April 2, 2021

Piers Morgan’s first TV interview since leaving his morning show in the United Kingdom over controversial remarks about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will be with — no surprise here — Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

On Monday, starting at 4 p.m., Morgan’s interview will air on “Tucker Carlson Today,” Carlson’s show on Fox Nation. That’s Fox News’ subscription-based streaming service. A portion of the interview will air on Tucker Carlson’s regular Fox News show on Monday night.

Morgan left his “Good Morning Britain” show last month when he said he didn’t believe many of the things Meghan said during her interview with Oprah Winfrey. Morgan got pushback not only from viewers, but colleagues. Morgan briefly walked off the set when criticized for having a personal beef with Meghan. After discussions with ITV, the network that airs “Good Morning Britain,” it was decided that Morgan would leave the show.

This will be Morgan’s first comments on TV, other than when he briefly spoke to reporters on the street after leaving “Good Morning Britain.” Carlson is likely to provide a sympathetic ear and, one would predict, a softball interview that paints Morgan as the victim of so-called cancel culture.

Pulitzer day is now in June

Every April, journalists in newsrooms around the U.S. learn who won a Pulitzer Prize for work published the year before. But this year, it will happen in June. The Pulitzer Prize Board announced the postponement on Thursday. The awards will instead occur on Friday, June 11.

“Like nearly everyone in America, we at the Pulitzer Board are eager to get off our screens and gather again in person. We are looking forward to the chance this year for the 18 members of the Board to meet safely and give each entry the intense consideration and spirited debate it deserves,” said Board co-chairs Stephen Engelberg, editor-in-chief of ProPublica; and Aminda Marqués González, vice president and executive editor at Simon & Schuster’s adult trade publishing imprint.

How Alden can lose a bidding war for Tribune Publishing and still make a killing

It’s been a quiet few days in the competition between hedge fund Alden Global Capital and hotel entrepreneur Stewart Bainum Jr. (plus his group of like-minded wealthy men) to acquire Tribune Publishing.

To review, Alden has an offer, tentatively accepted by the company, to pay $17.25 a share for the Tribune stock it does not already own. Bainum has put in an upset bid of $18.50 a share (though his bid is contingent on finding financing).

Tribune shares closed at $18.03 Thursday, which says Wall Street is betting that Bainum’s offer or an even higher one will prevail.

In the manner of famous corporate raiders like Carl Icahn, however, Alden is set up to win either way. It bought most of its 32% stake — 11.5 million shares — from former Tribune Publishing Chairman Michael Ferro in November 2019 at prices between $9 and $13 a share.

So at Bainum’s offer of $18.50, Alden would walk away with $86 million, a 68% appreciation on its investment.

Plus the fine print of the tentative agreement says Alden gets a $20 million penalty if Tribune Publishing sells to someone else.

It’s almost certain that Alden figures to make more cutting staff and selling off real estate if it gains control of the chain’s Chicago Tribune and eight other metros. If not, it’s nice to be staring at an $106 million consolation prize.

A notable role

Nika Soon-Shiong, daughter of Los Angeles Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, has won over the newsroom, Maxwell Tani reports for The Daily Beast. Soon-Shiong, who is not on the masthead, “has emerged as a surrogate between the paper and its ownership family.”

“… Following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd last year, she saw an opportunity to help ease tensions within the newsroom amid national conversations around race, policing, and institutional injustices in the news business. Soon-Shiong made several noteworthy editorial proposals, encouraging the paper to vastly increase its coverage of nonwhite communities in the Los Angeles area, and suggesting the paper avoid using the word ‘looting’ when covering the civil unrest over police brutality and racial injustice. The Times subsequently changed its style guidelines to specify when the paper felt it was appropriate to use the word.”

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Bret Baier to remain at Fox News for a while

Fox News anchor Bret Baier (Courtesy: Fox News)

Fox News Media has extended the contract of anchor Bret Baier — host of “Special Report” and the network’s chief political anchor. Baier said the deal is extended to include the next five years.

