July 7, 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.

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace should apologize to other drivers after the FBI determined that a noose found in Wallace’s garage had been there for months. He also seemed to criticize NASCAR’s ban on the Confederate flag at its events and attributed “low ratings” to both the Wallace incident and the ban. (In fact, the Charlotte Observer says NASCAR viewership is up 8% since the sport returned from a coronavirus hiatus in May.) When reporters asked White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany about the tweet in a press briefing later in the day, she said the president “wasn’t making a judgment one way or the other” and accused the reporters of taking the tweet out of context. On Saturday, The Washington Post’s Robert Costa and Philip Rucker wrote that President Trump’s recent “push to amplify racism” is unnerving some of his Republican backers and, combined with his response to the coronavirus, they “fear he is not only seriously impairing his reelection chances but also jeopardizing the GOP Senate majority and its strength in the House.”

Dana Canedy, who has been the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes since 2017, has been named executive vice president and publisher of Simon & Schuster. She was the first woman and first person of color to serve as the head of the Pulitzer Prizes. During Canedy’s tenure, Elizabeth A. Harris reported for The New York Times, “the awards have acknowledged an increasingly diverse body of work, including the music of Kendrick Lamar. Under Ms. Canedy’s watch, the Pulitzer board also issued a posthumous award to the pioneering Black journalist Ida B. Wells and presented a special citation along with $100,000 to The Capital Gazette, a small daily newspaper in Annapolis, Md., where five people were killed in the newsroom in 2018.” Canedy worked as a reporter and editor at The New York Times for 20 years before that and wrote the book “A Journal for Jordan.” Canedy will serve as the producer for a movie based on her book, which is set to film this fall and will be directed by Denzel Washington.

Protests following George Floyd’s death generated more media coverage than any protest in the last 50 years, according to a study from the University of Michigan. The study used the NewsBank database and The Washington Post’s archives to analyze and quantify the use of “protest” and other related words in media coverage. Last month, the media focused on protests 60% more than during any other month in the past 20 years. The last comparable moment was in May 1970, after the Kent State shootings.

Two big developments happened yesterday in the upcoming sale of McClatchy — which owns 30 newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Charlotte Observer — out of bankruptcy reorganization. As reported by Ken Doctor, the Knight Foundation seriously considered making a bid by Wednesday’s deadline but decided not to. Rick Edmonds, Poynter’s media business analyst, was told the effort included hiring top-dollar consultants and interviewing McClatchy managers at length. It remains possible that the Miami-based Knight or the city’s civic leaders could try to buy the Miami Herald from whichever hedge fund bidder prevails in the upcoming auction. That process continues with a bid opening Wednesday, though a company spokesperson said the names of the bidders and their offers will not be revealed until later. In addition, bankruptcy judge Michael Wiles said at a hearing Monday that the auction can proceed while he decides whether a group of unsecured creditors can pursue a lawsuit questioning a 2018 refinancing.

Fox News Media announced it will capitalize “Black” when it is used to describe people, a community or culture. In an internal style guide note, Jon Glenn, Fox News Media’s vice president of news writing and style, wrote: “We are making this adjustment after consulting our own diversity team, and after careful research into the history of language, culture, and customs.” In addition, Fox will capitalize “white” and “brown” when used in the same way. In capitalizing Black, Fox joins a growing list of mainstream media organizations — including The New York Times, The Atlantic and the influential Associated Press. Poynter’s Kristen Hare wrote about the people who worked to make newsrooms capitalize Black last week.

Colin Kaepernick’s production arm, Ra Vision Media, has signed a deal with The Walt Disney Company to tell “scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity, and will provide a new platform to showcase the work of Black and Brown directors and producers.” The work will appear on multiple Disney properties, including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar and The Undefeated.

Today’s edition of the Poynter Report was written by Eliana Miller, Kristen Hare, Rick Edmonds and Ren LaForme.

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

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