Articles about "AP"


simone-camilli

AP journalist and translator killed in Gaza

Simone Camilli in Beit Lahiya on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Simone Camilli in Beit Lahiya on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. AP journalist and translator killed, photographer injured in Gaza: Simone Camilli and translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash “died Wednesday when Gaza police engineers were neutralizing unexploded ordnance in the Gaza town of Beit Lahiya left over from fighting between Israel and Islamic militants.” AP photographer Hatem Moussa was seriously injured in the explosion. (AP) | Moussa got AP’s “Beat of the Week” nod last month. (APME)
  2. Is there a second Snowden? James Bamford writes that he got “unrestricted access to [Edward Snowden's] cache of documents in various locations. And going through this archive using a sophisticated digital search tool, I could not find some of the documents that have made their way into public view, leading me to conclude that there must be a second leaker somewhere.” (Wired) | Related: What it’s like to do a photoshoot with Snowden. (Wired)
  3. Gawker covers BuzzFeed: BuzzFeed has removed nearly 5,000 old posts, some of which “clearly veered into plagiarism territory,” J.K. Trotter writes. (Gawker) | Yowch: “BuzzFeed divorces its first wife.” (@pbump) | Kelly McBride: “Taking articles down is a rare phenomenon among trustworthy institutions, and it should be executed in the full light of day.” (Poynter)
  4. BuzzFeed covers Gawker: In response to staff complaints about violent porn posted in comments, Gawker Media banned images from its Kinja platform. Kinja, Myles Tanzer reports, “is still mystifying employees and creating tensions between the company’s editorial staff and top executives.” (BuzzFeed) | Jezebel EIC Jessica Coen calls the image-banning move an insufficient “temporary band-aid.” (Poynter) | Nicholas Jackson suggests Gawker Media should “Shut down Kinja completely.” (It’s important to note here that Kinja is also Gawker Media’s CMS.) Comments, he writes, “just don’t belong at the end of or alongside posts … They belong on personal blogs, or on Twitter or Tumblr or Reddit, where individuals build a full, searchable body of work and can be judged accordingly.” (Pacific Standard)
  5. Alt-weeklies benefit from Advance’s changes: Publishers of Willamette Week, Lagniappe and Syracuse New Times have staffed up and seen growth in the wake of changes at daily papers in their cities. (AAN) | Related: Readership, alliances up at other New Orleans news outlets in last year (Poynter)
  6. MoJo’s Facebook mojo: Mother Jones engagement editor Ben Dreyfuss decided to “double down on Facebook,” Caroline O’Donovan writes, and has seen notable returns. “From what we hear, Facebook is privileging certain kinds of content-rich sites,” MoJo publisher Steve Katz says. (Nieman) | Related: “While many people now find their news on Facebook, it’s easy to forget that very recently they found it on Google, and will surely find it somewhere else in the not-too-distant future.” (NYT) | Also related: Facebook has seen many more publishers embed its posts since it launched FB Newswire. (Poynter)
  7. More BS television: Bill Simmons plans to launch “The Grantland Basketball Show” on ESPN. (The Big Lead)
  8. Journalists injured in Iraq: New York Times reporter Alissa J. Rubin, Adam Ferguson, a photographer freelancing for the Times, and Moises Saman, who was on assignment for Time, were injured in a helicopter crash in northern Iraq Tuesday. The pilot was killed. (NYT) | Saman’s pictures from the crash. (Time)
  9. Jobs still available in journalism: Dale Eisinger says he worked for “the New York office of a conservative media company based in the South,” where his charge was “to trawl Twitter, and the rest of the internet, for conspiracy and evidence of liberal malice. Then, to repackage these stories or posts or memes for the target demo.” (The Awl)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Adam Serwer will be national editor at BuzzFeed. Currently, he’s a reporter at MSNBC (Poynter) | Edith Zimmerman has been named senior staff writer for Matt Taibbi’s as yet unnamed magazine. She founded The Hairpin. Laura Dawn, former creative and cultural director for moveon.org, will be the magazine’s executive director of multimedia. (Poynter) | Dominic Rushe, Alex Needham and Oliver Laughland will each take different jobs at Guardian U.S. Rushe, a business correspondent, will be East Coast technology editor for Guardian U.S. Needham, formerly a culture editor for theguardian.com, will be arts editor for Guardian U.S. Laughland will join Guardian U.S. as a senior reporter. He’s currently a reporter for Guardian Australia. (The Guardian) | Jeanne Cummings will be head of operations for Bloomberg’s forthcoming politics vertical. Previously, she was a deputy editor at Bloomberg News. (Politico) | The Denver Post is looking for a features writer to cover food and lifestyle. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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Vladimir Putin

