African journalist not upset university canceled on his visit

The Poynter Institute Friday hosted a group of African journalists visiting the U.S. for training as part of the State Department’s Edward R. Murrow Program.

The visit, which will continue next week, was originally scheduled to take place at the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg, which backed out of hosting the journalists due to concerns about spread of the Ebola virus.

One of the visiting journalists, Bernard Avle, said he wasn’t upset by the university’s decision. I asked Avle, who’s director of news programming at Ghanian radio outlet CITI, about his reaction to the sudden change of plans and his observations of U.S. media’s coverage of the Ebola outbreak.

Avle, director of news programming at at CITI, a broadcast outlet in Ghana.

Avle, director of news programming at at CITI, a broadcast outlet in Ghana.

Poynter: Coming from Ghana, what have you noticed about the perception of the epidemic here?

Avle: I got an email from a student — this was like a week before we came here — saying that USF St. Pete had canceled because of parents’ fears that there was Ebola, and they weren’t really sure if we’d pass that onto their wards.

I was a bit surprised — but then again, coming to the U.S. and watching U.S. media, I understood where the apprehension came from. I think the media is a very powerful tool for information and misinformation — and regrettably, I think, on this particular point — there’s been a lot of hysterical reporting, for whatever reason.

I think there’s a lot of ignorance of Ebola, of public health issues, and that has contributed to the public concern. So I have no problems with the parents who requested USF St. Pete to cancel. Because if I were a parent and I saw the reports I did on TV, I would be very concerned for my ward.

Poynter: What advice would you give to United States media organizations that are trying to cover this thing compassionately and accurately?

Avle: I can’t pretend to give advice. What I can say is they know their audience better than I do. And so the interest of your audience can sometimes drive the way you cover a story, because news must be contextualized.

So the concern for people is whether Africans are bringing Ebola to the U.S, so that tends to become the angle from which you frame the story. Having said that, you need to get more information about what happens on the ground so that you can give your listeners, your readers, your viewers the information. I’m not going to advise anybody on how to cover Ebola, but I’ll just say there’s a lot you can learn from journalists who are closer to the situation.

Poynter: How is your news organization covering the epidemic?

Avle: We are physically close (to an Ebola-affected country, Liberia). There has been research done that says Ghana is susceptible to getting Ebola because we seem to be the center for West Africa — lots of movement in and out. But the government has put into place — I wouldn’t say extremely stringent — but reasonably stringent checks for people coming into the country.

There’s an Ebola isolation center, there’s videos of what to do if you see somebody with Ebola. Everybody’s weighing in to try to inform people better. So on my show, for example, we had a whole hashtag we used for many weeks called “#EbolaFacts.” And people were sort of following along and getting more information.

Poynter: Given the mediums that you work with primarily, radio and online, what are some other things you do?

Avle: We do video, for example, if you interview health officials, talk through how you simulate an Ebola case if somebody presents with Ebola. We have videos we put online that are quite educative. We do interviews and make the audio available on soundcloud, people listen. We translate into the local language — our show is in English, by the way. And then you have phone-ins. People send messages.

We have a WhatsApp number, people send lots of information to us. In my country, people like to report things to the media before it even gets to the police. So if somebody sees something odd, they’d be more likely to send the information to a radio station then they would a police station. And there are historical reasons for that. So we almost become this conduit between the public and the government.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Read more


Why the Toronto Star unpublished an article about race

On Thursday, the Toronto Star published an article by Natasha Grzincic called “5 other labels for people of colour er… non-whites uh… racialized people.” Later that day, it took the article down.

The article, still available at partner sites like this one, notes that the Ontario Human Rights Commission has settled on the term “racialized” to describe people instead of using what it calls “more outdated and inaccurate terms” like “racial minority” or “non-white.”

The Star doesn’t have a style on using the term “racialized,” Public Editor Kathy English says in an email. Its style guide currently says to use the term “visible minority” rather than “nonwhite.” (The Star urges journalists to not refer to “colour or ethnicity unless it is relevant to the story.”)

