What do you know? An entertaining Super Bowl

February 5, 2018
Category: Newsletters

How about the start of those Winter Olympics?!

Oops, sorry, we were so enthralled with all those NBC promos for the Games that we almost forgot about THE game. And what a game it was: a rollercoaster of scoring, one-upmanship and acrobatic catches that ended only when a hail Mary pass from Tom Brady to the end zone landed on the turf as time expired. Eagles 41, Patriots 33. But you knew that already.

So let's get to the stories that you'll hear people talking about today.

Minor controversy: Pink had been battling the flu as she stepped up to the mic for the national anthem. Would she be able to hit her notes? Yes, mostly. Would any players kneel? Of course not. However, was that gum that Pink took out of her mouth and threw on the field before she sang? Nope:


Major controversy: The Ram truck commercial that used a Martin Luther King Jr. speech drew instant outrage from social media.

Instant celebrity: Ryan McKenna was all of us as he fumbled to turn his camera on in time for a selfie with Justin Timberlake as the singer headed toward him. He was scheduled to appear this morning on Good Morning America.

How'd Justin do?: Social media had been abuzz earlier that Timberlake was going to desecrate the memory of Minneapolis icon Prince by appearing with a hologram of the late star. (Something Prince fans say he would never have approved of.) Instead, he opted for the singer's image on a large billowing canvas. Deadline.com had this not-so-favorable review.

This won't get old for Philly fans: Tom Brady could only say "losing sucks" so many times.

Tide is on a roll: The laundry detergent had a spot in every quarter and was seemingly everywhere. Here's a closer look at the strategy behind it.

It wasn't a nuclear missile scare, but …: Viewers were left with a blank screen at one point during the game. CNN's Brian Stelter reports that NBC said it was a technical glitch and that no commercials were skipped. Kudos to the sharp HuffPost social media poster for this: 


And finally: Here's the obligatory look at the front pages from the teams' respective cities:



Quick hits

YOUTUBE’S ALGORITHM PROBLEM: The Guardian has a fascinating piece on YouTube algorithms and how they are promoting distorted content in its “Up next” queue. It based much of its story on a former YouTube engineer, Guillaume Chaslot, who explains a bit about how the system works. He built his own program to track the algorithms.

An excerpt: “When his program found a seed video by searching the query ‘who is Michelle Obama?’ and then followed the chain of ‘up next” suggestions, for example, most of the recommended videos said she ‘is a man.’ More than 80% of the YouTube-recommended videos about the pope detected by his program described the Catholic leader as ‘evil,’ ‘satanic’ or ‘the anti-Christ.’ There were literally millions of videos uploaded to YouTube to satiate the algorithm’s appetite for content claiming the earth is flat. 'On YouTube, fiction is outperforming reality,' ” Chaslot says.

SHOWN THE DOOR: The New York Daily News has fired two top editors after reports of sexual harassment. Managing editor Rob Moore and Sunday editor Alexander “Doc” Jones are out, owner Tronc confirmed to HuffPost late last week.

THAT MEMO: You’ve probably read 50 different takes on the Devin Nunes memo by now. We liked this smartly annotated one by the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake. Here’s an excerpt:

1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application.

Blake’s take: This point is central to the GOP’s argument — and it’s very much in dispute. … Expect plenty of heated debate over this sentence.

The New York Times also did a blow by blow, so take your pick.

AND THE WINNER WAS: The Daily Beast, which had noted Sean Hannity’s influence over President Trump before the memo’s release, had this edifying piece quoting CNN media critic Brian Stelter: "This week, Sean Hannity won and the rest of America lost."

TURMOIL IN L.A.: For those jumping in and out of the L.A. Times saga, this piece by CNN’s Dylan Byars gets right to the point: What the hell happened? His opening: “After years of painful, protracted decline, the Los Angeles Times has recently descended into chaos: There have been three editors-in-chief in less than six months; the publisher has been put on leave for prior sexual harassment allegations; and the newly unionized staff already fears that the owner is trying to bust up their union.”

NEW EDITOR: Medium, the website for self-published pieces that recently enacted a paywall, has named Siobhan O’Connor, a veteran of Time Inc., as its new editor. Joe Pompeo writes in Vanity Fair: “O’Connor and a small team of editors will focus largely on doing stories and commissioning paid writers to build out Medium’s membership program, as well as finding the best stories from Medium’s user-base to promote.”

A CODE FOR PHOTO SHOOTS: After many allegations of sexual wrongdoing against Condé Nast collaborators Mario Testino and Bruce Weber came to light, the company has come out with a code of conduct, which New York Magazine’s The Cut describes. Among them: “Any shoot that involves nudity, simulated drug or alcohol use, or sexually suggestive poses must be approved by the model in advance. No shoot participant may be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. All models must also be provided a private dressing space.”

CoverGAMES-READY: The New York Times Magazine published its Winter Olympics preview, with stories, photos and essays about the 15 sports featured in the Games, which open in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Friday. The headline typography is a little challenging to the eye, but the photos are stunning, including this photo essay on skier Lindsey Vonn’s workout. 


News boxARE WE READY FOR THIS?: Speaking of the Olympics, it’s probably a good bet that the approach of the Games kicked into high gear an effort by the Times to launch its augmented reality technology. The announcement was only a little hyperbolic: “Something profound has happened to your camera." So we tried it (left), using the newspaper box example they had preloaded to place it in our newsroom space at Poynter. We have to admit, it was very cool to walk around the box (even if our co-workers gave us funny looks). It’ll be interesting to see how it works during the Olympics, when they tout that readers will be to “see an Olympic figure skater suspended at the peak of a quadruple jump as if he were floating in your living room.”

BILD POWER STRUGGLE: Tanit Koch, the first female editor of Bild, the popular German tabloid, has stepped down, reports The New York Times. Her departure as top editor of Bild, owned by Axel Springer, the German publishing giant, comes just slightly over two years after she was named editor. At issue, says the Times, "was a dispute between Ms. Koch, 40, and Julian Reichelt, who heads all Bild titles."

ANATOMY OF "THE LIST:" The New York Times' Jaclyn Peiser has a write-through of the origin and consequences of the Shitty Media Men List, which we now know was compiled by journalist Moira Donegan. It's worth a read, and includes this bit at the end: "Like so many big ideas, Ms. Donegan’s spreadsheet has given way to sequels. An anonymously created email list called CanLit Janitors started circulating in October to alert women in the Canadian literary community to male writers and editors who were said to have behaved inappropriately. And an anonymous spreadsheet called TV Writers Salary began making the online rounds in January with the aim of exposing the differences in pay between men and women in the television business."

Poynter on the road

  • Indira Lakshmanan, our ethics chair, will be guest hosting “On Point” from WBUR all of this week. Tune in from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. each weekday. Today she'll be discussing the GOP memo from the House intel committee, as well as dementia in the second hour. (Not that we're reading anything into the timing of the two topics.)
  • Our International Fact Checking Network journalists will be split between a Brussels gathering and a meeting in California with Facebook’s top executives (sadly, off the record).

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