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February 9, 2021

Ready for the sequel? Call it Impeachment, Part II.

Today, the Senate will begin the impeachment trial of a U.S. president. Or, in this case, a former president.

Most Americans know the gist of what is happening today. The Senate will hold a trial to determine whether Donald Trump should be convicted of stirring up the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

But what about the details?

If you’re looking for exactly all that happened and what will happen next, here’s a must-see read: it’s The New York Times’ Weiyi Cai with “A Step-by-Step Guide to the Second Impeachment of Donald J. Trump.” This is the kind of explanatory journalism that serves its readers by making them smarter and more informed. And isn’t that a big part of what journalism is supposed to do?

Here are some other pieces to get you ready for today:

Washington Post opinion columnist Colbert I. King with “The Only Question Facing Senators in Trump’s Impeachment Trial.”

New York Times’ opinion columnists Gail Collins and Bret Stephens with “What if They Held an Impeachment Trial and Nobody Came?”

The Atlantic’s David Frum with “Impeachment Is Working—Just Not as the Framers Expected.”

In a video, Bloomberg talks with pollster Frank Luntz, who says, “Trump Impeachment Trial Will Further Divide the Country.”

The Washington Post’s Karen Heller with “Bruce Castor is a Magnet for Controversy. Naturally, He’s Trump’s Impeachment Attorney.”

And, if you’re interested in getting into the details from the Trump side, you can read, from NPR, “Trump’s impeachment brief.”

Oh, one last one. This trial likely won’t last very long. We probably know how this is all going to turn out thanks to The Washington Post’s Ashlyn Still and JM Rieger with “Senate Impeachment Whip Count: Where Democrats and Republicans Stand.”

All the major networks and, of course, the cable news networks, are scheduled to carry at least portions of the trial.

The latest from Fox

Mediaite’s Colby Hall reports Fox News will have a quarterly address to employees on Wednesday. This often is the time of year when such meetings are often held among news organizations. The New York Times, for example, recently had a quarterly financial update.

Hall reports that Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott told staff in a memo, “We will be updating everyone on various initiatives and sharing the good news taking place across our platforms.”

There also is plenty of other news to discuss — and not all of it is good. Fox News Media was just hit with a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit by Smartmatic, the election technology company. One of the names included in the suit was Lou Dobbs, whose show on Fox Business was abruptly canceled last week. (Fox released a statement Monday evening saying it has filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed. In the statement, Fox said, “If the First Amendment means anything, it means that Fox cannot be held liable for fairly reporting and commenting on competing allegations in a hotly contested and actively litigated election. We are proud of our election coverage which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism.”)

The meeting also comes at a time when Fox News is moving forward in a post-Trump world. In January, Fox News’ ratings slipped behind CNN and MSNBC, while two right-wing, very pro-Trump networks — Newsmax and One America News — are starting to gain a bit of traction.

Speaking of Fox Business

Larry Kudlow (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

With Lou Dobbs out, Fox Business has an opening. That opening just got filled. Fox Business announced Monday that former National Economic Council director and Fox News contributor Larry Kudlow is getting a show. It will start a week from today and will air weekdays at 4 p.m. Eastern with an encore at 7 p.m. Eastern. That’s when the Dobbs show used to rerun. Fox Business says Kudlow’s show will “feature closing market analysis as well as interviews with major industry leaders influencing Wall Street, Washington and business in America.”

Now, technically, the show that Dobbs used to host — Fox Business Tonight — is staying on the air. It will continue in the 5 p.m. Eastern hour and, Fox says, will have rotating co-hosts for the foreseeable future.

Brady’s bunch

Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Tom Brady after winning the Super Bowl on Sunday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Tom Brady is still a very big deal in New England even though he is no longer with the Patriots. And here’s more proof.

According to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, ratings for Sunday’s Super Bowl show the Boston area drew higher ratings than Tampa Bay. That’s saying something considering Brady’s new team, the Tampa Bay Bucs, beat the Kansas City Chiefs for Brady’s seventh Super Bowl title. His six previous championships were won with the Patriots.

Kansas City led all markets with a 59.9 rating. That means 59.9% of TVs in that market were tuned into the game. Boston was actually second in the nation with a 57.6 rating, followed by Tampa Bay with a 52.3 rating.

Brady has been good for the media business. Last week, Poynter’s Amaris Castillo did a terrific story about how the Tampa Bay Times website — tampabay.com — has benefited from Brady’s move to the Bucs. According to numbers shared with Castillo, the Times’ website had 910,248 Massachusetts visitors from March 1, 2019, to March 1, 2020. That’s the year before Brady arrived in Tampa Bay.

In the year since Brady’s arrival, there have been 2,502,087 visitors from Massachusetts, making it the fifth-highest state with visitors to the website, after Florida, California, New York and Texas. The Times reports a lot of that traffic comes from two cities in Massachusetts: Boston and Lowell.

Sad news

As the sporting world was watching Brady put the finishing touches on another Super Bowl masterpiece, horrific news rocked the sports media world. ESPN announced Sunday night that baseball reporter Pedro Gomez had died suddenly at home. No cause of death has been made public. He was 58.

In a statement, ESPN and Sports Content Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said,  “We are shocked and saddened to learn that our friend and colleague Pedro Gomez has passed away. Pedro was an elite journalist at the highest level and his professional accomplishments are universally recognized. More importantly, Pedro was a kind, dear friend to us all. Our hearts are with Pedro’s family and all who love him at this extraordinarily difficult time.”

Tributes immediately poured in from the sports media world. While many spoke of Gomez’s excellent reporting skills, many more talked about what a wonderful person Gomez was.

