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


‘Profanity dramatically increases engagement’ says NPR health blogger


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.

Read more

CPI has a wall of shame for no-commenters

Public officials and flaks who stonewall reporters, beware: Your face might be the next added to this website.

“____ couldn’t be reached,” a new Tumblr from the Center for Public Integrity, puts a spotlight on prominent officials and institutions that refuse to talk to news organizations for important stories. Since it went live earlier today, the Tumblr has highlighted reticence from the Obama administration, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the IRS and Amazon.com, to name a few.



The Tumblr was founded by CPI media specialist William Gray and engagement editor Sarah Whitmire, who were trying to expand the nonprofit’s social media footprint onto some new platforms, Gray said. They noticed public officials had slowly become decreasingly responsive over the years and wanted a way to show that trend.

“When you finally see this lined up, it becomes obvious how many news organizations aren’t getting a response,” Gray said. He’s also the founder of Floor Charts, a Tumblr dedicated to cataloguing the wide array of props used by public representatives on the House and Senate floors. Read more


Re/code joins the list of news orgs cutting comments


Re/code’s Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg wrote on Thursday that comments are now gone from the site.

We thought about this decision long and hard, since we do value reader opinion. But we concluded that, as social media has continued its robust growth, the bulk of discussion of our stories is increasingly taking place there, making onsite comments less and less used and less and less useful.

My colleague Andrew Beaujon included a list of other news orgs that no longer take comments on their sites in a Nov. 7 story about Reuters ending comments.

Now here are some Twitter comments about Re/code ending comments:

Read more
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ABC News says story Craigslist calls a ‘Hit Piece’ will be fair

Craigslist blog

Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster says ABC News plans a piece that “mischaracterizes our efforts to prevent free classified ads for recalled sale items by craigslist users, and falsely accuses us of not cooperating with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

The story will unfold across a couple programs, and the segments will begin to roll out Friday.

Buckmaster says the news org wouldn’t take calls from Craigslist and “chose instead to ambush our largely-retired founder, Craig Newmark, outside his home on November 11.”

“Our piece will be fair and accurate and will include comments from Craigslist and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the results of our ABC News investigation of the country’s product recall system conducted with 17 ABC stations across the country,” an ABC News spokesperson told Poynter.

Disclosure: Newmark is on the Poynter Foundation’s board and has donated to Poynter. Read more


Photojournalist reminds us why kids shouldn’t cook the turkey

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Mike De Sisti had a good, and funny, reminder for us on Wednesday — don’t let your children cook the turkey at Thanksgiving.

In a video feature, De Sisti, a photojournalist and multimedia picture editor for the Journal Sentinel, asked a group of first graders how to cook a turkey. They are darling and clueless.

“You cook a turkey for five minutes.”
“The temperature is about 20 degrees and…”
“Feathers don’t taste good.”

In 2011, De Sisti made a similar video asking kids questions about Christmas, and in 2012, he talked to kids about cooking turkey. To him, it feels like a feature he has just done, “but people don’t really remember.”

De Sisti spoke with the same group of first graders for an upcoming video about Christmas, which should run the day after Thanksgiving.

“We stuck to Santa.”

Correction: Mike De Sisti’s last name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. Read more


NPR: Can the holiday clichés


A note from NPR standards editor Mark Memmot throws a cup of cold wassail over holiday-season clichés. A selection of his phrases to avoid:

– “Tis the season to …” No, it tisn’t.

– “Oh, the weather outside is …” Don’t put that song in my head!

– “It’s beginning to look a lot like …” Not that one either!

Perhaps to head off criticism, Memmot also advises against comparisons to the Grinch. Read more

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Nitasha Tiku joins The Verge

Business Insider

The Verge has hired Valleywag editor Nitasha Tiku to be its West Coast senior editor, Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell writes.

Tiku recently took over as sole editor of Gawker Media’s tech publication after Sam Biddle departed for Gawker.

Tiku will work alongside Casey Newton, who was recently appointed The Verge’s Silicon Valley editor.

Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel told Poynter he wanted its West Coast operation to be more than a “trade publication,” citing competitors like Re/code and TechCrunch. Instead, he said, he wanted to examine “the culture and the companies” of Silicon Valley. Read more


Career Beat: Anthony DeMaio named publisher of Slate

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

  • Anthony DeMaio is now publisher of Slate. Previously, he was president of national sales there. (Politico)
  • Chelsea Janes will cover the Washington Nationals for The Washington Post. She covers high school sports there. (Washington Post)
  • Sophia Papaioannou is now editorial director at HuffPost Greece. She hosts “360 Degrees”. Nikos Agouros is now editor-in-chief of HuffPost Greece. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of VimaMen. (Huffington Post)
  • Steve Unger will be interim CEO at Ofcom. He is director of strategy, international technology and economy there. (The Guardian)

The Associated Press is looking for a supervisory correspondent in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

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

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Here are some resources for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Protesters gather for a rally at the University of the Philippines campus at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, to demand justice in the killing of Jennifer Laude on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014.  (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Protesters gather for a rally at the University of the Philippines campus at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, to demand justice in the killing of Jennifer Laude on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

When Jennifer Laude was murdered in October, a U.S. Marine was charged in her death. Many media outlets fumbled as they covered the story, seeming confused about how to refer to the young Filipina, who was transgender. Bloomberg BusinessWeek identified her as “a 26-year-old man who identifies as a woman.”  CNN, The Associated Press and Fox News, among others, published her birth name. Many news outlets paid special attention to the fact that Laude was transgender, and chose to call her death a “transgender death” or “transgender murder.”

