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8 digital media lessons from Poynter’s ‘Journalism and the Web@25′ panel

Journalists shared personal stories about a “Goosebumps” fan site, a three-year-old riding an elevator, and dropping computer science classes in college to illustrate how journalism has changed since 1989 — and needs to change more quickly today — at Poynter’s “Journalism and the Web@25″ event Tuesday night.

The panelists at the Ford Foundation in New York represented both new and old media, and television, print, and mobile:

  • Rob King, ESPN‘s senior vice president, SportsCenter and News
  • Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide
  • Melissa Bell, co-founder, senior product manager and executive editor at Vox.com
  • Kathleen Carroll, executive editor and senior vice president of The Associated Press
  • Jeff Jarvis, founder of BuzzMachine.com and professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism

Here’s a replay of the lively discussion (the event begins around the 8:50 mark) and some digital journalism lessons shared by panelists as they reflected on the past 25 years of the Web:

The time for urgency was then — and now

When it comes to digital transformation, “I think we probably all wish we had been faster, sooner,” said the AP’s Carroll.… Read more

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Employment tumbles again at newspapers, and First Look’s plans shift

Good morning. Here are 10 (OK, maybe not exactly 10) media stories.

  1. The newspaper business lost 1,300 employees last year: “The overall revenue figure, as measured by the Newspaper Association of America, was down 2.6 percent in 2013, close to an even match with the percentage of news job cuts for the year,” Rick Edmonds writes. (Poynter) | One small bright spot: Minority employment was up, after years of stagnating. (Poynter)
  2. An update on First Look Media: “We have definitely rethought some of our original ideas and plans,” Pierre Omidyar writes. (First Look Media) | Jay Rosen: “For First Look the way to a large user base isn’t ‘one big flagship website’ or an ‘everything you need to know’ news app to go up against, say, the Guardian or npr.org.” (PressThink) | Mathew Ingram: “More than anything else, what Omidyar is describing sounds like a real-time journalism lab, one that will test out different ways of interacting with readers around a topic — albeit a lab that happens to have a quarter of a billion dollars behind it.” (Gigaom)
  3. Margot Adler, R.I.P.
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SI takes heat for LeBron-to-Cavs ‘scoop’

The Washington Post | The New York Times

Sports Illustrated’s LeBron James scoop was more public-relations enabling than act of journalism, critics are complaining.

In The Washington Post, Gene Weingarten calls last week’s James piece “expert PR editing provided free of charge by Sports Illustrated”:

Sigh. God help us all. This was not a scoop. It wasn’t even good journalism. It was a pure load of crap.

There’s still reason to go to journalism school — or at least to aspire to be a journalist — but it’s mostly to be a foot soldier in the war against the sort of thinking that has us idiotically celebrating this “scoop.” This “scoop” has all the earmarks of a punt, a sad, sad, acknowledgment of what journalism has too often become in our current world of all-news-all-the-time, where being first is overvalued and being good is too often beside the point, or financially imprudent.

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In this Dec. 19, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is intent on moving quickly in dealing with the racially charged scandal surrounding Clippers owner Sterling. The NBA league will discuss its investigation Tuesday, April 29, 2014, before the Clippers play Golden State in Game 5 of their playoff series. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)

Does TMZ’s Clippers scoop mean pop websites can stand as equals with traditional news outlets?

The story is ubiquitous, perhaps as it should be.

On every news website, on every television station, in every morning paper. If you didn’t know who Donald Sterling was before this weekend, you certainly know who he is now. As a fan and follower of the NBA, I did, and I also knew about his checkered past. But at the same time, I count myself among those who were caught off guard by the egregious racial comments attributed to him that have become the biggest story of the current news cycle.

This time the big story didn’t come through the mainstream channels. When the late Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott used racial epithets in reference to outfielders Dave Parker and Eric Davis, The Cincinnati Enquirer was on top of it.… Read more

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Isolated diversity tree with pixelated people illustration. Vector file layered for easy manipulation and custom coloring. Depositphotos

Why journalism startups should look past traditional talent pools

The launch of Nate Silver’s new, ESPN-funded version of FiveThirtyEight is here, with its data-centric approach to journalism that could reinvent news for the digital age — or at least make it better. And while Silver’s brand of journalism may look different, the people producing it look at lot like the people producing “conventional” journalism: white men.

