Journalists, don’t drink 140 cups of coffee in one day or you’ll die

Wall Street Journal

On Monday, Heidi Mitchell wrote “How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?” for the Wall Street Journal.

Mitchell got a pretty simple answer — 140 cups of coffee.

It is possible for a person to die from too much caffeine, “but that would mean about 14,000 milligrams, or around 140 8-ounce cups of coffee in one day,” Dr. (Matthew) Johnson says. Consuming that much would be difficult because of coffee’s self-limiting nature. “One cup makes you feel good and alert, but five cups may make you feel like your stomach is cramping,” he says. “You feel wired and you wouldn’t typically be able to go overboard.”


I know a lot of you all drink/love coffee. On Sept. 29, we celebrated National Coffee Day with a series of mug shots (I’m sorry.)

On Sept. 12, I wrote “Journalists drink more coffee than cops,” based on a study from the United Kingdom. On a sad note, on Oct. 2, Michael Barajas wrote for HoustonPress that staff at the Houston Chronicle no longer get free coffee. This summer, I also wrote about an odd PR stunt in France that put pop-up Nescafe coffee cups inside a newspaper and then encouraged readers to put that paper down and share a cup of coffee because reading a newspaper is such a lonely activity.

Nescafe clearly knows nothing of coffee or people who read newspapers. But Mitchell does. And “How Much Caffeine Too Much?” makes me feel like that third or fourth cup by 3 p.m. is not such a bad thing. Also, Mitchell reports, “caffeine intoxication” is a real thing. Read more

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Sun-Times owner says it’s imitating BuzzFeed, Deadspin with national network of news sites

Chicago Sun-Times | Robert Feder

Are you ready for The Chicago paper’s owner, Wrapports LLC, announced a “mobile-first app network” Tuesday with local editions rolling out in 70 U.S. cities and, eventually, international editions.

How looks on my phone.

How looks on my phone.

The sites will offer aggregated content from local news sources as well as from some Sun-Times writers (the Chicago edition includes links to content from the rival Chicago Tribune). It’s part of an effort to “offer content in a manner similar to websites such as Deadspin and Buzzfeed,” Wrapports’ release says.

The sites are in beta and will officially launch on Friday. The Sun-Times Network takes the place of Aggrego, the local-content initiative Wrapports launched last year, Sun-Times spokesperson Dennis Culloton tells Poynter. Tim Landon, who cofounded Classified Ventures and led Aggrego, will run the Sun-Times Network.

Wrapports chair Michael Ferro will be board chair. The launch coincides with plans “for the company to sell all of its suburban publications — including six dailies and 32 Pioneer Press weeklies — to Tribune Publishing, parent company of the Chicago Tribune,” Robert Feder writes. “That will leave the much smaller Wrapports with only the daily Sun-Times and the free weekly [Chicago] Reader.” Read more

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Washington Post announces award named for legendary editor

The Washington Post

The Washington Post announced Tuesday the creation of the “Ben Bradlee Award for Courage in Journalism,” honoring the “courageous pursuit of truth by an individual or team of Washington Post journalists,” according to an announcement from Post editor Marty Baron and publisher Fred Ryan.

The award, named for the Post editor who oversaw the expansion of the newsroom and the coverage of the paper’s famous Watergate reporting, will first be awarded in 2015, according to the announcement. It will include a cash prize.

Bradlee died last week at 93. Read more


USA Today, WSJ, NYT top U.S. newspapers by circulation

Alliance for Audited Media

The Alliance for Audited Media issued its last-ever six-month circulation report today. Here are the top newspapers in the U.S., by total average circulation in September 2014:

  1. USA Today (4,139,380)
  2. The Wall Street Journal (2,276,207)
  3. The New York Times (2,134,150)

AAM is discontinuing the print report in favor of more detailed, more frequent reports on individual titles. This edition doesn’t include comparisons to previous totals, which is kind, in a way, as rule changes have made comparisons to past performance, or other publications, increasingly difficult.

A peek behind those great numbers shows why. Let’s start with USA Today, whose Monday-Friday total average circulation rocketed 43 percent, from 2,876,586 to 4,139,380. Its average Monday-Friday print circulation dropped 17 percent over September 2013, from 1,316,865 to 1,083,200. But USA Today has used AAM rule changes to post astonishing circulation increases since this time last year: a 67 percent rise in September 2013, a 94 percent rise in March of this year. It counts digital editions and the “butterfly” editions that run in other Gannett-owned newspapers, for instance, which is part of the reason it now avers a Sunday circulation of 3,686,797 even though it doesn’t run a traditional edition that day.

The Journal actually saw a tiny increase in average Monday-Friday print circulation over September 2013 — a rise of 3,680 copies, or .27 percent. Its total average Monday-Friday circulation centimetered up to 2,276,207 from 2,273,767.

And the Times’ average Sunday print circulation fell 3.5 percent, to 1,181,160 from 1,224,069 in September 2013. Its average Monday-Friday print circulation fell 5.4 percent over the same period, to 639,887 from 676,633.

AAM cautions against making comparisons to past numbers while describing its rule changes this year. It previously allowed newspapers to count branded editions (which could be a lawn-delivered total market coverage product, or a Spanish-language edition, or in the case of The New York Times, the International New York Times) and digital nonreplica editions, which can include apps.

