The Washington Post

The New York Times will expand its comment section

The New York Times

The New York Times intends to “expand and build” on its commenting system, providing readers with more stories to opine on, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote Wednesday.

New York Times community editor Bassey Etim tells Sullivan the Times will double the number of stories open for readers to comment on “by the end of the summer,” and added that the paper will make attempts to “elevate and recognize” the quality of the conversation around its stories.

Several news organizations, including Reuters and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have ended or clamped down on commenting systems to stem the flow of invective from readers. Popular Science and The Huffington Post also cracked down on commenting, as has the Chicago Sun-Times.

The New York Times and The Washington Post are currently working with the Mozilla Foundation on The Coral Project, open-source software that will “facilitate the importing, storage, moderation, and display of contributions,” including comments, to news websites.

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs'); Read more


Career Beat: Noam Scheiber named labor reporter at The New York Times

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

  • Noam Scheiber is now covering labor at The New York Times. Previously, he was a senior editor at The New Republic. (Politico)
  • Rachel Van Dongen will “lead a new initiative” at The Washington Post’s national desk. Previously, she was a deputy managing editor at Politico. (Poynter)
  • Claudia Wallis is now managing editor at Scientific American Mind. Previously, she was associate dean of strategic communications at Columbia University. (Mediabistro)

Job of the day: The Associated Press is looking for an immigration reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: Read more


Politico’s Rachel Van Dongen leaves for The Washington Post

Politico deputy managing editor Rachel Van Dongen is leaving for The Washington Post, where she’ll “lead a new initiative for the National desk,” The Washington Post announced Thursday.

Van Dongen left the Post to join Politico in 2011 as the news organization was staffing up to cover the 2012 campaign. At Politico, Van Dongen coordinated coverage for some of Washington’s biggest stories, according to the Post, including “the government shutdown, the debt ceiling wars, sequestration and other episodes of Congressional drama.”

In her previous stint at The Post, Van Dongen oversaw The Fix and Post Politics blogs, according to the announcement.

Van Dongen’s is one of several senior-level editors that have left Politico in advance of the 2016 presidential election. Deputy managing editors Laura McGann, Dianna Heitz and Gregg Birnbaum have all departed within the last eight months, followed in some cases by other Politico journalists. Managing editor Rachel Smolkin also left during that time period.

Politico, meanwhile, has replenished its ranks with several high-profile hires. In February, NPR politics editor Charlie Mahtesian joined; Jack Shafer, formerly a media columnist with Reuters, came aboard in January. Politico also announced the hiring of Marilyn Thompson as deputy editor in January, along with White House editor Maura Reynolds.

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

Correction: A previous version of this story identified Rachel Smolkin as a deputy managing editor at Politico. In fact, she was managing editor for news there. Read more

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 1.19.00 PM

Big time sports writer finds fulfillment covering small town team

Dave Kindred

Dave Kindred

In another life, Dave Kindred would have been winding down after covering the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl. February for Mr. Big-Time sports columnist usually meant getting prepped for the NCAA tournament with a column on the Duke-North Carolina game. Or perhaps depending on the year, he would be off to a far-away frozen location to report on the Winter Olympics.

However, in his current life, Kindred spent last Friday sitting on wooden bleachers at a girls high school basketball game in Central Illinois. With notebook in hand, he closely monitored and dutifully filed his report on the Morton Potters taking a 47-40 victory over Limestone.

“Canton and Washington are coming up,” said Kindred, full of anticipation on Morton’s next opponents.

Professional fulfillment comes in many forms during a person’s career. For Kindred, one of the most accomplished sportswriters of his generation, nothing now makes him feel more fulfilled than chronicling the exploits of the girls basketball team from Morton High School, located near Peoria, Ill.

“I wrote about the ‘Dream Team’ in Barcelona (at the ’92 Olympics),” Kindred said. “What gives me the bigger thrill? Put it this way: I truly like this. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t like it.”

