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USA TODAY tweaks logo in honor of ‘Back to the Future Day’

Today marks the date Marty McFly, Doc Brown and Jennifer Parker found themselves 26 years in the future. You can find lots of takes on how their Oct. 21, 2015 lines up with the our Oct. 21, 2015.

Back then, the movie also predicted there’d still be newspapers (and even zoned editions). Here’s the movie version (which is dated Oct. 22), via USA TODAY.


And there are still newspapers, although they and the industry have certainly changed a lot since. In 1989, there were 56,900 people employed by newspapers. In 2013, according to Pew Research Center, there were 36,700. In 1990, weekday circulation at newspapers was about 62.3 million, according to Pew. In 2014, it was 44.1 million.

In an interview with the “Today” show, “Back to the Future II” writer Bob Gale admitted to missing out big on predicting mobile. Read more


Here are 80 journalism internships and fellowships for application season

For most journalism students, the biggest step toward finding employment isn’t passing the final. It isn’t acing midterms, turning in homework or even meeting deadlines at the college paper.

The most critical period in journalism school is the three-month window stretching from September to November informally known as internship application season. Getting professional experience and making contacts through an internship can mean the difference between landing a job or being unemployed after commencement.

That season is upon us. So write up a cover letter, polish your resumé and start applying to the internships listed below that pique your interest. Application deadlines for some of the best internships are in less than a week, so don’t wait!

If you have questions about this list or know of other internships I’ve missed, send me an email: Read more


New day for Gannett newspapers — they’re on their own

The 19,600 employees of Gannett newspapers coming to work Monday will be working for a new company — untethered from growing and prosperous television stations and digital ventures.

Retaining the Gannett name, the spin off company has well defined plans for digital transformation and for expansion by acquisition.  Its reception by Wall Street is less certain, but it is sweetening the case by promising a substantial dividend — 64 cents on shares trading around $15.

Gannett executives telegraphed the acquisition strategy in the company’s most recent earnings call and has since bought 11 titles in Texas and New Mexico, in which it already had a partial stake, from Digital First Media.

More is on the way, the company said in a presentation to investors last Monday.   Read more


Opinion: On Meta-bias at USA Today

Last Thursday, USA Today posted a story on media bias that was itself an example of media bias.

The story covered a flash flood of social media comments about the coverage of the Charleston killer. The issue: the tendency for media descriptions of a white killer to be sympathetic or apologist (“Quiet loner with a mental illness”), while suspects of color (and often victims of color) are described as “thugs” with shady backgrounds.

Of complainers about race-based media bias, the author writes: “They aren’t necessarily wrong. But media experts say they aren’t completely right.”  (A passage that doesn’t seem to leave a lot of room for them to be, perhaps, right.)

The media experts in question were a journalism professor at Columbia and the media ethicist at the Poynter Institute—both of whom dismiss the claims. Read more


Fear and loathing greet the Facebook-New York Times deal

Image by Deposit Photo

Image by Deposit Photo

Fear and loathing.

That’s an initial response to Facebook partnering with nine content companies, including the New York Times and BuzzFeed. Many in the media echo chamber are wondering, “What’s this mean for us?”

No shortage of editors and publishers took a pass Wednesday in speaking on the record. But Larry Kramer, president-publisher of USA Today and a onetime tech luminary, underscored his curiosity and qualms.

“I think all of us in the media need to pay attention to this experiment with Facebook,” he said in an email.

“On the one hand it is definitely a publishing platform that we all have to pay attention to, because so many people are spending so much time consuming content on it. On the other hand, in publishing here we are further de emphasizing our role as editors who influence what you should be spending your time on.”

“And, we are acknowledging that the reader is more a customer of Facebook’s than ours. Read more

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Why the Kleiner Perkins sex-bias trial is an important story for women reporters

Interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao’s gender-discrimination trial against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLP, wrapping up in a San Francisco courtroom next week, could wind up being a landmark case for women in male-dominated Silicon Valley. Given the remarkable number of women in the courtroom’s press gallery, it could wind up being an important case for female journalists as well.

