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Here’s what journalists miss when they don’t leave the office

Today let us pay tribute to reporters who, in their quest for a good daily story, boldly defy the Production gods and do the unthinkable: Hang up the telephone and leave the office.

Granted, doing a “phoner” often seems like the only recourse when your responsibilities for the day include preparing a story (or two or more) for multiple platforms, posting to social media, and any number of other special projects.

But rare is the story done by phone that successfully transports the viewer or reader to that place where they actually can experience something.

Joy. Pain. Anxiety. Relief.

The stories I remember best created an opportunity for me to experience an emotion, a realization, a sense that I was there. And the reporters who created those opportunities had one thing in common: they were there.

It was just before 2 p.m. on a recent Friday when Doreen Carvajal, a reporter based in Paris for the New York Times, received an email from the city of Paris. She immediately dropped the story she was working on.

She also left the office.

The email announced that the city of Paris was taking steps to unlock the hundreds of thousands of padlocks that lovers from all over the world have attached to the railings of the city’s famous Pont des Arts bridge.

“I headed to the bridge,” Carvajal wrote to me, “in search of brides in satin and lovers.”

Here’s the story she found. Take a read.

Carvajal, with whom I worked at the Inquirer, sent me her story after I invited reporters to send me stories they had reported and produced in a day.

“I wrote it at a cafe with wifi because I had no time to return to the office from the Pont des Arts,” Carvajal wrote. “I quickly settled on my characters (my favorite: a street cleaner with a green broom) and wrote.”

For me, Carvajal’s story was an invitation to remember the times I stood on the bridges that span the Seine. Her characters, the details she chose, the quotes she selected—all combined to take me to that bridge.

Her story apparently touched a lot of people. It climbed the Times Top 10 emailed list, and was shared more than 2,000 times through the NYT Facebook page.

Her decision to leave the office clearly paid off.

Kevin Jacobsen also left the office. He volunteered to cover the homecoming of the 114th Transportation Company from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. Jacobsen, an anchor and multimedia journalist for KBJR 6 and Range 11 in Duluth, MN, was working on three hours sleep (he had anchored the 10 p.m. newscast) when he made the three-hour drive to the reunion of a Twin Ports family just outside the Twin Cities.

“I arrived knowing who I would be focusing on,” Jacobsen wrote to me. “I also knew the framework: Morning can often come too soon, but it was clear, for these families, that being reunited with their loved ones couldn’t come soon enough.

“What would eventually happen though, no one could have planned for.”

And he wouldn’t have seen it if he’d reported the story on the phone.

“I mic’ed the mom of the returning soldier and asked her a couple of quick questions. I shot some b-roll while waiting for the arrival. I also made sure to roll on the mom to get little bits of (natural sound) as the anticipation grew.

“Once the troops arrived and were relieved of their duties, my story became even more clear. The mom had seen her daughter walk in, but lined up on the opposite side of the room. Once the troops scattered, the mom lost sight of her daughter.

“I managed to quickly catch up with the mom and follow her as she frantically searched for her soldier. Those last few seconds before the two were reunited seemed like hours. You could feel the anxiousness. My goal for the story was to try and let that ‘search’ video breathe.”

Here is Jacobsen’s story.

If Jacobsen’s goal was to make me feel the anticipation of the soldier’s mom, he succeeded. His video and audio captured moments we’ve all experienced—when the wait, even if it’s only a few minutes, can seem so much longer. We saw the mother wandering through the crowd and the jerk of her head toward a possible sighting. We heard her squeals when the soldiers arrived, her clipped, breathless voice during the search, her muffled gasps of joy when she pushed her face into her daughter’s arms.

And because Jacobsen helped me experience the wait — a wait he didn’t expect when he was planning his story — I found myself sharing the mother’s joy when the moment of reunion finally arrived.

Jacobsen said his story was “well received.” I guess that means I wasn’t the only viewer who got a bit emotional.

Here’s one last daily story that benefitted from leaving the office.

