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Nepal Earthquake

Resources for journalists reporting on the earthquake in Nepal

A man walks past damage caused by an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)

A man walks past damage caused by an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)

Journalists who are looking for information, images and video of the Nepal earthquake can mine these:

-Gramfeed: Gramfeed mines Instagram for GPS located photos in Nepal. This will become a rich source of images over the next few days.

-Google India: Google India set up a PersonFinder page, where you can search or post a name of a person who is missing or a person you know to be found. Of course much of the information is unverified, but as the disaster unfolds, more of it will include names, phone contacts and more that will help in the verification process. Read more


Friday, Apr. 24, 2015

Rumor tracker Emergent has ceased updating

Emergent, the real-time rumor tracker founded by Poynter adjunct faculty member Craig Silverman, has gone dormant since its creator joined at BuzzFeed.

In an interview with Poynter, Silverman said he ceased updating Emergent after he began his new job as editor of BuzzFeed Canada. The site, which sprung from Silverman’s fellowship with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, has been at a standstill for about two weeks, Silverman said.

In his new role, Silverman will oversee the six-person team at BuzzFeed Canada, which will include a political editor and a social news editor, among other positions. Meanwhile, the future of Emergent remains uncertain. The viral news outlet is not acquiring the rumor-tracker, partially because the technology it’s built upon doesn’t mesh well with that of BuzzFeed’s, Silverman said. Read more


McClatchy’s stock continues to take a pummeling

McClatchy_logoMcClatchy reported a first quarter net operating loss of $11.3 million and more deep declines in print advertising today as its stock continues to takes a pummeling.

McClatchy shares have been trading between $1.50 and $1.60 the last several days. That is about half where they were at the start of 2015, and they have lost roughly three-quarters since this time a year ago.

Wall Street values the company at a market capitalization of $135 million,  That’s less than $5 million per paper in a collection of 29 titles in 28 cities including the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star and Charlotte Observer.

Continuing the trend of recent earning reports, print advertising was the problem spot, down 15.7 percent year-to-year with national advertising especially bad, off 25 percent. Read more


Alexis Madrigal named EIC at Fusion

Capital New York

Alexis Madrigal, who decamped from to join Fusion months ago, has been appointed editor-in-chief of the millennial-focused news organization.

Jane Spencer, formerly editor-in-chief of digital there, will be senior vice president of emerging platforms, according to a memo from Fusion CEO Isaac Lee.

News of the leadership change was reported first by Capital New York.

Before coming to Fusion, Madrigal was deputy editor at In the last year, the news outlet has lured several prominent journalists, including Madrigal, New York’s Kevin Roose, Felix Salmon of Reuters and NBC News’ Hillary Frey.

Here’s the memo:


I have important news and updates to share with you about the future of Fusion.

In the coming months, with the full support of our parent companies, we will be doubling down on our digital efforts, further investing in key areas, while setting our collective sights even higher.

Read more
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5 lessons from The Atlantic’s redesign

Screenshot, The Atlantic.

Screenshot, The Atlantic.

The Atlantic unveiled a redesign on Tuesday, and I spoke with Libby Bawcombe, The Atlantic’s digital design director, via email about the redesign, what worked, what didn’t and if they had any surprises. Here’s what she said:

A/B testing helped with choices before the redesign:

“We continually measure how readers use our site,” Bawcombe said. “We wanted to pressure test a lot of ideas before we officially kicked off the redesign. We started deploying regular rounds of A/B tests to try out new ideas and see what would stick with readers. This freed us from anxiety about predicting if we were making the single right choice. We often said, ‘Let’s just A/B test it.’ We created a list of A/B tests to perform post-launch and continue to make tests a regular part of our workflow.”

A weekly cycle schedule was ‘demanding but productive:’

“We did the project in-house and built a small working group comprising staff from the editorial and product teams, including the website’s editor, deputy editor, product director, a lead developer, the digital design director and the analytics director,” Bawcombe said. Read more

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‘Investigative reporting is obviously alive and well’ and other observations from first-time Pulitzer jurors

Pulitzer Medals. (Photo from Columbia University)

Pulitzer Medals. (Photo from Columbia University)

This year, several first-time Pulitzer Prize jurors came from online news organizations and platforms, including Quartz, Twitter, Trove, The Marshall Project and The Texas Tribune. I spoke with three of them about their experiences judging the Pulitzers. They can’t talk in specifics about entries, but they did talk about what the Pulitzers say about journalism, the role of social media and what they’d like to see next.

1. On what makes for powerful work and where that work is coming from:

“I think the winners this year validate the fact that important, game-changing journalism is being produced regardless of the medium, and that newspapers — even those facing dwindling resources — are continuing to emphasize the most important kind of reporting, work that exposes injustice,” said Emily Ramshaw, editor of The Texas Tribune. Read more

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White House Correspondents’ Association president: Obama’s now ‘a heck of a lot harder to get on the phone’

Christi Parsons, the White House correspondent for Tribune Publishing,  interviews Barack Obama in this file photo from 2007. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Christi Parsons, the White House correspondent for Tribune Publishing, interviews Barack Obama in this file photo from 2007. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

When President Obama looks out at Washington’s most celebrity-filled audience Saturday night, no reporter in the room will know him better than one sitting about a foot away: Christi Parsons.

Parsons, the White House correspondent for Tribune Publishing, has covered Obama since he was a little known state senator in the Illinois legislature, which she covered for the Chicago Tribune. (Disclosure: Parsons and I worked together at the Chicago Tribune.) She’ll now be seated next to him, at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, as president of the White House Correspondents Association.

