Pope Francis' digital media cred is a lesson for Trump
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So Pope Francis "demonstrated his digital credentials" as he met with YouTube stars, "throwing his support behind popular beauty videos and encouraging his celebrity guests to help young people create virtual identities." (The Guardian) Yes, yes, Salma Hayek, George Clooney and Richard Gere were also attendees at an education conference at the Vatican. But the notable appearances were made by 12 YouTubers, including Louise Pentland, a British videomaker behind the Sprinkle of Glitter channel. Francis apparently really likes her beauty and fashion clips. Peace be with you, fashion bloggers.
“I am glad that you carry out the type of work you said, following the line of beauty, it’s a great thing. To preach beauty and show beauty helps neutralize aggression,” said the pope, sharing a table and laughing along with the video bloggers.
What's this all mean? "I am fascinated how he gets, on so many fronts, that he has to and can open the public mind to challenge rigid ideas as the condition for any welcome change in dogma, policy or relationships," says Colin Greer an educator-author who runs the New York-based New World Foundation. "I don't think we have had leaders like that for a long while. His understanding of the media as a channel to greater humanity is as powerful as Trump's cynical barbarity. It's the global community ideal that's been with us since TV. For him (Francis) social media adds a prosthetic reach to the beloved community."
For Trump it's a blowtorch to mock, even incinerate, not-so-beloved targets of his free-floating animus.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asked about Edward Snowden during David Axelrod's "Axe Files" podcast, said, "We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made." (CNN) New York Times reporter James Risen, who was threatened with prison in a leak investigation by Holder's Justice Department," tweeted, "Hypocrisy: Eric Holder investigated and prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other Attorney General in history." (@RealJamesRisen)
Gorilla for breakfast
Could the start of World War III ever knock out the presidential campaign as a cable news morning topic? It's unclear. But a ruckus over the killing of a gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo prevailed for a bit on Fox, MSNBC and CNN this morning. "OUTRAGE GROWS OVER KILLING OF GORILLA," declared "Fox and Friends," while MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski segued from telling viewers about her hosting a graduation-birthday party for 30 18-year-olds to wondering "what you all (colleagues) think of this zoo story. It's not really us."
Well, for a few minutes it was. She was for killing the animal, though not "the massive crazy chickens" she was herding at the party. At CNN, a legal commentator, Mel Robbins, scoffed at the notion that the zoo had messed up, while Jeff Corwin, host of ABC's "Ocean Mysteries," noted how a tranquilizer dart would have still taken 10 minutes or so. But don't blame the parent, either, he said. After a couple of commercial breaks, it was back to Trump's purported vice presidential short list.
Kicking the tires on Gawker
"Nick Denton’s embattled and legally challenged media empire has reached out to possible acquirers of the 13-year-old business — and several have expressed interest." Among those said to be checking it out are Penske Media and Vox Media. (New York Post)
More questions for Trump
Merrill Brown, a former full-time reporter-editor who also launched MSNBC.com, is director of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. He saw our Friday item with Steve Brill advising on seven questions to ask Trump. Well, he now offers these:
-How do you go about doing due diligence on properties you are developing licensing relationships with or invest in? How much diligence did you do on the vitamin company you put your name on?
-What would you like voters to understand about how your business strategies and experience apply to running the federal government? What have you learned about bankruptcies and U.S. bankruptcy law and procedures that would inform how you'd govern?
-What is the relationship between your views on trade policy and your experience in manufacturing clothes and other items in markets like China? How will those experiences be reflected in how you would govern?
The Economist and Donna Summer
Or maybe Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor of the Economist, means more updated stuff, like Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding. “We don’t want to be the grandpa at the disco,” said the first female editor in its 173-year history. "When she arrived there was just a single social media staffer, now there are nine; seven in the UK and one each in North America and Asia." (The Guardian)
Necessities of the media future
What will media companies need to survive? (Recode) Tony Halie, the former CEO of Chartbeat, advises the following steps:
-The quantifiable differentiation of its brand.
-Maximizing the percentage of its audience with which it has a direct relationship.
-Growing the number of platforms from which it secures meaningful audience.
