington Post) | Michael Calderone takes a look: “It’s unlikely The Post would’ve launched a project like Storyline a few years ago.” (HuffPost) | Tankersley writes that as a college student he was inspired by Richard Read‘s 1998 series about french fries: “Those stories brought the crisis home in a way no textbook or straight news piece could, because at each step, they showed how global trends touched people’s lives and livelihoods.” (The Oregonian)
  3. Why corrupt politicians should avoid Vermont: Vermont has the best-covered legislature in the country, and California has the worst, Pew finds.
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FoxNews.com falls, USAToday.com rises in consumer satisfaction survey

American Customer Satisfaction Index

Fox News’ website dropped 7 percent in American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual survey of consumer satisfaction, while USA Today’s rose by 4 percent.

It’s the first time in five years that “FOXNews.com users are no longer the most satisfied readers of Internet news,” ACSI’s report, released Tuesday, says.

Reader satisfaction fell for most of the media organizations ACSI surveyed, but “all others” did better: Their aggregate score was up 7 percent. That category includes NPR and BBC, an ACSI spokesperson tells Poynter.

CNN and The Huffington Post share for the lowest satisfaction score, but HuffPost recorded its “first-ever improvement in user satisfaction,” a press release for the report says.

Related: Internet news: Slightly more satisfying than the post officeRead more

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White House criticizes Washington Post’s use of anonymous sources

In a briefing Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest criticized a Washington Post story for relying on anonymous sources. According to a transcript of the briefing, McClatchy reporter Anita Kumar pushed back at Earnest, noting that the Post didn’t have anyone at the briefing to defend the story.

“I noticed that, too,” Earnest said.

Earnest later allowed that there were people on the record in the story, which says White House aides knew a year ago that a crisis was developing on the U.S.-Mexico border, but they instead “focused much of their attention on political battles, such as Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and the push to win congressional support for a broad immigration overhaul, that would have been made more difficult with the addition of a high-profile border crisis.”

“[Y]ou criticize anonymous sources, but we have anonymous sources from you all every day,” Kumar said.… Read more

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‘Weird Al’ trains his sights on business jargon

The Wall Street Journal

First he took on people who misuse language in “Word Crimes.” Now, “Weird Al” Yankovic wants to draw attention to how businesspeople abuse the English language.

“Mission Statement” is the final video in Yankovic’s “#8videos8days” project, and he chose The Wall Street Journal for its premiere.

“I wanted to do a song about all the ridiculous double-speak and meaningless buzzwords that I’ve been hearing in office environments my entire life,” Yankovic told Eric R. Danton.

The song, set to Crosby, Stills & Nash’s Suite: “Judy Blue Eyes,” pays particular homage to the word “synergy.” That’s appropriate, because Poynter’s attempt to leverage its brand with regard to this video was thwarted by an apparent “Weird Al”/WSJ synergy: The video proved impossible to embed.… Read more

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C-3PO, R2-D2

AP’s robot-written stories have arrived

AP earnings-report stories written with automation technology have begun to appear. Earnings reports for Hasbro Inc., Honeywell International Inc. and GE, among others, bear the legend “This story was generated automatically by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research.”

AP announced at the end of June that it would start using the technology to produce significantly more earnings report stories.

Reached by phone, AP Managing Editor Lou Ferrara said the stories began to appear around the middle of July, and all the ones you’re seeing right now have been checked by human eyes, as was the plan. “The tap isn’t fully open yet,” he said. Some stories were published just as Automated Insights filed them, others have had a few “bugs here and there,” Ferrara said.… Read more

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Nelson Mandela

The New Yorker still fact-checks more than you do

Good morning. Here are 10 (or so) media stories.

  1. What happened between NBC News and Ayman Mohyeldin? NBC News said Friday it would return the reporter to Gaza. (HuffPost) | The clumsy move was less a conspiracy than a “news division making mistakes through ratings nervousness.” (CNN) | Here’s a Mohyeldin report from this morning. (NBC News)
  2. The new NewYorker.com launches: “The Web site already publishes fifteen original stories a day. We are promising more, as well as an even greater responsiveness to what is going on in the world.” (The New Yorker) | The publication assigns one fact-checker to its website: “And not to be defensive, but that’s one more fact-checker than probably anyone else has,” Editor David Remnick says.
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