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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
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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 current state 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


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 late1990′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


Best headline of the blizzard: ‘There’s a Yeti on the Loose in Boston’

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. #Blizzardof2015

    Best subhead of the blizzard so far: "OK, not really. It’s just a bored person in a costume trying to make the best of the blizzard-like conditions." (Boston Magazine) | Lots of networks put staff up at hotels in NYC to make sure they could keep working. (Adweek) | Some of the news was helpful, including WNYC's free embeds. (Tumblr) | NBC also offered embeds, but in the reporter-staying-with-a-family kind of way. (The Washington Post) | You can watch the whole thing all over again, too. (USA Today) | Mashable has a collection of blizzard Vines and photos. (Mashable) | And here's a Vine of a funny Weather Channel moment I made myself. From Florida. I know. (Vine)

  2. What could go wrong with a state-run news outlet?

    Indiana's Gov.

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Career Beat: Julia Ioffe joins The New York Times Magazine

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

  • Julia Ioffe will be a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine. Previously, she was a senior editor of The New Republic. Jaime Fuller is joining New York magazine. She writes for The Fix blog at The Washington Post. Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig will be a staff writer at The New Republic. She is a Ph.D. student at Brown University. (Politico)
  • Betsy Andrews will be editor-at-large at Organic Life. Previously, she was an executive editor of Saveur magazine. Karen Shimizu will be a deputy editor at Organic Life. Previously, she was a senior editor at Saveur magazine. (Fishbowl NY)
  • Eric Engleman is now technology editor at Politico Pro’s Pro Technology. Previously, he was deputy editor there. Tony Romm will be a senior technology reporter at Politico Pro’s Politico Pro Technology. Previously, he was a technology reporter there.
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Today in Media History: The Western Union telegram ends and Twitter begins

Two communication eras almost overlapped in 2006.

On January 27, 2006, Western Union ended its paper telegram service.

Two months later Jack Dorsey sent the first Twitter message.

Most folks know about Twitter’s history, but some might ask, “What was a telegram?”

Image-Telegram copy

“For more than 150 years, messages of joy, sorrow and success came in signature yellow envelopes hand-delivered by a courier. Now the Western Union telegram is officially a thing of the past.

The company formed in April 1856 to exploit the hot technology of the telegraph to send cross-country messages in less than a day.

….’At the time it was as incredible and astonishing as the computer when it first came out,’ said Tom Noel, a history professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. ‘For people who could barely understand it, here you had the magic of the electric force traveling by wire across the country.’

….Telegrams reached their peak popularity in the 1920s and 1930s when it was cheaper to send a telegram than to place a long-distance telephone call.

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Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

News VP for Lee Enterprises will step down

Joyce Dehli, vice president of news for newspaper company Lee Enterprises, announced Monday afternoon her decision to leave her current job.

Dehli, who has held the vice president job since 2006, decided to resign because of a desire to return to writing, according to a company announcement:

So why did I decide to leave? Life is short. I have longed to return to writing, and feel compelled to make time for it. I want to try new things, to explore possibilities, especially those close to the Washington, D.C., area where I moved almost two years ago.

Lee Enterprises will name a successor for Dehli “soon,” according to the announcement. She will remain in office until the transition is completed and consult for the company thereafter on matters of ethics and professional standards.

Lee Enterprises filed for bankruptcy in 2011 after an unsuccessful debt renegotiation. The next month, a judge approved a bankruptcy exit plan for the company, which owns the St. Read more


Patricia Smith’s new life as a poet

The New York Times

In The Working Life, Rachel Swarns’ column for The New York Times, Swarns reintroduces readers to Patricia Smith, “Staten Island’s literary sensation, a poet, an English professor and a star on the national stage.”

She’s the same Smith, Swarns writes, who left The Boston Globe in 1998 after admitting to fabrication. Smith doesn’t talk much about that time in her life and asks, basically, to be allowed to move on.

“It’s been 16 years, you know,” said Ms. Smith, 59. “People have to give you a chance to be who you are now.”

Some people who claw their way out of the abyss turn their fall into a strand of their personal narrative. But Ms. Smith does not aspire to be the star of anyone’s tale of reinvention.

Swarns writes about Smith’s work now and the awards she has won. Swarns also spoke with one of Smith’s former colleagues at the Globe. Read more


Former Fox employee kills himself outside of News Corp building

The Wall Street Journal

A man who fatally shot himself outside News Corp’s New York headquarters was a former employee of a Fox News affiliate, Pervaiz Shallwani and Heather Haddon wrote Monday for The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal report, attributed to “a law enforcement official,” says the man, Phillip Perea, worked out of a station in Austin, Texas. He was “handing out fliers” that blamed his employers for having “ended my career,” right before he shot himself:

A suicide note and a gun were recovered at the scene, the official said. Mr. Perea took to his Twitter page about an hour before the shooting, further criticizing his former employer and linking to a more than 8-minute YouTube video laying out his complaints.

A Twitter account registered to a user matching the name given to The Wall Street Journal tweeted Monday about workplace bullying and linked to a YouTube playlist called “The American Workplace Bully: How FOX News Ended My Career.” There are 35 videos in the playlist, and many feature a narrator discussing perceived conflicts with his employer. Read more

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In the move downtown, New Yorker staff dug through paper and booze

The New Yorker

The New Yorker’s latest cover is a farewell to 4 Times Square, where the magazine’s offices were located for 15 years. Nick Paumgarten writes for The New Yorker about the move to 1 World Trade Center and the things staff sifted through on the way out.

Frankly, it was harder to get ready to leave. As a prelude to the move, the staff, told that it would have to travel light, spent weeks purging offices of the detritus of the decades. Some of it was easy to bid goodbye to: here and there a shrine of exotic booze (flask of Ugandan banana gin, anyone?) or a Cornell-box assemblage of promotional doodads. The things we keep around! But mostly it was paper, whole forests’ worth. Thousands upon thousands of orphaned books, some hoarded for novelty appeal, or a nascent interest, or a bygone assignment, or out of allegiance to (or guilt about) writer friends—an “accretion of intention,” as one acquaintance put it—were trucked off to Housing Works and the like.

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