Washington Post Building Sale

Katharine Weymouth’s resignation completes the close of the Graham era at the Washington Post

In a word, unsurprising. Katharine Weymouth’s announced resignation today as Washington Post publisher simply completes the ownership change initiated a year and a month ago when Amazon’s Jeff Bezos bought the paper.

Neither Bezos nor Weymouth were commenting (even to the Post) about the circumstances and timing of the change, though the New York Times reported it was initiated by Bezos. My guess would have been that she had agreed to stay on for a transitional year as part of the sale, but perhaps she was trying out for a longer tenure with the new owner.

It is hard to call Weymouth’s six-plus years as publisher a success, but I wouldn’t say she failed in the job either.  She took control at the worst possible time in 2008 as the deep recession accelerated the precipitous decline of print advertising, especially at metro papers.… Read more

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Journalist Steven Sotloff reportedly executed by ISIS

ABC News | The New York Times | The Washington Post | SITE
Freelance journalist Steven Sotloff has reportedly been executed by ISIS, Lee Ferran reported Tuesday for ABC News.

The Washington Post’s Greg Miller also reported that a video appears to show Sotloff’s execution. SITE, a terrorist monitoring site, also reported the news.

From ABC’s report:

In the video, which appeared online today, Sotloff addresses the camera, saying, “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing.”

“Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?” Sotloff says calmly as the black clad militant holds a knife casually at his side.

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Wiegel, Bazelon leave Slate

Huffington Post | Capital | Slate

Emily Bazelon and Dave Weigel will leave Slate, continuing a shakeup that began after former editor David Plotz stepped down as top editor in July.

Bazelon, a senior editor for Slate since 2005, will be a staff writer for New York Times Magazine, where she has been a contributor, according to a release from The Times.

In a statement, New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein said he was “giddy” about the hire.

Weigel will join Bloomberg’s as-yet unnamed politics vertical, Michael Calderone reports for The Huffington Post.

Wiegel wrote about his departure from Slate, saying that his move was inspired by his appreciation for the team at Bloomberg:

This is still my favorite magazine and I’m only leaving it because Bloomberg’s putting together — I will try to avoid corporate-speak — an ambitious political magazine run by the sort of geniuses who made Bloomberg Businessweek into a great print mag, and New York’s political coverage a daily must-read.

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Craig Silverman will join Columbia University’s Tow Center

Craig Silverman

Craig Silverman announced Tuesday that he’s joining the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University as a fellow.

Silverman, who is an adjunct faculty member for the Poynter Institute, will continue writing for Poynter, where he has written about debunking in his Regret the Error blog, which he brought to Poynter in 2011.

During his fellowship, Silverman wrote, he’ll create a database of rumors in the press.

I’m joining to conduct research into how news organizations deal with rumors and unconfirmed information, and to identify best practices for how journalists can debunk misinformation.

The result will be a research paper published in 2015, which will be available for free online. I will also be a launching a public-facing website where anyone can view the data being collected for the project.

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Katharine Weymouth at Poynter in 2010: ‘You just keep plugging away’

In 2010, Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth (who announced Tuesday that she’s leaving the paper) appeared at the Poynter Institute for a discussion about the book “The Edge of Change: Women in the 21st Century Press.” Weymouth spoke with audience members and Karen Dunlap, then Poynter’s president, about her role and digital changes at the Post.

Here’s a link to C-Span’s coverage of the talk.

And here are five things Weymouth said during her visit to Poynter.

1. There’s no magic bullet for the news industry:

“It’s scary from the business perspective, how do you sustain quality journalism? But the demand for news and the ability to get news is greater than ever… People write about and talk a lot about the decline of circulation of newspapers and oh my God, what’s happening?… Read more

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On ESPN, Michael Sam and anonymous sources: ‘This should be an educational moment’

Former Missouri player Michael Sam watches pregame festivities before the start of the South Dakota State-Missouri NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 30, in Columbia, Mo. Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, was released by St. Louis Rams Saturday.

Reporters can probably bench the phrase “poised to make history,” for awhile. The St. Louis Rams announced on Saturday that they cut Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player to be drafted. It’s still possible that he will become the NFL’s first openly gay player to play an NFL game, and he’s already made history. This off-season has seen its share of both on-target reporting and media misfires.

When football fans were hungry for news about who would be cut and who would still contend for spots on NFL rosters, ESPN ran a segment on Sports Center that started out being about whether Sam would make the team.… Read more

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Tomato Days, a powwow and a body building competition on front pages after Labor Day

People around the country celebrated Labor Day in their own ways yesterday, from parades to celebrations of cultures to finally cleaning out the garage (that was me.) Here’s a collection of front pages (via Newseum) that shows some of the many ways people spent their Labor Day:

From the Los Angeles Register, the Muscle Beach Labor Day Championships:

From The Pantagraph in Bloomington, Illinois, members of the League of Women Voters went retro and passed out candy to mark the 19th Amendment’s anniversary:

From Metro – New York Edition in New York, New York, the West Indian Day Parade:

In Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Tahlequah Daily Press featured the Cherokee National Holiday powwow:

Greensburg, Pennsylvania, brought out the marching band for Pittsburgh’s Labor Day Parade.… Read more

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Katharine Weymouth leaves Washington Post

The Washington Post

Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth is leaving the paper.

Former Allbritton Communications Company President Fred Ryan will replace her. A Post news alert says owner Jeff Bezos made the switch; Bezos declined to comment to the paper.

Ryan told the Post’s Craig Timberg he plans to retain Executive Editor Marty Baron and Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt.

Here’s Weymouth’s memo to staff:… Read more

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Hand reaching from the grave

How your byline could outlive you

Good morning. September. Media stories. Let’s do this.

