Articles about "Los Angeles Times"


Jeff Bezos

Newspaper distributor to do same-day delivery for Amazon

mediawiremorningIt’s Thursday. Here’s a pop quiz: How many media stories do you think you’re about to get?

  1. UK newspaper distributor will do same-day Amazon deliveries: “Connect Group will make early morning deliveries at the same time as it delivers daily newspapers and use contractors to fulfill a second delivery in the afternoon.” Connect distributes The Guardian and The Mirror, Rory Gallivan reports. (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Longtime S.F. Chronicle editor William German dies at 95: “Mr. German began his career at the paper as a copy boy. When he retired 62 years later, he was the dean of West Coast editors. He had helped transform The Chronicle from the No.3 newspaper in a four-newspaper city to the largest paper in Northern California.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  3. BBC battles Ebola in Africa with WhatsApp: “The service will deliver information on preventative care, health tips and breaking news bulletins specific to the region about the virus in French and English, and often in audio formats,” writes Alastair Reid. (Journalism.co.uk) | Related: 5 tips on covering Ebola from the Dallas Morning News and KERA News. (Poynter) | Related: 5 Ebola falsehoods, via PunditFact. (Poynter)
  4. Ken Doctor on Kushner’s OC Register: “Aaron Kushner, by age 40, may be setting a land-speed record for entry, meteoric rise, embarrassing fall and exit from the newspaper industry.” (Nieman Lab) | Related: A lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Times alleges not only that Kushner has failed to pay more than $2 million owed to the Times for delivery services, but also that the Register kept tips intended for the LA Times newspaper carriers who delivered the Register. (OC Weekly) | Related: “I admired his daring approach, his insistence that investing in newspapers rather than constantly cutting them back and weakening them would give them a better chance to prevail in the digital age,” Rem Rieder writes. (USA Today)
  5. Another alt-weekly closes: The Knoxville News Sentinel, which owns the Metro Pulse, laid off all 23 staffers, including everyone at the alt-weekly. “Yes, it’s true. We don’t exist anymore. We no longer have jobs either. This week’s issue will be our last,” Metro Pulse wrote on its Facebook page. (Poynter)
  6. Indianapolis TV news crew carjacked: No one was hurt after the van was stolen by a gunman after a reporter and photographer for WXIN covered a prayer vigil. (Fox59)
  7. Ernie Pyle statue has a misspelling: The Indiana University alum who covered World War II is referred to as a “U.S. War Corespondent.” The sculptor says it could become “part of the lore of the piece.” (Indiana Daily Student)
  8. ICYMI: At the Washington Post, “what began as a simple experiment to improve the site’s author pages has evolved into the beginnings of a completely new content management platform,” explains Benjamin Mullin. (Poynter)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Kansas City Star celebrates the Royals’ trip to the World Series (courtesy the Newseum).kansascitystar
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Ryan Kellett is now audience and engagement editor at The Washington Post. Previously, he was national digital editor there. (The Washington Post) | Dean Haddock is a visiting fellow at the Nieman Foundation. He is director of web and information technology for StoryCorps. Melody Joy Kramer is a visiting fellow at the Nieman Foundation. She is an editor and digital strategist at NPR. Donna Pierce is now a visiting fellow at the Nieman Foundation. She is a contributing editor at Upscale Magazine. Jack Riley is now a visiting fellow at the Nieman Foundation. He is head of audience development for The Huffington Post UK. Freek Staps is now a visiting fellow at the Nieman Foundation. He heads up business news start-up NRC Q. Amy Webb is now a visiting fellow at the Nieman Foundation. She is the founder and CEO of Webbmedia Group. (Nieman Lab) | Job of the day: BuzzFeed UK is looking for a political reporter. Get your résumés in! (BuzzFeed) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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Men’s Health demonstrates how not to talk about sports with anyone

