What critics said as Rolling Stone’s ‘A Rape on Campus’ began to unravel

The Washington Post | Shots in the Dark | Slate | The Intercept | The Washington Post | The Pennsylvania Gazette

In November, when Rolling Stone contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely reported the story of “Jackie,” an undergraduate at the University of Virginia who claimed that she had been gang-raped at the school’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house, the story was so sensational that it prompted the university to suspend all campus fraternities.

In the coming days, Erdely’s peers examined her story more closely and within weeks concluded that Jackie’s accusations were inconsistent, that Erdely never contacted the fraternity members accused of the rape and that even Jackie’s friends came to doubt her story.

Skepticism of Erdely’s story may have first arisen when Richard Bradley, who as an editor at George magazine edited stories by the notorious fabricator Stephen Glass, warned in his blog Shots in the Dark that the Rolling Stone piece might have been too good to be true:

One must be most critical about stories that play into existing biases.

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Reddit rolls out embeddable comments in countermove to BuzzFeed

Slate Reddit

On Monday, Reddit announced the unveiling of a new feature that could make life for BuzzFeed and Gawker a little more awkward: embeddable comment threads. From now on, if media outlets want to use content from Reddit, they can embed comments from the site’s users directly in their stories, just as they have been able to do with Tweets.

As Reddit administrators noted in the comment thread following the announcement, this feature could do more than advance the Reddit brand. For years, Reddit users have accused Gawker and BuzzFeed editors of searching Reddit for interesting content, scooping it up, repackaging it, and publishing it without attributing either Reddit or the users who originally posted the content. The new embed feature won’t exactly keep websites from swiping content, but it will make their editors slightly more queasy about swiping content when a simple mouse click will allow them to post Reddit’s work directly onto their own site. Read more


BuzzFeed gets into the podcasting game

Wall Street Journal | Another Round | Internet Explorer

On Tuesday, BuzzFeed became the latest news organization to begin offering podcasts to its audience. The inaugural editions of “Internet Explorer” and “Another Round,” BuzzFeed’s first two podcasts, went live on iTunes early this morning. The Wall Street Journal’s Steven Perlberg reports:

Both weekly podcasts are hosted by BuzzFeed staffers, and the company hopes to expand the audio offering in the future with things like shorter-run series, news shows and reported pieces, according to Jenna Weiss-Berman, BuzzFeed’s director of audio.

In a post announcing “Internet Explorer,” BuzzFeed staffers described it as a dive into the culture of the Web that examines “all the weird and wonderful rabbit holes of this terrible/fantastic internet that we love so much.” The other podcast, “Another Round,” promises to be an informal look at issues of pop culture, sexuality and race, along with “literally everything” else, according to a BuzzFeed post announcing its launch. Read more


Slate launches Panoply, a podcast platform

Mashable | Ad Age

Slate is launching a podcasting platform called Panoply, which will open up the online magazine’s “production, audience development/distribution and sales” framework to partner organizations, Jason Abbruzzese writes for Mashable.

The platform will have multiple launch partners, including “The New York Times Magazine, the Huffington Post, Inc., Popular Science and New York Magazine,” according to Mashable.

Andy Bowers, the executive producer of Slate’s podcasts, had sensed an opportunity for the outlet to further expand its offerings for a long time, Abbruzzese writes. Then “Serial” became a breakout hit over the summer, catalyzing further action:

Panoply’s model is based on a belief that not every podcast needs to be Serial to be viable. A growing audience and a maturing digital market have changed the economics of the business, said Matt Turck, who left his position as publisher of Slate to be chief revenue office at Panoply.

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Bill O’Reilly to NYT reporter: ‘I am coming after you with everything I have’

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Bill O’Reilly threatens jounalist

    In an interview with The New York Times Monday, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly warned reporter Emily Steel there could be consequences for inappropriate coverage surrounding disputed claims about his reportage of the Falklands War. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.” (The New York Times) | Politico's Dylan Byers followed up with Steel, who told him "the story speaks for itself." (Politico) | Here's Steel's tweet. (@emilysteel) | O'Reilly continued defending his coverage Monday and sought to end the controversy. (CNN Money) | Meanwhile, the author of a New York Times story that O'Reilly cited in his defense said the anchor "cut out an important phrase" while reading it on air.

