Andrew Beaujon and Julie Moos


Vatican Pope

World welcomes Pope Francis on front pages

White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel a little after 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday, giving newspapers on the other side of the Atlantic plenty of time to prepare front pages trumpeting the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope. The 76-year-old from Buenos Aires is the first pontiff from South America, the first Jesuit, and the first to take the name Francis. || Previous front pages: Pope Benedict XVI elected | Pope John Paul II dies

An issue of Time with this commemorative cover will be on newsstands Friday.
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APTOPIX Northeast Snow

New York Times, Wall Street Journal drop paywalls for storm coverage

The New York Times will drop its paywall tonight to provide unlimited, free access as readers seek information about the massive winter storm hitting New York and the northeast.

“We’re planning to drop the meter at 6 tonight & re-evaluate the situation tomorrow evening,” said Vice President of Corporate Communications Eileen Murphy by email.

The Wall Street Journal is dropping its paywall as well, it says in an email:

Due to anticipated delivery disruptions because of the winter storm, The Wall Street Journal will be dropping its paywall beginning tonight at midnight through the weekend.

The Times plans to reinstate its paywall at 6 p.m. Saturday, Murphy said by email.

The WSJ and Times dropped their paywalls during Hurricane Sandy too. The Times remained free for five days due to the storm. Read more


Factcheck: NRA blames media for gun violence

At a Friday “press conference” (no questions were allowed), National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre provided the gun lobby’s explanation for the shooting deaths of 28 people a week ago today in Newtown, Conn. Among LaPierre’s culprits: the media. Here is a breakdown of ways the NRA says media causes gun violence, along with a factcheck.

Media inspires copycats:

The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?

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Some mistakes are a matter of life and death

Poynter’s annual roundup of the best (and worst) media mistakes did not include one major error: the premature reports that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had died.

Penn State student news website Onward State reported Paterno’s death at 8:45 p.m on Jan. 21, while he was still alive. That report was picked up by CBS Sports, Huffington Post, Breaking News and others, including Poynter. A family spokesperson denied the reports, and the accurate information began spreading. Paterno died the following day. The Managing Editor of Onward State resigned and the CBS Sports writer responsible for the report was fired.

Paterno’s death wasn’t the only one media got wrong this year. When filmmaker Tony Scott committed suicide, ABC News reported that he had brain cancer. Read more


Clark Kent quits The Daily Planet ‘to start the next Huffington Post or the next Drudge Report’

USA Today
In the new Superman, Clark Kent quits The Daily Planet “in front of the whole staff and rails on how journalism has given way to entertainment,” Brian Truitt writes in USA Today. Writer Scott Lobdell tells Truitt, “This is really what happens when a 27-year-old guy is behind a desk and he has to take instruction from a larger conglomerate with concerns that aren’t really his own.”

“I don’t think he’s going to be filling out an application anywhere,” the writer says. “He is more likely to start the next Huffington Post or the next Drudge Report than he is to go find someone else to get assignments or draw a paycheck from.”

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Obama, Romney tied in swing state newspaper endorsements

There are many reasons newspapers do not endorse candidates: The endorsements don’t sway many votes. Polls consistently show endorsements are not hugely influential outside of local races. And newspapers provide information on those races outside the editorial pages.

Don’t let anyone tell you how to mark your ballot,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth wrote in a 2004 non-endorsement of endorsements.

But there are arguments for the practice, too. They can help swing close races. As Concord (N.H.) Monitor Editor Felice Belman told Mallary Tenore in 2008, “Why wouldn’t we give readers the opportunity to tell them what we’ve learned?” To be sure, the U.S. political system grants papers in important primary states like New Hampshire close looks at presidential candidates many papers never get. Read more


Newsweek covers, we will miss writing about you

Newsweek has sparked conversation and controversy with a string of covers designed to boost sales. A selection appears below. BuzzFeed’s also got a great gallery of classic Newsweek covers.

Tina Brown’s first print edition featured Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the cover.
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Newsweek to reduce staff, eliminate print edition as it goes digital only in 2013

Newsweek will publish its final print edition December 31, the company announced Thursday morning. It will launch a subscription product called Newsweek Global, some of whose content will be available on the Daily Beast. A note from Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown lays out the change:

In our judgment, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format. This was not the case just two years ago. It will increasingly be the case in the years ahead.

Layoffs will accompany the move: “Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the U.S. and internationally,” Brown writes.

During an earnings call in July, IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller said Newsweek would announce a digital plan for the magazine this fall. Read more


Murdoch (again) reportedly interested in L.A. Times

The Wall Street Journal
News Corp.’s publishing business may “pursue acquisitions of distressed newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times” after its planned split from the company’s media and entertainment divisions, John Jannarone reports. Reports of Rupert Murdoch’s interest in that title have been bouncing around since at least this past June, when the split was announced.

“News Corp executives — including Murdoch’s son James — flew into Los Angeles twice this month to take a preliminary look at the storied daily’s books,” Reuters initially reported Saturday. The LA Times says Murdoch is also interested in the Chicago Tribune. Both papers are owned by the Tribune Company, which is expected to exit bankruptcy this year. Also interested in the Times, which could sell for $400 million it reports, are Doug Manchester, new owner of U-T San Diego, and Aaron Kushner, new owner of the Orange County Register. Read more

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Big Bird fight lives on on newspaper pages

Had enough Big Bird yet? Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said Wednesday “I don’t know of any plans to change” the commercial in which he appears, mocking Mitt Romney’s desire to cut funding to PBS. Sesame Workshop requested Tuesday that the campaign remove the character.

NBC News President Steve Capus criticized the campaigns’ use of news material in ads Monday night while accepting an award, “It’s not fair for our journalists and producers and it’s not fair to our citizens and it’s just lazy. I know that campaigns want to be associated with Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams in their commercials. But let’s be honest. That’s good company, but those folks are journalists and they do not endorse this message.”

A giant yellow bird looks pretty great on a front page, though. Read more

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