USA Today

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:

Editorial page editor Brian Gallagher defended USA Today’s decision to publish the column by Choudary, calling him “a natural choice” to give the other side due to his “influence and insight.”

His argument is neither an incitement to violence nor a defense of the murders. Both of those would have been unacceptable. Rather, it is a tempered analysis of the motivations behind tragedies like the Charlie Hebdo attack: Nothing is more central to Islam, he points out, than the sanctity of the religion’s founder, the prophet Mohammed. So Muslims, passionate in their faith, are duty-bound to reject Western standards of free speech that tolerate blasphemy to the prophet.

USA Today’s editorial board ran an editorial titled “Paris slaughter can’t silence free expression” calling the cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo heroes.

Choudary is known for his controversial views surrounding acts of violence committed in the name of Islam. He sparred with CNN’s Brian Stelter and Sean Hannity over the execution of journalist James Foley. Choudary also described the attackers behind 9/11 as “magnificent martyrs.” Read more

Tools:
2 Comments
Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 3.22.13 PM

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 latimes.com.

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

Screenshot from latimes.com

Screenshot from latimes.com

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”).

The change, part of a major overhaul of latimes.com in May, reflects a trend among news websites. Many are moving reader comments onto separate pages, or – in a few cases – eliminating them entirely, often because of concerns about their acerbic content.

“Everyone in the industry has struggled with how to handle comments,” said Times Deputy Managing Editor Megan Garvey. In a phone interview, she said the latimes.com change was designed to create a “more discrete reading experience.”

“If you want to participate with the comments, you can open them up and you can spend your time there,” Garvey said. “But if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t read comments, you can just read the story in peace.”

Politico, The New York Times, and USA Today also have de-emphasized reader comments in their most recent site redesigns. Each site now requires readers to click a small “speech balloon” icon to see comments from other readers or add their own.

“They’re saying if you really want to read the comments, you’ll have to go a little bit out of your way,” said University of Houston Communications Professor Arthur Santana, who studies the evolution of website comment forums. “They really are worried that (comments) are bringing down the brand identity of the news organization.”

“The worst of humankind”

Santana, a former writer and editor at The Washington Post and San Antonio Express-News, bemoans what comment sections have become at many news websites – forums for name calling, hate speech, and off-topic political rants.

In a study planned for publication this spring in the Newspaper Research Journal, he examined comments about Arizona’s 2010 immigration law on latimes.com, as well as the websites of The Arizona Republic and Houston Chronicle. He found that just over half included threats, attacks, slurs, or vulgarities.

“These commenting forums are very much a cesspool of incivility, racism, and sexism,” Santana said in a phone interview. “It’s just the worst of humankind.”

That nastiness has led a handful of news websites to eliminate comments entirely. The Chicago Sun-Times temporarily discontinued comments in April, lamenting that they had devolved into “an embarrassing mishmash of fringe ranting and ill-informed, shrill bomb-throwing.” (Comments have since returned to some Sun-Times articles, hidden behind a speech-balloon icon.) Popular Science killed comments last September, and Reuters eliminated them a few weeks ago on all stories except opinion columns.

“It didn’t feel like it was such a fit anymore,” said Reuters Digital Executive Editor Dan Colarusso, who directed readers instead to take their comments to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

“Our site is about the biggest stories in the world being presented in a rational way,” he said in a phone interview.

At the L.A. Times, Garvey said vitriol infiltrated reader forums not only on controversial stories, but sometimes on features and even obituaries. In addition to segregating the comments onto separate pages, she said the Times is moderating them on certain stories, while choosing to not open comment forums on others.

Still, Garvey said the Times isn’t planning to get rid of reader comments.

“We have certain very heavy users who spend a lot of time commenting,” she said. “The question is do you want to alienate people who spend a lot of time on our site …. These are people who are paying to read us.”

A continuing evolution

The Times said it heard little reaction from readers about the change once their initial confusion about the site redesign wore off. Reuters, which allowed reader comments on its decision to eliminate comments, got a mixed reaction. It ranged from a complaint that the news agency is trying to “silence the people” to a reader who agreed with the decision and asked, “Why maintain a trash heap?”

Santana, the Houston professor, sees the latest changes as part of a continuing evolution of online reader forums, which date back to the early days of the web.

“Newspapers allowed commenting forums, and almost immediately regretted it,” he said.

Santana said about half the nation’s largest 137 newspapers have banned anonymous comments, a strategy that can greatly reduce incivility, according to his research. Some sites also screen each message prior to publication or provide tools that encourage the online community to police itself.

Yet despite the angst comments cause and the resources they require, most editors are hesitant to eliminate them. (Santana found fewer than ten percent of large newspapers lack online forums.) They attract users, remain an important tool for reader engagement, and – in between the bile – still feature some productive conversations.

“A lot of people may not like them, but are comforted by the fact that they exist,” Santana said. “The idea of silencing the community by killing the forum might turn off the reader.

“Nobody quite has figured it out yet. It’s an imperfect system all the way around.”

