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8 questions about becoming a data journalist (with answers)

Last night, Scott Klein, who runs the News Apps team at ProPublica, took part in the weekly #wjchat on Twitter. The topic was “So you want to be a data journalist?” Other journalists in the data/interactive journalism community, including Yuri Victor of Vox and Sandhya Kambhampati from Chronicle of Higher Education, chimed in for the conversation aimed at helping people figure out what was the best way for someone to enter the field.

Here are the key takeaways from the chat:

1. What is a data journalist? What skills and knowledge do you need?

Short answer: The ability to think of creative ways to can channel data. You can interview a person, and you can interview spreadsheets.

2. Read more

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Media as kingmaker: Roger Ailes rules over first GOP debate

New York Magazine

 Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox News in 2006. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox News in 2006. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Amid ample confusion, one thing is clear: Fox News boss Roger Ailes is the power behind the throne for the first big Republican presidential debate.

No, it’s probably really the power in front of the debate throne.

Fox is running next week’s first debate in Cleveland and, at this point, it’s even unclear which ten candidates will be allowed on stage (or at least who’ll be the tenth and final combatant, given Fox’s ultimately poll-driven decision).

Ailes was a master of stagecraft as a GOP political operative and, fittingly, there’s been much discussion and lobbying over the format.

“Fox told campaigns this week that the candidates will be lined up onstage according to their poll numbers, with the leader in the center and the others to his left and right. Read more

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John Cook named temporary executive editor at Gawker

The International Business Times

John Cook will be taking over the position of the executive editor at Gawker Media temporarily. The announcement comes after seven staffers left the company recently, including executive editor Tommy Craggs and editor-in-chief Max Read.

Cook is currently the investigations editor at the publication. The announcement that came from a memo that Cook sent out this morning also notes that Leah Beckmann, the current deputy editor will take over as the editor-in-chief, until a permanent replacement is hired for Max Read. Hamilton Nolan, currently a senior writer at the publication, will take over Beckmann’s position.

Cook, in collaboration with Nick Denton and Heather Dietrick will set up a search committee for a new permanent executive editor in addition to identifying candidates for the position of editor-in-chief. Read more

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Arthur Gregg Sulzberger named associate editor at The New York Times

The New York Times Company

The New York Times Company announced that Arthur Gregg Sulzberger was named an associate editor on Thursday. Sulzberger was previously senior editor of strategy. He was an author on the Times’ Innovation Report. Sulzberger is also a member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board.

From a note from Executive Editor Dean Baquet:

For a year now, the Newsroom Strategy team has worked closely with the masthead to draw the roadmap for our digital transformation. At a moment when The Times is making big changes and significant progress, the team of Tyson Evans and Jon Galinsky, led by Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, ​has played a role in nearly every digital project we have undertaken.

They crafted the initial audience development plan, which led to the creation of our outstanding audience development team.

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Hogan’s lawyer accuses Gawker of leaking content of tapes

On Thursday, lawyers representing Gawker Media and Terry Bollea (real name of Hulk Hogan) gathered in the Sixth Circuit court in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Image Credit: AP

Image Credit: AP

In a motion, the counsel representing Hulk Hogan accused Gawker of reportedly leaking tapes to the National Enquirer, which published an article reporting that racist slurs were part of the conversations on the tape.

“The Enquirer article is very close to the transcripts,” said Hogan’s lawyers.

“If National Enquirer quotes court documents that they could have obtained only from three sources, how did they get them?” questioned Hogan’s lawyers. They requested for an electronic forensic investigation to explore if Gawker communicated with National Enquirer.

As reported earlier, the lawsuit centers on whether Gawker Media was legally justified in posting an edited video showing Hogan having sex with Heather Clem, the ex-wife of shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. Read more

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Philly TV station asked viewers to share moon pics. Viewers got creative.

On Wednesday night, WTXF-TV in Philadelphia tweeted a photo of the moon and asked viewers to share their own moon pictures.

Of course there were a few tweets of backsides, but most people took their creativity to the next level. This looks like Denny’s “Moons Over My Hammy.”

Here’s the Rev. Sun Myung Moon:

And Moon Zappa:

That iconic E.T. moment:

Here’s the Who’s Keith Moon:

And the Death Star:

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Are there ‘Clinton rules’ that drive unfair media coverage?