AJ Dome works for KVOE Radio in Emporia, KS. His news department consists of AJ and his news director. Dome decided this “fun” story — a journey with a local businessman across the Flint Hills in an electric golf cart — would brighten up the station’s newscast.

Here’s his story.

As I listened to Dome’s story, I imagined finding a story like this in a newspaper or on the evening news: a business or lifestyle feature about electric carts and the people who use them — away from the golf course. What I don’t know is how many reporters would take the time for a 35-mile ride in an electric golf cart over rough terrain to get that story.

Dome explained why he did it.

“I was taught by my high school newspaper teacher,” Dome wrote to me, “to appreciate getting out of your comfort zone, to actually go places and see things. It’s so easy to make phone calls or do a Google search, but much more meaningful if you set foot somewhere, and ask a person a question face-to-face. “

I told Dome I appreciated that he included details in the piece that helped me feel like I was on the ride with him — the unexpected road closings, the stares of passing motorists. I told him I could have used a few more details about what he saw and heard as they drove; and a mention of whether they successfully approached (as the story suggested they might) some unsuspecting wildlife.

But most of all, I told him I appreciated that he got in the cart and took the ride. He said he heard from a good number of listeners who appreciated his effort, too.

“When I talk with other young reporters,” he said, “I encourage them to get comfortable shoes, and wear them out by going where the story is.”

Great advice, Dome — who, by the way, is just 22 years old.

Here’s to you, and to a long career spent outside the office. Read more

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Rainbow Room Reopening

N.Y. publishers mull more layoffs

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. More layoffs may come at New York publishers: “Industry executives are spending the month of October in closed-door meetings as they look for ways to tighten their belts even more.” (WWD) | Related: Time Inc. management “wants the ability to send 160 editorial jobs overseas,” Newspaper Guild of New York President Bill O’Meara says. (Capital) | Meta related: New owner Jay Penske‘s plan for WWD. (Capital) | Related sad trombone: “The joy we get from throwing magazines away seems like a bad sign for their future,” Laura Hazard Owen writes. (Gigaom)
  2. NBC News crew quarantined: They worked with freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo in Liberia and “Officials said the order was issued late Friday after the crew members violated an agreement to voluntarily confine themselves.” No one’s shown any signs of the disease. (Reuters) | “With the Ebola virus, you never relax completely, but we think [Mukpo] has made great progress,” a doctor at the Omaha hospital where he’s being treated said. (Mashable)
  3. Keith Olbermann notifies his bosses about his commentaries: Olbermann gives ESPN execs in Bristol “as much as six hours notice,” he tells Richard Deitsch. “The key people all get the A Block [opening] commentary and the Worst Persons. So the scripts are sitting with them for a couple of hours.” (SI)
  4. NYT kills chess column: Dylan Loeb McClain‘s Oct. 11 column ends with an abrupt note: “This is the final chess column to run in The New York Times.” (NYT) | “Few will mourn, even as a symbolic loss.” (@Kasparov63) | “A chess column has appeared in the NYT since… 1855.” (@DVNJr) | The bridge column is still breathing, Michael Roston notes. (@michaelroston)
  5. Why David Remnick isn’t on Twitter: “I don’t have a Twitter account, [but] not because I’m a dinosaur about it,” the New Yorker EIC tells Alexandra Steigrad. “I have enough of a platform here. People in my position who do it tend to use it in a promotional way or in a hamstrung way. I look at Twitter all the time as a news tool or for cultural conversation. I’ve used it in my reporting. It’s very useful.” (WWD)
  6. Peter Parker’s poor journalism ethics: “That’s exactly how Peter Parker paid the bills in the early Spider-Man comics, taking posed pictures of Spider-Man that no one else could get, then selling them to J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle’s editor-in-chief.” (Salon) | Related: 5 bad journalism lessons from Superman comics (Poynter)
  7. “The network just doesn’t surprise you”: Bill Carter looks at why MSNBC’s ratings “hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows.” (NYT)
  8. YouTube builds a “teaching hospital”: At its new production space in Manhattan, members of the company’s partner program “are given access to better cameras, production spaces and editing facilities as classes train them not just in shooting video, but also in makeup, design and anything else that might make programming pop online.” (NYT)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: Chicago’s RedEye fronts a very nicely framed image from this weekend’s St. Louis protests. (Courtesy the Newseum.)

