July 31, 2018

October swing through western states follows 7-week bus tour in 2017

The Huffington Post is hitting the road again, minus the bus, for events in six cities ahead of the November elections — and has released excerpts of 300 of the 1,700 one-on-one interviews it did on a 25-city national tour last fall.

The site's journalists learned a ton from voters during their face-to-face bus tour last year, executive editor Hillary Frey says ahead of today’s announcement.

What Frey learned: 1) How open people were to sharing their issues, which often connected to something personal in their lives; and 2) How free the conversations were, unlike the gotcha, overly partisan, minute-by-minute, mano-a-mano timbre of political Twitter.

The tour experience left her unsurprised by the tone of the successful primary campaign of underdog Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who rarely spoke of Trump but focused on concrete measures to help people now and in the future.

This year’s two-week October tour will hit cities in five western states: Boise, Idaho; Boulder, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; and Sacramento and San Diego in California. Each stop features key local, state or congressional races and was picked in consultation with the HuffPost political team. Unlike the bus tour, this will focus on events instead of the one-to-one interviews.

HuffPost's Hillary Frey
Hillary Frey

HuffPost is seeking local news and institutional partners, including universities or libraries, for tour stops, Frey says. Venues on the 2017 tour included historic sites like the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

The western swing follows a grassroots venture by HuffPost UK, which temporarily moved its entire 45-member newsroom to the undercovered British city of Birmingham in early July.

Also debuting Tuesday: The archival site featuring voters’ comments on the bus tour, categorized by topic. Although the comments are nearly a year old, they feel fresh, Frey says, particularly because none of the big issues that voters mentioned last year — such as racism, education, safety or affordable housing — have been solved.

Among HuffPost’s other midterm election rollouts: an original video series for Twitter. “Crash The Party” will focus on what it’s like to be a woman running for office this year.

Quick hits

REPORTING ON THE BOSS: Anna Werner took the straightforward approach on "CBS This Morning" on allegations involving CBS CEO Les Moonves and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager. Hours later, CBS announced that Moonves will remain as CEO while an outside investigation is conducted.

NOT THE FIRST TIME: The Washington Post’s Amy Brittain noted that CBS also announced May 3 an investigation into the network’s workplace culture after The Post’s story on disgraced "CBS This Morning" host Charlie Rose. The network said it was going to get to the bottom of the accusations that Rose had harassed 14 women at the network. Since then, not a peep, Brittain tweeted Monday.

FORMATION AT VOGUE: Anna Wintour is basically turning over her last issue to Beyoncé, reports Yashar Ali. The music icon already has made a striking move, hiring the first black photographer to shoot a cover in the publication’s 126-year history.  

SUNRISE IN COLORADO: Even before posting its first story, the Colorado Sun is attracting people who want to sign up, and it is promising to cover uncovered stories around the state. The site, to be produced primarily by former staffers of the shrinking Denver Post, raised more than $160,000 from readers and has seed funding from Civil, a media startup funding journalism through cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. By Poynter's Taylor Blatchford.

THE NUMBERS: Newsroom employment dropped 23 percent in the past decade, with digital gains not fully offsetting the 45 percent drop in newspaper editorial employment. From Elizabeth Grieco at the Pew Research Center.

THE MOVE TOWARD UNIONS: More traditionally aligned with Hollywood, the Writers Guild is making union inroads in journalism at the same time that news outlets are looking toward Hollywood for video and film revenue, writes Anna Heyward for CJR.

LONGEVITY: Carl Bernstein “is not a careerist — he’s a gigantic fire hose of boyish enthusiasm,” says Tim O’Brien, Bloomberg View editor (and a Trump biographer). Bernstein, 45 years after Watergate, is in the middle of the Trump-Russia reporting as well, writes Margaret Sullivan.

D-DAY: The Commerce Department has until Wednesday to make a ruling that will have huge effects for the suffering U.S. newspaper industry: Will the United States end or extend a tariff that may increase the cost of Canadian newsprint up to 30 percent? By Joseph Spector for USA Today.

WHY WAIT FOR THE EMMYS OR OSCARS?: Vulture will be making a weekly awards show for TruTV.

What we’re reading

‘QUIET SKIES’: That’s the name of a previously undisclosed surveillance initiative revealed over the weekend by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team. Federal air marshals have begun following ordinary U.S. citizens not suspected of a crime and not on any terrorist watch list, collecting extensive information about their movements and behavior under the new domestic surveillance program, Jana Winter writes.

DEMOGRAPHIC SHOCK: Is fear short-circuiting logic in American politics? Vox’s Ezra Klein says the Trump reaction to Obama was pronounced in places that had rapid demographic change.

On Poynter.org

A footnote, in verse:

Gui Minhai, a bookseller kidnapped and held by China for more than 1,000 days, was profiled Monday by the Washington Post's Fred Hiatt. In confinement, Minhai has turned to poetry, including "Heroism," reprinted here with permission:


When I was young, I cared for a cute little chicken

in the time of my childhood it laid an egg

an egg that shone toward the sun’s light

with a round, round yolk inside its shell


I took this egg with me everywhere

and made many yolk-yellow drawings

when even the moon was curved with exhaustion

I dreamed dreams as round as a yolk


Only when a pair of boots trampled my egg

did I know how frail an eggshell is

the forlorn, helpless yolk on the ground

the egg white flowing out like tears


A bare chicken egg is so weak

after the yolk had been ravaged

I curled into a ball, surrendered the egg’s genetic code

and admitted I really was a duck egg


I burn to my end in the red-hot pan

only because I have this humble notion:

once I’m fried into a fat omelette

a hero’s death will be wrapped inside me


That’s it for us today.

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Got a tip, a link, a suggestion, maybe a poem? We’re trying to make this roundup better every day. Please email me at dbeard@poynter.org or find me on Twitter at @dabeard.

Have a great Tuesday.


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