  Read more

Tools:
5 Comments

Hollywood to journalism: Delete, delete, delete

Good morning. My name is Kristen Hare and I’ll be driving this thing for awhile. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Hollywood is concerned about the ethics and morals of journalism

    Sony's lawyer sent a letter to news organizations demanding that the documents stolen from the company in the recent hack be "avoided, and destroyed." (The New York Times) | Aaron Sorkin totally agrees. (The New York Times.) | Dan Kennedy does not. "Dear Sony: Stealing information is a crime. Receiving stolen information and publishing it is protected by the First Amendment." (@dankennedy_nu) | RELATED: Here's a pretty good explainer if you're not sure how we got to the place where the creator of a show about a fictional newsroom is doling out advice to real ones. (Fusion)

  2. The Sydney siege continues

    Chris Kenny, associate editor of The Australian, left the Lindt cafe with a coffee just before the gunman took over. "My fellow customers — fellow Australians — are now in a horrific situation, the sliding doors of the cafe playing a brutal game of chance and fate in Sydney today." (The Australian) | Australia's Channel 7, located in Martin Place, was evacuated. (@Channel7) | The Advertiser is keeping track of how news orgs around the world are telling the story. (The Advertiser) | REALLY GOOD RELATED REMINDER: On The Media's The Breaking News Consumer's Handbook remains a great resource for readers and reminder for journalists. (On The Media)

  3. Here are more people who are mad at Rolling Stone

    Three friends of the young woman in Rolling Stone's "A Rape On Campus" story tell the Associated Press, on the record and with their names, that Rolling Stone got things wrong. "All three say (Sabrina Rubin) Erdely has since reached out to them, and that she has told them she is re-reporting the story." (Associated Press) | Another friend of the young woman was on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday. Alex Pinkleton's job is to be an advocate, Pinkleton said. "But as a reporter, you can't be like an advocate..." (CNN)

  4. Bill Cosby has spoken, a little

    Cosby told journalist Stacy Brown that he expects journalists of color to approach the story neutrally. (New York Post) | Brown told CNN that Cosby didn't seem too worried and had more to say. "I definitely came away with the belief that he wants to talk about everything." (CNN)

  5. Sandy Hook's second anniversary was Sunday

    Mediaite reports that the Sunday morning talk shows didn't talk about Sandy Hook at all. (Mediaite) | Here's Sunday's cover of the New York Daily News. (Facebook)

  6. Wait, where is BuzzFeed going in three years?

    On Sunday, Michael Wolff wrote about Gawker and The New Republic and BuzzFeed for USA Today. "Ben Smith, its top editor, told me recently he didn't expect BuzzFeed to be around in three years, not under its present owners nor in its present form." (USA Today) | "Of course we will be a very different place in 3 years. That's a long time, and we are just getting started." (@BuzzFeedBen)

  7. It's time to look ahead. Also behind.

    From the SPJ to ONA to, well, all of us, it's been a big year for ethics. (PBS MediaShift) | And here are some predictions for journalism in 2015. (Nieman Lab)

  8. Detroit anchor dies at 82

    Bill Bonds died on Saturday at 82. He began his career with Detroit's WXYZ in 1963 and covered the 1967 Detroit riots. (WXYZ) | Bonds' ups and downs were fairly public, but despite them, he wanted to be back in the news. "'God, I miss it,' he said, in an interview for a Detroit Public Television documentary about local television." (Detroit Free Press)

  9. Front page of the day

    Melbourne, Australia's Herald Sun puts out a special edition on the Sydney siege (Courtesy the Newseum)
     

    AUS_HS

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    John Hughes has been elected president of the National Press Club. He is an editor for Bloomberg First Word. (PRNewswire) | Andrew Beaujon is a senior editor at Washingtonian. Previously, he was news editor at Poynter. (@abeaujon) | Kevin Fries will be news director for WCJB in Gainesville, Florida. Previously, he was assistant news director for WBRZ in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Rick Gevers) | Leon Neyfakh will cover criminal justice for Slate. He is a reporter for The Boston Globe's ideas section. (@leoncrawl) | Alec MacGillis will be a staff writer at Slate. Previously, he was a senior editor at The New Republic. (@AlecMacGillis) | Mike Wise will join ESPN's forthcoming website "intersecting sports, culture and race." He was a sports columnist for The Washington Post. (WP) | Miguel Helft will be San Francisco bureau chief at Forbes. Previously, he was a senior writer at Fortune covering technology. Loren Feldman will be senior editor of Forbes’ entrepreneurs coverage. Previously, he was small business editor at The New York Times. Josh Robinson will create and manage sponsored editorial packages at Forbes. Previously, he was digital editor for the travel section at The New York Times. Thomas Fox-Brewster will be a staff writer at Forbes. Previously, he was a freelance writer. (Email) | Job of the day: Talking Points Memo is looking for an associate editor. Get your résumés in! (Mediabistro) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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

Tools:
2 Comments

USA Today kills weekend magazine

Dec. 28 will be the last issue of USA Weekend, USA Today President and Publisher Larry Kramer tells employees. (Memo below.)

Gannett, which owns USA Today, began distributing a “butterfly edition” of USA Today to its local papers in 2013. Reader research led USA Today to conclude the weekend product “provides our readers and affiliates with a superior product,” Kramer writes, and with the closure, “many of you will say farewell to great colleagues.”

Here’s Gannett’s statement:

USA WEEKEND Magazine will end publication effective December 28. Over the past year, USA TODAY has developed a weekend Life product for local publications, which has been well received by millions of readers nationwide due to its timely entertainment and lifestyle news coverage. We look forward to offering our existing USA WEEKEND affiliates the opportunity to bring this exciting product to their readers.​

Kramer’s note to staff:

Dear Colleagues:

After careful consideration, we have decided to close USA WEEKEND Magazine. The December 28 issue of USA WEEKEND Magazine will be its last.

Over the past year, we’ve talked often about the success of our partnership with U.S. Community Publishing in the 35 markets where USA TODAY is included in their daily news products. After evaluating the research, many of our readers have told us that they enjoy the addition of the USA TODAY content into their local publications, and they have especially enjoyed the expanded weekend Life content, given its timely entertainment and lifestyle news. With the success of our weekend Life offering, we believe it provides our readers and affiliates with a superior product to USA WEEKEND Magazine. Over the next few weeks, we will be working with USA WEEKEND affiliates to discuss the weekend Life product.

