Toronto Star


How one young Canadian reporter in Haiti helped turn Twitter into a storytelling tool

Twitter launched in 2006 and in less than a decade has almost 300 million users. Conceived as a social network to share information, it was gradually embraced by journalists and is now an essential tool for reporting and communication. In spite of its 140-character limit, it has also become a powerful platform for storytelling, used as a live blog or as a kind of inverted serial narrative, with each tweet a micro-scene or mini-chapter.

One of the pioneers of this use, I have argued, is a young reporter from the Toronto Star named Joanna Smith. A beat writer of Canadian government and politics, Smith was sent to Haiti to cover the effects of a devastating earthquake and early efforts to recover. This week marks the fifth anniversary of that disaster.

I have written about Smith’s groundbreaking work before. In my book The Glamour of Grammar, I wrote:

“Reporters and photographers rushed to Haiti in 2010 after an earthquake devastated the island, destroying many buildings, killing more than 230,000 people, and injuring many more. The narrative they produced from the rubble told a story of hardship that inspired a great outpouring of support for the Haitian people from across the globe. Of all those reports, I was especially taken with the series of short vignettes created on Twitter by Joanna Smith, a report for the Toronto Star. I found it remarkable how much she could convey in scenes or snapshots of 140 characters.”

What follows is a brief anthology of some of her more interesting and memorable tweets I harvested back then and saved. They are re-published here, but not in the order in which they appeared on Twitter:

  • Was in b-room getting dressed when heard my name. Tremor. Ran outside through sliding door. All still now. Safe. Roosters crowing.
  • Fugitive from prison caught looting, taken from police, beaten, dragged thru street, died slowly and set on fire in pile of garbage.
  • Crowd watched him exhale blood.  Little girl in blue/white Dorothy dress pushed her way into mob to see.
  • Luckner Lewis asked to send msg 2 CDA: ‘We’re v glad 2 c u in #Haiti bc we need ur help. ‘Biggest prblm is the smelling,’ sez in 2 recorder.
  • Pile of garbage, some of it burnt, reeking on corner of Cana-Pevert. 2 chickens pecking it for spare crumbs.
  • 2 men carry little girl on cardboard stretcher, her arms around their necks, leg in newly set cast, yelping.
  • Man shouting into megaphone to clear road for garbage truck. Told it is on its way to mass burial site.  Following, but not sure.
  • Too dangerous to set up distribution point in notorious Cite Soleil slum now, but assessing.  Org gangs trying 2 profit, says UN.
  • Woman shrieking, piercing screams, ‘Maman! Papa! Jesus!’ as dressing on her wounded heel is changed outside clinic. No painkillers.
  • Little boys playing with neat little cars constructed from juice bottles, caps.  Fill with rocks and pull with string. Fun.

There is something in Twitter that is structurally antagonistic to narrative storytelling, not unlike the classic inverted pyramid style of reportage.  Good narratives usually require chronology, time moving forward.  If you were following Smith in real time in 2010, this straight narrative was real and remarkably vivid, not a motion picture, but a kind of strobe-like sequential snapshot effect.

Most Twitter readers enter such live blogs in media res – in the middle of things – and either have to scroll back in time or just pick up from the entry point.  Author note: I’ve always wondered why Twitter has not yet provided a way to link on a Tweet in such a way that it turns a sequence of messages upside down so that you can trace the steps in chronological order.

On this fifth anniversary of the Haitian earthquake, I contacted Smith via email with a series of questions.  In her sharp answers she reflects upon the power of Twitter as a reporting and storytelling tool.

Clark: You were the first reporter I noticed who used Twitter as a live blog for breaking news.  The effect was something like a serial narrative in miniature, like a movie made up from one snapshot after another. Where did you come up with the idea?

Smith: Twitter was still relatively new to journalism back then and I was one of the earlier enthusiasts at the Toronto Star. I was already pretty active on Twitter and so had planned to tweet while I was down there, but there was no real discussion or forethought beyond that.

I think it came about largely due to circumstance. It was taking much longer than expected to get into Haiti. I knew my editors were anxious for my first file from the country as soon as we (Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk and I) finally crossed the border from the Dominican Republic.

The trouble was that around that time, my mobile device could no longer access email on the Internet and it also wouldn’t let me call anyone to take my copy over the phone. I could send text messages, but it was around 4 a.m. and I did not have anyone to send them to. So, I decided to tweet my story out, line by line, using SMS text messages. My first one was directed at the Toronto Star’s Twitter account: “Anyone on the Web desk there? Going to attempt unconventional filing method: cut-and-paste via Twitter! Here we go.” I think it took me 15 tweets to get that story out.

