Wall Street Journal

Career Beat: Lisa Arbetter named editor of StyleWatch

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

  • Lisa Arbetter will be editor of StyleWatch. Previously, she was deputy editor of InStyle. (Time Inc.)
  • Jill Geisler has been named Loyola University’s Bill Plante Chair of Leadership and Media Integrity. She was a faculty member at Poynter for 16 years. (Poynter)
  • Anna Dickson will be deputy director of photography at The Wall Street Journal. Previously, she was photography director at The Huffington Post. (Mediabistro)
  • Eliot Pierce is now chief product officer at The New Republic. Previously, he was a consultant. (Poynter)

Job of the day: The Tampa Bay Times is looking for a general assignment reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Career Beat: Natasha Vargas-Cooper joins Jezebel

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

  • Natasha Vargas-Cooper will be a senior reporter at Jezebel. Previously, she was a staff writer at The Intercept. (Capital)
  • Meredith Long will be publisher of Time magazine. Previously, she was executive director of West Coast operations. (Poynter)
  • Howard Fineman will be Global Editorial Director at The Huffington Post. Previously, he was an editorial director there. (Poynter)
  • Brian Barrett will launch a site with The Awl. Previously, he was editor of Gizmodo. (@brbarrett)
  • Annalee Newitz will run a new tech site at Gawker Media. She is the editor of i09. (Gigaom)
  • José Guzmán will be News Operations Manager at KDEN in Denver. Previously, he was a photographer there. (Media Moves)
  • Stuart A. Thompson will be interim head of interactives for the Wall Street Journal. Previously, he was senior interactive graphics editor there. (@stuartathompson)

Job of the day: The Ventura County Star is looking for a multimedia journalist. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Career Beat: AP gets new global news manager for weekends

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

  • James Nord is now a political correspondent for The Associated Press. Previously, he was a political reporter at MinnPost. (AP)
  • Evan Berland is now global news manager for weekends at the AP. Previously, he was deputy editor for the eastern United States. (AP)
  • Mitra Kalita is now an adjunct faculty member at Poynter. She is Quartz’ ideas editor. (Poynter)
  • Catherine Gundersen is now managing editor of Marie Claire. She was editorial business manager at GQ. (Fishbowl NY)
  • Jacob Rascon is now a correspondent at NBC News. Previously, he was a reporter for KNBC in Los Angeles. (TV Spy)

Job of the day: The Wall Street Journal is looking for a banking editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Mobile trends to watch in second half of 2014; plus, a newsgathering guide to Tweetdeck

Here’s our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day, and from Kristen Hare, a world roundup):

— At Poynter, Adam Hochberg explores in depth Gannett’s three-year CMS overhaul to “replace the existing systems and serve every Gannett newsroom – from USA Today to KHOU-TV in Houston to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.”

Frédéric Filloux runs down three mobile trends to watch for the rest of 2014, including questions about what news sites should do about the market of Android users — which is bigger than the iOS market but less lucrative.

Joanna Geary, Twitter UK’s head of news, visited the Wall Street Journal in June to share tips on how to use Tweetdeck to gather news. Sarah Marshall turned them into a handy guide.

— Lots of executives have left Twitter lately, Mike Isaac and Vindu Goel write at The New York Times Bits blog, but the company has kept things stable in one area: its advertising team.

— More Poynter digital stories you might have missed last week: Don’t get fooled by fake hurricane photos this summer, how NPR built its Civil Rights Act interactive, and why the Tulsa World’s new sports sites link prominently to competitors.

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs'); Read more

This undated photo provided by Stack’s Bowers Galleries shows the first Pulitzer Prize for Public Service to ever come to auction. The 1932 Pulitzer was awarded to the now-defunct New York World-Telegram, and put up for auction in Baltimore on March 29, 2014, by the New York-based Stack’s Bowers Galleries. (AP Photo/Stack’s Bowers Galleries)

Pulitzer Preview: Snowden factor, and more on prize prospects for Monday

The Pulitzer Prize announcements shook with real-world drama last year, interrupted by reports of bombs exploding at the Boston Marathon finish line.

This coming Monday, though, expect another kind of drama: over whether blockbuster coverage of the shocking level of National Security Agency surveillance of Americans – coverage based on whistleblower Edward Snowden’s stolen top-secret documents – will win a Pulitzer for the U.S. website of the British-based Guardian, and perhaps The Washington Post as well.