Grzincic’s article looks at how “visible minority” and other terms are deployed. For example:

Ethnic minorities

Like “visible minority,” there’s the problem with “minority,” which could have a subordinate meaning. Same goes for “marginalized groups.”


Non-preferred, because it defines people by what they are not. Used by StatCan to define visible minorities.

English says her office began to receive complaints that the article “made light of a sensitive, serious subject” not long after it was published. English said she discussed the article with Star Managing Editor Jane Davenport, who she said had not seen the piece before it went up.

Davenport thought the story should come down, so the Star doinked it and appended a note “In line with the Star’s transparency goals,” English said.

“Davenport’s view of the piece – which I agree with — is that a discussion of how visible minorities should be ‘labeled’ is inappropriate material for a listicle,” she writes. She continues:

The piece was flippant and commented on instead of reporting on the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s arguments. The writer of the piece is not a columnist with latitude to make such comment.

The Star is trying to find other outlets that published the piece and inform them it has removed it, English said. Further, “The newsroom is also looking further into the circumstances of the article being published.” Read more


This weekend, one last get-together at the Minneapolis Star Tribune

The cover of the Minneapolis Star Tribune's homecoming publication. This image is courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The cover of the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s homecoming publication. This image is courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

On Saturday, Nov. 1, current and former employees of the Minneapolis Star Tribune can walk through most of the building that has been the home of the newspaper since 1920.

By next summer, the Star Tribune will be in a new space, and the building at 425 Portland Ave. will be gone, or close to it.

“There’s certainly some nostalgia,” said Steve Yaeger, the Star Tribune’s vice president of marketing and public relations, in a phone interview. “I would say overall — this is not the PR spin — we really are more excited about getting to the new place. Our building is very old and it was built for a very different news organization than what we have.”

There are people who work there today, though, who’ve spent their whole careers in that building, Yaeger said. Many are attached to the space, and not just people who work there now, but people who once did.

So on Saturday, the Star Tribune is having a homecoming. So far, about 700 people have RSVP’d, but Yaeger expects around 1,000.

“Some people will want to hug the building,” Yaeger said, “some people will just want to see the press operators they used to work the same shift with.”

A postcard from the Star-Tribune in 1950. This image is courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

A postcard from the Star Tribune in 1950. This image is courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

People can walk through three of the four floors of the building — to see where the presses and the mailroom once were. They’ll see images along the way of how the building has changed. In one hallway, there’s a 30-foot-long timeline that shows things that have happened at 425 Portland Ave. There’s food, of course, and speeches and the chance to catch up with old friends.

“It’s not just about the building,” Yaeger said. “It’s about the interactions in this building. A building is just a building in the end.”

The Star Tribune no longer owns that building, they’ve leased it through June 30 of next year, when they’ll be out for good and the building will come down as part of a redevelopment plan.

“The challenge for all of us, as we move, is to remain places of character,” Yaeger said. “We don’t want it to be bland. If it’s bland, we’ve lost something.”

Here are some other newsrooms that no longer live in their original buildings. I know there’s a lot to add here, and I will try and update this, so please send me suggestions at or @kristenhare.

Minneapolis Star Tribune


Built: 1920

Sold: 2013. The building will be torn down in 2015. Some demolition has begun.

Now: The Star Tribune still operates out of the building, which it is currently leasing. They’ll move to 650 Third Ave. S by the end of June 2015 at the latest.

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Boston Herald

Built: 1957

Sold: 1998, then leased back. It was torn down in 2013. Herald photographer John Wilcox photographed a ceremony with Ink Block, which took over the space.

Now: Condos.

Miami Herald

The Miami Herald building is seen Wednesday, April 23, 2008 in Miami.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Miami Herald building is seen Wednesday, April 23, 2008 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Built: 1963

Sold: 2011, moved in 2013

Now: Demolition started this year. In May, Selima Hussain wrote “9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Old Miami Herald Building,” for WLRN.

