December 17, 2021

Good morning, everyone. I have an abbreviated Poynter Report for you today as I am preparing our big year-end package about the best and worst in the media in 2021. Be sure to look for that on Monday — my final Poynter Report newsletter for 2021.

Today, here are some thoughts and links for you to check out over the weekend.

  • A shout out to my former radio partner and colleague at the Tampa Bay Times — sportswriter Rick Stroud. Is anyone having a better NFL season than Stroud? Last month he broke a huge story that Tampa Bay Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown had obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. Brown ended up being suspended for three games by the NFL. Then this week, Stroud reported on allegations from a former NFL kicker who accused Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer of kicking and degrading him verbally. That was the final straw for the Jags, which fired Meyer. (Meyer’s 2-11 record didn’t help either.) That’s two scoops by a local NFL writer in a sport where national writers have the advantage of breaking most big stories.
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Benjamin Mullin and Alexandra Bruell published this story late Thursday: “Washington Post Grasps for New Direction as Trump-Era Boom Fades.” It’s an interesting story. Here’s the gist, as they write: “The Post, like most major publications, experienced an audience surge during the Trump years, when readers flocked to stories about the controversial Republican administration. Now, the Post is facing a slump that has triggered some soul-searching at the paper, including over the need to invest more in coverage areas outside of politics, according to people familiar with the news outlet’s operations and internal documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.”
  • The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan has a new media column out: “Vulture capitalists are circling my old newspaper. Here’s why we need to fight them off.”
  • My Poynter colleague Barbara Allen goes behind the scenes in her latest story: “How The New York Times handled life-or-death ethical issues while reporting on a popular suicide website.”
  • Michael Schaffer, editor of Washingtonian, is joining Politico to write an insider column about Washington, D.C. He also will be a senior editor for Politico Magazine. Besides Washingtonian, Schaffer also has worked at Washington City Paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New Republic.
  • Writing for Variety, ​​Addie Morfoot with “MSNBC Takes CNN Rivalry to New Level With Documentary Acquisitions.”
  • Oh boy, Ed Yong has a new COVID-19 piece out in The Atlantic and the headline says it all: “America Is Not Ready for Omicron.” Yong writes, “The variant’s threat is far greater at the societal level than at the personal one, and policy makers have already cut themselves off from the tools needed to protect the populations they serve. Like the variants that preceded it, Omicron requires individuals to think and act for the collective good — which is to say, it poses a heightened version of the same challenge that the U.S. has failed for two straight years, in bipartisan fashion.”
  • A photo package that is the stuff of nightmares. Reuters with “A town destroyed: The grim aftermath in tornado-ravaged Mayfield, Kentucky.”
  • Speaking of the tornadoes in Kentucky, if you’ve missed any of the stories from my colleague Al Tompkins, go to his Poynter page and check it out. Tompkins has been in Kentucky all week reporting on the media’s coverage of those devastating storms.
  • Former “Law & Order” and “Sex and the City” star Chris Noth has been accused of sexual assault by two women. Kim Masters has the exclusive for The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Finally today, a Poynter Report reader sent me this obituary from The Fayetteville (North Carolina) Observer. And all I can say is … wow.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

More resources for journalists

The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, sign up here.

Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
Tom Jones

More News

Back to News