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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: David Cohn is now executive producer at AJ+. Previously, he was chief content officer at Circa. (Dave Cohn) | Lenika Cruz has been named associate editor at The Atlantic. Previously, she was a contributing editor at Circa. Grace White will be a reporter at CBS Houston. Previously, she was a reporter and anchor at Fox 29 San Antonio. (Muck Rack) | Rick Daniels has been named publisher at The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant. Previously, he was chief operating officer of GoLocal24. Nancy Meyer has been named publisher and CEO of Orlando Sentinel Media Group. Previously, she was publisher of the Courant. (Poynter) | Dana Hahn has been named news director for KTVU in San Francisco. Previously, she was news director for WTTG in Washington, D.C. Sara Suarez has been named news director for WFDC in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was news director for WUNI in Boston. Matt King has been named news director for WCNC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Previously, he was assistant news director at WXIA in Atlanta. Jeff Mulligan has been named news director for WMBD/WYZZ in Peoria, Illinois. Previously, he was assistant news director for WISH in Indianapolis. Lee Rosenthal has been named news director at WFXT in Boston. Previously, he was news director at KTVU. Rick Moll has been named news director at WSLS in Roanoke, Virginia. Previously, he was news director for WMBD/WYZZ in Peoria, Illinois. Brian Nemitz has been named assistant news director at WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina. Previously, he was a nightside executive producer at WTVJ in Miami. Martha Jennings has been named assistant news director at WBIR in Knoxville, Tennessee. Previously, she was nightside executive producer at WFLA in Tampa, Florida. Troy Conhain has been named nightside executive producer at KOLD in Tucson, Arizona. Previously, he was morning executive producer at KPHO in Phoenix, Arizona. (Rick Gevers) | Job of the day The Hill is looking for a campaign reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org.

Programming note: I’m going to be off for most of this week and will be at the Creative Belfast conference on Thursday. Sam Kirkland will leave a roundup under your pillow while I’m gone. Read more

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Alexis Madrigal joins Fusion

The New York Times

TheAtlantic.com deputy editor Alexis Madrigal will join the Fusion network, as “Silicon Valley bureau chief and the anchor of a television show,” Ravi Somaiya writes for The New York Times.

Mr. Madrigal, 32, will start Nov. 3, he said in an interview on Tuesday, and will cover technology and broader issues “across television, live events and digital,” he said.

Madrigal’s “curiosity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit make him a natural fit for us as we build Fusion into a next-generation media company that serves a young, diverse, connected millennial generation,” Fusion CEO Isaac Lee wrote in a memo to staff, which is below.

Hola Fusion,

I am pleased to announce that Alexis Madrigal is joining Fusion from The Atlantic to be our Silicon Valley Bureau Chief.

Increasingly, we live in a world in which major changes — intellectual, social, political — are channeled through and shaped by the technologies we use. As the leader of our technology coverage across platforms, Alexis will bring his distinctive voice and sharp insight to this evolving landscape. His team will be uniquely focused on the trends shaping the future — from robots to pandemics, they’ll explore how factors including technology, demographics, and science are converging to shape the world ahead.

Alexis is known for exploring the ideas and technologies that animate the Bay Area’s innovation ecosystem. From self-driving cars and alternative energy to artificial intelligence, his work changes the way that we think about our brains, the devices in our pockets, and some of the most powerful companies in the world.

Over the next few months Alexis will lead our efforts to create and expand Fusion’s editorial footprint in the Bay Area. He’ll work with the digital team, create a flagship event in San Francisco, and executive produce and host a new show that will help us understand what living in the future might actually be like.