Kindred, member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement in sports journalism, estimates he has written more than 150,000 words on the Potters since the winter of 2010. The man who once wrote columns for the Washington Post, Louisville Courier-Journal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The National posts his stories on the Morton girls site and his Facebook page.

Kindred  has missed only one of their games in person during that time, and he didn’t like it. Let the record show he still watched that game on his Blackberry in his hotel room in Las Vegas.

“I’m on assignment to talk to a Hall of Fame coach (Jerry Tarkanian) and I’m worried I’m going to miss a Morton girls high school basketball game,” Kindred said.

Kindred’s priorities shifted when he and his wife, Cheryl, moved back to their native Central Illinois in 2010. He started to attend some Morton games because a friend’s daughter played on the team. Soon he was hooked and began writing stories off their games.

Award-winning reporter Dave Kindred, with his pad and pen, is a fixture at Morton High School girl basketball games. (Photo by Dave Byrne)

Award-winning reporter Dave Kindred, with his pad and pen, is a fixture at Morton High School girls basketball games. (Photo by Dave Byrne)

Kindred isn’t retired. He still works as a contributor for Golf Digest and recently had a short stint with Sports on Earth before that site changed directions. He also is working on a book.

However, the bulk of Kindred’s writing now is on the Morton girls. It says something about his commitment that his per-game fee comes in the form of one box of Milk Duds for him and Junior Mints for his wife.

“I like that the games are 1 hour, 15 minutes,” Kindred said. “There’s no Katy Perry at halftime, no commercials. That’s all I’ve wanted from every sporting event I’ve ever covered. The girls just give you the game.”

Of course, there’s more. Kindred is captivated by the girls effort on the floor. He says watching them play is a reminder of what attracted him to sports in the first place. There’s something to be said about the purity of simply playing hard without having millions of dollars on the line.

Kindred repays the girls by taking the same dogged approach with his posts.

“I’ve never found this beneath me,” Kindred said. “I don’t try any less writing about the girls than I did writing a column for the Washington Post.”

Indeed, the writing still shines. Kindred’s posts are more from a columnist’s perspective than a typical game story. While he doesn’t criticize Morton’s players, a recent game showed he will throw a dart when warranted. Kindred objected to East Peoria, hopelessly behind in the fourth quarter, lengthening the game with needless and sometimes hard fouls.

Kindred wrote: “You can’t spell class without a-s-s and East Peoria proved it tonight.”

“Class still matters to me,” Kindred explained. “I was just as mad about that game as when I saw John Thompson’s teams beating up people at Georgetown.”

Morton coach Bob Becker and virtually everyone associated with the team initially weren’t aware that Kindred used to write about Georgetown for the Post. Or that he once did an interview with Muhammad Ali under the covers of his bed in a crowded hotel room and later wrote a book about the legendary boxer.

“When I found out more about him, it was intimidating at first,” Becker said. “He’s been around all these big-time players and coaches. Here I am, just a small-time girls high school coach. But he’s been great. Honestly, it’s amazing that a guy of his stature has fallen into our lap.”

Actually, it is Kindred who feels blessed. He started his career covering high school sports for the Bloomington Pantagraph in the ‘60s. He called coordinating the desk on busy high school game nights “the hardest thing I ever did.”

Now Kindred says he has “come full circle.” He believes his Morton experience carries some important lessons for sportswriters like him who have seen it all.

“You get so caught up in the hoopla of a major sports event, you forget what matters,” Kindred said. “One of my theories is if you pay attention, you’ll see something you’ve never seen before. If you work at it, you can make a girls high school basketball game as riveting as the Super Bowl. There’s something in every game worth writing about. I think there’s much to be said about that.”

Kindred hopes to generate some compelling stories from Morton’s biggest games of the year. The Potters are 25-3, but he says the road will be tough for the upcoming Illinois state girls high school tournament.