With the closure of USA WEEKEND, many of you will say farewell to great colleagues. We are extremely grateful for the contributions made by each of those individuals – they will be missed.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or to your manager.

Sincerely,

Larry Kramer

Read more
Tools:
0 Comments
Gannett

Gannett earnings strong, but publishing revenues continue a steep slide

FILE - This July 14, 2010 file photo shows the Gannett headquarters in McLean, Va. Gannett Co. reported Overall company revenue growth of 15 percent. The media company said, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

FILE – This July 14, 2010 file photo shows the Gannett headquarters in McLean, Va. Gannett Co. reported Overall company revenue growth of 15 percent. The media company said, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Embedded in otherwise excellent third quarter financial results reported today by Gannett are some sobering numbers on the continuing decline of revenues for its newspaper division.

U.S publishing ad revenues year-to-date are down 6.3 percent. At Gannett, that difference is more than made up by booming broadcast operations and freestanding digital ventures like CareerBuilder.  So revenues for the entire company are up a healthy 13.4 percent.

But I also consider USA Today and Gannett’s 81 community newspapers a reasonable proxy for the entire newspaper industry, which has stopped reporting its financial results quarterly.  If the rest of the year is roughly in line, newspapers are on track again in 2014 to lose $1 billion-plus in advertising.

That’s against a 2013 base of $17.30 billion industrywide in daily print advertising or $23.57 billion including all form of advertising, according to estimates by the Newspaper Association of America.

Gannett’s advertising decline to date (-6.3 percent) roughly matches the industry rate in 2013 (-6.5 percent).  So 2014 is proving no better than 2013.  Recent waves of staff cuts as companies budget for 2015 suggest that revenue growth is not expected next year either.

At Gannett (and probably most U.S. papers) circulation revenues were up slightly for the quarter and holding even for the year. The papers are now cycling past one-time revenue gains of roughly 5 percent in both 2012 and 2013 from introduction of paywalls and price increases for print and print + digital subscriptions.

Digital advertising is increasing, mostly at USA Today, but not nearly enough to offset the print losses.  And the continued growth of digital marketing services, sold to local businesses, is another plus.

In an earnings conference call, CEO Gracia Martore said another bright spot for the company has been the introduction of a section of USA Today news at its 35 largest papers.  Surveys show a positive reader response, she said, in some cities justifying another round of subscription price increases.

There is an echo of that strategy throughout the industry.  This weekend both The New York Times and Washington Post introduced print supplements which regional papers can include in their Sunday editions.  The Post had earlier made a free subscription to its digital report available to digital subscribers of partnering regional papers.

This arrangement allows papers to focus on their local news report, while offering subscribers, especially the older demographic that prefers print, a fuller report of national and international news, as was standard in better financial times.

Gannett’s broadcast revenues are up 97.2 percent year-to-date in large part because the operation is much larger after acquisition of Belo’s 20 stations. Retransmission fees paid by cable systems to local stations continue strong, up 61 percent for the quarter.

And political advertising is booming beyond expectations.  At the company’s Denver station — where Colorado has both a competitive governor’s and U.S. Senate race — this year’s revenues are even outpacing those of 2012, a presidential year, said Martore.

The different trajectories of broadcast and print have prompted Gannett to plan splitting those operations into two companies, a spinoff Martore said should be completed by mid-2015.

News Corp., Media General, Tribune and the Washington Post (now Graham Holdings) have already completed such a split and Scripps and Journal Communications plan one as part of a merger.

Other public newspaper companies, New York Times, McClatchy and Lee, do not own TV stations. So, soon there will be no combined print and broadcast operations among public companies, and some larger private companies like Hearst have separated TV and newspaper divisions as well.

In theory the print-only companies will benefit from management focused exclusively on their digital transformation, audience and advertising issues.  And they won’t be competing internally with fast-growing broadcast for capital.

All that, however, leaves the big question lingering — can the companies slow the print advertising losses, generate enough digital ad growth, increase circulation revenue and bring in enough income from new ventures to make up the difference. Read more

Tools:
1 Comment
Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 4.27.01 PM

Here are 40 great journalism internships and fellowships for application season

For journalism students, October through January is internship application season, a pressure cooker of equal parts excitement and anxiety.

It’s our profession’s draft day. By mid-march, most of your classmates will have declared their intention to work at a journalism organization, like a prized NFL recruit putting on their team’s hat in front of a live studio audience.

Don’t get left behind. Some of the applications for the most prestigious news organizations are due in a few weeks time, so work up the courage to request that letter of recommendation, update your résumé and figure out how stamps work.

To make the process a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best journalism internships I could find on the Web, many of which I applied for myself when I was in school. If you have questions about this list or know some great internships I’ve forgotten, tweet them to #POYinternlist or send me an email: bmullin@poynter.org.

NBC Owned Televisions Stations editorial internship
Deadline: Around mid-February
Location: New York City
Pay: $10 per hour
Description: “Interns will write stories and produce multimedia content for leading local news sites in 11 major television markets. Interns are expected to pitch and produce stories and galleries for the Web on a variety of topics, including national news, technology, business, health and entertainment. Ability to file clean copy on deadline is a must. In addition to published bylines, our interns get the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of digital media from seasoned editors experienced in everything from site analytics to crafting compelling social media posts. We collaborate with the broadcast teams in our markets but we focus on producing an engaging user experience across our digital platforms.”

NBC Owned Televisions Stations data visualization internship
Deadline: Around mid-February
Location: New York City
Pay: $10 per hour
Description: “Are you a data-nerd? Do you dream in Excel? Do you love combing through thousands of rows of data to find a story and then visualize it? Well, then we’ve got the perfect internship for you! NBC Owned Stations digital platforms is seeking a data visualization intern. The intern should be a journalist-in-training who has a love for clean data and strong analytical skills, and wants to work with broadcast and digital reporters to tell stories in innovative ways.”