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. CNN will cut 300 jobs: About 130 people have taken buyouts, and 170 more will be laid off, Brian Stelter reports. Parent Turner Broadcasting plans to lay off 1,475 people. (CNN) | “Turner said it was adding 150 employees in growth areas.” (NYT)
  2. How not to talk about sports with anyone: Men’s Health tweeted an image of a woman holding a foam finger under the legend “How to Talk about Sports with Women.” The link led to a slight Teresa Sabga story called “The Secret to Talking Sports with Any Woman.” The mag apologized on Twitter: “It missed the mark and the negative feedback is justified. We’ve deleted it.” (@MensHealthMag) | A brief selection of reactions: “is this a joke?” (@AishaS) | “hi @MensHealthMag, you don’t know me, but i run @ESPNMag’s annual analytics issue. also, i have a vagina!” (@megreenwell) | “The article (article?) itself is 100 words of non-advice.” (The Daily Dot)
  3. College rescinds George Will’s speaking engagement: Scripps College uninvited Will from speaking at the all-women school. Will wrote a stupid column about sexual assault earlier this year. “They didn’t say that the column was the reason, but it was the reason,” Will told Brad Richardson. He was due to speak at the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program, which aims to “bring speakers to campus whose political views differ from the majority of students.” (The Claremont Independent) | The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dumped Will’s column last June. “The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it,” Tony Messenger wrote. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) | An all-male cast of editors handled the column. (WP)
  4. L.A. Times says Aaron Kushner owes it millions: It stopped delivering the Orange County Register (and the now-shuttered Los Angeles Register) in L.A., telling Gustavo Arellano the Register “has, for more than a year and a half, been consistently late in paying money it owes The Times for services rendered.” (OC Weekly) | “The shame about the U.S. economy in the 2000s is that it’s been marked by a dearth of Aaron Kushners.” (Forbes)
  5. Scammers target Denver Post subscribers: “The notices offer one-year renewals to The Denver Post for the low, low price of only $489.95, which equates to 410 percent more than the actual current amount for The Post’s All Access Plus digital replica subscription and about 71 percent more than a new seven-day print subscription.” (The Denver Post) | Subscribers of several McClatchy papers, including The Sacramento Bee and the Charlotte Observer, have also been hit. (Sac Bee) | OOF: “Criminals should get -30- to life.” (@jfdulac)
  6. Amazon will help spread Washington Post content: A Kindle app, free for those who buy a certain model and paid for those who buy others, “will offer a curated selection of news and photographs from the daily newspaper in a magazine-style, tablet-friendly format.” (Bloomberg Businessweek) | “[I]f it increases the Post‘s reach (either for readers or advertisers, or both) and it doesn’t cost Amazon or Bezos too much, then it is a slam-dunk.” (Gigaom) | “Honest question: How many of you are listening to U2’s new album because Apple forced it into your iTunes library?” (@dylanbyers) | (Honest answer: I gave it many chances but still can’t recall most of the songs.) | Marginally related: Margaret Sullivan looked at whether NYT has covered Amazon v. Hachette fairly. (NYT) | FLASHBACK: Times reporter David Streitfeld on Amazon: “They don’t care if they’re liked, or even if they’re understood. That makes them challenging to write about.” (Poynter)
  7. Lessons from The New Yorker’s Web redesign: “Right on down to the font choice and page breaks, every decision we made, we first asked ourselves, ‘How will this affect whether or not people will read a story from beginning to the end?’” NewYorker.com Editor Nicholas Thompson tells John Brownlee. (Fast Company)
  8. A meh-moir: An oral history of the NYT’s Meh List. “[N]o one lived it like Mark Leibovich, who developed a sixth sense for meh.” By Samantha Henig, with additional reporting and user experience by Jon Kelly. (Poynter)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Asheville (North Carolina) Citizen-Times greets autumn, beautifully. (Courtesy the Newseum.)

