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In St. Louis, high school journalists are telling their own stories about Ferguson

Jennifer Fowler watched news as it flowed out of Ferguson, Missouri, in August. She felt scared. She wanted to know what was real. And she wanted to tell the story herself.

When her senior year finally started at McCluer North High School in neighboring Florissant, Missouri, she got the chance. Along with her staff, Fowler, the editor-in-chief of McCluer’s newspaper, focused on the stories they could tell — about Parents for Peace, a group that set up a makeshift school when the Ferguson-Florissant schools were delayed, about students who went to the protests, about what it meant to wait for school to start.

#Ferguson slants across McCluer North’s yearbook’s cover, too. It’s faint gray on a black background, near the top. The hashtag, the place and what has happened since August is a part of their year now.

Screenshot from the opening spread of McCluer North's yearbook.

Screenshot from the opening spread of McCluer North’s yearbook. “I didn’t think we were ever going to come back.”

Six days

Yearbook Editor-in-Chief Melissa Moore’s story on Ferguson begins with this introduction:

Six days.

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3 lessons from the G20 Summit ‘Factcheckathon’

G20factcheckathon460
Earlier this week, nine fact-checking websites joined forces to fact-check the statements made by world leaders during the G20 summit in Australia. Glenn Kessler wrote about the results in The Washington Post. I coordinated this first factcheckathon with Cristina Tardàguila from O Globo and took home three important lessons.

  1. Global fact-checking experiments can yield useful results for comparative politics
    Our fact-checking network caught three of the eight world leaders we were monitoring saying essentially the same thing: Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, Barack Obama of the USA and Matteo Renzi of Italy all said something along the lines of “large amounts of jobs were created under my government” – and then proceeded to inflate their records. What was interesting was not so much that politicians chose to dabble with figures, but that they did so in such a similar manner. While the rhetoric and imagery deployed by politicians may vary greatly across countries, facts are facts everywhere.
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I’m dreaming of a Christmas without holiday clichés

It’s beginning to look a lot like laziness from headline writers across America:

It'sBeginningtoLookALotLikeCliche

The result is the same no matter which holiday standard you plug into Google.

'Tistheseason

Here’s “Deck the Halls”:

DecktheHalls

If you’re looking to shake off the Christmas clichés, NPR standards editor Mark Memmot has a few banned phrases.

Have you spotted any Holiday ledes or headlines that make you cringe? Send them to me at bmullin@poynter.org. Read more

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As the media waits in Ferguson, it begins covering itself

WJBK-TV

In August, when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor-in-Chief Gilbert Bailon spoke with Poynter about Ferguson coverage, he said “Ferguson is an inner-ring suburb of 21,000 that has never seen such glare of the national media.”

Three months later, Ferguson has seen a lot of glare, (including from Poynter. We reported from Ferguson in August.) Members of the national media are back now, and they’re waiting. Sometimes together.

Here’s Charlie LeDuff’s video about the media in Ferguson, from WJBK-TV.

On Twitter, St. Louis journalists are doing a good job showing who’s in town. From my former colleague Jason Rosenbaum at St. Louis Public Radio:

And the St. Louis American’s managing editor, Chris King:

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New York magazine creates ‘pop-up blogs’

Since May, New York magazine has launched an irregular series of “pop-up blogs” to expand its coverage on a variety of topics including relationships, the arts and travel.

The blogs focus on a specific theme — exploring Paris, untangling love lives or navigating New York’s art scene, said Ben Williams, digital editor of New York Media (which owns New York and its associated properties). They run for a month, and they have bolstered the magazine’s traffic and its bottom line, he said.

Each “pop-up” is basically a Web version of a traditional magazine insert, Williams said. The editorial team comes up with a series of topics they think would be a good fit for New York, and the advertising staff tries to sell those concepts to advertisers. If the sales team finds a sponsor, the editorial side creates the blog and fleshes out plans for coverage.