Then I just kept going. There was so much happening all around me that I wanted to share, but it was virtually impossible to file traditional story updates to throughout the day because we had no access to the Internet or electricity until we returned to our hotel at night.

I felt compelled to keep reporting, because if I wasn’t reporting, what on earth was I doing there? I wasn’t handing out jugs of water, or searching through debris for survivors or setting broken bones. I was there to tell stories, which felt like such a small thing, but that was my job and this was really the only way I could do it consistently.

Clark: It seems as if you were tweeting in real time from Haiti. Something dramatic would happen and you’d send out a tweet. Is that how it worked? Were you tweeting in the moment, or would you let some time pass between what you saw and what you reported?

Smith: I usually tweeted in the moment, just sharing my observations of what was happening in Port-au-Prince. It was like a digital notebook. For the first few days, when I was working exclusively with text messages, I couldn’t see the replies I was getting on Twitter. I didn’t even realize anyone was paying attention to what I was doing. Once I started receiving feedback, I learned that people were treating it as a way to join me as I traveled throughout the city and spoke to the people I met. Then I felt a responsibility to keep up that in-the-moment aspect of my tweets.

I think that is also when I started becoming more conscious of how I was crafting the tweets. I realized that people were reading them as stories – very, very short stories, but stories all the same – and so I put some more deliberate effort into achieving that effect.

Clark:  How did your tweets fit in with your other reporting and writing responsibilities?  What did the Toronto Star expect you to produce?

Smith: I tweeted throughout the day and then at night, after we returned to our hotel, which had a generator, I would file a story for the next day’s paper. I found my tweets – not just the content, but the style of writing – would often work their way into these stories. I think the 140-character limit really forced me to strip my writing of extraneous adjectives and adverbs, to use an active voice and to follow that basic writing adage: show, don’t tell. Once I sat down at my laptop and I had thousands of characters at my disposal, I really didn’t want or need them anymore.

Clark:  What kind of technology were you using for Twitter and your other reporting?  What were the technological challenges reporting from the site of such a terrible disaster?

Smith: I used a Blackberry for Twitter and a notepad, pen and digital audio recorder for the print/web stories. We used a satellite BGAN to access the Internet in order to file the rest. Since Lucas had the BGAN connected to his laptop to upload his photos, which took awhile, my access to the Internet was usually limited. This meant I had few opportunities to read what my competitors were filing or do any research beyond what I had seen with my own eyes. Other members of our team, both in Haiti and back in Ottawa and Toronto, were doing a great job adding historical and political context to our coverage, but I was just writing what I saw and heard out in the streets. And because we were pretty much incommunicado with our editors until close to deadline, we had complete control over our time and how we would approach the news that day. So, while the technological challenges could at times be frustrating, I also remember it as a really liberating experience.

Clark:  What did you learn in Haiti about the use of Twitter that you have been able to apply in your reporting on government and politics back in Canada?

Smith:  It’s hard, because political reporting can be so abstract. I’m writing about ideas and arguments and facts and figures more often than I am writing about what I see, so it can be difficult to tell stories in the same way. Still, whenever I am tweeting about something right in front of me, such as a particularly strong or interesting message in a speech, I aim to tell a short, complete story in a single tweet. It’s really tough, though, given the subject matter. I wonder how many of the new followers I gained while in Haiti abandoned me at the next committee meeting.

Here are some links to the work Joanna Smith did for the newspaper while in Haiti (as well as the amazing photographs by Lucas Oleniak, which will allow you to see some of the scenes Smith was tweeting about):

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Directive: It’s OK to publish Rehtaeh Parsons’ name, just not ‘in a derogatory way’

Toronto Star | CBC

On Wednesday, a directive from the Justice/Public Service Commission of Nova Scotia clarified “the use of Rehtaeh Parsons’s name under the existing publication ban.”

The directive, issued to the Public Prosecution Service, says no breach of the ban identifying Rehtaeh Parsons as the victim in the recent high-profile child pornography case, by media, or in any forum, will be prosecuted, unless her name is used in a derogatory way.

Katherine DeClerq reported on the directive for The Toronto Star.