Just for the heck of it, here are a few more newspaper numbers:

The Washington Post’s average Sunday print circulation fell 5.7 percent, to 568,365 from 602,830 in September 2013. Its average Monday-Friday print circulation fell nearly 7 percent, to 377,466 from 405,035 over the same period. Its total average circulation on Sundays fell 3 percent, to 776,806 from 800,643.

The Los Angeles Times’ average Sunday print circulation fell 6.5 percent, to 685,473 from 733,101 in September 2013. Its average Monday-Friday print circulation fell nearly 7 percent over the same period, to 370,990 from 398,202. Its total average circulation on Sundays was very slightly up, to 965,598 from 963,751.

The Orange County Register, which has pursued a print-first strategy, saw its average Sunday print circulation rise 24 percent, 333,661 from 267,121 in September 2013. Read more


Reporter declines to reapply for her job, gets laid off

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Reporter declines to reapply for her job, gets laid off Burlington Free Press reporter Lynn Monty decided not to consummate the process of reapplying for her job last week. The Free Press, like many other Gannett papers, has asked staffers to reapply for jobs in reimagined “newsrooms of the future.” “I loved my job, but I don’t love Gannett,” Monty tells Paul Heintz. “I will make a new way for myself that doesn’t compromise my integrity.” (Seven Days)
  2. The last circulation report The Alliance for Audited Media will release its final print Snapshot report today. Because of more rule changes, “we advise against comparing year-over-year data,” AAM cautions. (AAM) | I wrote last October about how some other recent rules made comparisons difficult. (Poynter)
  3. Two attempts to explain why your friend Gordon is blue over the Jian Ghomeshi mess Canadians have an ” intrinsic and profound” relationship with the CBC, and the scandal further diminishes the institution, Adam Sternbergh writes. (Vulture) | “[T]here was once a hope that people in powerful positions were trying their best to do well by the country,” Michelle Dean writes. “That is gone, and people are, I think, sad to see that they now must extend the cynicism and bad feelings to cultural figures as well.” (Gawker)
  4. John Cantlie “reports” for Islamic State The captured British journalist appears in a package purporting to be from Kobani. (The Telegraph)
  5. The dream of an iTunes for news will never die The New York Times Co. and Axel Springer led a funding round for Blendle, a Dutch startup that sells a la carte access to articles. (Gigaom) | Blendle cofounder Alexander Klöpping “says he’s in talks with U.S. publishers (he declined to name any), which tend to have few foreign subscribers and sell ads at junk rates in countries where they don’t have a sales force.” (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  6. Reporting under duress The International Women’s Media Foundation gave Solange Lusiku Nsimire, editor-in-chief of Congo’s Le Souverain, a Courage in Journalism award last week. “I want to find shelter for my children, who are very much at risk,” she tells Eleanor Klibanoff. “But as long as democracy is not established and human rights are not respected, I feel that I need to continue reporting.” (NPR) | Related: New CPJ report shows journalists are still being killed with impunity in most parts of the world. (Poynter) | Also related: At a White House Correspondents’ Association seminar Saturday, Susan Page called the Obama administration “‘more dangerous’ to the press than any other in history.” (WP) | Also related: An Israeli border policeman shot AP photographer Majdi Mohammed with rubber bullets. (AP)
  7. FBI made a fake newspaper article “The FBI in Seattle created a fake news story on a bogus Seattle Times Web page to plant software in the computer of a suspect in a series of bomb threats to Lacey’s Timberline High School in 2007.” (Seattle Times)
  8. Papa’s peepin’ peeps The annual Spy Prom in D.C. honored Ernest Hemingway. (HuffPost) | Related: Hemingway got a Nobel on this day in 1954. (Poynter)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare The New York Daily News uses wordplay to challenge Obama’s Ebola czar.


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Sarah Lumbard is now senior digital curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Institute of Holocaust Education. Previously, she was vice president of content strategy and operations at NPR. (Poynter) | Fred Santarpia will be executive vice president and chief digital officer at Condé Nast. Previously, he was executive vice president at Condé Nast Entertainment. (Poynter) | Hassan Hamdani is editor-in-chief at HuffPost Morocco. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of TelQuel’s multimedia division. (HuffPost) | Bernardo Chévez is now vice president of technology at Hearst Magazines International. Previously, he was director of engineering at Condé Nast. (Fishbowl NY) | Job of the day: The Washington Post is looking for an editorial copy editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more


Poynter offers free training from Google

News University

The Poynter Institute Tuesday is offering a day of training on tools from Google, taught by the company’s own experts.

The training, which will be offered for free courtesy the Google for Media team, consists of six 60-minute presentations on tools including search, mapping, data and Hangouts. The sessions are designed for journalists from varied backgrounds, including video and photojournalists, writers, bloggers and producers.

