USA Today

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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

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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:

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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 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”). Read more

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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.

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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.

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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.  Read more

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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. Read more

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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. Read more

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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.
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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.
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