On Nov. 24, the Halifax Chronicle Herald broke the ban in a story about the second young man associated with the case pleading guilty to distributing child pornography.

“We’ve decided to publish the name of the victim in this story, despite a court-ordered ban. We believe it’s in the public interest in this unique case, given the widespread recognition of (the victim’s) name, and given the good that can come, and has already come, from free public debate over sexual consent and the other elements of her story,” read the editor’s note attached to the article.

CBC News reports that what would be seen as using Parsons’ name “in a derogatory way” isn’t quite clear.

A coalition of media organizations, including CBC, appealed the ban last spring, but Judge Jamie Campbell upheld it, saying he had no other option under the law. However, he said it “served no purpose” in this case, and in his written decision, he noted that Nova Scotia public prosecutors could decide not to prosecute breaches.

On Oct. 24, Ryan Van Horne wrote about the ban for Poynter.

Rehtaeh Parsons died last year, and last month a young man pleaded guilty to taking a photograph that led to her being bullied and tormented. But Nova Scotia media could only refer to the plea as being in conjunction with a “high-profile child pornography case.”

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A look at 5 successful news partnerships

The Pew Research Center is out today with a new report seeking to define what differentiates effective and sustainable news partnerships from the many that launch with a splash and later quietly fizzle.

At Poynter Online, we regularly report on Pew’s prolific series of studies on digital behavior and news industry trends. There is a twist concerning this particular report, however. In collaboration with Pew Research editors, I wrote it.

So this post is mainly to say, if you are intrigued by the topic, take a look.

partner-site-300Our particular focus was to look at five case studies of collaborations that worked and had staying power. Each was, one way or another, many years in the making.

We were searching for business models and an X factor or two that can be of use as experiments in news partnering enjoy a resurgence. That’s a little different from the nitty-gritty of a single successful joint investigative project like the Dallas Morning News/KXAS-TV expose of poor treatment of wounded veterans, my colleague Al Tompkins ably dissected a week ago.

The reporting, writing and editing of the Pew Research report spread over nearly a year.  So I ended up talking at regular intervals with Steve Beatty, editor of The Lens in New Orleans, at a particularly challenging time for the plucky non-profit, which turns five this month..

The Lens went into 2014 faced with a budget shortfall and the need to cut staff. It explored a partnership with local WWNO public radio that was only a partial success. Now it is ending the year on a bright note with two collaborators agreeing to pay for its coverage and good prospects for a major operational grant from a national foundation.

I also became reacquainted with Laura Frank, who quixotically decided she would try to launch an independent, multimedia investigative unit when her employer, the Rocky Mountain News closed in February 2009.  Frank passed through Poynter early on as she planned the venture and has since built I-News from a one-person shop to a unit with a staff of 12.  In  early 2013, I-News became the news department for the PBS station in Denver and its statewide (Rocky Mountain PBS) network.

Quality, high-impact investigative work is the base for growth and win-win partnerships, but I learned from Beatty and Frank what’s even better:  choosing a big investigative topic that triggers community dialogue, sponsored forums and eventual action.

Each has done a showcase data-driven project with the title “Losing Ground” that fits those specs — though on two entirely different topics.  The I-News report was on how Colorado’s economic boom in recent years passed the state’s poorer, minority residents by. The Lens was more literal about “ground,” using mapping and aerial photos from collaborator ProPublica to show dramatic continuing erosion of Louisiana delta lands over decades.

A phrase I heard from nearly every principal in the collaborations was
“win-win.”  Legacy media outlets have come to recognize that they need more quality stories as business pressures have forced newsroom cuts. The old bragging rights standard of “we do it all ourselves” fades by the day — even at bastions like The New York Times and Washington Post.

New non-profits, for their part, (and some forward-looking legacy operations too) critically need wider exposure of their work to build a news brand.

That said, several of the successful collaborations are simple and informal.  Often no money changes hands; nor are there detailed contracts specifying who contributes exactly what.

The slow part is cultivating mutual trust, sometimes starting with small or partly flawed first tries that eventually blossom into bigger collaborations.

In picking cases, we avoided extremely well-chronicled successes like ProPublica, the Texas Tribune, MinnPost and Voice of San Diego, but four of the five have received attention from outlets like Nieman Labs or CJR or in several earlier Knight Foundation and Pew reports.

The one exception:  McClatchy news chief Anders Gyllenhaal (an incoming member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board) pointed me to an unusual transnational investigative collaboration between the Toronto Star and the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald of Miami.