November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when activists and supporters take time to remember the transgender victims of homicide of that year. Read more


Washington Post looks toward national audience with Kindle Fire app

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Washington Post looks toward national audience with new Kindle Fire app

    This is important: It will not provide local news. Updates every day at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Free for six months, a buck for the next six months. (WP) | Post people said owner Jeff Bezos "had made it clear, through meetings with executives and through feedback on ideas and proposals, that The Post’s broad strategy should shift toward growing its national and international audience — in direct contrast to its previous mission of narrowing its focus to local news." (NYT) | The Post also launched "BrandConnect Perspective" Thursday, a native advertising initiative for opinion pieces. First up is Bayer, with "Modern Agriculture is Based on Sound Science." (WP) | Related: Former Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli's North Base Media is an investor in Inkl, a "Spotify for media content." (StartupSmart)

  2. Bill Cosby and the media

    "I think if you want to consider yourself to be serious, it will not appear anywhere," he warns Brett Zongker after declining to comment on rape allegations.

Read more
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Push for Parity: ‘This isn’t only about women.’

Rount table

This essay is the fourth 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.

When the Asian American Journalists Association hosted a panel on women leadership in August, the session had a lot going for it: A standing-room-only crowd, a theme very much on people’s minds, and an all-star lineup from broadcast, newspapers and magazines.

But it was missing one thing: Almost no men showed up, hardly any spoke up and the panelists were all women. Though a third of convention goers were male, the women in that particular session, “How to change the ratio from the top,” outnumbered the men 10 to one.

This spring, when the top editors of The New York Times and Le Monde were fired on exactly the same day in very public ways, it placed a spotlight on the shrinking number of top women editors. Read more


Today in Media History: Was the Teletype machine the Twitter of the 20th century?

It was exciting to read Twitter when it first began sharing breaking news in 2006.

In the early part of the 20th century, newsrooms must have felt the same excitement as the first (and often loud) Teletype machines began printing out news updates.

Although the technology had been around for a number of years, and the Associated Press started experimenting with teleprinter machines in 1914, commercial Teletype service didn’t start until November 20, 1931.

The clattering sounds of Teletype news would fill newsrooms for years to come.

This video shows an old United Press Teletype machine in use.

Just imagine all the important news stories AP machines printed out from 1914 through the 1980s.

“Thanks to Teletypes, America read 20th-century history the day it was made. Da dacka-dacka. Lindy makes it! Dacka-dacka. The Hindenburg explodes! Dak-dak-dak. Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor! Germany surrenders! Atomic bomb destroys Hiroshima! Kennedy shot!

Clattering keys, ringing bells and scrolling paper churned from those squat, black boxes with the glass lid.

Read more

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014

Jack Shafer says Reuters let him go

BuzzFeed | The Washington Post

Reuters media critic Jack Shafer tells Poynter Reuters let him go.

“I’m fine,” Shafer told Poynter. “My philosophy is that the job belongs to the employer,” he said. “When they want to do something else with the money, that’s their prerogative.”

He announced his departure on Twitter.

Matthew Zeitlin reported in BuzzFeed Wednesday that Reuters planned to lay off as 55 people.

Shafer said he wasn’t conversant with HR terminology and that Reuters removed him in a “very respectful and professional manner.”

As for his future plans, Shafer says he plans to “get Fugazi back together as my next trick.”

Shafer’s departure signals a shift from the current Web strategy at Reuters, Erik Wemple writes:

Despite all its scoops on business and finance, it has had trouble figuring out how to adapt key business products — subscriptions and financial information terminals — to the digital age.

Read more

Pop Up Archive releases new audio transcription features

New podcasting initiatives, including “Serial”, “StartUp” and “Radiotopia” have lately attracted a lot of attention from reporters and investors.

But with all this new audio being gathered and posted to the Web, how can journalists and their audiences parse it? Do listeners need to dig through hours of audio to find what they’re looking for? And is there a quicker way for reporters to transcribe all the audio they’ve gathered?

Enter Pop Up Archive. The startup, created by former journalists Anne Wootton and Bailey Smith, aims to accelerate the reporting process by letting journalists feed their audio into a program that automatically generates a transcript. It also allows them to index those transcripts to make them searchable.

“We built Pop Up Archive to make it possible for journalists to do their jobs better and faster, particularly when it comes to sound,” Wootton said. “And whether they’re trying to make sense of many hours of tape logged in the field or trying to make sure Google indexes their content, we wanted to be the people behind the scenes giving them the ability and technology to do that.”

On Wednesday, the company debuted a tiered subscription plan offering premium transcripts that differentiate between speakers and add punctuation. Read more