The New York Times James Reston Reporting Fellowship
Deadline: Oct. 31
Location: New York City
Pay: $1,000 per week
Description: “Beginning with the second week, the Reston Fellows start work in a section that reflects their skills and area of interest to report and write stories under the guidance of editors or senior reporters. Some stories are assigned, but fellows are encouraged to come up with their own ideas. They also participate in workshops with ranking editors and reporters. The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for the fellows to stretch their journalistic skills with the help of some of the best reporters and editors in the country.”

The Washington Post
Deadline: Nov. 7
Location: Washington, D.C.
Pay: $750 per week
Description: “Our interns write articles, edit copy, take photographs, design pages and produce graphics. We treat them as staff members during their 12 weeks of employment.”

The Boston Globe
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Boston
Pay: $700 per week
Description: “Summer interns work as full-time employees for 12 weeks, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Interns are paid a weekly wage, and shifts vary. An intern supervisor serves as a writing coach and there are weekly meetings with editors and staff members on a range of issues and topics pertaining to journalism.”

Associated Press Global News Internship
Deadline: Not settled yet; likely the first week of January, per AP spokesman Paul Colford.
Location: Major cities throughout the world
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The summer 2014 Global News Internship is a paid, highly selective, 12-week individually tailored training program for students who are aspiring cross-format journalists. Interns must have experience and/or training in video and one other format. They will contribute to AP’s text, video, photo and interactive reporting.”

Reuters Global Journalism Internships
Deadline: Dec. 1
Location: Major cities throughout the world
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The Reuters Global Journalism Internships offer talented students and graduates an opportunity to learn and shine in our bureaus internationally. The paid internships are a crash course in hands-on business, political and general news reporting. Every intern will report to a senior editor and be assigned a journalist mentor to provide advice and guidance during the summer. They’re expected to write regularly and deliver in-depth stories during their assignment. Interns will receive several days of formal training before they start work, focused on writing skills, journalism ethics and basic financial knowledge. They may also be able to take advantage of other, regularly scheduled training opportunities during the summer, depending on where they’re based.”

Texas Tribune News Apps Internships
Deadline: Nov. 15
Location: Austin, Texas
Pay: $5,000 over 10 weeks
Description: “Are you a journalism student or would-be reporter in another major? Know a little bit about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and/or Python/Django, and would like to continue to hone your skills? Are you passionate about politics, policy and open government? You should join us. You’ll work directly with news apps developers, reporters and editors in the newsroom. Interns are first-class citizens on our team – in the past, they’ve had the opportunity to not only contribute to high-profile projects but to take the lead on them. You’ll get to create data visualizations and maps, participate in an active and friendly newsroom, play a role in editorial meetings and contribute to a number of different beats. We’re looking for someone passionate about web standards and the little details. Someone willing to show their work. Someone looking to learn. If you’re interested, send your resume and links to previous projects and/or your GitHub account to rmurphy@texastribune.org.”

Texas Tribune reporting internship
Deadline: Nov. 15
Location: Austin, Texas
Pay: $2,000 over 10 weeks
Description: The Texas Tribune internship program provides aspiring journalists the opportunity to hone their reporting skills and learn a host of new ones that will prepare them for the 21st century newsroom. “This is not a teaching hospital,” in the words of our fearless leader, CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith. We expect interns who are anxious to dive into daily news coverage alongside our seasoned reporting staff. Interns at the Tribune write stories and blog posts, shoot photos and video, develop news apps and assist with our major data projects. Intern work has appeared in Texas editions of The New York Times through our partnership with the most prestigious newspaper in the country.

Reuters Journalism Program
Deadline: Dec. 15
Location: New York, London or Asia
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The Reuters Journalism Program offers nine months of hands-on, real-world experience with competitive pay in New York, London and Asia. You will gain a deep grounding in all aspects of financial reporting, work on fast-paced news stories and develop skills in enterprise journalism. The program seeks rising reporters, recent graduates or business professionals who can demonstrate a clear commitment to a career in journalism and an ability to generate story ideas relevant for a Reuters audience.”

The Los Angeles Times
Deadline: Jan. 1
Location: Los Angeles, Washington D.C.
Pay: $700 per week
Description: “Interested in working with some of the best journalists around? We offer 10 weeks of intensive, hands-on experience in a region where big stories are the norm. We place interns throughout the L.A. Times: Metro/Local, Sports, Business, Features (Home, Image, Travel, Food, Mind & Body), Arts & Entertainment, Editorial Pages, Washington, D.C., bureau, Photography/Video, Data Desk, Visualization & Graphics, Design and latimes.com. These are paid internships and summer placements usually run from mid-June to late August.”

The Tampa Bay Times
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater, Port Richey and Brooksville
Pay: $450 per week
Description: “Florida’s largest and best newspaper, with 10 Pulitzer Prizes, is looking for energetic, talented young people for internships in all of its departments. Internships range from 12-week summer experiences to 6-month and 1-year jobs. You will be considered a full staff member and work alongside colleagues who will serve as mentors. Our internship programs are designed to give you hands-on experience to add to your academic credentials.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel
Deadline: Nov. 15
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Pay: $7.93 per hour
Description: “We offer seven paid internships throughout our digital-print newsroom. For 11 intensive weeks, from June to mid-August, you will report and write stories, shoot and edit video-photo, or design. We treat our interns as regular staffers, under the guidance of seasoned journalists. We offer internships in various newsroom departments: Metro-news, business, features, sports, video-photo, design, and our Spanish-language weekly, El Sentinel. We also offer weekly sessions with veteran journalists and senior editors on a wide range of topics, including career advice. It’s hard work and great fun.”

