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WSJ has a F – - – - – - great time covering Reds manager’s rant

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal sports columnist Jason Gay made delightful use of dozens of F-words in his column Wednesday night, lampooning Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price for his scatalogical tirade against the press.

Except, Gay didn’t swear. Rather than stoop to profanity, he teamed up with the Journal’s graphics team to create an interactive feature that replaces redacted F-bombs with other words starting with “F” as the user mouses over them:

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 11.47.50 AM

Here’s that same sample, with the redacted words in parenthesis:

Price was in a discussion with reporters when he lost his (fifty-two-year-old) mind. He seemed (furiously) upset! I wanted to give him a (friendly) hug and a piece of funnel cake. That (funnel) cake can really (fill) me up, but it’s (freaky) good.

Nieman Lab’s Joseph Lichterman notes that the Wall Street Journal swapped the interactive for an old-fashioned key in the ink-and-paper version of this morning’s paper.

The normally demure Wall Street Journal generally avoids using “impolite words,” but it did print the word “ass” in a profane context last March. Read more


NYT names 3 senior vice presidents for advertising

Less than a week into her new gig as chief revenue officer for The New York Times, Meredith Kopit Levien has already started making some changes.

This morning, the company announced that Levien has appointed three senior vice presidents for advertising, firming up the business-side leadership team as she begins her new duties.

The new announcement increases the responsibilities of Levien’s deputies. Sebastian Tomich, formerly a vice president of advertising and branded content at The Times, becomes a senior vice president in charge of advertising and innovation. In his new role, he will work with the company’s product and ad product teams to guide its ad innovation while continuing his leadership of T Brand Studio, the company’s native advertising shop.

Brendan Monaghan, currently publisher at T Magazine, becomes senior vice president of advertising and gains an expanded ad portfolio. He will retain his publisher duties.

JC Demarta, formerly vice president of global advertising, also becomes a senior vice president. He will continue to lead the company’s global advertising efforts. Read more


Despite downturn, journalists still prefer to not use press releases

Stock Image by Deposit Photo

Stock Image by Deposit Photo

As American newsrooms have shrunk, reporters are increasingly shills for the dubious declarations of public officials.

Or, ah, is it all rather more complicated?

Research by a Georgia Southern University political scientist is suggesting that despite obvious trends in newsroom resources, there’s not necessarily any sharp hike in reporters being mere putty in the hands of politicians.

Michael Romano outlined a study of 10,000 congressional press releases to a small group at a large international academic gathering in Chicago last week. This constitutes the first real public disclosure of his paper, “Ventriloquism or an Echo Chamber? Measuring the Strength of House Members’ Rhetoric in Local Newspapers.”

He concludes that journalists come off far more as autonomous agents with their own standards than “ventriloquist dummies” blindly running with politicians’ claims.

“The notion that the press can’t come up with its own stories, and just acts as a propaganda arm, is a myth,” he said during a phone conversation Wednesday in which he elaborated on his research.

Romano randomly selected 60 congressmen who served in the 111th Congress, namely the two-year period of 2009-2010.

He utilized their websites and “used a computer script I had to scrape nearly everything from their websites,” meaning he’s pretty sure he got all their releases.

He then focused on newspapers in a congressman’s district and relied on the same plagiarism detection software that some teachers use for scrutinizing essays to determine if a student is cheating.

He analyzed similarities between stories found on a paper’s website and its print edition, on one hand, and the press release itself when a story referenced the congressman and the topic of the press release, including any quotes from the congressman found in the release.

“Once you run that analysis, you had to make sure things matched up the right way,” he said. “I looked at any apparent matches between the two [story and press release].”

Some releases, of course, got no attention. On the high end, when one was seemingly utilized, it was used about 57 percent of the time. Inspection of those helps to explain Romano’s assessment that “well-written releases that cater to a general audience do get used more often.”

Romano conceded that when he started off, he assumed that because of the media industry’s downturn, financially stretched newsrooms meant that “journalists would need these releases more often and more often prove uncritical.”

There is, he noted, a “huge literature” in the academic world about the press being distinctly uncritical and the subsequent dangers for democracy.

“But in the realm of this sample, it’s not something that plays out. I fully assumed that I would find more of the herd journalist, or the propaganda arm concept.”

