Layoffs, changes coming to The Commercial Appeal

The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal is planning “major changes” to its print edition “and, consequently, in staffing,” according to a memo that went out to employees. The Memphis Newspaper Guild says on Facebook that 13 jobs are going from its bargaining unit:

Seven in editorial. (Two photographers, four reporters, one copy editor)
Four in customer service.
Two in transportation.
In addition to those 13, four people outside the Guild bargaining unit lost jobs. That usually means managers, but we’re not sure.

“The print product is being reorganized to reduce space and save on newsprint and production costs,” the memo reads. Among the changes, coming Thursday:

  • It will publish only one edition, discontinuing its DeSoto, Mississippi, edition.
  • Its business report will move inside the A section, with a standalone section only on Sundays.
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Jill Geisler changing her role at Poynter

Jill Geisler will assume a new role in January — Poynter Affiliate. Geisler, senior faculty, leadership and management at Poynter, has been in her current role for 16 years.

“I love helping leaders help others succeed,” said Geisler in an email. “This change paves the way for me to keep doing that in the future, both for media leaders and others worldwide. My connection with Poynter will remain strong, both in my heart and in the classroom.”

Beginning next year, Jill will focus on her own private leadership training consulting. Geisler will continue to be involved with Poynter, spearheading a few of the institute’s most popular leadership programs, including the Leadership Academy.

“Leadership training has long been a pillar at Poynter, made even stronger because of Jill’s pioneering efforts,” said Tim Franklin, president of the Poynter Institute, in an email to staff.… Read more


Washington Post editor meets with Iranian president

Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron attended a meeting Tuesday morning with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York, he confirms to Poynter in an email. They discussed Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s detention, Baron said, a conversation he later recounted in a Washington Post article.

“It was an on the record meeting with a couple dozen editors and reporters from most major news outlets,” New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, who also attended, told Poynter. Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker writes that Rouhani “declined to offer any new details on the arrest and incarceration of two journalists working for foreign newspapers who have been detained by Iranian authorities for the last two months.”

Rouhani “said the fate of Jason Rezaiain of the Washington Post and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi of Au-Dhabi-based newspaper, The National, lay in the hands of the Iranian judiciary, and suggested he was powerless to intervene,” Baker writes.… Read more


Mashable announces UK expansion

Mashable announced Tuesday it would open an office in London, naming former editorial director Blathnaid Healy its U.K. editor.

The release announcing the new office cited high potential advertising revenue and a ready-made audience as factors in the expansion, saying London and the U.K. “are Mashable’s second largest audiences by city and country.”

Tim Chester will join Healy as deputy editor at the London office. He’s a former contributing editor for BuzzFeed UK and oversaw a Web relaunch at Rough Guides.… Read more


Storytelling lessons from Budweiser puppy commercial

Budweiser strikes again.

Once again, with the help of a puppy, the beer maker created another viral commercial. Earlier this year, it aired a Super Bowl commercial titled “Puppy Love” that I deconstructed for readers.

The new ad, “Friends are Waiting” comes with this cutline:

Next time you go out, be sure to make a plan to get home safely. Your friends are counting on you. Enjoy Budweiser responsibly. #FriendsAreWaiting

Watch the ad then let’s pull it apart to see what video storytelling lessons we can adapt to news writing:

The story uses a story frame I call:
Once Upon a Time — Suddenly — Fortunately — As it turns out

The playful pup falls in love with the man and the man adores the dog.… Read more

Los Angeles Register

As L.A. Register closes, owner offers another definition of failure

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Los Angeles Register closes: O.C. Register owner Aaron Kushner immediately ceases publication of the newspaper, which launched in April. “Pundits and local competitors who have closely followed our entry into Los Angeles will be quick to criticize our decision to launch a new newspaper and they will say that we failed,” a memo says. “We believe, the true definition of failure is not taking bold steps toward growth.” (LAT) | That notable bit of Kushner-speak has echoes in this amazing quote from him following buyouts in June: “Everyone says our strategy has failed. Perhaps they should be saying that our strategy has not succeeded?” (OC Weekly) | Another quote! Kushner on the the L.A.
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Today in media history: The BBC launched its Ceefax electronic news service in 1974

The British teletext service Ceefax was launched on September 23, 1974 and it continued until 2012. A BBC story said: “Before the advent of the internet and 24-hour news channels, Ceefax was at ‘the forefront of journalism’, according to BBC chairman Michael Grade. ‘It led the way in the breaking of stories,’ he added. Culture secretary Tessa Jowell described Ceefax as the ‘precursor to the internet news revolution.’”

This late 1970s video takes a look at Ceefax.

The BBC aired the final few minutes of Ceefax in October 2012.

In a 2012 story called, “Ceefax service closes down after 38 years on BBC,” John Hand writes:

“BBC Ceefax, the world’s first teletext service, has completed its final broadcast after 38 years on air.

….Ceefax was launched on 23 September 1974 to give BBC viewers the chance to check the latest news headlines, sports scores, weather forecast or TV listings – in a pre-internet era where the only alternative was to wait for the next TV or radio bulletin to be aired.

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Monday, Sep. 22, 2014

Why couldn’t any other media reporters bust Zakaria?


Enigmatic plagiarism sleuths @blippoblappo and @crushingbort discussed their crusade against CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in Esquire Monday, highlighting the limp reaction their accusations have elicited from brass at CNN and elsewhere:

So why did we do it? Why didn’t anyone else? In the month that’s passed since our first post, no actual journalist has publicly followed up with further examples. And despite the scale and continuation of the plagiarism, the response from Zakaria and his bosses have been striking in their lack of honesty or any sense of obligation to viewers and readers. CNN, TIME, and the Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt were quick to give Zakaria their wholehearted support, while Newsweek, Foreign Affairs, Atlantic Media and publisher W.W. Norton have not even replied to requests by Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon for comment.

