U-T San Diego

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 NPR.org. (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: bmullin@poynter.org.

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

White House Fence

White House tried to squash fainting-intern story

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. White House edits pool reports: The White House press office sometimes demands changes to pool reports before it “forwards them via e-mail to a database of thousands of recipients, including news outlets, federal agencies and congressional offices,” Paul Farhi reports. “This two-step process enables White House staffers to read the pool reports — and potentially object to them — before press aides send them to recipients.” HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery tells Farhi the White House tried to squash her fainting-intern story. (WP)
  2. Pirates release journalist: Somali pirates released freelancer Michael Scott Moore, CNN reports. Michel Todd of Pacific Standard, for which Moore wrote a weekly column, said the magazine “had been encouraged by the FBI and State Department to (not) write about it because this would hurt his cause.” (CNN)
  3. Layoff season is upon us: The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal laid off 17 people yesterday, according to the Memphis Newspaper Guild. (Poynter) | The O.C. Register laid off people yesterday after owner Aaron Kushner abruptly closed the Los Angeles Register. Gustavo Arellano has 19 names. (OC Weekly) | The Des Moines Register “said on Monday that it was restructuring its newsroom, making cuts among editing and production staff and requiring all existing employees to reapply for their jobs.” (WSJ) | Related: “The Washington Post announced large cuts in retirement benefits on Tuesday, declaring that it would eliminate future retirement medical benefits and freeze defined-benefit pensions for nonunion employees.” (WP)
  4. Hoax alert: A company called Rantic Marketing says it was behind a purported threat to release nude photos of the actress Emma Watson. (HuffPost) | A lot of outlets reported on the “threat,” including the New York Daily News, Mashable, CNN and Slate. | Related: The “three-breasted woman” story is a hoax, too. (TMZ, Snopes)
  5. Speaking of things that may be illusory: San Diego philanthropist Malin Burnham wants to turn U-T San Diego into a nonprofit. Liam Dillon reports Burnham’s hopes well for Voice of San Diego, but an editor’s note on Nieman Lab, which republished the interview, says “I think there’s reason to believe that, in three months, we’ll either still be waiting for an IRS judgment on this or hearing about how the deal didn’t work out.” (Nieman)
  6. AP and Deloitte survey Middle Eastern and North African news consumers: “Seventy percent of respondents use social media for news more today than they did last year, and 59 percent discover the majority of news this way. However, the research also indicates that TV remains important for finding out more on a story once it has broken, with 43 percent accessing it first to get more information.” (AP)
  7. News orgs ask DOJ to investigate how Ferguson officials treated the press: 44 news organizations signed a RCFP letter urging “that the unlawful arrest and mistreatment of journalists covering events in Ferguson be included in the investigation.” (RCFP)
  8. Great moments in sports media, Wednesday edition: The San Francisco Giants are reportedly boycotting CSN Bay Area reporter Andrew Baggarly after he reported on an argument between pitcher Sergio Romo and coach Shawon Dunston. (Deadspin) | “Tiger: ‘Off the record? Because the majors are over.’ Asked him for comment on the record. He paused and said, ‘Because the majors are over’ (@dougferguson405)
  9. Front page of the day, selected by Kristen Hare: TBT, a publication of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times, fronts the three-breasted woman hoax, which, surprisingly, is a Florida story.