Google Journalism Fellowship
Deadline: Around the end of January
Location: Various journalism nonprofits throughout the United States
Pay: $8,000 for 10-weeks, plus $1,000 travel stipend
Description: “The program is aimed at undergraduate, graduate and journalism students interested in using technology to tell stories in new and dynamic ways. The Fellows will get the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to a variety of organizations — from those that are steeped in investigative journalism to those working for press freedom around the world and to those that are helping the industry figure out its future in the digital age.”
Disclaimer: I was a 2014 Google fellow.

Atlantic Media Fellowship Program
Deadline: End of February 2015
Location: Washington, D.C. and New York City
Pay: $25,000 per year, with full benefits
Description: “Atlantic Media offers high-achieving recent college graduates a unique opportunity to participate in the Atlantic Media Fellowship Program. The Program is a structured, year-long paid fellowship for top-tier talent committed to editorial-side or business-side careers in media. Each year we look forward to our new class of Fellows, who add a fresh perspective and new ideas to our company initiatives. As a digital-first company, we have experienced tremendous growth as a result of emphasis on digital initiatives, and our Fellows have been key contributors.”

The Seattle Times
Deadline: Nov. 15.
Location: Seattle
Pay: $540 per week
Description: “The Seattle Times offers paid summer internships to outstanding students pursuing a career in journalism. For 10 weeks, interns work on varied assignments and attend weekly training sessions with members of a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff. Interns receive a skill-development plan and work with a staff mentor to achieve it. Internships are open to sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students attending a four-year college or university. Applicants must have a demonstrated commitment to print and online journalism. At least one previous internship at a daily news organization is preferred, and multimedia experience is a plus.”

The Colorado Springs Gazette
Deadline: Feb. 15
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The Gazette is a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the heart of Colorado Springs. We offer both paid and unpaid (for-credit) internships. Reporting interns may be called upon to write for any news section of our paper and online sites, depending on our needs, their interests and skills.”

Austin American-Statesman
Deadline: Nov. 7
Location: Austin, Texas
Pay: $450 per week, plus free housing.
Description: “Our objective is to help interns grow with challenging assignments. In other words, you won’t spend your time writing police briefs, taking mug shots and running errands. Last summer, one intern finished with three dozen bylines, three-quarters of which were on the front page or the Metro cover.”

The Chicago Tribune
Deadline: Dec. 1
Location: Chicago
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The Chicago Tribune’s newsroom internship program seeks college juniors, seniors and graduate students for 12-week paid internships. Opportunities will be considered in all newsroom departments: metro, sports, business, graphics, copy editing, design, photo/video, entertainment, events, social media and lifestyle.”

The Dallas Morning News
Deadline: Oct. 31
Location: Dallas
Pay: $15 per hour
Description: “We offer several 12-week college internships for news reporting, copy editing, business news, features, sports, photography and our website, dallasnews.com. Interns are treated as full-time staffers and typically, at least one is hired for a full-time position at the conclusion of the internship.”

Student Press Law Center
Deadline: Jan. 31
Location: Washington, D.C.
Pay: $3,500 stipend
Description: “Journalism interns research, write and help edit the Report, the Center’s magazine that chronicles student press law cases and controversies from around the country. Interns also write breaking news and analysis pieces for the Center’s website. Those with an interest in video and multimedia are especially encouraged to apply, and help us create the images that will bring students’ censorship experiences to life.”

The Oregonian
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Portland, Oregon
Pay: $440 per week
Description: “Oregonian Media Group offers a 10-week summer intern program for college students who wish to work as multimedia journalists in The Oregonian newsroom. We’re looking for primarily upperclassmen with previous internship experience who want to work in a digital-first environment doing smart stories for readers of OREGONLIVE.COM online and The Oregonian in print. We want critical thinkers, students who have a portfolio that shows ambition and skill across platforms, reporters and photographers who want to make a difference with readers – however those readers find us.
If selected, you will be assigned to a team for the summer, paired with a staff mentor and provided opportunities to learn from experienced journalists through group discussions with other interns.”

NPR’s Kroc Fellowship:
Deadline: Dec. 31
Location: NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and member station.
Pay:: $40,000 per year
Description: “The Fellowship is designed to offer exposure to various units at NPR, in both the News and Digital Divisions, and at an NPR Member Station. NPR Kroc Fellows work alongside some of the nation’s most respected reporters, producers and editors and receive regular instruction in writing for radio and on-air performance. The Fellowship begins in August and lasts one year. Fellows receive a stipend of more than $40,000 and benefits, including paid vacation. NPR will provide Kroc Fellows with professional guidance and assist in job placement.”

Pulliam Journalism Fellowship
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Indianapolis and Phoenix
Pay: $650 per week
Description: “You’ll be a member of our newsroom, work hard and gain valuable journalism experience. You get paid, too. Our Pulliam Fellows earn $650/week for the 10-week program. You’ll also get to participate in writing workshops and learn over lunch from some of the best minds in journalism.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Minneapolis
Pay:: $706 per week
Description: “The Star Tribune newsroom offers one of the best summer internship programs available in our industry. We select at least 10 candidates for paid 10-week internships each summer. The program targets college and graduate students interested in pursuing careers as reporters, copy editors/multiplatform editors, designers, photographers and multimedia producers.”

Chronicle of Higher Education
Deadline: Jan. 5
Location: Washington, D.C.
Pay: $625 per week
Description: “The Chronicle’s internships aim to give current undergraduates and recent college graduates the opportunity to gain professional experience at the No. 1 source for news about higher education. Applicants must show a strong interest in pursuing a career in journalism with relevant coursework or prior experience. The internships are full time in our Washington, D.C., office. In addition to a $625 weekly stipend, academic credit can often be arranged.”

