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After 6 months in prison, Jason Rezaian will go on trial ‘soon’ in Iran

The Washington Post | Al Jazeera America | Committee to Protect Journalists

The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian will face trial “soon” in Iran, Brian Murphy reported for the Post. Murphy writes that this news was first reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency, a state-run news outlet in Iran.

“We have yet to hear any accounting of any charges against Jason, who after six months in custody has still not been provided access to a lawyer,” said a statement from Martin Baron, the Post’s executive editor. “It is appalling and outrageous that Jason remains behind bars. A fair and just approach by Iran’s judiciary could only result in his immediate release.”

On Jan. 23, Stephen Kinzer wrote for Al Jazeera America about Rezaian and other cases of attacks on journalists around the world. “The first month of 2015 suggests that this will be a bad year for free expression,” Kinzer wrote. Read more


New York Times moves reporter from national race beat

Fishbowl NY | Maynard Institute

Tanzina Vega, the New York Times reporter on the paper’s national race beat, has been reassigned to the newly created position of Bronx courthouse reporter, according to a staff memo from New York Times metro editor Wendell Jamieson and metro print editor Dean Chang:

So we’re excited to announce that Tanzina, who first worked for The Times as a Metro stringer and graduated next door at CUNY, will return and open up our first full-time Bronx courthouse beat. Dean Chang and I have wanted to do this forever, and feel deeply lucky that Tanzina came our way. Here is the borough that is home to the congressional district with the lowest income level in the nation, where the bad old days are still alive in some neighborhoods while residents in others welcome improvements but fear gentrification, where a police ticket-fixing scandal exploded, and where all cases involving Rikers Island are heard.

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‘What #@!% blizzard?’ Front pages from the storm that missed New York and hit New England

Newseum’s collection of front pages had a lot of white on Wednesday, at least on the New England pages. In parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the front pages from the day after dodging winter storm Juno seemed a bit disappointed.

The Trentonian, Trenton, New Jersey:

Metro – New York Edition, New York, New York:
NY_MET (1)

Staten Island Advance, Staten Island, New York:
NY_SIA (1)

Metro – Philadelphia Edition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

Juno did, of course, deliver in New England.

The Day, New London, Connecticut:

Kennebec Journal, Augusta, Maine:

Portland Press Herald, Portland, Maine:

The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts:
MA_BG (1)

Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts:
MA_BH (1)

Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Massachusetts:

Sentinel & Enterprise, Fitchburg, Massachusetts:
MA_SE Read more


Indiana’s governor will hold a briefing today on that state-run news outlet

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Time for some gov-splaining

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence plans to clear up all this confusion about whether he's starting a state-run news agency or they're just doing PR. Pence will hold a media briefing Wednesday morning. "Reports that this was intended to be a news agency, I think just represent an understandable misunderstanding based on some internal communications that I read about in the press." (Indianapolis Star) | The Society of Professional Journalists will be watching. "It’s the Society’s position that the press is not free when elected officials serve as editor and publisher. SPJ will be monitoring Just IN moving forward." (SPJ)

  2. It has been 29 years since Challenger exploded

    David Shedden writes about the news coverage of the space shuttle explosion from this day in 1986, with footage from CNN, CBS and NBC, as well as stories from major newspapers at the time.

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P-1986 Shuttle

Today in Media History: Coverage of 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion

At 11:38 a.m. on a cold January 28, 1986, TV broadcast the launch of what was assumed would be a successful space shuttle mission.

At 11:39 a.m. the space shuttle Challenger exploded after take off killing all seven astronauts aboard.

The most well-known member of the crew was Christa McAuliffe, a high-school teacher from Concord, New Hampshire.

CNN viewers watched the accident live:

“Cape Canaveral, Fla. Jan. 28 — The space shuttle Challenger exploded in a ball of fire shortly after it left the launching pad today, and all seven astronauts on board were lost.

The worst accident in the history of the American space program, it was witnessed by thousands of spectators who watched in wonder, then horror, as the ship blew apart high in the air.

