Tennessean will use data, not ‘the journalist’s gut,’ to make decisions

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 (ha ha, OK, you got me, it’s more than 10) media stories.

  1. 21st Century Fox won’t pursue Time Warner: Rupert Murdoch sent a honcho-to-honcho email to Jeffrey L. Bewkes Tuesday afternoon, notifying the Time Warner chief he was withdrawing his previous offer. (NYT) | “Arguably, shareholders had scuttled” the deal already, Brian Stelter writes: “21st Century Fox shares had dropped nearly 10% since the initial bid for Time Warner earlier this summer.” (CNN) | “Long media nerd earnings day. Was going to be fun. But now… [sad trombone]” (@pkafka) | “One large Fox investor said the market is worried about Murdoch’s discipline when it comes to deal-making,” Cristina Alesci reported Tuesday morning. (CNN) | Time Warner revenue was up 3 percent in the second quarter of 2014 over the same period the year before. HBO’s revenue was up 17 percent. (Variety) || Former corporate mate Time Inc. released earnings, too: Revenue was down 1.6 percent. (WWD) | An analyst tells Nicole Levy more layoffs are possible at Time Inc. (Capital)
  2. Tennessean’s “newsroom of the future” will have fewer employees: Everyone will have to reapply for new jobs at the Gannett-owned paper, Executive Editor Stefanie Murray writes. (The Tennessean) | Blake Farmer reports: “Currently, the headcount is at 89. There are 76 positions on the new org chart.” (Nashville Public Radio) | Read: Fewer editors. The reporting staff will grow from 37 to 43, Murray told Poynter in a phone call Tuesday evening. Management positions will fall from 17 to 10. The goal is “self-sufficient reporters producing publication-ready copy,” Murray said. New roles include audience analysts, engagement editors, storytelling coaches and content strategists, and coverage will be determined by listening to readers and gaining a deep understanding of audience analytics: “We’re going to use research as the guide to make decisions and not the journalist’s gut,” she said. The reapplication process should be complete by mid-September, Murray said. || Farmer reported The Tennessean is one of Gannett’s “beta” newsrooms, and indeed, Gannett’s Asheville (North Carolina) Citizen-Times is undergoing a “sweeping reconfiguration” as well. (Citizen-Times)
  3. The NSA stunk up The Intercept’s scoop: The spy agency gave documents to AP reporter Eileen Sullivan after The Intercept asked about them. “After seeing you had the docs, and the fact we had been working with Eileen, we did feel compelled to give her a heads up,” Ryan Grim reports an NSA official told Intercept EIC John Cook in a conference call. “We thought she would publish after you.” (HuffPost) | Sullivan is “no govt shill,” former AP reporter Matt Apuzzo tells Grim in a very interesting discussion. (@mattapuzzo) | The Intercept’s story. | AP’s story.
  4. A look at RT: Mashable interviews current and foreign journalists: Former RT reporter Sara Firth says, “The problem comes if you have information that isn’t in line with what RT is saying. That’s never going to get on air.” RT host Anissa Naouai tells Mashable: “I’m not necessarily sure that after RT I’d want to work for the media.” (Mashable) | Related: David Remnick on Vladimir Putin’s “New Anti-Americanism” (The New Yorker)
  5. Article from Washington Post’s new “Storyline” project takes grisly editor’s note: “Several passages have been removed from this story because the source of those passages, Mickyel Bradford, has admitted to fabricating them,” a note on Jeff Guo‘s story about “The black HIV epidemic” reads. (The Washington Post) | Because of the way the story framed Bradford’s false narrative, “readers might have supposed that Guo was right there, witnessing the interactions between the two men.” (The Washington Post) | Related: “For woman in New York Times hoarding article, a long wait for an editor’s note” (The Washington Post)
  6. BuzzFeed has a new president: Greg Coleman has worked at The Huffington Post and at the advertising agency Criteo. The latter résumé item “is increasingly valuable as publications work to counter the downward march of rates for traditional online advertising,” Ravi Somaiya writes. (NYT)
  7. Dan Snyder’s small media empire: Dave McKenna details the Redskins owner’s never-ending search for friendly coverage. “Lots of the worst things about modern sports marketing—team-produced programming and team-owned news operations—were Snyder innovations.” (Deadspin)
  8. HuffPost moving into Middle East: Plans to “launch an Arabic-language edition aimed at the growing number of young people in the Middle East with mobile devices.” The staff will be based in London. (The Guardian)
  9. Bill Keller says NYT Co. shouldn’t test employees for marijuana use: Current policy “proves that reports of the death of irony are much exaggerated,” he says in a Reddit AMA. (Poynter) | Related: Snoop Dogg asked Times Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal “whats wrong wit a lil wake n bake??” during another AMA Tuesday. (Mediaite) | Rosenthal invited him to visit the Times building, Paul Smalera reports, explaining that “wake and bake” is “a slang term for the act of smoking marijuana upon rising in the morning.” (NYT) | “‘With Juice, Gin’” (@mattfleg)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Mirta Ojito will be director of news standards for Telemundo. Formerly, Ojito was an assistant professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. (Telemundo) | Mike Nizza will be executive editor of the as-yet unlaunched Bloomberg Politics website. Formerly, Nizza was digital editor at Esquire. (Fishbowl DC) | Lauren Kern will be executive editor of New York Magazine. Previously, she was deputy editor at The New York Times Magazine. (Capital New York) | Job of the day: The (Tupelo) Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal is looking for a law enforcement reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org.

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  • Theo Mulligan

    News flash: Data-driven news gets you stories about the Kardashians and Justin Bieber. In the comments, you’ll get wonderful, thoughtful, data-driven perspectives from unemployable people living in their mothers’ basements. Oh: the metrics! The engagement with the noble reader. Are you kidding me? The first editor out the door at The Tennessean should be Ms. Murray; she is clearly expendable, after all, who needs editors. News corporations don’t want reporters who trust their guts because their corporate lackeys don’t have any. Cut your profit margins and get rid of these pariahs who have destroyed the news business. And hire some people on the ad side who can actually close. Let newsmen and women do their jobs.

  • http://larryfeltonjohnson.typepad.com/ Larry Felton Johnson

    I’ve been involved in reorgs which purport to introduce “data driven” decision-making, often with hilarious results, and I sincerely hope that the Tennessean figures out the way to do it properly. My fear is that, applied to news, the data will drive the industry toward clones of the Daily Mail or TMZ. That said, the print news industry could use a deeper understanding of the contemporary audience, and gathering data is really the only way to do that.