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Longtime Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss steps down


Jim Amoss, the veteran journalist who steered the New Orleans Times-Picayune through its coverage of Hurricane Katrina and confronted a dramatic downturn in the newspaper industry, is stepping down from the editor’s job after 25 years.

He will be replaced by Mark Lorando, the state and metro editor of the Times-Picayune and its associated website,, according to the Times-Picayune. Amoss will become editor at large for Advance Digital.

NOLA Media Group president Ricky Mathews praised Amoss for decades of leadership amid the transition to digital journalism, per the Times-Picayune:

“Jim has been a great newsroom leader,” Mathews said. “When confronted with revolutionary changes in the way readers consume news and information, he led the multimedia transformation of the newsroom, and in the process, carried forward a tradition of journalistic excellence into the digital era.

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Why Al Jazeera America digital workers went union

Digital workers at Al Jazeera America were moved to join a union in search of “coherence, structure and clarity” in resolving a disparate set of grievances.

“In talking about this with people in different departments, we realized that there were many very different issues of concern to people,” Gregg Levine, the digital news editor of Al Jazeera America, said Thursday after formal disclosure of the move.

The digital workers joined editorial counterparts at several other media organizations that have recently opted to go union.

In no instance has any group yet sat down with management and attempted to bargain a first contract. The NewsGuild of New York, which will now represent the AJAM workers, has not heard back from management as to whether it will voluntarily recognize the union and thus not force a formal vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Read more


The Slack bot trend continues, this time with Al Jazeera English

When the Virginia shooting happened last week, the staff at Al Jazeera English didn’t get the news from a wire service. It wasn’t Twitter either. Instead, they got an alert on Slack.

That’s right, Slack, the trendy real-time messaging app that has quickly become ubiquitous in so many newsrooms.

Al Jazeera has a custom bot that is constantly on the lookout for breaking news. When it finds something that’s ‘breaking’, it sends a Slack message to the team.

Reuters tweeted out the news before sending an alert on its wire, and that’s when Al Jazeera’s breaking news Slack channel received an update.

The bot was built around two weeks ago by Alaa Batayneh, producer and data analyst at Al Jazeera English’s online department.

“People aren’t always looking at email or news wires. Read more


NBC News lands Hillary Clinton interview

NBC News

Hillary Clinton will sit for her third national TV interview as a presidential candidate with Andrea Mitchell Friday, NBC News has announced.

The interview will focus on Clinton’s presidential campaign, the GOP field and the controversy surrounding her use of a private server to send and receive emails while serving as Secretary of State.

The conversation will air first on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” Friday at noon, according to NBC News. Excerpts will appear on the network’s flagship news and public affairs programs, including
“NBC Nightly News,” “TODAY,” and “Meet the Press.”

The interview is part and parcel of an ongoing effort on Clinton’s part to open herself to wider media scrutiny. In July, Clinton’s team announced the candidate would begin giving a series of national television interviews in effort to seize control of the narratives surrounding her campaign. Read more


Azerbaijani journalist sentenced to 7 years in prison ‘didn’t break, and she didn’t bow’

The Washington Post | Reporters Without Borders | TIME | Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | The Guardian

FILE - In this Sunday, March 2, 2014 file photo, Azeri Khadija Ismayilova, a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is seen in Baku, Azerbaijan. A court in Azerbaijan has convicted investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova of several financial crimes and sentenced her to 7½ years in prison, in a case widely criticized by human rights organizations. The Baku court convicted Ismayilova on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 of embezzlement, illegal business activity, tax evasion and abuse of power, but found her not guilty of inciting a colleague to commit suicide. Ismayilova, who was jailed in December, was a contributor to U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov, file)

FILE – In this Sunday, March 2, 2014 file photo, Azeri Khadija Ismayilova, a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is seen in Baku, Azerbaijan. A court in Azerbaijan has convicted investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova of several financial crimes and sentenced her to 7½ years in prison, in a case widely criticized by human rights organizations. The Baku court convicted Ismayilova on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 of embezzlement, illegal business activity, tax evasion and abuse of power, but found her not guilty of inciting a colleague to commit suicide. Ismayilova, who was jailed in December, was a contributor to U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov, file)

Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on Tuesday in Azerbaijan. Read more


David Axelrod named senior commentator at CNN

Politico | CNN

The White House revolving door has brought yet another staffer into the waiting arms of the media.

David Axelrod, formerly senior adviser to President Barack Obama, is joining CNN as a senior political commentator, Tom LoBianco writes for the network:

He has long been one of Obama’s most trusted campaign gurus. He was a senior adviser during Obama’s first term, ran both his White House bids and Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate race. Prior to that, Axelrod played a role in other major campaigns, including the Senate and presidential races of Paul Simon, the mayoral campaign of Harold Washington, the gubernatorial campaign of Deval Patrick, Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2000, and the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and John Edwards.

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‘Journalism is not done by permission’ says author of Nick Saban biography

Under the heading any publicity is good publicity comes Nick Saban’s reaction to Monte Burke’s new biography on him, “Saban: The Making of a Coach.”

During a press conference in early August, the Alabama coach, without being asked, expressed his disapproval in Burke writing an unauthorized biography.