Alexis has established himself as an influential thinker with his reporting and essays on the mechanics of the Internet, new scientific discoveries, and robots. He comes to us from The Atlantic, where he was senior editor and deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. You may also hear his technology essays on Fresh Air. And before that, he helped build Wired’s science coverage. He is also the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology and a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley’s Office for the History of Science and Technology.

Alexis’ curiosity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit make him a natural fit for us as we build Fusion into a next-generation media company that serves a young, diverse, connected millennial generation.

Please join me in welcoming Alexis (@AlexisMadrigal) to Fusion.

Isaac​

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Jennifer Preston joins Knight Foundation

Jennifer Preston, the New York Times’ first social media editor, will become vice president for journalism at the Knight Foundation. Preston also helped launch the Times’ “Watching” feature, which Justin Ellis wrote about for Nieman recently.

Other Knight moves accompany the Preston hire and are part of a “reorganization designed to boost Knight Foundation’s ability to help accelerate digital innovation at news organizations and journalism schools, while accelerating the pace of experimentation that drives that innovation,” a release, below, says.

MIAMI – Oct. 6, 2014 – Jennifer Preston, an award-winning New York Times journalist and digital innovator, will join the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as vice president for journalism beginning Oct. 20, 2014.

The move completes a reorganization designed to boost Knight Foundation’s ability to help accelerate digital innovation at news organizations and journalism schools, while accelerating the pace of experimentation that drives that innovation. Recently, John Bracken was promoted to vice president/media innovation with a mandate to increase the speed of media innovation funding.

Preston brings more than 30 years of newsroom and business-side experience to the position, including senior editorial and management roles at The Times. Since 2009, when she was named the newsroom’s first social media editor, she has helped pioneer the use of social media for reporting, storytelling, engagement and real-time publishing. Most recently, she helped launch a homepage news curation feature for nytimes.com called Watching. She has taught digital media at City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

“Jennifer is the ideal person to help newsrooms embrace innovation because she believes in the change and has helped make it happen,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “She understands the realities but she also has a vision of what’s possible and how to get there. She’ll lead Knight’s efforts to help newspaper, TV, radio and Internet newsrooms bring media innovation into their mainstream.”

Commenting on Knight’s role as a principal funder of journalism training in the United States, Ibargüen added, “Jennifer is a collaborative, natural-born teacher who will help journalism schools train a new generation of digital natives to report the news. In the process, they will help evolve the skills necessary to report the news and engage the public. We’re still in a time of creative disruption but Jennifer is unflappable.”

“I am thrilled about joining Knight Foundation,” Preston said. “It is an extraordinary opportunity to help drive digital innovation at news organizations, big and small, startups and traditional brands. I am also excited about joining Knight’s global community of digital journalism innovators whose ideas have been changing how we practice and produce quality journalism for years.”

Preston’s team at Knight Foundation includes Director/Journalism Shazna Nessa, a former Associated Press deputy managing editor and a recent John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, and Program Officer/Journalism Marie Gilot.

Bracken’s team includes Director/Media Innovation Chris Barr, who manages the Knight Prototype Fund, which has become an important part of Knight strategy as it allows for the rapid testing and iteration of ideas, Program Associate Lucas Hernandez, and Executive Assistant Hallie Atkins.

The organizational shifts come as Michael Maness steps down as vice president/journalism and media innovation after more than three years at Knight to become the first innovator-in-residence for the Digital Initiative at the Harvard Business School. He will continue to consult for Knight Foundation.