With their hats providing only a bit of privacy, the Clintons continued their vacation at Martha's Vineyard, Saturday, Aug. 30, 1997, with President Bill Clinton offering some golfing advice to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Mink Meadows Golf Club in Vineyard Haven, Mass. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

With their hats providing only a bit of privacy, the Clintons continued their vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, Saturday, Aug. 30, 1997, with President Bill Clinton offering some golfing advice to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Mink Meadows Golf Club in Vineyard Haven, Mass. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The relationship between Hillary Clinton and the press is complex and contentious. But is there an “unspoken set of ‘Clinton rules’” that drives media coverage?

Political writer Jonathan Allen makes such a case in Vox, pegging his thesis to a bungled New York Times story about a federal investigation of her emails as Secretary of State.

Instant criticisms prompted changes in the original story by the paper, a column by the paper’s public editor and an editor’s note. Read more

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Rolling Stone managing editor to exit in wake of botched rape story

Good morning.

  1. Will Dana joined the magazine in 1996

    As the late, great Peggy Lee sang, "Is that all there is?" Finally, an editor at the magazine departs after the totally bungled tale of alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. The story is a classic and surely will be taught in journalism schools, albeit for the wrong reasons. Dana had a great run and owner Jann Wenner slipped the obvious question by saying that "many factors go into a decision like this." (The New York Times) Meanwhile, several Virginia students sued the magazine for defamation. (Huffington Post)

  2. Guardian votes to unionize

    Is there something potentially significant playing out with media workers and organized labor during a distinctly anti-union era? Following Gawker Media and Salon, the American branch of the Guardian cast its lot with the U.S.

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Former White House communications director on similarities, differences of covering sports and politics

Former President George Bush walks with his Communications Director Kevin Sullivan. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Sullivan)

Former President George Bush walks with his Communications Director Kevin Sullivan. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Sullivan)

Kevin Sullivan’s vast career in public relations has taken him from the NBA to NBC to the White House. Sports always have been a focal point, even for the most important job interview of his life.

In 2006, Sullivan was recommended to serve as the communications director for George Bush. However, he still had to pass the test in meeting the president.

Sullivan knew Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers, was a big sports fan. So he was ready when the president asked, “Where are you from?”

“Chicago, sir. White Sox, not Cubs,” said Sullivan, a native of Chicago’s South Side.

Sullivan obviously had the credentials, but the sports connection helped seal the deal. Read more

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Guardian US editorial staff move to unionize

The Huffington Post

Guardian US announced a move to unionize in an independent ballot conducted by the American Arbitration Association, on Wednesday. The company would be unionizing under the News Media Guild – an operation that represents over 2,000 digital workers at news publications.

“This is a big day not only for the writers and staff members at The Guardian US but for the news industry as a whole. Digital media is growing up, and it’s time our digital reporters received the same benefits and protections as their print media colleagues,” said Bernard Lunzer, president of The NewsGuild-CWA.

Guardian US is the latest addition to the list of digital only publications including Gawker and Salon that decided to unionize last month.

While Guardian US will be unionizing under the News Media Guild, Gawker and Salon unionized with Writers Guild of America, East. Read more

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If Donald Trump is your publisher’s father-in-law, show a lot more nerve than New York Observer

There are ethical conflicts you can avoid and ones you can’t avoid.

The New York Observer has seemingly chosen to avoid one it can’t really avoid.

Donald Trump is the father-in-law of the publisher Jared Kushner, who is married to a Trump daughter, Ivanka.

The paper has made a solid reputation by covering wealth, real estate and lots of politics in New York. The presidential campaign would seemingly be right up its alley, especially with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton of New York and at least two New Yorkers running on the Republican side: Trump and former New York Gov. George Pataki.

Trump is, in a sense, all that the paper embodies: an important, if controversial, member of the city’s propertied class. But Ken Kurson, the paper’s editor, indicates that after talking it over with many people whom he respects, he’s decided to essentially take a pass on covering the father-in-law of his boss. Read more

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Interactive: Find out how diverse the newspaper industry is

The American newsroom has a diversity problem. According to the American Society of News Editors’ census released on Monday, the percentage of racial minorities at newspapers is now at 12.76 percent. With minorities making up 37.02 percent of the U.S. population, our newsrooms are not representative of the society we live in.

We used the data from the ASNE census to build a tool that helps explore the problem. Explore the interactive below to find out the representation that people of different demographics have in the American newspaper newsroom.

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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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