What common interest could those two news organizations possibly have?  I could tell you, but I would rather again invite you to click to the full report and see. Read more


Fox News crushed competitors on election night

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Fox News beat broadcast networks on election night

    It also crushed in 2010, the last Republican wave. (NYT) | "Fox News is normally the dominant player in cable news, but its high ratings on Tuesday may have been partly influenced by the nature of the 2014 electorate." (Politico) | Related: "Think of the GOP’s Senate takeover as a full-employment act for Washington reporters," Jack Shafer writes. (Reuters)

  2. Earnings season update

    News Corp saw overall revenues rise, but ad revenue at its print newspapers fell 7 percent over the same period the year before. Strong results at its book division (including recently acquired Harlequin) and other businesses drove an overall growth in revenue at the spun-off company. (Capital) | Torstar, which sold Harlequin to News Corp, saw a 7 percent drop in revenue over all. It plans to drop the paywall at its Toronto Star next year. (Poynter) | Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. saw revenues rise 48 percent. (Sinclair) | Gray Television's revenue was up 49 percent. (Ticker Report) | Tribune Publishing saw a decline in ad revenue but CEO Jack Griffin thinks the company's entry into the digital marketing services market could be a bright spot. Also, gulp: "We have much work to do to get operating margins in line with our peers." (Poynter) | Related: Tribune Publishing paid $23.5 million for the Sun-Times' suburban papers. (Robert Feder)

  3. Layoffs at The Weather Channel

    "As many as 40 staffers are being cut from the ranks of senior producers, show producers, and weather producers," Chris Ariens writes. TWC is reorganizing and had layoffs last month, too. (TVNewser) | ICYMI: Claire Suddath's great story last month about TWC's digital strategy. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

  4. Happy birthday, banner ads

    The form's persistence "illustrates the snowballing dangers of new technology," Farhad Manjoo writes: "Once an innovation becomes marginally accepted, its early success can quickly mushroom into dominance, even if pretty much everyone agrees that it is no good." (NYT)

  5. Newsletter links to story about newsletters

    Vox, FT, Time and Quartz lay out their strategies. (Digiday) | Reup! "How Time’s email newsletter achieves a 40 percent open rate" (Poynter)

  6. Feds approve sale of station to Pluria Marshall Jr.

    His acquisition of KLJB in the Quad Cities "is an important step in fulfilling Nexstar’s commitment to incubate broadcast station ownership by minority-owned companies, which is also a key FCC initiative." (New America Media) | Marshall also plans to purchase KMSS in Shreveport, Louisiana, and KPEJ in Odessa, Texas. (BlackPressUSA) | Last December Joseph Torres and S. Derek Turner reported that no black-owned and operated full-power TV stations remained in U.S. (Free Press)

  7. Newsweek crowd-funds an investigation

    "Funding the project doesn’t just mean paying for one magazine story to be written; [writer Mandy] Van Deven will be using the funds raised to spend months embedding within college campuses; interviewing students, schools administrators, sexual assault experts and more; and publishing regular updates on her findings, as well as intermittent in-depth reports and other features." (Newsweek) | It's using Beacon, which was also the company HuffPost used to fund its Ferguson fellowship. Beacon co-founder Adrian Sanders tells Mathew Ingram: "It’s not up to Beacon about how and where news organizations should spend their dollars, all we’re doing is saying: Here’s a chance to do more with new revenue models and create a hyper-engaged readership around this editorial at the same time.” (Gigaom)

  8. The last season of "The Newsroom" starts Sunday

    It's the show's last season. "Co-star Olivia Munn said the series' legacy is that it inspired a new crop of journalists." (AP)

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

    The Virginian-Pilot's front page may remind you of "Anatomy of a Murder"'s titles. (Courtesy the Newseum)

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Casey Newton is now Silicon Valley editor at The Verge. Previously, he was a senior reporter there. (Poynter) | Dean Chang is now metro print editor at The New York Times. Previously, he was city editor there. (Capital) | Mitch Perry will cover local politics at Extensive Enterprises Media. Previously, he was news and politics editor for Creative Loafing Tampa. (saintpetersblog) | Javier García is now vice president and general manager of multicultural services at Comcast Cable. Previously, he was general manager of U.S. Hispanic business at Yahoo. (Media Moves) | Zander Lurie will be senior vice president of media at GoPro. Previously, he was an executive at Guggenheim Digital Media. (Forbes) | Job of the day: The Elkhart Truth is looking for a page designer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

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Toronto Star plans to drop paywall

Toronto Star | Torstar | The Canadian Press

The Toronto Star “anticipates eliminating the paywall on its website next year,” parent company Torstar says in an earnings release. The release says the company plans a new tablet product, developed with La Presse. The Star “will seek to expand its audiences and increase engagement through this and other projects and it anticipates eliminating the paywall in 2015 with some potential impact on circulation revenue,” the release says.