    asheville-10072014 

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: David Gillen is now executive editor of news enterprise at Bloomberg News. Previously, he was deputy business editor of enterprise at The New York Times. (Politico) | Loren Mayor is now chief operating officer for NPR. Previously, she was senior vice president of strategy there. (Poynter) | Mike Grunwald will be a senior staff writer at Politico magazine. He is a senior national correspondent for Time magazine. (Playbook) | Weston Phippen is now a reporter for the National Journal. Previously, he was a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times. Lauren Fox will be a Congress reporter at the National Journal. Previously, she was a political reporter at U.S. News and World Report. (Email) | Mark Brackenbury has been named executive editor for the Connecticut Group at Digital First Media. He is managing editor for the New Haven Register. (New Haven Register) | Colleen Noonan has been named vice president of marketing and creative service for the New York Daily News. Previously, she was a digital media and marketing consultant at Pitney Bowes. Melanie Schnuriger is now vice president of product development for the New York Daily News. Previously, she was general manager of fashion and beauty for Hearst Digital Media. Kristen Lee is director of digital development for the New York Daily News. Previously, she was digital integration editor there. Brad Gerick is now director of social media for the New York Daily News. He has been social media manager and regional editor for Patch.com. Zach Haberman is now deputy managing editor for digital at the New York Daily News. Previously, he was digital news editor there. Cristina Everett is now deputy managing editor for digital entertainment at the New York Daily News. Previously, she was senior digital entertainment editor there. Andy Clayton is now deputy managing editor for digital sports at the New York Daily News. Previously, he was senior online sports editor there. Christine Roberts is mobile and emerging products editor at the New York Daily News. Previously, she was an associate homepage editor there. (Email) | Job of the day: BuzzFeed is looking for a National LGBT Reporter. Get your résumés in! (BuzzFeed) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org
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CHACO CANYON

100 hours: How one L.A. Times reporter binge-watched his way through an investigation

When Joe Mozingo came back from the Salt Lake City in September 2012, he had a lot of TV to watch. Mozingo, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, had been on assignment investigating an FBI sting when when a source gave him a cache of discs that contained more than 100 hours of undercover footage.

Taken together, they told the story of Ted Gardiner, an FBI informant who’d killed himself after helping expose an underground trade in illicit artifacts stolen from Anasazi land in Utah. The footage showed clandestine meetings between Gardiner and would-be criminals that eventually became the foundation of a six-chapter multimedia investigation loaded with original footage and actualities.

Gardiner. (Screenshot from Los Angeles Times via Gardiner family)

Gardiner. (Screenshot from Los Angeles Times via Gardiner family)

But before it became a story, it was just a box filled with discs. Mozingo began reviewing the footage but quickly became frustrated. With so much information, it was difficult to know where to start.

“I couldn’t figure out how, and I kind of moved on to other things,” he said.

Months passed. The chance of losing a potentially great story began to eat at Mozingo. He didn’t have a breakthrough until December, when he was having lunch with an editor at the L.A. Times. After their conversation, he charted a new course for the story by focusing on the people who were most affected by the investigation.

It was a revelation. When he picked the story up again in February, Mozingo started organizing the story around the Redds, a family that had been torn apart by the sting. James Redd, a doctor, had ultimately killed himself after being charged with a felony for buying Anasazi artifacts. His wife and daughter had been fined and put on probation.

“These were the people who paid the price,” Mozingo said.

Funeral for James Redd (Trent Nelson — Salt Lake Tribune)

Funeral for James Redd (Trent Nelson, the Salt Lake Tribune)

Mozingo began a preliminary sketch of the narrative arc on a big legal pad, drawing connections between scenes and themes until the web of the story looked like a circuit board, he said. But before he had a complete picture, he had to watch all the tapes.

It was frustrating task. For one thing, each disc contained footage of varying length and value; some had juicy meetings between Gardiner and his subjects, some just contained hours of useless audio — shovels scraping in the dirt, small talk, that kind of thing. Also, Mozingo found it difficult to keep his eyes and ears glued to hours and hours of undercover footage as the day wore on.

To cope with the tedium, Mozingo took all the discs home and built himself a makeshift desk that doubled as a treadmill. He hammered four eight-by-six pine boards together, draped them over his treadmill and set his laptop computer on top of it.

Then he began watching.

Most of September 2013 was a complete binge-watching session. He tried to walk eight to 10 miles a day while taking notes. After watching about a quarter of the footage, he realized that he needed a transcript to refer back to. So he popped the discs in again, re-watched everything and made a 61,000-word transcript that went on for 55 pages of 11-point font. He put that in one of eight 3-ring binders that contained all the information for the stories and began writing his story in earnest.