News 21 fellowship
Deadline:: Nov. 10
Location: Phoenix
Pay: $7,500 for 10 weeks (plus travel expenses)
Description: “During the summer, fellows work full time out of a digital newsroom at the Cronkite School for 10 weeks, typically beginning in mid to late May and ending in late July or early August. Fellows receive a $7,500 stipend plus travel expenses. The cost of housing is not covered, but the Cronkite School will make arrangements for university dormitory housing on ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus next to the Cronkite building.”

Wall Street Journal internship program
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Varies. Interns have worked in New York, Detroit and Atlanta.
Pay: $700
Description: “The Wall Street Journal is looking for interns to work in our bureaus throughout North America. Interns work closely with reporters and editors to deliver prompt, accurate reporting of news and features relevant to their beat. Applications are due by November 1 and must include a cover letter, resume and up to six published clips.”

The Miami Herald
Deadline: Oct. 31
Location: Miami
Pay: $520 per week
Description: “We offer internships in multimedia, programming and digital design. Limited slots also are available in news, business, features and sports reporting, photography/videography and copy editing. (All reporting internships presume multimedia work, by the way.) Internships last 10 weeks and pay $520 per week. Application deadline is Oct. 31 each year for slots to be filled the following year. Successful candidates can intern in the fall or winter of the calendar year.”

USA Today Collegiate Correspondent Program
Deadline: The deadline for the winter program closes Nov. 11.
Location: Work from wherever you’re based, submitting articles weekly
Pay: When I participated in this program during the spring semester of 2014, pay was $350 for 16 articles.
Description: “USA TODAY’s Collegiate Correspondent Program is one of the nation’s premier journalism opportunities for college students. Those that are chosen to participate in the writing program will pitch, research and write weekly stories. Those that are chosen to participate in the visual program will receive weekly assignments, complete a semester-long project and will partner with writers to produce cohesive stories. Content produced by all correspondents will appear across all USA TODAY and Gannett platforms, including mobile and tablet.”
Disclaimer: I was a 2014 USA Today Collegiate Correspondent

Scripps Howard Foundation Semester in Washington
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Washington, D.C.
Pay: $1,900, plus free housing
Description: “Interns report for work each day at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, which is housed in the same office as the Scripps Howard News Service, four blocks from the White House. They report and write a variety of stories. In addition to perfecting their reporting and writing skills, interns take photos and shoot and edit video. They meet with experts at the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Student Press Law Center, the Washington Post, the State Department, the Pentagon and others to better understand how to cover the news.”

Scripps Howard Multimedia Fellowship
Deadline: April 1
Location: Washington, D.C. Read more

Tools:
1 Comment
Earns Gannett

Gannett shifts some costs of USA Today layoffs to states

USA Today laid off about 70 people last month. Those who lost their jobs received a week of pay for every year of service, health care through the end of September and the vacation pay they’d already accrued for the year.

But as they turned in their laptops and cellphones, some USA Today journalists were surprised to find out who would pay a chunk of their farewell package: their state unemployment office.

USA Today is owned by Gannett, which doesn’t always pay laid-off workers a traditional severance. Instead, as in the case of the recent layoffs, it may provide a “transitional pay plan.” In one of these plans, Gannett, through a contractor called Total Management Solutions, makes up the difference between a worker’s old paycheck and their unemployment check for a certain amount of time.

Gannett didn’t make anyone available for an interview on this subject, but spokesperson Jeremy Gaines told Poynter in an email that “The Transitional Pay Plan (TPP) is one type of severance plan that Gannett offers. It provides one week of pay for every year of service to a maximum of 36 weeks, offset by an employee’s state unemployment benefit.”

If employees take on any paid work before the transitional pay period ends, their benefits — which are not subject to FICA deductions — are either reduced or lost. If they get a new job, the payments stop. Employees have to call in every week to their state unemployment office as well as to Total Management Solutions.

“They both interrogate you: ‘Are you employed?’” one former USA Today staffer who’d worked for the paper for more than 15 years told Poynter. “If you forget to call them one week you can presumably lose everything.”

The literature Gannett provides laid-off employees says the transitional pay benefit “provides a substantial benefit to employees as they transition from Gannett to a new job. It also allows Gannett to reduce its transition costs.”

“The taxpayers are paying part of my paycheck, basically,” said another laid-off staffer I spoke with, who said she found she could easily register with the Virginia Employment Commission online: “It’s not utter humiliation.” She found one way to take on freelance work and maintain her benefits while searching for a new gig: After speaking to her accountant, she set up an LLC and will ask freelance clients to pay her company instead.

Gannett has used this type of plan, also called supplemental employment benefits, since at least 2009. The New York Times reported on how Gannett used the plans with 1,400 people it laid off in July of that year. The distinction between transitional pay and severance, Richard Pérez-Peña wrote, was “lost on employees who say that the practical effect of being paid — or not — is the same, no matter how the program is labeled.”

Representatives of other newspaper companies, including Tribune, McClatchy and the New York Times Co., told Pérez-Peña in 2009 they provide more traditional severance packages. Attempts by Poynter to poll publishers on this point in 2014 did not meet any success.

USA Today’s newsroom doesn’t have a union, which is not uncommon among Gannett papers. (The Detroit Free Press, the Rochester, New York, Democrat and Chronicle and the Indianapolis Star are among the few Gannett properties that have Guild representation.) But supplemental employment benefit plans developed in union-dominated companies in the ’50s, said Rick McHugh, a senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project. “The idea was really to have a guaranteed annual wage” at a time when layoffs were prevalent in the steel and auto industries, he said.