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement, “Bret has masterfully covered some of the most consequential news stories of our time and we’re thrilled to have him continue his extraordinary journalism career at Fox News for many years to come.”

Baier is one of Fox News’ most-seasoned on-air personalities, having joined the network in 1998. He took over “Special Report” in 2009.

Also in a statement, Baier said, “I am thrilled to continue working with FOX News Channel for the next five years. It has been my home away from home for almost a quarter century.

Vaccine selfies are not new

Ricardo Dieppa takes a selfie as Dr. Lourdes Marrero inoculates him with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine during a mass vaccination event carried out by the Department of Health and the Voces nonprofit organization, at the Miramar Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

If your Facebook feed is all vaccine selfies right now, you’re not alone, and it’s not really anything new. In The New York Times, Vanessa Friedman writes about the history of the practice, (and the strange subgenre of male politicians going shirtless to get theirs).

Friedman writes, “Before there was either the vaccine selfie or the topless vaccine selfie, there was the vaccine photo op. And before that, the vaccine engraving.”

If you want to stay rooted firmly in the here and now, Slate ranked celebrity vaccine selfies from best to worst. The winner should not surprise you. And The Wall Street Journal has an etiquette guide on taking vaxxies (we can’t make this up).

1619: The docuseries

The thought-provoking and Pultzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah Jones, published in The New York Times Magazine, is getting a docuseries on Hulu. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams will produce the series.

In a press release, the New York Times called the original project “a landmark undertaking that connected the centrality of slavery in U.S. history with an unflinching account of the brutal racism that endures in so many aspects of American life today. It was launched in August 2019 on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies that would become the United States. It examines the legacy of slavery in America and how it shaped nearly all aspects of society, from music and law to education and the arts, and including the principles of our democracy itself.”

How that big boat got unstuck

The Ever Given sat stuck in the Suez Canal, leading to coverage, memes and more last week. Now, The Washington Post has a story behind the story of how it got unstuck, from Sudarsan Raghavan, Siobhán O’Grady and Steve Hendrix.

“Day after day, the unmoving mass had loomed over a beetle-like swarm of machinery and humans — excavators, dredgers, tugboats — that dug and pushed and pulled to no avail. With the engines and cables of the Mosaed 2 and the other tugs straining to the breaking point, every attempt to loosen gravity’s grip on that hull had failed with each tide that deserted them, the waters receding in their unrelenting cycle.”

It’s International Fact-Checking Day

How better to follow up a day dedicated to misguided pranks than one dedicated entirely to facts? Today marks the fifth annual International Fact-Checking Day, which was created at a global fact-checking conference in 2016 with a goal to “raise awareness of the importance of fact-checking, therefore providing the public with accurate information as a service for public good.”

The special day was created by the International Fact-Checking Network, which is housed here at Poynter, and you bet we’re celebrating. Here are some ways you can join in:

  • Participate in an IFCN Talks event. There are two today. The first, at 10 a.m. Eastern, looks at the state of fact-checking in 2021. The second, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, will look at how fact-checkers communicate and connect with their audiences. Both are open to anyone.
  • Check out or share the just-relaunched MediaWise for Seniors Fact-Checking 101 online course. The course is updated with new, real-world examples of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and tools to navigate news about the U.S. vaccine rollout. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, award-winning journalist Joan Lunden, NBC’s Lester Holt, PBS’s Hari Sreenivasan and The Washington Post’s Dave Jorgenson all pop in to share advice.
  • Watch and spread this MediaWise PSA about COVID-19 vaccines and the infodemic, which includes tips on how to find facts.
  • Check United Facts of America, brought to you by PolitiFact and the Poynter Institute. It’s a celebration of fact-checking featuring some of the most important voices in media, health care, politics and technology that features more than 10 hours of virtual programming. Join us May 10-13.
  • Look for more from the IFCN and fact-checkers across the globe as the day unfolds. No foolin’.

Tom Jones was working on another assignment for Poynter on Thursday, so this edition of The Poynter Report was written by Kristen Hare, Rick Edmonds and Ren LaForme (Tom snuck in a few items, too).

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

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