‘The Weekly’ is compelling TV no matter your industry, plus graphic choices in photography and … billboards?

Your Tuesday news roundup

June 4, 2019
Category: Newsletters

This is the Poynter Institute’s daily newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here.

June 4, 2019

Good morning! Here are some of the media stories that are catching our attention today.

Favorable reviews

NYT’s new “The Weekly” is off to a compelling start, and should attract an audience beyond journalists.

The New York Times is already a newspaper leader and it’s conquering the podcast world as well with “The Daily.” Now add TV to its list of outstanding journalism. If Sunday night’s series debut is any indication, “The Weekly” is going to be a must-see for those inside and outside the media industry. (You can now stream it on Hulu.)

As the show’s editor, Jason Stallman, told me last week, “The Weekly” really isn’t a show about journalism, but it does take viewers behind the scenes in how Times reporters put together stories. It never takes its eyes off the biggest picture, which is the actual story itself.

Take Sunday’s premier about a T.M. Landry, a private school in Louisiana that has an incredible knack for sending kids to elite colleges. The show was based on a story the Times wrote in November that questioned the legitimacy of the students’ credentials, as well as allegations of physical and mental abuse toward students by the school’s founder.

While the story itself was captivating, what was especially interesting was watching the work put in by reporters Erica L. Green and Katie Benner. The show did a superb job showing the fits, starts, ups, downs and hard work that journalists must do to put together such a story. The program’s strongest moment was Green wondering if the story should be written because it could do more damage to the students already in college than the leaders of T.M. Landry.

It’s just one episode, but it was a strong start for a show that could become a Sunday night staple.

A hard call

The Virginian-Pilot’s use of a bloody front-page photo demonstrates how image choices shape the gun violence debate.

The day after the deadly shootings at an office building in Virginia Beach, the Virginia-Pilot’s front page showed a man standing and talking to a police officer. The startling part of the photo was that the man’s shirt and pants, splattered with blood. The photo was taken by a nurse who just happened to be in the parking lot waiting for her daughter, who was paying a parking ticket nearby.

As New Yorker editor Michael Luo notes, we are used to seeing post-shooting photos, such as kids leaving schools with hands raised and people in tears hugging one another. We are not used to seeing blood.

Most publications would shy away from — or at least have long newsroom conversations — about publishing photos that are too graphic and, possibly, involve someone who is dead. Perhaps what makes this photo acceptable for publication is that the man appears to have survived the attack in relatively good shape.

Luo wrote, “There is a case to be made, however, that the country needs to be exposed to these kind of images, if we have any hope of being jolted from our collective inurement to the ravages of gun violence.”

‘But no one did anything.’

A woman says she was raped and officials ignored her. So she took matters into her own (artistic) hands.

Usually, I save compelling reads for the Hot Type section at the bottom of the newsletter, but today, I wanted to feature a remarkable story by Kathy Dobie in the The California Sunday Magazine. In this story, called “The Billboard,” reality mimics fiction.

In the movie “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri,” a mother buys three billboards criticizing a small-town police chief after he cannot find the murderer of her daughter. Stephanie Montgomery did something similar. Montgomery says she was raped at LA Skin, a strip club where she worked, and that neither the club’s manager nor police did anything about it. So Montgomery, a talented artist, painted a billboard telling her story. The billboard read:

“I’m Stephanie. I was raped by a guy like this in a place like that. I told the club and the police, but no one did anything. So I painted this billboard.”

Dobie’s powerful reporting is the backbone of a compelling story that might not provide definitive answers, but raises questions about sexual assault, its aftermath and its victims. Dobie tweeted Sunday, “As soon as I heard about this story, I knew I had to do it.”

A note: the details of the alleged assault are graphic.

Still seeking justice

A new list of journalists whose press freedoms are being suppressed continues to include Jamal Khashoggi.

The name of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, is etched in the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The One Press Freedom Coalition has released the June “10 Most Urgent List” of journalists whose press freedoms are being suppressed or whose cases are seeking justice. The list continues to include Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was murdered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

The coalition writes that “despite findings from the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent UN criminal investigation. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act.

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who had been detained in Myanmar for 18 months until May 7 of this year, were removed from the list.

A woman’s place is in the voting booth

The Atlantic celebrates 100 years of the 19th Amendment.

As part of its 2020 election coverage, The Atlantic today unveiled a multipart series of the women’s suffrage movement. A year from now — August 18, 2020  — the United States will celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

The Atlantic series takes a sweeping look at how women secured the right to vote, what it meant then and what it means now during a time of political unrest involving many women’s issues.

Hot type

A list of great journalism and intriguing media.

In this Dec. 30, 2015, photo, Leah Chase speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at her family’s restaurant, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

  • NOLA.com’s John Pope has a splendid obit on Leah Chase, who was known as New Orleans’ matriarch of Creole cuisine.
  • By now, you already know that James Holzhauer’s winning streak on “Jeopardy!” came to an end Monday. But many knew before Monday’s show aired that Holzhauer had lost because of leaked video and several news reports. Poynter’s Al Tompkins had a few words for those who spoiled the fun.
  • A testy exchange took place between Fox News’ Chris Wallace and Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand over abortion during a town hall Sunday.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

Upcoming Poynter training:

Want to get this briefing in your inbox? Sign up here.

Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.