Brian Williams returns to action

Good morning.

  1. No homers, no errors
    It was a low-key reintroduction of a familiar face for MSNBC after Williams' suspension and loss of the prized "Nightly News" job on NBC. And coverage of the arrival in Washington of Pope Francis proved a perfect vehicle. (Poynter) He showed, as a former CNN executive put it to me, "he's still got game." No hyperbole or invoking of his own past reporting. He let his cast of reporters and experts largely carry the afternoon (a cast very similar to what Lester Holt, his anchor successor, used for briefer coverage on NBC). The general punditry on his performance was similar i.e. solid, few frills. (Los Angeles Times) So what happens when the generally fawning coverage of the visit by everybody concludes, the pope heads home and Williams is left to front "breaking news" when there really isn't much (and many of us belatedly develop Trump Attention Deficit Disorder)? That's for then, this is now, and the daytime ratings are so modest, there's not much place to go but up. A soft launch worked.
  2. Reporter subpoenas in Pentagon sex mess
    Remember the sex scandal that prompted the exit of CIA boss David Petraeus? There was the other lady, Jill Kelley, who was implicated in scandals involving Petraeus and Marine Gen. John Allen. Kelley and husband are suing the government by claiming it violated the Privacy Act by devising a press plan with the White House "to tell reporters that emails between Allen and Jill Kelley were 'potentially inappropriate' and to suggest that the two had a sexual relationship." (The Associated Press) The Kelleys issued subpoenas for nine journalists who include current and former reporters and editors at The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and Fox News. It was Jill Kelley who tipped the FBI to the relationship between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Please, somebody inform Pope Francis that we are not pure. Yes, the Military-Industrial Complex has sinned.
  3. Washington Post is all-in with Facebook
    "The Washington Post announced Tuesday that it will be sending all of its published content to Facebook — 100%. That amounts to more than a thousand news stories and other articles every day. Whatever you may think of this news, the Post certainly can’t be accused of half measures. But is it making a wise decision for the long-term health of its business, or a Faustian bargain that it will ultimately regret?" Let's bet on smart decision, all the more so as Jeff Bezos also hawks digital subscriptions to Amazon Prime members. (Fortune) And we might even declare a moratorium on journalist warnings of "Faustian bargains" and "pacts with the devil" amid the scrambling for partnerships. Calm down.
  4. His Holiness perhaps not holy to BuzzFeed
    BuzzFeed has been denied credentials to cover the Pope's visit, it claims in a letter to the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. (POLITICO) Well, it's not been totally frozen out, just given a general credential, not one to get into certain specific events. BuzzFeed's bureau chief (a Catholic) suggests that a diocese spokesman has a bug up her butt about a particular reporter's work on the church and gay rights. Whatever. Guys, use a little reportorial ingenuity. You're not going to get a ride in the guy's little dinky Fiat, anyway.
  5. Star of left-leaning Salon exits for the Weekly Standard!
    Oh, no, my mistake. Joan Walsh will remain ideologically consistent (if not pure) by leaving after 17 years for The Nation. (Joan Walsh)
  6. Smartphone usage, Internet demographicsNiemanLab) One quarter of Amricans earning $30,000 or less don't use the Web. Raise the income level to between $50,000 and $75,000 and about 25 percent don't use smartphones. Just take the criterion of race and Internet usage is surprisingly even among white, blacks and Hispanics. (Pew)
  7. Google and ebooks
    A once-touted species, ebooks, is having real problems. Oyster, an ebook subscription site, said it's closing, but Google is hiring a bunch of its folks and bought some of its assets, including its technology. Wassup? "This deal doesn’t mean Google is building out its own ebook subscription service (or is interested in doing so). Instead, Google is interested in bringing Oyster’s really nice mobile reading experience, plus book-related editorial content, to Google Play." (NiemanLab) Got that? Don't got that? Well, the supposed bottom line: "ebooks, like news, are becoming 'content' read on big platforms."
  8. Oh, remember the death of print books?
    Remember how they were fated to go down the tubes? "The American Booksellers Association counted 1,712 member stores in 2,227 locations in 2015, up from 1,410 in 1,660 locations five years ago." One more time: there are now more bookstores. (The New York Times)
  9. Joe Scarborough, GOP soothsayer
    In his typically understated way, he responded to Ben Carson on the prospect of a Muslim president: "'It's a problem until somebody strong in the Republican Party stands up and speaks out about it. Stop being milquetoast, Republicans, to your base. They like toughness. They like people who have balls. They like people who fight back." Blah, blah, blah. (The Huffington Post)
  10. Drones come to the NFL
    The FAA gave the NFL permission to use them "to shoot films, documentaries and television segments, becoming the first major sports league to receive such permission." (Bloomberg). They can't use them for actual games. Three months ago, the FAA said it was investigating the Cowboys, Giants and others for possibly illegal use of drones. Can anybody now get them approved for tracking municipal sanitation workers and building inspectors shirking their duties?
  11. Six problems with coverage of the sex trade
    "1. Stop publishing the mugshots, full names and addresses of people arrested for prostitution." OK, fine, but there are said to be at least five other problems, including "mis-gendering sex workers." (The Huffington Post)
  12. A D.C. reporter with real clout
    Most plying their trade today can only hope to get close to the influence of columnist Drew Pearson, who died in 1969. A new compilation of his diaries shows a man deeply desirous of changing public debate and policy, who even helped write a president's State of the Union address and was among the many who knew all about the dalliances of President Kennedy. He made deals with senators to not report on their conflicts of interest if they voted a certain way on legislation. Who could pull that off today? (Poynter)
  13. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare
    El Espectador in Bogota, Colombia led with a snap of Pope Francis and Barack Obama sharing a laugh. (Courtesy the Newseum)
  14. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Irene Edwards is now editor in chief of Sunset. Previously, she was head editor of Lonny. (Email) | Brian Dresher is now vice president of business development at The Daily Dot. Previously, he led business development at USA Today and Mashable. (Email) | Dave Cohn is joining Advance Publications. Previously, he was an executive producer at AJ+. (Digidave) | Molly Redden will be a senior reporter at Guardian US. Previously, she was a reporter for Mother Jones. (@mtredden) | Job of the day: The Washington Post's graphics team is looking for a visual journalist. Get your resumes in! (Wash Post PR) | Send Ben your job moves:

    Corrections? Tips? Please email me: Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here.

    Correction: A previous version of this story said Brian Dresher joined Mashable. He joined The Daily Dot.

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    James Warren

    New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former managing editor and Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Tribune.


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