Career Beat: Natasha Vargas-Cooper joins Jezebel

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

  • Natasha Vargas-Cooper will be a senior reporter at Jezebel. Previously, she was a staff writer at The Intercept. (Capital)
  • Meredith Long will be publisher of Time magazine. Previously, she was executive director of West Coast operations. (Poynter)
  • Howard Fineman will be Global Editorial Director at The Huffington Post. Previously, he was an editorial director there. (Poynter)
  • Brian Barrett will launch a site with The Awl. Previously, he was editor of Gizmodo. (@brbarrett)
  • Annalee Newitz will run a new tech site at Gawker Media. She is the editor of i09. (Gigaom)
  • José Guzmán will be News Operations Manager at KDEN in Denver. Previously, he was a photographer there. (Media Moves)
  • Stuart A. Thompson will be interim head of interactives for the Wall Street Journal. Previously, he was senior interactive graphics editor there. (@stuartathompson)

Job of the day: The Ventura County Star is looking for a multimedia journalist. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Meredith Long will be publisher of Time magazine

Time Inc. Thursday named Meredith Long publisher of Time magazine, responsible for supervising sales and marketing operations.

Long, 38, began her 12-year career at Time as an account manager and has worked in the magazine’s offices in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to a release announcing her hire. In February 2013, she was promoted to her most recent position, executive director of West Coast operations.

Here’s the release:


(New York, January 15, 2015) — Meredith Long has been named Publisher of TIME, it was announced today by Evelyn Webster, Executive Vice President, Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME).

Long, 38, will oversee the integrated sales and marketing operations across all platforms of one of the world’s largest news brands, with more than 70 million TIME readers worldwide in print, online, mobile and social media. She will work closely with Editor Nancy Gibbs to develop new growth opportunities and revenue streams for TIME and all of its franchises and extensions. She will report to Webster, and her appointment is effective immediately. She will be relocating to New York from Los Angeles.

Long is a 12-year veteran of TIME and has been leading the sales team along with Jorg Stratmann, Executive Sales Director, Northeast, since Jed Hartman’s departure in November 2014. She has deep connections with automotive and technology brands, including managing sales for Toyota, TIME’s largest advertiser. She has been instrumental in driving digital ad revenue growth to Time.com, which has undergone a major transformation and expansion, with traffic growing 70% in the past year and a half. She also helped establish both TIME’s Hollywood partnership with The Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation’s Health Care Summit and its partnership with The Nantucket Project.

“Meredith’s deep industry relationships and creative energy make her an exciting sales and marketing leader for TIME,” said Webster. “With a strong reputation for bringing innovative solutions to advertisers, she is the perfect partner to join Nancy Gibbs in further expanding the TIME brand, building on its impressive digital growth and creating new revenue opportunities.”

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity,” said Long. “TIME is one of the world’s most powerful calling cards. We have many trails to blaze, limitless opportunities to rethink and reimagine TIME’s purpose and place that will ultimately realize significant and lasting returns.”

Born and raised in Chicago, Long started at TIME as an Account Manager in 2003 and has held leadership positions in its Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. Most recently, she has been Executive Director, West since February 2013. She began her career as an Assistant Account Executive at Fallon in Minneapolis. She sits on the Los Angeles Regional Advisory Board for The American Ireland Fund and has a B.A. in journalism and broadcast news from The University of Colorado Boulder

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2015, as the new year, in a keyboard

What are your tech and social media resolutions for 2015?

2015, as the new year, in a keyboard

Less time spent wading through your email? More time spent away from tech? Less selfies? More selfies? It’s almost a new year and, like with the resolutions you may be making about more exercise and less Uber riding, you may also have some work-related resolutions. I asked a handful of journalists about their tech and social media resolutions for 2015. What are yours? Email or tweet them to me and I’ll gather them into this story.

Tech resolutions

S. Mitra Kalita, executive editor (at large), Quartz: My tech resolution for 2015 is to embrace the chaos. In 2014, I read every story on getting more organized, commissioned a few myself, experimented with a few productivity apps, even went to see an email doctor to help me winnow down my inbox of 145,000 messages. It is 10,492 as I type. So that’s progress. Except that he encouraged me to categorize messages and now I find myself missing the eavesdropping on listserv culture (and life) that is so crucial to my job as a digital journalist. I’ve decided to go back to who I was — inbox bursting, Luddite to some, digital maven to others — but at least it’s me and my overlapping worlds of gossipy neighbors, media gurus, shitty press releases, videos of human rights abuse, videos of cat rights abuse, last-call sales at Zulily. If I miss an email and someone needs me, they can ping back. Or call. Everyone tells you as you approach 40 that it gets to be easier to be who you are. I’m applying that to my inbox, too.