Flaming debris rained down on the Atlantic Ocean for an hour after the explosion, which occurred just after 11:39 A. M. It kept rescue teams from reaching the area where the craft would have fallen into the sea, about 18 miles offshore.”

— “The Shuttle Explodes
New York Times, January 29, 2006

The CBS Evening News:

“The launch had been delayed repeatedly, most recently because of fears that icicles on the launch pad Tuesday morning could harm the shuttle.

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Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

Village Voice parent company will explore sale of papers

Voice Media Group | OC Weekly

Voice Media Group has hired merger-and-acquisition firm Dirks, Van Essen & Murray to help it determine what it calls “new strategies for its publishing assets,” which is the typical language used when companies put their papers up for sale.

Voice Media Group publishes The Village Voice, LA Weekly and The Riverfront Times, among other papers.

The firm will begin “immediately considering options” at the OC weekly, according to the announcement. Those options could include a sale or some sort of partnership opportunity.

Voice Media Group acquired the Village Voice and its properties in 2012, in a transaction with Village Voice Media.

Gustavo Arellano, editor of OC Weekly, writes that interested buyers stand to gain “a motivated band of misfits,” and adds that the paper takes payment in “in pho, pesos, dollars and I think Bitcoin.”

Here’s the announcement:

Santa Fe, NM – January 27, 2015 – Voice Media Group has engaged Dirks, Van Essen & Murray and its subsidiary CAL DVM to explore new strategies for its publishing assets, including the sale or acquisition of alternative publications and other digital businesses.

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In response to missteps, tweaks its editing approach

By any editor’s standards, Jan. 14 was a difficult day for the staff of The night before, the outlet published an article which wondered whether anyone would notice had House Speaker John Boehner been poisoned by a bartender.

The piece provoked serious fallout. Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel called it “insensitive and inappropriate,” and the blunder was reported widely in the national and regional press. Mike Sheehan, CEO of’s parent company, sent Boehner’s office an apology. The writer was out of his job by Thursday.

So what happened? Before the furor subsided, the staff gathered to discuss’s editorial policy.

“We had a meeting the day following the Boehner event where our editors reviewed with all of our writers what our process is from the time of conception of the story all the way through to its actually hitting the site,” said Corey Gottlieb, the outlet’s general manager. Read more


NPPA study: The most memorable pictures were taken by pros


On Tuesday, the National Press Photographers Association released the results of an eyetracking study of 200 images, half by professional photojournalists and half by amateurs. Sara Quinn, Poynter affiliate faculty, wrote that the study was conducted last May at the University of Minnesota with 52 people who fell into two demographics — 18 to 30 and 45 to 60.

Can people differentiate between professional and amateur photographs? Yes, quite definitely. Study participants were able to tell whether a photograph was made by a professional or an amateur 90 percent of the time.

Some other details from the study:

– People were twice as likely to share a pro’s photo as they were user-generated content.

– People spent more time with photos that had longer captions.

– People have noticed that news organizations are using more UGC.

Without prompt from the researchers, a number of subjects said they had noticed recent moves in the news media to incorporate user-generated content.

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Political reporters, by state, to follow

The Washington Post

The Washington’s Post’s Chris Cillizza shared a list of the country’s best political reporters, state by state, on Tuesday.

I did everything I could to keep this list to reporters for recognized news outlets rather than bloggers or folks with sketchy funding of their journalism to avoid fights. (Alabama, I am looking directly at you. If you want to follow either Cliff Sims or Bill Britt, do it. I genuinely do not care.)

Cillizza notes that the list is growing and suggestions are welcome. Here’s the full list.

Earlier this month, Politico’s Hadas Gold and Katie Glueck shared a list of political reporters to follow in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And last year, Michael Wagner wrote for PBS Mediashift about nine things the best political reporters do “to give their audience a much more comprehensive and accurate picture of the state of the American experiment.” Read more


New York Times, Wall Street Journal offer snowstorm coverage for free

Even though winter storm Juno failed to live up to predictions that it would be historically terrible for New York City, its two biggest dailies are still offering coverage for free.

Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have dropped their paywalls for coverage relating to the snowstorm. This doesn’t mean all of the content is fair game, though; they still kick in if you try to browse unrelated stories.

