The press and pop music mesh at town halls

Good morning.

  1. Campaign talkfests continue
    It was dueling town halls again Thursday, with both sharper than the two the night before. It was Clinton vs. Sanders on MSNBC-Telemundo and Kasich vs. Bush vs. Trump on CNN. Chuck Todd (especially) and Jose Diaz-Balart were a significant improvement over colleagues Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who hosted what was more an infomercial than interrogation of Trump on Wednesday.

    MSNBC-Telemundo's town hall in Nevada was policy heavy, including both candidates dodging taking sides in the tricky Apple dispute with the federal government over iPhone encryption. (BuzzFeed). Meanwhile, the Anderson Cooper-led CNN confab in South Carolina included his mixing the pointed with the puffy. Preferred music? John Kasich said he loved Pink Floyd's "The Wall" concert. "If you've never seen 'The Wall,'" he started to say, prompting congenial Anderson to interrupt, "It's the best concert ever." So there's something for media and media-bashing politicians to agree on. That and Anderson announcing, "I'm a complete introvert. It's very strange I'm on television." Tune in next town hall for more true confessions.

    This might have been our first debate or town hall in which the Pulitzer Prizes were invoked. Asked about high rates of violence against women, Kasich noted his endorsement that day by The Post and Courier in Charleston. (Post and Courier) He then mentioned how a reporter there had shown him to the wall (yes, another wall) where they've got their Pulitzer Prize won last year for a series on domestic violence. Now if we can just figure out how to get, say, Trump to mention the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for broadcast and digital journalism or Clinton to cite a winner of the National Magazine Awards.

  2. Imagine Tina Fey playing YOU
    Now at The New York Times, Kim Barker was a terrific Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent and then-colleague of mine who covered the war in Afghanistan and wrote a droll book, "The Taliban Shuffle." It's been turned into a movie with Fey playing Barker. "But it’s Hollywood, right? She’s out there with bombs going off in front of her. My experience was not nearly so dramatic. I was not as brave a reporter in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the character Kim Baker [all names were changed] is in the movie. I’m more of a chicken." (CJR)
  3. BuzzFeed's pursuit for planetary domination
    By the reckoning of comScore, the Nielsens of the online world, BuzzFeed has an audience of 80 million people per month. Pretty impressive. Now BuzzFeed argues that you've got to consider everybody taking a peek beyond its website, including its aggressive use of Instagram posts, Snapchat, Facebook Instant Articles, etc. Throw all that in and it figures an audience of 400 million. (Re/code) The existing norm of "unique visitors," it argues, is moth-eaten (ah, the pace of change!). Fine. Let's just see if it can convince advertisers.
  4. The world's best photos (supposedly)
    Last year's World Press Photo contest saw tons of folks disqualified for allegedly untoward manipulation of shots. It prompted a new ethics code. So this year brought 82,951 photos entered by 5,775 photographers from 128 countries. And winners are...OK, I'll just give you the best in show: It's "Hope for a New Life" by Australian Warren Richardson and shows "a baby being passed through a fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border in Röszke, Hungary, on August 28th, 2015." (PetaPixel)
  5. Seeking fountain of digital youth
    Advertisers crave youth, so digital publishers may bend rules to claim as big and youthful an audience as possible." "The reason is simple: Many media plans have an arbitrary cutoff point for participating publishers. So publishers need to show big numbers." But this can wind up rewarding some numerical hocus pocus as publishers "package other independent sites into their comScore audience number." (Digiday) Variety recently explained how Vice Media plays the game. (Variety)
  6. Serial tweeter Rupert chides Donald
    So Donald, as Joe Scarborough reflexively calls him, moaned on MSNBC's town hall the other night about polling. In particular, he claimed that his Wall Street Journal poll numbers are lower than they should be due to "someone" there who doesn't like him. This prompted billionaire tweeter Rupert Murdoch, who owns the joint, to draw his rather active digital sword. "Trump blames me for WSJ poll, fights FoxNews. Time to calm down. If I running anti-Trump conspiracy then doing lousy job!" (@rupertmurdoch)
  7. No B.S. counsel on tweeting
    Chris Geidner is a journalist-turned-lawyer-turned journalist who is the legal editor at BuzzFeed. He's got unvarnished counsel for journalists using Twitter. "Something I strongly advocate is that the point of Twitter is to be yourself. We are many moons beyond creating a separate online persona," he tells the Society of Professional Journalists. "That is dumb. Your online persona is just your persona. People have tried, like politicians, and you don’t get away with it. Most people don’t like that. Unless you’re an asshole and just going to be a jerk on Twitter. Then maybe you should just have a very professional, pre-screened Twitter account." (SPJ)
  8. Latest Bloomberg news (from Wall Street Journal)
    A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that Michael Bloomberg "would win only 16% of the vote in a three-way presidential race among the former New York mayor, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders." One assumes a race against those two is the only hypothetical that might get him into a race. (The Wall Street Journal) When I checked's political site last night, there were eight stories on polls, including the larger Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. But there was no mention of the angle involving the company boss, seemingly keeping with the straitjacket it imposes on itself in covering the company or the boss.
  9. How the media deploys its resources
    Next week brings the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, a human meat market where college players strut their stuff before team officials, including being tested for speed, strength and everything else you can imagine. (NFL) Last night Hub Arkush, publisher of Pro Football Weekly, was interviewing Dave Wannstedt, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears, on Chicago sports radio's WSCR-AM (I was in the car with two kids who wanted Hits 1 on SiriusXM and I'm Taylor Swifted out). During the interview, Arkush recalled how 20 years ago there were perhaps a few dozen reporters who showed up. Next week? There will be 1,200 credentialed media. Yes, 1,200 journalists watching kids run a 40-yard dash, bench press 225 pounds, do vertical jumps, do broad jumps and take part in the "3 cone drill," whatever that might be. Imagine how you might otherwise use some of those resources. Have a good weekend.
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Marie-Amélie Sauvé is now fashion director at T Magazine. Previously, she was a freelance senior accessory editor at (Email) | Lauren Covello is now editor at Fortune Venture. Previously, she was managing editor of Polina Marinova is now deputy editor at Fortune Venture. Previously, she was audience engagement editor at Fortune magazine. (Talking Biz News) | Job of the day: NBC Boston is looking for a producer. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

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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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