April 10, 2019

Good Wednesday morning. Just five more sleeps and we can enjoy one of the most anticipated days in journalism. Next Monday, the Pulitzer Prizes will be announced — and, by the way, I’ll have a little something fun to get you ready soon on (Hint: Bring your popcorn.)

In the meantime, has a preview from noted Pulitzer author Roy J. Harris Jr., who says that some, but not all, prizes may be awarded to stories about President Donald Trump. Also today, we will look as some of the other journalism awards being handed out this time of year. Some big ones were announced Tuesday.

But first, I want to highlight a story written by Poynter media business analyst Rick Edmonds.

Nothing more than feelings

Courtesy New York Times.

This sounds a little Big Brother, but The New York Times has started to sell premium ads based on how an article makes you feel. Edmonds writes that a year ago, with no fanfare, the Times piloted ad placements based on the emotions certain articles evoke. Edmonds writes that “Project Feels” has generated 50 campaigns, more than 30 million impressions and strong revenue results.

Edmonds has all the fascinating details on how the Times figures this stuff out, but the far-out part is how the Times and its advertisers can track with some precision whether the ad outperforms a more random placement.

But will journalists be asked to write more emotional stories? (The Times denies that the ad campaigns impact editorial decision-making.)

We could say it’s a wave of the future, but the future is already here.

And the winner is …

Screenshot, Reuters Investigates. (Photo by REUTERS/Danish Siddiqu)

As I mentioned, awards season is here.

“Myanmar Burning,” a Reuters series that documented the mass expulsion of the Rohingya from Myanmar and landed some Reuters reporters in prison, was the big winner of the 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, announced Tuesday. The awards, given since 1979, recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year. There were more than 500 entries in 18 categories. “Myanmar Burning” won the IRE Medal, the highest honor the organization bestows. Two of the journalists who covered the story are still in jail. The IRE Awards will be presented at a luncheon June 15 at the IRE Conference in Houston.

The White House Correspondents announced their award winners this week, recognizing work from The Atlantic, Fox News, Reuters and The Washington Post. The awards will be presented at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on April 27 at the Washington,D.C., Hilton. (President Donald Trump, by the way, will not attend for the third consecutive year. He told reporters, “I’m going to hold a rally because the dinner is so boring and so negative.”)

Meantime, New Yorker contributing writer Ronan Farrow will host the 78th annual Peabody Awards. This year’s 60 nominees in broadcasting and digital media across entertainment, news, podcasts, web and documentary categories were announced Tuesday. Winners will be unveiled May 18 in New York.

Finally in award news today, the 25th annual Dart Awards were announced earlier this week. The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia Journalism School, hands out awards for outstanding reporting in all media that portray traumatic events and their aftermath.

This year’s winners were Michigan Radio for episodes six and seven of “Believed,” a podcast examining the case of Larry Nassar, the Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor who sexually assaulted more than 250 young women; and Times Picayune’s “The Children of Central City,” a multifaceted multimedia project that tells the story of children from one neighborhood in New Orleans and the profound impacts of poverty, violence and trauma on their lives.

Honorable mentions went to Radio Canada International for “Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change,” which explores the violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuit man in Arctic Canada; and the Minneapolis Star Tribune for “Denied Justice,” a multimedia project that explored the failure of Minnesota’s policing and courts to serve rape and sexual assault victims.The winners and honorable mentions will be recognized at a public ceremony and winners’ roundtable May 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. If you happen to be in New York City, the event is free and open to the public.

The Times gets ready for its closeup

The New York Times is moving closer to launching its first TV show. “The Weekly” will debut on June 2 on FX with exclusive streaming premieres available on Hulu the following day. Each half-hour episode features a Times journalist investigating a story. It’s another groundbreaking move for The Times, similar to its foray into podcasting with “The Daily” a little more than two years ago. “The Daily” has been a smash hit and consistently is one of the most downloaded podcasts in the country with 8 million monthly unique visitors (nearly double from a year ago), according to the Times. It also airs on more than 140 public radio stations nationwide.

The Athletic’s podcast power play 

A little more than three years ago, The Athletic changed the game in sports journalism. The ad-free, subscription-based website continues its no-holds-barred fight against local sports sections, covering every team in the four major North American sports leagues as well most major colleges. In addition, it has national feature writers and columnists in some markets. Many of The Athletic’s writers were plucked away from newspapers in the markets where they continue to work.

Detractors keep waiting for The Athletic’s business model to eventually run out of money, but it feels like The Athletic is here to stay, especially with a major announcement Tuesday.

In news first broken by Axios, The Athletic has started producing at least 20 ad-free podcasts that are behind the company’s subscription paywall. Some podcasts will focus on local teams and individual markets, while others will cover big topics, such as sports leagues and sports media. Most podcasts will last between 15 and 40 minutes.

The Athletic’s CEO and founder Alex Mather told Axios, “The Athletic is uniquely positioned to bring professional polish to local podcasts, given our subscriber base and business model. Advertising dollars and local podcasts haven’t gone hand-in-hand, given local’s naturally smaller audiences.”

Poynter, Koch Institutes join forces


For this item, let’s turn it over to Poynter’s Director of Marketing, Tina Dyakon.

Poynter announced a partnership today with the Charles Koch Institute to establish the Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship. Approximately 45 early career journalists will be admitted to the yearlong program designed to encourage entrepreneurial journalists and storytellers. This career accelerator focuses on the pillars of First Amendment law, foundations of a free press, media ethics, reporting/storytelling techniques and digital literacy, including best practices in social media.

“This fellowship gives us an opportunity to work closely with early career reporters, training them to skillfully navigate ethical issues and build trust with audiences through their work online,” Poynter Senior Vice President Kelly McBride said. “It’s a great way to both help young journalists and support professional news organizations that need more reporters.”

Applications are now open for the Poynter-Koch Media & Journalism Fellowship. The deadline to apply is May 10.

Check it out

The Morning Consult’s Joanna Piacenza writes that Republicans are roughly 20 points less likely to say The New York Times and CNN are credible news outlets than they were in late 2016.

Writing for The Conversation, University of Maine associate professor Michael J. Socolow writes that it isn’t Fox News that’s the problem, but the media’s obsession with Fox News.

One of the best Twitter feeds on the planet is I’ve Pet That Dog, which is simply a 10-year-old from Cedar Falls, Iowa, who posts photos and brief stories of random dogs he pets. He was recently interviewed by Iowa Public Radio.

What does a wondrous news product look like? That’s one of the topics Poynter’s Ren LaForme discusses in his latest Try This! newsletter.

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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