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Career Beat: Loren Mayor named chief operating officer for NPR

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

  • 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)
  • 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)

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Free Press designer ‘cared about every single word, every comma, every period’ on 1A

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Free Press designer dies: 25-year veteran Steve Anderson was 59. Remembers Amy Huschka, assistant editor/social media: “He was so proud of his Twitter account and loved sharing historic images and daily 1A’s with his followers.” From Jason Karas, a designer and colleague: “He cared about every single word, every comma, every period that he placed on a 1A.” (Detroit Free Press) | A collection of memorable front pages designed by Anderson. (Detroit Free Press) | A Storify of Anderson’s tweets that anyone who loves newspaper design should check out. (Storify)
  2. Freelance cameraman contracts Ebola: The unidentified man was working for NBC News on a team in Liberia with medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The production team has been ordered by NBC News “to return to the United States and enter quarantine for 21 days,” Bill Carter reports. (The New York Times)
  3. More arrests in Ferguson: Our Kristen Hare is on the beat, of course. (Poynter) | And she’ll be updating her list of journalists arrested in Ferguson, Missouri since protests over the killing of Michael Brown began. (Poynter)
  4. How to cover Hong Kong protests: “The police sometimes use the excuse of a lack of media credentials as their reason to prevent access. Freelancers and journalism students seem to be their favorite targets.” Good list of resources here. (Committee to Protect Journalists) | Poynter’s Kristen Hare has a Twitter list of journalists covering the chaos in Hong Kong. It’s up to 173 members this morning. (Twitter)

  5. No more coffee at the Houston Chronicle: Because it’s better than cutting other things. (Houston Press) | Good timing: The Press published a list of the 10 best coffee shops in Houston on Wednesday. (Houston Press) | The Chronicle’s move to eliminate free newsroom coffee comes the week of National Coffee Day, which we celebrated by having readers “mug” for the camera. (Poynter) | And it comes the month after a study indicated coffee was even more important to us journalists than to cops. (Poynter)
  6. WaPo runs native ad in print: “It’s a godsend that the Washington Post made it look as horrible as it is, because no one will mistake it for editorial.” (Digiday)
  7. More layoffs at NYT: Between 20 and 25 people on the business side were laid off from The New York Times on Wednesday, sources tell Joe Pompeo. (Capital New York) | On Wednesday, the Times announced it plans to cut 100 of 1,330 newsroom jobs through voluntary buyouts or, if necessary, layoffs. (Poynter)
  8. Everything you need to know about the Facebook algorithm: Haha, just kidding. At ONA, Liz Heron took some tough questions but tried to reassure journalists that Facebook isn’t playing favorites with the News Feed. (Poynter)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The ever-innovative Virginian-Pilot tracks Ebola cases. (Courtesy the Newseum)

     
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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: James Nord is now a political correspondent for The Associated Press. Previously, he was a political reporter at MinnPost. (AP) | Evan Berland is now global news manager for weekends at the AP. Previously, he was deputy editor for the eastern United States. (AP) | Mitra Kalita is now an adjunct faculty member at Poynter. She is Quartz’ ideas editor. (Poynter) | Catherine Gundersen is now managing editor of Marie Claire. She was editorial business manager at GQ. (Fishbowl NY) | Jacob Rascon is now a correspondent at NBC News. Previously, he was a reporter for KNBC in Los Angeles. (TV Spy) | Job of the day: The Wall Street Journal is looking for a banking editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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NYT has more readers, more ad revenue and — soon — fewer journalists