  1. Facebook may not be publishers’ friend: Editorial decisions are increasingly replaced by Facebook’s opaque algorithm, Emily Bell writes: “Accountability is not part of Silicon Valley’s culture. But surely as news moves beyond paper and publisher, it must become so.” (The Guardian) | Related: “Get ready to see a new set of Facebook publishers who see big and mysterious traffic boosts in the near future, as Facebook rolls out its autoplaying video.” (Re/code)
  2. Who will run Condé after Si? At some point Si Newhouse will no longer run the company. Soon-to-be-former Fairchild honcho Gina Sanders is someone to watch, Joe Pompeo writes. (Capital)
  3. What you need to know about this Jennifer Lawrence nude-pictures thing: The FBI is investigating how naked photos of several celebrities ended up online.
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P-Diana

Today in media history: Continuing coverage of Princess Diana’s death and funeral

On September 2, 1997, the major news story continued to be the death of Princess Diana. She, along with her companion Dodi Fayed and their driver, were killed August 31st. They were traveling in a Paris tunnel near the Eiffel Tower. Questions arose immediately whether attempts by the paparazzi to photograph the couple may have led to their high-speed car crash. Her Westminster Abbey funeral took place on September 6th.

(Video from the BBC: “Breaking News of Lady Diana Crash”)

“Diana, Princess of Wales, was reported to have died in a road crash in France early this morning in which her close companion, Dodi Fayed, was also killed.

The accident happened as their limousine was allegedly chased through the west of Paris by paparazzi — freelance photographers — on motorbikes.

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Monday, Sep. 01, 2014

Facebook icon

How to crop photos for Facebook and adapt to the News Feed’s latest algorithm change

Lost in the noise over Facebook’s crackdown on clickbait last week was another change to the social network that could impact all news organizations: the News Feed algorithm will now favor link posts over photo posts and status updates.

When you paste a link to an article on your news organization’s page and Facebook automatically generates a preview box containing the story’s headline, a photo and other information, that’s a link post (here’s documentation on making sure the Facebook Crawler identifies the right information for the link preview). Alternatively, Facebook says, “Some publishers share links in status updates or in the text caption above photos.”

Here’s an example of a link post:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

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Bethune Cookman FIU Football

Journalists are losing access, but the public still expects the story

This weekend, Florida International University opened its 2014 football season at home in Miami against Bethune-Cookman University. The game was close, ending when FIU fumbled a field goal attempt that would have won the game as time ran out.

Pretty good game, I’m guessing. But I’m only going on the six paragraphs that ran on the Miami Herald’s website under a byline: “From Miami Herald Wire Services.”

The Herald decided not to cover the game. Why?

Because FIU refused to give a press pass to the Herald’s FIU beat reporter, David J. Neal.

In a statement issued Saturday and placed atop the Herald’s original story on the flap, FIU said:

“We did not issue a media credential to the Herald’s beat reporter because of concerns we have brought up to the Herald’s reporter and editors over the past few years about the reporter’s interactions with our student athletes, coaches, and staff and the nature of the resulting coverage.”

“As far as we can tell,” Managing Editor Rick Hirsch said in the Herald’ story, “David has done a diligent, thorough job of reporting on the Golden Panthers.… Read more

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P-Labor Day

Today in media history: ‘The Workingmen’s Picnic’ and other early Labor Day reports

What was the news coverage like for the first Labor Day celebrations? The Library of Congress and its “Chronicling America” collection gives us some newspaper examples and this description of the first parade:

On September 5, 1882, some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City to participate in America’s first Labor Day parade. After marching from City Hall, past reviewing stands in Union Square, and then uptown to 42nd Street, the workers and their families gathered in Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic, concert, and speeches. This first Labor Day celebration was eagerly organized and executed by New York’s Central Labor Union, an umbrella group made up of representatives from many local unions. Debate continues to this day as to who originated the idea of a workers’ holiday, but it definitely emerged from the ranks of organized labor at a time when they wanted to demonstrate the strength of their burgeoning movement and inspire improvements in their working conditions.

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Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

A&E Networks purchase stake in Vice Media

The Hollywood ReporterNew York Times | The Huffington Post | Financial Times |

A&E Networks will pay $250 million for a 10 percent stake in Vice Media, a deal that values the company at 2.5 billion, Paul Bond wrote in The Hollywood Reporter Friday.

Earlier in the day, Time Warner dropped its bid to purchase a stake in Vice Media, a deal reportedly fell through because the two companies could not agree how much Vice Media was worth, Jonathan Mahler wrote for The New York Times. He wrote one possible outcome for the deal might have included giving Vice control of HLN, a network owned by Time Warner that has seen flagging ratings recently.

Vice chief executive Shane Smith told Financial Times that the investment from A&E was “a great deal,” adding that it will enable the company to grow for another three years.… Read more

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Intercept redesign shows article pageview counter

The Intercept

The Intercept debuted a new look Friday, shrinking its navigation bar, adding a pageview counter and reconfiguring the homepage layout.

The new design allows readers to see more content — one prominent story and four secondary stories — without having to scroll.

Here’s a look at the transformation:

Before:

After:

The new icon next to the tally of comments for each story indicates how many pageviews the article received. The new feature is meant to help readers choose between stories, said John Cook, editor-in-chief at the Intercept.

 

“Gawker publishes traffic data, so does Business Insider,” Cook said. “It’s an easy way for readers to gauge which stories on the front page might be more interesting.

Also new is a “most popular” sidebar that stays frozen on the left side of the page as users scroll:

Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald referred to the redesign as “stage 1,” on Twitter, implying that more change might be on the way:

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