Tracie Powell


‘Today’ show’s executive producer takes responsibility for Ann Curry’s departure

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It’s been three months since Ann Curry was forced to leave NBC’s “Today” show, but the network is still dealing with the fallout.

The show’s executive producer, Jim Bell, appears to be on a mission to repair damage done to the show and its current host, Matt Lauer, after Curry’s messy departure. In recent days, Bell has granted interviews with The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter, and Curry has been the main topic of conversation.

In the interviews, Bell continues to defend the decision to replace Curry with Savannah Guthrie, and he repeatedly denies rumors that Lauer had made firing Curry a condition of his contract renewal. Read more

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Survey: Local news stations ignoring ‘toxic mix of money, politics & media’ leading up to election

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A Free Press report released this week says that “perhaps the most important story of the 2012 presidential election is the toxic mix of money, politics and media that is shaping so much of the discourse in the months before the general election. Yet that’s not a story you’ll find on the local news.”

In the report, called “Left In the Dark,” Free Press and volunteers examined the political files of CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox News affiliates in Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Tampa — all located in key swing states — and found that while many TV stations are covering local and national races, they are ignoring the ever-expanding role money and the media are playing in these contests. Read more


Condé Nast appoints its first black editor-in-chief

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For the first time in its 103-year-history, Condé Nast has named a black editor to head one of its magazines.

Keija Minor is now editor-in-chief of Brides, the world’s largest weddings magazine. She succeeds Anne Fulenwider who left Brides earlier this month to become editor-in-chief of Marie Claire. Minor had been executive editor of Brides since November 2011, and was acting editor-in-chief after Fulenwider left. Before Brides, Minor was editor-in-chief of Uptown Magazine, a luxury title targeting African Americans. She was also editor-in-chief of Gotham. Read more


Frank Rich gets a shout-out at the Emmys as ProPublica character debuts on Treme

In the movies, the relationship between Hollywood and journalism is often portrayed as acrimonious. In reality the two couldn’t be cozier.

The real-life relationship between journalists and entertainers was on full-display Sunday night when Julia Louis-Dreyfus — who won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for her portrayal of a foul-mouthed, female vice president of the United States in HBO’s “Veep” — gave a shout-out to New York magazine’s writer at large (and former New York Times columnist) Frank Rich in her acceptance speech. That outpouring reveals the very close, and often profitable, relationship between the news and entertainment industries.

The relationship has been particularly fruitful for HBO and journalists, in part because of the connection between the network’s new CEO, Richard Plepler, and heavy hitters in Washington and New York media circles, according to a New York Times story published last week. Read more


New Comedy Central ads: ‘You can trust us’ for political coverage

“The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are back, after being on hiatus following coverage of both national political conventions. In the next few weeks, viewers can look forward to seeing more unadulterated political coverage of the presidential election, including fact-checking. The network will also increase its scrutiny of those who are supposed to be keeping the U.S. citizenry informed.

In other words, Comedy Central will be reporting on the “reporters.”

That’s nothing new. Poking fun at the foibles and hypocrisy of the news media has been a staple of both “The Daily Show” since host Jon Stewart took it over in 1999 and “The Colbert Report,” launched by Stephen Colbert in 2005. What’s new, said a spokesman via email, is an ad campaign that is questioning the trustworthiness of news sources and personalities. Read more


Mug-shot websites move beyond journalism to mainstream profiteers

After failing to find a news job in North Carolina, former crime reporter Greg Rickabaugh launched The Jail Report, a weekly newspaper with companion websites, including and The publications feature crime news, analysis and features on repeat offenders and local law enforcement’s most wanted criminals. But the staple of the publications are pictures of people who have been arrested — publicly available mug-shots.

Rickabaugh’s business is booming. Since 2009, he’s grown to employ four full-time workers, a dozen part-timers and two of his brothers quit their full-time jobs to help him manage the company. Rickabaugh boasts that he’s earning more money publishing mug-shots than he ever did as a reporter, and he’s expanded the operation into South Carolina and California. But thanks to the proliferation of other mug-shot websites, Rickabaugh’s business model is under attack. Read more

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New Yahoo News editor-in-chief: ‘I’m always looking for a great story’

Last month, Hillary Frey became editor-in-chief of Yahoo News.

In a telephone interview, Frey told Poynter her primary goal is to showcase original content produced by Yahoo’s team of reporters, editors and videographers, as well as forge a clear brand identity for Yahoo News.

Frey, who came to Yahoo last November as managing editor, said her first order of business is shepherding and showcasing Yahoo’s upcoming originally-produced election coverage.

Yahoo already has a reporter on the road with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and for the first time ever, a White House correspondent too. The news organization also provided extensive primary election coverage, including reports on the debates that it produced in conjunction with its partner, ABC News.

Frey said Yahoo is pushing out more original content than it ever has. Read more


Gawker essay experiment brings weekend audience, attention to new writers

Before last weekend many people had never heard of Kiese Laymon — until his essay, “How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: A Remembrance,” appeared on Gawker’s home page and went viral in a matter of hours.

One hundred-thousand unique page views, 3,000 Facebook “likes,” and as many tweets later, Gawker may have just repositioned itself as more than a juicy gossip site.

Laymon’s essay describes growing up black in America or being “born a black boy on parole in Central Mississippi,” which could easily apply to black girls and just about anywhere in the U.S. really. In a telephone interview Laymon told Poynter he’s been writing the essay in different forms for the past 12 years, but that it took on a bit more urgency after Florida neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, proclaimed last month that it was God’s plan for him to kill unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Read more


Factors to consider when choosing a journalism association

Knight-Ridder Newspapers hired me straight out of college. Paying my membership fees to professional journalism associations and covering costs to annual conventions was a perk in the company’s recruiting package. But Knight-Ridder is no longer with us, and it’s been years since a company offered to pay my professional membership dues, let alone pay my way to a journalism convention.

Recently, a young journalist approached me to ask how to choose the right journalism association. As a struggling, recent college graduate, she said that she couldn’t afford to belong to them all.

Neither can I. Especially not now that I — like many other veteran journalists in this retracting industry — have to invest my own hard-earned dollars.

Up until the past year I belonged to the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and its local chapter affiliate, the Online News Association, and the National Association of Black Journalists and its local chapter affiliate. Read more


UT official who reviewed Post story didn’t allow that when she was a reporter

Tara Doolittle, one of the University of Texas press officers who recently reviewed a Washington Post story prior to publication, is a former reporter for The Austin American-Statesman. So did she ever allow sources to do what she did?

“The answer has always been no, whether I was the reporter or the editor,” Doolittle said, noting that she spent 10 years as an editor.

Doolittle, who became director of media outreach for UT in November, was a reporter when I worked at the Statesman.

Gary Susswein, director of media relations at UT, went through de Vise’s article “with a heavy red pen,” according to the Texas Observer. He, too, worked at the Statesman, serving for some time as metro editor. (He’s on vacation this week.)

Doolittle said Post reporter Daniel de Vise told UT media representatives that sharing his story drafts was part of his normal process, and his editors knew about it.  Read more

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