mediawiremorningGood morning. Happy Sting’s Birthday, everybody. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Some perspective on the planned NYT staff cuts: “When the buyouts/layoffs are done, the New York Times will have nearly twice the number of staffers as the Washington Post’s 650-strong operation, instead of more than twice as many.” (WP) | For vets, the buyout deal is much sweeter than what any layoffs will offer. (Newspaper Guild of N.Y.) | Killer Ken Doctor quote: “Doctor describes the current state of newspapers as ‘continuing grimness, but manageable grimness.’” (Text bolded in case you need a name for a Smiths cover band, or maybe a tattoo idea.) (USA Today) | More Ken Doctor: “The big bright spot is obscured by that big layoff number: a 16 percent increase in Q3 digital revenue, compared to 3.4 percent up in Q2 and 2.2 percent up in Q1.” Also: “The Times has more paying readers today than in 1999. That’s a signal accomplishment.” (Newsonomics) | WHAT’S THIS MEAN FOR THE APPS? NYT Opinion is going away. NYT Now users will no longer get a less robust tier of access to the Times website. NYT Cooking will remain free, at least for now. (Nieman) | John Herrman: “NYT Opinion was an interesting piece of software run by talented people but built around an opinion franchise that finished accumulating new fans a decade ago.” (The Awl) | Mathew Ingram: The Times should work on monetizing relationships with readers, not slicing “its existing content into smaller and smaller pieces.” (Gigaom) || Catch up: Ravi Somaiya‘s story about the cuts. (NYT) | Memos to staff from Dean Baquet, Mark Thompson and Arthur Sulzberger Jr. (Poynter)
  2. “Bag Men” cover didn’t really work out for NY Post: It settled a lawsuit with Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi, who it identified as “BAG MEN” during the Boston Marathon bombings manhunt. They were simply watching the race. “Neither side would disclose terms of the settlement.” (AP) | “We did not identify them as suspects,” Post Editor Col Allan said last April. (WP)
  3. Star-Advertiser owner buys more Hawaiian papers: Oahu Publications Inc. is buying the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today on the Big Island from Stephens Media. (Honolulu Civil Beat) | “The @StarAdvertiser now runs ALL the daily newspapers on Oahu, Kauai, Big Island.” (@GenePark)
  4. Vice publishes Ferguson Police Department documents: “It would appear that Ferguson police do not always follow those procedures and instructions.” (Vice)
  5. Egypt steals newspapers: Authorities seized all copies of the newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, which published an interview with a spy. (NYT) | You can read the issue on PressDisplay.com. | Late last month, the parents of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste described visiting him in an Egyptian prison. (The Courier-Mail)
  6. Covering Ebola: Nsikan Akpan wants to raise $1,000 to “interview journalists and bloggers living near the epicenter of an outbreak and compare their views with those covering the situation from abroad.” (Indiegogo) | Lenny Bernstein: “You don’t touch anyone in Liberia.” (WP) | In case you were wondering: Why “Ebola” is capitalized. (Poynter)
  7. Journalists emigrate from Russia: Galina Timchenko, Oleg Kashin and Leonid Bershidsky left because of the current press climate, Stephen Ennis reports. 186,000 people left Russia in 2013, “five times as many as two years earlier.” (BBC)
  8. Scaling the ivory tower: Wired will offer an “online master’s degree in Integrated Design, Business and Technology” at the University of Southern California. (Wired) | Twitter has invested $10 million to create a research group at MIT to “better understand how information spreads on Twitter and other social media platforms.” (WSJ)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Epoch Times, with a nice design take on the Dallas Ebola story. (Courtesy the Newseum)

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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Marjorie Powell is now vice president of human resources at NPR. Previously, she was chief human resources officer at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. (NPR) | Tim O’Shaughnessy is now president of Graham Holdings Company. Previously, he was CEO of LivingSocial. (GraHoCo) | Victor Caivano is now news director for The Associated Press’ “Southern Cone” countries — Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Previously, he was a photojournalist there. (AP) | Ali Watkins will be a reporter at HuffPost Politics. Previously, she worked for McClatchy DC. (Email) | Zach Goldfarb will be policy editor at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a White House and economics correspondent there. (Washington Post) | Job of the day The Washington Post is hiring a video producer. Get your résumés in! (Wash Post PR) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org. Read more

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Career Beat: National Press Foundation gets a new president