It went quickly. In November 2013, he submitted a 20,000-word first draft that he knew would never make it into the paper. Then he worked with editors to find places to cut. Background about the Anasazi people? Trimmed. B-matter about the history of a Utah town? Downsized. Ultimately, the piece was pared down to a little more than 5,000 words.

After the draft was done, the LA Times graphics desk began formatting the video and audio for the story into a multimedia piece. And last week, two years after Mozingo came back from his first visit to Utah, the story was finally published.

Mozingo’s advice for journalists facing similar daunting projects? Don’t give up. Figure out everything you can about the story as early as you can — and don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by a tide of information.

“I’ve seen other writers try to do these things and get lost,” Mozingo said. “And that’s the easiest thing to do.”

Another writing tip from the story: keep your eye out for pivot points while you’re reporting. The revelation that Gardiner is an FBI informant dramatically changes the direction of the story and propels it along, as does subsequent surprises — the FBI raid of the Redds and James Redd’s suicide.

“As far as narrative structure, you need to find your pivot points where the narrative takes a turn — the critical moments that drive the narrative in other directions.” Read more

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Barack Obama, Bill Clinton

Obama met with journalists before ISIS speech

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Obama met with journalists before Wednesday’s ISIS speech: “The group, which met in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in an off-the-record session, included New York Times columnists David Brooks, Tom Friedman and Frank Bruni and editorial writer Carol Giacomo; The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, Eugene Robinson and Ruth Marcus; The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins and George Packer; The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg and Peter Beinart; The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe; Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll; The Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib; and The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, a source familiar with the meeting told The Huffington Post.” (HuffPost)
  2. CBS won’t CNET CBS News: While the company’s news operation benefits from cross-pollination among news properties, it doesn’t have to worry about suits asking for more sinister forms of synergy, Alex Weprin reports: “[W]e are not going to be asked to do something that doesn’t fit for the news division,” Steve Capus says. (Capital) | Last January, Greg Sandoval left CNET after CBS forced it to remove a Dish Network product from its annual awards program, and also forced a revote of its Best in Show prize at CES. (Poynter) | It also forbade CNET from reviewing Aereo. (The Verge)
  3. NPR tries to boost revenue with live shows: “The most ambitious of three ‘NPR Presents’ series, ‘Water,’ will marry news reports, oral histories and conversation about topics such as the drought in the West and mudslides in Seattle with theatrical and musical storytelling.” (NYT)
  4. Anchor tells viewers he has six months to live: WCIA-TV anchor Dave Benton told viewers Thursday he has an inoperable tumor. (AP) | “Really, I just want to enjoy every day,” Benton says. (The News-Gazette)
  5. A tweet story: “The couple met where one might expect a social media expert and a technology journalist to meet: on Twitter.” (NYT)
  6. So that’s where Dean Starkman is going: The former CJR editor will cover Wall Street for the L.A. Times. (Capital)
  7. Longtime Philly Inquirer cartoonist Tony Auth has died: He was 72. “Mr. Auth’s impressive portfolio – he produced five cartoons a week – was a Philly staple when breakfast meant coffee, bacon and eggs, and the morning paper.” (Inquirer, via Philly.com) | A gallery of his work. (Inquirer)
  8. A David Carr twofer: Two media columns Monday, or maybe they’ve finally cloned him. How Apple makes journalists applaud. (NYT) | Why sports villains aren’t the only ones who should fear TMZ: “As journalists, we like to think that the august platforms we work on and our learned interpretation of facts create value and credibility, but in an age of digital artifacts and digital distribution, the pure act of discovery can create big news.” (NYT) | If the NYT does start cloning journalists, who would you like to see two of? Email me!
  9. Front page of the day, selected by Kristen Hare: The Green Bay Press-Gazette does what the Jets couldn’t: It stops Jordy Nelson.