Decline in Facebook interactions
There's been a decline in "total engagements (likes + comments + shares) on web content (not native video) for the top ten English language Facebook publishers each month, from summer 2015 to April 2016." (Newswhip) The drop isn't seemingly limited to a particular species of interaction. "Likes, the dominant engagement type, saw a 55% decline for the top 10 sites combined from July 2015 to April 2016. Shares fell by 57%, and comments by almost 64%." Native video, by contrast, is heading skyward.
Elizabeth Smart, campus rape analyst for Fox TV show
Remember Smart, the then-14-year-old in Salt Lake City who was kidnapped and raped during a nine-month ordeal in 2002-2003? Now the Brigham Young University alum has covered "sexual assault at BYU for her first story as a correspondent for Crime Watch Daily. (Mediaite) No surprise, she touched upon her own experiences. (Jezebel)
Fabulous internet opportunities! (wink-wink)
"Do you have a crippling mental illness or substance abuse problem that would make you virtually unemployable in any conventional office setting? You might think that’s a detriment, and truth be told, it normally is, but in the world of Internet Publishing, you can work from the comfort of your own home or parent’s home. We appreciate that our employees aren’t your typical office drones. You’re colorful. You’re writers!" (McSweeney's)
Playing the D.C. influence game
"In 2011, a respected anti-counterfeiting coalition in Washington escalated its fight against the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, saying its websites served as a 24-hour market 'for counterfeiters and pirates' and should be blacklisted." Oops. "...The same lobbying group, the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, reversed its position" and Alibaba became a big bucks partner of the group. Its founder, Jack Ma, was invited to its spring conference in Orlando, Florida. (The Associated Press)
The AP's is a "tale of how one of China's corporate giants won — and ultimately lost — a friend in Washington, using legal methods long deployed by corporate America: money and influence. But those time-honored tools weren't enough to defuse the deep loathing that has greeted one of communist China's greatest capitalist success stories."
Trump attacks judge
To his chagrin, a judge has ordered internal documents from Trump University forked over as part of ongoing litigation. (The Washington Post) Of course, Trump badmouthed the judge. He said the guy “happens to be, we believe, Mexican" and called him a “hater of Donald Trump.” I contacted Steve Brill, who's written extensively about Trump University, about what folks should look for once documents surface. If it's just a matter of the university "playbook" being disclosed, Brill's already covered the sum and substance in a piece he did for TIME. (TIME) But one thing to look for, if it surfaces, is a deposition regarding this, says Brill: why Trump promised in his pitches for the University that his goal was to “give something back,” and that it was meant to be a charity, but he organized it as a for-profit LLC and wrote checks and wire transfers from the LLC to himself for five million dollars.
Journalists getting rich off big oil
The oil industry, like journalism, is not the easiest place to make money these days. So there were some double-takes when a U.S. investment firm bought Argus Media, a London-based firm that reports commodities prices, for $1.4 billion and in the process made millionaires out of some journalists there. (The Economist)
What if reporters couldn't ask "If" questions
Martin Nolan covered, count 'em, nine presidential campaigns for The Boston Globe. In an op-ed today, he notes how at FDR's first presidential press conference he said, “There will be a great many questions that I won’t answer,” including “questions you will ask that I do not know enough about to answer.” But those plying the campaign reporting trade today, they might be taken about by his declaring he would answer "if" questions. "No 'if' questions? Today, some 24-hour television channels would go dark. Politicians could help television and themselves by imitating the man who won the White House four times." (The Boston Globe)
In the belly of the digital beast
Gawker's Denton, who doesn't have a big Silicon Valley fan club, will be at a bit tech gathering, the Code Conference, on Thursday. It starts Tuesday Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (Recode) You'll probably hear the name, "Hulk Hogan." And Denton being asked if....oh, maybe we should dispense with "if" questions, at least for the day.
Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
Jennifer Hardy will be news director for WWSB in Sarasota, Florida. Previously, she was news director at WAAY in Huntsville, Alabama. Steve Sabato is now director of development and community engagement at WAAY. Previously, he was news director there. (Rick Gevers) | Job of the day: The Raleigh News & Observer is looking for a publisher. Get your resumes in! (Poynter Media Jobs Connection) | Send Ben your job moves: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: A previous version of this column misspelled "McSweeney's."