Here’s the schedule:

  • 9 a.m. Google research tools (search, trends, correlate and Public Data Explorer)
  • 10:15 a.m. General mapping overview (Google Maps Engine, Maps API, Google Fusion Tables)
  • 11:15 a.m. Customs maps training (More with Google Maps Engine and Fusion Tables)
  • 1:15 p.m. Learn how to use Google Earth to supplement stories on newscasts or websites
  • 2:15 p.m. Discover how to use Google+ and Hangouts on Air to interact with audiences and create live video broadcasts
  • 3:30 p.m. Learn about best practices for using YouTube

If you’re interested, you can sign up here. Read more


Today in Media History: In 1954, a former journalist named Ernest Hemingway received the Nobel Prize for literature

“I love to write. But it has never gotten any easier to do and you can’t expect it to if you keep trying for something better than you can do.”

Ernest Hemingway, 1959

Author and journalist Ernest Hemingway received the Nobel Prize for literature on October 28, 1954.

Listen to his acceptance speech:

Ernest Hemingway was a reporter for the Kansas City Star from October 1917 to April 1918.

In 1999, the newspaper’s website created a special section in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth. This included old stories, various links, anecdotes, and a story titled, “Of ‘Star Style’ and a reporter named Hemingway.”

“And into the midst of The Star staff, in late 1917, came a youth who, when he could get away with it, wore a red and black checkered hunting shirt to work. Old timers frowned on such dress.

But the young reporter worked outside the office most of the time. His name was Ernest Hemingway.

….Ernest Hemingway came to The Star as a big, round-faced boy of 18 with limitless energy, and a desire to be in the thick of the action whether a shooting scrape or chasing ambulances. Hemingway worked at the paper for seven months. In late April 1918, he and Ted Brumback, another Star reporter, joined an ambulance unit in Italy.”

“After returning from World War I, Ernest Hemingway moved to Toronto and began writing for the Toronto Star. He worked there from 1920 to 1924 and some 70 of his articles have been archived online in an attractive new website, the Hemingway Papers. At first Hemingway was a stringer and later he wrote as a staff writer, under the byline Ernest M. Hemingway.

….He went on to write for the Star about boxing and trout fishing and organized crime in Chicago. By 1922 Hemingway had moved to Paris with his wife and sent dispatches that anticipated the themes of the novels that would make him famous.”

— “Archive of Hemingway’s Newspaper Reporting Reveals Novelist in the Making
Open Culture, May 16, 2012

“During most of the past twelve months, Ernest Hemingway has been reporting the Spanish war for the North American Newspaper Alliance. As we did in our issue of May 5, 1937, we present below selected passages from several of his recent dispatches. They have already been printed in various newspapers affiliated with the Alliance, but such publication has often been incomplete because of lack of space.”

– The Editors, The New Republic, January 12, 1938
“Hemingway Reports Spain”
(Click here for the stories)

Silent color film footage of Hemingway and photojournalist Robert Capa at Mont Saint Michel in France during World War II:

“No American writer is more associated with writing about war in the early 20th century than Ernest Hemingway. He experienced it firsthand, wrote dispatches from innumerable frontlines, and used war as a backdrop for many of his most memorable works.

….In 1944 he returned to Europe to witness key moments in World War II, including the D-day landings. He was 44 at the time and, comparing his photograph on his Certificate of Identity of Noncombatant to the portrait of the young 19-year-old who volunteered in World War I, one notices how distinguished the internationally renowned author had become in those 25 years.

Hemingway accompanied American troops as they stormed to shore on Omaha Beach — though as a civilian correspondent he was not allowed to land himself. Weeks later he returned to Normandy, attaching himself to the 22nd Regiment commanded by Col. Charles ‘Buck’ Lanham as it drove toward Paris (whose liberation he would later witness and write about).”

— “Hemingway on War and Its Aftermath
National Archives, 2006

And finally, here is a short video biography about the author and journalist Ernest Hemingway.

Read more

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 6.24.44 AM

CPJ: In almost all cases, journalists are still being killed with no consequences

On Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report entitled “The Road to Justice: Breaking the Cycle of Impunity In the Killing of Journalists.”

Toward the end of the report there’s an index. It comprises seven pages with the names of journalists killed with full or partial impunity. Those first two lists contain 361 names.

The third list, with the names of those whose killers were prosecuted, has just nine names.

CPJ started its Impunity Index in 2008, according to the report. It started counting and investigating the murder of journalists in 1992.

The numbers paint a shocking picture. In the decade from 2004 through 2013, 370 journalists have been murdered in direct retaliation for their work. The vast majority were local journalists reporting on corruption, crime, human rights, politics and war, among other issues of vital importance to their societies. In 90 percent of all these cases there has been total impunity—no arrests, no prosecutions, no convictions. In some cases, the assassin or an accomplice has been convicted; in only a handful is the mastermind of the crime brought to justice.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.36.45 AM

Iraq, Somalia, Russia, Mexico, and the Philippines are among the countries highlighted in the report, according to a press release about the report from CPJ.

It also highlights countries that are starting to show improvements — Colombia and Brazil, for example — and the challenges they continue to face. The report explores the reasons behind impunity—conflict, corruption, weak institutions — but makes the case that a lack of political will is the most prevalent impediment to justice. This is particularly apparent in the high number of cases in which suspects are political or military officials or other powerful figures who wield economic or political power in their communities — and in the fact that those who commissioned the murders of journalists are rarely brought to justice.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.36.55 AM

The report includes several group-specific recommendations on how to protect journalists, what works and what doesn’t work in making change, and a few recommendations for journalists themselves.