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AP goes into business with podcasting service

Digital Content Next

Add The Associated Press to the growing list of news organizations dipping their toes into the podcasting business. The AP has struck a revenue-sharing deal with podcasting network PodcastOne to license its audio clips for the company’s index of 200 podcasts, according to Digital Content Next.

The terms of the deal require The Associated Press to open up its audio service, which includes sound bites, correspondent reports and news headlines, for use in the company’s content. The company will use insertion technology, which is typically used to interject ads into digital audio, to put timely and relevant news into recordings that might have been downloaded earlier.

The Digital Content Next report did not specify how much the licensing deal was worth.

The Associated Press has for years syndicated its video reports, articles and photography to news organizations worldwide. Read more


Here’s where all those New Republic staffers are going

The messy and public firing of New Republic editor Franklin Foer in December prompted a wave of resignations from staffers at the magazine who foreswore the leadership of incoming editor Gabriel Snyder.

A running tally of journalists who resigned in protest compiled by New Yorker correspondent Ryan Lizza included many from the upper ranks of the magazine. In Lizza’s in-depth documenting TNR’s implosion, it was clear that a tug-of-war over the company’s digital strategy between new management and the old guard was a source of much friction. Vidra wanted to build a “vertically integrated digital media company,” and staffers were worried that journalism would receive short shrift. Here’s an anonymous source in Lizza’s story:

The editors were hardly opposed to giving greater attention to digital media, but they came to believe that Hughes was losing interest in the actual content of T.N.R.’s journalism and cultural criticism.

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Press critic Jack Shafer to join Politico

The Huffington Post

Jack Shafer, formerly a media critic for Slate and Reuters, will join Politico, according to a staff memo from Politico editor Susan Glasser.

At Politico, Shafer’s duties will include writing a regular column and reporting out longer pieces, according to the memo.

As we begin the quadrennial follies of a presidential election amid a wave of media disruption, Jack promises to be the indispensable guide to the political tumult, who always calls it like he sees it and whose sharp insights and razor observations come accompanied not only by deeply informed reporting – but also by a requisite sense of the long history underpinning all this narrative of American political journalism.

Shafer was most recently a media critic for Reuters, a job he was let go from in November. Read more


NBC backs off of bogus Charlie Hebdo report

CNN | Slate

Pete Williams and NBC Nightly news mistakenly reported Wednesday that the suspects from the massacre at the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo had been killed or arrested.

Both CNN and Slate pointed out that NBC Nightly News erroneously tweeted a report, attributed to “senior U.S. officials” that “1 suspect in the Paris attack has been killed and the remaining 2 are in custody.”

NBC News correspondent Pete Williams then discussed the report with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, before retracting it later that night, according to CNN:

At 8 pm, during MSNBC’s “All In” with Chris Hayes, Williams walked back the report saying, “we just don’t know what the situation is in France tonight.”

“We were told earlier this evening from two U.S.

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Most memorable stories of 2014

S. Mitra Kalita is the executive editor of Quartz, on Poynter’s adjunct faculty, and a Spencer Fellow at Columbia University. She tweets @mitrakalita.

A friend of mine recently pondered the role of memory in journalism, saying an information overload has robbed his recall. Sometimes it feels like stories aren’t read as much as Facebooked, tweeted, toggled all day long. What actually gets absorbed, retained, understood?

This was my dilemma as Poynter asked me to compile the top 10 stories of 2014. Insecure about whether the best journalism had actually reached me, my inclination was to crowdsource the list. That felt dishonest. Key takeaway of my transition to digital media: only authenticity wins the internet.

So here are my picks, based solely on the top stories I remember from 2014. Read more

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