March 21, 2019

Recent comments made by former longtime ABC newsman Ted Koppel were the topic of an interesting column by Erik Wemple in the Washington Post. Koppel was speaking to Marvin Kalb earlier this month at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Koppel’s message: The media ain’t what it used to be — and has it in for President Donald Trump.

“We are not the reservoirs of objectivity that I think we were,” Koppel told Kalb.

To make his point, Koppel pointed out how The New York Times published the exact words Trump used in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape when he talked about grabbing women. Koppel said:

I turned to my wife and I said, ‘The Times is absolutely committed to making sure that this guy does not get elected.’ So his perception that the establishment press is out to get him doesn’t mean that great journalism is not being done. It is. But the notion that most of us look upon Donald Trump as being an absolute fiasco — he’s not mistaken in that perception.”

Koppel also criticized the Times and The Washington Post, saying they are not the news organizations they were 50 years ago.

We’re talking about organizations that, I believe, have in fact decided as organizations that Donald J. Trump is bad for the United States.”

Is Koppel right? That’s up for debate. But the Times publishing Trump’s exact words is not the best example to back up that argument.

Check out Wemple’s column and Koppel’s conversation with Kalb. In the end, it’s hard to determine if Koppel comes off as a measured veteran journalist making legitimate points or an out-of-touch guy yelling at a cloud. Or maybe a little of both.

No pushing in line, please


Poynter media business analyst Rick Edmonds writes that the American Journalism Project, having raised $42 million to rebuild local news, is getting ready to start handing out that money. Edmonds reports that more than 25 organizations will be picked for a share of the cash starting this summer.

Edmonds talked to co-founder John Thornton, the venture capitalist who launched the Texas Tribune, as to the details on how the recipients will be selected.

‘Hell, yeah, I want to go in that den’

Then-Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Donna Brazile speaks during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile spoke to Isaac Chotiner in a Q&A for The New Yorker as she continued to defend her decision to join Fox News as a contributor.

She told Chotiner, “Don’t call me and act as if you are somehow appalled that a black woman, or a woman, or a liberal progressive, would go, ‘Hell, yeah, I want to go in that den.’ And I want to fight from inside and fight from the outside. I may be naive in my judgment, but I am wise in my view that, long term, we are not going to make progress by simply being out throwing rocks. I don’t want to do that. This is my decision.”

Holding a Mirror up to the media

The finalists for the 2019 Mirror Awards, recognizing excellence in media industry reporting, were announced Wednesday by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. There are 24 finalists in six categories. The winners will be announced June 13 in New York City.

The finalists for best single article/story include:

Danica Patrick joins NBC

Danica Patrick, pictured here in 2012, will join NBC's Indy 500 broadcast. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

For the first time ever, NBC is broadcasting the Indianapolis 500. And it’s bringing in a star to help call the race. The network announced Wednesday that former IndyCar and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick will serve as a studio analyst before, during and after the May 26 race. This is the Indy 500’s first time on NBC after 54 years on ABC.

Major cuts at Penny Hoarder

The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance publication based in St. Petersburg, Florida, laid off 45 employees this week — about half of its newsroom. About two dozen writers were let go.

Penny Hoarder founder and CEO Kyle Taylor, in a statement to The Tampa Bay Times, said, “We’ve had to make difficult decisions to better position and re-organize for the future, including the reduction of our team.”

Reading Eagle to file for bankruptcy

The Reading Eagle Company, which includes the daily newspaper the Reading Eagle, is seeking bankruptcy protection. The company, a family-owned business that has published the Reading Eagle newspaper since 1868, also includes WEEU 830 AM, the weekly South Schuylkill News, Pretzel City Productions and its commercial printing subsidiary REP. The company said it will continue to operate, publish and broadcast under bankruptcy rules. According to the company, the Reading Eagle has a daily circulation of 37,000 and more than 50,000 on Sunday.

In a note to readers, the company said, “We hope you will stay with us as move through this period of change.”

According to a story on the Eagle’s website, company president and CEO Peter D. Barbey told employees that the company is “pursuing options for the future with other news media companies.” The company has 236 full-time employees and 20 part-time.

Tallahassee to outsource printing

The Tallahassee Democrat is closing its printing facilities and will begin printing and packaging the newspaper at the Panama City News Herald. According to the Democrat, the move impacts about 46 employees, although some will be considered for openings at the News Herald. The Democrat is owned by Gannett. The News Herald is owned by GateHouse.

Check it out

A 65-year-old woman was diagnosed with dementia. She decided she no longer wanted to live. A touching story by Katie Engelhart in The California Sunday Magazine.

Remember the comic “Cathy,” which ran from 1976 to 2010? Writing for The Cut, Rachel Syme profiles its creator Cathy Guisewite, who is about to release a book of essays.

To commemorate the start of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, here’s a cool story from the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen and Andrew Beaton about what it’s like to be run over by Duke star Zion Williamson. (Note: subscription needed to view.)

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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