Gawker

Former newsman earns his keep on fake news show

Cord Jefferson

Cord Jefferson. (Courtesy photo)

Last January, Cord Jefferson was offered what he calls an unexpected, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Jefferson, who was then West Coast editor at Gawker, got a cold-call from the show runner of “Survivor’s Remorse,” a comedy on Starz that chronicles the life of a fictional NBA pro named Cam Calloway. Would he be interested in writing for the show?

Jefferson wasn’t sure. The first season was only 12 weeks of work, and there was nothing guaranteed after that. Plus, he liked working at Gawker. It was consistent, the pay was good and he hadn’t been considering a move to television. But he called a friend — who has since become his manager — and decided the chance was too good to pass up. Read more

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WH-reporters

With publication of pool reports, Gawker loosens up the Beltway

In the old days, they were photocopied and placed in bins near the back of White House briefing room. As years went by, they began appearing in the inboxes of Washington journalists via email.

And on Tuesday, the distribution of White House pool reports was changed yet again when journalists at Gawker Media announced they had begun publishing the dispatches directly to the Web.

President Barack Obama waves to reporters at the conclusion of his news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais )

President Barack Obama waves to reporters at the conclusion of his news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais )

News of the change was greeted differently by various members of the White House press corps, who held a vigorous back-and-forth about whether the pool reports, which are largely not written for general consumption, should be made instantly available to the public at large. Read more

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Mic news director fired for plagiarism

Gawker | Politico

Jared Keller, news director at Mic, has been fired from his position at the startup after a Gawker investigation unearthed “at least 20″ plagiarized passages from a variety of news organizations including The Associated Press, Reuters and Storyful.

Jake Horowitz, Mic’s editor-in-chief, provided Poynter with the following statement:

Jared Keller is no longer employed at Mic. Plagiarism is unacceptable in any form and our editorial policies make that very clear. We appreciate Gawker bringing these issues to our attention, and as we continue our internal review, we’ll be transparently updating any story that violates our standards.

Mic takes responsibility for allowing this to happen. We’re going to use this as an opportunity to improve as an organization, and we’re already soliciting candid feedback from our editorial staff about what we can be doing better.

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What platishers, like Medium, mean for unknown writers

Early in November, Lauren Cusick, a former defense attorney, was listening to Serial. In one episode, a juror explained that a defendant’s choice not to testify contributed to a guilty verdict. In response, Cusick wrote a thoughtful, persuasive essay about a defendant’s invocation of Fifth Amendment rights and posted it on Medium.

Cusick, who now lives in Japan, has a personal blog, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page. She chose Medium, she said, because she had friends who used it to write about their areas of expertise and it seemed more professional than emotional outbursts on Facebook or Twitter’s noise. Plus, the barrier to entry was nil.

“I used their formatting tools, which were super easy,” she said. “It’s kind of nice to be able to able to use pull-quotes. Read more

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Nick Denton wants Gawker Media to reach more conservatives

Jason Parham’s Kinja thing

Gawker Media honcho Nick Denton Thursday told an editor (and careful Gawker readers) that he knows the company’s audience leans left and wants its journalism to reach more conservatives:

Let’s welcome, if not out-and-out racists, then at least the wide array of people with whom a conversation is possible: national greatness conservatives, Burkean Tories and business pragmatists, for instance; Christians and other spiritual people; economic liberals, libertarians and techno-utopians; and black and other social conservatives.

Denton was responding to a note from Gawker’s Jason Parham, who publicly urged Denton and the upper echelons of Gawker Media to embrace diversity “throughout all departments of the company.” In the note, Parham encouraged Gawker Media bosses to “engage the interest around progressive voices” and hire more Latina, queer and black writers. Read more

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Gawker editor: We ‘must commit’ to diversity

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Gawker’s Jason Parham wrote about the need for more diversity at Gawker on Monday. In the post, Parham published an internal email, which he sent in December, about why Gawker needs to add more diversity.