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

  • Ann Shoket will be a consultant for Hearst. Previously, she was editor in chief of Seventeen magazine. (Capital New York)
  • Kal Penn will be a special correspondent for Fusion. Previously, he was associate director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. (Politico)
  • Richard Tomko is now publisher of amNewYork. Previously, he was a consultant at Boost Digital. (Email)
  • Tony Brancato is now executive director of Web products and audience development at The New York Times. Previously, he was head of product for the Web there. (The New York Times)
  • Sandy Johnson is now president and chief operating officer at the National Press Foundation. Previously, she was the excecutive editor at Stateline.org. (National Press Foundation)
  • Jeff Simon will be a video producer at CNN. He’s a producer for The Washington Post. (@jjsimonWP)
  • Cynthia Littleton will be Variety’s managing editor for television. Previously, she was editor in chief of television. Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein are now co-editors in chief at Variety. Eller was editor in chief of film at Variety. Wallenstein was editor in chief of digital there. (Variety)
  • Sonya Thompson will be director of news projects for Tribune Media Group. She was news director for WJW in Cleveland. Mitch Jacob will be news director at WJLA. He was news director for WSYX in Columbus. Jamie Justice will be news director at WSYX in Columbus. Previously, she was assistant news director there. Rob Cartwright is now news director for KEYE in Austin. Previously, he was news director for WSYR in Syracuse. Jeff Houston is now news director for WBMA in Birmingham. Previously, he was an assistant news director there. (Rick Gevers)
  • James VanOsdol has been named newsroom program manager at Rivet News Radio. He is an anchor at HearHere Radio LLC. (Robert Feder)

Job of the day: Politico is looking for a tax reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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NYT makes another change in response to Innovation Report

The New York Times has promoted Tony Brancato to executive director of Web products and audience development as part of an ongoing effort to “make the Innovation Report a reality,” according to a memo from The Times.

“A central recommendation of the team was to name leads in the newsroom and in product to oversee our audience-building efforts,” Denise Warren, executive vice president of the Times’ digital products services group, and Paul Smurl, general manager of the Times’ core digital products, write in the memo, which is below. “Dean’s and Andy’s recent promotion of Alex MacCallum was the first step. And Tony’s is the second.”

In August, Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet appointed MacCallum assistant editor for outreach, a masthead position created to address the Times’ need to reach a broader audience. Brancato was formerly head of product for the Web at The Times.

The move comes in response to the problems outlined in The Times’ Innovation Report, which became public after BuzzFeed published a leaked copy in May.

RELATED — Steve Buttry asks: Why keep the report a secret in the first place?

In a keynote at the Online News Association conference last week, New York Times deputy digital operations editor Amy O’Leary said the newspaper’s staff has embraced the results of the report, with investigative reporter David Barstow commenting that it was loaded with “holy shit reporting.”

Since the report, staff members at The Times have become more comfortable with the use of audience metrics, including the use of a/b testing, O’Leary said.

Here’s the memo:

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Tony Brancato, currently our head of product for the Web, to the expanded role of Executive Director, Web Products and Audience Development.

As most of you know, a team has been hard at work over the summer figuring out how to create a companywide audience growth capability. The mission was “simple:” make the Innovation Report a reality. To do that, it soon became clear, would require tight coordination between the newsroom and many departments beyond it.

A central recommendation of the team was to name leads in the newsroom and in product to oversee our audience-building efforts. Dean’s and Andy’s recent promotion of Alex MacCallum was the first step. And Tony’s is the second. Together they will lead one of our most important initiatives.

In this broader capacity, Tony, with Alex, will be responsible for defining our audience growth objectives and charting a course to get us there. He will spearhead the work of various teams and resources within product, technology, marketing, and business development to grow our audience reach and engagement in the following ways:

* be more search engine-friendly
* create a more social, shareable reading experience across Web and mobile
* increase newsletters’ prominence and their ties back to the site and apps
* message and notify readers in targeted ways to increase visit frequency and depth
* adapt the article page experience based on referrer, i.e. search and social
* personalize the cross-platform reading experience
* market ourselves using paid promotion channels
* forge partnerships that help us extend and track our reach

Tony will also be working closely with Jason Sylva, who manages an audience development team in marketing, and othercolleagues responsible for advertising and subscriptions to supply advertising impressions in the right places and to get more readers to subscribe.

