CBS News’ loss; a media fight over a turkey; Vatican women walk away

March 28, 2019
Category: Newsletters

Welcome to today’s Poynter Morning MediaWire. Plenty to go through today, but we start with rather sad news.

CBS News foreign news editor Ana Real died Tuesday from leukemia. She was 60. In a statement, CBS News president Susan Zirinsky said, “Ana was part of the heart and soul of this organization. It didn’t matter if you were an executive, a producer, a production associate. She stood up for you and made all of us better at our jobs.”

Real was born and raised in Nicaragua and joined CBS News in 2001. As foreign news editor, Real managed teams around the world reporting for “CBS This Morning,” “CBS Evening News,” “48 Hours,” “Face the Nation,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “60 Minutes” and other CBS platforms. She won two News & Documentary Emmy Awards.

CBS News national correspondent Manuel Bojorquez tweeted: “Ana Real lit up every room, made every story she touched infinitely better, was caring and nurturing while at the same time a force of nature. There will be no replacing her, only honoring her through the type of journalism she loved.”

Before CBS, Real was a journalist in Peru for the news service WorldWide Television News, which later became APTN, under the Associated Press.

New York Times diversity

Particularly noteworthy about The New York Times diversity and inclusion report is that the Times makes the report public. Not many organizations do that, although more news outlets absolutely should.

Among the highlights, women make up 51 percent of the Times’ overall company and 47 percent of what is considered “leadership.” Those numbers are up from 45 and 40 percent four years ago.

In the news/opinion departments, women make up 49 percent of the staff and 49 percent of the leadership roles. The newsroom staff is 73 percent white. Of the category described as “people of color,” Asians make up 9 percent of the newsroom staff, African-Americans or blacks make up 8 percent and Hispanics or Latinos make up 5 percent. Two percent are considered multiracial. (Two percent did not answer the question about race.)

Finally, of new hires in 2018, women made up 62 percent for the entire company and 68 percent of new newsroom hires. People of color made up 39 percent of 2018 hires and 43 percent of newsroom hires.

One detail the Times did not include in the report is how many it employs, although last year it reported a newsroom staff of 1,600, the largest in its history.

No longer wanting to be the ‘other’ Times

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong sits courtside at a Los Angeles Lakers game in Los Angeles in 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Is any newspaper out there making the kind of push that the Los Angeles Times is these days? New hires. New projects. New ideas.

Writing for Nieman Lab, Ken Doctor takes a deep dive into the L.A. Times’ vision for the future.

Under billionaire owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, who bought the paper along with several smaller publications for $500 million last summer, the L.A. Times is hoping to compete with The New York Times, as well as The Washington Post. To show his commitment, Soon-Shiong has increased the newsroom from 440 to 535 journalists despite taking what he says will be a $50 million loss this year.

Soon-Shiong told Doctor, “So my concern was editorial, the newsroom. That was my very, very, very first concern. I knew that that’s where I needed to go as my first and highest priority. My second priority now is the business model, but the business model, sadly — and I don’t mean this to sound in any way arrogant — has to be consistent with this next generation, not with the past generation.”

The piece also revealed this nugget: 76-year-old executive editor Norm Pearlstine — the well-respected long-time journalist hired by the Times last year after stints with the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Time Inc. magazines and Forbes — has signed a new multi-year deal to remain in charge of the newsroom.

Talking turkey

Keith Olbermann in 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file)

Media fight! Media fight!

ESPN and pretty-much-comment-on-everything guy Keith Olbermann wanted an outdoors writer at a Mississippi paper fired for writing a story about a hunter who killed a turkey during, uh, turkey season.

In a since-deleted tweet, Olbermann called the hunter a “pea-brained” expletive and said “we should do our best to make sure the rest of his life is a living hell.” He then called for Clarion-Ledger outdoors writer Brian Bloom to be fired for “this fawning piece.”

In a response, Clarion-Ledger features editor Steven Ward wrote:

“Keith, really? Our outdoors writer should be fired and people should make Hunter Walman’s life a living hell?

Good grief man, get a hold of yourself.

Hunting is very popular in the South. We get it. You are not into hunting.

But calling for firings and lives in hell? That seems a little far. Or, as one Twitter user succinctly puts it, ‘It’s the American cultural divide in one glorious, near-defamatory tweet.’”

Olbermann later apologized via Twitter.

Women resign from Vatican magazine

Lucetta Scaraffia, editor-in-chief of “Women Church World,” a monthly magazine distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, talks to journalists during an interview in Rome in February. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The founder and all-women board of the Vatican women’s magazine have resigned in protest, saying there was a campaign to discredit them and put them “under the direct control of men.”

Lucetta Scaraffia, founder of Women Church World, said pressure on the staff got worse after the magazine published reports in February about the sexual abuse of nuns by members of the clergy. In an open letter to Pope Francis, Scaraffia wrote, “We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and progressive de-legitimization.”

She told the Associated Press, “After the attempts to put us under control came the indirect attempts to delegitimize us.”

The Vatican, as of Wednesday, has not responded. Women Church World is a monthly glossy published inside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

ProPublica investing in local news

ProPublica is making another investment in local news. It is now accepting applications for six more news organizations to do investigative work as a part of its network. Using money from a new grant, ProPublica will pay up to $75,000 (plus allowance for benefits) to full-time reporters. Applications are due April 26 with work to begin July 1 and continue for one year. To work with these reporters, ProPublica is posting several openings:

AP makes old stylebooks available

Let’s go to Poynter’s Kristen Hare for this cool item:

Today, the Associated Press is making old AP Stylebooks accessible. Grammar lovers can search through generations of usage standards and guides. And here’s a fun fact: a 1931 writers’ guide includes warnings about faked news and “ballyhoos.” “Tactics employed by some interests to gain publicity have necessitated watchfulness to preclude being victimized by misleading or faked stories.”

Ratings winner

Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity in 2018. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Politico’s Michael Calderone notes that Fox News’ Sean Hannity was the big winner on cable in the post-Mueller news storm.

He had 4 million viewers Monday night to easily out-distance MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (2.5 million) and CNN’s Chris Cuomo (911,000).

Fox News’ other two primetime hosts also had big numbers. Tucker Carlson had 3.88 million viewers and Laura Ingraham had 3.35 million.

Check it out

Click this link for a New York Times ad that will blow you away. I promise. Everything about this will make you say, “Wow.”

Broadly has developed the Gender Spectrum Collection, a stock photo library featuring trans and non-binary models that it says will “help the media better represent members of these communities.”

It’s Opening Day in Major League Baseball. To get you ready, here’s a power-rankings preview by The Ringer’s Michael Baumann and another by the staff of Sports Illustrated.

In her first piece in the Pulitzer Center’s partnership with the New York Times to cover Guantanamo, Carol Rosenberg writes that the U.S. is said to have tapes of the alleged 9-11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed  plotting with co-conspirators.

Poynter’s Tina Dyakon gets you ready for International Fact-Checking Day, which is April 2.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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