Russian ‘law on bloggers’ takes effect today

mediawiremorningHello there. Sorry this isn’t Beaujon. Here are 10 or so media stories. Happy Friday!

  1. Russian blogger law goes into effect: It could crack down on free expression, Alec Luhn explains: “Popularly known as the ‘law on bloggers,’ the legislation requires users of any website whose posts are read by more than 3,000 people each day to publish under their real name and register with the authorities if requested.” (The Guardian) | “Registered bloggers have to disclose their true identity, avoid hate speech, ‘extremist calls’ and even obscene language.” (Gigaom) | The law also states that “social networks must maintain six months of data on its users.” (BBC News)
  2. More on David Frum non-faked photo fakery saga: Photo fakery surely occurs in places like Gaza, James Fallows writes. “But the claim that it has is as serious as they come in journalism.” The three words that are the “immensely powerful source of pride in what we do,” he says: “I saw that.” (The Atlantic) | Frum-related: 3 ways to prevent your apology from becoming the story, from Kristen Hare. (Poynter) | Gaza-related: Jay Rosen on why the AP revised its “members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel” tweet: “A major provider like the AP gets hit hard in the bias wars, so the principle, don’t give them ammunition! has to be built into its routines.” (Pressthink)
  3. SEC watchdog conducted lengthy leak investigation: “The SEC’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) started the investigation after Reuters published information about the regulator’s decision, taken in a closed-door meeting on Sept. 12, 2013, to settle its probe into JPMorgan Chase & Co’s massive London Whale trading loss.” Inspectors “don’t consider issues of press freedom when carrying out their investigations,” according to an OIG official. (Reuters)
  4. Media company Twitter interactions are up: The average number of Twitter interactions per month increased 159 percent between June 2013 and June 2014. John McDermott attributes that to October design tweaks that allow users to interact with retweet, reply and favorite buttons without first clicking or tapping the tweet. (Digiday)
  5. Chicago Tribune launches new website: The responsive platform — explained here by editor Gerould Kern — will be rolled out to other Tribune newspaper sites later this year, when metered paywalls will also be introduced. (Chicago Tribune) | Previously: Suggested tweets and choose-your-own adventure scrolling will be familiar to those who have visited the relaunched LA Times. (Poynter)
  6. More issues with Carol Vogel’s NYT stories? A tipster clues Erik Wemple in to three other troubling cases. But he notes “Not all eerie similarities are created equal.” (Washington Post) | A Times editor note earlier in the week acknowledges Vogel lifted part of a July 25 column from Wikipedia. (Poynter)
  7. Telegraph’s traffic up 20 percent in June: How? A “surge in Facebook traffic referral” as the Telegraph emphasized Facebook over Twitter. “It had previously been all about Twitter. Journalists are all on Twitter, and obsessed with it, so that is where the energy had gone,” Telegraph Media Group editor-in-chief Jason Seiken tells Mark Sweney. (The Guardian) | Related oldie-but-goodie: Ezra Klein tackles the “Why are journalists so obsessed with Twitter?” question. (Washington Post)
  8. Washington Business Journal won’t use the term ‘Redskins’: “I can’t dodge the question anymore,” editor-in-chief Douglas Fruehling writes in a paywalled article. (Washington Business Journal) | We’ll add them to our list of publications rejecting the football team name. (Poynter)
  9. It’s all about the clicks: “Has the Internet killed newspapers?” asks Jon Stewart. “YES!” The takeaway from this segment: Spend 15 minutes on a headline, five minutes on the article itself. (The Daily Show)
     

