July 6, 2020

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Good morning, everyone. Tom Jones is on vacation, but the team at Poynter is keeping tabs on the latest media news and analysis. Here’s what you need to know today.

  • The owner and publisher of the weekly Anderson County Review in Kansas apologized for drawing and posting a cartoon to the newspaper’s Facebook page that compared Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s order for Kansans to wear face masks to the Holocaust. Dane Hicks, who is also the county’s Republican Party chairman, shared the cartoon late last week and said that he also planned to include it in the newspaper’s upcoming print edition. Hicks initially ridiculed the idea of apologizing to “critics on the Facebook page” and said he “intended no slight.” But, by Sunday, he apologized. The cartoon showed Gov. Kelly wearing a mask with the Star of David standing in front of people being loaded onto a cattle car. A caption read: “Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask … and step onto the cattle car.”
  • Less than a month after the CEO of Refinery29 — a Vice Media Group brand focused on young women — stepped down following criticism over the company’s lack of racial diversity and allegations of racial discrimination, another leader is following her lead. Amy Emmerich, Refinery29’s global president and chief content officer, announced Thursday that she was stepping down immediately. Last month, the site hired a law firm to conduct an internal investigation about toxic workplace behavior. In an email to staff, Emmerich said, “I’ve always fought for space so this amazing team can create unencumbered. I make this decision now so you can continue to do that. Now is a time for change, reflection and growth both for me personally and for us all as we move forward.”


Looking for an expert source? Find and connect with academics from top universities on the Coursera | Expert Network, a new, free tool for journalists. Discover a diverse set of subject matter experts who can speak to this week’s trending news stories at experts.coursera.org today.

  • Hugh Downs, last seen on broadcast news in 1999 as the co-host of 20/20 with Barbara Walters, died July 1. He was 99. Emily Langer wrote a remembrance of Downs for The Washington Post, noting that Downs spent more than 50 years on American televisions, holding the record after more than 10,000 hours of on-air time until Regis Philbin passed him in 2004. Langer wrote “Mr. Downs called “20/20” the “pinnacle of everything I had done.” He interviewed celebrities including the Dalai Lama, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, the Rev. Billy Graham and politicians such as Barry Goldwater. He had a particular interest in mental health and interviewed actress Patty Duke about her bipolar disorder, “pointedly and memorably asking her about her suicide attempts.”
  • The editors of several local newsrooms told CNN’s Brian Stelter that readership, subscriptions and retention rates are up in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. “The global pandemic is very much a local story,” said The Miami Herald’s Mindy Marques Gonzalez. She was joined by the editors of the Houston Chronicle and The Arizona Republic.
  • The “Hamilton” musical starring the show’s original cast hit Disney’s streaming service over the weekend and, while a lot of people were satisfied, it also launched nonstop columns, criticism and think pieces. Check out The Undefeated’s Soraya Nadia McDonald with Five years ago, ‘Hamilton’ turned a revolution into a revelation — what now?, Vox’s Aja Romano with Why Hamilton is as frustrating as it is brilliant — and impossible to pin down and CNN’s Ed Morales with The problem with the ‘Hamilton’ movie. Wonder what’s true and what’s not? The Poynter-owned PolitiFact has you covered.

Today’s edition of the Poynter Report was written by Kristen Hare and Ren LaForme.

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

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