“Advertisers like them because they’re kind of a TV miniseries, so you have a beginning, middle and end,” Williams said. Read more

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‘Desperation can be your best ally’ and other lessons from Mario Garcia’s master class

Visual staffs are usually the first to get cut from the budget, Mario Garcia said Thursday at Poynter, but in journalism, sometimes it’s good to feel desperate.

“Desperation can be your best ally,” he said.

In the 1980s, no one was desperate because ads brought in so much money. So change came slow. Now, change is rapid and the opportunity for experimentation is everywhere.

“I’m not going to say that it’s as bad as the Titanic, but you see the violin playing up there and you say ‘Is he going to be the last to go?’”

On Thursday during Poynter’s Master Class featuring Garcia and hosted by Poynter’s Kenny Irby, Garcia shared lessons learned over his long career and hundreds of projects. The course of the three-hour conversation began in Cuba, where Garcia was born, and wound through his work as a designer and re-design consultant, a design thinker and an educator. Read more

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Want to cover Will and Kate? Fill out an application, and don’t wear jeans

Prince William and Kate Middleton will visit the U.S. Dec. 7-9. U.S. journalists who wish to cover the event have till 11:59 Friday to submit an application for credentials.

The royal visit will mostly be confined to New York, though the Duke of Cambridge will spend a little time in D.C. at the World Bank.

Look how nicely these people are dressed. Now look at yourself. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Look how nicely these people are dressed. Now look at yourself. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Hadas Gold reported Thursday that Buckingham Palace requires aspiring royal-watcher journalists to dress up:

“Smart attire for men includes the wearing of a jacket and tie, and for women a trouser or skirt suit. Those wearing jeans or trainers will not be admitted and casually dressed members of the media will be turned away. This also applies to technicians.”

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Scotland gets a pro-independence newspaper

The Guardian

The National, Scotland’s first explicitly pro-indepence newspaper, will launch Monday, Mark Sweney reports in The Guardian. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest will publish the paper, which Glasgow Sunday Herald Editor Richard Walker will also edit.

The Sunday Herald was the only Scottish paper to support independence, and it saw sales go up dramatically in the runup to the country’s ultimately doomed referendum.

Sweney says a “source with knowledge of the launch said the title sounded ‘very i-like’, a reference to the Independent’s cut-price spinoff, which has a skeleton staff and relies on its stablemate for most resources and content.” Read more

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Career Beat: Dan Lyons named editor-in-chief at Valleywag

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

  • Dan Lyons is now editor-in-chief at Valleywag. Previously, he was a marketing fellow at HubSpot. (Re/code)
  • Rachel Racusen will be vice president of communications at MSNBC. Previously, she was associate communications director for the White House. (Playbook)
  • Jeff Fager will be an executive producer at “60 Minutes”. Previously, he was chairman of CBS News. (Politico)
  • Nitasha Tiku is now a west coast senior writer at The Verge. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of Valleywag. (Business Insider)
  • Jason Kravarik is now a producer at CNN. Previously, he was assistant news director at KOIN in Portland, Oregon. (TV Spy)

Job of the day: The Rockford (Illinois) Register Star is looking for an editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more

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Fusion tracks news orgs that use term ‘illegal immigrant’

Fusion

Despite “all the good reasons not to use” the term illegal immigrant, “it is still very easy to find in the US press, even in headlines,” Felix Salmon writes. He lists news orgs that make a point of not using it (AP, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed), those that have an “It’s complicated” relationship with the term (The New York Times, Newsweek, Bloomberg News) and those that prefer it (The Wall Street Journal, Reuters).

Here are a couple more that eschew it:

When AP stopped using the term, Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll told Poynter it was because “It’s kind of a lazy device that those of use who type for a living can become overly reliant on as a shortcut. It ends up pigeonholing people or creating long descriptive titles where you use some main event in someone’s life to become the modifier before their name.”

“No major publication has started using it again after a period where it was banned,” Salmon writes. Read more

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Push for Parity: What do women in leadership need next? Courage.