     

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Sara Just will be the executive producer of PBS NewsHour. Formerly, she was Washington deputy bureau chief for ABC News. (PBS NewsHour) | Josh Rubin will be executive producer and managing director for video at the Daily Dot. Formerly, he was a producer at CNN. Allen Weiner will be an editor at large at the Daily Dot. Formerly, he was a vice president of research for Gartner, Inc. (The Daily Dot) | Brandi Grissom will be enterprise editor for the Los Angeles Times. Formerly, she was managing editor of The Texas Tribune. (@brandigrissom) | Shelby Grad will be assistant managing editor for California news at the Los Angeles Times. Formerly, he was city editor there. Ashley Dunn will be deputy national editor for the Los Angeles Times. Formerly, he was metro editor there. Mark Porubcansky, foreign editor for the Los Angeles Times, will be retiring. Kim Murphy, who has been named assistant managing editor for national and foreign news, will add international coverage to her responsibilities. (Los Angeles Times) | Oskar Garcia, news editor for the Associated Press in charge of coverage of Hawaii, will be AP’s east region sports editor. (Associated Press) | LaToya Valmont will be managing editor of Glamour. Formerly, she was production director there. Job of the day: The Newhouse School at Syracuse University is looking for a director of its Goldring Arts Journalism program. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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AP F IL USA EARNS TRIBUNE

Eighteen months after dropping AP, Tribune happy with Reuters

When newspaper ad revenues were in free fall in 2008, there was much angry complaining among editors about the high cost and inflexibility of the Associated Press service. At a gripe session in Washington, one editor compared the cooperative to the USSR’s politburo.  Threats to quit were common.

In the end though, AP cut its rates, offered several levels of service and has retained the great majority of its newspaper members (who also own the cooperative and hold most its board seats).

But there was an exception.

Starting in 2009, Chicago Tribune editor Gerould Kern quietly began working with Reuters to build an acceptable substitute service.  Kern told me the Chicago Tribune ran its last AP material in March 2012.  With six other Tribune papers (but not the Los Angeles Times), it dropped AP entirely at the start of 2013.

Kern said in a phone interview that he cannot recall a single reader complaint about inferior wire coverage.  At “a price that has saved us significant amount of money,” Kern said, the Tribune and others are getting “more than adequate” content from Reuters and can devote more resources to local investigations, arts and sports.

“We are not anti-AP,” Kern told me several times, “but we believe in competition and choice in the market place.  That makes everyone better.”

Reuters is pushing hard to recruit other converts but so far with only moderate success.  “We’ve been around for 160 years,” Steven Schwartz, global managing director of the Reuters news agency, said in an interview, “but we needed to create a (national) service from the ground up.  We have been encouraged by the uptake to date, but it’s a long road.”

For Reuters, the sales pitch is all about price, “a fraction of the cost (of AP),” Schwartz said.  Neither he nor Kern would be more specific, but I would guess that Reuters charges half or less of AP’s rates, themselves reduced by 30 to 40 percent since 2008.

Schwartz had no criticisms of AP’s quality, but when I suggested that some papers may be sticking with AP because of loyalty and the ownership connection, he flashed a competitive side:

Ours is an industry steeped in tradition and that’s both good and bad.  Gerry’s leadership (in making the switch ) has been unusual….I would say if a paper is continuing out of a sense of commitment to AP, that’s probably a breach of fiduciary duty.

AP too has some fighting words apropos the competition.  In a speech at the newspaper Association of America convention in Denver in March, CEO Gary Pruitt said of newspapers considering dropping membership:

If you walk away from AP, you walk away from your ownership stake in the most important news organization in the world. Good luck with that.