“I was surprise, quite honesty, by what I did find,” he said. Even if what he deems well-crafted releases were used in some fashion by local papers, “that is not to say that a journalist is basically taking everything and not writing their own story.”

Ultimately, he doesn’t deny that newsroom declines impact quality or that politicians can hold sway over reporters in a world where fact checking is not reflexive and rampant. And he doesn’t deny, either, that larger papers can resist the pressures to be pawns far more often than smaller ones.

“Having a D.C. bureau thus makes it easier not to rely on a release,” said Romano, whose academic work focuses mostly on American political institutions and mass media.

Still, when assessing where his study fits into conflicting past academic models of media behavior, his conclusion suggest “more of a symbiotic relationship than a puppet, ventriloquist act.”

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Ventriloquism or an Echo Chamber? Measuring the Strength of House Members’ Rhetoric in Local Newspapers. (PDF)

Ventriloquism or an Echo Chamber? Measuring the Strength of House Members’ Rhetoric in Local Newspapers. (Text)
Read more

Sports writers snubbed by the Pulitzer committee, again

Pulitzer_Medal_color300dpiDave Anderson never expected the call. In 1981, the New York Times sports columnist learned he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

“It really came as a surprise,” Anderson said. “I didn’t even know I was nominated.”

Anderson, now 85 and still churning out the occasional column for the Times, recalled his big honor Monday just minutes before the announcement of the 2015 Pulitzer Prizes. He had hoped the list of winners would include someone from his old press box gang, but he knew it was a long shot.

“They don’t pick many people from sports,” Anderson said.

Indeed, it was another year when sports were snubbed by the Pulitzers. The sportswriters went 0 for 14 in the Pulitzer’s journalism categories. There was only one sports-related story among the finalists: Walt Bogdanich and Mike McIntire of the New York Times in national reporting for stories exposing preferential police treatment for Florida State football players who are accused of sexual assault and other criminal offenses.

Anderson remains a member of a very small fraternity of Pulitzer Prize-winning sports reporters and columnists. Only three columnists have been cited: Besides Anderson, Arthur Daley of the New York Times [1956], Red Smith of the New York Times [1976] and Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times [1990].

On the reporting side in recent years, George Dohrmann of the St. Paul Pioneer Press won in 2000 for his reports of fraud in the Minnesota basketball program. Ira Berkow shared the 2001 Pulitzer for national reporting for his article “The Minority Quarterback” in a New York Times series on race in America.

The next sports Pulitzer winner wasn’t until 2013 when John Branch of the New York Times won for feature writing for a story on skiers killed in an avalanche. Sara Ganim and the Harrisburg Patriot-News were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for their terrific coverage of the Jerry Sandusky saga. Ganim, though, wasn’t a sportswriter and the mess at Penn State went way beyond the realm of a sports story.

Based on basically the once-in-a-decade trend, the next Pulitzer winner to come from sports might not occur until the 2020s. George Solomon, who was the long-time sports editor for the Washington Post, calls the Pulitzer situation “distressing” as it relates to sports.

“Sports have been underrepresented by the Pulitzer committee,” said Solomon, the director of the Shirley Povich Center for sports journalism at Maryland. “There have been many terrific investigative stories coming from sports, such as on concussions and college sports. You have great narratives and profiles about people and institutions. I don’t think [the committee respects] sports as much as other subject matters in journalism.”

A case in point are the sports columnists. Certainly legends such as Povich, Grantland Rice and Jimmy Cannon, giants among giants, were more than worthy of winning the Pulitzer. And the fact that Smith and Murray had to wait until they were so deep into their careers is absolutely absurd.

Since Murray, in 1990, it now is 25 years since a sports columnist won a Pulitzer for commentary. Meanwhile, numerous columnists and critics from other sections have been recognized.

“When you think of the number of great sports columnists, it is quite remarkable that there haven’t been more winners,” Solomon said.

Anderson, the Pulitzer winner, offered a solution to get more recognition for sports.

“Shouldn’t [the Pulitzers] have a sports category?” Anderson said.

Then Anderson thought about his idea for a moment.

“Well, maybe that would cheapen it because somebody would get picked every year,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s idea actually exists for other elements of reporting. There are Pulitzer categories for criticism and editorial writing. In his book, “Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter,” Frank Deford, writing about the lack of award recognition for sports, bemoaned the fact that there is a Pulitzer for editorial cartooning.