Kindred was in the midst of giving a rundown of Morton’s chances when he came to another realization just how much his sports mindset has changed.

“You know, I know more about girls high school basketball than I do about the NBA or the NFL,” Kindred said. “I’m happy about that.”


Recommended reading on sports journalism:

Ed Sherman writes about sports media at Follow him @Sherman_Report Read more


Career Beat: Dorie Greenspan named food columnist at The Washington Post

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

  • Dorie Greenspan is now a food columnist for The Washington Post. She is the author of 11 cookbooks. (Washington Post)
  • Hilary Krieger will be enterprise editor for CNN Politics Digital. Previously, she was deputy White House editor for Politico. Daniella Diaz will join the digital production team at CNN Politics Digital. Previously, she was a Web producer at Politico. (Poynter)
  • Kevin Conroy is now chief strategy and data officer at Univision Communications Inc. Previously, he was president, UIM and enterprise development. (Media Moves)
  • Kate Glassman Bennett will be a gossip columnist at Politico. Previously, she was an editor at Washingtonian. (Fishbowl DC)

Job of the Day: The (Brunswick, Maine) Times Record is looking for a publisher. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) Read more


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. On "Reliable Sources" Sunday, two of Brian Stelter's guests told the host they weren't sure if Williams would ever return to his anchor chair. (CNN) | In his weekly column, David Carr wrote in favor of Williams keeping his job, although he said Williams' future at "Nightly News" was still uncertain. (The New York Times) | Also on Sunday, Verne Gay of Newsday called on Williams to resign. (Newsday) | Related: "...there is no difference between an internal investigation of Brian Williams and a fact-checking inquiry prompted by his storytelling abuses." (Erik Wemple) | Also related: "Brian Williams' Mugging Story Comes Under Scrutiny" (Huffington Post)

  2. Iranian official supports Jason Rezaian

    Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius he wants imprisoned Post reporter Jason Rezaian to be freed: "I hope he will be cleared in a court of law. That would be a good day for me.” (The Washington Post) | Rezaian was arrested in July and charged in December. He awaits a court appearance. (Poynter)

  3. In Henderson, talking to reporters could get you fired

    A new policy for the city of Henderson in Nevada warns city employees they could face penalties "up to and including termination" for talking to the media without permission. City Manager Jacob Snow tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal he's "not surprised or concerned" by the policy, which the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada says could have a chilling effect among city employees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

  4. Vox and BuzzFeed land interviews with the president

    This weekend, both Vox and BuzzFeed announced they would unveil separate interviews with President Barack Obama. Vox's interview, conducted in January by co-founder Ezra Klein and Executive Editor Matthew Yglesias, features all sorts of superimposed visual effects. It's live now. (Vox) | "i will say this presentation is like the snowfall of watching a dude sit in a chair and talk" (‏@MikeIsaac) | BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith is sitting down with Obama on Tuesday. The president will also appear in a video by BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. (BuzzFeed) | "The interviews are the most recent attempt by President Obama to use new media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter and Vine, to get out his message on a number of policy issues." (The New York Times)

  5. News organizations to unveil safety guidelines

    In the wake of the deaths of freelance journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, news organizations are planning to reveal "a new set of safety guidelines" for freelancers and their employers this week at Columbia University. (The Associated Press) | Related: Japan has seized the passport of Yuichi Sugimoto, a photojournalist traveling to Syria, where Foley was reporting from before he was kidnapped. Authorities say it was for the journalist's safety. Sugimoto described the seizure as "a threat to the freedom of press." (BBC)

  6. Making U-T San Diego a community paper

    Real estate investor Malin Burnham is interested in brokering a deal for U-T San Diego (formerly the San Diego Union-Tribune) wherein the paper would become "owned by the community." Under Burnham's plan, the transaction would be overseen by a large San Diego nonprofit, and the funding would come "from a small group of investors." The paper would be nonpartisan but “support things that are going on [in] the community.” (CJR)