To local and international journalists

• Monitor and report on implementation of key international commitments to combat impunity, particularly the U.N. Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity and the UNGA resolution on the safety of journalists.

• Investigate and report on issues of anti-press violence, including individual attacks, threats, and harassment, regardless of the victim’s media affiliation.

You can find the full report here. Read more


Monday, Oct. 27, 2014

Sarah Lumbard leaves NPR

Sarah Lumbard, NPR’s vice president of content strategy and operations, has left the organization, continuing an exodus from NPR’s leadership ranks since the appointment of CEO Jarl Mohn in May.

Lumbard, whose last day was Friday, will start Dec. 3 as senior digital curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Institute of Holocaust Education, according to Mike Abramowitz, the institute’s director.

The move comes just a few weeks after Mohn announced a shakeup of NPR’s upper ranks that included the departure of Lumbard’s boss, chief content officer Kinsey Wilson. After the reorganization, Lumbard and the teams she managed began reporting to Loren Mayor, who was named the organization’s chief operating officer, according to an email from Isabel Lara, NPR’s director of media relations.

Two other executives that used to report to Wilson now are now under Mayor: Zach Brand, vice president of digital media and Bob Kempf, vice president of digital services.

In addition to Wilson and Lumbard, two marquee names from NPR have announced their intention to leave the organization in recent months. In July, Margaret Low Smith, senior vice president for programming, moved to Atlantic Media to become vice president of the Atlantic’s live events division. Ellen McDonnell, NPR’s executive editor for news programming, said Sept. 4 she would leave the company in December after nearly 35 years.

Lumbard spearheaded a number of projects at NPR, including a series of “mini-retreats” that led to digital initiatives including include NPR One, the organization’s new radio app, Lara said. She also managed the budget of NPR’s content division and guided cooperation for several big projects, including the Planet Money T-shirt Kickstarter.

In her new role at the National Institute of Holocaust Education, she’ll be running a digital unit responsible for creating new Holocaust education resources. Read more

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Reporter gets joke into cemetery story

The Telegraph

The first letters in each paragraph of Joe Kovac Jr.’s Oct. 26 story in The (Macon, Georgia) Telegraph about a cemetery tour spell “A Good Time Was Had by All.”

Kovac had placed a bet on Twitter that he’d get away with the caper:

This past April Kovac called out The Daily Mail for fabricating a courtroom scene at a trial he covered. The Mail later changed its story. Read more


Another executive out at Condé Nast

Continuing the shakeup of its leadership team, Condé Nast announced Monday the departure of chief technology officer Joe Simon.

In the announcement of Simon’s departure (full announcement below), the company said Condé Nast Entertainment executive vice president Fred Santarpia will become executive vice president and chief digital officer of Condé Nast. In his new role, Santarpia will be “responsible for building and executing the company’s enterprise-wide strategy across digital, mobile and emerging platforms.”

Simon is the latest executive to leave the media company, which has seen a remaking of its executive team in recent months. In July, chief financial officer John Bellando was replaced by former Time Inc. executive David Geithner; Thomas Wallace, the company’s editorial director, also left. August saw the departure of Lou Cona, Condé’s chief revenue officer; he was replaced by Vanity Fair publisher Edward Menicheschi.

In his new role, Menicheschi will be in charge of Condé Nast’s digital sales organization, according to the announcement.

Here’s the full announcement:

Robert A. Sauerberg, Condé Nast president, today appointed Fred Santarpia, executive vice president and chief digital officer of Condé Nast. In this newly created role, Mr. Santarpia will be responsible for building and executing the company’s enterprise-wide strategy across digital, mobile and emerging platforms to expand the reach of its brands, strengthen its marketing offerings, and deepen its relationship with consumers across all of the connected devices audiences are accessing to engage with the corporation’s premium content.

Mr. Santarpia assumes this role after having served for the past two years as EVP and CDO of Condé Nast Entertainment, where he and his team launched 14 fully distributed video channels and operates The Scene, a platform dedicated to creating and curating premium digital video content. Set to hit 1.5 billion video views across its network since launching last year, CNÉ was named comScore’s fastest-growing video company in 2013.

“The success of the company’s digital video strategy is a testament to Fred’s leadership and the hard work of the digital team at CNÉ,” said Mr. Sauerberg. “With this appointment, we look to Fred to extend his strong digital vision to the rest of the company.”

“Demand for premium digital content has never been greater,” added Mr. Santarpia. “I look forward to expanding the scope and depth of Condé Nast’s digital experiences to take advantage of the current opportunity and the trends in the marketplace.”

Prior to joining CNÉ, Mr. Santarpia was general manager of Vevo, a leading digital music video and entertainment company. He was part of Vevo’s founding leadership team and served as head of all operations responsible for audience development and video syndication, social media and marketing strategy, revenue operations, and Vevo’s original content and programming teams. Mr. Santarpia has also held senior level positions at Universal Music Group and Arthur Andersen.

A new general manager of digital video will be named shortly by Dawn Ostroff, president of CNÉ.