Since joining the company just a year ago, Tony has been a champion of audience growth. He created the audience playbook concept and introduced it to the newsroom, most notably in a pilot to expand the impact of our World Cup coverage. When it comes to Tony, Dean Baquet probably puts it best: “The guy just comes down here, fit right in and blew our socks off! I don’t need to tell you how rare that is.”

This is obviously a major undertaking, one that is critical to our future. Tony will depend on all of our support in the days and months ahead, and we know he can count on that. Please join us in congratulating him on his expanded role.

Denise & Paul

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4 quick tips for attracting — and keeping — mobile readers

So your news organization now gets the majority of its pageviews through mobile devices. Now what? At the Online News Association conference in Chicago, mobile bosses from The New York Times, CNN and BuzzFeed dispensed tips for boosting mobile growth. Here are four of them.

  1. Become a metric sleuth
    One evening earlier this year, CNN saw a confusing uptick in mobile traffic, said Etan Horowitz, senior mobile editor at CNN. The editors were puzzled. Why the sudden spike? Upon further investigation, they realized the pageviews weren’t caused by any stories posted to CNN’s mobile site. Instead, they came from a video of a scary-looking baby terrorizing New Yorkers that had been shared on CNN’s social media accounts.

    Sometimes, as in the case of the “Devil Baby,” traffic spikes are one-offs, caused by popular pieces of content. But other times, they’re attributable to a pattern that can be exploited for more pageviews. For example, editors at CNN noticed a huge increase in mobile traffic during holidays, including the Fourth of July and Christmas, when people ditch their laptops and desktops, Horowitz said.

    They’ve since capitalized on this trend by posting practical how-tos during those days, including grilling guides for July Fourth and tips on which apps to download for Christmas.

    “You’re going to find these metrics that may not make sense, but once you find them, there’s a lot of power there,” Horowitz said.

  2. Make content available at high-traffic periods
    There are probably more than a few differences between The New York Times’ and BuzzFeed’s audience, but here’s one of them: BuzzFeed readers, in general, don’t wake up early.

    Whereas The New York Times sees an early-morning traffic increase as readers check in for a morning briefing, BuzzFeed’s readers tend to stop by hours later, said Alice DuBois, director of editorial content at BuzzFeed.

    “We do not have that same early-morning bump,” DuBois said. “BuzzFeed readers are not waking up at six or seven.”

    Similarly, CNN sees its mobile audience surge at night, when people have some downtime after work, Horowitz said. This means editors are inclined to publish content for their mobile audience during these optimal hours rather than saving something for the early morning.

  3. Reorganize for mobile
    When The New York Times reimagined the organization of its project development division in 2012, they decided to assign dedicated teams to tackle separate mobile assignments, said Alex Hardiman, executive director of mobile at The New York Times.

    One group handled iOS development. One was in charge of making Android products. In total, there were four separate teams, composed of individuals from various divisions throughout The Times, that each handled a different aspect of mobile development. This has allowed them to tackle projects with more speed and agility.

    BuzzFeed has adopted this approach as well, establishing separate product development teams to build a news app and create content on mobile-centric platforms like Vine and Instagram.

  4. Cultivate a mobile culture
    The vaunted page one meeting at The New York Times is no longer print-centric, Hardiman said.

    Times editors still weigh which stories merit front-page treatment, but mobile decisions are now featured prominently during the meetings.

    Mobile-first thinking has permeated CNN and BuzzFeed as well. CNN now displays the landing page for its mobile site on monitors throughout the newsroom, alongside live feeds of the desktop homepage and the broadcast channel, Horowitz said. Editors project the mobile site at meetings and make sure to let the newsroom know when CNN reaches major mobile milestones. BuzzFeed has added a mobile preview into its editing window so reporters and editors know what each story will look like on mobile before its published.

    Another tactic for getting a staff buy-in? Show skeptical journalists the raw pageview numbers that well-formatted mobile posts attract, DuBois said.

    “I always say, for this, just like anyone else, if you go to a reporter for mobile, you have to tell them what’s in it for them,” she said.

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