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Jill Geisler will be an affiliate at Poynter. She is senior faculty of leadership and management there. (Poynter) | Leila Brillson is now digital editorial director at Nylon and NylonGuys. Previously, she was entertainment director for Refinery29. (Email) | Clinton Cargill will be director of photography for Bloomberg Businessweek. Previously, he was photo editor at The New York Times Magazine. (Email) | Blathnaid Healy is now UK editor at Mashable. Previously, she was chief operations officer for WorldIrish.com. Tim Chester has been named deputy UK editor at Mashable. Previously, he was senior Web editor at Rough Guides. Ben Maher is now UK advertising director at Mashable. He was agency director at Weve. (PRWeb) | Andy Lack has been named CEO of U.S. international media overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He is chairman of the Bloomberg Media Group. (TV Newser) | Iain Williamson is now an associate publisher at Defense One. Previously, he was director of sales at Intermarkets, Inc. Patrick Lavan is now senior account director of Defense One. Previously, he was an account director there. (Email) | Kristin Boehm is now deputy editor at People.com. Previously, she was director of news and engagement there. (Fishbowl NY) | Job of the day: Scripps Treasure Coast Media is looking for an “innovative columnist.” Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Programming note: MediaWire Morning and the rest of the Poynter dot org crew will be at ONA in Chicago through Saturday. I’d love to say hello if you’re there! (@abeaujon/703-594-1103/abeaujon@poynter.org) I’ll observe Central time while there, so you may get this roundup later than usual on Thursday and Friday.

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org.

Correction A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Bloomberg chairman Andy Lack was named CEO of the United States International Communications Agency. In fact, he was named CEO of U.S. international media overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Read more


San Diego fires: where to go for coverage

Media large and small are covering the multiple wildfires in San Diego County that have burned homes, closed schools, forced thousands to flee, and prompted a state of emergency declaration by California Gov. Jerry Brown this week.

Temperatures reached 106 in some areas on Thursday, contributing to conditions that have given firefighters little relief since the first wildfire was sparked on Tuesday. As of Thursday evening, the fires had burned more than 10,000 acres, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Here are some news sites to follow and the coverage features to look for. Some of the latest and best coverage has been appearing on social media:

U-T San Diego (short, digestible stories; photo galleries; video; information for residents; curation of emergency agency tweets)

Los Angeles Times (analysis of drought-linked fires; latest on fire investigation; photos and videos; explanation of “firenados”)

CBS8 (live streams, video of multiple fire locations, displaced pet information)


KTLA5 (firenado video)

Fox5 (live blog)

Add your suggestions for notable fire coverage in the comments below or email soshiro@poynter.org. Read more

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Citing Obamacare, U-T San Diego cuts contributions to employee retirement accounts

In a memo to employees sent last Monday, U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch said the company would suspend matching contributions to employees’ 401(k) accounts. In the note, Lynch cites “the challenges of a difficult economic recovery.” But, he says, “The Company also has experienced significant additional expense due to Obamacare.”

Reached by email, Lynch said U-T didn’t discuss its “challenges as a private company” but wrote, “Suffice it to say our health care expenses have gone up significantly. Hopefully, our financial goals and budgets will be achieved in 2014 and will ultimately match.”

David Nather reported in Politico last year that businesses employing more than 50 people will have to pay some per-employee fees. In a speech last summer, Lynch reportedly said it would cost the company a half-million dollars.

Don Bauder reports that some U-T employees fear the move presages layoffs.

Here’s the memo: Read more


U-T San Diego wants NYT to return money it spent on Boston Globe bid

The Boston Globe

U-T San Diego chief executive John Lynch tells The Boston Globe’s Beth Healy his company was the “highest bidder” among the groups buying to buy the paper. Red Sox owner John Henry won out.

“I am left wondering whether the Times was influenced by the company’s experience working with Henry when it owned a minority stake in the Red Sox,” Poynter’s Rick Edmonds wrote Saturday. Henry was able to pay cash, Healy reports.

“It was clear they didn’t want to sell to us, or wanted to sell to Henry,” Lynch told Healy in an email. He said he thought on Friday his group still had a shot. Read more


Partnerships between public broadcasters and news startups are filling holes in local coverage


News startups and public broadcasters are becoming bigger players in local news when they partner. That’s according to a new report by Jan Schaffer, the executive director of American University’s J-Lab.