The company today, also announced the restructuring of its digital sales organization under Edward Menicheschi, chief marketing officer and president of the Condé Nast Media Group. Effective immediately, Lisa Valentino will expand her current role as chief revenue officer at CNÉ to lead digital sales for the company enterprise-wide. Reporting dually to Mr. Menicheschi and Ms. Ostroff, in this new role, Ms. Valentino will partner with Josh Stinchcomb, who was named senior vice president of sales strategy. In this new capacity, he will oversee brand-related efforts, advertising and revenue operations and partnerships.

“The growth we have seen in digital has been nothing short of extraordinary, capturing the imaginations of the ad industry,” said Mr. Menicheschi. “With Lisa and Josh leading our digital operations, Condé Nast will lead the charge in the premium digital space.”

With the changes in the company’s digital structure, Joe Simon, chief technology officer, will leave the company.

Read more
Jian Ghomeshi

Toronto Star investigated sex allegations against Jian Ghomeshi

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Jian Ghomeshi leaves CBC under dramatic circumstances: The broadcaster fired the host, whose show “Q” has gained a foothold below the 49th parallel as well, citing “information” it had received about him. (CBC) | “Over the past few months the Star has approached Ghomeshi with allegations from three young women, all about 20 years his junior, who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the lead-up to sexual encounters.” (Toronto Star) | Ghomeshi acknowledges his “tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks” and says an ex-girlfriend launched a “campaign of harassment, vengeance and demonization against me” and that one person “began colluding with a freelance writer who was known not to be a fan of mine and, together, they set out to try to find corroborators to build a case to defame me.” (Jian Ghomeshi’s Facebook) | Canadaland’s Jesse Brown says he’s been working with the Toronto Star investigating Ghomeshi. “I don’t have any interest in celebrity gossip … this was something serious, something that I felt very strongly needed to be reported. .. This whole thing has a ways to go.” (Canadaland) | Carla Ciccone “was harassed and ridiculed by Ghomeshi fans after she published a thinly disguised account of a sexual encounter with the host on XO Jane last summer.” (Gawker)
  2. Why publishers are scared of Facebook: The company wants to help publishers crack mobile, maybe even host publishers’ pages and split ad revenue, David Carr writes. The big question: “Is the coming contest between platforms and publishing companies an existential threat to journalism?” Atlantic Media owner David Bradley tells Carr. (NYT) | Sam Kirkland wrote earlier this month about how Facebook news partnerships head Liz Heron “answered for a litany of perceived sins and slights” at ONA. (Poynter) | Ravi Somaiya: “Numerous publications, including The New York Times, have met with Facebook officials to discuss how to improve their referral traffic.” (NYT)
  3. Philly papers won’t make endorsement in governor’s race: Owner Gerry Lenfest writes, “Instead of an endorsement for governor, I asked the editorial boards of both The Inquirer and the Daily News to provide a summary of where the candidates stand on the critical issues facing the state, as well as the positions each paper has taken on those issues, and then let the voters decide who they think is most qualified.” ( | Joel Mathis: “Through all the battles … of recent years, the Inquirer and its journalists have persistently strived to maintain a reputation as a strong, independent voice in the city. Sunday’s non-endorsement undermines that effort. Sometimes it’s better to take a stand.” (Philadelphia) | Lenfest is among the top donors to Gov. Tom Corbett, who is running for reelection. (AP) | Related: The Boston Globe endorsed — gasp — a Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. (The Boston Globe) | Dan Kennedy collects the times the newspaper has endorsed Republicans. (Media Nation)
  4. Reddit’s racism problem: “A persistent, organized and particularly hateful strain of racism has emerged on the site,” Jason Abbruzzese writes. “Enabled by Reddit’s system and permitted thanks to its fervent stance against any censorship, it has proven capable of overwhelming the site’s volunteer moderators and rendering entire subreddits unusable.” (Mashable)
  5. Obama doesn’t watch cable news: “I have spent, you know, countless hours with him on Air Force One, especially, in the conference room where we always had the TV on, and it was never in any of the trips I ever took with him, tuned in to cable news,” Jay Carney tells Brian Stelter. (TVNewser)
  6. Chicago mural honors James Foley: A group of his friends “wanted the mural to be near Cafe Jumping Bean, the 18th Street coffee shop where Foley spent time writing and working,” Stephanie Lulay reports. (DNAinfo) | The horrors he and others experienced during their capitivity. (NYT)
  7. News orgs want access to Sayreville hearings: “The media organizations argue that allowing the public access to the case will provide an outlet ‘for community concern’ in the highly charged case. (AP)
  8. Headline of the day: “World Series National Anthem Botched By That Asshole From Staind” (Deadspin)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: Canada’s National Post fronts the Ghomeshi mess with a very good headline: “World War Q.” (Courtesy Newseum)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Sam Biddle will be a senior writer at Gawker. Previously, he was co-editor of Valleywag. Nitasha Tiku, the publication’s other top editor, “will be taking over Biddle’s responsibilities.” (Business Insider) | Polina Marinova is now associate editor of audience engagement at Fortune. Previously, she was social media editor at OZY Media. (@polina_marinova) | Karen Leigh is now deputy Middle East bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal. Previously, she was managing editor of Syria Deeply. (@raju) | Rachel Orr will be a mobile designer at The Washington Post. Previously, she was a page designer at Express. (The Washington Post) | Stephen Bohner is now a mobile producer at The Washington Post. Previously, he was an online producer for The Arizona Republic (The Washington Post) | Kyle Brinkman has been named news director for KLFY in Lafayette, Louisiana. Previously, he was news director for WEAR in Pensacola, Florida. Andrea Clenney will be news director for WLTZ in Columbus, Georgia. Previously, she was news director for WCJB in Gainesville, Florida. Jennifer Rigby is vice president of special projects for The Weather Channel. Previously, she was vice president of live programming there. Leesa Dillon is now senior executive producer at WGCL in Atlanta. Previously, she was senior executive producer at KCTV in Kansas City. (Rick Geevers) | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is looking for an online news editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more