“I just want everybody to know that I’m opposed to an unauthorized biography; for anybody,” Saban said. “And I think that’s some person that you don’t even know trying to profit by your story. Or someone else’s story. And one of these days when I’m finished coaching at Alabama I’ll write an authorized book because you know there’s really only one expert on my life. And guess who that is. Me. And there won’t be any misinformation, there won’t be any false statements, there won’t be any hearsay, there won’t be any expert analysis from anybody else.”

nick-saban-bookFor most authors and publishers, Saban’s strong comments would be considered a blessing. Read more

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Front page of the day: ‘Somebody’s child’ (WARNING, DISTURBING IMAGE)

Today’s front page of the day is the heartbreaking image of the body of a Syrian boy found after drowning on the journey from Turkey to Greece. This image and another, of his body being lifted from the sand, are on front pages across Europe, Latin America and in a few major newspapers in the U.S. on Thursday. Some headlines include “The Reality: Why Europe must act now,” “Europe divided,” and “The shocking, cruel reality of Europe’s refugee crisis.” Please heed the warning in the headline. Today you’ll find the front page at the bottom of this post.

I asked Poynter’s Kelly McBride and Al Tompkins about their thoughts on use of the images.

“Sometimes it’s gratuitous for the media to show images of death,” McBride said. Read more


Turkey frees 2 VICE News journalists; 1 remains jailed

The Associated Press

Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, two VICE News journalists who were imprisoned on charges of “knowingly and willingly” aiding a terrorist organization, have been released from prison, Suzan Fraser reports for The Associated Press.

Their translator, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, remains in custody “pending the conclusion of an investigation,” Fraser writes.

Hanrahan and Pendlebury were arrested along with Rasool last week and subsequently charged with assisting terrorists, accusations VICE calls “baseless” and “absurd.” Along with Rasool, they were reporting on escalating tensions between authorities and the youth wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK. Read more

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Obama’s dismal selfie technique

Good morning.

  1. White House needs media primer

    The White House has made valiant efforts to go beyond the evil "mainstream" media and exploit new ways to communicate, be it garage podcasts, sycophantic interviews by YouTube stars or, now, Alaskan selfies. The selfies were displayed prominently on the White House website as President Obama's trek to Alaska came to a close early Thursday. (White House) But let's thank highly trained selfie observers for explaining why Obama's handiwork is so lame.

    "There are a few rules to selfie-taking. 1) Don't talk about selfie-taking. 2) Hold your arm out far enough to get both subjects fully in the frame. 3) Do not cover the camera with your finger. 4) If using a tool (such as a selfie stick) use the tool to its fullest potential.

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Wednesday, Sep. 02, 2015

Vox scoops up ‘Mischiefs of Faction,’ quirky political science site

It’s a small example of the brain drain to the digital media universe.

Vox Media is scooping up “Mischiefs of Faction,” a brainy, quirky and generally niche political science blog overseen by academics at George Mason University in Virginia and the University of Denver, among others.

With the Internet, many academics have found new and larger audiences, but they’ve generally been on their own websites.

Now some are aligning with mainstream and digital companies with far more firepower and ability to spread their work. In political science, the best example is “The Monkey Cage,” a blog overseen by John Sides of George Washington University and now hosted by The Washington Post.

“Mischiefs of Faction” was started three years ago by political scientists Seth Masket of the University of Denver, Hans Noel of Georgetown University, Greg Koger of the University of Denver, Jonathan Ladd of Georgetown and Jen Victor of George Mason. Read more


Don’t expect real push for gun control as coverage of Virginia shootings quickly wanes

The “issue-attention cycle” is repeating itself as coverage of the horrific Virginia shootings declines after only one week, according to an academic who has researched the nexus of coverage and political action.

“My sense is that the killing of the two journalists is getting the same treatment as most shootings,” said Danny Hayes, a George Washington University political scientist and former journalist.

That means it’s very unlikely that anything will happen, either in Congress or in state legislatures, when it comes to gun control or any other public policy issue that’s associated with the Virginia tragedy.

“There is a big surge in coverage in the days afterward, owing partly to the fact that the shooting happened on television and party to the fact that the killer posted the video on social media,” Hayes said Wednesday. Read more

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‘The reaction has been bananas,’ says Amber Jamieson, who went topless to report on desnudas

Before Amber Jamieson pitched a literal exposé to her editor at the New York Post, she mentally prepared herself to appear nearly nude in the newspaper.

But when she began reporting, she had no idea her first-person account of working as a desnuda — the painted street performers in New York City — would grace the front page of the Post.

Several days and nearly 1,000 Twitter followers later, Jamieson says she was surprised by the feedback — most of it positive — the article elicited from fellow journalists and readers. Poynter caught up with Jamieson, who talked about the origins of the story, her short-lived experience as a performer and how she took notes on the job without a pen, paper or pockets. Read more

Photo by Kirsty Hall/Flickr

5 ways to prepare your newsroom to cover suicide more effectively

Stories about heart disease and cancer, the first and second leading causes of death in the United States, are all over the news. But when it comes to covering suicide, the tenth leading cause of death, news organizations are wary. When they do cover it, they are often spurred by an immediate breaking story. Those stories can be reactive. And sometimes, they do more harm than good.

“Media only report on it in certain circumstances, when there’s an event,” said Jack Benson, a member of the executive committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “There’s not a lot of proactive work in covering it as a public health issue, even though it’s the 10th leading cause of death overall and the 4th leading cause of death for all people 25-64.”

The reason there isn’t a lot of proactive coverage of suicide, Benson said, is that journalists just don’t feel prepared to talk about it. Read more


NYT editor: Botched Clinton story due to ‘sloppiness on deadline’

The Daily Beast

A flawed story that mistakenly said government officials sought a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of government information was a result of inattentive reporting on deadline, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet told The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove Wednesday.

“I think if you did an anthropological study of how we made the mistake, the mistake had nothing to do with the Clintons. The mistake had to do with some sloppiness on deadline.”

Baquet’s comments appeared in an article that asked whether The Times’, with its adversarial coverage of Clinton, was “at war” with the former Secretary of State. Spoiler alert: Baquet denies it.

“If you look at this reasonably, there is no institutional animus toward the Clintons. I don’t buy it,” Baquet told The Daily Beast.

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