Revenue at Torstar was down 7 percent in the third quarter of 2014, compared to the same period the year before. Its holdings include
Metroland Media Group, which publishes three daily newspapers and many community papers, and the Star Media Group, which publishes the Star and other papers. It sold the book company Harlequin in August for $455 million CAD. Read more


Why the Toronto Star unpublished an article about race

On Thursday, the Toronto Star published an article by Natasha Grzincic called “5 other labels for people of colour er… non-whites uh… racialized people.” Later that day, it took the article down.

The article, still available at partner sites like this one, notes that the Ontario Human Rights Commission has settled on the term “racialized” to describe people instead of using what it calls “more outdated and inaccurate terms” like “racial minority” or “non-white.”

The Star doesn’t have a style on using the term “racialized,” Public Editor Kathy English says in an email. Its style guide currently says to use the term “visible minority” rather than “nonwhite.” (The Star urges journalists to not refer to “colour or ethnicity unless it is relevant to the story.”)

Grzincic’s article looks at how “visible minority” and other terms are deployed. For example:

Ethnic minorities

Like “visible minority,” there’s the problem with “minority,” which could have a subordinate meaning. Same goes for “marginalized groups.”


Non-preferred, because it defines people by what they are not. Used by StatCan to define visible minorities.

English says her office began to receive complaints that the article “made light of a sensitive, serious subject” not long after it was published. English said she discussed the article with Star Managing Editor Jane Davenport, who she said had not seen the piece before it went up.

Davenport thought the story should come down, so the Star doinked it and appended a note “In line with the Star’s transparency goals,” English said.

“Davenport’s view of the piece – which I agree with — is that a discussion of how visible minorities should be ‘labeled’ is inappropriate material for a listicle,” she writes. She continues:

The piece was flippant and commented on instead of reporting on the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s arguments. The writer of the piece is not a columnist with latitude to make such comment.

The Star is trying to find other outlets that published the piece and inform them it has removed it, English said. Further, “The newsroom is also looking further into the circumstances of the article being published.” Read more


