April 7, 2022

Good morning. First, a note about The Poynter Report. This is the final edition of the week, and for the next 10 days. We’re going to take a break to recharge the batteries. The newsletter will return on April 18. Thanks, as always, for reading. And we’re looking forward to our return.

We start today with, again, the situation in Ukraine, followed by some of the latest media news.

Here’s the latest notable journalism regarding Ukraine-Russia:

And now on to other media news …

The stuff of movies

People magazine’s Virginia Chamlee has an exclusive story out with this headline: “‘The Stuff of Movies”: How Fox News Rushed to Help Its Journalists After They Came Under Fire in Invasion.”

It details how Fox News was able to get reporter Benjamin Hall out of Ukraine after he was badly injured covering the war. Hall was injured in the same attack that killed cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist and fixer Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova.

Jennifer Griffin, who covers national security and the Pentagon for Fox News, helped jump-start the effort to get Hall out of Ukraine after she learned of the attack. Chamlee’s story recounts how Griffin and other Fox News staffers worked ​​with the Pentagon and a team of specialists to reach him.

Griffin called getting Hall out of Ukraine to safety and world-class medical care “the stuff of movies.” Check out the story.

Hall is now back in the U.S. recovering at a medical facility in Texas.

Super spreader?

Last week’s Gridiron dinner in Washington, D.C., was notable for New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu calling former President Donald Trump “(bleeping) crazy,” among other barbs.

But it’s getting to be known for something else: a COVID-19 outbreak.

According to The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi, Roxanne Roberts and Yasmeen Abutaleb, several politicians and journalists who were at the dinner have tested positive for COVID-19. As of Wednesday, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Merrick Garland all announced that they had tested positive.

The Post wrote, “In addition, about a half-dozen journalists, and members of the White House and National Security Council staff also said they tested positive following the event. Their names are being withheld because they have not announced their status publicly.”

The Post noted that the dinner attracted about 630 guests, including members of Congress, the Cabinet, diplomatic corps, military and business. The Post wrote, “​​Following a predinner cocktail reception, guests sat together at long narrow tables for hours, and watched satirical skits and songs performed by members. At the event’s conclusion, guests joined hands for the traditional singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne.’”

As CNN’s Oliver Darcy noted in a tweet: “This news comes just weeks before the White House Correspondents Association is set to host its first dinner in three years, an event that is also accompanied by numerous parties throughout the weekend.”

Also, check out this story — “Elite D.C. appears to be getting pummeled with COVID” — for Politico from Eugene Daniels, Sam Stein and Steven Overly.

Writing checks

ESPN’s Adam Schefter. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

Earlier this week, I mentioned how ESPN has signed NFL insider Adam Schefter and NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski to contract extensions. They are two of ESPN’s most valuable reporters. How valuable? Check this out. New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand is reporting that Schefter will make around $9 million per year with his new deal, and Wojnarowski will be in the $7 million range. Each deal is for five years.

This announcement comes just a couple of weeks after ESPN lured away Fox Sports’ top NFL broadcasting team — Joe Buck and Troy Aikman — to call “Monday Night Football.” ESPN will pay Buck $75 million over five years and Aikman will make $90 million over five years.

Marchand writes, “ESPN has just spent around $250,000,000 on four sports media personalities. A quarter billion! So what is ESPN doing?”

Marchant then answers his question: “ESPN is trying to ward off the emerging platforms, the other major networks and the digital entities in an increasingly crowded space. There is an argument to be made against the excessiveness of the money spent — it is deliciously ridiculous — but if you have the dough, why not shop at the top of the market? You know, be ‘The Worldwide Leader in Sports.’”

Until the wheels fall off

Skateboarder Tony Hawk in 2017. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

HBO’s new documentary about skateboarding legend Tony Hawk — “Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off” — is getting plenty of good buzz. (Here’s the trailer.)

The New York Times’ Glenn Kenny wrote, “More than a portrait of an individual athlete, the film develops into a mildly terrifying portrait of compulsion. Although officially retired, Hawk can’t stop. His skating friends and rivals talk of having damaged their bodies so severely that they can’t sleep at night for the pain.”

Awful Announcing called the doc “masterful” and Andrew Bucholtz wrote, “This documentary has a lot of interesting new interview footage with Hawk, and great archival footage of him as well, but some of what stands out most are the extensive perspectives from other skateboarding figures, and from Hawk’s family. The Tony Hawk name is a great way to get casual viewers in the door, and his own story is fascinating and is the main focus of this film, but this also can be seen as somewhat of a whole history of skateboarding over the last few decades.”

The film is directed by Sam Jones, who is probably best known for his interesting “Off Camera” show where he interviews celebrities. The Ringer’s Katie Baker also has a good story about the documentary.

And the nominees are …

Nominees for the Sports Emmys came out Wednesday.

Some notable nominees? Peyton Manning was nominated for best game analyst for his work on the “Monday Night Football” ManningCast, which also was nominated for Outstanding Live Series. Tom Brady’s “Man in the Arena” was nominated for Best Documentary Series.

The nominees for best play-by-play announcer were Mike Breen, Joe Buck, Ian Eagle, Al Michaels and Jim Nantz.

The nominees for best game analyst were all football-related. College football analysts Kirk Herbstreit and Gary Danielson were joined by NFL analysts Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth and Peyton Manning. Where was the love for other sports, such as baseball’s John Smoltz, the NBA’s Jeff Van Gundy, Doris Burke and Hubie Brown and tennis’ John McEnroe?

Again, click here for the full list of nominees.

Media tidbits

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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…
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