7. The materials used to build it

1HP boasted mahogany paneling, two kinds of granite (gray on the facade, red-veined on certain interior walls) chattahoochee rock and yellow ceramic tiles, according to Ibby Vores, Miami Herald human resources manager.

“It was impressive… there was all of this lifted space and a terrazzo floor, marble on the walls,” she says. “At the time it was built, it was an icon of the future.”

In April of last year, Erik Bojnansky wrote “Farewell, My Lovely Miami Herald,” for the Biscayne Times.

Now: Demolition has been slow and is still happening. The new development is supposed to include a hotel and casino.

Work continues on the former headquarters of the Miami Herald building on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Miami.  Demolition on the south wing of the former headquarters began last Monday.  Genting, a Malaysian casino company, purchased the waterfront property in May, 2011, for $236 million, and plans to build a condo and hotel resort on the 14-acre site. The Miami Herald moved to Doral, Fla., in 2013. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Work continues on the former headquarters of the Miami Herald building on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Miami. Demolition on the south wing of the former headquarters began last Monday. Genting, a Malaysian casino company, purchased the waterfront property in May, 2011, for $236 million, and plans to build a condo and hotel resort on the 14-acre site. The Miami Herald moved to Doral, Fla., in 2013. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Built: 1924

Sold: 2011

Now: It’s supposed to be redeveloped into a casino, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Photographer Will Steacy successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $26,000 from a $15,000 goal. Steacy spent five years photographing the Inquirer newsroom and is now writing a book with the help of the Kickstarter funds.

There’s also a Facebook page with images from the Inquirer’s last days in the building.

Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

Director Richard Brooks, center, discusses a scene with actors John Saxon, left, and Ryan O'Neal, right, on the set of the motion picture "The Fever," in the city room of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, on December 11, 1984, in Los Angeles, California. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)

Director Richard Brooks, center, discusses a scene with actors John Saxon, left, and Ryan O’Neal, right, on the set of the motion picture “The Fever,” in the city room of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, on December 11, 1984, in Los Angeles, California. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)

Built: 1913

Closed: 1989

Now: You can film movies on sets there.

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Here are more buildings and moves I heard about today. I’m just listing them for now but will add more.

– Detroit Free Press and Detroit News
Kalamazoo Gazette
Grand Rapids Press
Ann Arbor News
Muskegon Chronicle
Indianapolis Star
Seattle Times
Seattle P-I
New York Daily News
The New York Times
The (Syracuse) Post-Standard
The Marion Star
The Daily Oklahoman
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Santa Cruz Sentinel Read more

1 Comment

Public fear and ‘an abundance of caution’

I wonder how George Orwell would react to a phrase that has been repeated time and again by government and university officials to justify recent stringent actions — such as quarantines and dis-invitations — in response to the Ebola crisis.

These officials say they are acting “out of an abundance of caution.”

It seems to be one of the phrases of the day, expressed by leaders who are trying to limit or eliminate contact, not just with sick people or people who have cared for the sick, but with almost anyone who has worked or traveled through countries where Ebola has spread.

Orwell was a famous critic of political speech, especially of the kind that used euphemism or passive constructions to cloud misbehavior or avoid responsibility. Mistakes, after all, are made.

To my ears, “an abundance of caution” is a peculiar phrase. It sounds like a parody of collective nouns such as “a gaggle of geese” or “an exaltation of larks.” How much caution will you exercise, Governor? Why, an abundance of caution, of course, sir.

“Abundance of caution” also carries the kind of tension you might find in an oxymoron (such as “jumbo shrimp”). “Abundance” is not the opposite of “caution” at the literal level. At the level of connotation, however, abundance suggests expansion while caution suggests contraction.

