NPR

Career Beat: Jorge Mettey named vice president of news at Azteca América

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

  • Jorge Mettey is now vice president of news and community relations at Azteca América. Previously, he was senior vice president of news at MundoFox. (Media Moves)
  • Jeffrey Dastin is now U.S. airlines correspondent for Reuters. Previously, he was an intern there. (Email)
  • Melisa Goh will be senior home page editor at CNN. Previously, she was weekend editor at NPR.org. (Email)
  • Keith Connors is now news director for WTNH in New Haven, Connecticut. Previously, he was news director for WTHR in Indianapolis. Dave Ciliberti is now news director for WCMH in Columbus, Ohio. Previously, he was news director for WTEN/WXXA in Albany, New York. (Rick Gevers)

Job of the day: CBS Interactive is looking for an associate editor. Read more

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How long will Brian Williams be out of the anchor chair?

Good morning. I’m subbing for Kristen today. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Brian Williams cancels Letterman appearance

    Over the weekend, "a source close to Williams" said the NBC anchor will not keep his scheduled appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman," the same show where he erroneously claimed he was aboard a helicopter that took enemy fire. (CNN) | On Sunday, Politico's Mike Allen suggested that appearing on the talk show might be a "high-profile, controlled way for Williams to clear the air." (Politico) | On Saturday, the embattled "NBC Nightly News" anchor announced he would take a hiatus from the show for "several days," adding that he planned to return and "be worthy of the trust" of his audience. (Poynter) | Meanwhile, media reporters and critics are contemplating the scandal's affect on Williams' career.

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Melody Kramer: WNYC is helping people learn to be bored again

Illustration by John Hersey, courtesy of WNYC

Illustration by John Hersey, courtesy of WNYC

I fiddle with my phone everywhere: waiting for the subway, on the subway, on the street, on the escalator and in bed. I need help, and I’m the first to admit it.

So I was pretty pleased to find WNYC’s new Bored and Brilliant campaign. The premise is pretty simple: We’re all addicted to our phones. We can’t stop looking at our phones, particularly when we’re bored. And constantly looking at our phones when we’re bored could be incredibly bad for our potential creative output, according to recent research.

In January, WNYC’s technology podcast New Tech City launched Bored and Brilliant, a new online and podcast campaign that’s asking people to both monitor their smartphone habits and consciously try to change them over the course of a week through a series of emailed challenges designed to spark creativity and inspire spacing out. Read more

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How a listener’s complaint improved NPR’s reporting

Dan Charles, NPR Agriculture Reporter

Dan Charles, NPR Agriculture Reporter

National Public Radio’s Dan Charles taught journalists two lessons Monday morning. One lesson is that simple solutions to complex problems usually don’t work. The other lesson is when your public takes the time to contact you about your reporting, and you take the comments seriously, you may just find an even better story.

Charles is NPR’s agriculture reporter and on Jan. 12, he reported a story about the problem of nitrates that run off of farm fields into Iowa’s waterways.

Charles is a careful reporter, he has studied science, technology and international affairs. He has written about fertilizer use in China and has a degree in business in international affairs.

In his story he reported;

“Farmers spread nitrogen fertilizer on their corn fields, it turns into nitrate and then it commonly runs into streams through networks of underground tile pipes that drain the soil.”

Sarah Carlson,  Practical Farmers of Iowa

Sarah Carlson, Practical Farmers of Iowa

But a listener, Sarah Carlson, heard Charles’ story on the radio as she was driving to work and, she said, she hoped her beloved NPR would not fall into the same old storyline that is so often accepted not just as fact, but truth. Read more

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Career Beat: The Economist gets 2 deputy editors

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

  • Tom Standage is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was digital editor there. Edward Carr is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was foreign editor there. (@tomstandage)
  • Ross Gagnon is now insights director at Forbes. Previously, he was a senior quantitative analyst for J.D. Power and Associates. (Email)
  • John Judis will be a senior writer at National Journal. Previously, he was a senior editor at The New Republic. (Email)
  • Brendan Banaszak is now director of collaborative news strategy at NPR. Previously, he was a producer there. Lynette Clemetson is now senior director of strategy and content initiatives at NPR. Previously, she was director of editorial initiatives there. John Stefany will be director of strategic projects at NPR.
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NPR is launching a new innovation lab

NPR is hiring for a new initiative called Storytelling Lab, a sort of skunkworks to test out ideas for creative audio projects, Chris Turpin, acting senior vice president for news, and Loren Mayor, chief operating officer, announced in a staff memo Wednesday.