P-CBS Reports

Today in Media History: Remembering the “CBS Reports” documentary “Harvest of Shame”

On October 27, 1959, the CBS News documentary series, “CBS Reports,” premiered.

Screenshot from "CBS Reports" documentary

Screenshot from “CBS Reports” documentary

The most memorable program from the series may have been the 1960 documentary, “Harvest of Shame.”

“’CBS Reports’ was a documentary program series inaugurated on October 27, 1959, in the aftermath of the quiz show scandals. Executive producer Fred Friendly (Edward R. Murrow’s colleague on the ‘See It Now’ series) once suggested that the program was an attempt by CBS to undo the damage caused by the quiz show scandals and the resulting investigations. Friendly, who was executive producer for the new program later became the president of CBS News.

“’CBS Reports’ continued as a regular series for seven years, producing 146 hour-long investigative documentaries….Some shows caused controversy; many achieved critical acclaim.”

— “Encyclopedia of Television News

Screenshot from "CBS Reports" documentary

Screenshot from “CBS Reports” documentary

Here is a link to excerpts from the “Harvest of Shame” documentary. And this link is for the entire program.

“In the world of journalism, CBS’ Peabody Award-winning documentary ‘Harvest of Shame’ is considered a milestone for its unflinching examination of the plight of migrant farmworkers in the United States. The CBS investigative report was the first time millions of Americans were given a close look at what it means to live in poverty. The producers — Fred Friendly, Edward R. Murrow and David Lowe — made no secret of their goal: They wanted to shock Americans into action. To maximize its impact, CBS aired the documentary — about the people who pick fruits and vegetables — the day after Thanksgiving. Murrow, perhaps the most recognized journalist of the day, delivered their message with a sense of urgency. ‘We present this report on Thanksgiving because, were it not for the labor of the people you are going to meet, you might not starve, but your table would not be laden with the luxuries that we have all come to regard as essentials,’ he said in his narration.

….The day after it aired, The New York Times’ review said ‘Harvest of Shame’ was ‘uncompromising in its exposure of filth, despair and grinding poverty that are the lot of the migratory workers.’ Former CBS News anchor and correspondent Dan Rather told NPR, ‘Nobody but nobody had taken an hour to do this kind of expose.’ He describes the tone as ‘somber’ and the style as ‘part expose journalism, part a deep-digging, investigative report.’”

— “In Confronting Poverty, ‘Harvest Of Shame’ Reaped Praise And Criticism
NPR, May 31, 2014

The theme music for “CBS Reports” was Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” adaption of “Simple Gifts.” Although this is not the “CBS Reports” version, here is the 1945 Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of music:

Read more


Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Internships cause plenty of hardship and woe

Bad internships are like ill-fated summer romances: You go into them with an open heart and all the hope in the world, only to find out after three sizzling months they were using you the whole time.

I’ve been fortunate in my fledgling career — and my love life — to steer clear of these summertime abusers. But like almost everyone working in journalism, I endured my fair share of harrowing situations while I was still figuring out which end of the pencil was up.

In the hopes of finding comfort in shared misery, I sent out a few tweets yesterday looking to hear about your worst internship stories. Here’s what you wrote back, on Twitter and through email:

Steve Rhodes wrote in with this story about receiving a cold welcome when he arrived for his first day of work:

When I arrived from Minnesota for an internship at the New Haven Register in the summer of 1988, I did as instructed and walked up the city desk on my first day to introduce myself. “Hi, I’m the new summer intern,” I said. The editors looked at me and each other and then one said, “What intern?” Apparently the managing editor of the paper, who hired me, hadn’t told anyone I’d be arriving. I was dispatched to a bureau in the middle of nowhere to basically rot for the summer. At least I survived longer than the managing editor, who was fired midway through my stay there.

Poynter reader Robin Roger sent these stories from her business reporting internship at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

I was so nervous/excited on my first day, that I got to the parking garage 30 minutes early. I walked around the building a bit before realizing that I was supposed to park in another garage to get reimbursed. When I made it back to the original garage, I realized I had locked my keys in the car, and my car had been blocking the entrance to the parking garage for 15 or 20 minutes! Needless to say the guys at the garage weren’t happy with me. I called a locksmith, and they were there in minutes to extricate my key. I ended up being only 5 minutes late to my first day on the job, but I was a sweaty, nervous mess, not the calm, cool collected intern I was when I first arrived.