Which leads me to this strategy for journalists: Any time a political figure or thought leader wants to operate “out of an abundance of caution” – especially when the risk is demonstrably slight – look for the many ways in which they are operating out of a “scarcity of caution” – my term – when the risk is great.

Not a single American, to my knowledge, has contracted Ebola in the USA and died from the disease in the USA. On the other hand, here is a list of much more serious dangers to life and limb, based on statistics taken from the CDC. After each real danger is my fantasy of what a leader might say “out of an abundance of caution.”

  • About 35,000 Americans were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. Twenty-two percent of them were people 15 to 24 years of age. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to raise the legal driving age to 25, and to greatly improve the quality of mass transit in our community.”
  • 16,250 people were victims of homicide in 2010, most of them from handguns. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to initiate a Constitutional Amendment that will allow reasonable restrictions on gun ownership.”
  • 38,360 Americans took their own lives in 2010. “Out of an abundance of caution, we will establish community based mental health facilities, whatever the cost, to create a safety net for those suffering from mental illness.”
  • According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as many as 22 American war veterans, maybe more, take their own lives every day. That’s more than 8,000 per year. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to multiply by ten the budget for the care of soldiers and other first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress, and will raise taxes to pay for it. Out of an even greater abundance of caution we have decided to no longer send our sons and daughters into protracted distant wars that we cannot win.”

Fever? Headache? Muscle aches? Forget about Ebola, chances are astronomically higher that you have the flu or some other common bug. That message still hasn't reached many Americans, judging from stories ER doctors and nurses swapped this week at a Chicago medical conference. Misinformed patients with Ebola-like symptoms can take up time and resources in busy emergency rooms, and doctors fear the problem may worsen when flu season ramps up. . (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Fever? Headache? Muscle aches? Forget about Ebola, chances are astronomically higher that you have the flu or some other common bug. Misinformed patients with Ebola-like symptoms can take up time and resources in busy emergency rooms, and doctors fear the problem may worsen when flu season ramps up. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

There are many more real things to be afraid of in the USA. Influenza and pneumonia caused 53,826 deaths in 2010, and yet we don’t require folks to get immunized for these common diseases. Using the logic of the governors, perhaps we should “out of an abundance of caution.”

Here are some possible translations for various uses of the phrase “out of an abundance of caution”:

  • Because our lawyers told us to.
  • Because I know my constituents don’t believe in science.
  • Because I know my constituents don’t trust the government.
  • Because I don’t want to get blamed for something outside my control.
  • Because I don’t have the backbone to do the right thing.
  • Because I’d rather demonize heroic caregivers to make myself look decisive.
  • Because our lawyers told us to. (Oh, sorry, I already said that one.)
Read more

How news orgs plan digital coverage of midterms

Tuesday’s midterm elections will determine which party controls of the U.S. Senate. There are also 36 gubernatorial races, and the biennial U.S. House elections. Here’s how some news organizations plan digital coverage of the races. (This is by no means comprehensive; please email me your plans.)

ABC News will feature a live stream on its site, on its mobile app and on Apple TV. It plans some killer mobile alerts: One every time it calls one of the 507 races it’s covering Tuesday. Don’t worry, you won’t get 507 alerts: You can tell your app what your interest is overall (low, medium, or high), or pick individual races, or let it know your location and it will tell you the winners and losers near you. You’ll also be able to watch live video via iPhone and iPad apps.

The Associated Press says it “has reporters working in every statehouse throughout the year, and more than 5,000 stringers will be deployed across the country on election night to help AP Election Services gather local vote counts.” Its mobile app will feature coverage from member newspapers in hot-race states as well as “a dynamic feed of race calls, photos and videos.” Here’s a Twitter list of AP reporters on election duty.

The Boston Globe plans a “A homepage takeover with results for key races” as well as “A second-screen experience where reporters will file dispatches from the field on election night,” Editor Jason Tuohey tells Poynter. Plus, of course, stories, results, analysis.