Deford writes: “Hey, I love political cartoonists. But how many of them are there left? What? Two dozen? And how many newspaper sportswriters are there? Thousands. And for them, the Pulitzer people deign to give out one to a guy at the New York Times every generation or so.”

It seems unlikely that the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in a sports category would feel as if the award was cheapened. Certainly editorial writers and cartoonists don’t feel that way. After all, that person is forever known as a Pulitzer Prize winner.

However, it also is doubtful that the Pulitzer committee will create a sports category. If history holds true, sports reporters and columnists once again will face long odds for next year’s competition.

“It’s a shame,” Solomon said. “You could pick [several] important topics every year where sports journalists do great work. They deserve to be recognized.”


Recommended reading on sports journalism:

My column on the fallout from Britt McHenry story for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana.

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price went off on a beat reporter during a profanity-filled tirade.

Marquette’s Chris Jenkins interviews women sports reporters about sexism and social media.

Ed Sherman writes about sports media at Follow him @Sherman_Report Read more


UVa dean decries Rolling Stone’s ‘A Rape on Campus’

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. ‘The Rolling Stone article attacked my life’s work’

    Nicole Eramo, an associate dean of students at the University of Virginia, put Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner on blast for the magazine's handling of its flawed article, "A Rape on Campus." "'Rolling Stone has deeply damaged me both personally and professionally,' Eramo wrote. 'Using me as the personification of a heartless administration, the Rolling Stone article attacked my life’s work.'" (The Associated Press) | "The open letter is seeded with language that might well drop neatly into a defamation claim against Rolling Stone — it’s heavy on the damages and the malicious and false nature of the article." (The Washington Post) | Previously: The author of the article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, apologized for the story. (The New York Times)

  2. How will the media handle 2016?

    Politico Magazine's annual media issue is out, and it has a bunch of interesting items about the intersection of media and politics. Editor Garrett Graff explains what's inside. (Politico Magazine) | Jack Shafer offers Hillary Clinton advice on how to deal with the media during her presidential campaign. (Politico Magazine) | S.V. Date recounts Jeb Bush's formidable dealings with the Florida press. (Politico Magazine) | Howard Dean, Newt Gingrich and other politicians air their grievances with the media. (Politico Magazine) | And the magazine convenes a group of top journalism leaders to discuss the plight of women editors in newsrooms. (Politico Magazine)

  3. What it's like to lay off journalists

    John Robinson, the former editor of the (Greensboro, North Carolina) News & Record, recounts the painful experience of laying off 17 full-time journalists in 2007. "The responses inside the meeting room varied. Some understood and were stoic. Some were kind. One swept the files from the table onto the floor and stormed from the room 30 seconds into my remarks, shouting some choice words about my character. I’m surprised that that didn’t bother me; I understood it." One commenter's response: "It was a real shock, but I do, and did understand. I have great memories and friends and I am proud to have worked in the news room of the News & Record, and proud to have worked for you." (Media, disrupted)

  4. Lessons from The Atlantic's redesign

    The Atlantic debuted a website redesign late Tuesday night, and reviews have started to roll in. Lucia Moses talked to Kimberly Lau, vice president and general manager of The Atlantic Digital, about the magazine's decision not to implement an infinite scroll redesign. "Lau said that while sites that use infinite scroll may get more pageviews per visit, the benefits tapered off as traffic growth was increasingly fueled by more ephemeral visits coming from Facebook and mobile." (Digiday) | "It is indeed very magazine-y, visually speaking: lots of lovely big photos and nice type (Lyon). Article pages can go big and feature-y (looking a bit like the recent New York Times Magazine redesign) or tighter and more restrained." (Nieman Lab) | editor J.J. Gould says the high concept behind the site was "a real-time magazine." (The Atlantic)

  5. Happy birthday to explainers

    The co-founders of sat down with Capital New York to reflect on the site's progress after its April 7 birthday. In the interview, Ezra Klein talked about the site's correction policy. "We have a pretty aggressive approach to making sure we're right on the site. And in a funny way it kind of played into that article. So, unlike a lot of organizations—in fact, unlike Gawker—when we get something wrong, we call it a correction." (Capital New York) | The Upshot's one-year milestone was Wednesday. To celebrate, the staff highlighted the 250 most-read items. (The New York Times) | The top spot goes to a map that shows the hardest places to live in the United States. (The New York Times)

