The Atlantic

Career Beat: Steve Korioth named news director at WVVA-TV

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

  • Steve Korioth is now news director at WVVA in Bluefield, West Virginia. Previously, he was interim news director there. (Rick Gevers)
  • Theodore Ross is now features director at The New Republic. Previously, he was a freelance writer for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic and Vice. (Poynter)
  • Kim Komenich is now an assistant professor of photojournalism at San Francisco State University. Previously, he was an assistant professor of new media studies at San Jose State University. (NPPA)

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

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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. “The only compliment Chris or Guy ever said about a piece was that it ‘did well,’ or it ‘travelled well,’ ” one of the staffers who resigned said. “If we had published Nietzsche’s ‘Birth of Tragedy,’ the only question would be, ‘Did it travel well?’ ‘Yes, Wagner tweeted it.’”

In the months since, several the staffers from The New Republic have landed on their feet at companies that look very much like the ones Snyder and Vidra are trying to build. And they’re poised to do work similar to the work they did at TNR. Here are some examples:

Leon Wieseltier, formerly literary editor at The New Republic, is now a contributing editor and critic at The Atlantic.

Alec MacGillis, formerly a senior editor at The New Republic, is now a staff writer at Slate.

Greg Veis and Rachel Morris, both executive editors at The New Republic, have joined The Huffington Post to help the company produce longform journalism and investigations. They are joined by former New Republic writer Jonathan Cohn.

What will the reimagined New Republic look like? Shortly after the falling out with Foer and staff, New Republic CEO Guy Vidra told Poynter he didn’t want The New Republic to resemble BuzzFeed, but that he admired the explainer-driven site Vox greatly. Read more

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‘Humor makes you free’: Atlantic contributors draw in honor of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists

The Atlantic

On Friday, The Atlantic published “Art Is Free: Responses to Charlie Hebdo.”

We reached out to some of our contributors and asked them to articulate their reactions to this assault the best way they know how: through illustration. This gallery is dedicated to the people who lost their lives this week.

Here are a few of them:

From Mike McQuade:

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From Johnny Selman:

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From Serge Bloch:

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Related: Our growing collection of political cartoons created after the shooting in Paris. Read more

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Career Beat: Marilyn Thompson will be deputy editor at Politico

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

  • Leon Wieseltier will be a contributing editor and critic at The Atlantic. Previously, he was literary editor at The New Republic. (Poynter)
  • George Rodrigue will be editor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Previously, he was assistant news director for WFAA. (Poynter)
  • Marilyn Thompson will be deputy editor at Politico. She’s currently Washington bureau chief for Reuters. Maura Reynolds is now White House editor at Politico. Previously, she was an editor at Bloomberg. (Email)
  • Peter Jamison is now a metro reporter at the Los Angeles Times. Previously, he was a reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. Nigel Duara is now a southwest correspondent at the Los Angeles Times. He was a reporter at The Associated Press. Noah Bierman will cover the California congressional delegation for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, he was a congressional reporter for The Boston Globe. (Email)
  • Aaron LaBerge is now chief technology officer at ESPN. Previously, he was senior vice presidet of technology and product development there. (ESPN)
  • Dianna Heitz will be senior multi-platform editor at CNN Politics Digital. She is a deputy managing editor at Politico. (Email)
  • Chris Montgomery is now a Web developer at Billy Penn. Previously, he was a Web developer for Temple University’s School of Media and Communication. (Billy Penn)
  • Jim Rainey is now a senior film reporter at Variety. Previously, he was a reporter at The Los Angeles Times. (Variety)
  • Bill Siegel will be director of news strategy for The E.W. Scripps Company. He is news director for WWL. (The E.W. Scripps Company)
  • Fred Poust will be senior vice president of conferences and business development at Forbes. Previously, he was chief marketing officer for the Clinton Global Initiative. (Fishbowl NY)

Job of the day: The Virginian-Pilot is looking for an urban reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

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Leon Wieseltier joins The Atlantic

Leon Wieseltier, the former New Republic literary editor in charge of the magazine’s books and arts coverage, has joined The Atlantic as a contributing editor and critic, the magazine announced Monday.

Wieseltier, a longtime New Republic editor, was among the first to announce his departure from the magazine during a shakeup that included the ousting of then-editor Franklin Foer.

At The Atlantic, Wieseltier will “write for the magazine and the Web site, across his customary wide range of subjects,” according to a press release from The Atlantic.

Here’s the full release:

Washington, D.C. (January 5, 2015)— The veteran writer and literary editor Leon Wieseltier is joining The Atlantic as contributing editor and critic, James Bennet, president and editor in chief of The Atlantic, announced today. In his new role, Wieseltier will write for the magazine and the Web site, across his customary wide range of subjects. He will be reunited with his former colleague at The New Republic, Ann Hulbert, the literary editor of The Atlantic.