    gbpressgazette-09152014 

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Charles Dharapak will be Asia-Pacific regional photo editor for AP. He was a White House photographer. (AP) | Nia-Malika Henderson will write for The Fix at The Washington Post. Previously, she was a political reporter there. (Washington Post) | Jose DelReal is now a blogger for Post Politics. Previously, he was a reporter at Politico. (Washington Post) | Tracy Everding is now a creative director at All You. Previously, she was a creative director at Cosmo Magazine. (Time Inc.) | Amy Haneline is now a beer, wine and coffee reporter at The Indianapolis Star. Previously, she was a digital developer there. (‏@AmyBHaneline) | Kenny Plotnik is now vice president of New England Cable News. Previously, he was vice president of news at WABC in New York. (TV Spy) | Kat Meyer is now director of events and community engagement at Publishers Weekly. Previously, she was community manager and conference chair at the Frankfurt Book Fair. (Publishers Weekly) | Job of the day: The Associated Press is looking for a junior designer and front-end developer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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Career beat: Jonathan Greenberger is DC bureau chief for ABC News

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

  • Robert Lopez will be communications director for California State University, Los Angeles. Previously, he was an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times. (LA Observed)
  • Robin Sproul will be vice president of public affairs for ABC News. Previously, she was Washington bureau chief there. Jonathan Greenberger will be ABC’s Washington bureau chief. He is executive producer of “This Week.” (ABC News)
  • Rebecca Nelson will be a staff correspondent at the National Journal. Previously, she was an assistant editor at The Washingtonian. (Fishbowl DC)
  • Dennis Rodkin will run a nursery in California. Previously, he was a reporter at Crain’s Chicago Business. (Crain’s)
  • Michael Wright will be CEO of DreamWorks Studios. Previously, he was head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies. (New York Times)

Job of the day: The Associated Press is looking for an administrative correspondent in Austin, Texas. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

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Career Beat: Maureen Dowd is a staff writer at NYT Magazine

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

  • Drew Schutte is now publisher of Details. Formerly, he was executive vice president and chief integration officer at Condé Nast. (Condé Nast)
  • Maureen Dowd is now a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine. She will keep her Sunday column for the Times. (New York Times)
  • Austin Beutner is now publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times. Formerly, he was rumored to be interested in buying the newspaper. (Poynter)
  • Claudia Milne is head of live TV at Bloomberg. Formerly, she was the deputy editor of World News America for the BBC. (@claudmilne)
  • Michael Shamberg and Jordan Peele will advise BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. Shamberg was executive producer for Django Unchained. Peele is a comedian. (BuzzFeed)

Job of the day: The Seattle Times is looking for an associate news producer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

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Former suitor for L.A. Times becomes publisher and CEO

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times today announced that Austin Beutner will be publisher and CEO for the newspaper, succeeding Eddy Hartenstein.

Beutner and Los Angeles investor Eli Broad were rumored to have expressed interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Times, along with a block of Tribune Company newspapers last year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. At the time, “sources” told THR that Beutner and Broad were considering “reconfiguring the Times into a nonprofit”.

The deal didn’t materialize. The Tribune Company held onto the newspaper until this month, when it spun of its newspaper assets into a separate company, Tribune Publishing. Hartenstein was recently appointed non-executive chairman of Tribune Publishing’s board of directors.

The new publisher described himself as a avid news reader in an interview with the Los Angeles Times:

“I start my morning with a bowl of cereal and the newspaper laid out on the table in front of me,” he said.

Beutner was a co-founder of Evercore Partners, an investment firm that the Tribune Company reportedly brought in to lead an auction for the company’s newspaper properties last year.

Correction: A previous version of this story described Eddy Hartenstein as the executive chairman of Tribune Publishing. He is the non-executive chairman. Read more

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Liberia West Africa Ebola

How journalists covering the Ebola outbreak try to stay safe

That tweet came from CNN international correspondent David McKenzie, who’s currently reporting on the Ebola outbreak from Sierra Leone. On Monday, McKenzie filed this story about how he and other journalists at CNN are staying safe while covering a story with worldwide health implications.

“This is more about just having some basic things, like chlorine and water and all of this, to protect yourself, but also just to calm yourself down in what can be a very emotional and scary reporting trip,” he said in the video.

I’ve started a Twitter list of journalists covering the Ebola outbreak from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and nearby countries. Who am I missing? Please email or tweet suggestions to me at khare@poynter.org or @kristenhare. Here’s what I heard from other news organizations:

Associated Press — West Africa correspondent Krista Larson is covering the story for the AP, “drawing on our network of reliable stringers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Krista is based in Dakar, Senegal and has a wide knowledge of West Africa and long-standing working relationships with the stringers and her stories reflect that depth,” Andrew Meldrum, AP’s assistant Africa editor, told Poynter in an email.