Glenn Greenwald’s, Ewen MacAskill’s and Laura Poitras’ Guardian coverage, “The NSA Files,” has taken top honors from Scripps Howard, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association and the Polk Awards, with the Polks adding Barton Gellman’s Post reporting of NSA data mining to its citation.

When the ONA announced its winners last October, it honored The Guardian with its Gannett Foundation Award for Watchdog Journalism. But the real buzz about The Guardian’s and Post’s chances for a Pulitzer – perhaps in the Public Service category – escalated after the February announcement from Long Island University, which administers the Polks. That led to a series of online stories and discussions, including a Politico article and, later, a discussion on The Huffington Post about the coverage’s Pulitzer prospects.

All this has provoked comparisons to the Pentagon Papers coverage that roiled the Pulitzer organization 42 years ago. After much debate, the 1972 Public Service Prize was awarded to The New York Times, and now is among the most celebrated in Pulitzer history, recognizing a masterpiece of analytic journalism. That makes it a tough act to follow. Still, judges for the Selden Ring Award, in declaring the Washington Post’s NSA reporting its runner-up, said: “The coverage was courageous, enterprising, and notable for its lucid explanation of complex technical matters and how they bear on the privacy and security of Americans.”

Whether or not the Pulitzer Board votes a prize for coverage of the Snowden documents, though, their decision is likely to be among the biggest stories coming out of Monday’s announcements.

Meanwhile, lots of other reporting, commentary and photography is being considered for recognition among the 14 Pulitzer journalism categories: investigative projects from Sacramento to Milwaukee to Miami, and incisive breaking-news coverage from Boston to Phoenix. As always, remarkable work at The New York Times, The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times Pulitzer powerhouses is getting a look. And then there’s the seven-year-old question of whether The Wall Street Journal will win in a news-related category for the first time in the seven years Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has owned the paper. (It has been a finalist in news categories eight times.)

So let’s get started.

Once again, Pulitzer jurors meeting Feb. 20-22 kept mum, although Politico did say it had “confirmed” that the Pulitzer Board would be considering both a Guardian and a Post entry related to the Snowden documents. That would mean jurors listed them as nominated finalists, the first step in the two-stage Pulitzer process. The 19-member board is winding up deliberations today, typically picking a  winner and two finalists in each of the 14 categories. (The board also makes selections in 21 Pulitzer arts and letters categories.)

Since leaks from Pulitzer jurors have dried up in recent years, this annual preview has turned to earlier journalism competitions for clues about who might be in the running for 2014 Pulitzers. It’s an imperfect approach, at best – especially given the board’s penchant for Pulitzer surprises.

Here’s some of the work standing out from other competitions:

• Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staffers Ellen Gabler, Mark Johnson and John Fauber, who won the $35,000 Selden Ring Award for their “Deadly Delays” investigative series, raising questions about blood-screening programs designed to find and treat ailments in newborns. In addition to the Selden Ring, presented by the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California, they also won Scripps Howard and IRE awards, and one of two ASNE Deborah Howell Awards for Nondeadline Writing. The other ASNE winner was The Washington Post’s s Eli Saslow, for a variety of narrative articles. Saslow also received a Polk for National Reporting for his work covering the federal food stamp program.

• Andrea Elliott of The New York Times, whose ”Invisible Child” chronicle, introducing readers to one of New York City’s 22,000 homeless, won for her the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Human Interest Storytelling award, and a Polk.

• The Sacramento Bee, which claimed the Worth Bingham Prize, and its $20,000, from Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation. The Bee’s “Nevada Patient Busing” investigation found that a psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas had transported more than 1,500 mentally ill patients to other states by bus, a third of them to California.  The Bee also won a Polk for that work.

• The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a branch of the Center for Public Integrity, won both Scripps Howard and IRE awards for a report titled “Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze.”

• A team of journalists from the Center for Public Integrity, along with a team from ABC News, won the Goldsmith Prize, and $25,000, from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. It reported on the continuing plague of black lung disease.

Wall Street Journal projects won no major contests in the year. Some Pulitzer-watchers, though, noted that its long-running “Waste Lands” series, primarily by John Emshwiller, could be a Pulitzer prize-winner or finalist, perhaps in National Reporting. Along with stories detailing post-Cold-War environmental dangers remaining after decades of nuclear-site buildups, the series has a strong interactive component that lets readers in every state examine their vulnerability.

Michael M. Phillips’ “The Lobotomy Files,” detailing how the U.S. operated on mental patients after World War II, was a Goldsmith finalist. So there’s still a chance the Journal can break its string of winless years in news categories – going back to its Public Service Pulitzer for exposing corporate stock-options abuses. (Journal columnist Bret Stephens won for Commentary last year, with the paper’s Joseph Rago winning for Editorial Writing in 2011.)