Andrew Cohen, commentary editor, The Marshall Project: My tech resolution for 2015 is very simple: I want to make sure the two laptops in my life talk nicely to one another, and with their cousins at the Marshall Project and CBS News, so that we all can be one big happy family.

Josh Stearns, director of journalism and sustainability for The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation: I have a slew of tech resolutions for 2015 that have to do with learning new skills, experimenting with different tools, and getting access to the best technology for even the smallest local newsrooms. But my most important resolution is not about any one kind of technology, but about a new approach to technology in our newsrooms and our communities.

In 2015 I want to help more journalists build with their communities, not just for their communities.

At so many publications, journalists are rebuilding their newsrooms around new technologies from smartphones to social networks. But for the most part, the community is left on the other side of the screen. In 2015 there is a huge opportunity to engage communities in the work of helping build powerful journalism. I want to help newsrooms design reporting projects, engagement strategies, web apps and more through deeper collaboration, listening and empathy with our communities. Building for the community puts people at the end of the process. Building with community puts them at the start. In the new year, let’s start the debate about journalism and technology with our communities.

Social media resolutions

Robert Hernandez, associate professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism: 1. Be open and try emerging platforms, including social media and other tools that might seem pointless at first glance. *cough* Yo *cough*. Give them a chance and try to view them through the prism of journalism tools.

2. Get offline more and find a better balance between on- and off- line life. (NOTE: #2 tends to lose.)

Gary Vosot, fake newscaster: To be verified on the very first day of 2015. That badge of honor tells users that I’m a real legitimate source and not a fake account. And no one is more real than I am in the world of local news and that’s a cold hard fact.

– For my book to become one of the most hashtagged titles on Twitter.

– To transfer all of my ¾ inch videotapes to Vine videos.

– To offer more Gary Vosot merchandise to my fan base. T-shirts, iPhone cases, cashmere scarfs and plush throws.

– For my Twitter feed to be used as part of the curriculum at top journalism schools across the country.

– Take more selfies.

taking selfie - hand hold monopod with photo camera

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Correction: An earlier version of this story shared a resolution for 2014. It’s 2015. It has been corrected. Read more

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Career Beat: Joel Lovell joins ‘This American Life,’ The Atavist

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

  • Joel Lovell will join “This American Life” and The Atavist. He was editing special projects for The New York Times. (Huffington Post)
  • Hernán Rozemberg will be editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current. He is metro editor for the Lafayette Journal and Courier. (Media Moves)
  • Mike Wilson will be editor of The Dallas Morning News. He’s the managing editor of FiveThirtyEight. (Poynter)
  • Byron Pitts has been named co-anchor of “Nightline.” Pitts is chief national correspondent at ABC News. (Huffington Post)
  • Ben Pershing will be editor at National Journal Daily. He’s the Washington editor at National Journal. Tim Alberta is now a senior political correspondent at National Journal. Previously, he was senior editor of National Journal Hotline. Shane Goldmacher is a senior political correspondent for National Journal. Previously, he was a congressional correspondent there. Sacha Scoblic will be copy chief at National Journal. Previously, she was a copy editor at The New Republic. (Email)
  • Ian Bremmer is now foreign affairs columnist and editor at large at Time. He is president and founder of Eurasia Group. (Email)
  • Tasneem Raja is now senior digital editor at NPR. She is interactive editor at Mother Jones. (Email)

Job of the day: BuzzFeed is looking for a deputy LGBT editor. Get your résumés in! (BuzzFeed) Read more


Goodbye, Stephen Colbert, love, NYT

The New York Times

“I think it’s gonna leave a hole in my night,” The New York Times’ David Carr says in this farewell video the Times published Thursday. “I really liked getting tucked in by Stephen Colbert.”

In the video, the Times’ Bill Carter, Nicholas Confessore, William Rhoden, Mark Leibovich, and Carr all talk about Colbert’s show.

More goodbyes:

Mashable has a walking goodbye with Google Map Street View studio tour.

Vulture has lots of famous people saying goodbye.