Toronto Star investigated sex allegations against Jian Ghomeshi

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Jian Ghomeshi leaves CBC under dramatic circumstances: The broadcaster fired the host, whose show “Q” has gained a foothold below the 49th parallel as well, citing “information” it had received about him. (CBC) | “Over the past few months the Star has approached Ghomeshi with allegations from three young women, all about 20 years his junior, who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the lead-up to sexual encounters.” (Toronto Star) | Ghomeshi acknowledges his “tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks” and says an ex-girlfriend launched a “campaign of harassment, vengeance and demonization against me” and that one person “began colluding with a freelance writer who was known not to be a fan of mine and, together, they set out to try to find corroborators to build a case to defame me.” (Jian Ghomeshi’s Facebook) | Canadaland’s Jesse Brown says he’s been working with the Toronto Star investigating Ghomeshi. “I don’t have any interest in celebrity gossip … this was something serious, something that I felt very strongly needed to be reported. .. This whole thing has a ways to go.” (Canadaland) | Carla Ciccone “was harassed and ridiculed by Ghomeshi fans after she published a thinly disguised account of a sexual encounter with the host on XO Jane last summer.” (Gawker)
  2. Why publishers are scared of Facebook: The company wants to help publishers crack mobile, maybe even host publishers’ pages and split ad revenue, David Carr writes. The big question: “Is the coming contest between platforms and publishing companies an existential threat to journalism?” Atlantic Media owner David Bradley tells Carr. (NYT) | Sam Kirkland wrote earlier this month about how Facebook news partnerships head Liz Heron “answered for a litany of perceived sins and slights” at ONA. (Poynter) | Ravi Somaiya: “Numerous publications, including The New York Times, have met with Facebook officials to discuss how to improve their referral traffic.” (NYT)
  3. Philly papers won’t make endorsement in governor’s race: Owner Gerry Lenfest writes, “Instead of an endorsement for governor, I asked the editorial boards of both The Inquirer and the Daily News to provide a summary of where the candidates stand on the critical issues facing the state, as well as the positions each paper has taken on those issues, and then let the voters decide who they think is most qualified.” ( | Joel Mathis: “Through all the battles … of recent years, the Inquirer and its journalists have persistently strived to maintain a reputation as a strong, independent voice in the city. Sunday’s non-endorsement undermines that effort. Sometimes it’s better to take a stand.” (Philadelphia) | Lenfest is among the top donors to Gov. Tom Corbett, who is running for reelection. (AP) | Related: The Boston Globe endorsed — gasp — a Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. (The Boston Globe) | Dan Kennedy collects the times the newspaper has endorsed Republicans. (Media Nation)
  4. Reddit’s racism problem: “A persistent, organized and particularly hateful strain of racism has emerged on the site,” Jason Abbruzzese writes. “Enabled by Reddit’s system and permitted thanks to its fervent stance against any censorship, it has proven capable of overwhelming the site’s volunteer moderators and rendering entire subreddits unusable.” (Mashable)
  5. Obama doesn’t watch cable news: “I have spent, you know, countless hours with him on Air Force One, especially, in the conference room where we always had the TV on, and it was never in any of the trips I ever took with him, tuned in to cable news,” Jay Carney tells Brian Stelter. (TVNewser)
  6. Chicago mural honors James Foley: A group of his friends “wanted the mural to be near Cafe Jumping Bean, the 18th Street coffee shop where Foley spent time writing and working,” Stephanie Lulay reports. (DNAinfo) | The horrors he and others experienced during their capitivity. (NYT)
  7. News orgs want access to Sayreville hearings: “The media organizations argue that allowing the public access to the case will provide an outlet ‘for community concern’ in the highly charged case. (AP)
  8. Headline of the day: “World Series National Anthem Botched By That Asshole From Staind” (Deadspin)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: Canada’s National Post fronts the Ghomeshi mess with a very good headline: “World War Q.” (Courtesy Newseum)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Sam Biddle will be a senior writer at Gawker. Previously, he was co-editor of Valleywag. Nitasha Tiku, the publication’s other top editor, “will be taking over Biddle’s responsibilities.” (Business Insider) | Polina Marinova is now associate editor of audience engagement at Fortune. Previously, she was social media editor at OZY Media. (@polina_marinova) | Karen Leigh is now deputy Middle East bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal. Previously, she was managing editor of Syria Deeply. (@raju) | Rachel Orr will be a mobile designer at The Washington Post. Previously, she was a page designer at Express. (The Washington Post) | Stephen Bohner is now a mobile producer at The Washington Post. Previously, he was an online producer for The Arizona Republic (The Washington Post) | Kyle Brinkman has been named news director for KLFY in Lafayette, Louisiana. Previously, he was news director for WEAR in Pensacola, Florida. Andrea Clenney will be news director for WLTZ in Columbus, Georgia. Previously, she was news director for WCJB in Gainesville, Florida. Jennifer Rigby is vice president of special projects for The Weather Channel. Previously, she was vice president of live programming there. Leesa Dillon is now senior executive producer at WGCL in Atlanta. Previously, she was senior executive producer at KCTV in Kansas City. (Rick Geevers) | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is looking for an online news editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more


Career Beat: Former assistant director of Pew journalism project buys newspaper

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

  • John Batter will be CEO of Gracenote. Previously, he was CEO of M-GO. (Tech Crunch)
  • Mark Jurkowitz is the owner of the Outer Banks Sentinel in Nags Head, North Carolina. Previously, he was the associate director of Pew Research Center’s journalism project. (Romenesko)
  • Jon Ward is a senior political correspondent with Yahoo News. Previously, he was a political reporter for the Huffington Post. (Politico)
  • Shauna Rempel is now a social media strategist for Global News. Previously, she was social media and technology editor at the Toronto Star. (Muck Rack)
  • Chris Tisch is now business editor for the Tampa Bay Times. Previously, he was assistant metro editor there. (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Nathan Lump is now editor of Travel and Leisure. Previously, he was director of branded content at Condé Nast. (Time Inc.)