Other work named as Goldsmith finalists: Scot Paltrow and Kelly Carr’s “Unaccountable” series for Reuters, exposing widespread accounting malpractice in the Defense Department, and Tim Elfrink’s “Biogenesis: Steroids, Baseball and an Industry Gone Wrong” series in Miami New Times, about the anti-aging clinic and its links to some of baseball’s biggest stars.

Pulitzer candidates may be found among these other honorees, as well.


• State Reporting, Shawn Boburg of Northern New Jersey’s Record, for his coverage of the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures and the traffic jam they caused last September.

• Political Reporting, The Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman, Laura Vozzella and Carol Leonnig, for covering Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s ties to a wealthy entrepreneur.

• Medical Reporting, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Meg Kissinger, for her definitive study of Milwaukee County’s mental health system.

• Justice Reporting, The New York Times reporters Frances Robles, Sharon Otterman, Michael Powell and N.R. Kleinfield, for digging up the story of a man unjustly jailed in a rabbi’s killing.


• Breaking News, The Arizona Republic, for coverage of the Yarnell Hill fire that killed 19 firefighters and destroyed 127 homes.

• Community Journalism, The Portland (Maine) Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, for a series examining problems meeting the needs of the state’s aging population.

• Environmental Reporting, The Seattle Times reporters Craig Welch and Steve Ringman, for a five-part series on ocean acidification.


• Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling, The (Memphis, Tenn.) Commerical Appeal’s Marc Perrusquia and Jeff McAdory, for an archival search that illumined, years later, the day of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

• Local Accountability Reporting, The Washington Post’s Debbie Cenziper, Michael Sallah and Steven Rich, for exploring the process of tax lien auctions in the District of Columbia.


• Freedom of Information Award, ProPublica’s Tracy Weber, Charles Ornstein, Jennifer LaFleur, Jeff Larson and Lena Groeger, for “The Prescribers,” on money wasted in the health care system.

• Print/Online, Large, Reuters staffers for “The Child Exchange.”

• Print/Online, Medium, John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for “Backfire.”

• Print/Online, Small, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “Breaking the Banks.”

• Multiplatform, Small, the website inewsource, “Money, Power and Transit.”

The Pulitzer Prizes are the oldest and most revered American journalism prizes, dating to 1917. They draw more than 1,000 entries each year, although the total has fallen by roughly a third since the mid-1990s. Pulitzers are given primarily for newspaper work – with magazine and broadcast journalism generally excluded from consideration. In 2009, the Pulitzers allowed entries to be submitted by U.S. online operations unconnected to newspapers.

As always, previews like this must note the Pulitzer Board’s seeming fondness for picking work largely off the radar screens of other competitions. Last year’s dark-horse National Reporting winners were staffers from the fledgling InsideClimate News site, for their reports on flawed oil-pipeline regulations. The Public Service winner, Fort Lauderdale’s Sun Sentinel, was an ASNE, IRE and Scripps runner-up. But its inventive, meticulously reported series, documenting the frequency of deadly speeding by off-duty south Florida police won over both the jury and the board, bringing the paper its first-ever Pulitzer.

Finally, the Boston Globe’s work during and after that harrowing April day last year may well put it among 2014’s Pulitzer winners or finalists – bringing the Pulitzer-Marathon connection full-circle. The Online News Association named Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com winners in Breaking News for large publications, while ASNE gave Globe columnist Kevin Cullen its Mike Royko Award for his marathon-related and other columns. And among the Globe feature articles that stood out was Eric Moskowitz’s tale of a carjacking victim of bombers on the lam.

For the record, the marathon – 200 miles up the coast from Columbia University, where retiring Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler will make his final Prize announcements on Monday – this year is being held a week later.

Roy Harris, in his 12th year writing about the Pulitzer Prizes for Poynter, is author of “Pulitzer’s Gold: Behind the Prize for Public Service Journalism.” He is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor in The Economist organization. A new edition of “Pulitzer’s Gold” is being prepared for Columbia University Press, and is due out in advance of the 2016 centennial of the Pulitzers. Read more

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On profanity: As language evolves, should the media?

The New York Times | The Wall Street Journal

On Sunday, Jesse Sheidlower wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times making “The Case for Profanity in Print.”

