Fact-checking the war comparisons between Obama and Bush

This story originally appeared on the PunditFact website. Poynter.org is republishing with permission.

The irony of President Barack Obama, Nobel Prize winner and putative anti-war candidate, launching extensive airstrikes in Syria, quickly led to comparisons with his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama walks with former President George W. Bush during the unveiling of his official portraits in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

PunditFact heard two different comparisons in recent days that we thought we were worth exploring.

Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for the New Yorker summed it up in one tweet.

"Countries bombed: Obama 7, Bush 4."

That’s True.

We asked Lizza for his list and he sent us this:

Bush: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.… Read more


Here’s how to use Snapchat (and how not to use Snapchat)

One packed session from ONA14 was Mobile Bootcamp: Snapchat. Masuma Ahuja, digital editor of The Washington Post, led the session on the social tool that doesn’t drive traffic to stories. Instead, it helps reporters and news organizations build and be part of communities.

Before we get any further, a quick primer on Snapchat: Here are the basics on getting started (and what all those icons mean.)

Now, let’s start with how not to use Snapchat:

– Don’t think it’s like anything else.

“It’s not Twitter, it’s not Instagram,” Ahuja said.

Instead, people have to accept an invitation from you, and you then become part of their selected group.

“I think of it as building a community there,” Ahuja said. “They treat us as their weird friend who talks about politics.”

On Instagram, she said, you can see you’re one of 20,000.… Read more


Why is Ebola capitalized? And how do you say it?

FILE – This undated file image made available by the CDC shows the Ebola Virus. As a deadly Ebola outbreak continues in West Africa, health officials are working to calm fears that the virus easily spreads, while encouraging those with symptoms to get medical care. (AP Photo/CDC, File)

After all, flu isn’t capitalized, and neither are chickenpox or measles.

Here’s why:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola “first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.”

And how do you pronounce it?… Read more


Who’s doing diversity well? BuzzFeed

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith publicly shared an email he sent to staff about diversity at BuzzFeed. It’s titled “What We’re Doing To Keep Building A Diverse Editorial Operation,” and it includes a definition of diversity, four reasons that it matters and five things editors should do when hiring.

BuzzFeed’s working definition of diversity is this: enough people of a particular group that no one person has to represent the supposed viewpoint of their group — whether ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, socioeconomic background, or disability. And if the group is a small one we should never expect one person to be the “diverse” reporter or writer, or to speak for anyone other than themselves.

BuzzFeed has a fairly even mix between women and men, according to the letter, and it’s still pretty white.… Read more


Newsweek boss: ‘clearly enough’ examples to put editor’s note on Zakaria archive

On Monday Newsweek placed an editor’s note on Fareed Zakaria’s entire archive for the magazine. It says, “some of his articles have been the subject of complaints claiming that they contain material that should have been attributed to others.”

The anonymous critics @blippoblappo and @crushingbort published a post Aug. 22 outlining what they said were instances of plagiarism in Zakaria’s 2008 book “The Post-American World” and in Newsweek and Foreign Affairs.

Reached by phone, Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Jim Impoco said simply, “The examples I saw were clearly enough for me to append a note.”

Impoco also took issue with the now-kind-of-bruited claim that he hadn’t answered a previous request for comment from Poynter about Zakaria articles that Newsweek published before he was editor and when a different company owned the magazine.… Read more

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 11.56.21 AM

Three fronts from Hong Kong that zoom in instead of out

Like I do most mornings, I combed through front pages from Newseum and Kisoko.net early on Wednesday. I expected to see large images with huge crowds on the fronts of many papers, and I did. But I also saw a few images that stood out from the Hong Kong protests because of the way they zoomed in, both conceptually and literally.

The first comes from Die Tageszeitung in Berlin, Germany:

The Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney, Australia, zoomed in, too, for a sight that feels both familiar and different from Ferguson. The two protests are not the same, of course, but there is something about seeing a person standing in defiance surrounded by tear gas that made me think of this iconic Ferguson image from Robert Cohen of The St.… Read more

Photo by Andrew Beaujon

NYT plans buyouts, layoffs if necessary to cut 100 newsroom staffers

The New York Times

The New York Times plans to cut about 100 jobs from its newsroom, Ravi Somaiya reports. “We hope to meet this number through voluntary buyouts. But if we don’t get there we will be forced to do layoffs,” Executive Editor Dean Baquet says in a note to staffers (below).

In addition, it’s shutting down its NYT Opinion app, and while Publisher Arthur Sulzberger and New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson call the app NYT Now “terrific,” they say “our effort to define and market a lower-priced subscription offer on the web and core apps has proven much less successful.” It will become a smartphone-only product “aimed at new and younger audiences and we’ve already begun to test other, more intuitive lower-priced subscription offers.”

The headcount is up to about 1,330 people, Somaiya reports, up from 1,250 last year.… Read more


Career beat: Gawker to hire “growth hacker”

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

  • Tamar Adler is now a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. Previously, she was an editor at Harper’s. (The New York Times)
  • Joanna Coles is now editorial director of Seventeen magazine. She is editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. (AdWeek)
  • Kris Van Cleave is now a correspondent for CBS Newspath. Previously, he was a reporter and anchor at WJLA. (CBS News)
  • Chris Cristi is now an evening helicopter reporter at KNBC in Los Angeles. Previously, he was a freelance helicopter reporter for KCB. (TV Spy)
  • Nerina Rammairone is now deputy editor at TV Guide Magazine. Previously, she was a senior editor there. (Mediabistro)
  • Michael Fabiano will be director of local broadcast markets for The Associated Press.
Read more

Why did the CDC try to embargo Ebola news?

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Why did the CDC place an embargo on Ebola news? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first case of Ebola in the U.S. Tuesday. (CDC) | The rollout didn’t follow the CDC’s schedule, though. As AP put it, “The CDC initially embargoed the announcement of the diagnosis until 4:30 p.m. CDT, but then lifted the embargo after several news organizations broke that restriction.” | NBC’s story, for instance, was first published at 4:52 p.m. ET. “Which means, by the way, unless NBC’s standards have changed dramatically recently, which I doubt, that someone at the CDC went on the record about this before the ‘embargo’ lifted,” Ivan Oransky writes. He also notes another problem with the press release: “When you put ‘For Immediate Release’ and ‘Embargoed’ on the same press release about @#$% Ebola, you get the blame for the broken embargo.” (Embargo Watch) | In 2007, Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg got a scoop based on info he got independently and other news orgs had agreed to embargo.
Read more

Today in media history: In 1982 journalists described a new technology called the compact disc

The press has been writing about new audio technology since the Edison phonograph. In 1877 Scientific American reported that “Mr. Thomas A. Edison recently came into this office, placed a little machine on our desk, turned a crank….We have already pointed out the startling possibility of the voices of the dead being reheard through this device and…other results just as astonishing.”

On October 1, 1982, there was another technology story to write when Sony released the first commercial CD player.

The robot narrator for this Sony commercial sounds a great deal like John Cleese.

Here is how the New York Times described compact discs in 1982:

“The CD’s are coming! The CD’s are coming! Not the banking CD’s, but
the audio compact disks. The hoopla for the new technology is evident
in the technical magazines, which are busy reviewing the equipment for
playing the disks.

Read more