In many states, McHugh said, severance counts as remuneration and disqualifies workers from getting unemployment benefits: “That varies widely, but in the majority of states, say you worked there 10 years, and they’re giving you 10 weeks’ severance, you would lose 10 weeks’ unemployment benefit,” he said.

“I have to say this is a more beneficial approach than I would expect from Gannett,” said McHugh, who represented newspaper strikers concerning their unemployment insurance, including claims against Gannett, during the Detroit newspaper strike of 1995-2000. In the United States, he said, “with at-will employment, basically, there is no obligation to pay employees anything when you lay them off.” Read more

Tools:
0 Comments

Career Beat: Tom Knudson joins Center for Investigative Reporting

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

  • Tom Knudson is now a senior reporter at The Center for Investigative Reporting. Previously he was a staff writer at The Sacramento Bee. (Center for Investigative Reporting)
  • Mark Smith will be mobile web editor for The Washington Post. Previously, he was senior manager of social media marketing at USA Today. (Washington Post)
  • Brian Gross will be deputy design director at The Washington Post. Currently, he’s lead senior designer there. Emmet Smith will be lead senior designer at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a senior designer there. (Washington Post)
  • Julia Cheiffetz is now executive editor at Dey Street Books. Previously, she was editorial director at Amazon. (@rachelsklar)
  • Stephen Collinson is now a senior enterprise reporter for CNN’s digital politics. Previously, he was a White House correspondent for Agence France-Presse. (Politico)
  • Matt Vella is now assistant managing editor at Time magazine. Previously, he was a senior editor at Fortune. Sam Jacobs is an assistant managing editor for Time magazine. Previously, he was a senior editor at Time. Kelly Conniff is now senior editor for special projects at Time magazine. Previously, she was a social media editor at Time. Mia Tramz is now multimedia editor at Time magazine. Previously, she was associate photo editor at Time Magazine. (Fishbowl NY)

Job of the day: The Idaho Statesman is looking for a breaking news reporter. Get your résumés in!

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Tom Knudson was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. In fact, he was the recipient of the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Reporting, which is sponsored by Knight. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments
Games

Games are serious business at news organizations

Later this month, Gannett plans to debut a page on USA Today’s website with 70 free-to-play games.

The page will include brain training and arcade-style games, said John Geddes, the company’s first director of gaming, entertainment, and events.

“We feel that expanding our portfolio to include titantransline additional popular games such as solitaire, mahjong, and brain teasers is a huge opportunity to not only provide something new for that existing audience but for us to also attract waves of new users,” Geddes said.

Gannett is merely the latest media company to expand its games offerings. Several news organizations have acknowledged the increasing importance of games, whether for storytelling or diversion:

  • The Washington Post has pulled together an in-house team to develop a platform that will allow the newsroom to easily create quizzes, leaderboards and surveys, said Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, the paper’s managing editor for digital.
  • BuzzFeed — fresh from a $50 million infusion of capital from investment firm Andreessen Horowitz — has has created a small team of developers that will build games to be be paired alongside editorial content.
  • The New York Times recently launched a new mini-crossword puzzle available to non-subscribers and posted a job listing for a software engineer for games.
  • The Associated Press announced in May AP Video Puzzles, which allows users to solve puzzles built from historic videos.

Why all the playing around? Games, with their Facebook and Twitter-ready results, have caught on with users. The New York Times’ most popular piece of content in 2013 was this dialect quiz, which garnered more traffic than breaking coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, news of Pope Francis’ election and a personal column from Angelina Jolie explaining why she decided to undergo mastectomy surgery.

Similarly, Slate’s most popular piece of content to date was The Adele Dazeem Name Generator, which mangled users’ names in the aftermath of John Travolta’s faux pas at the 2014 The Academy Awards.

The market for games in news organizations is getting bigger because of the traffic the games generate, said Jessica Rovello, who cofounded the games company Arkadium in 2001. Arkadium will provide games to Gannett and, Rovello said, works with more than 30 publishers including the Los Angeles Times, CNN and The Washington Post.

“I think it’s expanding for one reason and one reason only: everyone is in an epic battle to acquire and retain users, and these quizzes have proved to be one of the best ways to get these users because they are so shared and so popular on social media,” Rovello said.

Gannett’s expansion into games began after June 2013, when the company created a task force that identified games as an area of growth for the company, Geddes said. He was named director of games strategy later that year. And after the company releases the games on USA Today’s website this month, it will focus on bringing them to other Gannett sites.

The audience for casual games is attractive for a couple reasons, Geddes said. Casual gamers are more likely to spend more time on a website per visit, and they’re more likely to visit the site again in the future. Games with social aspects, such as shareable leaderboards, also have the potential to bring new users into the site.

Further evidence of the rising popularity of games in news can be found at American University, which this year opened a lab devoted to creating games and debuted a master’s degree of game design in persuasive play.

The program’s director, Lindsay Grace, says he’s been approached by roughly one news organization per month seeking to combine games with editorial content since the program began. Non-disclosure agreements prevent him from being specific about the clients he’s working with, but he says the lab has partnerships with news organizations in the works. (Later this month AU is a cosponsor of a “NewsJam” at the Newseum, which aims to “inspire the spirit of political activism and news reporting into games.”)

Grace attributes the recent upswing in the popularity of games and quizzes to a few factors, including the ubiquity of mobile devices and a gradual shift to a culture that views play as productive. Done right, he says, games can also be useful storytelling tools, because they allow audiences to experience information in a new way.

“We process, retain and share experiences differently than reports,” Grace said. “Reports can be very efficient, but they may not have lasting impact. You can receive a report and forget the facts and figures, but an experience lasts in a different way.”

