Morning Mediawire: Heard of This technology innovator sees it as journalism's future

One person I’ve depended upon to see where journalism is going is Jarrod Dicker, vice president for innovation and commercial strategy at the Washington Post. The Bezos-owned news enterprise benefited from the way he brought together engineering, development and an understanding of advertising and subscriptions.

Yesterday, however, he announced he was switching jobs, leaving to become CEO of a blockchain tech startup that aims to marry specific stories with their best readers.


“I believe that we don't actually know what content is worth,” Dicker tells me, adding that news outlets have been sending their stories to platforms that are undervaluing it. And low-value ads are making story presentation awful. Dicker says he’s working on a collaborative system that benefits all, not just a platform or one company.

His jump to is a bet that blockchain development can free creators from unworkable platforms and help them find an audience that would pay for their work. He is just the latest successful person in the industry to bolt for the promise of blockchain tech.

Read the entire interview, but first, a loving welcome to Poynter’s Morning Mediawire — and a special Valentine’s Day item.

Quick hits

UNHIRED: For a few hours Tuesday, the New York Times had hired a new editorial board member. Then controversy emerged on her past social media posts. By Tuesday night, the Times and Quinn Norton had gone their separate ways, CNN’s Tom Kludt reported. At issue: postings in which she used offensive language and admitted she was friends with neo-Nazis, though she said she did not agree with them. “No harm no foul," said Norton, formerly of WIRED. "I'm sorry I can't do the work I wanted to do with them. I wish there had been a way, but ultimately, they need to feel safe with how the net will react to their opinion writers."

WATCHING YOU: Looks like the Trump administration is getting ready to monitor local TV news nationwide. To cherry-pick favorable articles? Find other stories to reinforce an anti-immigrant agenda? The White House’s 28-page “request for quote” doesn’t say, but it seeks a video clipping service to log the local stations’ content. Here’s the PDF, thanks to Library Journal’s Gary Price.

COMINGS AND GOINGS: One of the Los Angeles Times’ strongest journalists is moving to New York next month to become enterprise editor for the New York Times’ national desk. Kim Murphy, a legendary LAT correspondent and the assistant managing editor for national and international news, had been mentioned as a possible editor-in-chief of the LAT, which just got its first local publisher in 18 years. In Washington, foreign policy whiz John Hudson is leaving BuzzFeed to cover the State Department for the Washington Post.

AN OLYMPICS COVERUP? Slate’s Josh Levin asks why NBC, fawning over American snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White, is ignoring sexual harassment allegations against him. Last year, White settled a lawsuit by Lena Zawaideh, a drummer in his rock band, who alleged that he sent her sexually explicit and graphic images and gave her directions on oral sex with her boyfriend.

EQUAL PAY: First came the exposure of a hostile work environment at Vice Media; now comes a lawsuit alleging that the company paid women significantly less than men for the same jobs. Elizabeth Rose viewed internal memos listing the salaries of 35 Vice employees when she worked there, noticing the pay disparity, the Los Angeles Times reported. The former employee also discovered a male subordinate was found to be making $25,000 more per year than she was. Vice Media, which fired several senior staffers after the initial sexual harassment accusations, told Jezebel it has begun a pay parity audit and has a goal of 50/50 female/male representation at every level by 2020.

‘THE DAILY,’ ON THE RADIO: The hit New York Times podcast will expand to 30 minutes for a new terrestrial radio audience, via American Public Radio. The Monday-through-Friday podcast, hosted by Michael Barbaro, says it has 4.5 million unique listeners a month; APR, which distributes Marketplace and the BBC World Service in the United States, has a broadcast radio audience of 20 million. The two enterprises will share underwriting revenues, reports Recode’s Eric Johnson.

THIS COULD BE THE CRAZIEST SEAN HANNITY THING EVER: The Fox News pontificator posted a blog post and a tweet (both later deleted) that wondered if former President Barack Obama’s official portrait was full of “sexual innuendo.” Here’s The Daily Beast: “‘PORTRAIT PERVERSION: Obama Portrait Features ‘SECRET SPERM,’ Artist Joked About ‘Killing Whitey”‘ the headline screamed. And it only got weirder from there.” The blog post seemed to be taking its cue from a 4Chan post that said Obama “has SPERM on his face!” Here’s the Daily Beast’s screenshot of the deleted tweet:

ROBOTIC: Margaret Sullivan calls Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ pallid recitation of support for victims of harassment and abuse at a White House news conference “a new low.” The Washington Post media reporter concludes: “With her dismissive gestures, her curled-lip sneers, her ready insults and guilt-free lies, Sanders is a conduit — a tool — for Trump’s own abusive relationship with journalists.”

FRACKING MONEY: Two billionaire brothers from east Texas, having bankrolled The Daily Wire and flirted with Breitbart, are turning their attention to Glenn Beck’s conservative media empire, The Daily Beast reports. The Wilks brothers, major donors to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in 2016, are in talks to add The Blaze to their holdings, write Betsy Woodruff and Lachlan Markey.

FOLLOWUP: Northwestern professors have shown support for students and employees who accused a journalism professor of harassment. “We clearly and emphatically … want to say that we won’t tolerate this behavior among ourselves or our colleagues,” Donna Leff, a Medill School of Journalism professor, told The Daily Northwestern. A Medill colleague, Alec Klein, has taken a leave of absence after the accusations against him.

AT 102, SHE WAS STILL REPORTING: Sadly, though, Bonnie Brown died just a few days shy of her 103rd birthday, reports the Rural Press blog. Brown, who wrote for the Protection Press in Kansas, had to give up driving when she was 98. But that didn’t stop her from walking the town of 500 to gather items for “Bonnie’s Blog.” She died on Saturday of pneumonia.

IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T BEEN KEEPING TRACK: Washington Post national correspondent Philip Bump has, and he reports that President Donald Trump has held only three news conferences since the Republican National Convention. “Data from the American Presidency Project indicates that no president on record has held fewer solo news conferences in his first year than Trump,” reports Bump. He also noted that Trump himself was critical of Hillary Clinton during his first news conference because she hadn’t held a press conference in 235 days.

JOURNALISM OR ADVERTORIAL? The age-old question rises again with the publication of LeapsMag, which covers the ethical and moral issues in biotechnology. The digital magazine is also a product of Bayer, and a freelancer has expressed concern over tension on sticky issues that affect the giant pharmaceutical company. Editor Kira Peikoff tells Michael Schulson of Undark magazine that she insisted — and has — complete editorial independence. Stay tuned.

KATIE’S GAFFE: Maybe Katie Couric was a little rusty during the Olympics opening ceremonies when she veered onto thin ice with her comments on the Netherlands team. Page Six has the details: “Couric said during Friday night’s opening ceremony that the Netherlands ‘has lots of canals that can freeze in the winter. So for as long as those canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other and also to have fun.’" Needless to say, the reaction was heated. Our favorite, from Twitter: “Dear @katiecouric, the Dutch do NOT skate to work. Skating on clogs is too hard, even for us,” from Gert van Dijk. Couric has since tweeted an apology.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY: We offer the following as a public service in case you know a journalist who needs a little love:

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