Ellen Pao, center, with her attorney, Therese Lawless, left, leaves the Civic Center Courthouse during a lunch break in her trial in San Francisco. Pau is seeking $16 million in her suit against prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, alleging she was sexually harassed by male officials. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Ellen Pao, center, with her attorney, Therese Lawless is seeking $16 million in her suit against Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, alleging she was sexually harassed by male officials. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 Pao’s case has had the tech world on the edge of its seat, and women reporters are the ones who put her story in the headlines. After Pao quietly filed suit in San Francisco  Superior Court in May of 2012, TechCrunch reporter Colleen Taylor discovered the complaint and broke the story. Read more


USA Today announces buyouts

USA Today

This afternoon, USA Today announced it will offer buyouts to 90 staffers across all departments, Roger Yu reports:

The buyouts will be offered to staffers in all departments who are 55 and over and have worked at Gannett for at least 15 years. If they accept, they will receive one and a half to two weeks of pay for each year worked, capped at 52 weeks. They will be eligible to receive health care benefits while they receive payment from the company.

The newspaper, which is owned by Gannett, has roughly 600 employees.

According to Yu, the announcement was made in a memo to staff by publisher Larry Kramer, who wrote that the buyouts were part of a plan to expand USA Today’s digital offerings. Read more


Pam Oliver: Sideline reporters should be journalists, not celebrities

(left to right) USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth,  Pam Oliver of Fox and TNT,  Rachel Nichols of CNN and Turner Sports speak on a panel titled, “The Female Voice in Sports Media.” (Photo by Sean Su | Daily Northwestern)

(left to right) USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth, Pam Oliver of Fox Sports and TNT, Rachel Nichols of CNN and Turner Sports speak on a panel titled, “The Female Voice in Sports Media.” (Photo by Sean Su | Daily Northwestern)

Pam Oliver knew she had a captive audience to deliver her message.

“The journalism has to matter,” Oliver said repeatedly at Northwestern Tuesday as part of the Medill School of Journalism’s “Beyond The Box Score” series.

She joined USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, Rachel Nichols of CNN and Turner Sports, and ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth on a panel titled, “The Female Voice in Sports Media.”

Oliver, who was Fox Sports’ top sideline reporter for the NFL for years, made headlines last year for her honest reaction to Fox moving her off that assignment and replacing her with the younger Erin Andrews. Read more


USA Today defends running controversial Charlie Hebdo op-ed

USA Today

USA Today addressed reader criticism Thursday night after publishing an inflammatory op-ed on the Charlie Hebdo shooting from Muslim imam Anjem Choudary.

The 285-word op-ed, which bore the headline “people know the consequences,” blamed the French government for “placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk” by allowing satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo to publish the likeness of the Prophet Muhammad. It also argued for the preservation of the “sanctity of a Prophet” and pointed out perceived hypocrisy among Western governments:

The truth is that Western governments are content to sacrifice liberties and freedoms when being complicit to torture and rendition — or when restricting the freedom of movement of Muslims, under the guise of protecting national security.

USA Today and Choudary quickly took blowback on social media for the column:

Read more
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Facing a flood of incivility, news sites make reader comments harder to find

When the Los Angeles Times redesigned its website earlier this year, it became harder to find the opinions of people like iamstun1, jumped2, and Shootist.

Those are the screen names of some Times readers who are among the most prolific authors of online comments. Their writings, like the rest of the reader comments, no longer appear at the bottom of stories on

Instead, comments for each article remain hidden unless users click on an icon along the right side of the screen.

Screenshot from

Screenshot from

That opens a separate page where readers can peruse the thoughts of iamstun1 on the federal budget bill (“Republicans really are scums”), jumped2 on the Senate torture investigation (“EVERYONE involved in releasing the CIA report and harming our Military should be tried for TREASON and HUNG”), and Shootist on a flash flood that damaged homes and forced evacuations throughout Southern California (“couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of pantywaists”). Read more

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