Grace cited two games that are particularly good at driving lessons home: Wired’s “Cutthroat Capitalism” — which explains the bloody economics of Somali piracy by making the user a pirate commander — and The New York Times’ “Gauging your Distraction,” which illustrates the dangers of texting and driving by forcing users to navigate a series of tollbooths while sending text messages. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments
Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 8.39.56 AM

Bloomberg makes exception to policy about employees who left

mediawiremorningGood morning after a day of never-ending media news. Here are at least 10 media stories.

  1. Hizzoner is back: Mike Bloomberg will return to run Bloomberg L.P., Andrew Ross Sorkin reports. Current Bloomberg honcho Daniel L. Doctoroff will depart by the end of the year. “If it was up to me, he would have stayed,” Bloomberg tells Sorkin. (NYT) | “Wait I thought when you leave Bloomberg you can’t ever come back?” (@kleinmatic) | Some context for that jape. (Inc.) | “With great pride and gratitude I’ll be turning the @Bloomberg reins back over to @MikeBloomberg at year’s end.” (@dandoctoroff) | Doctoroff explains why he’s leaving: “I have always viewed myself as Mike’s steward at the company. It is and has always been his company, and given his renewed interest, it is natural for him to reassume leadership of the company.” (Bloomberg) | The company “is facing competition from the financial firms that are its clients in areas like messaging.” (WSJ)
  2. USA Today lays off staff: Between 60 and 70 people lost their jobs yesterday. About half those cuts hit the newsroom. People I spoke with described seeing reporters pack up boxes and leave. One person told me she’d been dismissed in a five-minute phone call that stressed her layoff was a business decision. (Poynter) | Film critic Scott Bowles‘ mother canceled her subscription after her son got laid off. (@abeaujon)
  3. Donte Stallworth will cover national security for HuffPost: “There’s been a national security wonk lurking underneath Donte’s helmet for quite some time, as anyone who follows him on Twitter knows,” HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel says in a press release. | Gail Sullivan: “It’s true: Stallworth’s resume doesn’t look much like the average journalist’s. But his Twitter feed sure does.” (WP) | “[I]t turns out Stallworth has a 9/11 truther past.” (The Daily Caller)
  4. 20 Canadian newspapers will close: Transcontinental was not able to find buyers for most of the Quebec weeklies. The Canadian government ordered the company to sell 33 newspapers after it bought 74 newspapers from Sun Media Corp. About 80 people will lose their jobs. (Canadian Press/HuffPost Canada)
  5. New York Daily News will no longer use the term “Redskins” when writing about the D.C. football team: “Here’s a simple test of whether Redskin passes muster: Would you use the term in referring to Native Americans in anything other than a derogatory way?” The paper has also designed a new burgundy-and-gold logo to run in place of the Skins’ actual logo. (NYDN) | The Washington Post’s editorial board made a similar decision recently, but the newsroom will continue to use the name. (WP) | “Yeah, because the Washington Post editorial page is always writing about Redskins….” (@jackshafer) | My list of journalists and outlets that spurn the term. (Poynter) | Related: Web traffic from outside New York City is way, way up at the Daily News since it relaunched its website. (Digiday)
  6. Vice attracts more investment: A&E and Technology Crossover Ventures have each put $250 million into the company, which is now valued at $2.5 billion. (The Guardian) | Vice CEO Shane Smith in February: “Woodward and Bernstein are now the old men, but once they were the punks.” (Poynter)
  7. Social media companies kept video of Steven Sotloff’s execution from spreading: “‘It’s been very interesting, with this second beheading, how very little of those images have been passed around,’ said Family Online Safety Institute CEO Stephen Balkam, who serves on Facebook’s safety advisory board. ‘It’s very difficult to find them unless you know of some darker places on the web.’” (AP) | Margaret Sullivan on NYT’s use of image from video: “not using anything at all from this despicable video would have been even better.” (NYT)
  8. New York City has 309 newsstands left: Sales of lottery tickets and sundries keep most of those going. “Newsstands that used to sell 1,000 papers a day now sell 100,” NYC Newsstand Operators Association President Robert Bookman tells Gary M. Stern. (NYO)
  9. Ferguson is not over: The Justice Department “will launch a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department.” (WP) | AN ABSOLUTE MUST-READ: Radley Balko on how tiny St. Louis-area towns use their justice systems to soak poor people. If you want to understand some of the context of the unrest that followed Mike Brown’s death, you won’t want to miss this story. (WP)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Michael Bloomberg will replace Daniel Doctoroff as chief executive officer of Bloomberg LP. Previously, Bloomberg was mayor of New York City. (New York Times) | Gina Sanders is now president of Condé Nast Global Development. She was president and CEO of Fairchild Fashion Media. (Condé Nast) | Brian Olsavsky will be chief financial officer for Amazon.com, Inc. He is the company’s vice president of finance. (Amazon) | Donte Stallworth is a politics fellow at The Huffington Post. Previously, he was a coaching intern with the Baltimore Ravens (HuffPost Politics) | Chris Meighan is now design director of The Washington Post’s mobile initiative. Previously, he was The Post’s deputy design director. (The Washington Post) | Doris Truong will be weekend editor for The Washington Post’s universal desk. She is the homepage editor for The Post. (The Washington Post) | Joe Vardon will cover LeBron James for the Northeast Ohio Media Group. He was a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch. (Romenesko) | Tom Gara will be deputy editor for BuzzFeed Business. He is the corporate news editor for The Wall Street Journal. (Recode) | David Gehring will be vice president of partnerships for Guardian News & Media. He was the head of global alliances and strategic partnerships for Google. (Release) | Job of the day: The Dallas Morning News is looking for a photographer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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

Tools:
0 Comments

Get the latest media news delivered to your inbox.


Select the newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:
Page 1 of 71234567