That means the spotlight will be on her, too, after a one-year term in which she’s won much praise for leading the group in addition to the often-long hours of her day job. Read more


Craig Silverman to join BuzzFeed

The Globe and Mail

Poynter adjunct faculty member Craig Silverman, a scourge of inaccurate reporting and longtime correction collector, is headed to BuzzFeed to head up the Web giant’s Canadian operation, The (Toronto) Globe and Mail reported Friday.

In his new role, Silverman will run the company’s outposts in Toronto and Ottawa as staffers make content around buzzy stories, Simon Houpt writes:

Silverman said that while BuzzFeed may be covering subjects and stories already in the news, it will take a different approach. “We won’t be looking at what happened today in Parliament. At times we’ll be satirical, humour-driven, personality-driven, and I think that’s a different thing that doesn’t exist today,” he said.

Silverman is the founder of Emergent, a real-time rumor tracker born from his work with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. Read more

Travel Trip Faeroe Islands

Those countries at the top of the World Happiness Report also have great press freedom rankings

World Happiness Report | Committee to Protect Journalists | Reporters Without Borders

Switzerland is the happiest place in the world, according to the latest World Happiness Report. The United States ranks 15th, and at the bottom sits Togo. (Both The Guardian and The Washington Post have visualizations of the data.) But how do these countries fare with freedom of the press rankings?

Here’s a quick look at the top five, the bottom five, the U.S., China and Iran.

1. Switzerland:

Touring skiers climb during the 68th edition of the "Trophees du Muveran" a Ski Mountaineering race through the Swiss Alps, near Les Plans-sur-Bex, Switzerland, Sunday, April 12, 2015.  (AP Photo/Keystone,Jean-Christophe Bott)

Touring skiers climb during the 68th edition of the “Trophees du Muveran” a Ski Mountaineering race through the Swiss Alps, near Les Plans-sur-Bex, Switzerland, Sunday, April 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Keystone,Jean-Christophe Bott)

Switzerland ranks 20th in Reporters Without Borders 2015 World Press Freedom Index, that’s down five spots from the year before. Read more


Comcast merger with Time Warner Cable is dead

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. ‘A major setback’

    A huge deal that would have combined media giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable is kaput. On Thursday afternoon, Bloomberg News reported first that Comcast bosses were planning to walk away from the multi-billion dollar merger. "The decision marks a swift unraveling of a deal that awaited federal approval for more than a year. Opposition from the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission took shape over the past week, leaving officials of the two companies to conclude the deal wouldn’t pass muster." (Bloomberg) | Someone in the know said Comcast was going through the "stages of grief" in light of the deal's collapse. "It is an extraordinary turnabout for a cable giant not accustomed to losing.

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Today in Media History: The U.S. aborted a rescue mission to free the hostages in Iran

Thirty-five years ago, the U.S. aborted a Delta Force operation to rescue the U.S. hostages in Iran.

Here’s a story excerpt from The Washington Post:

“The United States tried and failed to rescue the American hostages in Iran with a commando-style raid in which eight U.S. crewmen were killed, the White House announced today.

The military operation, according to a post-midnight statement from the White House, was ‘aborted’ because of an equipment failure, followed by a collision of two aircraft, at a remote desert location, in which the eight were killed and others injured.

The American troops, including the injured, were then airlifted safely from the unknown staging site in Iran, according to the statement issued by White House press secretary Jody Powell….”

A page one headline from the suburban Chicago newspaper, The Daily Herald:

Image-1980 Carter Iran

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The Daily Pennsylvanian published an AP story titled, “Hostage Rescue Aborted, Ends In Plane Crash”:

“The White House announced early this morning that a daring military effort to rescue American hostages held in Tehran was aborted because of ‘equipment failure.’ A collision of two U.S.

Read more

Career Beat: Jacob Harris joins 18F

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

  • Jacob Harris is joining 18F. He is a senior software architect at The New York Times. (Medium)
  • Chip Sullivan will be executive vice president of communications at NBC Entertainment. He is global head of branding for DreamWorks. (The Wrap)
  • Dawn Page will be communications manager at NBCUniverso. Previously, she was a PR consultant. (Media Moves)
  • Bill Siwicki has been named vice president of mobile strategy and research at GPShopper. Previously, he was mobile editor at Internet Retailer magazine. (GPShopper)

Job of the day: Vox First Person is looking for a deputy editor. Get your resumés in! (Vox Media)

Send Ben your job moves: Read more


Thursday, Apr. 23, 2015

Producers apologize for silence over Affleck’s request to omit slave-owning heritage

PBS | Current

The team behind an episode of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” that glossed over movie star Ben Affleck’s slave-owning ancestry has apologized.

On Thursday, Executive Producers Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Dyllan McGee addressed a note of apology to PBS station managers after word leaked that Affleck requested the genealogy show omit the fact that one of his relatives owned slaves. In the note, Gates and McGee express regret over “not sharing Mr. Affleck’s request that we avoid mention of one of his ancestors.”

We apologize for putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming. Moving forward, we are committed to an increased level of transparency with our co-producing partners. We respect PBS guidelines and understand our obligation to maintain editorial integrity at all times.

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Outside of major markets, 12,000 jobs have disappeared in the last decade

The Washington Post

Washington Post economic policy correspondent Jim Tankersley ran some numbers in an attempt to explain why two of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners have gone to work in public relations. The answer? There are far fewer jobs in journalism throughout the United States now than there were 10 years ago. And the jobs in journalism just aren’t as lucrative as their public relations counterparts.

Tankersley’s article, which draws on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that the journalism industry shed 12,000 jobs outside of major markets in the last decade, even as the public relations industry flourished. In cities outside Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York, one out of every four journalism jobs disappeared while 20,000 new public relations jobs were added:

If you want a reporting job today, your best bet is to move to D.C., L.A.

Read more
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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:

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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.

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