Those stringers include Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Liberia, Clarence Macaulay in Sierra Leone and Sarah DiLorenzo in Senegal.

“Because of the dangerous nature of Ebola, Krista Larson has instructed all AP stringers not to put themselves in any danger,” Meldrum said. “This has been challenging for AP’s photographers and videographers. Often we have had to rely on images taken by groups, such as Doctors Without Borders, which have staff photographers at treatment centers. It is a challenging story – but one on which the AP’s Africa team and others around the globe have relished working together to report on a complex, serious story.”

A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading 'Burn all bodies' in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 deaths in West Africa as the World Health Organization on Thursday announced dozens of new fatalities. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)

A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading ‘Burn all bodies’ in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)

Los Angeles TimesRobyn Dixon is covering the outbreak from South Africa.

“In general, we try to take every possible precaution we can when covering dangerous situations,” Nancy Sullivan, vice president of communications with the Times, told Poynter in an email. “Each situation has its own specific nuances and, as such, we don’t have a formal one-size-fits-all policy in place regarding protection or pulling back.”

The New York Times — Adam Nossiter reported at the end of July from Guinea. Samuel Aranda is a freelance journalist. He’s covering the outbreak for the Times. Ben C. Solomon is a video journalist for the Times based in Kenya. He’s currently reporting from West Africa.

NPR– NPR’s Jason Beaubien was in Sierra Leone in mid-July, and Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is heading to Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Monday.

“Before Jason’s assignment, we consulted with the CDC and MSF,” NPR spokesperson Emerson Brown told Poynter in an email, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Doctors Without Borders. “We also had a number of conversations involving Jason, his editor, senior news executives and our international security manager. We agreed on a series of protocols to best allow Jason to do his reporting while minimizing the risk of contracting Ebola.”

Per Brown, those protocols include:

– Do not enter isolation units; avoid shaking hands; avoid funerals; avoid eating bush meat; avoid any obvious gatherings/demonstrations; use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

– While he was on the ground, he was in regular contact by phone, text and email with managers in DC about prospective daily movements.

Brown said Quist-Arcton will follow the same protocol and that since leaving Sierra Leone, Beaubien is monitoring his health.

Wall Street Journal: Drew Hinshaw is covering the outbreak from Ghana.

Vice — Vice doesn’t currently have anyone covering the outbreak, but it did send Kaj Larsen to Liberia for a story that ran on June 26 called “Bushmeat in the Time of Ebola.”

Al Jazeera: Ahmed Idris is reporting on the outbreak for Al Jazeera from Nigeria. Tommy Trenchard is writing for Al Jazeera and other news outlets from Sierra Leone. Clair MacDougall is covering the story from Monrovia, Liberia.

BBC: Stanley Kwenda is covering the outbreak for BBC Africa.

AFP: Carl De Souza is covering the outbreak for AFP. Read more

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Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 12.06.04 PM

Time.com’s bounce rate down 15 percentage points since adopting continuous scroll

Three major news website redesigns this year look very different but have an important feature in common: articles that seamlessly transition to new content, without requiring readers to click or tap headlines and then wait for new pages to load.

This “continuous scroll” strategy for news sites’ article pages is gaining momentum. It’s been adopted by Time.com, NBCNews.com and LATimes.com, reflecting the fact that direct homepage traffic is waning (see the New York Times innovation report), and traffic from social media (particularly Facebook) just keeps growing.

So as readers increasingly enter sites from “side doors” or article pages, media organizations are trying to figure out how to get them to stick around. Pew recently found that visitors from Facebook are far less engaged than direct visitors. Here’s how sites that relaunched in the first half of 2014 are addressing that problem by making use of the continuous scroll (aka infinite scroll) feature in their article pages:

Time.com

Since its March redesign, Time.com’s bounce rate — the percentage of visitors who leave the site after viewing only one page — has declined by 15 percentage points, according to managing editor Edward Felsenthal. The percentage of desktop visitors going to another piece of content jumped 21 percentage points between February and May.

