Morning Mediawire: What we saw at the Oscars, plus interesting reads from the weekend

Category: Newsletters

If you didn’t stay up to watch all of the Oscars last night, you probably do know after glancing at your smartphone that “The Shape of Water” was the big winner, with four awards. Not everyone was convinced it should have been, however:

Get out

At least there was no mix-up this year, though people clearly still hadn’t forgotten about it when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway reprised their Best Picture presentation:

Beatty tweet

The 90th edition of the awards were largely orderly and — dare we say it — a bit yawn-inducing as the night wore on. (Apparently no one was serious about winning the personal watercraft being given away for the shortest acceptance speech, though “Phantom Threads” design winner Mark Bridges took it home at the end of the show.)

The most rousing moment of the night came courtesy of Frances McDormand, who set her Oscar on the stage and then asked all of the women nominees of the night to stand in solidarity. She urged action, not talk, and ended her speech with two words: “inclusion rider.” Which of course a lot of people on the room grasped, but not so much people watching:


Here’s a short look at some of the other things that caught our attention throughout the night:

  • Vox noted that the montage devoted to the #MeToo movement was way too polite and missed an opportunity to shine a light on the abuse that’s gone on in Hollywood’s system for so many years.

  • Tiffany Haddish's and Maya Rudolph's take on “white people with clipboards” deserved every bit of love it got on Twitter.

  • A DACA shout-out: ““We’re dreamers. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America,” Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani said during the introduction of a design award. They added, “to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.”

  • Host Jimmy Kimmel directly mentioned Harvey Weinstein and urged Hollywood to finally get its act together on workplace harassment. “The world is watching us. We need to set an example. The truth is if we are successful, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time every other place they go.”

  • The night had several firsts, captured here by Time.

  • Who were all of those people standing on stage as Common and Andra Day performed the nominated song “Stand Up for Something” from the movie “Marshall?” The Academy provided the answer:


  • The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman says Hollywood’s necessary battles weren’t fought on the red carpet. “Hollywood has deep, serious work to do in changing — but that work must be done at the level of its power structure. Women and people of color need to take their place at the levers of decision-making.”

  • Even before the statuettes, cartoonist Nate Beeler of the Columbus Dispatch figured out why this year was different.


BEHIND THE NEWS: Research skills lead librarian to national reporting for NBC News

Journalism is better off that Brandy Zadrozny wanted to move on from her job at the Burlington (Vermont) Public Library.

Brandy ZFor the past five years, she’s been a senior reporter and research at The Daily Beast, uncovering facts about Russia’s meddling in America, Eric Trump’s wacky charity, Vice’s rampant harassment, the secret life of a pro-Trump school shooter. Now the Tampa native again is moving on to NBC News as a national reporter, taking her specialized skills to an even bigger audience.

“My mission on the Reference Desk is the same as it is now. To inform the public that is hungry for answers to their questions,” says Zadrozny, just one of many news researchers to play key roles in Trump-era scoops. “At the Reference Desk it was, ‘What is the capital of Montana?’ And now, it’s: ‘Who is this person who is being retweeted by our president?’ … or, ‘Who is the person who runs the Internet Research Agency?’”

Please read here for the entire interview. But first, here are the other media stories you need to know today.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF KILLING JOURNALISTS: The assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia will “dramatically” affect Malta’s position in the World Press Freedom index, says Reporters Without Borders. “I intend to tell the world more about the worrying climate in Malta, because ultimately it is this climate that allowed Daphne to get murdered and these very serious issues need to be addressed before another journalist gets killed,” says Rebecca Vincent, director of the organization’s London bureau. Malta is currently ranked 47th in the press freedom index, between Romania and Botswana. Ten people have been arrested in the car-bombing in October of Caruana Galizia, who was investigating high-level corruption in the Mediterranean island nation.

BEYOND ALEXA: Voice-activated streaming, already a $2 billion business, could grow 20-fold by 2022, USA Today’s Charisse Jones reports. "We really see this as the next big disruptive play in U.S. retail,’’ Jones quotes John Franklin, associate partner at OC&C, as saying. Franklin’s company surveyed 1,500 smart-speaker owners in December.

PROMOTED: Grant Moise, hired a year ago as general manager of the Dallas Morning News, will become publisher, the newspaper announced. He replaces Jim Moroney, who will continue to serve as board chairman, president and chief executive of parent company A. H. Belo Corporation.

