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The decisions behind the New York Magazine’s Cosby cover

When New York Magazine began planning its stunning cover of 35 women who accuse Bill Cosby of assault 30 women had come forward. Now, six months later the number is 46.

The magazine had to navigate a range of ethical, journalistic and design challenges. For instance, is it fair to publicly accuse a person when he/she has not been charged? How would the magazine portray the women in still photographs? Even subtle decisions such as lighting, makeup and framing can affect reader impressions.

Lauren Starke, New York Magazine director of public relations, answered a range of questions I posed via email:

How and Why did you choose to have women wearing black and sitting in the chair with their hands on their laps for the cover photo? Read more

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Morning roundup: New York Times flap may not be nail-biter as paper roundly defends expose

Good morning.

  1. Literati duel as Times chides New York Review of Books criticism

    Former Times reporter Richard Bernstein took after the big expose on the nail salon industry, both benefiting from and compromised by his role as a day spa owner. Executive Editor Dean Baquet on Tuesday responded with understated, convincing force. This may not be a very close call. (Poynter) He chided the literary bastion, whose current issue includes a characteristically cerebral homage to the Middle Ages (you know, Flemish and Byzantine art).

    Baquet mentioned how, "The [Korean American Nail Salon Association's] current president, Sangho Lee, declined a request to address issues of underpayment. So many owners do not pay minimum wage, he said, that he believed answering any questions would hurt the industry.

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There’s a Facebook group to help journalists figure out their plan B

Last May, Russ Kendall learned that another friend and journalist had been laid off. Linda Epstein, McClatchy-Tribune Wire’s senior photo editor for 15 years, would lose her job in July when the company shuttered its wire service. By July 21, Kendall launched a closed Facebook group. Here’s what he wrote on the page’s first post:

What’s Your Plan B? was created to be a forum for journalists who have been laid off and those who haven’t been laid off yet, to share ideas, business plans, anything that might give hope and help to those who need it.

Two days later, Jim Romenesko reported that the group already had 400 members.

Now, more than 2,670 people are part of What’s Your Plan B? (including me. Kendall reached out last month after I wrote “Advice for journalists who’ve lost their jobs from journalists who’ve lost their jobs.”) People share job openings on the page. Read more

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bloomberg news: Boss buys London home for $25 million

The New York Times

Perhaps Downton Abbey wasn’t on the market.

Michael Bloomberg, who parlayed a media fortune into three terms as New York mayor, is trading up by buying a seven-bedroom, 18th century estate in London for $25 million, according to The New York Times.

It’s about twice as big as his current home there, which is a mile away. There’s speculation that he may not give it up (his former wife is English and has occasionally visited him there).

Bloomberg is said to have more than a dozen residences, including in New York City, Bermuda, Colorado and Florida.

The Times suggests the move reflects both social and business predilections:

Mr. Bloomberg, who was recently made an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth II, is an Anglophile who runs with London’s elite.

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New trial date in Hulk Hogan sex tape case could come at upcoming hearing

Hulk Hogan. (AP Image)

Hulk Hogan. (AP Image)

After a last-minute ruling that put off a trial days before it was slated to begin, representatives for Gawker Media and Hulk Hogan will appear together in court earlier than expected.

This week, lawyers for the Manhattan-based news organization will attend a hearing with attorneys for former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan in St. Petersburg, Florida. The hearing, which will take place in Florida’s Sixth Judicial Court on Thursday at 10 a.m., could result in a new trial date for the case, according to spokespersons for the court and Gawker Media.

This week’s hearing was convened in response to a motion from attorneys representing Hulk Hogan — real name Terry Bollea — who earlier this month submitted a request to Judge Pamela Campbell of the Sixth Judicial Court. Read more

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Enough with the Hitler comparisons, already

In this file picture a man holds a poster with a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a swastika. The leader of a German anti-euro party called  for Germany to leave the common currency, telling an inaugural convention that the euro forces German taxpayers to rescue bankrupt southern European countries whose people denounce them as Nazis for their efforts.  (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis,File)

A man holds a poster with a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a swastika. Merkel opposition said that the euro forces German taxpayers to rescue bankrupt southern European countries whose people denounce them as Nazis for their efforts. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis,File)

Presidential campaigns tend to fuel the dark art of the false comparison.

I covered this tendency in 2011, citing incidents in which presidential candidates, from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama were compared to Hitler.  That spectrum should be enough to reveal the emptiness of the comparison.  If politicians as different as Reagan and Obama can attract the Hitler zinger, it means that the content of the comparison is less important than the propaganda effect of comparing your antagonist to one of the world’s most notorious villains. Read more

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New York Times hits back at NYRB: ‘We are…disappointed’

The New York Times

The New York Times issued a lengthy point-by-point rebuttal to The New York Review of Books Tuesday in response to a piece by a former New York Times journalist who called into question the veracity of the newspaper’s bombshell nail salon investigation.

The note, co-authored by Executive Editor Dean Baquet, Deputy Metro Editor Michael Luo and Metro Editor Wendell Jamieson, runs several paragraphs, responds to each of the NYRB’s contentions individually and castigates The New York Review of Books piece as “industry advocacy.”

Mr. Bernstein produced much fine and admirable work during his lengthy tenure at The Times. He has many friends here. To his credit, he has been upfront about being part of the salon industry and having a vested financial interest in its health.

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Right-wing media ‘hijacking’ Republican Party, concludes Harvard report

Shorenstein Center

It’s only fitting that Republican candidates are lobbying Fox News intensely to be among the 10 selected for the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 6.