Felsenthal attributed that to the continuous scroll, which provides a clickless path for readers to reach another story. He said the left rail, which serves as a “traveling homepage” of links to the top stories of the moment, also helped.

The fact that Time.com queues up top stories, not related stories, is crucial to the site’s strategy for serving social visitors, Felsenthal said: “In many ways the major objective of our redesign was to showcase for those users the full Time offering.”

That seems to acknowledge that much of what attracts social media readers to the site initially might not be the content deemed most editorially important. So now, readers going to the site for a story that may not be what you’d expect from Time.com…

… will scroll into Time’s more substantive top stories once they get to the bottom of the article. (For what it’s worth, Felsenthal told Digiday, “We don’t want to do really clickbait-y Facebook posts, because it’s just not what the brand’s about. But we do want to tease.”)

World news typically doesn’t receive as much social engagement as softer content does, but Time’s redesign means more visitors will at least be exposed to hard news. Post-redesign, Felsenthal said, “The mix of our top 10 articles is more reflective of where we want to be.”

NBC News

The redesigned NBC News takes a different approach from Time. Article pages transition into related stories, not top stories. And some stories are compiled into “storylines,” so if you’re interested in “hot cars and kids,” you can read a stack of more than 30 stories.

Mobile page views in June were up 30 percent over the previous 12-month average, according to an NBC News spokesperson. On average, NBC News readers on desktop and mobile are seeing nearly 20 percent more pages per visit than before the site’s February redesign.

Los Angeles Times

The LA Times redesign is less seamless than the other two in terms of transitioning quickly to the next piece of content. There’s a choose-your-own-adventure quality to the layout; non-blog stories transition into a section page instead of another article page based on which section you choose:

latscroll

That gives readers more control over where the site takes them next, but requiring readers to choose what they see next adds some friction that the other sites lack.

A spokesperson for the LA Times said it was too early to share specifics about how the newspaper’s new site is performing. She summed up the goals of the May redesign:

• Eradicating print-centric and antiquated web concepts, such as “the fold,” “the jump,” “endless clicking” and “the dead end” with endless scrolling and multi-directional navigation
• Seamlessly pathing readers from one piece of content to the next, with section fronts and article pages anchored by a row of thumbnails that automatically transport readers to related coverage or other sections

Quartz, Fortune, and Cosmopolitan

The homepage-less Quartz is a clear influence here, particularly for Time. Whatever page you arrive on via social media occupies the top spot in the story stack, with top news — not related stories — below. Editorial news judgment plays a big role in the reader’s experience.

Quartz senior editor Zach Seward said it’s nice to see others emulate one of his site’s signature features: “It must mean we’re onto something.” He also said he doesn’t like the term “infinite scroll”:

The intent is to help users who get to the end of a story but want to keep reading. Some sites have dead ends, others create paralysis of choice. We choose to quietly suggest just one more story, which users can easily scroll into or just ignore. It’s all about that one moment rather some kind of infinite experience.

Seward recently told Digiday’s Ricardo Bilton that Quartz estimates “readers view about 50 percent more stories per visit than they would without the option to scroll.” And, Seward said, “When people choose to read another story on Quartz, about 80 percent do so by scrolling, as opposed to clicking on a headline.”

Time Inc.’s Money and Fortune have also adopted the Quartz-inspired Time.com template for their redesigns. And at the “sexy new Cosmopolitan.com”, a long stack of related stories is presented to readers at the bottom of article pages.

The article page is the new homepage, so what goes on underneath articles seems to be the paramount concern when redesigning a media site in 2014. Some, like Time and Quartz, choose to “quietly suggest” a particular story. Others, like the LA Times and Cosmo, are using the space below stories to offer lots of choices for readers. But all of them have redesigned with an eye toward that second click or page view.


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Former LAT Editor Russ Stanton joins PR firm

Los Angeles Times | LA Observed

Russ Stanton is joining the communications firm G.F. Bunting + Co., Abby Sewell reports in the Los Angeles Times. Stanton most recently oversaw the newsroom at KPCC, which he left in June. He was editor of the Los Angeles Times for four years. Read more

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