  6. News about the White House Correspondents' Association

    The last few days have proved eventful for the association, especially in light of its upcoming star-studded dinner. Its board members have drafted a list of requests advocating for more access to the president. (Poynter) | The Washington Post will be circulating #FreeJason pins in advance of the dinner to raise awareness of the imprisonment of Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian. (WashPostPR) | Washingtonian magazine reported that the association's scholarship payouts haven't kept pace with its increasing contributions. (Washingtonian) | There's a new documentary about its annual dinner, called "Nerd Prom." (Washingtonian) | This year, Cecily Strong of "Saturday Night Live" fame is going to host. (The New York Times)

  7. Report: Ex-journalists have trouble with branded content

    Former journalists seeking jobs in content marketing often have trouble adapting, Ricardo Bilton writes. Bilton talked to Adam Aston, head of The New York Times’ T Brand studio about it. "Aston has interviewed over 100 journalists and editors for content creator gigs in the last six months. Most aren’t good fits. Ex-reporters, he said, tend to do well when it comes to writing branded content — that is, after all, a core skill of journalism — but not so much on the softer side of the ledger." (Digiday)

  8. Front page of the day:

    The (Newark, New Jersey) Star-Ledger leads with a centerpiece on crime investigations. (Courtesy the Newseum)

  9. Job moves:

    Charlotte Greensit has been named managing editor at The Intercept. She co-founded Hybrid Vigor Media. (Muck Rack) | Borzou Daragahi will be Middle East correspondent at BuzzFeed News. He is Middle East and North Africa correspondent for Financial Times. Sheera Frenkel will cover cybersecurity for BuzzFeed News. Previously, she covered the Middle East there. Anup Kaphle will be senior world editor at BuzzFeed News. He is digital foreign editor at The Washington Post. (Poynter) | Gabriel Sherman is now national affairs editor at New York. Previously, he was a contributing editor there. (New York) | Phil Elliott will be a Washington correspondent at Time. He covers national politics for The Associated Press (Politico) | Sarah Dunton will join the mobile innovations team at The Washington Post. She is a video Web producer there. (The Washington Post) | Job of the day: The Las Vegas Review-Journal is looking for a publisher. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | 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: The future was introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair

On April 23, 1964, the media described the opening of the World’s Fair in New York City’s Flushing Meadows Park. The fair, which had opened the day before, even received a detailed review from Edwin Newman and NBC News.

The 1964 World’s Fair was not a financial success, but as this AP/CBS story reminds us, it offered a fascinating look at the future:

“Video phone calls? Yeah, we do that. Asking computers for information? Sure, several times a day. Colonies on the moon and jet packs as a mode of everyday transportation. OK, maybe not.

The New York World’s Fair of 1964 introduced 51 million visitors to a range of technological innovations and predictions, some that turned out to be right on the money and others that, perhaps thankfully, were way off the mark.

….Regardless of whether such notions survived, observers say the fair offered a vision of the world’s potential that made it seem like anything was possible….”

In addition to introducing its readers to the 1964 World’s Fair, The Oneonta (NY) Star also had an ad for the “phone of the future”:


An editorial in the April 23, 1964 edition of the Troy (NY) Record:

“It is generally accepted that the New York World’s Fair is a remarkable collection designed to excite the varied interests of the millions who will view it during the next two summers.

The 1964 World’s Fair….poses a challenge for America and the rest of the world. It is a challenge calling upon us to make certain we can make accomplishments outstrip predictions….”

The 1964 World’s Fair lives on at Disneyland and Disney World. The “It’s a Small World” ride, the audio-animatronic Abraham Lincoln, and various other attractions were first created for the fair.

Did you ever visit the “Carousel of Progress”?