(The Associated Press is a non-profit cooperative owned by its newspaper members. “Profits” are held and reinvested in the company. Newspaper members get special input on news or business matters only in the sense that newspaper executives have a large majority of seats on the board. However, broadcast and international are now bigger business segments for AP.)

Pruitt promised improvements in state coverage, more video  and further pricing options.  But with industry advertising revenues sinking again this year, I don’t see much likelihood that the issue of settling for a “good enough” wire alternative will go away.

Kern and Schwartz concede that even getting to good enough took some doing.  Reuters is part of Thomson Reuters, an internationally oriented company whose main business is specialized financial information.

So for a start Reuters needed to hire correspondents in cities like Denver and Dallas to provide its own coverage of the biggest breaking national news in the U.S.

“We didn’t want a fire hose,” Kern said.  “We have a news service of our own (McClatchy/Tribune) that is the largest supplemental wire.  With that and some other contributors, we already had a rich vein of national content.”

“Sports was a crucial issue to resolve,” Kern continued.  Reuters needed to build out with affiliations to many single-subject digital sites and piece together sports agate.  That was the last content category to be finished before Tribune was ready to go without AP.

AP also prides itself on deep election night coverage and an ability to call races accurately.  Reuters began testing a new system in the March 2012 presidential primaries with IPSOS market research doing the polling and forecasting.  It has performed well, Kern said, and will be expanded by this November’s general election.

On the other hand, Reuters has made no attempt to build state-by-state bureaus with legislative coverage like AP’s.  Kern said that content-sharing arrangements among previously competing papers and other sources serve that need adequately.

Pruitt hinted at a counter-offensive in his March speech to NAA, and that is now rolling out.  AP has assigned a senior executive to oversee the state reports and hired additional journalists.  The service also has started producing national packages on issues like flood insurance and ethanol that can easily be localized by a member paper with a little additional reporting.

Kate Butler, vice president/ membership and local markets, told me that a new mid-tier level of service will be offered soon and begin operation in January 2015. At the same time, she said, the AP will expand its cafeteria-style add-on content packages on topics like the arts and sports from 5 to 10.

Its current limited basic member service costs roughly 50 percent of what a paper would pay for the full basic package, Butler said.  The new mid-tier will be about 75 percent with extra slices of content 5 to 10 percent.

Traditionally Associated Press required member papers to provide two years’ notice to cancel. That’s now been reduced to one year for those who pay a small premium.  That window allows AP to adjust rates and address individual complaints, though for fairness’s sake it offers comparable pricing for papers of similar size.

Butler said that at least two other chains looked at the Reuters alternative but have decided to stick with AP.

Even after the rate adjustments, full AP service costs a typical metro over $1 million a year and a bigger metro like the Chicago Tribune considerably more than that.  Even a mid-sized paper can rack up a bill well into six figures.

Reuters offers typically include extended free trials and a willingness to tailor the package individually to what a paper feels it needs but cannot produce itself.

In a dozen of my own searches of Tribune’s content, I found few if any obvious gaps in wire coverage of major stories.  For certain story types — breaking news obituaries, for example — the Reuters’ versions were not as complete or well-crafted as AP’s.  But I doubt the typical reader would notice a difference.

Tribune and other defectors would also lack access to AP enterprise stories, its deep foreign reach and top-of-the-line photography and video.  But from the readers’ perspective, they may literally not know what they are missing.

Some of AP’s past programs at the newspaper publishers convention included live hook-ups to world trouble spots and in one instance, a presentation  by a photographer/reporter who had talked her way into a Middle Eastern opium den and came out with riveting video. This year, the content portion of Pruitt’s talk, emphasized First Amendment initiatives and a practical effort to get better access for White House photographers.

Over the next several years, I think AP clients and the service itself, will be asking just how much excellence they can afford.  The good old days of monopoly-pricing power are gone.

Even with a focus on keeping expenses lower, AP’s Butler said, “I know (the service) is a substantial cost, but we think it also delivers a substantial value.”  As for Reuters, she added, “It is good to have competition and choice. We wish them well but not too well.”