This one is more directly related to reporting:

I was sent out to interview customers of a locally owned pharmacy that was being bought by the Eckerd chain. The Eckerd folks didn’t want me interviewing in the store, so I was approaching people in the parking lot. I didn’t get a lot of cooperation, and one woman who seemed very suspicious even asked me “How do I even know you’re with the newspaper?!” I realized at that point I had rushed out the door, forgetting to bring my hangtag ID, so I had no proof that I worked for the paper. I never left the office again without it.

And one more:

When China changed the way it links its currency to the U.S. dollar, I was sent to a Walmart parking lot to interview customers about how this might affect them. I had to take this very complex economic concept, explain it to people in a Walmart parking lot and then ask them how it might affect their purchasing decisions. It was a longshot at best. I got comments like “I buy all my underwear at Walmart, and I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else.” I got stuck in rush hour traffic for hours, and ended up having to call in the quotes I had gathered. I was also asked to purchase items made in China for a photo to go with the article, and when I came back with a wide variety of items, I was told by the editor that that’s not what he was looking for. He wanted me to bring back the “cheap plastic crap” that they make. I had to tell him they make a lot more than that! I ended up getting to share a byline on the front page for the story, so that made it all worthwhile.

Former Buffalo News intern Brandon Schlager wrote in with this stemwinder about driving through a blizzard to interview for his internship:

My story takes place in January 2014. To appreciate the importance of the setting in relation to the narrative, you must first understand that January in Buffalo inherently means lots of ice, plenty of cold and, well, you know … snow. Buffalo sometimes gets a worse rap for its weather than it deserves, but this particular winter lived up to (and probably exceeded) the stereotypes — two blizzards in a two-month span, the first of which made its way into town late on Jan. 6.

The next morning, Jan. 7, is when I was scheduled to interview for an intern position. I remember waking up, ignorant to the warnings heeded by weathermen the night before. And with no one having called to postpone the interview, I stubbornly set out on my trek to the newsroom in downtown Buffalo (I am from a Buffalo suburb about 15 minutes away), paying no mind to the 30-50 mph winds and the minus 28 degree wind chill that came along with it.

The snow is hardly a deterrent for Buffalonians when it comes to driving. Navigating the flurries becomes second nature in time. So no big deal. The drive was a bit trickier than usual, but I made it to One News Plaza with 15 minutes to spare, proud of my punctuality. I won’t soon forget the look I received when I told the receptionist I had arrived to interview for an internship.

She said something along the lines of, “You could have been two hours late and I don’t think anyone would have blamed you for it.”

When I met with my interviewer, he was quick to share that the newsroom was particularly hectic because many of the reporters couldn’t make it into the office that day. They were stuck at home.

Twelve to 18 inches of snow fell before Jan. 7 ran its course. The Sabres-Hurricanes hockey game scheduled for that night was cancelled. It was the first technical blizzard in Buffalo in 20 years, since 1993. Another one followed in March. We had a great run.

Long story short, the interviews went well, I got the position and enjoyed a great (and sunny) summer with The Buffalo News.

Do you have any terrible internship stories you’d like to be included here? Send me an email at, and I’ll add it to the article. Read more

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Canadian ban on printing Rehtaeh Parsons’ name extends to advertisements, family finds

Canada won’t allow its journalists to print Rehtaeh Parsons’ name, because she was a victim of child pornography. That ban extends to advertising, too, one of Parsons’ family members has found, even if an ad only includes what could be considered an oblique reference to the court case that invoked the publication ban.

Rehtaeh Parsons (Photograph courtesy Courtesy Glen Canning and Leah Parsons)

Rehtaeh Parsons (Photograph courtesy Courtesy Glen Canning and Leah Parsons)

Rehtaeh Parsons died last year, and last month a young man pleaded guilty to taking a photograph that led to her being bullied and tormented. But Nova Scotia media could only refer to the plea as being in conjunction with a “high-profile child pornography case.”

Rehtaeh Parsons’ uncle, Jim Canning, tried to place an ad in Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Chronicle Herald, the largest newspaper in the province, to make the connection between the conviction and his niece. But the paper refused, concerned such an ad would violate the publication ban.

“I was pretty disappointed,” Jim Canning said. “We just wanted to say ‘Rehtaeh Parsons is her name.’ That’s it. We would have been fine with that.”

Rehtaeh Parsons’ case attained worldwide notoriety last April, when she committed suicide after months of cyber-bullying. Her ordeal began after a photo got shared of her leaning out a window puking while a boy penetrated her from behind.

She claimed she was raped by this boy and three others, but the boys say the sex was consensual and occurred at an alcohol-fueled party.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia investigated the matter for several months but never seized the boys’ cellphones and didn’t speak to the accused for 10 months. When the police finally took their evidence to the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service, the Crown Attorney that reviewed the file refused to prosecute because she didn’t think the likelihood of a conviction was high enough.

After Rehtaeh’s death, her mother, Leah, turned to social media to tell her daughter’s story. The hacker collective Anonymous got involved and intense pressure from them, the public, and the provincial government prompted the police to re-open the case.

