June 11, 2019

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June 11, 2019

Good Tuesday, everyone. I had some interesting conversations Monday about how the St. Louis Post-Dispatch might have bungled when it momentarily published congratulations online to the St. Louis Blues on a Stanley Cup that they have yet to win. We’ll get to that in a second, but let’s start with Monday’s big shakeup at Vice News.

Vice News makes news itself

A shakeup at Vice News includes some surprising developments with its HBO partnership and a new leadership position.


Big developments involving Vice News on Monday.

First, HBO will not renew “Vice News Tonight.” The other stunner is that Jesse Angelo, former CEO and publisher of the New York Post, will take over all news, television and digital for Vice News. He replaces Josh Tyrangiel. Angelo’s first order of business: find a new home for “Vice News Tonight.” The shakeup was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Nina Rosenstein, HBO’s executive vice president of programming, said in a statement, “We’ve had a terrific seven years partnering with Vice Media, first with the weekly news magazine series and most recently with the nightly news show. We want to particularly thank Josh Tyrangiel for his tireless effort in creating a news show from the ground up, geared for a modern generation of viewers.”

Tyrangiel will leave Vice later this summer after four years there. THR reports that “Vice News Tonight” will end its run on HBO in September. That’s too bad. The hip news show that gears its coverage toward younger audiences has depth and often focuses on topics that don’t always get widespread attention, such as climate change and religion. Unfortunately, the show did not put up big numbers, drawing about a half-million viewers per episode.

But already, the company is shopping its daily news show to other networks and THR reports that Vice also is working on a news show for Hulu.

Now, about Angelo. It might seem odd for Vice News, which appeals to a younger (more liberal?) audience, to hire someone who was a part of Rupert Murdoch’s (more conservative?) media empire for two decades. Then again, as The New York Times noted, Murdoch once owned a piece of Vice Media and Murdoch’s son, James, is on the Vice board. In addition, Angelo has known James Murdoch since they were kids and Angelo was best man in James’ wedding.

But a spokesperson for Vice told the Times that the decision to hire Angelo was made solely by Nancy Dubuc, who became Vice Media’s CEO last year and is just beginning what appears to be a major revamping of Vice News.

Post-Dispatch gets the Blues

Newsletter readers suggest that outsourcing was the reason for Sunday’s inadvertent congratulatory slip-up; the company denies it.

St. Louis Blues fans arrive in Enterprise Center for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Several staffers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reached out to me on Monday over an item I wrote detailing how the paper’s Sunday e-edition accidentally ran an ad congratulating the St. Louis Blues for winning the Stanley Cup. The Blues lost Game 6 of the finals Sunday night and are now forced to play a Game 7 in Boston on Wednesday.

The staffers pointed to the paper’s decision to move editorial layout and design to The Lee Design Center in Munster, Indiana, in May as a reason for Sunday’s gaffe. The move coincided with several newsroom employees being laid off and warnings from the union that outsourcing the copyediting “weakens” the Post-Dispatch.

One Post-Dispatch staffer, who asked not to be named, told me, “We were afraid of the consequences of having proofreaders who don’t know our area and its idiosyncrasies, but this one came as a shock even to a group of people who thought we were past being surprised by Lee.”

However, in a statement to Poynter, the Post-Dispatch said, “In preparation for the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final, several advertisers prepared advance messages to our readers. These ads were inadvertently uploaded into our e-edition feed at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This process occurs locally and does not involve the Regional Design Center. We sincerely apologize to the St. Louis Blues and the fans for the mistake.”


‘The Daily’ goes European

The New York Times’ successful podcast “The Daily” is trying something different this week. It is doing a deep dive on European politics. Each day this week, the podcast will concentrate on European issues, including Brexit. Digiday’s Lucinda Southern writes that it’s “The Daily”’s attempt to bulk up its global audience. According to the Times, about 20% of “The Daily”’s two million listeners are outside the United States. Most international listeners are from Canada, but the U.K. is second on that list.

By the numbers?

A story claiming that Google profits from journalism to the tune of $4.7 billion a year wasn’t music to many ears — especially when crunching the numbers.

Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A group called The News Media Alliance published a study Monday that estimates Google received about $4.7 billion in revenue from the work of news publishers in 2018 via search and Google News — without paying the publishers for that use. The News Media Alliance President and CEO David Chavern said, “News publishers need to continue to invest in quality journalism, and they can’t do that if the platforms take what they want without paying for it. Information wants to be free, but reporters need to get paid.”

The study got plenty of buzz, including a lengthy piece in The New York Times. Not everyone, however, is convinced that the study’s numbers — especially that $4.7 billion part — add up. Columbia Journalism School professor Bill Grueskin tweetedthat “now that the study is out, the number appears to be just as shaky as it initially seemed to a few of us.”

He added, “… there’s no effort made in this study to really determine what Google’s actual revenue from news is nor … what benefit the news business has received from Google referrals.”

Aron Pilhofer, the James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation at Temple University, was more blunt, tweeting, “Oh my god is this nonsense,” while pointing out the flaws in the math because it was partly based on a quote from a decade ago.

There also seems to be a bit of an agenda, as the study comes out in advance of today’s House subcommittee hearing on the relationship between big tech companies (such as Google) and the media.

Columbia Journalism Review’s Mathew Ingram tweeted that not only was the study flawed, but it might have been harmful:

“This point has probably been made, but if you use dubious math to try to promote your lobbying efforts, it makes your argument look worse, not better. It implies you not only misunderstand what is happening, but are prepared to use subterfuge to push your agenda.”

Highways and byways

The Washington Post will launch a new travel guide that’s designed to feel like an insider’s guide to 50 cities — and counting.

(Photo courtesy of The Washington Post)

The Washington Post will soon launch “By The Way,” which the Post calls “a highly visual and thoroughly reported destination for travelers who want to experience cities around the world like a local.” Scheduled to launch June 18, it will offer insider guides to popular national and international locales written mostly by journalists in those cities.

Amanda Finnegan, who will be editor of “By The Way,” said in a statement, “We want to provide travelers with a deeper understanding of where they are visiting — the culture, the quirks, the customs — so they feel a personal connection.”

The site will include where to eat, what to see and where to stay, as well as travel tips and news that could impact travel to those cities. “By The Way” will debut with 50 city guides, including Barcelona, Hong Kong and Istanbul, and add more cities as time goes by. There also will be a weekly newsletter beginning June 20.

Compass points to leader

Mandy Jenkins will lead The Compass Experiment, an attempt by McClatchy and the Google News Initiative to explore sustainable local news models.

Mandy Jenkins. (Photo courtesy of McClatchy)

Mandy Jenkins has been named general manager of The Compass Experiment, a three-year effort by McClatchy and the Google News Initiative to explore new sustainable models for local news. Jenkins will lead the effort to launch three digital-only local news sites in communities that don’t have access to significant local sources of news and information. Those communities have yet to be chosen.

Jenkins, who will start next week, is president of the board of directors for the Online News Association and is completing a nine-month John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University. She has worked at Storyful, Huffington Post Politics, TBD, the Cincinnati Enquirer and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In a blog post, Jenkins, who will be based in Washington, D.C., but travel extensively, wrote that The Compass Experiment would prefer to go to communities with populations of 60,000 to 300,000 that are not near a major city and either have no local news or recently lost a local news provider. The project is close to naming its first community.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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