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How AP moved false story about S.C. Senate candidate

Fitsnews | The Post and Courier

A misunderstanding led to an incorrect story appearing on the Associated Press wire. The story said Thomas Ravenel, a candidate for U.S. Senate in South Carolina, was dropping out of the race.

“In rewriting an AP wire story about Mr. Ravenel for AP’s broadcast wire, a writer yesterday misconstrued the original text, resulting in a broadcast wire story saying that he was dropping from the race,” AP spokesperson Paul Colford told Poynter.

WBTW News producer Anna-Marie Bast reached out to the Associated Press to confirm the story, according to an image of an email published by fitnews.com. WBTW confirmed to Poynter that Bast reached out to the AP.

The false report “had fueled speculation that Ravenel opponents were trying to disrupt his candidacy as an independent,” Schuyler Kropf reports for The (Charleston, South Carolina) Post and Courier. Tim Rogers of AP’s Raleigh, N.C., bureau, told Kropf AP issued a correction, and that the “script went to TV and radio stations only.” Read more

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Why are so many news organizations still worried about retweets by staffers?

Here’s our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day, and from Kristen Hare, a world roundup):

— At Reuters, Jack Shafer picks up on my piece yesterday about how so many news organizations — with The New York Times being a notable exception — still seem afraid of reporters’ retweets coming across as endorsements: “Are NPR, the AP, and Reuters’s editorial reputations really so fragile that a 140-character tweet or retweet by a staffer can blow the whole thing down?”

— Three months into the “temporary” Chicago Sun-Times comments ban, publisher and editor-in-chief Jim Kirk tells Robert Feder “he’s heard no complaints lately and he’s seen no drop-off in online traffic.” Comments should return with a new CMS “sometime around the fourth quarter.”

— BuzzFeed’s director of editorial products, Alice DuBois, on the photo “slide things” in popular posts lately: “I do think there’s a part of the editorial mission to keep pushing and experimenting,” she tells Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon.

— The Dallas Morning News has abandoned its “premium” website, which was ad-free and aimed to be more nicely designed. “But you could see this result coming a Texas mile away,” writes Joshua Benton at Nieman Lab. “The premium site was not some beautiful, immersive experience — it was aggressively ugly and a pain to navigate.”

— “It used to be that there was an ever-more alarming growth in the hours people spent in front of the TV,” Michael Wolff writes at USA Today. “Now the greater concern is the limits of human attention.”


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oxford

AP Style should adopt the Oxford comma

It’s great to see that Nate Silver’s 538 is finally hitting its stride. Stepping aside from the conflicts of politics and sports, the data site has decided to weigh in on a controversy that truly ignites the passion of partisans. Forget Red States versus Blue States, campers. Forget Brazil vs. Argentina in the World Cup. Want to see the fur fly? Debate the Oxford comma.

The Oxford or serial comma (which I prefer) is the one that comes before the “and” in a series such as: “Kelly, Al, Kenny, Ellyn, Jill, Butch, and Roy teach at Poynter.” AP style, which Poynter follows, omits that final comma, leaving “Butch and Roy” attached like “Siegfried and Roy.”

I devote a chapter in my book “The Glamour of Grammar” to my preference for that final comma, and now believe that AP style should now include it. Here is a condensed version of what I had to say. Since I’m quoting from a book, the serial comma will be preserved throughout.

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Advocate use of the serial comma

I have spent my career navigating between literature and journalism, trying to learn from both worlds. From my training and experience as an English professor, I carried into the newsroom the power of close reading, a respect for narrative, and a theoretical understanding of the writing process. From years of working with reporters and editors, I’ve gained a sense of craft, a respect for readers, and a compass that points me toward mission and purpose.

Though I embody these two language traditions in equal amounts, I have preferences, and some of them are passionate, even about the little things. So I say with the certainty of inevitable contradiction that when it comes to the serial comma, sometimes called the Oxford comma, the literary folks have it right, and the journalists have it wrong. The reader needs that final comma before “and” in a series. I need it.