And Time has four enemies of Colbert’s saying goodbye, including Suey Park. Read more


Career Beat: Newsday makes 2 executive appointments

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

  • Paul Likins is now vice president of digital operations at Newsday Media Group. Previously, he was head of revenue operations and programmatic solutions for Wenner Media. Stefanie Angeli is now senior director of national sales at Newsday Media Group. She previously led sales at Mom365.com. (Email)
  • Gregg Birnbaum is now managing editor, head of political content at New York Daily News. He is a deputy managing editor at Politico. (Email)
  • Matt Cooper is now politics editor at Newsweek. He has covered the White House for Time, The New Republic and U.S. News and World Report. Ross Schneiderman is now a senior editor at Newsweek. He has contributed to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Jonathan Broder is now a senior writer at Newsweek. Previously, he was the defense and foreign policy editor at Congressional Quarterly. Winston Ross is now a national correspondent for Newsweek. Previously, he was a freelancer for Newsweek, Time, National Journal and Vocativ. Azeen Ghorayshi is now a staff writer for Newsweek. Previously, she contributed to The Guardian, New Scientist and Wired UK. Max Kutner is now a staff writer for Newsweek. Previously, he was a contributor to Smithsonian and Boston magazines. Polly Mosendz is now a breaking news reporter for Newsweek. She previously worked at the Atlantic Wire. (Poynter)
  • Gaurav Mishra is now digital director at Condé Nast India. He is the founder of FutureCrafting. (LinkedIn)
  • Ross Levitt will be a supervising producer for the national security team at CNN. Previously, he was a field producer there. (Fishbowl DC)

Job of the day: New York Daily News is looking for a copy editor and Web producer. Get your résumés in! (Mediabistro)

Send your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Correction: A previous version of this story confused Stefanie Angeli’s new title. She is senior director of national sales at Newsday Media Group, not senior director of national sales at Wenner Media. Read more


NYT corrects: Pope didn’t open heaven to pets

A New York Times story by Rick Gladstone carries a hefty correction explaining that pooches are still barred from everlasting paradise:

An earlier version of this article misstated the circumstances of Pope Francis’ remarks. He made them in a general audience at the Vatican, not in consoling a distraught boy whose dog had died. The article also misstated what Francis is known to have said. According to Vatican Radio, Francis said: “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us,” which was interpreted to mean he believes animals go to heaven. Francis is not known to have said: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.’’ (Those remarks were once made by Pope Paul VI to a distraught child, and were cited in a Corriere della Sera article that concluded Francis believes animals go to heaven.) An earlier version also referred incompletely to the largest animal protection group in the United States. It is the Humane Society of the United States, not just the Humane Society.

The New York Times wasn’t alone in attributing the remarks to Pope Francis, according to Emergent.info, a rumor-tracking website founded by Poynter’s Craig Silverman. Time and BuzzFeed also reported the story, attributing the news to The New York Times. Both have since set the record straight. Read more

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.40.42 PM

2014′s best in photos include Ebola, selfies and Ferguson

Time | Getty Images | Associated Press

This year in images includes people in hazmat suits both in the U.S. and in West Africa, protests in Ukraine, Ferguson and Hong Kong, the Sochi Olympics, the World Cup in Brazil, wars, death and selfies. The Associated Press and Time have released their choices for photos of the year, and if you’d like to take part in that choosing, Getty Images lets you vote in their current search for the most moving images.

Here are a few from the AP:

 Nine-year-old Nowa Paye is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia,Tuesday Sept. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

Nine-year-old Nowa Paye is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia,Tuesday Sept. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

Pope Francis, center, flanked by Israel's President Shimon Peres, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, pray for peace in the Vatican gardens, Sunday, June 8, 2014. Pope Francis waded head-first into Mideast peace-making, welcoming the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican for an evening of peace prayers just weeks after the last round of U.S.-sponsored negotiations collapsed. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

Pope Francis, center, flanked by Israel’s President Shimon Peres, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, pray for peace in the Vatican gardens, Sunday, June 8, 2014. Pope Francis waded head-first into Mideast peace-making, welcoming the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican for an evening of peace prayers just weeks after the last round of U.S.-sponsored negotiations collapsed. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

A local youth takes a selfie photograph in front of Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to St George's indoor market on  in Belfast Tuesday June 24, 2014. The Queen is on a 3 day visit to Northern Ireland.  (AP Photo/Peter Macdiarmid, File Pool)

A local youth takes a selfie photograph in front of Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to St George’s indoor market on in Belfast Tuesday June 24, 2014. The Queen is on a 3 day visit to Northern Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Macdiarmid, File Pool)

Time’s 12 picks include the massive celebrity selfie Ellen DeGeneres orchestrated at the Oscars:

