Your Thursday news roundup

January 10, 2019
Category: Newsletters

HELL IN PARADISE
This might be the best and most-moving journalism you see all day, a truly stunning piece of work. It’s a sobering video — a short documentary, really — of the devastating Camp Fire. What makes it even more impressive is it wasn’t put out by a television station or a video company. It was done by the Sacramento Bee.

While many newspapers struggle trying to incorporate video into its product, the Sacramento Bee, as well as its four other sister McClatchy publications in California, is at the forefront of top-notch video. That was never more on display than this amazing piece of work. “When Paradise Became Hell: The Story of the Camp Fire’’ provides an on-the-ground view of the devastation as told by the Bee journalists who covered it, the first responders who worked though it and the residents who survived it. The film is heartbreaking, frightening, inspiring at times, but mostly the viewer is left shaken by what they watch. It’s longer than most newspaper videos (nearly 28 minutes), but well worth it.

“There’s no way you could tell this story in words,’’ said Lauren Gustus, editor of the Sacramento Bee and regional editor of McClatchy’s West region.

The project was the brainchild of Alyssa Hodenfield, a video producer with a background in television. Hodenfield, in her spare time and between her other duties at McClatchy, collected what Gustus called “uncounted hours, dozens and dozens,’’ including body-cams from first responders and new interviews with Bee journalists and survivors for the film.

“This engages the audience with storytelling in a different way,’’’ Gustus said.

This is photojournalism and storytelling at its finest. The documentary is up on the Bee’s website, and Gustas said, will soon by uploaded on to YouTube.

TEACHERS WITH GUNS
The teachers at your kids’ schools might be armed and you don’t even know it. In fact, maybe nobody knows it. That’s what Vice News uncovered in an exclusive stunning report by Tess Owen published Wednesday.

Owen reports that since the school shootings in Parkland, Fla. last year, “scores of American school districts across the country — including many in poor and rural areas — have quietly adopted new policies to arm teachers or school staff.’’  Vice said at least 215 school districts have adopted such policies in the past 11 months and, nationwide, at least 466 districts allow staff to be armed.

The concerning part is that, in many states, the decision to arm teachers or staff often rests with local officials. A spokesperson from Colorado’s Department of Education said, “We don’t keep track; we don’t have to. And they don’t have to tell us.’’

Poynter’s Tom Jones interviewed Owen about how the story came together and you can read about it here.

PITCHFORK FOUNDER STEPS AWAY

He founded one of the most influential voices in music. But now Pitchfork founder and former CEO and editor-in-chief Ryan Schreiber is stepping away. After 22 years, Schreiber is leaving Pitchfork. You can find Schreiber’s announcement on Brooklyn Vegan. Schreiber told Billboard, “I’m at a point in my life where I feel I have more to offer … and the idea of giving myself over to something new really excites me. I don’t want to be defined in my life by just one thing.’’

But what a one thing that has become. Pitchfork has been a go-to source for music fans over the past two decades, offering features, news and, most of all, reviews that have become practically gospel among its readers.

Schreiber, who founded Pitchfork in November of 1995, didn’t say what is next, but did tell Billboard, “I want to do something else and this is a particularly great time in terms of technology and how things are evolving.’’

Schreiber stepped down as CEO last October, but remained at the company as an advisor. Former Spin editor-in-chief Puja Patel has been the CEO since then.

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