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St. Louis County cops sorry for sounding racist — they meant the media are animals

Associated Press | Gawker

On Monday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that a spokesman with the St. Louis County police department has apologized for a flier about how police can deal better with the media.

They’re not meant to be racist, said Rick Rosenthal, the seminar’s leader.

Rosenthal, a police media consultant, says the “gorilla” and “animals” references are aimed at the media. His 1999 book, “Feeding the Animals,” deals with how police departments give information to reporters.

So now that’s clear. Gawker’s Zara Golden wrote about the flier on Monday.

Topics covered may include: “Feeding the Animals” (“animals” being some sort of endearment for protesters or reporters?), “‘No Comment’ is a comment,” “Managing Media Assault and Batter,” and “Managing the media when things get ugly (think Ferguson).” Sure, think Ferguson; because the issue there was definitely one of media handling, not gun handling….

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‘There’s reportedly pizza coming’: Who’s at Flood Wall Street?

Climate change demonstrations on Sunday made front pages around the world on Monday. Here’s a collection of Newseum’s top 10. I really liked this one, from The Epoch Times:

Protests continued on Monday in New York with Flood Wall Street. Katherine Boehrer wrote about the protests Monday for Huff Post Green.

A day after the People’s Climate March filled the streets of New York, a smaller group of protesters are engaging in non-violent, direct action against climate change. By conducting a sit-in on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange and blocking lower Broadway, organizers say they are confronting “the system that both causes and profits from the crisis that is threatening humanity.”

From CNN Money, Ben Rooney wrote:

The #FloodWallStreet campaign is part of a series of demonstrations taking place this week as world leaders gather in New York for a climate change summit on Tuesday at the United Nations.

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The Atlantic shuts down The Wire

The Atlantic will shut down The Wire. It plans to “integrate The Wire team into The Atlantic,” James Bennet and Bob Cohn told staffers in a memo Monday.


Important news on the digital front: In a couple of weeks, we will bring the staff of The Wire back into The Atlantic’s fold. We are very proud of what The Wire has accomplished editorially, and we think that joining its aggressive, deft news coverage with The Atlantic’s ideas-driven journalism will provide a richer experience for The Atlantic’s readers, a firmer foundation for our ambitions to cover the news, and greater opportunities for growth for The Wire’s team. This decision is also driven by a recognition that the business strategy behind separating The Wire from The Atlantic simply hasn’t proven out.

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Courier-Journal to Kentucky basketball coach: Sorry we photoshopped your head on a baby

Indianapolis Star | The (Louisville, Kentucky) Courier-Journal

A photo illustration depicting University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari as a whiny baby on Friday “reflected neither the tone of the column it accompanied nor our editorial standards,” Courier-Journal editor Neil Budde writes in an apology.

Kentucky beat writer Kyle Tucker apologized on Twitter, too, notes Matthew Glenesk of the Indianapolis Star (which, like the Courier-Journal, is owned by Gannett).

Budde wrote that editors “have reiterated to those involved and our entire staff that any illustration of this nature must be approved by senior editors, which did not happen in this case.” In June, the Courier-Journal laid off many top editors, including the managing editor, metro editor, multimedia manager and a graphic artist.… Read more


9 stories to catch you up on why people are pissed at the NYT’s story on Shonda Rhimes

The New York Times | Jezebel | Slate | Huffington Post | Vulture | Maynard Institute | Vox | NPR

1. On Thursday, The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley wrote “Wrought in Their Creator’s Image: Viola Davis Plays Shonda Rhimes’s Latest Tough Heroine.”

Here’s the lead, but really, read the whole thing.

When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.”

Again, read the whole thing. The lead is not the worst part. By Friday, a lot of publications broke down everything that was wrong about the story, and that it ever ran in the first place. Here are selections from a few of them.

2. The Huffington Post’s Jack Mirkinson collected some tweets from Rhimes herself for “Shonda Rhimes Takes Down NY Times Critic Who Called Her An ‘Angry Black Woman’”.… Read more


Q: Why is Vice on TV? A: Why do people rob banks?

Partway through his interview with Vice News Editor-in-Chief Jason Mojica Friday, City University of New York professor Jeff Jarvis asked why Vice still pumps out content over TV. “You’ve got the fucking Internet!” Jarvis exclaimed. “Why would you even dance with the old models?”

“Why do people rob banks?” Mojica replied. “That’s where the money is.”

That exchange evinced the tension at the heart of Friday’s summit about reinventing TV and video news, held at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism. The conference aimed to fix a medium that in many cases is still making money by the truckload.

Mojica. (Photograph courtesy Vice)

But you can’t drive that truck far into the future, Jarvis argued in his opening remarks, during which he urged people to get complaints about TV news tropes out of their systems.… Read more


Billy Penn editor: Site ‘crossed that line’ with flip treatment of rape charge

In its newsletter Monday, the yet-to-launch Philadelphia news site Billy Penn wrote about a local lobbyist who’s facing sexual assault charges.

Here’s how it played that story:

You know the story: Boy meets girl, boy takes girl back to his office at 10 pm for a job interview (!), girl files rape charges. Or maybe you hadn’t heard about the arrest of Andrew Marsico, a 40-year-old lobbyist for Greenlee Partners. He’s accused of sexually assaulting a 27-year-old woman he met at the posh Union League on August 21; the alleged rape happened that same night, at his office at the Bellevue. Oh, and Mascio’s married to Action News reporter Annie McCormick. Much more to come, but this sounds like the plot of a House of Cards episode…

Reached by email, Billy Penn Editor Chris Krewson said he wrote the item, and said everyone on the publication’s staff (which appears to have a 50/50 gender split) read the newsletter before it was published.… Read more