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Next semester, some journalism students will be reading David Carr for credit

Following David Carr’s death, Jacqui Banaszynski watched as a gush of tweets and Facebook posts rushed by about Carr and his work. She rediscovered stories The New York Times’ media critic wrote that she’d forgotten, including pieces on ethics, social media and his own reporting.

I wish I could put this in front of my students, she thought.

“And then I thought, why couldn’t I?”

“It just all of the sudden occurred to me,” she said, “what if you created an entire class in which the students had to literally build their entire reading curriculum around David’s covering of the media, challenging of the media and the media’s role in society?”

Banaszynski, a professor and the Knight Chair of Journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia, first met Carr 35 years ago when they both worked in the Twin Cities as journalists. Read more

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Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

BuzzFeed added 40 percent server capacity to handle its coverage of ‘The Dress’

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BuzzFeed

In a post on BuzzFeed’s tech blog Friday, publisher Dao Nguyen recounted the heady hours after BuzzFeed published “The Dress,” a viral post that has so far attracted more than 28 million views.

According to Nguyen’s post, which chronicles a four-hour period after the post was published, BuzzFeed added 40 percent server capacity to handle the sudden influx of traffic the story generated. By 9:02 p.m., the post had already pushed BuzzFeed over its traffic record, with 431,000 active visitors on the site. Traffic continued to increase until it hit 673,000.

Nguyen also talked to Samir Mezrahi, a senior editor at BuzzFeed, about how the post gained traction on social media. He says he first tried tweeting it because BuzzFeed staffers were talking about it and saw a big response. Read more

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15 take buyout offer at Sun-Times

The Sun-Times building. (AP)

The Sun-Times building. (AP)


Fifteen editorial staffers from The Chicago Sun-Times took buyouts Friday, Sun-Times Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk has confirmed.

The news was first reported by Robert Feder.

According to Feder, the staffers will receive 20 weeks of severance pay and “be gone from the Sun-Times newsroom by Monday.” Among the employees taking buyouts are the four Sun-Times photographers who were rehired in March after being laid off in 2013 with the rest of the Sun-Times photography department.

In February, Feder wrote the Sun-Times planned to cut between 12 and 15 jobs, more than one-fifth of the paper’s guild-affiliated newsroom staff. At the beginning of February, the paper laid off two video producers.

Wrapports LLC, the parent company of the Sun-Times, has undergone big changes in recent months. Read more

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Bangladeshi-American blogger killed in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi activist sets up a light on a poster displaying a portrait of Avijit Roy as others gather during a protest against the killing of Roy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Roy, a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against religious extremism was hacked to death as he walked through Bangladesh's capital with his wife, police said Friday. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

A Bangladeshi activist sets up a light on a poster displaying a portrait of Avijit Roy as others gather during a protest against the killing of Roy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Roy, a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against religious extremism was hacked to death as he walked through Bangladesh’s capital with his wife, police said Friday. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

Agence France-Presse | The New York Times | BBC | Committee to Protect Journalists

Avijit Roy was killed and his wife is in critical condition after the two were attacked with machetes in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Agence France-Presse reported Friday. Roy’s blog “championed liberal secular writing,” AFP reported.

The couple were on a bicycle rickshaw, returning from a book fair, when two assailants stopped and dragged them on to the pavement before striking them with machetes, local media reported, citing witnesses.

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‘The Dress’ illustrates ‘viral sameness’ among news organizations

Digiday | Nieman Lab | Fredrik deBoer

On Thursday, Business Insider’s Hunter Walker reported on the origin of “The Dress,” a viral story broken by BuzzFeed that has seized the attention of readers and news organizations alike.

The next day, he tweeted a note from a reader, who asked the question that has lurked below the comments of so many Facebook posts from news organizations: “Why is this news?”

The obvious answer, of course, is that readers are interested. As of Friday morning, the original dress post on BuzzFeed had 26.3 million views and 6,500 comments. A related story on BuzzFeed has nearly 8 million views. A number of news organizations — The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Wired and Poynter — have advanced their own coverage of “The Dress,” including, as of this morning, The New York Times. Read more

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If journalists designed a newsroom-themed hotel, it would be awful

In April, you can pay to sleep in an old newsroom-turned-hotel. That hotel, naturally, will have a newsroom theme. Ben Mullin wrote about the hotel yesterday, which Boston Magazine’s Madeline Bilis reported will open in the former home of the Portland Press Herald in Portland, Maine. Mullin’s story, “This newsroom-themed hotel is a dream or a nightmare, depending on how much you like work,” elicited some design and decor tips on Twitter and Facebook.

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stoll_100

‘The Internet? Bah!’ Classic off-target essay appeared 20 years ago

This story originally appeared on the 1995 blog. Poynter.org is republishing with permission.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the publication date of a commentary about the Internet so breathtakingly off target that it has become something of an online cult classic.

The commentary was published in Newsweek magazine of February 27, 1995, under the headline:

“The Internet? Bah!”

The author was Clifford Stoll, a 44-year-old scientist who said that he had been online two decades. “I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two,” he wrote. “But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community.”

Stoll (TED.com)

Stoll (TED.com)

Stoll referred to predictions “that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.”

He wrote that what “Internet hucksters won’t tell you is that the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Read more

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Has anyone put a llama in a gold and white dress yet?