CBS News will offer a livestream of network coverage and “will provide a variety of tools to help users navigate the voting results, including interactive maps and exit poll data as it becomes available,” it says in a press release. CBS News’ site will also “feature original reports from CBS News correspondents in the field.”

CNN plans a live “Hambycast,” which will start streaming at 8 p.m. on The site will also feature a “digital version of John King’s infamous Magic Wall, where users can drill into the districts and data for themselves,” CNN says in a release. Plus: Short animated videos, like this one, that CNN has been posting on Facebook, and an experiment with the gaming platform Pivit, where you can play games like “Will Florida Governor Scott (R) win re-election?” PLUS: A chat on Facebook at 1 p.m. with Peter Hamby, Chris Moody and Stephen Collinson.

The Denver Post will feature live video from its video initiative DPTV, Post news director Kevin Dale said. New anchor Molly Hughes will speak with Post reporters through the night. The Post will replace its homepage “with a larger Elections presentation that will help us highlight our video, stories and results,” Dale said.

Visitors to Fox Newssite can look at a dashboard that shows balance of power graphics, links to predictions and news stories. Fox News’ coverage will be available to people using the FoxNewsGo app as well. Fox News will stream two video entities online from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET: FOX News Latino, and a revival of its old online show “The Strategy Room.”

The Huffington Post‘s politics crew will run a live blog, and HuffPost Live will “stream special coverage of midterm election night 2014, hosted by Marc Lamont Hill, Alyona Minkovski and Howard Fineman” from 6 p.m. until midnight Tuesday, HuffPost spokesperson Sujata Mitra said.

Hotline’s Race tracker will power National Journal‘s election-night dashboard. will also feature a live blog featuring “instant updates, reporting, video, photos, and commentary on the races as they are called,” the publication says in a press release.

NBC News will roll out a new look for online and on-screen graphics,’s product and operations director, Rachel Rique, said. “We designed it for mobile so it’s a lighter weight and a lighter feel,” she said. Visitors to NBC’s homepage will see a status bar that shows balance of power in the Senate and House, and prominent links to a redesigned elections page, which will host live video coverage, stories and links to “cards” for individual races. When NBC’s decision desk makes a call, the anchors will announce the result, and a new API will push a green check mark next to the winner’s name on a card. Those cards can easily be shared on social media.

The New York Times will have correspondents on the ground in 10 states with competitive races, and it will feature “Real-time election results across all of our platforms and devices, including our web site, mobile web site and phone and tablet apps,” Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades-Ha said in an email. Times data-y vertical The Upshot “will be applying its usual analytical, graphic-heavy methods to Election Night, on, Twitter and elsewhere.” Plus interactive maps, detailed results pages and photo essays “that tell the story of the election in a way that only the Times’s photojournalists can.”

NPR is throwing an “election party,” and guess what: You’re invited! (Sorry, getting a little punchy here.) will stream the news org’s live coverage, from 8 p.m. ET to 1 a.m., and the NPR politics desk’s Tumblr will feature “live blogging, photos and more,” according to a release. There will also be an “expanded version [of NPR's coverage] built for television and optimized for Google Chromecast.” Also I’d like to salute NPR’s PR squad for including the sentence “Party on, Melissa. Party on, Robert” in a press release.

USA Today will livestream “segments from the USA TODAY newsroom featuring political pundits and USA TODAY experts,” Gannett spokesperson Steve Kidera said. “In partnership with Gannett’s Video Production Center and Gannett Broadcasting, all the key races across the country will be covered, including live reports from many Gannett Broadcasting stations and campaign headquarters. Beginning at 8 p.m. (ET) and running throughout the night, coverage will be viewable across mobile, tablet and desktop devices on, all Gannett Broadcasting websites and many of Gannett’s USCP sites.” USA Today’s elections forecast tool “will turn into a results page” on election night.