WSJ and The Times have allowed free access to their content several times before in cases of emergencies or important events:

  • In 2013, when a winter storm was bearing down on the Northeast, both papers dropped their paywalls.
  • Both papers suspended their paywalls for coverage of Hurricane Sandy.
  • The New York Times dropped its paywall for Election Day in 2012 and for Hurricane Irene in 2011.
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‘Winter is coming’: 9 front pages from the blizzard

Juno the winter storm brought a “Over a Foot of Snow in Six States” so far, according to The Weather Channel. The whole thing wasn’t as bad as expected in New York City, but many front pages for Tuesday show a region bracing for winter. Here’s a collection of nine, from the Newseum.

The Boston Globe:


Boston Herald:


The Sun, Lowell, Massachusetts:


The Journal News, Westchester County, New York:


Metro – New York Edition, New York, New York:


New York Post:


Newsday, Long Island, New York:


Staten Island Advance, Staten Island, New York:


The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Virginia:

VA_VP Read more

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CNN, National Geographic, Vice among Snapchat publishers

Snapchat Discover, a platform that allows publishers to send video using the popular messaging service, is now live. In advance of Tuesday’s reveal, reports listed several news organizations as possible users of the service, including CNN, ESPN and Vice.

With today’s launch, we got a peek at some of the other publishers who will use the platform via Snapchat’s YouTube channel. They are:

  • National Geographic
  • Vice
  • Yahoo News
  • People
  • Cosmopolitan
  • CNN
  • ESPN
Read more
1 Comment

Layoffs hit the Mobile Press-Register and the Birmingham News

The Terminal

Employees at the Mobile Press-Register and the Birmingham News started the week with layoffs, André Natta reported in The Terminal. Natta reports that five people were laid off at the Press-Register and four at the Birmingham News.

Natta includes the internal memo from Alabama Media Group’s vice president for content, Michelle Holmes. Here’s part of it:

We have been clear for the last several months that we are regularly assessing our staffing needs, our skills and our overall performance in building and serving audiences. Today’s moves are part of that process.

As you know, we have recently hired several people in different roles, and we have job postings active for others. We remain committed to building this company, ensuring we have the right people in the right roles and adding to the overall skills and abilities of our teams in all locations.

The Alabama Media Group is owned by Advance Publications. Read more


Questions and answers with The Washington Post’s lead environmental writer

Last week, The Washington Post kicked off its energy and environment section with a blog post by Chris Mooney, the section’s primary writer.

In it, he stressed the importance of thoughtful and comprehensive coverage of the environment. He talked to us about The Post’s plans for tackling the environmental beat, the current gaps in environmental coverage and getting through to climate change skeptics.

Broadly, how would you describe the current state of environmental journalism? Are news organizations investing in environmental coverage? Why or why not?

Mooney: I think you have a wide range of things happening. We are investing at The Post while others have cut back. Still, others have found ways to cover science and environmental topics without creating a specialized beat. I’m thrilled to have joined The Post and spearhead its deeper coverage of the environment.

As you noted in your blog post, climate change is an extremely polarizing issue for so many Americans. Read more

1 Comment

4 reasons the New York Times Company won’t be sold anytime soon

New York Times Sales
We learned last week that Michael Bloomberg would like to buy the New York Times Company. He even spoke to Chairman Arthur Sulzberger about it a couple of years ago. So what else is new? Rupert Murdoch covets the Times as well.

The only live question is whether the Sulzberger family would sell.  Through a spokesman Sulzberger said Friday, as he has many times before, that the company was not on the market whatever the offer.

Case closed?  Not quite.  The Wall Street Journal was not for sale until Murdoch’s News Corp. made the Bancroft family an offer — 67 percent above their shares’ trading value — they felt they could not refuse.  Nor did any but the inner circle know the Graham’s Washington Post was for sale until Jeff Bezos bought it in August 2013. Ditto, the Chandler family’s late-1990′s surprise decision to sell Times Mirror to Tribune.

With that one qualifier, I think the Times’ and the Sulzbergers’ situation are so different that a sale anytime soon would be extraordinarily unlikely. Read more


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