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PBS ombud: Judy Woodruff’s Clinton Foundation donation a ‘mistake’


Michael Getler, the ombudsman for PBS, called on Thursday a decision by “PBS NewsHour” managing editor Judy Woodruff to donate to the Clinton Foundation “a mistake”:

Woodruff has had a distinguished, 45-year journalistic career, holding down important positions with CBS, NBC, CNN and PBS. She has always struck me as straight and professional in her approach to the news and, having watched her now for several years, I couldn’t tell you how she’d vote. But there are lots of ways to contribute to Haitian earthquake relief. So the choice of the Clinton Foundation, even in a small amount and with the best of intentions, was a mistake in my book.

As Getler explains, Woodruff recently discussed on air a donation of $250 to the Haiti Relief Fund, a charitable initiative founded by the Clinton Foundation in 2010 when the country was reeling from a massive earthquake. Read more

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110 photojournalists run National Geographic’s Instagram account

Three years ago, National Geographic started an Instagram feed. Now, it has close to 7,000 images, more than 19 million followers and recently reached its billionth like.

But guess who’s running the account? Not a social media manager, not an editor, not someone from marketing.

It’s the photojournalists — 110 of them. They each have the password. They try and give each other about an hour between posts. And they’re curating images from assignments, their lives, their travels and anything else that they choose.

“We’ve taken a completely different approach than most people when we started it,” said Sarah Leen, director of photography at National Geographic. “The idea was to give the photographers this opportunity to have a place to display the work they were doing for us or even the work they were just doing.”

It’s not a place to sell magazines or photos, she said. Read more

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Tribune Publishing restores San Diego Union-Tribune’s old name

Tribune Publishing just closed the deal on the newspaper formerly known as U-T San Diego. One of the first orders of business: restoring the paper’s old name.

The San Diego Union-Tribune (as it’s now called) already has a new Twitter avatar that reflects the changed name.

Austin Beutner, the publisher of the California News Group, explained the name change in a letter to Union-Tribune readers published Thursday. The paper was rechristened to reflect “the proud history of this organization,” he wrote. Read more


No, CNN says, it won’t ‘host’ Clinton event with Jake Tapper

USA Today reported Wednesday that CNN show host Jake Tapper was erroneously listed as a “’speaker” at a Clinton Global Initiative event in Denver next month.

On Thursday, CNN further amended its relationship to the gathering.

Following the newspaper’s inquiry to CNN, the designation of “speaker” had been removed from the GCI website. However, Tapper remains as a moderator of a panel, “The Business Case for Investing in America’s Workforce.”

On Thursday, I brought to the apparent initial attention of CNN that the panel was further listed as a “GCI Conversation Hosted by CNN.” That suggested a distinct partnership between the network and the Clinton organization.

CNN indicated the reference is wrong. It said Tapper is an unpaid moderator at a gathering that will also include his interview of former President Bill Clinton for on-air use. Read more


New York Times hires 2 from Washington Post

The New York Times is hiring away two journalists from The Washington Post, according to an announcement from Post editors sent to staffers Thursday.

Michael Gold, a ‎social media producer for The Washington Post, is leaving for New York along with Tim Herrera, who’s been the brains behind “several buzzy stories” for the newspaper, according to the memo.

Both joined The Post last year within weeks of each other.

Here’s the memo:

We are sad to announce that Michael Gold and Tim Herrera will be leaving us to join The New York Times. The pair started at The Post within weeks of each other (just over a year ago) and are departing within days. Michael’s last day is May 29 and Tim’s last day is May 27.

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NPR publishes Holy Grail of corrections


Since I started on this beat nearly a year ago, I’ve seen a lot of corrections. Some are funny, some are morbid and some seem obvious in retrospect. But NPR on Thursday published something I’ve never witnessed before — the seldom-seen correction-correction-clarification.


May 21, 2015

In a previous correction on this post, we corrected something that was actually correct. So we have corrected that correction. It had to do with Celsius temperatures.

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NPR ombud: Hosts shouldn’t plug their own books on air


The long-standing routine of NPR employees using the network’s airtime to discuss their own books has got to stop, NPR ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen wrote Thursday.

NPR hosts, correspondents, producers and contributors write an awful lot of books, many of them eagerly anticipated by listeners who turn them into bestsellers. But I believe NPR should not routinely help their cause by featuring the books on air and online. NPR’s new top news executive concurs, in part, particularly when it comes to show hosts discussing their own outside projects on their own shows.

By way of example, she cited a recent appearance by “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep, who discussed his new book “Jacksonland” on the show.

This sort of thing is unacceptable, Jensen writes:

Nonetheless, NPR should not be featuring a host’s book on his or her own program (and no longer will be; see below.) Overall, it also ought to be much more stingy when handing out these features to fellow staff members, particularly when it comes to the main newsmagazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and their weekend counterparts.

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Study: Washington insiders haven’t given up on print

Capitol Hill. (Image credit: The Associated Press)

The U.S. Capitol. (Image credit: The Associated Press)

Although Washington insiders are consuming lots of digital news, they still value the “credibility and access” of print publications, according to a study released Wednesday by the National Journal.

According to the survey, the National Journal’s fifth, 69 percent of Capitol Hill staffers said they read print publications because they were readily available; 59 percent said they chose ink-and-paper editions because of their credibility.