“For a generation of editors and writers, Leon has helped define standards for piercing criticism of culture and society,” said Bennet. “There is no writer better equipped – by dint of erudition, wit, and forcefulness – to fill the role of critic for The Atlantic.”

Wieseltier comes to The Atlantic from The New Republic, where he served as literary editor for the last thirty-one years. He is the author of several books including Nuclear War, Nuclear Peace, Against Identity and Kaddish, a widely acclaimed hybrid of memoir, philosophy and religious history. He has published translations of modern Hebrew poetry as well as influential essays on culture, politics, religion, foreign policy, and national security

In 2013, Wieseltier was awarded the Dan David Prize, which recognizes three honorees each year for outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on the world. In describing Wieseltier’s accomplishments, the judges wrote, he is “a foremost writer and thinker who confronts and engages with the central issues of our times, setting the standard for serious cultural discussion.”

Wieseltier is a member of the Editorial Board of the Jewish Review of Books. He has taught and lectured at many universities, and this spring is teaching at Harvard Law School.

Wieseltier joins The Atlantic at a time of expansion for the brand’s culture coverage. Along with Hulbert, The Atlantic’s culture writers and editors include Sophie Gilbert, Spencer Kornhaber, Megan Garber, Lenika Cruz, Joe Reid, and David Sims; James Parker, a contributing editor and author of the magazine’s Omnivore column; Senior Editor and Film Critic Christopher Orr; and Contributors Sarah Boxer, Deborah Cohen, William Deresiewicz, Caitlin Flanagan, Nathaniel Rich, among others.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, to Holocaust survivors, Wieseltier attended Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford Universities. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Jennifer Bradley, who will soon join the Aspen Institute as director of the Center for Urban Innovation, and their son.

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Tips from a fact-checker: ‘Ultimately it’s about the care that you take with a piece’

Pen

Fact-checking is about both the big and the small, the grit of details and the arc of story.

“What checking does is similar to so many other types of editing,” says Yvonne Rolzhausen, head of the fact-checking department at The Atlantic. “Ultimately it’s about the care that you take with a piece.”

Rolzhausen first interned at The Atlantic during her senior year of college and started as a proofreader there in 1993. Early in her career, she had to head to the Boston Public Library to go through microfiche for her work.

“It wasn’t pre-Internet, but it wasn’t too far off,” she said.

We spoke about the work of fact-checkers and lessons the rest of us can learn from them.

1. It’s about the details.

The only way you can look at any piece, whether it’s a paragraph or a 20,000-word story, is in detail — every word, every phrase, every connection.

That takes vigilance, Rolzhausen said.

“You have to just think on sort of a macro and a micro level.”

A good checker looks at every piece, she said, every generalization, “but you need to stand back and sort of see the forest for the trees,” she said. “Do all of these trees, i.e. facts, amount to this forest?”

2. It’s about the big story, too.

“Probably one of the most important things to think about in the larger scheme of things is, on the most basic level, does this piece makes sense? Does the info jibe? Do we have enough to support this?”

When you start lopping off individual trees, or facts, the forest starts to look different, Rolzhausen said, and the overarching theme of the piece may not hold up.

The details have to be right, but just because they aren’t doesn’t mean that the overarching argument the piece makes still is, or the other way around.

3. Now look at the story from every angle.

“What side am I not hearing? Where is the information coming from? Do they have a bias?”

Find the sources at the heart of the story, go to the experts, then the ones who disagree. Read other pieces on this subject so you know what’s out there.

And it’s OK, good even, that you aren’t an expert on that subject.

The best checkers are people who come at whatever that subject is with fresh eyes, Rolzhausen said.

4. Hindsight is easy, especially if the mistakes aren’t yours.

“I go crazy when I see corrections for anything, for any publication, because our mistakes do happen in public,” Rolzhausen said.

No one sees the hours or weeks and the thousand other saves. And mistakes undercut credibility. After a correction, it’s easy to look at a piece and ask, how did this happen?

“It’s very easy, in hindsight, to say they should’ve done these things. It’s not rocket science, but in each instance, there’s the overarching issue of time and time pressures and last minute changes, edits thrown in, privacy issues. There are so many assumptions along the way.”

And sometimes, she said, people get wrapped up in a good story, “and they lose the idea that it’s too good to be true.”

5. It’s all gray.

The facts and the truths fact-checkers deal with aren’t black and white, though they can appear that way.

“The best checking, the most important checking, lies in the world of the gray.”