And Getty’s images, sorted by news, entertainment, sports and remembrance, including wreckage from the crash of the Air Malaysia flight and Ferguson:


Let the talk of NYT buyouts begin

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Let the talk of NYT buyouts begin

    No newsroom names yet, but "but news of potential or likely takers are spreading among their colleagues." On the business side, Yasmin Namini and Tom Carley are confirmed takers. Application deadline is Dec. 1. (Capital)

  2. Get ready to cover Ferguson again

    One thing you might want to do: Learn the difference between "downtown" St. Louis and the Loop. (Reuters) | "Learn basics. Or we're sending our people to report on Manhattan entirely from Staten Island." (@sarahkendzior) | Kristen Hare gave you some basics about the region back in August. (Poynter) | She's still updating her Twitter list of journalists in the region. | Reread this if you get a sec: "How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty" (WP)

  3. "#pointergate" continues

    KSTP's report is "truly an example of shoddy journalism," Brian Stelter says. (CNN) | KSTP continues to defend its non-story: "When the picture came to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, we were skeptical. So our newsroom spent four days vetting the story." And yet. (KSTP)

  4. Hello, Marshall Project

    The site launched over the weekend, and The Washington Post published the first part of an investigation by the Marshall Project Sunday. Editor-in-Chief Bill Keller opens with a list of expectations for its journalists. (The Marshall Project) | "As far as I know, folks like ProPublica and other nonprofit journalism organizations are 100 percent nonprofit, and then you have places like BuzzFeed or The New York Times that are 100 percent commercially supported,” founder Neil Barsky tells Ravi Somaiya. “Why can’t you have a hybrid? (NYT) | "By focusing exclusively on criminal justice, Keller said, the project could be 'a jump ahead of the rest of the press [on a story like the Michael Brown shooting] in identifying the issues that are at the heart of it.'” (HuffPost)

  5. Whoops

    "Er, that'd be SCRAPPY." -- NPR's Twitter account Saturday, after a tweet about "New Jersey's crappy, chaotic and iconoclastic radio station WFMU." (@nprnews)

  6. Time apologizes for "feminist" stunt

    "TIME apologizes for the execution of this poll; the word ‘feminist’ should not have been included in a list of words to ban," Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs writes. "While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost, and we regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice." (Time) | "As soon as I read that four days ago I knew Time was going to end up apologizing." (Jay Rosen's Facebook)

  7. From journalism to poverty

    "It’s humiliating to be poor, to be dependent on the kindness of family and friends and government subsidies," former Washington Post journalist (and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, native) William McPherson writes. "But it sure is an education." He writes about getting by on a "Social Security check and a miserable pension." (The Hedgehog Review)

  8. Bloggers become brands

    Some fashion bloggers have built million-dollar retail businesses. (WWD)

  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare

    Fargo is truly rock city on the front of The Forum (Courtesy the Newseum)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Alyssa Mastromonaco will be chief operating officer at Vice Media. Previously, she was deputy chief of staff for operations for the Obama administration. (New York Times) | Adam Kilgore will be a national sports reporter at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a Nationals beat writer there. (Washington Post) | Eric Eldon is now editor-in-chief of Hoodline. Previously, he was co-editor at TechCrunch. (Otherwise E) | Alyssa Danigelis will be head of media and storytelling at Flip Labs. She was an editor at Muck Rack. (Muck Rack) | Sandra Kotzambasis is now news director at KPNX in Phoenix, Arizona. Previously, she was senior executive producer there. (Arizona Republic) | Andy Fishman is now news director at WJW in Cleveland. Previously, he was interim news director there. (Cleveland.com) | Sean McGarvy will be managing editor of WXIN in Indianapolis. Previously, he was an assistant manager for Fox News. Jeff Benscoter is now assistant news director of content at KMBC in Kansas City, Missouri. Previously, he was senior executive producer at WTHR. Ken Ritchie is now general manager of KIVI in Boise, Idaho. Previously, he was interim general manager there. (Rick Gevers) | Job of the day: IBT Media is looking for a deputy social media editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Corrections? Tips? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org. Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here. Read more

hand pressing futuristic mail symbol on blue background

How Time’s email newsletter achieves a 40 percent open rate

It seems like everybody’s starting an email newsletter these days. The web offers an endless stream of information, David Carr wrote in June, so “having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos.”

But the newsletter business is getting crowded now, too. The Financial Times and Vox have recently launched new newsletters, and Quartz’s has been widely celebrated. The New York Times recently made its “What We’re Reading” newsletter free for everyone.