The report was based on a survey of 1,200 “Washington insiders,” who gave answers over a period of four weeks, according to the study. The group included 120 staffers from Capitol Hill, nearly 400 federal executives and 600 people from the “private sector public affairs community.” They answered multiple-choice questions and also penned longer responses. Read more


Meet, the political news site with a sales strategy


BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith on Thursday profiled, a news site that’s aiming to be a “blend between Vox, BuzzFeed, the New York Times, and Amazon.”

Here’s the pitch, as told by founder Vinit Bharara to Smith:

“We’re trying to create these big blocs of communities,” Bharara said. Rather than simply serve readers display ads, the challenge is to “act as their union rep, go to the brands, and figure out a mutually advantageous way” to sell readers products. In the case of Scary Mommy, that could be diapers; on Cafe, Bharara suggested he might connect readers to advocacy groups. The site’s revenue would come from vendors, not readers.

Media companies once dreamed of being the home base for engaged, passionate communities, but that has declined alongside the rise of mobile, and of Facebook and Twitter.

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Hacks/Hackers and the News Lab at Google team up

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Hacks/Hackers announced a new partnership with the News Lab at Google on Thursday called Hacks/Hackers Connect. It’s “an international program designed for media entrepreneurs,” according to a press release, and will begin with a series of events designed to bring journalists and developers together starting in Berlin on June 27.

Hacks/Hackers, “a global grassroots network of journalists, technologists, designers and businesspeople,” started in San Francisco in 2009 and the nonprofit now has more than 60 local groups. According to the press release, board members include Rich Gordon from Northwestern University, Jenny 8. Lee from Plympton, Aron Pilhofer from The Guardian, Burt Herman from Storify and Chrys Wu from The New York Times.

From the release:

“This partnership grew out of a series of ongoing conversations we have been having with Hacks/Hackers,” said Steve Grove, Director of the News Lab at Google, “We asked ourselves how we might work together to better support the media startup ecosystem and empower more successful media entrepreneurs.

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Osama bin Laden was reading Bob Woodward? It’s not news to Woodward.

Journalist Bob Woodward's book, "Obama's Wars." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Journalist Bob Woodward’s book, “Obama’s Wars.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

One of our most fabled journalists was not exactly surprised Wednesday with disclosure of declassified government documents that touched on the reading habits of Osama bin Laden.

It included word that at the time of the U.S. raid on his Pakistan compound in 2011, books in bin Laden’s bedroom included “Obama’s War” by Bob Woodward. (New York Times) It’s a chronicle of President Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan, which received some good reviews even from the inevitable skeptics of the legendary investigative reporter’s work.

“I heard [about this] years ago,” he said in a phone chat Wednesday. “Somebody in the White House or intel community told me they had found it at his bedside. Read more


NPR corrects: David Letterman’s mom isn’t dead


A double-bylined Read more


The growth of women in sports journalism is stagnant

Flanked by Fred Ridley, left and Craig Heathley, Billy Payne, Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club speaks to reporters during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament on April 8. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Flanked by Fred Ridley, left and Craig Heathley, Billy Payne, Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club speaks to reporters during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament on April 8. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The sports front page of the April 9 edition of USA Today featured two columns from the Masters. Nancy Armour wrote about Bubba Watson, while Christine Brennan looked at the favorites for the tournament.

Think about that for a moment: Two women sports columnists being prominently displayed by the one of the nation’s top circulation newspaper, and they were writing about the top men’s event in golf.

Did you notice?

“If people didn’t notice, that’s great,” Brennan said.

Indeed, the columns show how far women have come from the days, not that long ago, when they weren’t allowed in locker rooms. Read more


Clinton swamp nabs another newsman

Good morning. It’s Life After Letterman.

  1. Jake Tapper as Harry Houdini: Link to Clinton Foundation disappears (literally)

    No sooner did USA TODAY ask the Clinton Global Initiative about the CNN host being listed as a “speaker" at a Denver event next month than, bingo, it disappeared from the Clinton website. That’s smart given the George Stephanopoulos admission of donating $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Moral of story: Stick to reporting and not apple-polishing those whom you cover. (USA TODAY)

  2. Brian Williams as piñata: Variety urges more NBC support for Lester Holt

    Variety, a bible of the entertainment industry, argues that Lester Holt, NBC’s amiable sub for suspended Brian Williams, should get more marketing support from his employer. It almost makes Holt sound like a victim dogged by corporate-inspired anonymity as it argues that they “would do well to consider some shouting on his behalf.” (Variety)

  3. Sportswriters aghast over star player’s 2-year-old

    After a NBA playoff win late Tuesday, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry brought his cute two-year-old daughter to a post-game interview.

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Career Beat: Alexia Tsotsis is leaving TechCrunch

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

  • Alexia Tsotsis is stepping down as co-editor of TechCrunch. She will attend graduate school. (TechCrunch)
  • Ellie Duque will be publisher of Entertainment Weekly. She was West Coast advertising director of People and Entertainment Weekly. (Time Inc.)
  • George Troyano is now president and publisher of The (Westchester County, New York) Journal News. Previously, he was chief operating officer for Review Publishing. (Gannett)

Job of the day: The Los Angeles Times is looking for digital editors. Get your résumés in! (Poynter)

Send Ben your job moves: Read more