Our society’s comfort level with offensive language and content has drastically shifted over the past few decades, but the stance of our news media has barely changed at all. Even when certain words are necessary to the understanding of a story, the media frequently resort to euphemisms or coy acrobatics that make stories read as if they were time capsules written decades ago, forcing us all into wink-wink-nudge-nudge territory. Even in this essay, I am unable to be clear about many of my examples.

Sheidlower, author of “The F-Word” and president of the American Dialect Society, wrote that often the words themselves are the story, and other times, they’re integral to the story itself.

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal’s “Style & Substance” covered the same issue, in part. The piece refers to a March 7 story which included the word “ass.” In the past, the story reports, that word would have been a–.

What has changed? Standards Editor Neal Lipschutz says the change is slight. Use of impolite words should still be rare, but there are certain words that we’ll publish now that we wouldn’t have used a decade ago. There still has to be a compelling reason to use the quotation, including demonstrating insight into someone’s character by his or her word choices, but there are times when ass, jackass or yes, suck, may be allowed to appear, in cases where they might have been “Barney-dashed” before.

The reasoning is that we want to be classy without being Victorian, in line with the evolving language. “We still want to be tasteful, but we also want to as much as possible reflect how people speak in this era,” Neal says.

I stopped by the office of my colleague, Roy Peter Clark, Monday morning to talk about these articles and the roll of “bad” words. Clark stood up, walked to a tall book shelf and pulled down his copy of Sheidlower’s “The F-Word.”

In many ways, some words that used to offend don’t do so any more, he told me, and new ones rise to take their place. Read more

Mobile devices with touchscreen interface_depositphotos

News in motion: six ways to be a good mobile editor

So you want to be a mobile editor?

Or maybe you just got the gig. Congratulations! Now what?

I’ve heard that question a lot lately from newly minted mobile editors at organizations big and small. It’s not that surprising. Mobile has been the coming future of news and information for a long time, but many news outlets only woke up to its importance in the last year.

Why? That’s easy: 50 percent. Last year, many news organizations either hit or approached the 50 percent mark in digital traffic coming from mobile. That opened many eyes. It became very clear that mobile isn’t coming — it’s here. It’s been here. Mobile is now. And news organizations need mobile editors more than ever (read on for Six Ways To Be A Good Mobile Editor).

I became The Wall Street Journal’s first — and, at the time, only — mobile editor in 2009. Mobile was different then. Legions of BlackBerries with trackballs still strode the Earth. A new book-sized gadget promised to revolutionize the news business: the black and white eReader. The shockwaves from the iOS asteroid impact had only begun to spread.

The years since have seen remarkable change. Android’s rise. The iPad. HTML5. 4G. Mini tablets. Giant phones. Google Glass. Smart watches. Mobile and tablets overtaking desktops and laptops. Even improved auto-correct that — mostly — doesn’t turn my last name into “Honda.”

The mobile editor job has evolved, too. It’s a job that must be as nimble as the changing technology, adapting as people interact with news in new ways.

In my world, the work changed from running a BlackBerry app and a first-generation mobile website to conceiving of, building and running entirely new tablet and phone apps plus creating publishing tools, global newsroom workflows and cross-platform content algorithms. Lately, I’ve been pondering hard the future of journalism amid the Internet of Things. Across five years, I went from being a solo act to leading a mobile editorial team.

There is no one set job description for a mobile editor. It will vary from organization to organization and situation to situation. The needed skills will vary, too. There are many flavors and combinations.

For most, the job will likely involve curating news and multimedia presentation on a mobile app or website, providing human editorial judgment. At the other end, it might be about overseeing content algorithms and automated publishing to phones and tablets. It could be both roles, too.

The job often involves making sure graphics and images are mobile-friendly. It could be about working with developers, designers and product folks on setting a direction and helping create new news experiences. It might involve troubleshooting tech problems or testing new mobile advances. Maybe you’ll work with mobile and tablet news aggregator partners, too. It could be deeply technical work down to coding or perhaps not that at all, instead more focused on daily news tasks like sending out breaking news push alerts.

Very often it is an advocacy job, spreading the mobile way in the newsroom since what begins with a mobile editor must end with an entire organization thinking about news on mobile and platforms beyond.

And the job could even be all of these things. Trust me, it can happen.

When I’m hiring a mobile editor — and I’ve hired more than half a dozen of them since 2010 — the first thing I look for is news judgment. That surprises folks. They expect me to rattle off a big list of tech qualifications like Homer naming the ships. Tech skills from serious coding to Photoshop chops are a big plus, but not the heart of what’s needed. Instead, I look for a high and almost instinctive comfort level with technology.

