Locking up journalists, copy this Florida paper, pushback over comments

Your Thursday news roundup

January 17, 2019
Category: Newsletters

Major move

One of sports’ all-time great broadcasters is leaving the network where he has been for 40 years. Bob Costas told the New York Post that he is leaving NBC Sports, which confirmed the news.

“It’s all settled quietly and happily for all concerned,’’ Costas, 66, told the Post.

Costas will continue doing work for MLB Network. He also said he hopes to do an interview show in some form.

Costas said he reached an agreement to leave NBC last year, but kept the news under wraps. His leaving NBC is no great surprise. He had already stepped down from hosting the network’s Sunday night NFL pregame show and was not a part of NBC’s Super Bowl coverage last year. In addition, Costas gave up his role hosting the Olympics, a lofty position he had held since 1988.

Jailing  journalists?

As Vox has reported, attorney general nominee William Barr does not reject the idea of jailing journalists. During his Tuesday confirmation hearing, Barr said jailing a reporter was likely a “last resort,’’ but that it was a possibility.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asked Barr, “If you’re confirmed, will the Justice Department jail reporters for doing their jobs?’’

Barr said, “I know there are guidelines in place, and I can conceive of situations where, as a last resort, and where a news organization has run through a red flag or something like that, knows that they’re putting out stuff that will hurt the country, there could be a situation where someone would be held in contempt.’’

The Atlantic on Trump … again

The Atlantic is really going after President Trump these days. Earlier this week, the magazine put out a project called Unthinkable, which featured essays commenting on what the Atlantic called the 50 most norm-shattering moments of the Trump administration. Now comes today’s special edition: “The Case for Impeachment’’ by Ideas editor Yoni Appelbaum. In his essay, Appelbaum lays out the case that Trump has failed to uphold his oath of office and has attacked the foundations of American democracy.

Cool story of the day

Newspapers from every state in the union should copy a cool idea from this Florida paper.

Eliot Kleinberg’s column runs weekly in The Palm Beach Post, and other Florida GateHouse papers, including the (Jacksonville) Times Union. In 1999, he polled historians and history professors to come up with Florida’s top 25 stories of all time, and recently re-published the list for the column.

Disney World made the list at No. 7. Two hurricanes (Andrew and the unnamed 1928 storm) made the cut. So did the space program and the citrus industry. Coming in at No. 1? Florida ending three centuries of Spanish rule and joining the United States in 1821.

The list is the first in a new series about Florida history called “Florida Time.’’

That was quick

Just one day after New York magazine editor Adam Moss announced plans to step down, David Haskell was named editor in chief, overseeing New York magazine and digital publications Vulture, The Cut, Intelligencer, The Strategist and Grub Street. Haskell, who will officially start his new role April 1, has been with the company since 2007 in a variety of roles.

Chris Hansen arrested

Chris Hansen, former host of “To Catch a Predator,’’ has been charged with issuing bad checks. He was arrested in Stamford, Connecticut, after allegedly bouncing two checks trying to cover a $13,000 bill in 2017 for several promotional items for marketing events.

According to People magazine, Hansen turned himself into police on Monday and was charged with a class D felony. Police told People that Hansen was released without bond and signed a promise to appear in court.

Pushback to Poynter

On Wednesday, we wrote about the New York Times’ decision to publish online a photo of two men killed in the terrorist attacks in Nairobi, Kenya. I supported the Times’ decision, writing, “If we’re going to consume news, we have to accept that there will be times when the news and how it is told is disturbing. Sadly, this is one of those times. The Times needs to respect its readers — not by holding back information, but by presenting it to them.’’

Many readers did not agree with me. Some thought the Times was being insensitive, while others wondered if the Times would have published such a photo if the dead were American or European.

One tweet said: “Really disappointed that Poynter would publish a column that so obviously fails to engage with the primary criticism: disparities between treatments of ‘Western’ and African tragedies. (And no, one breezy paragraph ¾ of the way down doesn’t constitute good-faith engagement.)’’

Another: “This is just a lame attempt to sanitize their ignorant and racist decision … truth be told you wouldn’t dare post such if it was your home!’’

Another: “Poynter is doing some damage control PR for @nytimes in this. It’s not really a ‘hard choice’ to be sensitive and not show photographs of dead bodies of someone’s loved ones.’’

And yet another: “You guys don’t seem to get it. Show us a situation like this in American city or European city where the paper has had to face this so called ‘hard choices.’ This is BS and you know it. The decent thing to do is apologize and take down the photos.’’ (Editor’s note: The photo in question is still online in the story as of publication.)

Those are just a sampling, but representative of the opposing commentary. Most of those who disagree with me and, ultimately, the Times do raise a question that certainly is valid: Would the Times have run that photo if the attack had happened closer to home? All we can do is refer to the Times’ statement: “We take the same approach wherever in the world something like this happens.’’

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Correction: The work of Eliot Kleinberg’s “Florida Time” column was originally attributed to the wrong home newspaper. His column runs every week in all the Florida GateHouse papers, including the (Jacksonville) Times Union. Additionally, we mischaracterized a list of historical Florida events he published recently as being “new” when in fact he generated the list in 1999. He re-published the list for his new column. We regret the error.

One last thing: File under “nope.”

Swimming with a giant great white shark around a decomposing whale carcass? Guess that’s a good day at the office for this researcher. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has the story — and the vide — of how Ocean Ramsey spent her Tuesday off the coast of Oahu.