March 8, 2016

Good morning.

  1. How USA TODAY reporter “spoiled” farewell fawning
    Peyton Manning was asked 10 questions at his retirement press conference, with nine predictably reverential and generally banal. But USA TODAY sports reporter Lindsay Jones courteously inquired about sexual harassment allegations that have resurfaced and date to his college days. The famously organized quarterback, whose advisers include former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, referenced “Forrest Gump” as part of a clearly premeditated response as he made eye contact with Jones. “…And so this is a joyous day, and it’s a special day, and like Forrest Gump said, that’s all I have to say about that.”

    There was laughter in the room. Presumably folks thought the rather lame Gump line to be funny. The laughs elicited a quick condemnation in a column by Jones’ Washington-based colleague, Christine Brennan, who’s chided sports media for giving only modest attention to the harassment allegations. (USA TODAY)

    What then ensued for Jones was not the least bit funny. In a phone chat last night, she told me that she was bombarded with sexist, nasty and X-rated hate emails and tweets. Many said she was on a witch hunt, just trying to make a name for herself. “I pride myself on being fair and accurate, so that was frustrating.” Ultimately, she turned off her “notifications” on Tweetdeck. “I couldn’t keep up with them; the majority were very ugly, horrible, hateful, disgusting.” There were some nice mentions, too, but mostly from other journalists. As for the initial press conference coverage from ESPN, it was a fawning homage to Manning. (Poynter) Only much later did ESPN include any on-air reference to Jones’ questions. This morning its online story buries the matter in the final paragraphs (ESPN), placing far less emphasis on it than some others. (The New York Times) Jones’ was very much an appropriate question to ask, even if it briefly pierced an air of adulation.

  2. Erin Andrews awarded $55 million
    The jury verdict came in her stalker case against a hotel and a slimeball insurance executive who took video through a peephole. (NBC Sports) The slimeball followed her to multiple hotels and also videotaped other women. (Atlanta Journal Constitution) “The question now is will an appellate court knock it down and if so by how much. Now that the parties have been held accountable, perhaps she will also gain some closure from the ordeal that began in 2008.” (Law Newz)
  3. Bloomberg confirms the obvious
    There was a snowball’s chance that Michael Bloomberg would run for president. But his consideration of a third-party candidacy got attention, if not much from Bloomberg News, which finds itself in a straitjacket when it comes to essentially not covering the company or its leader. It finally gave ample coverage to the topic yesterday, but it was a story forced by his writing an op-ed he wrote for, yes, Bloomberg View. (Bloomberg) He said the country’s in need of leadership but “when I look at the data,” it’s clear he couldn’t win. He is, after all, a man who has gotten very rich off data.
  4. How Trump shafted his own aides
    It was essentially a clip job, but Crain’s Chicago Business put together how Trump reneged on condo discounts at his namesake tower in Chicago. The deals were “our way of thanking you for your continued hard work,” underscored a letter to the buyers at the time. Despite his promoting his image as shrewd dealmaker, this saga “underscores his darker reputation as a bullying businessman willing to back out of deals and trash the competition when it’s convenient.” (Crain’s)
  5. The New York Times tries to avoid ad blocking
    It’s now trying to figure out, too, how to avoid revenue losses as consumers turn to ad blocking gambits. (Poynter) It’s checking out “various approaches” to deal with ad-blocking technology and will test things out with “a relatively small population of subscribers and non-subscribers.” For example, it will ask some ad blocking users “to either exempt the Times’ website from it through a process known as ‘whitelisting,’ or to sign up for a digital subscription.” (Ad Age) This comes as a trade group publishes a “guide for publishers groping to respond” to ad-blocking software. (Ad Age)
  6. Rubio campaign rebuts CNN
    “New Indecision Inside Rubio Campaign” heralded CNN, suggesting that he might actually get out before the Florida primary lest he get embarrassed in his home state. Alex Conant, Rubio’s communications director, called the story by CNN’s Jamie Gangel nonsense. Conant raced to CNN’s Washington bureau to tell Blitzer to “stop reporting that fiction on air.” Blitzer was stoic but conceded that polling shows Rubio closing a gap with Trump. (CNN) Are there advisers who had broached the topic? It’s conceivable. Is that a story? That’s debatable.
  7. Snapchat’s $16 billion valuation
    It seems goofy, but investors are going along in part due to a perception of sharp growth, or at least the perception of expected sharp growth. “Snapchat is targeting between $300 million and $350 million in revenue in 2016, according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. That’s six or seven times the $50 million in revenue Snapchat projected last year.” (Re/code)
  8. The leviathan of social media
    “First, news publishers have lost control over distribution. Social media and platform companies took over what publishers couldn’t have built even if they wanted to. Now the news is filtered through algorithms and platforms which are opaque and unpredictable…Second, the inevitable outcome of this is the increase in power of social media companies.” (CJR)
  9. Bad numbers for ComScore
    The digital world may rely on ComScore’s audience numbers, but Wall Street isn’t depending on its financial numbers. Its stock plummeted 34 percent after “potential accounting matters” that led to postponing the filing of its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (The Wrap)
  10. Hulk Hogan and sex with his friend’s wife
    “Pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan testified Monday that his former best buddy, shock jock Bubba ‘The Love Sponge’ Clem, really, really, really wanted him to have sex with his then-wife Heather. So much so it was a regular topic of conversation. But you know, what else are friends for?” (Law Newz) Hogan is suing Gawker Media for running a portion of his sex tape with Heather Clem.

  11. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Justin Montanino will run New York magazine’s new branded content studio. Previously, he was director of development for branded content at Fusion. (Ad Age) | Job of the day: Poynter is looking for an interactive learning producer. Get your resumes in! (Poynter Media Jobs Connection) | Send Ben your job moves:

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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.…
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