Read more


Career Beat: Charlotte Greensit named ME at The Intercept

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Charlotte Greensit has been named managing editor at The Intercept. She co-founded Hybrid Vigor Media. (Muck Rack)
  • Borzou Daragahi will be Middle East correspondent at BuzzFeed News. He is Middle East and North Africa correspondent for Financial Times. Sheera Frenkel will cover cybersecurity for BuzzFeed News. Previously, she covered the Middle East there. Anup Kaphle will be senior world editor at BuzzFeed News. He is digital foreign editor at The Washington Post. (Poynter)
  • Gabriel Sherman is now national affairs editor at New York. Previously, he was a contributing editor there. (New York)
  • Phil Elliott will be a Washington correspondent at Time. He covers national politics for The Associated Press. (Politico)
  • Sarah Dunton will join the mobile innovations team at The Washington Post. She is a video Web producer there. (The Washington Post)

Job of the day: The Las Vegas Review-Journal is looking for a publisher. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: Read more


Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2015


NLGJA issues letter to media ahead of Bruce Jenner interview

Former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner In this May 6, 2013 file photo. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner In this May 6, 2013 file photo. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Even for journalists who feel confident writing about transgender people, the conversation around Bruce Jenner’s gender identity is tricky. Getting it right will send a message that the media has learned from past mistakes.

In an effort to make sure journalists have every opportunity to get it right, on Wednesday the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association distributed an open letter to journalists who may be covering Diane Sawyer’s interview with Bruce Jenner, which will air on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday.

The letter notes that it is “widely believed” that Jenner will discuss being transgender and acknowledges that newsrooms might have questions about how to cover this story and transgender people in general. In an email to Poynter, NLGJA executive director Adam Pawlus said this letter was distributed to current and past members, educators, sponsors and LGBT beat reporters and circulated on NLGJA’s social media platforms.

“We hope these tools help answer the questions many reporters and editors will have before them,” Pawlus said, “and to help improve the overall quality and accuracy of coverage in this Bruce Jenner news cycle and the continuing coverage of all transgender individuals.”

The full letter is available on the NLGJA website. It offers an example of fair coverage, links to resources, a glossary of potentially relevant terms, and tips for newsrooms, including:

1. Since Jenner has not publicly announced a gender identity, the best practice is to refer to Bruce Jenner by name rather than using pronouns.

Example: “Olympic Champion Bruce Jenner is set to sit down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer amid reports that Jenner is transgender.”

2. Transgender people should be referred to by the name and gender with which they identify. Some transgender people choose to take hormones or have medical procedures, but that’s not what determines the right name and pronoun to use. It is stating one’s gender identity that is what should guide word use. If and when Jenner expresses a different gender pronoun or name, that’s the one to use.

3. One of the things that makes this story unique is the amount of attention and speculation prior to Jenner speaking publicly about gender. While it may be impossible to write about Jenner without addressing the current rumors, in general best practice is to allow individuals to address their gender or sexuality when they are ready.

Other resources for newsrooms covering transgender people:
Poynter: 9 Ways journalists can do justice to transgender people’s stories
GLAAD: Transgender resources for media professionals  Read more


Report: Republicans don’t like fact checking as much as Democrats

American Press Institute

On Wednesday, American Press Institute released three reports on fact-checking journalism as part of The Fact Checking Project. Here are a few details from the report, which you can read in full here:

- Fact checking increased by 300 percent between 2008 and 2012.

- Readers like rating scales, such as the Pinocchio scale from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, but they’re not essential.

- While the majority of people polled had “a favorable view” of fact-checking journalism, partisanship did make a difference.

From the report:

First, people who are less informed, educated, and politically knowledgeable have less positive views of the format. The learning elects we observed in our study as a result of exposure to fact-checking content were also somewhat less among participants with lower political knowledge. Fact-checking is also viewed more favorably by Democrats than Republicans, particularly among those with high political knowledge at the conclusion of a political campaign. Fact-checkers need to determine how to better attract interest from less knowledgeable and informed voters and to electively communicate with them. Likewise, it is important to minimize the partisan divide on the merits of fact-checking, which could undermine the perceived neutrality of the format and the credibility of its practitioners’ conclusions.

Previously: On Monday, Poynter’s Jim Warren wrote about the research.

Correction: An earlier version of this story linked a quote to the wrong research paper from this report. It has been corrected. Read more


Freelancer safety coalition has nearly tripled in 2 months

Since a group of news organizations signed onto a list of freelancer safety guidelines months ago, dozens more have rallied to the cause.

The guidelines, which were released in February, set forth best practices for both freelancers and the news organizations that employ them. As they were released, several major news organizations became signatories, including The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, the BBC and Guardian News and Media Group.

In the ensuing months, a number of major news outlets have added their names to the list, including Bloomberg News, Al-Monitor, Mashable and USA Today.