Former ESPN journalist Jemele Hill tweeted, “Pedro Gomez was one of the nicest and warmest people I ever encountered during my time at ESPN. This is just brutal. My heart goes out to his friends, family and loved ones.”

ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap tweeted, “Devastating news about Pedro Gomez. Such a lovely, kindhearted, talented human being. So proud of his family.”

Former ESPN anchor Bob Ley tweeted, “More than an elite journalist, Pedro Gomez was a good and decent man, so proud of his family, and his heritage. His loss is a hammer blow to all who knew this life force. Send one up tonight for his family and friends.”

Before joining ESPN in 2003, Gomez was a sports columnist and national baseball writer at The Arizona Republic. He also covered baseball at The Sacramento Bee, The (San Jose) Mercury News and Miami Herald. He covered 25 World Series and 22 Major League Baseball All-Star Games.

A son of Cuban immigrants, Gomez grew up in South Florida and studied journalism at the University of Miami.

Gomez is survived by his wife, Sandra; sons, Rio and Dante; and daughter, Sierra. In a statement, Gomez’s family said, “Pedro was far more than a media personality. He was a dad, loving husband, loyal friend, coach and mentor. He was our everything and his kids’ biggest believer.”

Press room dustup

White House press secretary Jen Psaki during Monday’s White House press briefing. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

New White House press secretary Jen Psaki had her first viral dustup with a reporter on Monday. It wasn’t that big of a deal and it didn’t get nasty, but she certainly showed she comes prepared. The exchange was with Fox News’ Peter Doocy, who tried to make a point that President Joe Biden was not keeping his promise on creating green energy jobs.

Doocy asked Psaki, “When is it that the Biden administration is going to let the thousands of fossil fuel industry workers — whether it’s pipeline workers or construction workers who are either out of work or will soon be out of work because of a Biden (executive order) — when it is and where it is that they can go for their green job?”

Psaki shot back, “I would certainly welcome you to present your data of all the thousands and thousands of people who won’t be getting a green job. Maybe next time you’re here, you can present that.”

Doocy tried to follow up by quoting AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, but Psaki quickly called out Doocy for not including the entirety of Trumka’s interview. Psaki said, “Would you like to include the rest?”

Psaki then went on to point out the rest of Trumka’s quote, as well as  Biden’s plans.

One more thing — about receipts

By the way, that Psaki-Doocy exchange? I found this amusing and a prime example of how some people watch the exact same clip and view it entirely differently based on their politics.

Sawyer Hackett, senior adviser to former Obama cabinet member Julian Castro, tweeted out the exchange and said, “Man, @PressSec came with the damn receipts for Doocy’s bad faith question.”

Meanwhile, Curtis Houck is from NewsBusters, whose mission is “exposing and combating liberal media bias.” His tweet said, “Fox News’s Peter Doocy is back and he’s brought the receipts on energy to Jen Psaki.”

Sounds like a lot of receipts.

Journalism matters

Talk about journalism making a difference. Check out this wild story. A woman in Columbus, Wisconsin, has been charged in federal court for trying to hire someone on the dark web to kill a man. Turns out, authorities were tipped off by the intended victim and journalists.

Chris Rickert from Wisconsin State Journal has the story and wrote, “Police were called to a home in Sun Prairie on Jan. 12 and spoke with the intended victim and a ‘local journalist’ who were meeting by video-conference with two other journalists. One of the latter journalists told police that ‘while investigating a murder-for-hire site on the dark web, they uncovered information showing someone wanted to kill’ the man.”

According to Rickert, the intended victim turned over to authorities what journalists had told him. The journalists also met with the FBI to show what they had found.

Big hires

The Atlantic announced a couple of big hires on Monday. Tim Alberta, who was the chief political correspondent at Politico, and Jennifer Senior, who was a columnist at The New York Times, will soon join The Atlantic.

Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, said in a statement, “We are trying — and succeeding, I think — to make The Atlantic the premier home in America for brilliant magazine writing, and Tim and Jen represent crucial additions to our roster of outstanding talent.”

Alberta tweeted, “Exciting news: I’m joining @TheAtlantic. I’ve been eager for the opportunity to look beyond politics and tell stories about culture, religion, crime—even sports!—and this is the perfect fit.”

He added, “It’s been a wonderful ride @politico with so many great friends and talented colleagues. (More on them later.) For now, I’ve got one final POLITICO story coming this Friday … and can promise you won’t want to miss it.”

Other moves

Here are more media moves from the past few days:

  • USA Today has promoted Kristen Go to executive editor for news and initiatives. The news organization describes it as a “move that elevates her to the newsroom’s highest-ranking positions.” Go will supervise teams covering consumer news and technology, life and entertainment, travel, education, and enterprise reporting focused on equity issues such as race, identity and social justice. She will report to editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll.
  • USA Today also announced that Kristen DelGuzzi will become managing editor for opinion; Michelle Maltais will become managing editor for consumer news; and Caren Bohan will become managing editor for politics and Washington. USA Today’s Jessica Guynn has more on the moves.
  • The Washington Post announced it is adding eight positions to its technology team. That means the team will grow to 27 reporters, editors and video journalists. Post business editor David Cho said in a statement, “The need for this expansion is clear. News surrounding big technology companies and their role in society is becoming more urgent as lawmakers seek to regulate a rapidly expanding industry.” The new openings include a deputy technology policy editor; a technology policy reporter; a personal technology editor; two personal technology “help desk” writers; a technology news analysis writer; a technology data reporter; and a technology at work reporter.

Hot type

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

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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