Benjamin Mullin


I write, edit, report and produce media for as one of the institute's first Google Journalism Fellows. Before that, I was the editor in chief of my college newspaper, The Orion, a freelancer for USA Today and an intern at a variety of publications throughout Northern California. I love to talk media and journalism! Tweet me @benmullin or email at

Amy Austin to leave Washington City Paper

Washington City Paper

Amy Austin, the longtime publisher of Washington, D.C. alt-weekly Washington City Paper, is leaving the publication after 30 years, the newspaper reported Friday. Austin announced her departure to the newsroom, reading from a letter excerpted below.

I leave with mixed emotions, including tremendous sadness to not see you everyday. But I also leave with jump- up-and-down-joy at the quality of work, journalism and marketing, accomplished during the time I have had the privilege of working for Washington City Paper.

City Paper notes that the paper’s parent company, Southcomm, was recently purchased by Cygnus Business Media.

Austin’s departure comes shortly after the alt-weekly lost another masthead presence. Editor Mike Madden recently left the paper for The Washington Post to become deputy editor of Outlook and PostEverything. Read more


Goodbye Meow York Times, we hardly knew you

A replica of The New York Times’ homepage seasoned liberally with cat GIFs has been taken down and replaced with a picture of a cease-and-desist letter apparently sent to the creator from the newspaper’s legal department.

It has come to our attention that you have registered the domain name, intentionally copied all of the copyright-protected content (including text and photos), code and the logo from our home page, for the purpose of creating your own ‘version’ of our world famous website. As you know, you never received permission to use The Times’s intellectual property for this or any other purpose.

The website is registered to Brian Abelson, a former Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow at The New York Times. When I emailed him for comment Thursday, he replied with a string of cat-themed text generated by the website Read more


Despite media request, Baltimore police haven’t released Freddie Gray report

Baltimore police have not yet responded to a letter filed on behalf of multiple news organizations seeking disclosure of a report summarizing the results of an investigation into Freddie Gray’s death.

The letter, which was emailed to the Baltimore City Police Department last night from an attorney representing a coalition of news organizations including The New York Times, The Associated Press, BuzzFeed, Bloomberg and others, has so far been met by silence, said Nathan Siegel, the lawyer who emailed the letter. As of Friday afternoon, the department hadn’t confirmed receipt of the request.

Access to the full report would be welcome for news organizations, which have so far only reported snatches of the investigation. On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported on a document “written by a Baltimore police investigator” that said a prisoner in the van with Gray indicated he was deliberately injuring himself. Read more


Maryland prosecutor condemns leaks to the press

Think Progress

In an announcement Friday morning that the state attorney’s office had cause to file homicide charges against police officers in Freddie Gray’s death, Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby condemned leaks to the press. Think Progress, a site by the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund, reported:

“While I am committed to transparency, what I have revealed here today is now a matter of public record. However, the evidence that we have collected and continue to collect cannot ethically be released to the public,” Mosby said. ‘I strongly condemn anyone in law enforcement with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior to the resolution of this case. You are only damaging our ability to conduct a fair and impartial process for all parties involved.

Read more

Heavyweight news outlets demand Freddie Gray report

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. 911 tapes, call logs, arrest records also requested

    A coalition of several news organizations, including The Associated Press, BuzzFeed, NPR, Bloomberg and The Baltimore Sun are represented in a letter requesting that the Baltimore City Police Department release the results of the investigation into the treatment of Freddie Gray. "This is a matter for which no review should be required because there is enormous public interest in and an expectation of transparency with regard to this matter, and release of the document would therefore only serve the public interest. In this particular situation any effort to withhold the report, even temporarily, would itself be manifestly contrary to the public interest." (The Associated Press)

  2. NPR ombud: Breast cancer story 'missing some science'

    Elizabeth Jensen, the ombudsman for NPR, highlighted some deficiencies from a "Morning Edition" story that covered the political back-and-forth over breast cancer screenings.

Read more

Career Beat: Bryan Monroe named Verizon Chair at Temple University

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Bryan Monroe will be Verizon Chair professor at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication. Previously, he was Washington editor of opinion and commentary at CNN. (Temple University)
  • Charles Duhigg is now senior editor at The New York Times’ live events business. Previously, he was a reporter there. (The New York Times)
  • Janko Roettgers will be Silicon Valley correspondent for Variety. Previously, he was a senior writer at Gigaom. (Fishbowl NY)
  • Mark Tapscott will lead The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group. He is executive editor at The Washington Examiner. (Politico)

Job of the day: Salon Media Group is looking for a video editor. Get your résumés in! Read more


For major metropolitan newspaper, cat GIFs

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 12.10.59 PM

Someone appears to have built a replica of The New York Times’ homepage at, which replaces all of the art with animated GIFs of cats. The headline typography and the page design is almost identical, with the masthead and other branding stripped away.

A whois lookup of the URL shows that the domain is registered to Brian Abelson, who has been tweeting about the site:

Other people have called attention to the site on Twitter, to humorous effect:

(h/t Mat Yurow) Read more


WSJ: Don’t use ‘Hillary’ alone in a headline

The Wall Street Journal

In The Wall Street Journal’s monthly roundup of style and usage pointers comes this recommendation against calling the democratic presidential contender by her first name in headlines:

Avoid using “Hillary” alone in a headline. The odds of her being confused with Bill in context at this point are minimal. Clinton is fine for most print headlines, and Hillary Clinton digitally (where we now use first and last names, for Web-search ease; more on that below). And a reminder, she is Mrs. Clinton, by her preference, not Ms. Clinton.

Avid observers of style news might have noticed a similar tweak made recently by The New York Times. Earlier this morning, the paper adjusted its style guidance around another democratic presidential hopeful. The paper ditched its stentorian “Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont” in favor of the more colloquial “Senator Bernie Sanders.” Read more


Journalists watch ‘Ghost Game’ closed to fans after Baltimore riots

Good morning. Here are nine media stories.

  1. Journalists bear witness to barren stadium

    The Baltimore Orioles played to a nearly-empty stadium Wednesday after the team decided to shut fans out from the game in the wake of the Freddie Gray riots. More than 90 Journalists were allowed in. Some reporters who couldn't get in watched the game from a nearby bar. "Today was supposed to be a night game, but even for an afternoon game in the middle of the week, business is down about 90 percent, saved only by the phalanx of journalists who couldn’t get into the stadium." (Washingtonian) | "During the postgame interview with Showalter, a black teenager from West Baltimore — who secured a credential for the game — asked the Orioles manager what advice he had for the black teenagers whose anger may have fueled the protests over the past few days." (BuzzFeed) | Mashable livestreamed the "Ghost Game" on Periscope.

Read more

Career Beat: Mark Gongloff named digital editor of Fortune

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community.

  • Mark Gongloff will be digital editor of Fortune. He is managing editor for business and technology at The Huffington Post. (Email)
  • Cliff Levy is now assistant editor at The New York Times. Previously, he was an editor at NYT Now. (The New York Times)
  • Hayden Manders is now a staff writer at Nylon. Previously, she was assistant entertainment editor for Refinery29. (Fishbowl NY)

Job of the day: The Dallas Morning News is looking for an Austin bureau chief. Get your résumés in! (Poynter)

Send Ben your job moves: Read more

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