The Fox role as sponsor bolsters the thesis of a new study that argues conservative media now have undue influence in the Republican Party.

Jackie Calmes, a veteran Washington correspondent for The New York Times, makes the case that it’s now no longer Republican Party leaders setting the party agenda.

No, “It is conservative media – not just talk-show celebrities Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, but also lesser-known talkers like Steve Deace, and an expanding web of ‘news’ sites and social media outlets with financial and ideological alliances with far-right anti-government, anti-establishment groups like Heritage Action, Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. Read more

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New York magazine confirms outage was result of cyber attack

In a statement to Poynter Tuesday morning, New York magazine gave credence to a hacker’s claim that its website was taken down by a pseudonymous assailant known as “ThreatKing.”

“We believe the outage was the result of a deliberate attack on our site,” said New York spokesperson Lauren Starke.

The magazine was silent on the cause of the outage Monday while it fought to restore access to its site. In a bulletin posted just before noon on Twitter, the magazine simply said it was experiencing “technical difficulties” and advised readers it was working on a fix.

The attack hit at an inopportune time for New York, which only hours earlier had posted a bombshell cover story containing testimony from 35 women who recounted tales of assault at the hands of comedian Bill Cosby. Read more

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Caity Weaver takes the Gawker buyout

Caity Weaver became the latest Gawker Media staffer to accept a buyout from the company Tuesday, announcing her departure on Twitter.

According to KnowYourMeme, “Bye Felicia” is a dismissive farewell that has its origins in the 1995 comedy “Friday.”

When reached by Poynter for comment, Weaver confirmed she was taking the buyout.

“Yes, I’m accepting the buyout and also GO EAGLES!” she said.

Weaver, who once spent 14 hours in a TGI Fridays on assignment for Gawker, joins colleagues Leah Finnegan, William Arkin, Max Read and Tommy Craggs in accepting the buyout. Read more

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Study: People read more on sites with modern designs. They also remember more.

A new study from Engaging News Project found sites with contemporary design have a significant increase in pageviews over sites with a more traditional newspaper layout. That part of the study, released on Tuesday, isn’t too surprising. But the study also found that people remembered more (50 percent) from the contemporary sites than they did from the traditional ones.

From the study:

Some of the 2,671 study participants browsed a site with a classic newsprint layout, while others looked at a page with a contemporary modular and image-based layout. The same 20 articles with identical text appeared on both sites.

The Engaging News Project team consistently found that the contemporary site garnered more page views than the classic site. In all three of the experiments, the contemporary site had at least a 90 percent increase in unique page views compared to the classic site.

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Clinton emails inspire note to readers, more headaches for New York Times

Good morning.

  1. Paper offers a mea culpa amid email kerfuffle

    It started with a lede last week about a criminal investigation into whether then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mishandled "sensitive government information" via her email account. The Clinton camp, famous for an unceasing sense of righteous victimization, yelled and the lede was altered to say the probe was actually into whether sensitive information was mishandled, not necessarily by her. Then came both another change and a column by Margaret Sullivan who, as the public editor, possesses a thankless task akin to being a toll collector in an exact change lane with people yelling at her on every shift. (The New York Times)

    Her criticisms of her own paper were insufficient for some, including Joe Conason, a smart and passionate journalist of liberal bent (and a friend), who argues that Sullivan "lets the Times editors and reporters off a bit too easily, allowing them to blame their anonymous sources and even to claim that the errors 'may have been unavoidable.'" (National Memo) Now the paper offers an editor's note in Tuesday's print edition (online last night) four days after the original imprecise prose and concedes that a correction should have been run earlier.

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Newspaper industry lost 3,800 full-time editorial professionals in 2014

The American Society of News Editors annual newsroom census, released this morning, found that job losses accelerated in 2014, falling by more than 10 percent in a single year.

The net job loss of 3,800 brings the total number of news professionals to 32,900 — with additional losses clearly taking place so far in 2015.  That total is down just over 40 per cent from a pre-recession peak of 55,000 in 2006.

It’s the biggest single year drop since the industry was shedding more than 10,000 jobs in 2007 and 2008.  The comparable figure for 2013 was 1,300 jobs and 2,600 in 2012.

The survey began in 1978 to track progress in improving diversity in newspapers’ newsrooms and leadership ranks and continues to embrace that mission. Read more

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Career Beat: Dayna Evans joins New York magazine

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

  • Dayna Evans will join New York magazine. Previously, she was a staff writer at Gawker. (Capital New York)
  • Anas Fouda is editor-in-chief of HuffPost Arabi. Previously, he was Executive Producer for New Media at Al Jazeera. (The Huffington Post)
  • Noelle Sciacca is now a fashion reporter at Mashable. Previously, she was Fashion Market Editor at The Lucky Group. (Email)

Job of the day: Snapchat is looking for an assignment editor. Get your résumés in! (Snapchat)

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

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Caleb Hannan: ‘Screwing up has not made me an expert’

When freelancer Caleb Hannan published the now-infamous “Dr. V’s Magical Putter” on Grantland, everyone wanted to talk to him. He received a barrage of emails and a flood of tweets. Some wrote to congratulate him on a story well-reported and a job well-done. Some wrote to excoriate him.

Hannan’s story was about his experience reporting on an inventor whose golf club had become popular and whose company was touting its success and innovation. He reported on Dr. V’s invention, her company, and her background. He discovered that she lied about her qualifications as a scientist and that she fabricated an impressive resume. He also reported, with the same sort of “Can you believe this?” tone, that she was a transgender woman.

In the time between Hannan reporting on the story and it being published, Dr. Read more

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