The Wall Street Journal will launch “a special election hub that will track the key races in real-time with live headline feeds and data galore,” U.S. news editor Glenn Hall said. “A key feature of the data hub will be a comprehensive map that allows users to drill down into voting results in each Congressional district of every state.” The Journal’s homepage will have “a live election scorecard, an interactive map, streaming video analysis, a live blog, real-time headlines and scores of analytical articles updated throughout the night.” Its relaunched politics section, Capitol Journal, “will serve as the content hub for our election news and analysis.”

The Washington Post plans a “takeover display” of its Election Live Stream — maps, graphics, stories, etc. on its homepage. “Users will also have an option to switch to the original homepage to access a variety of non-election stories,” the company says, and the stream will work on mobile. Post reporters will be covering hot races on the ground in 10 states beyond the three in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Pregame coverage:
CNN plans a Twitter chat with Jake Tapper Friday and a Facebook chat with SE Cupp Monday.

The New York TimesUpshot Senate model “is being updated at least twice a day as new polls come in to help readers assess the state of the most competitive races,” Rhoades-Ha said. The Times also plans a readers’ guide to important races, a “voters’ voices video with a distinctly 2014 midterm feel that focuses on the national mood” and state pages that “give a closer look at the most interesting races and ballot initiatives in all 50 states.”

Twitter‘s election dashboard lets you drill down to individual states or look at national trends and issues being discussed.

USA Today and Twitter have partnered on a political issues list that breaks down tweeters on various issues by their age, gender and state. The index “makes no attempt to analyze the sentiment expressed in tweets — only the subject area,” Paul Singer writes. USA Today has also decided “not to compare tweet volume around various candidate names, because in the last days of the campaign swing so much of the Twitter traffic around candidates is driven by campaigns, consultants and other professional partisans.” USA Today also has an iOS app that tracks political ads. Read more


Sun-Times confirms sale of suburban papers to Tribune

Chicago Sun-Times | Tribune Publishing

Chicago Sun-Times parent Wrapports LLC will sell 38 suburban newspapers — six dailies and 32 weeklies — to Tribune Publishing, confirming a report by Robert Feder earlier this month.

Wrapports boss Michael Ferro says the move out of the burbs will allow the company to “focus on our international digital strategy.” Wrapports announced earlier this week that it was launching a national network of sites that will ““offer content in a manner similar to websites such as Deadspin and Buzzfeed.”

Employees at the suburban papers will become Tribune Publishing employees at some point and will leave the Sun-Times’ newsroom. The Sun-Times said in 2012 it would close its suburban offices and move most employees into Chicago digs. Terms of the deal aren’t public yet, according to a Wrapports press release. Bob Fleck will be publisher and GM of the papers, Tribune Publishing says in a press release.

The Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune Media Group have also reached an agreement for CTMG to keep printing the Sun-Times.

Since splitting from the rest of Tribune’s properties, Tribune Publishing has pursued a strategy of increasing its footprint in markets where it has large dailies. In Maryland it’s purchased the Baltimore City Paper and two other papers; in Connecticut it has purchased 15 weeklies once published by Reminder Media. Read more

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 11.16.41 AM

AP: Don’t use ‘horse race’ and other election cliches

Associated Press

The Associated Press published a mid-term election style guide on Friday, and it includes a list of election cliches with suggested alternatives.

For instance, instead of messaging, use “candidate’s pitch to voters.” Instead of horse race, use “a closely contested political contest.” And instead of war chest or coffers use “campaign bank account or stockpile of money.”

There are more cliches to avoid, plus style tips on common terms you may be using next week. Conservative and liberal, for instance, don’t get capped unless you’re talking about a formal name.

Here are a few things we’ve done on cliches at Poynter:

Why newspaper photo cliches make for great Tumblrs

And now for some really bad ledes

Avoid Cliches Like the Plague Read more


NYT ends partnership with Texas Tribune

mediawiremorningHappy Halloween! Here are 10 scaaaaary media stories.