FiveThirtyEight isn’t the only exciting new journalism site with a predominantly white male staff. As Emily Bell pointed out in the Guardian, we’ve also got Vox and First Look Media, among several others.

“It’s impossible not to notice that in the Bitcoin rush to revolutionize journalism, the protagonists are almost exclusively – and increasingly – male and white,” Bell wrote.

Recent studies have shown that the percentages of minorities and women in newsrooms are significantly lower than in the general population and, alarmingly, that those numbers have remained largely unchanged over the last decade.… Read more

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Rick Reilly will stop writing column for ESPN.com

ESPN | Deadspin

Rick Reilly “will let his weekly column go and concentrate on television duties for ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown,” Bill Hofheimer writes.

“Rick consistently distinguished himself with his unique voice, penchant for humor and most important, ability to find and tell compelling stories,” ESPN VP for Editorial Patrick Stiegman told Hofheimer.

And yet. Last month Barry Petchesky detailed many instances in one Reilly ESPN.com column where he recycled old material.

2009: “I’d extend my hand to the guy I’d just beaten like I was going to shake it and then, when he started to grab it, I’d pull it back. Psych! When the guy in the blazer came out with the winner’s check, I’d snatch his toupee off and fling it like a Frisbee.”

2014: “I’d extend my hand to Bubba, yank it back and yell, ‘Psyche!’ When the guy in the bad plaid jacket came out with the winner’s check, I’d snatch his toupee off and fling it like a Frisbee.”

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FiveThirtyEight to relaunch March 17

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight will relaunch March 17, ESPN President John Skipper announced Saturday at South by Southwest as he introduced Silver and Grantland’s Bill Simmons for a panel on personal media brands.

While talking about leaving The New York Times and deciding to partner with ESPN, Silver criticized old media brands for being “being slow on their feet and not having entrepreneurial spirit.” They have no concept of return on investment, he said.… Read more

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Joe Paterno, Mike McQueary, Matt McGloin

ESPN reports Mike McQueary was sexually assaulted, but says little else

In this photo taken Sept. 24, 2011, then-Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, left, talks with quarterback Matt McGloin (11) as assistant coach Mike McQueary listens on the sidelines during an NCAA college football game against Eastern Michigan in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Editor’s note: This column was revised and updated to include ESPN The Magazine Editor Chad Millman’s response to our emailed questions about the process behind the story.

ESPN The Magazine just published a long read about Mike McQueary, the man who witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a child in the Penn State locker room. The man who cost Joe Paterno his job and his legacy.

The story appears under the headline “The Whistleblower’s Last Stand” and describes widespread distrust of the former assistant coach and a life diminished since Sandusky’s indictment in the fall of 2011.… Read more

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After a weekend of uproar, an apology for Dr. V

Grantland

On Monday, Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons apologized, and took the blame, for a Jan. 15 story that some praised, before many more tore it apart.

“Dr. V’s Magical Putter,” by Caleb Hannan, tells the story of a woman and her invention, the writer’s discovery that she was a transgender woman, and her October suicide.

(You can see the tides of reaction to the piece in this piece, which Paige Williams wrote Sunday for Nieman Storyboard.)

In his piece on Monday, Simmons explains Grantland’s publishing process.

We have a system. Everyone weighs in. I delegate as much as humanly possible and intervene only on the bigger decisions. Rarely, if ever, have we disagreed on actually posting a piece. You always just kind of know.

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ESPN shuffles sports, news leadership

Broadcasting & Cable | Capital New York | SportsBusiness Daily

ESPN shifted the responsibilities and titles of top sports and news executives in a consolidation of its programming and production operations, reports Broadcasting & Cable’s Tom Baysinger.

News Director Vince Doria plans to retire early next year and his responsibilities will move to Craig Bengtson, vice president/director of news. Doria will report to Rob King, SportsCenter and news senior vice president, who shifts from digital and print to oversee the SportsCenter and newsgathering operations. King is a member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board.… Read more
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