September 26, 2022

Good morning, everyone. Tom Jones is on vacation, but the team at Poynter is keeping tabs on the latest media news and analysis. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know today.

Las Vegas Review-Journal demands police not search slain reporter’s devices

The Las Vegas Review-Journal is seeking to protect confidential reporting materials on slain reporter Jeff German’s electronic devices, which were seized by police as part of their investigation into the reporter’s murder.

German, an investigative reporter, was fatally stabbed earlier this month. Just a few days later, police arrested a county official, Robert Telles, who had been the subject of several stories by German. To aid their investigation, authorities took German’s cellphone, four computers and an external hard drive.

But those devices likely contain unpublished materials and information about the Review-Journal’s confidential sources, some of whom may work in the very agencies investigating the murder, said an attorney representing the paper. That information is protected by Nevada’s shield law, the Review-Journal argues. The paper is also arguing that authorities violated federal law prohibiting the search and seizure of journalists’ work product materials.

Though the Review-Journal has been working with authorities to address these concerns, “negotiations have reached an impasse,” executive editor Glenn Cook told The Associated Press on Friday.

German’s murder has drawn widespread outrage among journalists. His colleagues have praised his dedication to his work. He spent more than 40 years reporting in Las Vegas.

But last week, Nevada Independent editor Elizabeth Thompson wrote in the outlet’s “Daily Indy” newsletter that the praise was “a bit much.”

“Yes, people generally hesitate to speak ill of the dead. On the flip side, dying doesn’t make you an insta-hero — and by all candid accounts, Jeff definitely wasn’t one,” Thompson wrote. “I’m of the opinion that we should tell the truth about people, dead or alive, for better or worse. I’m silly like that.”

The next day, the Independent’s newsroom staff released an apology, calling Thompson’s comments “insensitive” and stating that they do not reflect the newsroom’s brand or its mission.

Thompson later released her own statement saying that if she had a do-over, she would either say nothing or provide more context for her views.

“I regret making the grieving process worse for those who knew and loved Jeff  — co-workers, colleagues, family, friends. It was not my intent to hurt or anger anyone,” she wrote.

A sad note

Check out this gut-wrenching editor’s note on a Sept. 23 article about the Oath Keepers from the Review-Journal:

“​​Reporter Jeff German had started writing this story before he was killed earlier this month. His colleague has finished his reporting.”

Reliable Sources returns today

CNN’s Reliable Sources newsletter is slated to come back today, with senior media reporter Oliver Darcy at the helm.

Darcy told The Hollywood Reporter the newsletter will be more concise and have a new, “polished” look.

The 7-year-old media news newsletter is one of the most-read in the industry. It was most recently written by Darcy and Brian Stelter, host of the Sunday morning CNN show also called “Reliable Sources,” until CNN canceled the show in August and Stelter left the network. The last edition of Reliable Sources was published Aug. 18.

Darcy said the newsletter will “continue to tackle issues relating to newsrooms, partisan media, social media, podcasts, and streaming services” and “continue to pay close attention to industry titans who are reshaping our information environment.”

United by facts

PolitiFact and Poynter’s United Facts of America: A festival of fact-checking begins tomorrow.

The three-day online festival of fact-checking will offer forward-thinking discussions about the role of facts in everyday life with experts in media, politics, technology and counterintelligence. Speakers include Judy Woodruff, broadcast journalist, anchor and managing editor at “PBS NewsHour;” Donie O’Sullivan, correspondent at CNN; U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, and many more.

Also on the schedule is Chris Stirewalt, senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute. Until recently, Stirewalt was political editor at Fox News, and part of the team that (quickly and correctly) called the state of Arizona for Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election. The call angered then-President Donald Trump, who lashed out at Fox News.

United Facts of America runs from Sept. 27-29, 2022. Tickets are still available.

Media tidbits

  • A crane crashed into the under-construction KWTV News 9 building in downtown Oklahoma City. One person who was on the 60-ton crane was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, News 9 reports.
  • CNN’s Kaitlan Collins has left the White House Correspondents’ Association board and will not serve as WHCA president in 2024. That role will instead fall to Eugene Daniels, Politico White House correspondent and Playbook co-author. Collins, a CNN White House correspondent since 2017, is moving to a new role at CNN on a revamped morning show with Don Lemon and Poppy Harlow.

Today’s Poynter Report was written by Angela Fu and Ren LaForme.

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