Job of the day: The San Antonio Express-News is looking for a web producer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job Read more

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Ferguson makes national and international front pages again

News from Ferguson, Missouri through the night told a markedly different story than it had since Saturday, when a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown. The change in the police force covering crowds of protesters, that crowd’s response and several vigils and protests around the country made news in and out of the U.S. Here are some of those front pages, courtesy, as always, Newsuem: Read more


How Jim Brady plans to make money in local

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Was SI’s LeBron James scoop legit? Sam Kirkland rounds up some thinkination from thinkinators and notes that SND’s Rob Schneider said the NYT’s celebrated sports section front on Saturday was inaccurate — James hadn’t signed at the time. (Poynter) | The “item did move on the sports AP wire, exactly as presented,” Margaret Sullivan writes. “I guess I can see his point, but it’s too literal,” Benjamin Hoffman, who designed the page, told her. (NYT) | James decided to go to SI rather than ESPN because 2010′s “The Decision” “upset America’s collective stomach and spoiled his reputation as a basketball god,” Robert Weintraub writes. “The average fan could read his moving, sincere announcement on and subconsciously think, Maybe it was ESPN’s fault, not LeBron’s, all along.” (CJR) | The “trade rumor — shorthand here for any offseason transaction news — has become the dominant form of NBA journalism.” (Grantland)
  2. How Jim Brady plans to make money in local: His Philly news startup will use a “mix of advertising, events and memberships,” Joe Pompeo reports. Advertisers will have options beyond display ads: “A security company might sponsor a public-safety discussion group, for instance.” (Capital)
  3. NPR “downgrades” ombudsman job: The next occupant of that seat will focus “on fact gathering and explanation, not commentary or judgment,” Jay Rosen reports. “In my view, NPR is far stronger than this short-sighted and half-assed decision suggests. It has nothing to fear from an empowered ombudsman.” (PressThink)
  4. BuzzFeed articles disappear: After a “review of our most updated policies and standards,” BuzzFeed “edited some posts, removed certain posts and left other posts as is.” (Gawker) | BuzzFeed gave some early, senior employees the ability to go back and memory-hole articles. (Poynter)
  5. News orgs’ investments in race beats pays off: AP race and ethnicity reporter Jesse Holland broke the story of black Democrats supporting Sen. Thad Cochran after several reporters “had noticed advertisements in two of the state’s black newspapers, but no one knew who was behind them,” Tracie Powell reports. “I picked up the phone and called the black newspaper and asked who placed the ad,” Holland told Powell. “I’m not sure why no one else thought to do that.” (CJR)
  6. Twitter is 8 years old. Here’s Biz Stone‘s announcement of “Twittr”‘s website from July 15, 2006: ” It’s fun to use because it strips social blogging down to it’s essence and makes it immediate.”

  7. Following in Chrystia Freeland’s footsteps? Former Toronto Star reporter Allan Thompson is running for parliament. (Toronto Star)
  8. Lumberjacks’ revenge: Newspaper reporter makes “endangered jobs” list (Poynter) | Employment at TV stations slips a little. And “Total radio news employment is up this year versus last year, but not in the way radio news people would like.” (RTDNA)
  9. “This is a publicity stunt for sure, but one with heart”: Fans react to Archie Andrews‘ impending death, saving a gay friend. (AP) | “Archie is actually still alive in the Archie series set in the present day” and there’s a series where he’s a zombie, too. (Vulture)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: David Plotz is “dropping the mic” as editor of Slate, leaving his former deputy editor, Julia Turner, in charge. Said Plotz of his decision: “What am I gonna do, die here?” (Poynter) | Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, he of the leaked New York Times Innovation Report, has been named senior editor for strategy at the Times. (Poynter) | Maria Russo will be children’s books editor of The New York Times Book Review in August. (@PamelaPaulNYT) | Amanda Kost, an investigative journalist at KMGH in Denver, will be a national investigative reporter at the Scripps Washington Bureau. (Scripps News) | Alisyn Camerota is now an anchor at CNN. She was previously a co-host of America’s News Headquarters at Fox News. (CNN) | John Homans is leaving his job as New York Magazine executive editor to join Bloomberg Politics, a vertical led by “Game Change” authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. (Capital) | David Sirota joins International Business Times as a senior writer. (Digiday) | Marta Tellado, vice president for global communications at the Ford Foundation, has been named chief executive of Consumer Reports. She will replace Jim Guest, who became CEO and president in 2001. (New York Times) Want to meet LeBron James? The Northeast Ohio Media Group (which includes the Plain Dealer) is hiring a sports reporter. Get your résumés in! | Send Ben your job moves:

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