In areas like New Orleans and Oregon, where big local newspapers have cut back on print frequency or staff, such alliances have been particularly fruitful, Schaffer writes. Oregon Public Broadcasting, for instance, used grants from the Knight Foundation and the Oregon Community Foundation to build a network of local news sources.

OPB Director of Content Julia Silverman tells Schaffer she “views her mission as not just focusing on the state’s metro papers, but also the smaller newspapers who are not AP members, but may have a great story ‘but it doesn’t travel.’ ”

And in San Diego, she reports, inewsource.org has “embedded” in the KPBS Public Broadcasting newsroom, leading to a series of scoops:

To that end, the two news outlets broke a major report signaling deficiencies in whooping cough vaccine amid a pertussis epidemic. They created a searchable online database to let the public learn whether they are paying an additional California real estate tax imposed on property owners in certain development districts. And they revealed the local newspaper’s substantial political and financial ties to local politicians in the November 2012 election.

Read more

Report: U-T offered ad discounts to causes owner favored


U-T San Diego offered discounts to some political candidates in 2012, potentially violating federal, state and local laws, Ryann Grochowski and Amita Sharma report.

U-T CEO John Lynch told the reporters the ads were sold “as part of a bundle option used to attract political advertising and consistent with how we sell generally” and was offered to all campaigns. California and San Diego laws require discounts to political campaigns to be reported as in-kind contributions, something Grochowski and Sharma say the U-T didn’t do. U.S. law prohibits discounts to federal candidates period, former FEC Chairman Trevor Potter tells the reporters. Read more

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San Diego reporter’s work called ‘opposition research’

U-T San Diego
A San Diego group that hired an investigative journalist to collect negative information about a mayoral candidate filed a “financial disclosure to settle a joint investigation by the San Diego Ethics Commission and the state Fair Political Practices Commission,” Craig Gustafson reports in U-T San Diego.

Spotlight San Diego paid former San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Caitlin Rother “nearly $23,000″ to produce a dossier on Carl DeMaio that it distributed anonymously to media outlets, Gustafson writes. The investment paid off only modestly, however:

The information dredged up went largely unreported because many in the media considered it old, irrelevant and an untoward attempt to draw attention to DeMaio’s homosexuality during the race. The records focused mainly on legal problems involving his partner — San Diego Gay & Lesbian News Publisher Johnathan Hale.

Read more
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Update: U-T San Diego leadership now says it’s not interested in buying LA Times

The Wrap | The Associated Press
U-T San Diego’s leadership now says it “is not interested in entering an auction for the L.A. Times,” company CEO John Lynch told The Wrap’s Alexander C. Kaufman.

“The Times is a great asset, everyone related to the newspaper or media business is rumored to be interested in buying, including William Randolph Hearst and Horace Greely,” he said in an email to TheWrap.

Hearst and Greeley (correct spelling) have been dead for a combined total of about 201 years, so perhaps Lynch was referencing modern-day media baron Rupert Murdoch, who is reportedly interested in the Times, as is new Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner. Read more


North County Times editor to leave, 80 layoffs planned after U-T San Diego buys paper

North County Times | KPBS | Voice of San Diego
U-T San Diego notified the California Employment Development Department Monday it plans to lay off 80 people at the North County Times. “One-third of the total North County Times’ staff, including 24 from the newsroom, were told Monday that they will be laid off,” the Times’ Elizabeth Aguilera reports.

Times Editor Kent Davy will leave the paper, KPBS’ Alison St John reports.

Davy said he was informed he would not be moving forward with the new management that takes over the paper today, though he was asked to be on a transition team for an indeterminate period.

U-T owner Doug Manchester announced he would purchase the Times from Lee Enterprises on Sept. 11, and the sale closed Monday. “The fact is our obvious areas of duplication will yield some cutbacks,” U-T CEO John Lynch told Aguilera. “We are going to try to keep as many as possible but it’s inevitable there will be some consolidation. We have been able to keep the total amount of layoffs to under 100 employees.” Read more


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