  7. Capital New York brass say business is going well

    Higher-ups at Capital New York, the media and politics site built around Politico's subscription model, say the outlet "has exceeded expectations," Lucia Moses reports for Digiday. The outlet has tried out different pricing models for access to media, city hall and Albany coverage. “We’re breaking through and selling a lot of subscriptions to major operations,” says Andrew Sollinger, executive director of new business development and strategy. (Digiday)

  8. Former NPR ombudsman drops the mic

    In his last column, outgoing NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos warns of adhering too closely to certain standards and ethics: "We in the news media—in different ways between new and old—are exaggerating ethics at the expense of maintaining a civilized and free society. We must remember this: Ethics change. And they are different in different democracies." (NPR) | Elizabeth Jensen, Schumacher-Matos' successor, told Poynter she will be active on social media and contribute regularly to NPR’s ombudsman blog. (Poynter)

  9. Front page of the day, selected by Seth Liss

    The Honolulu Star-Advertiser goes big with an infographic on measles. (Courtesy the Newseum)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    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 homepage editor at CNN. Previously, she was weekend editor at (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. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Corrections? Tips? Wish it were still Sunday? Let Kristen know: Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here. Read more


Career Beat: Kat Stoeffel named deputy ideas editor at BuzzFeed

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

  • Kat Stoeffel has been named deputy ideas editor at BuzzFeed. Previously, she was associate editor at The Cut. (@doreeshafrir)
  • Diane Harris is now editor of Money. Previously, she was executive editor there. (Poynter)
  • Steven Sears is now chairman of the Red and Black board of directors. He is a senior editor and columnist with Barron’s. (Email)
  • Gilbert Cruz is now television editor at The New York Times. Previously, he was editorial director at (Poynter)
  • Mohana Ravindranath is now a staff correspondent at Nextgov. Previously, she was a reporter at The Washington Post. (Email)
  • Rebecca Santana is now deep south correspondent at The Associated Press. Previously, she was Pakistan bureau chief there. (AP)

Job of the day: The Riverside Press-Enterprise is hiring a breaking news reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: Read more


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. Previously, he was manager of new content projects there. (Poynter)
  • Melinda Henneberger is now a senior writer at Bloomberg Politics. Previously, she wrote about politics and culture for The Washington Post. Jennifer Epstein will be a correspondent for Bloomberg Politics. Previously, she was a White House reporter for Politico. (Capital New York)

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

Send Ben your job moves: Read more


After 6 months in prison, Jason Rezaian will go on trial ‘soon’ in Iran

The Washington Post | Al Jazeera America | Committee to Protect Journalists

The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian will face trial “soon” in Iran, Brian Murphy reported for the Post. Murphy writes that this news was first reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency, a state-run news outlet in Iran.

“We have yet to hear any accounting of any charges against Jason, who after six months in custody has still not been provided access to a lawyer,” said a statement from Martin Baron, the Post’s executive editor. “It is appalling and outrageous that Jason remains behind bars. A fair and just approach by Iran’s judiciary could only result in his immediate release.”

On Jan. 23, Stephen Kinzer wrote for Al Jazeera America about Rezaian and other cases of attacks on journalists around the world. “The first month of 2015 suggests that this will be a bad year for free expression,” Kinzer wrote.

This month my friend Jason, the Washington Post correspondent in Tehran, was finally charged with a crime after half a year at the ill-reputed Evin prison. He has not been told what the charge is or whether there will be a trial. Like Al Jazeera’s journalists jailed in Egypt, Jason is innocent of any crime — collateral damage in a larger power struggle. Those who have seized him probably know this. Yet journalists make tempting targets.

Last year, 221 journalists were imprisoned around the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. That’s not as high as 2012, when 232 journalists were imprisoned. CPJ’s timeline shows a steady rise since 2008. In Iran, 2012 was also a record year, with 45 journalists imprisoned. Last year, Iran put 30 journalists in jail. Read more


Questions and answers with The Washington Post’s lead environmental writer

Last week, The Washington Post kicked off its energy and environment section with a blog post by Chris Mooney, the section’s primary writer.