INFOWARS: Alex Jones has been accused of anti-Semitism, racism and sexual harassment in EEOC complaints. One employee, in his complaint, said he was referred to as “The Resident Jew,” believed Jones was grooming him for homosexual sex. A second employee said he grabbed her butt and said: “Who wouldn’t want to have a black wife?”

ASKING TOO MUCH? Journalists looking for jobs are being asked to take increasingly complex editing tests, sometimes working up to 20 hours on a single application (without pay, no less). Columbia Journalism Review wonders if all of that testing is necessary.

THE SIMPSONS FACTOR: The animated cultural icons are ubiquitous, but this might possibly be the first time we know of that their GIFs have been used to explain steel tariffs.  

A LOT OF WORK …: went into this piece of explanatory journalism investigating the dimensions of NPR’s so-called “tiny desk” used in its concert series.  All we’ve got to say is that some people have too much time on their hands.

WHAT TWO PEOPLE CAN DO: Kevin Rothrock and Anna Veduta run some of the best reporting on Russia. Their English-language site, Meduza, a branch of a bigger, Latvian-based Russian-language site, has 100,000 readers monthly. They include academics, students and lawmakers in the United States and Europe, Veduta tells Nieman Lab’s Shan Wang.

What we found interesting this weekend

TIGHT WRITING: What does it take to buy a gun in 15 countries? This is an interesting graphic look from the New York Times. Here’s an example:


JACKPOT! This story about a retired Michigan couple who found a way to game the lottery system reads like a suspense novel. Written by Jason Fagone for HuffPost’s Highline section, it is so rich in detail that you’ll marvel over the mind-boggling numbers: “Lottery terminals in convenience stores could print only 10 slips of paper at a time, with up to 10 lines of numbers on each slip (at $1 per line), which meant that if you wanted to bet $100,000 on Winfall, you had to stand at a machine for hours upon hours, waiting for the machine to print 10,000 tickets.” Also: “Counting $70,000 in tickets took a full 10 days, working 10 hours a day.” It’s a magazine length piece, so set aside some time to savor it. 

A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT: A photo of a young black girl gazing up at the newly revealed official portrait of Michelle Obama had everyone crying. The story behind the photo, published by BuzzFeed, is just as satisfying and worth a look.


EVERYONE’S ASKING THIS QUESTION: How did the Parkland students who started a movement for gun control accomplish so much in so little a time span? Slate answers: Their public school trained them for it. It’s a deeper look at the type of comprehensive education that some — but not all — students are receiving in public schools.

RELATED: Don’t rush to praise companies who seek to burnish PR credentials with a post-Parkland move against gun sales or NRA partnerships. There’s usually a catch, writes veteran business editor Heidi Moore.

HE’S STILL HELPING: Philando Castile used to buy school lunches for kids who couldn't pay. Now a charity in his name has raised enough to wipe out lunch debt for all kids in the slain school employee’s Minnesota district.

New on

  • Why did USA Today give a platform to a conspiracy theorist who just got banned from YouTube?

  • Snopes decided to fact-check a satirical story about a giant CNN washing machine. Then came the Facebook firestorm.

  • In our WriteLane podcast, award-winning writer Lane DeGregory explores songwriting for inspiration.

  • Facebook’s new algorithms don’t appear to be having a major effect on posts shared by fact-checkers, according to our study of the data.

Poynter in action

Today, several faculty members from the Institute are in New York for a gathering titled Women’s Leadership Symposium. It’s an all-day event featuring noted women leaders from throughout the media industry. Those scheduled to speak include:

  • Dana Canedy, Pulitzer Prizes administrator

  • Candi Carter, executive producer of “The View” on ABC

  • Roberta Kaplan, founder of Kaplan & Co.

  • Marcy McGinnis, former senior vice president of CBS News, Al Jazeera America

  • Olivia Metzger, principal, OManagement

  • Rachel Schallom, newsroom project manager for the Wall Street Journal

  • Andrea Schneider, law professor at Marquette University Law School

  • Fara Warner, former vice president of custom content for Dow Jones and Co.

Poynter faculty members Kelly McBride and Indira Lakshmanan will help lead sessions on topics such as negotiating a salary, breaking through the glass ceiling and dealing with legal issues related to sexual harassment, among others.

A second symposium is scheduled for March 30 in Los Angeles. You can sign up to attend here.

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