ESPN suspends Stephen A. Smith, did Benny Johnson actually commit plagiarism?

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 (OK, OK, it's more than 10) media stories.

  1. ESPN suspends Stephen A. Smith: "We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion about appropriate next steps," ESPN President John Skipper says in a memo obtained by Richard Deitsch. "Those conversations have involved a diverse group of women and men in our company." (SI) | ESPN's statement "very specifically does not mention the word 'suspension.'" (Deadspin) | Richard Sandomir: "Smith’s weeklong suspension is less severe than the 30 days imposed on Max Bretos, an ESPN anchor who used the term 'chink in the armor' in reference to Jeremy Lin in 2012. In 2010, Tony Kornheiser was suspended two weeks for comments he made on radio about an outfit worn by Hannah Storm, a 'SportsCenter' anchor." (NYT)
  2. Benny Johnson isn't a plagiarist, because what he was doing wasn't journalism: That's the argument advanced by Gene Weingarten: "Reading a listicle in Buzzfeed, just what level of diligence does a reader expect?" (The Washington Post) | Weingarten's fart joke in the piece is not original. (The Awl) | "Links and quotation marks are as easy to place in a listicle as in any other piece of journalism." (The Washington Post) | Tom Kludt interviews @crushingbort and @blippoblappo, the mysterious Internet detectives who catalogued Johnson's lifts from Wikipedia and elsewhere. "The underlying problems at BuzzFeed aren’t unfixable," @blippoblappo says. (TPM) | Michael Calderone: "Agree with @crushingbort: Johnson’s anonymously sourced 'killing Snowden' story more problematic than the plagiarism" (@mlcalderone) | Charles Johnson, who offers a bounty for reader-submitted instances of plagiarism on BuzzFeed, ran photos on his site without credit, Sam R. Hall reports. (The Clarion-Ledger) | Johnson says he's preparing to sue Hall for defamation. (@ChuckCJohnson) | Johnson: "When I have something to announce publicly, I'll announce it publicly." (TPM) | This problem isn't confined to BuzzFeed: The New York Times is looking into a Carol Vogel lede that's very close to a Wikipedia passage. (Poynter)
  3. The New York Times' new digital tiers didn't roll out smoothly: "CEO Mark Thompson acknowledged these multiple options have 'left some customers confused.'" (Poynter) | "The Times’ digital-subscription growth looks particularly weak coming days after the Financial Times reported enormous digital-subscriber gains, and paid digital circulation now more than doubles its print circulation." (CJR) | The Times is considering a shorter version of its print edition, an item a spokesperson says is among several "in the earliest stages of exploration." (Capital)
  4. Tribune wants to buy more papers: Yeah, OK, wait, what? "We think there are more of these opportunities around the country that are geographically adjacent to where we run big papers and big brands," Tribune Publishing Co. CEO Jack Griffin tells Lynne Marek. (Crain's Chicago Business) | Trib Publishing spins off from Tribune Co. Monday.
  5. Twitter, it's like a real company: The company had a strong second quarter, with rising user numbers and revenue. It "outperformed in just about every metric that we can see," one analyst says. (USA Today) | The World Cup "gave people who once signed up for Twitter and then ignored their accounts a reason to come back." (Pando)
  6. Israelis take journalists into Gaza tunnels: The IDF is "certainly pushing" the tunnel narrative, NYT Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren says, "but I don't think they're pushing it in some way that has nothing to do with something real. ... It really is what they're afraid of." (HuffPost) | Related: “David Frum’s claims are false,” NYT says about Atlantic senior editor's assertion that it published false photos from Gaza. (Poynter) | Frum promises to "review & reply" (@davidfrum)
  7. Comments aren't going anywhere: 82 percent of editors surveyed by APME said they'd either never ban comments or were unlikely to. (The Spokesman-Review) | The editors are "more supportive than you might imagine — given that dialogue around news site commenters usually centers on which circle of hell fits them best." (Nieman) | Related Internet technology news: Preroll ad threatens to electrocute puppy if you click "skip." (Glass)
  8. An exemplary use of PDF technology: Richmond, Virginia's Style Weekly offers a downloadable "McDonnell Trial Activity Book" to mark the corruption trial of Virginia's former governor and his wife. Games include "Find the Anatabloc" and "Help the Feds Make Their Case" (Style Weekly)
  9. Garbage truck named for area man: A resident in the English county of West Sussex is honored for his volunteer efforts to pick up litter. His name is David Sedaris, and Horsham District Council has named a truck "Pig Pen Sedaris." (West Sussex County Times) | Sedaris on his litter-picking-up activities. (The New Yorker)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Fred Groserwill be senior vice president for sales at Interstate General Media. Formerly, he was publisher at Newsday Media Group. ( | Ken Armstrong will be joining The Marshall Project as a staff writer. Formerly, he was an investigative reporter at The Seattle Times. | Bill Lord, general manager at WJLA, announced he will leave the D.C.-area station Sept. 30. (Fishbowl DC) | Madeleine Haeringer is now an executive producer of international news at NBC News. Previously, she was senior producer of NBC worldwide newsgathering (TV Newser) | Rachel Smolkin will be executive editor of politics for digital at CNN. She’s currently the managing editor of news at Politico. (@RachelSmolkin) | Alex Seitz-Wald is now covering Hillary Clinton for MSNBC. Previously, he was a political correspondent for the National Journal. (aseitzwald) | Jayson Rodriguez is editorial director at Revolt TV and Media. Previously, he was director of content operations for Connected Ventures. (Jayson Rodriguez) | Job of the day: The Center for Investigative Reporting is looking for a data reporter! Get your résumés in! (Center for Investigative Reporting) | Send Ben your job moves:

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  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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