In it, he stressed the importance of thoughtful and comprehensive coverage of the environment. He talked to us about The Post’s plans for tackling the environmental beat, the current gaps in environmental coverage and getting through to climate change skeptics.

Broadly, how would you describe the current state of environmental journalism? Are news organizations investing in environmental coverage? Why or why not?

Mooney: I think you have a wide range of things happening. We are investing at The Post while others have cut back. Still, others have found ways to cover science and environmental topics without creating a specialized beat. I’m thrilled to have joined The Post and spearhead its deeper coverage of the environment.

As you noted in your blog post, climate change is an extremely polarizing issue for so many Americans. Do you see it as your job to convince the people who remain unconvinced that the climate isn’t changing? How do you make sure you’re not just preaching to the choir?

Mooney: To an extent. I’ll always stand up for the facts – which means, defending the robust science of climate change, which is often under attack. Whenever I think there is a good way to reach those who count as a less traditional audience for climate science, then I plan on taking the opportunity. I think my Wonkblog article about Pope Francis probably counts as a good example, before the rollout of the new section.

Where specifically does The Washington Post add value to environmental journalism? Is there anything you want to do that other news organizations aren’t?

Mooney: A lot. As you saw in my first two major pieces for the new section (about energy and the brain, and about gravity and West Antarctica), I often take an approach to covering energy and the environment that focuses on the big ideas– how it all works and how we think about these problems. So I will have succeeded if I engage people in caring about energy and the environment through means that they would have never expected. For instance, by providing a lesson in how gravity interacts with global warming to almost uniquely punish the United States. Nobody knew that. And when you think about what it means, it blows your mind.

Being in Washington, D.C. gives The Post access to a lot of the people responsible for making the decisions you’re going to be writing about. Do you intend to use that access? If so, how?

Mooney: I will be writing and reporting extensively and plan to work all the wonks in town for information and story ideas.

What’s missing from environmental coverage right now?

Mooney: Others might have a different answer, but I think we need more of a wide lens perspective. It’s making people see how it matters, so that the information isn’t just technocratic – a strangely named chemical, an obscure section of administrative code, an uncertain scientific impact. What does that mean? Why should you care? How does that interact with other realms of life that are more familiar to you? That’s what you’ll find in our stories.

I also think you’ll notice similarities with Wonkblog – we are going to be driven by data and charts and numbers, but in the environmental and energy space, not the policy and economics space. I’m a big climate change science wonk. That’s going to come out a lot.

As a journalist, how do you take an abstract concept like climate change and make it accessible for your readers?

Mooney: Well, through vivid writing and relating it to very concrete things that we have all experienced – including weather phenomena. But I don’t think climate change is abstract at all when you contemplate what it means for something incredibly concrete and personal to millions of people across the U.S. – how long until the ocean is lapping at the shores of your home.

Can you give us any more particulars about The Washington Post’s energy and environment section? Have there been any new hires for the section besides for you? Will it be given a name besides the one it has currently?

Mooney: We are going to create as robust a section as we can.

As for a name – we thought the clearest and most direct approach, as well as the approach that fit the best into the current architecture of The Post’s website, was to make this a topic-focused online section. So I think that will stay as it is.

What are some of the biggest storylines facing environmental journalists right now?

Mooney: I’ll give you two.

The race against time to find out whether we’re going to keep warming under 2C, or whether we’re going to have to roll out the really wild stuff, geoengineering initiatives, because we have no other choice.

The race to exploit harder to get kinds of hydro carbon resources in shale, tar sands, deep water drilling, and the Arctic. Read more

1 Comment

Get the latest media news delivered to your inbox.

Select the newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:
Page 2 of 2612345678910...Last »