News of the guidelines — and the number of organizations willing to sign onto them — has spread rapidly in large part because of the dangers that freelance journalists face, said David Rohde, a reporter with Reuters who helped draft the recommendations. Dangerous groups empowered by social media to spread messages without the aid of reporters coincided with a downturn in the media business, which has resulted in more freelancers doing increasingly hazardous work with less protection.

“Everyone, on all sides, freelancers and news organizations, recognizes this as a crisis,” Rohde said.

The guidelines, which are not legally binding, recommend that freelancers learn first aid and wear clothing appropriate to the war zones they work in, among other things. In turn, the recommendations state that news organizations should treat freelancers as they would full-time staffers, helping them in cases of kidnap or injury.

International journalistic associations, some of them in countries that have inimical press freedom climates, have been particularly eager to join the movement, Rohde said. Groups in Iraq, Belarus, the Philippines and Kazakhstan have all lent their support to the measures, which have been translated into Arabic, French, Hebrew, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. There are now a total of 60 signatories.

“Talking to both sides, news organizations on one hand, freelancers on the other, I’m really encouraged by the common ground,” he said.

There are still several high-profile news organizations absent from the list. The New York Times, The Washington Post and the major television networks are not listed as signatories, nor are cable news networks like CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

So far, “a handful” of news organizations of varying sizes have declined to join the coalition, Rohde said. Several of those have said they prefer to keep their standards internal, rather than signing onto a public list of recommendations. But he says as long as the guidelines provoke a discussion about freelancer safety at those places, they have done their job.

“If this provokes private conversations inside news organizations about freelancer safety, that’s success, too.” Read more


BuzzFeed News adds a new Middle East reporter, a senior world editor and a cybersecurity reporter

Financial Times’ Borzou Daragahi will join BuzzFeed News as a Middle East correspondent, and The Washington Post’s Anup Kaphle will join BuzzFeed News as a senior world editor. Middle East correspondent Sheera Frenkel will switch beats to focus on cybersecurity, which is a new beat for BuzzFeed News.

“With these two hires and with Sheera’s shift, it almost feels like a next level of growth for us at BuzzFeed World,” said Miriam Elder, BuzzFeed News’ world editor.

They’re building a combination of energetic reporters who are building their careers with people coming to BuzzFeed News with experience, she said. “It’s just such a nice balance to have.”

Daragahi is a three-time Pulitzer finalist and covered the Middle East for FT. Previously, he was the Baghdad bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times.

“I’ve been a fan of Borzou’s reporting for as long as I can remember,” Elder said. “He’s just one of the essential voices that you look to when you’re reading about the Middle East.”

Daragahi’s stories are powerful and he has keen insight into the region, she said, “but he also lives online.”

Kaphle is The Washington Post’s digital foreign editor, and his position as a senior world editor is a new one for BuzzFeed News. Like Daragahi, Elder says she’s also followed Kaphle’s works for years.

“He has really helped define what The Washington Post’s voice is in the digital space for foreign reporting,” Elder said. Kaphle has also helped the Post balance enterprise reporting with “the kind of work that you want to do for the Internet.”

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Obama’s record on availability to the media not that bad

Mark Knoller of CBS News, center, waits for the start of the daily press briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at the White House in this 2011 photo. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Mark Knoller of CBS News, center, waits for the start of the daily press briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at the White House in this 2011 photo. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama and the White House communication team have clearly frustrated the White House press corps.

But it’s not quite as if the guy has been hiding out in a cave in North Dakota, as is suggested by CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller’s legendary compiling of presidential data.

The White House Correspondents Association on Wednesday distributed a tentative new set of coverage principles and a set of proposed practices on access to what President Obama does and says.

The practices are inspired by growing tensions over a perceived decline in access to him and to images of his day. Each proposed practice is premised on what the association believes is often premeditated avoidance and include:

  • “The President takes questions from the press on a regular basis, no less than once per week, and is available in response to significant news developments.”
  • “The President holds full press conferences at least once a month and takes questions frequently from the pool.”
  • “The President allows the pool to witness and record him or her at work on a regular basis.”
  • “The press corps or its designated pool sees the President frequently on working days, and sees the President on weekends and holidays whenever there are movements by the protective pool.”
  • “When the President leaves his or her domicile, he or she is always accompanied by a protective pool that visually witnesses, at the least, arrivals and departures from any place of entrance or exit that is in view of the public, and covers the President in the act of doing the public’s business.”
  • “Briefings are on the record, as a general practice. Background briefings, in which speakers are not identified, are reserved for subjects of special sensitivity.”