New evidence turned up and was given to Halifax police, who laid charges in August 2013 — but not for sexual assault. They charged two boys: one with production and distribution of child pornography and one with distribution of child pornography.

There is a statutory ban on the naming of victims in child pornography cases in Canada, yet the media continued to name Rehtaeh Parsons until April 2014, when Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Jamie Campbell ordered the ban. Rehtaeh’s parents opposed the order, as did Alex Smith, an Ontario Crown Prosecutor brought in to handle the case.

Four Nova Scotia media outlets hired lawyer Nancy Rubin to fight the ban, but Campbell said the statute gave him no leeway. Because the law protects the victims of child pornography, he was not prepared to forge a ruling that could be misconstrued in the future.

Martin Herschorn, Nova Scotia’s Director of Public Prosecutions, and Lena Metlege Diab, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia, said they couldn’t promise to not prosecute any journalists who broke the ban until it was violated.

That presented media outlets with a perfect Catch-22: The media couldn’t name Rehtaeh Parsons, and the only way to create a legal path to use her name in covering this case was for a journalist to break the law.

Rehtaeh Parsons’ parents openly flouted the ban. They started a social media campaign and made T-shirts and buttons with the slogan “Rehtaeh Parsons is her name.”

I broke the ban on my blog, and other media outlets picked up the story including Slate, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and the BBC.

But no mainstream Canadian media followed, which is why Rehtaeh Parsons’ uncle, Jim Canning, took it upon himself to try to place an ad in The Chronicle Herald.

He sent the paper the copy he wanted in the ad:

Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons.
She was raped at 15.
She was bullied and died by suicide at 17.
And then we banned her name.

The Chronicle Herald objected to the last line referencing the ban and asked Canning if he would remove it. He said yes, and then the ad got reviewed again.

“They were still too worried about it, even though basically at this point it’s just saying her name,” said Canning.

He said the advertising executive he was speaking with told him “it’s kind of implied that you’re talking about the ban,” Canning said. “I thought that was just ridiculous.”

Chronicle Herald Associate Publisher Ian Thompson told me it was purely a legal issue for the paper.

“We got advice to say that we would be in violation of the ban if we ran that ad,” Thompson said. “We would have been happy to run the ad, but we don’t want to run afoul of the law.”

Days after rejecting Canning’s ad the Herald ran a story by The Canadian Press on Oct. 1 in which it named Rehtaeh Parsons.

“We’ve run her name many times, but it’s in the context of that particular court action where the ban comes into play,” Thompson said.

When asked how the wire story about an anti-cyberbullying curriculum was different than the ad proposed by Canning, Thompson said when it comes to the law “there are often gray areas, and that’s why there are lawyers.”

Put simply, the Herald asked these questions when considering Canning’s ad: “Would it be seen by the court as an attempt to overcome what Judge Campbell had said and was this an attempt to do from the back door what the court said you can’t do in the front door?” Thompson said.

Toronto lawyer Brian Rogers says you have to consider Jim Canning’s intent, which Rogers says is to get around the ban.

Photograph courtesy Glen Canning and Leah Parson

Photograph courtesy Glen Canning and Leah Parson

“Even taking that last line out, that’s still the intended purpose of the ad,” Rogers said. Even though the CP story mentions that Rehtaeh was the victim of cyber-bullying, and that this entailed the taking and distribution of the photograph, which is the crux of the child-pornography case, it’s different.

“I can appreciate that some people may scratch their heads and wonder about the distinction, but it is one,” Rogers said.

Rogers stressed that he wasn’t prepared to second-guess the advice the Chronicle Herald received, but he does understand the basis on which they made their decision.

“It’s clear that the intent of the ad is to subvert the ban, whereas the other is an article talking about cyber-bullying legislation,” he said.

He also agreed that the words in the ad, which echo those in the social media campaign by Glen Canning and Leah Parsons – an open defiance of the ban – would also be a factor worth considering.

“This is by no means a simple black-and-white situation and you would take into account all kinds of factors,” Rogers said. “It’s really a matter for the client to decide what risk they are prepared to take. There are circumstances in which clients are more prepared to take risks than others.”

In this case, The Chronicle Herald decided it wasn’t prepared to take the risk.

“Lawyers are always going to take the most risk-averse approach to most things, so the advice isn’t surprising,” Jim Canning said. “But when you make business decisions or moral decisions, you don’t just solely base it off of what your lawyer tells you or no one would ever do anything.”

Two Chronicle Herald journalists, Selena Ross and Frances Willick, shared a national newspaper award for their investigative work into the Rehtaeh Parsons case, so it’s unfortunate that their coverage has been hampered by this ban.

“I do personally hope the ban won’t be enforced and that we can get away from this stilted, ineffective coverage,” Ross said.

Thompson said, “Rehtaeh Parsons’ name will appear in our newspaper again – obviously.”

It’s a name that carries power and brings weight to any discussion about sexual consent, cyber-bullying or suicide prevention, Canning said.

“I think the name is important, just like my brother [Rehtaeh's father, Glen] does,” Canning said. “I just wanted to kind of make a statement: ‘Don’t forget her.’ Read more