Corrections: The word micro was misspelled. It has been corrected. Also, Rolzhausen said jibe, not jive. The facts aren’t that funky. Read more

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Career Beat: Matt Thompson to join theatlantic.com

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

  • Matt Thompson will be deputy editor of theatlantic.com. He’s currently director of vertical initiatives for NPR. (Poynter)
  • Mat Honan will be Silicon Valley bureau chief for BuzzFeed. He’s an editor and writer at Wired. (Re/code)
  • Justin Yurkanin is now manager of multimedia at Alabama Media Group. Previously, he was a photojournalist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Email)
  • Sarah Karnasiewicz is now food editor of RealSimple.com. Previously, she was a writer at The Wall Street Journal. (Fishbowl NY)

Job of the Day: The (Rochester, New York) Democrat and Chronicle is looking for a senior engagement editor. Get your résumés in! (Career Builder)

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Matt Thompson leaves NPR for The Atlantic

Matt Thompson will be the deputy editor of theatlantic.com, NPR staffers were told in a memo Wednesday, David Folkenflik reports. Thompson is NPR’s director of vertical initiatives and will work with site editor J.J. Gould “to help oversee editorial operations and shape strategic development,” The Atlantic says in a press release.

“It’s difficult to count all the ways and all the places where Matt has played a vital role at NPR during his years with us,” NPR managing editor for digital news Scott Montgomery and NPR News Executive Editor Madhulika Sikka write in an email to staffers, which is below.

Thompson, who worked at Poynter in the early 2000s, follows a number of high-profile departures from NPR in recent months. Chief content officer Kinsey Wilson left in October (and later landed at The New York Times). Senior VP for news Margaret Low Smith announced in July she would leave (she headed to The Atlantic, too). VP of content strategy and operations Sarah Lumbard left for United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Institute of Holocaust Education in October. And Joyce MacDonald, who works for the adjacent organization National Public Media, announced last month she would become vice president of journalism at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Here’s NPR’s memo.

We are sorry to announce that our friend and colleague Matt Thompson is leaving NPR.

It’s difficult to count all the ways and all the places where Matt has played a vital role at NPR during his years with us. He has helped us advance our digital thinking and has pushed us to bring a strategic approach to creating coverage. At this point, almost everyone in the newsroom has shared a meeting with Matt and has come away better for it.

And so it pains us to see him go. But, after a lengthy deliberation, Matt concluded that he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to become the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He’ll help shape digital strategy at a storied news organization that already serves as an industry leader in that department.

Matt came to NPR in early 2010 as the editorial lead for Project Argo, the collaboration with 12 member stations that produced sites like KQED’s MindShift, WBUR’s CommonHealth, and WXPN’s The Key. Alongside Mark Memmott, he coauthored NPR’s ethics handbook (and worked with Wes Lindamood to code the WordPress template that powers it).

Most recently, he worked with partners across the newsroom to oversee the launch of Code Switch, NPR Ed, and Goats & Soda.

We’ll miss Matt’s smarts and his self-deprecating style and we wish him the best in his new role with the Atlantic. In the days ahead, we’ll announce plans for how we’ll fill Matt’s open position in the newsroom.

Scott and Madhulika

Scott Montgomery

The Atlantic’s release:

December 3, 2014 (Washington, D.C.)—Matt Thompson (@mthomps) will join the leadership of TheAtlantic.com as the deputy editor. Thompson will work with the site’s editor J.J. Gould (@jjgould) to help oversee editorial operations and shape strategic development at a time of record audience growth. Coming from NPR—where he has most recently directed news teams covering race, ethnicity, and culture; education; and global health and development—he will start at The Atlantic in the new year.

“Matt is a force,” said Gould. “He’s creative about new media and their emerging potential, he’s serious about journalism as a public good, and he’s super-smart about the requirements of leadership in a digital organization. He’s also just a natural fit for The Atlantic personally. Working with him is going to be a lot of fun.”

At NPR, Thompson started the Code Switch blog, which he oversaw along with several other topic-focused verticals. He previously helped coordinate 12 local websites in conjunction with NPR member stations and coauthored NPR’s ethics handbook. Before going to NPR, Thompson was the deputy web editor for The Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and he built and ran The Fresno Bee’s news blog, serving as the paper’s first online reporter. Thompson is the vice-chairman of the board at the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit organization for investigative journalism, and in 2011 he cofounded SparkCamp, a regular gathering for a diverse range of people from a cross-section of industries.

Thompson is among a number of editors and writers to join The Atlantic in recent months, including business journalists Bourree Lam (@bourreelam), previously with Freakonomics, Alana Semuels (@alanasemuels), formerly with the Los Angeles Times, and Gillian B. White (@gillianbwhite), most recently with Kiplinger; education editor Alia Wong (@aliaemily), formerly with Civil Beat; science writer Nicholas St. Fleur (@scifleur), who previously reported for Scientific American and NPR; and Lenika Cruz (@lenikacruz), formerly with Circa, covering entertainment.

TheAtlantic.com is an award-winning site, publishing dozens of original pieces daily on politics, business, culture, technology, health, education, and global affairs. It is also the digital home of The Atlantic magazine and Atlantic Video. October and November brought record audiences to the site—the best two months in its history in terms of both unique visitors and page views.

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Career Beat: Lenika Cruz named associate editor at The Atlantic

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

  • 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, Flordia. 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)

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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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