I contacted Knoller, who records about as much as any White House reporter can, and asked what he’s got when it comes to Obama taking questions.

It’s clear that despite the many shared grievances of reporters, Obama is not invisible and mute even as the White House dependence on more traditional forms of communications, such as elite newspapers, has inevitably declined and its quest to “manage” Obama’s messaging and image is unabated and not always very successful.

Here’s what Knoller emailed:

  • “Since taking office, Obama has done 33 formal WH press conferences and a total of 179 events at which he took at least one question.”
  • “Compares at same point in presidency to George W Bush: 33 news conferences and total of 164 press avails of at least one question.”
  • “Obama has done many interviews – 850 since taking office. Far more than his predecessors, but don’t have numbers for them.”
  • Read more
    1 Comment

    NPR standards editor voices disapproval of Affleck episode on PBS


    An episode of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” that glossed over the slave-owning heritage of movie star Ben Affleck is not in keeping with standards at NPR, Standards and Practices Editor Mark Memmott wrote Wednesday.

    Let’s keep this simple: The people we interview, the sources we use and the supporters who give us money do not shape or dictate what we report.

    NPR neither produces nor distributes “Finding Your Roots,” although the two organizations are the among the most prominent public media organizations in the United States and are both represented by the same corporate sponsorship organization, National Public Media. WGBH, where much of PBS’ content is produced, is an NPR member station.

    The controversy surrounding Affleck’s appearance on “Finding Your Roots” began after a cache of documents stolen from Sony Pictures Entertainment and published on Wikileaks revealed that the actor requested that the show omit the fact that one of his relatives owned slaves, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    On Tuesday, PBS announced an investigation into the decision not to include the ancestor. Michael Getler, the ombudsman for PBS, has said criticism of the decision is justified:

    So PBS, in my view, deserves all the articles and TV reports that have PBS in the headline. PBS invests a huge amount of responsibility, and faith, in those who produce programs for it. They need producers to bring to their attention critical issues, especially ones that may reflect poorly on what people expect of PBS or might damage their credibility.

    Editor’s note: Poynter’s News University is currently under contract to develop ethics training for PBS. Read more


    NYT editors are now selecting stories specifically for mobile devices

    The New York Times

    The New York Times Wednesday announced the rollout of a new version of its core iOS app, touting “a more urgent” news experience with stories chosen for mobile readers.

    The latest update is in line with a series of product announcements from The New York Times. Earlier this month, the paper debuted the NYT Cooking iPhone app; shortly after that, the Times announced it was making its millennial-targeted news app, NYT Now, free for all users upon its May relaunch.

    The Times noted in its announcement that the updated app marks the first time that editors are now designating stories to appear specifically on mobile devices. The app also now packages related articles and multimedia elements together and features weekday briefings to keep users abreast of daily news.

    A Columbia Journalism Review article published Tuesday noted the the Times’ effort to build a series of apps that each draw a different segment of the paper’s audience on their smartphones. Although the apps haven’t built up the desired audience, their mobile presentations have seen high levels of engagement, according to the article. Read more

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    Cincinnati Reds manager swore a lot at the press in 5 minutes

    On Tuesday, C. Trent Rosecrans reported for about a tirade aimed at the press from Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price.

    The television crews left and about 10 reporters remained in the room. That’s when Price took his turn doing the talking.

    What followed was a five-minute, 34-second expletive-filled tirade. The final tally was 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).

    The rant stemmed from a story noting that player Devin Mesoraco wasn’t with the team on Sunday.

    Here’s a screen shot of one passage from the exchange:

    Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 9.38.14 AM

    Later on Tuesday, Rosecrans wrote more about the piece, noting that he wasn’t grandstanding by writing it and that Price never said he got the facts wrong.

    “Your job is not to sniff out every f——— thing is about the Reds and f—— put it out there for every other f——- guy to hear. It’s not your job.”

    That is precisely my job.

    Price apologized via Twitter, not for the message, but “for the choice of words.”

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