Despite their common heritage in language, analysis, and storytelling, journalists and the literati belong to two different “discourse communities.” I learned that phrase from scholar Carolyn Matelene, and have found it one of the most useful concepts for understanding language. A simpler way to think of a discourse community is as a “language club,” a place where members share the same lingo.

Philosophers form a language club; so do baseball players; so do jazz musicians; so do trial lawyers, tax lawyers, and estate attorneys; so do medical doctors and witch doctors; so do scientists and Scientologists; so do drug dealers and gang bangers; so do straights and gays; so do Buddhist monks; so do kindergarten kids; so do runway models.

Believe it or not, we are back to the serial comma. For three decades, I have included that final comma in a series only to watch helplessly as my journalism editors pluck it out with tweezers. The absurdity of this situation will become apparent:

  • I will write an essay like this one, inserting serial commas wherever necessary.
  • Mallary Tenore, my former editor at the Poynter Institute, which follows AP style, will take them out for our website.
  • Tracy Behar, my editor at Little, Brown, which favors serial commas, will put them all back in for the book version.

When Mallary writes for her blog, she includes them. “I like them,” she says. “They make things clearer.” So the editor who took out my serial commas fights to keep her own. It’s like being a Yankee fan married to a Red Sox fan. You can’t win.

To own a preference is one thing, to peddle it another, so let’s test the value of the serial comma in a paragraph that contains two of them, from author Michael Paterniti:

But the Mississippi isn’t open for baptisms today. A momentary upriver thaw has set it loose with high water, and by the time it’s made St. Louis, by the time it’s been birthed from its first trickles out of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, picked up speed and caught the blue pulse of the St. Croix River south of St. Paul; after it’s already borrowed the Rock River in Illinois, usurped Iowa’s Des Moines, held up the Illinois, and sucked in the Missouri, it’s one pissed and frothy mother rushing with alluvium, sturgeon, and pebbles from pre- history. (from Driving Mr. Albert)

I count 97 words in that passage. The first sentence contains only eight words. That means the author is asking the reader to manage an 89-word sentence, a clever, flowing description, the length of which mimics the actions it describes. Just as a river needs banks, a sentence like this needs just the right punctuation to keep the meaning from flooding our ability to comprehend. That semicolon in the middle provides visual relief and lets the reader take a quick breath. The commas help the author organize two great lists: “borrowed the Rock River in Illinois, usurped Iowa’s Des Moines, held up the Illinois, and sucked in the Missouri” and “rushing with alluvium, sturgeon, and pebbles from pre-history.” Deleting the serial comma leaves holes in the trousers of the story. When I see that final comma followed by “and,” it alerts me that I’m coming to the end of the list and prepares me for the next one.

Robert J. Samuelson of the Washington Post thinks there’s more at stake here than just a few missing squiggles on the page: “If all this involved only grammar, I might let it lie. But the comma’s sad fate is, I think, a metaphor for something larger: how we deal with the frantic, can’t-wait-a-minute nature of modern life. The comma is, after all, a small sign that flashes PAUSE. It tells the reader to slow down, think a bit, and then move on. We don’t have time for that. No pauses allowed. In this sense, the comma’s fading popularity is also social
commentary.”

An alternative view comes from the punk band Vampire Weekend when they ask the musical question “Who gives a f— about an Oxford comma?” The answer, boys, is “I do.”

Apparently, so do the readers of 538. A majority voted to include it. There is hope for this democracy yet.

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SXSW2014_Logo_Platinum_CMYK 220

ONA introduces 5 ethical challenges of social news gathering at SXSW

A working group formed by the Online News Association has identified five key challenges facing those who gather news via social media. Board members Eric Carvin of AP, one of the working group’s founders, and Mandy Jenkins of Digital First Media explained the challenges at South by Southwest Interactive on Sunday.

Here’s a quick look at what they covered. Read more

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