September 22, 2022

Good morning. First, a newsletter update. There will be no Poynter Report on Friday, and I will be off next week. However, my Poynter colleagues will take over the newsletter all next week, bringing you their thoughts and analysis and news from the media world.

Today, a few media tidbits, as well as some journalism recommendations. I start with more personnel news from CNN.

CNN changes continue

It was only last month when CNN shook the media world by canceling its longest-running show, “Reliable Sources,” and pushing out the show’s host and lead media reporter Brian Stelter. It was believed to be part of a purge, which also included Jeffrey Toobin and John Harwood, to help shift the network to a more so-called centrist (or down the middle) approach.

Along with canceling “Reliable Sources,” which focused on the media, CNN also put its “Reliable Sources” newsletter on hiatus. Word came out Tuesday that a reimagined “Reliable Sources” newsletter will return next week with Oliver Darcy, who used to co-write the original newsletter, as the lead writer.

But just as the new newsletter is about to launch, more changes are happening at CNN involving, in part, its media coverage.

An Phung, who was senior editor of CNN’s media team, tweeted Wednesday that she is leaving the network. Soon after, Alex Koppelman — managing editor for CNN Business and head of CNN’s coverage of tech, media, consumer and transportation, as well as the site’s features — tweeted he was leaving, too.

Koppelman wrote that it was a “privilege to manage an amazing group of editors and reporters, and get to work with even more—so many I can’t possibly name or thank them individually.”

Phung tweeted, “There isn’t enough room here to praise all the people who made it a great place to work. And there are so many people to thank for helping me tell good and important stories about the threats against journalism and democracy.”

She added, “My five and a half years on the media desk with @AlexKoppelman, @oliverdarcy and @brianstelter are ones that I will never forget. They made me a stronger editor, a more engaged journalist and a more astute observer of the rhythms of our ever-changing and troubled industry.”

She closed by writing, “For a kid born on a refugee boat, a prestigious job at CNN was never a given. Then to be able to work with some of the most brilliant journalists in the industry—this job has just exceeded my biggest and boldest childhood dreams. I am living proof of what is possible.”

Amazing work from The Washington Post

The Washington Post, on Wednesday, had an elite piece of journalism with deep reporting, stunning graphics and impressive videos/photos. Actually, it also had another well-done piece, which I will mention in a moment.

The first — from Dave Sheinin, Michael Lee, Emily Giambalvo, Artur Galocha and Clara Ence Morse — was beyond impressive: “How the NFL Blocks Black Coaches.” I cannot recommend this enough.

The graphics are tremendous and the topic is critically important as the Post goes behind the details of how, as the Post describes it, “teams’ hiring and firing practices still disadvantage Black coaches at every turn — and it’s getting worse.”

The jarring numbers, according to the Post’s research: 58% of the players in the NFL are Black and a quarter are white. But just 11% of full-time head coaches since 1990 have been Black. During that time, 154 white men have served as an NFL head coach, compared to only 20 Black men.

The Post wrote, “The Post analyzed three decades’ worth of data on the hiring, performance, retention and professional networks of NFL head coaches. Post reporters also interviewed 16 of the 24 living Black men who have served as NFL head coaches, as well as former players, assistants, executives, agents and others.”

This is just the beginning of a series that has been months in the making and will run throughout the NFL season. Wednesday’s package also included:

This is prize-worthy journalism that is as interesting and well done as it is important. Read it. Read it as soon as possible.

The other piece I wanted to mention was this one from Kevin Schaul and Hamza Shaban: “The housing market is cooling. What’s it like in your area?” I recommend it because the graphics are incredible.

Media tidbits

Former Virginia Congressman Denver Riggleman, left, being interviewed by “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker. (Courtesy: CBS News)

And finally today, some recommended reading …

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

Clarification: This story has been updated to say at An Phung was senior editor of CNN’s media team.

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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

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