  1. NYT ends partnership with Texas Tribune

    The Times told the news nonprofit that at the end of this year it will no longer produce a two-page section for the paper's Texas edition. "We hate to see the whole thing come to an end, but it's like that line from The Godfather: It’s business, not personal," Trib EIC Evan Smith writes. (Texas Tribune) | Interesting inversion: The Dallas Morning News' Sunday edition will include an insert produced by the New York Times. (NYTCo) | Related: CEO Mark Thompson wants the Times to be “unashamedly experimental.” (Nieman Lab) | 9 takeways from the New York Times Co. 3rd quarter earnings call (Poynter) | Only slightly related to that last related item: Rick Edmonds notes that Denise Warren is the third woman Times exec to leave in the past three years; Erik Wemple reported yesterday that the last woman on The Washington Post's masthead is leaving. (WP)

  2. So it should be an interesting day at First Look Media

    Four reporters at First Look's The Intercept -- Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill and John Cook -- published an unsparing examination of why Matt Taibbi left the company. "Those conflicts were rooted in a larger and more fundamental culture clash that has plagued the project from the start: A collision between the First Look executives, who by and large come from a highly structured Silicon Valley corporate environment, and the fiercely independent journalists who view corporate cultures and management-speak with disdain," they write. (The Intercept) | "With the publishing of their post, Greenwald et al confirm some of the worst fears about the company and contradict others. They claim that Omidyar has not interfered with the editorial work of journalists, but was clearly unprepared for the cultural differences between executives and rabble-rousing journalists." (Mashable) | "if Hunter S. Thompson was still alive, FL would have hired him to turn him into a middle manager" (@jbenton) | "From all the details of Taibbi’s allegedly terrible management practices and the details of First Look’s struggles against the IRON FIST of First Look Media emerges a picture of utter ungovernability and an unwillingness to concede that the person bankrolling a venture might just have a say in how things get done." (WP)

  3. The odds of new news orgs surviving

    BuzzFeed: "High." Vice: "Medium-hiiiiigh." Vox "is also doing better traffic and growing more quickly than Gawker, and is extremely popular with 'Millennials.' Euthanize Vox immediately." (Gawker)

  4. Arkansans don't think much of journalists

    "Of those polled, only 14 percent believe that journalists have high or very high standards. Another 39 percent would rate the honesty and ethical standards of journalists as average, and 36 percent responded with low or very low. The remainder, about 12 percent, did not know or refused to answer." (University of Arkansas)

  5. Another Jian Ghomeshi story

    "I feel that while it is exceedingly difficult to publicly put your name forward and open yourself up to all of the accompanying criticism, if you are in the position that you can do so without fearing the ramifications in terms of your family, marriage, personal or professional trauma, then you should do it," Reva Seth writes. (HuffPost)

  6. The Newspaper Guild is not especially cool with the FBI right now

    In an emailed statement, it says it's "disgusted and outraged by the revelation this week that the FBI posed as The Associated Press in planting an online story to catch a teenage bomb threat suspect in 2007. ... Any hint that a journalist or news organization is aiding law enforcement damages their reputation as an objective, trustworthy source of news." | U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy sent a letter to the attorney general expressing concern about the sting. (The Seattle Times) | Sort-of related: Akron Beacon Journal asks campaign to stop using doctored front page in ads. (Jim Romenesko)

  7. Spain passses aggregation tax

    New laws will "allow news publishers to charge aggregators each time they display news content in search results." (AP) | Google statement: "We are disappointed with the new law because we believe that services like Google News help publishers bring traffic to their sites." (THR)

  8. Depressing British media news roundup

    The Telegraph lays off 55 staffers. (The Business of Fashion) | The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News will combine operations, leading to a loss of 45 jobs. (The Guardian) | The Hull Daily Mail apologizes for wrongly identifying a man as a sex offender. (Hold the Front Page)

  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare

    A spoooooooky front from the Asbury Park Press! (Courtesy the Newseum)