Typewriter with Push button, vintage

This essay is the fifth in our Push For Parity essay series, featuring stories about women in leadership in journalism. For more on our series and details about how you can contribute, see Kelly McBride’s essay introducing the project. Poynter and ONA have also announced a tuition-free women’s leadership academy.

What do we need in order to push forward leadership from women at news organizations?

Courage.

Courage, persistence, and a calm sense of expectation.

There is nothing whatsoever left to discuss in the matter. All the issues have been thoroughly discussed in the last 50 years. We know that many of us need flexibility at a certain moment of our careers. We know we need recognition of our competence, abilities, accomplishments and ambition. We no longer need to prove that leadership from women adds dimension, credibility and authenticity to news coverage. It has been proven. We no longer need to fill the pipeline. Read more

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NYT edges closer to layoffs

Good morning. Almost there. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. NYT may have layoffs, after all

    A memo from Janet Elder says the news org may not have enough buyout applications to forgo layoffs. "Early efforts to handicap the outcome regrettably point to having to do some layoffs." Also, if you take the buyout, MOMA will not let you in for free anymore. (Mother Jones) | Last month Keith J. Kelly reported that more than 300 people had filed buyout applications, but many were "just securing their rights and checking it out," Guild unit rep Grant Glickson said. (NY Post) | Floyd Norris is taking the buyout. (Talking Biz News) | More N.Y. Guild news: Eight Guild members who worked at Reuters' Insider video project are losing their jobs. (The Newspaper Guild of New York) | Time Inc. has declared it's at an "impasse" with the union and "can begin unilaterally imposing many of the terms, including the right to farm out up to 60 full-time jobs while slashing vacation and medical benefits and eliminating voluntary buyout provisions from future layoffs." The Guild has asked the NLRB to investigate.

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P-Edison Phonograph

Today in Media History: Before digital recording there was Edison and his 1877 phonograph

The digital recorders we use today can trace their history back to the 1870s. There were a number of inventors who built the foundation of audio technology, but one stands out.

On this date in 1877 Thomas Edison introduced his phonograph. The device was unique because it could both record and play sound.

What were his historic first words on the new machine? The original recording no longer exists, but he supposedly said hello, then read the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and ended with “ha ha.”

In 1940 actor Spencer Tracy gave us an idea of what Edison’s first recording was like.

The following 1933 newsreel features someone who worked with Edison and heard his historic “hello” and “ha.”

“In the end, they named it the phonograph. But it might have been called the omphlegraph, meaning ‘voice writer.’ Or the antiphone (back talker). Or the didasko phone (portable teacher).

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Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

Halifax Media Group will be bought for $280 million

Herald Tribune

New Media Investment Group Inc. will purchase Halifax Media Group for $280 million, according to a report in the Sarasota (Florida) Herald-Tribune.

The purchase will include the 24 dailies owned by Halifax Media Group, which “have total daily circulation of approximately 635,000 and 752,000 on Sundays,” according to the Herald Tribune. It is scheduled to close in early 2015.

Halifax Media Group formed in 2010 and soon acquired the Daytona Beach News-Journal in addition to motor trade insurance nearly 15 newspapers in The New York Times Regional Media Group, according to the Herald-Tribune. It then added 19 papers from Freedom Communications. Read more

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‘Profanity dramatically increases engagement’ says NPR health blogger

NPR

NPR health blogger Scott Hensley has a strategy to generate buzz on social media: start cussing.

He told NPR’s Social Media Desk that quoting a little profanity from a recent Jack Shafer interview in a tweet bumped his engagement up to 5 percent:

Posting dog photos, Hensley said, also helps. This pooch picture bumped Hensley’s engagement rate up to 4 percent.

Meanwhile, NPR’s social media guidelines advise reporters to “consider how your conduct in a community will affect your reporting”:

As you adjust behaviors such as language and dress in different situations, think about what might be most helpful or harmful to effective reporting.

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