Since everyone loves a list these days, I will not disappoint:

Six Ways to be a Good Mobile Editor

  • A mobile editor needs to be a mobile user. A serious mobile user. Simply owning a smart phone isn’t enough. Because if you don’t live it, you don’t get it. If you’re not using apps and mobile websites and mobile tools yourself in your own life, it’s all but impossible to do a good job serving that audience.
  • Know you are a journalist. No question. This is a real journalism job. You may not be an “editor” in the traditional sense of the word, but you still have to understand news, to value clarity and accuracy and immediacy and relevance and speed.
  • Be a mobile tech MacGyver. The technology has been around a while, but in the big picture a lot is still new and changing very fast, especially in newsrooms. So you must be willing to dive into the guts of it when things inevitably break. More so if you don’t have lots of tech resources on call. Learn to speak the language of developers. And keep the duct tape handy.
  • Understand the vast variables. A lot can affect a mobile user’s experience with news. Screen size. Device rotation. Operating system and version. Device age and processing power. Connection quality. Location. Time of day. App versus Web. Adaptive versus responsive. It is indeed a lot to keep in your head, but serving a digital audience has come a long way since Netscape browser testing.
  • Fight for the users (yes, a Tron reference in addition to Homer and MacGyver). In this day and age, an editor does more than edit. To deliver a meaningful, beautiful, relevant, engaging mobile news experience, a mobile editor has to be there on the front lines every day understanding how the constant flow of news, the changing technology and the many needs of readers and viewers come together.
  • Be an advocate. Despite mobile being everywhere, in many newsrooms the mobile editor might be the only person who understands mobile deeply. And the only one who gets why it is so important and so critical to the future of news and journalism. So you must teach and talk and train, one person at a time if necessary. Tell them why “click here” is a bad thing to write in a world of touch screens.

Today’s mobile editors are a diverse bunch. Some are former reporters, specialists in everything from deep data to high fashion. They come from print. They come from online. They come from video.

It is a great, crazy time for mobile news. Innovation is nonstop and crops up everywhere. You’ve got aggregators and atomizers and immersives. There’s no stopping the numbers: mobile is where people are and where they will be — at least for a while. And mobile editors are often the guides, figuring it out as they go and leading the way.

So, welcome aboard, new mobile editors. It can be a scary job in a land of constant upheaval, but that’s what makes it worth doing.

David Ho is editor for mobile, tablets and emerging technology at The Wall Street Journal. He is founding editor and co-creator of the WSJ iPad app and Tablet Edition. As a reporter for Cox News and The Associated Press, Ho covered presidents, protests and the pope as well as tech, telecom and terrorism. A Poynter Institute Ethics Fellow, Ho also teaches mobile and tablet journalism at the City University of New York. Follow him on Twitter @DavidHo. Read more


A Wall Street Journal story about Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek features a correction that reveals the writer’s (and editors’) lack of hip-hop knowledge:

An earlier version incorrectly said Mr. Celek had Two Chairs on his playlist instead of 2 Chainz.

Hat tip to Deadspin for spotting it.

The Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal reporter missing since Saturday

Wall Street Journal | USA Today | Daily Record

Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird has been missing since Saturday, the paper reported Wednesday evening.

Bird, 55, writes about energy markets and previously worked for the Associated Press, Jennifer Maloney reports. He lives in Long Hill Township, N.J.

Mr. Bird’s wife, Nancy Bird, said the couple was putting away Christmas decorations Saturday afternoon when Mr. Bird put on his red rain jacket and said he wanted to take a quick walk before an expected rainstorm. He left the house at 4:30 p.m. and didn’t take his phone.

Ms. Bird said her husband had been feeling under the weather with a gastrointestinal virus. He was starting to feel better, and she wasn’t surprised that he wanted to get some fresh air.

Read more

China blocks The Guardian

The Guardian

The Guardian’s website has been blocked in China, according to a story Wednesday by Jonathan Kalman for The Guardian. Access to the newspaper’s site still worked on tablets and mobile devices, he reported, and some users wrote that they’d been able to access the page.

The reasons for the Guardian block are unclear – no China-related stories published by the Guardian in the past two days would obviously be perceived as dangerous by the country’s leadership. One article, published on 6 January, explores tensions in China’s ethnically-divided north-western region Xinjiang, but the Guardian has covered the subject before without any noticeable fallout.

On Monday, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal confirmed to Poynter that China unblocked Chinese-language versions of those two sites, which were first blocked in November. Read more


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