(Ahem, you can sign up for Poynter’s new morning and afternoon newsletters here, by the way.)

Time’s newsletter strategy is different. While it’s trendy to offer links to stories your organization didn’t create itself, Time’s goal is to provide the best of what it has to offer every morning — “a snapshot in Time, as it were,” said Edward Felsenthal, Time.com’s managing editor.

When Callie Schweitzer was hired to be Time’s direct of digital innovation last year, the magazine offered RSS-generated emails for 10 different verticals, with open rates averaging about 17 percent. Time combined the readership of those 10 newsletters and started delivering just one, called “The Brief,” when the new website debuted in March.

Since then, the newsletter has achieved a 40 percent open rate — a figure Time Inc. boasted as twice the industry average when the company named Schweitzer its editorial director for audience strategy in October. Click-through rates after open are about twice the industry average of 16 percent, Schweitzer told me.

(One caveat: When the new newsletter launched, Time did some pruning of the list, removing bounce-back email addresses and subscribers who hadn’t opened a newsletter in six months. So dumping some of those who were dragging the old newsletters’ open rates down likely accounts for some of the increase in the current newsletter’s open rate. Its old newsletters had about 850,000 subscribers in total, but Time pared that down to 650,000. It’ll begin its first big promotional push, soon, using Time magazine and social channels.)

RELATED: Time.com’s bounce rate down 15 percentage points since adopting continuous scroll

“I think the biggest risk we took was assuming that people who had opted in to a vertical-focused newsletter list would want an editorially curated product,” Schweitzer said. “The Brief” offers links to 12 stories every morning.

I talked to Schweitzer and Felsenthal about how Time experiments with the newsletter and how they’ve arrived at best practices. The following lessons might not all apply to your newsletter strategy, but here are some things to think about:

Show restraint in your subject line

It might be tempting to pack your email newsletter’s subject line with lots of information to lure readers in, but Schweitzer said Time has learned through A/B testing that open rates decrease when subject lines are crowded.

Referring to multiple stories or adding language like “and more” to the subject line doesn’t capture attention like one tightly written headline does. So editors aim for 45 characters or fewer in subject lines, Schweitzer said. That means they’re readable in full on most smartphones (please forgive the dire battery life situation in this screenshot):


“In terms of the split between desktop and mobile, desktop is still leading, but mobile has drastically closed the gap,” Schweitzer said.

Deliver on the subject line’s promise

“I always think about the subject line as something that’s going to make a reader take an action,” Schweitzer said. “But that does not mean being sensational, or not delivering on the promise.”

What it does mean is giving readers a reason to click or tap the email to open it, and then providing them with what they expect. The story referenced in the subject line is generally the top story in the body of the email.

With some newsletters, Felsenthal said, “It’s hard to find the reason you clicked.” This jibes with Schweitzer’s notion of earning your news organization’s spot in readers’ inboxes: “I always say that inviting someone into your inbox is the new inviting someone into your home,” she said. “You have to earn the right to be there, but you also have to earn the right to stay there.”

Remember that newsletters aren’t opened immediately by everyone

Tweets fly by in an instant, but emails can linger in ways that even Facebook posts don’t. In fact, Schweitzer said, she sees a surprising number of subscribers opening the newsletter at night and catching up on the week’s emails during the weekend.

That doesn’t mean offering evergreen content at the expense of timeliness, but Felsenthal says Time tries to be mindful of the fact that stories won’t be seen right when the email is sent in the morning. “Theyre news-relevant, but unless something is truly momentous news that just happened,” the newsletter doesn’t pretend to break news like morning-after newspaper headlines often do.

For example, The morning after the first case of Ebola in New York, Time’s newsletter didn’t announce the arrival of Ebola. It assumed readers had already heard about the news, so the subject line was “Everything we know about Ebola in NYC.”

Keep experimenting — and track results

Time distributes its email with CheetahMail, which offers robust ways to test the effectiveness of various techniques.

Health stories, Schweitzer has found, perform well — maybe because they tend to have less of a news peg than other stories, but Schweitzer also stressed that “we abide by the fact that it’s a newsletter. The subject line and the stories in it are pegged to news.” The top article in Chartbeat when she arrives at the office in the morning is invariably the lead story from the newsletter, she said.

Time hasn’t done much testing in terms of the body of the email yet, but Schweitzer says she hopes to find out more about what drives readers to click certain stories, especially as Time considers offering more than just one newsletter.

“We’re just so hungry for data that we can take action on,” she said.

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