May 10, 2019

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Protesting too much

An unusual segment on CNN may have left viewers with more questions than answers.

I’m still not sure what to make of a CNN segment Wednesday when anchor Brooke Baldwin said nothing while covering this week’s school shooting in Colorado. Baldwin simply looked at the camera while a screen behind her read, “If words aren’t changing anything, what about these images?”

What followed were still photos of the aftermath of the shooting. The camera returned to a still silent and somber-looking Baldwin while the screen behind her read, “If this isn’t a crisis now … when will it be? Enough.”

CNN covered the shooting in great detail with many words throughout the day, but what about that particular segment?

The switch to silence was jarring and must have grabbed attention. Did CNN presume that we are desensitized to such stories that this out-of-the-box reporting was a way to remind viewers how tragic this event was and how disturbing this epidemic has become?

Because the segment didn’t feel like news. It felt like a protest. It felt like a political statement. It felt like a call to action: “Enough.” So who was that directed toward?

Viewers? Politicians? Both? And, what exactly, are Baldwin and CNN asking from those viewers and politicians?

Everyone — regardless of their politics — agrees that school shootings are horrible. The disagreements come when we try to determine the causes and solutions for such massacres. CNN was stating the obvious: School shootings are bad and all too frequent. We already know it’s at a crisis stage. No one disputes that.

Which brings me back to this: What were Baldwin and CNN trying to do? It seems they were pointing a finger in an attempt to make it all stop.

If only it was that easy.

Well, bless his heart …

A Boston radio host caused a stir when he hung up with a hockey beat writer for speaking with a Southern drawl.

Carolina Hurricanes left wing Warren Foegele reacts after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A Boston sport radio host hung up on a guest because he said he “can’t listen to a guy with a southern accent talk about hockey.” Fred Toettcher, who co-hosts “Toucher & Rich” on WBZ-FM in Boston, hung up on Chip Alexander, who covers the Carolina Hurricanes for The Raleigh (North Carolina) News & Observer. The Boston Bruins and Hurricanes are playing each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Less than five minutes into the interview, Toettcher hung up on Alexander and said, “He had a southern accent. I can’t take it. Hockey and southern accents.”

He later added, “I don’t know. If I don’t like something, I don’t like something. … I didn’t think he was saying anything particularly interesting, and it was getting on my nerves.”

This isn’t the first time Toettcher has stirred up controversy. In 2010, he compared a draft party at the house of football star Tim Tebow to a Nazi rally.

Now you can hear ‘The Loudest Voice’

The trailer for the new Showtime series premiered in advance of the show’s June 30 release.

Roger Ailes in 2015. (Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx)

The trailer for Showtime’s upcoming seven-part series, “The Loudest Voice,” about Fox and its late chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, is out. The series is scheduled to premiere June 30 and centers on Ailes, Fox News and its role in American politics.

Russell Crowe plays Ailes and Naomi Watts plays Gretchen Carlson. The series also stars Seth MacFarlane, Sienna Miller and Annabelle Wallis.

Based on the trailer alone, it doesn’t look like a very flattering picture of Fox News and, in particular, Ailes, who resigned from Fox in 2016 after numerous allegations of sexual harassment. He died in 2017.

In the trailer, Ailes says, “People don’t want to be informed. They want to feel informed … We’re going to give them a vision of the world, the way it really is, and the way they want it to be. If we could do that then they will never change the channel.”

Hollywood and journalism keep cozy

Tom Hanks will appear on a special segment of the ‘Today’ show.

Tom Hanks. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Tom Hanks is on a journalism kick. He recently played venerated Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in “The Post,” voiced a Super Bowl halftime ad for that paper in real life, and now he’s playing in the journalism sandbox with a special morning show appearance. Hanks is scheduled to co-host an hour of the “Today” show on NBC on May 23. It’s all part of NBC’s coverage of Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s Hidden Heroes organization, which supports military caregivers. Hanks is the chair of the organization. He and “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie will interview Dole in Indianapolis. The show will be there ahead of the network’s coverage of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.

Build the wall?

A study looks at paywalls across international media, and determines the average cost for viewers.

Seems as if every news outlet has a digital paywall these days. But how widespread are paywalls? Writing for Nieman Lab, Felix Simon and Lucas Graves use a new report from the Reuters Institute for Journalism to study the paywall landscape from the United States and six European Countries.

The study looked at 212 news outlets made up of daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, TV news and digital news sites. The study showed that 69 percent of newspapers in the study had some kind of pay model, but that hard paywalls are rare. Of weeklies and magazines, 52 percent had pay models. All TV news stations offered free access to their digital news.

The other big question: How much can you expect to pay for online news? The study found the average price of a digital subscription (not counting any discounted specials) is about $15.75 per month.

Hot type

A curated list of great journalism and intriguing media.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Correction: An item in yesterday’s newsletter about an interactive map of Latino news organizations was attributed to the wrong university. It is being compiled by the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY (The City University of New York). I regret the error.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

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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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