So, here’s the thing: For Gawker Media to compete, evolve, and grow, our commitment to create a self-operating ecosystem must involve a commitment to diversity throughout all departments of the company, but especially in edit. It is an ambitious and important endeavor — and will no doubt be essential to our survival as a leading independent media entity — so it is crucial we understand growth in terms of racial, sexual, and gender diversity.

To forge ahead, Gawker Media must commit to publishing and hiring more Latina voices, queer voices, black voices, and marginalized voices across its core sites.

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Former Racket executive editor rejoins Gawker

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Alex Pareene, who was formerly executive editor of The Racket, a short-lived satirical news project from First Look Media, has joined Gawker Media as its special projects editor, executive editor for investigations John Cook announced Wednesday.

In a post filed to “prodigal sons,” Cook noted that Pareene, who was formerly a Gawker staffer, will be tasked with “developing and executing pranks, capers, hijinks, and long cons” on Gawker’s various sites.

Gawker sites have always traded in such joyful pursuits—we stalked Fox News stalker Jesse Watters, publicly corrupted the Baseball Hall of Fame voting process, ostentatiously placed a mole inside Roger Ailes’ shop, killed every television at CES, and tested Jeremy Lin and Eli Manning’s table-pull at swank Manhattan eateries, to name a few—but Alex’s presence and talents will help us to keep thinking big and place a premium internally on attention-grabbing, high-quality gags.

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Gawker’s New Year’s resolution: Make some sub-blogs

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On Friday, Gawker’s Editor-in-Chief Max Read posted a memo about his plans for 2015 at Gawker. The way Gawker’s homepage is set up has been frustrating, Read wrote. And so they’re going diagonal.

The basic structure is simple. Rather than publish everything directly to the home page, we’ll publish our stories to a set of beat-focused sub-blogs, some of which already exist and some of which will be launched in January. From those “diagonals”, the best and most representative work—original stories, reported news, personal writing, smart arguments, breakout viral, breaking news—will be shared to the front page, which will update at a somewhat slower rate than it currently does. Everything will be pushed to Facebook and Twitter, as well as to a comprehensive Gawker “news feed.”

The sub-blogs include and will include Valleywag, Defamer, and ones on the Internet, media and justice. Read more

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Buy the journalist in your life a drone. Or a selfie stick

Good morning. Thanks for hanging in there with me this week. We’re taking a newsletter break for the holidays but will return on Monday, Jan. 5, brimming with news and probably an extra five pounds from all that day drinking. In the meantime, Poynter has a lot of great stories lined up for your holiday reading pleasure. For now, here are 10 media stories.

  1. What to buy your journalist friends, because they’re probably not getting a bonus this year

    How about an "Is it plagiarism?" pillow? Or a cassette recorder for when digital devices fail us? (Poynter) | A bandolier for your iPhone? A picture-taking aerial robot that's not really a drone? (Mashable) | Buzz Bissinger's Gucci schwag? (New York) | Grammar dessert plates?

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No interviews at premiere for ‘The Interview’

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. No interviews at premiere of ‘The Interview’

    "Sony Pictures said Wednesday that no broadcast media will be invited to cover the film's red carpet Thursday in Los Angeles and no interviews will be granted to print reporters at the screening." (AP)

  2. The Washington Post found more people Rolling Stone didn't interview

    T. Rees Shapiro spoke with three friends of Jackie's that Rolling Stone apparently wrote about but never actually spoke to. (The Washington Post) | Here's a succinct roundup of everything that's happened up to now. (Huffington Post) | UVA's Cavalier Daily originally published something no one else had, Ben Mullin reports -- a letter from Jackie's roommate. (Poynter) | | Related: Geneva Overholser says the news media convention of not naming sexual assault victims "is a particular slice of silence that I believe has consistently undermined society’s attempts to deal effectively with rape." (Geneva Overholser) | Related: Alexander Zaitchik, who wrote a 2013 Rolling Stone story about Barrett Brown, says he wasn't present for a scene he described in detail.

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