  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Shane Harris will be an intelligence and national security reporter at The Daily Beast. He's a senior writer at Foreign Policy. (The Huffington Post) | Azmat Khan will be an investigative reporter at BuzzFeed. She's a senior digital producer at Al Jazeera America. (Azmat Khan) | Usha Chaudhary will be chief financial officer at Pew Charitable Trusts. She's the chief financial officer at The Washington Post. (The Washingoton Post) | Eli Lake will be a columnist at Bloomberg View. He’s a national security correspondent at The Daily Beast. Josh Rogin will be a columnist at Bloomberg View. He’s a senior correspondent at The Daily Beast. (Politico) | Krista Larson is West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press. Previously, she was a correspondent there. (AP) | Nona Willis Aronowitz is an editor at TPM. Previously, she was an education and poverty reporter at NBC News Digital. (TPM) | Om Malik is looking for a designer. Get your résumés in! (Om Malik) | Send Ben your job moves:

Corrections? Tips? Please email me: Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here. Read more


Today in Media History: Remembering one of the 20th century’s great interviewers and listeners, Studs Terkel

On October 31, 2008, the media reported on the death of author and broadcaster Studs Terkel, one of the great interviewers and listeners of 20th century America.

Here is a story from the Associated Press:

“Louis Terkel arrived here as a child from New York City and in Chicago found not only a new name but a place that perfectly matched — in its energy, its swagger, its charms, its heart — his own personality. They made a perfect and enduring pair.

Author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago symbol Louis ‘Studs’ Terkel died Friday afternoon in his home on the North Side. At his bedside was a copy of his latest book, ‘P.S. Further Thoughts From a Lifetime of Listening,’ scheduled for release this month. He was 96 years old.

‘Studs Terkel was part of a great Chicago literary tradition that stretched from Theodore Dreiser to Richard Wright to Nelson Algren to Mike Royko,’ Mayor Richard M. Daley said Friday. ‘In his many books, Studs captured the eloquence of the common men and women whose hard work and strong values built the America we enjoy today. He was also an excellent interviewer, and his WFMT radio show was an important part of Chicago’s cultural landscape for more than 40 years.’”

– “Studs Terkel dies
Chicago Tribune, October 31, 2008

In 2001 C-SPAN interviewed Studs Terkel for its Book TV channel.

(Click here to watch the 2009 documentary film, “Studs Terkel: Listening To America”)

“Studs Terkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose searching interviews with ordinary Americans helped establish oral history as a serious genre, and who for decades was the voluble host of a popular radio show in Chicago, died Friday at his home there. He was 96.

….In his oral histories, which he called guerrilla journalism, Mr. Terkel relied on his enthusiastic but gentle interviewing style to elicit, in rich detail, the experiences and thoughts of his fellow citizens. Over the decades, he developed a continuous narrative of great historic moments sounded by an American chorus in the native vernacular.

….Mr. Terkel succeeded as an interviewer in part because he believed most people had something to say worth hearing. ‘The average American has an indigenous intelligence, a native wit,’ he said. ‘It’s only a question of piquing that intelligence.’”

— “Studs Terkel, Listener to Americans, Dies at 96
New York Times, October 31, 2008

The following StoryCorps video is called, “The Human Voice.”

“The great oral historian Studs Terkel was an inspiration to StoryCorps, and he was also an early participant in the project. In this animated short, he speaks out on what has been lost in modern life and where he sees hope for our future.”

Read more


Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014

Tonawanda News to fold in January

The Buffalo News | The Tonawanda News

Twenty employees at the Tonawanda News will lose their jobs in January after the paper closes, the Buffalo News reported Thursday.

The Tonawanda News, a 134-year-old newspaper serving north suburban Buffalo, is closing after revenue from advertising and circulation failed to keep pace with expenses, the paper reports.

The paper belongs to the Greater Niagara Newspapers group, which includes two other papers in the region: the Niagara Gazette and the Lockport Union-Sun and Journal, according to The Tonawanda News. Neither paper is closing. Read more