Death photo ethics, reporting on your boss, Wired cuts 5

Your Wednesday news roundup

January 16, 2019
Category: Newsletters

Publish or not?

A news outlet has a graphic photo of dead bodies following a terrorist attack. Should it publish it?

That’s a decision The New York Times had to make Tuesday following the terrorist attacks in Nairobi, Kenya.

News organizations certainly have an obligation to provide their audience with information, but is there a line they shouldn’t cross when it comes to violent images? Or is any photo or video considered pertinent news?

Poynter’s Tom Jones weighs in the Times’ decision.

Reporting on the hand that feeds

Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and wife, MacKenzie Bezos, in 2018 at an Oscar party in California. The pair have announced plans to divorce. (Photo by Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX)

Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and wife, MacKenzie Bezos, in 2018 at an Oscar party in California. The pair have announced plans to divorce. (Photo by Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX)

What should the Washington Post do about the Jeff Bezos divorce story? On one hand, it seems like a private matter and a gossip story more suited for the New York Post than Washington Post. Then again, Bezos is the richest man on the planet and, oh yeah, owner of the Washington Post. More importantly, Bezos owns Amazon and there certainly are questions about how his impending divorce could impact Amazon. As Joe Pompeo writes in Vanity Fair, this is the “the Post’s first real crucible, in terms of how to approach a big, controversial episode involving the boss.’’

The Post, really, has no choice. It must cover the story as if Bezos has no ties to the paper. Anything less would undermine its credibility and prevent it from ever effectively writing about such matters involving any famous person or important person in the business world.

Watch your language

U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in 2018. On Tuesday, the House voted 416-1 for a resolution repudiating King’s words expressing puzzlement about why terms like “white nationalist” are offensive. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in 2018. On Tuesday, the House voted 416-1 for a resolution repudiating King’s words expressing puzzlement about why terms like “white nationalist” are offensive. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Huffington Post reported early Tuesday that NBC News staffers have been told not to refer to Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) comments about white supremacy as “racist.’’ In a memo written to NBC staff by Susan Sullivan, a senior employee in the NBC News, and acquired by the Huffington Post, staffers are told

“Be careful to avoid characterizing (King’s) remarks as racist. It is ok to attribute to others as in ‘what many are calling racist’ or something like that.’’

But by Tuesday afternoon, NBC had reversed field. The Huffington Post reported that another memo went out, saying:

“We revised our guidance on Rep. Steve King’s comments. It is fair to characterize King’s comments as ‘racist,’ and point out that he has a history of racist comments, and the context can be shared that others hold that view as well.’’

King recently was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western Civilization — how did that language become offense?’’

King also has made other comments that some have viewed as racist.

This section was updated to include newer comments.

Stepping down

Adam Moss attends New York Magazine's 50th Anniversary Celebration at Katz's Delicatessen in 2017, in New York. Moss announced recently that he's stepping down as editor of the magazine after 15 years. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Adam Moss attends New York Magazine’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at Katz’s Delicatessen in 2017, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

One of journalism’s most impactful editors is walking away from the business — for now, anyway. Adam Moss is stepping down as editor of New York magazine after 15 years.

In a memo to his staff, Moss wrote, “There are many reasons, but they pretty much boil down to this: editors ought to have term-limits.  Experience is good, but after a while every institution needs a blood transfusion.’’

His successor will be named soon. His last day will be March 31 and he said he has no plans at the moment other than taking a vacation. In an interview with the New York Times, Moss, 61, said, “I’ve been going full throttle for 40 years. I want to see what my life is like with less ambition. I’m older than the staff. I’m older than the readers. I just want to do something new.’’

Before taking over at New York, Moss also was the editor of the New York Times Magazine and helped create the Times’ Style section. He also worked at Esquire.

 

Stepping up

Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at a news conference in 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Former Ohio governor and U.S. House member John Kasich is joining CNN as a contributor.

He made his first appearance Tuesday night on “Cuomo Prime Time.’’

A couple of things to note about this. One, Kasich is a Republican, but an outspoken critic of President Trump. Kasich was briefly a presidential candidate in 2015, but dropped out of the race when it appeared Trump was pulling away from the field.

The other thing viewers should know is that Kasich has not ruled out running for president again, maybe even in 2020 — a fact that, ideally, CNN would alert its viewers to during Kasich’s upcoming appearances.

Layoffs at Wired

Wired magazine laid off five last week, according to Slate. The layoffs included senior features editor Alexis Sobel Fitts, digital producer Lydia Belanger and Brian Raftery, a senior writer covering film and television. As Slate points out, the moves come amidst turmoil at Wired’s parent company, Conde Nast. Bob Sauerberg resigned as CEO of Conde Nast last November, shortly after he announced plans to return the company to profitability.

 

INTO to close

INTO, the online LGBTQ magazine run by dating app Grindr, fired its entire editorial staff Tuesday, meaning the digital magazine will cease operations after 17 months. The news was first reported by NBC News. In a joint statement Tuesday, several INTO employees wrote:

“The company will be re-focusing its efforts on video and as such, the editorial and social teams were let go this morning. We feel that INTO’s closure is a tremendous loss for LGBTQ media, journalism, and the world.’’

The digital magazine, which won several national editorial awards, wrote articles and columns geared toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer readers. A Grindr spokesperson told NBC that the decision to let go of INTO’s staff was a “strategic shift in focus.’’

“This was a difficult decision and one that we do not take lightly,’’ the spokesperson told NBC.

More LA Times sports coverage news

The Los Angeles Times sports department added another high-profile columnist. Arash Markazi, who spent the past nine years at ESPN, is joining the Times as an enterprise reporter and Page 2 columnist. The move comes one week after LZ Granderson, best known for his work on various ESPN platforms, was hired to be the paper’s sports and culture columnist. In a release announcing the hiring, the Times said Markazi will cover, among other things, “emerging trends in sports,’’ including e-sports and gambling. Markazi will start Jan. 28.

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One last thing: Most of the pigs made it out OK

The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News reports that 2,400 pigs were in a tractor trailer rig that overturned in that city earlier this week. The driver estimated that 24-36 of them died in the crash.

Here’s an updated story, including a video of the pigs being rescued.