Also in the same announcement, John Stefany was named director of strategic projects, in charge of developing and managing “a range of projects across the newsroom.” Stefany, who is currently manager of new content projects, will coordinate with NPR’s digital divisions to improve coordination around the organization’s biggest initiatives.

Stefany will also help develop Storytelling Lab, a forthcoming innovation incubator for experimental content, Turpin told Poynter. The lab, which is currently looking for a senior producer, will be a place for NPR employees to test out ideas for new podcasts, newsmagazine segments or better ways to use the outlet’s digital presence. Read more

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Why NPR didn’t publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons

NPR | The Two-Way

NPR decided not to publish controversial cartoons from satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo because “posting just a few of the cover images” of the Prophet Muhammad “could be misleading,” standards editor Mark Memmott wrote Monday.

Publishing a few magazine covers, Memmott writes, might give readers the impression the magazine is “only a bit edgier” than similar publications. But a more thorough examination of the cartoons would violate “most news organizations’ standards regarding offensive material.”

At NPR, the policy on “potentially offensive language” applies to the images posted online as well. It begins by stating that “as a responsible broadcaster, NPR has always set a high bar on use of language that may be offensive to our audience.

In the aftermath of the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, news organizations have been divided over whether to publish cartoons from the magazines depicting Muhammad, whose likeness is sacrosanct among Muslims. Read more

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Elizabeth Jensen will be NPR’s new ombudsman

Elizabeth Jensen, who has covered public media for Current and The New York Times, has been named ombudsman/public editor at NPR.

Elizabeth Jensen, who has covered public media for Current and The New York Times, has been named ombudsman/public editor at NPR. Credit: James Wrona.

NPR announced Monday Elizabeth Jensen will be its new public editor and ombudsman, replacing Edward Schumacher-Matos.

Jensen, a longtime reporter who has covered public media for The New York Times, Current and Columbia Journalism Review, says her career has positioned her well for the ombudsman role.

“My focus will definitely be narrower, but I’ve covered journalism ethics and decision-making for most of my career,” Jensen told Poynter. “So it seems to me to be a continuation of that — it doesn’t seem to be that much of a diversion.”

Jensen recently covered the sunset of Bill Moyers’ weekly series, “Moyers & Company” and Off-Broadway shows coming to a New York public television station. Read more

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NPR’s Melody Kramer will miss the newsroom during breaking news. Also free books.

NPR’s Melody Kramer announced Monday that she’s leaving NPR and journalism, headed for 18F, “a skunkworks shop located within the federal government. It started up last spring. They build digital stuff quickly and they do it in a way that’s completely open.” Kramer will work building digital products and services.

Kramer, a digital strategist at NPR, has earned a well-deserved reputation for her work in digital and social media at NPR. I spoke with her via email about what she’ll miss, what she’ll take with her and what she’s happy to leave behind.

KH: What are you going to miss about working in journalism?

MK: I am a voracious news reader and have loved being a part of newsrooms in the midst of breaking news. Read more

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Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism: This American Life’s Harper High School

“This American Life” reporters Ben Calhoun, Alex Kotlowitz and Linda Lutton spent an entire semester embedded in Harper High School in Chicago — where the previous school year, 29 former or current students were shot and eight died.

Working with producers Robyn Semien, Julie Snyder and Ira Glass, the team created two hour long documentaries that captured daily life in a school and neighborhood racked by gun violence.

The story earned a Peabody Award, the Jack R. Howard Award for Radio In-Depth coverage and the Dart Center prize for journalism and trauma. Peabody judges called the work “vivid, unblinking, poignant and sometimes gut-wrenching;” Dart judges said the story was “profoundly moving” and “extraordinarily comprehensive and compassionate.”

Shortly after “This American Life” aired the story, President Obama hosted Harper students at the White House and Michelle Obama spent an afternoon at the school. Read more

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