Good morning. It’s Friday, so let’s have a bit of fun before we dive into the serious stuff. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. The end is nigh

    Two llamas got a brief vacation and made huge news yesterday in Sun City, Arizona when they escaped, were chased and the whole thing was covered like crazy. (Poynter) | The Washington Post had six people on it, plus one contributing from New York. (The Washington Post) | The Post also mapped the locations of every llama in the U.S. (The Washington Post) | BuzzFeed made a quiz. (BuzzFeed) | CNN went live with a llama. (Mashable) | Related because it also happened yesterday and swallowed up the Internet: This thing happened with a dress and no one can agree on the colors.

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Career Beat: Carley Petesch named West Africa correspondent at The Associated Press

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

  • Carley Petesch will be West Africa correspondent for The Associated Press. Previously, she was an Africa desk editor there. (AP)
  • Leena Rao will be a senior writer for Fortune. Previously, she was a content partner at Google Ventures. Matthew Heimer will be a senior editor at Fortune. Previously, he was senior editor at MarketWatch. Kristen Bellstrom will be a senior editor at Fortune. Previously, she was a senior editor at Money. Robert Hackett is now a writer at Fortune.com. Previously, he was a temporary reporter there. Christina Austin is now a producer for Fortune.com. Previously, she has worked at Business Insider and The Huffington Post. Adam Lashinsky is now an assistant managing editor at Fortune.
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P-Lincoln 1860

Today in Media History: In 1860, the press reported on presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln

In addition to newspaper and magazine reporters, photographer Mathew Brady also looked forward to Abraham Lincoln’s campaign trip to New York City on February 27, 1860.

On that date Lincoln delivered his Cooper Union address, the most important speech of his 1860 presidential campaign.

Image-NYDT 1

Image-NYDT 2

Mathew Brady first photographed Abraham Lincoln on February 27, 1860, the day Lincoln addressed a large Republican audience in the modern lecture hall at Cooper Union in New York.

Over the following weeks, newspapers and magazines gave full accounts of the event, noting the high spirits of the crowd and the stirring rhetoric of the speaker.

Artists for Harper’s Weekly converted Brady’s photograph to a full-page woodcut portrait to illustrate their story of Lincoln’s triumph, and in October 1860, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly used the same image to illustrate a story about the election.”

— “Abraham Lincoln
National Portrait Gallery

Mathew Brady's photograph of Abraham Lincoln on the day of his speech at the Cooper Union, February 27, 1860. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Mathew Brady’s photograph of Abraham Lincoln on the day of his speech at the Cooper Union, February 27, 1860.

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Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

newmedialogo

Stock market darling New Media Investment keeps growing, books small profit

Acquisitive New Media Investment Group reported its fourth quarter results today and tallied the score on $538 million spent buying newspapers over the last year and a half.

The company’s business plan calls for $1 billion in acquisitions over three years, so more of the same is on the way.

New Media also increased its quarterly dividend which yields investors 4 to 5 percent annually. And the company’s shares were up more 6 percent for the day and nearly 50 percent in the last six months.

Besides offering the generous dividend, New Media targets smaller papers that have been less affected by digital competition than metros.  After the acquisition of Stephens Media, announced a week ago, is completed in March, the largest circulation titles in its roster of 125 dailies will be the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Providence Journal. Read more

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This newsroom-themed hotel is a dream or a nightmare, depending on how much you like work

The Press Herald building.

The Press Herald building.

Boston.com | Portland Press Herald

Overworked journalists who sleep in their newsrooms will feel right at home come April.

The Press Hotel, a “lifestyle boutique” inn opening its doors in two months, is a newspaper-themed getaway situated in the former offices of the Portland Press Herald, Madeline Bilis writes for Boston Magazine.

The newsy accommodations include “an art gallery, featuring an installation of antique typewriters, a vintage cocktail bar aptly named “The Inkwell,” rooms inspired by 1920s writers’ offices, and a letterpress art sculpture hanging on the wall behind the front desk.”

Journalists will also be at home — or perhaps at work — in the guest rooms, which are furnished with a writing desk, a chair stamped with the phrase “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” and a newspaper rack. Read more

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KNXV was all over the llamas on the loose story

If you watched Twitter Thursday afternoon, you know the story of the llamas that were loose in Phoenix pretty much took over. Like other media outlets in the area, KNXV live-tweeted the whole thing. It started this afternoon. They kept us updated. Here are some of the station’s tweets:

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NY Daily News owner considering sale of paper

Mort Zuckerman, the billionaire owner of the New York Daily News, said in a memo to employees Thursday he has retained a financial advisory firm to explore selling the newspaper.

In the memo, Zuckerman says he was approached by a buyer asking whether he would consider selling the paper. He said there were “no immediate plans” on the table, but he “thought it would be prudent to explore the possibility” of a sale.

In 1992, Zuckerman, who also owns U.S. News & World Report, agreed to purchase the the New York Daily News for $18 million. He purchased the paper, which was then bankrupt, in 1993 for $36.3 million.

The New York Daily News claims a daily circulation of 338,944, the seventh-largest circulation of all newspapers in the United States. Read more

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Scripps Washington bureau to lay off 4 long-form journalists

The Scripps Washington Bureau will lay off four journalists in preparation for the upcoming newspaper spinoff of The E. W. Scripps Company, the company confirmed Thursday.

The journalists, who focus on long-form text, will leave after March 31, said Ellen Weiss, Washington bureau chief for Scripps. The cuts come as Scripps gets ready to divest its print assets to become a digital and broadcast news company. Scripps’ print assets will be combined with those of Journal Communications and split into a new company called Journal Media Group.

Among the journalists losing their jobs are investigative reporter Sydney Freedberg, a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and Marcia Myers, a two-time Polk award-winner who was hired as senior investigations editor. The other two journalists are investigative correspondent Thomas Hargrove and national reporter Isaac Wolf. Read more

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