Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.
- FBI impersonated AP reporter
FBI director James B. Comey wrote a letter to The New York Times saying an undercover officer investigating some bomb threats “portrayed himself as an employee of The Associated Press, and asked if the suspect would be willing to review a draft article about the threats and attacks, to be sure that the anonymous suspect was portrayed fairly.” (NYT) | Statement from AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll: “This latest revelation of how the FBI misappropriated the trusted name of The Associated Press doubles our concern and outrage, expressed earlier to Attorney General Eric Holder, about how the agency’s unacceptable tactics undermine AP and the vital distinction between the government and the press.” (AP) | Previously, we learned the FBI “created a fake news story on a bogus Seattle Times web page to plant software in the computer of a suspect.” (The Seattle Times) | Comey says the operation “was proper and appropriate under Justice Department and F.B.I. guidelines at the time” but a letter the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press wrote Comey and Holder yesterday says attorney general’s guidelines “restrict the circumstances under which FBI agents may impersonate the news media during the course of an investigation.” RFCP asks the FBI to “release additional information regarding when and under what circumstances it uses links to what are or appear to be news media websites to digitally impersonate the news media in the course of criminal investigations.” (RCFP)
- BuzzFeed doesn’t do clickbait
“If your goal — as is ours at BuzzFeed — is to deliver the reader something so new, funny, revelatory, or delightful that they feel compelled to share it, you have to do work that delivers on the headline’s promise, and more,” EIC Ben Smith writes. (BuzzFeed) | Smith links to an interview I did with Nilay Patel in July: “Most clickbait is disappointing because it’s a promise of value that isn’t met — the payoff isn’t nearly as good as what the reader imagines,” he said. (Poynter) | In September, Sam Kirkland argued that cheap content — “takes,” for instance — are an opportunity for publishers “to be exposed to news that matters, too — the stories that might be less likely to take off on Facebook.” (Poynter) | “OH YEAH???” the Internet cried in response. | “Confused by people who think pointing out low-brow articles BuzzFeed publishes refutes @BuzzFeedBen’s point.” (@pkafka) | I am not confused. Write an article with “BuzzFeed” and “journalism” in the hed or tweet and watch the snide remarks fill your @ column.
- NBC News financed a tunnel under the Berlin Wall
The news organization in 1962 paid 50,000 Deutschmarks for exclusive film rights to a group of Germans and Italians who were trying to dig their way out of East Berlin. “The story was told in NBC News’ documentary ‘The Tunnel,’ which was meant to air on Oct. 31, 1962 but was held after NBC came under pressure from the State Department not to exacerbate tensions after the Cuban missile crisis.” The documentary aired Dec. 10. (NBC News) | The Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, and you do not have to listen to the Scorpions to commemorate it, but no one’s going to judge you if you do.
- Matt Taibbi will talk about his departure from First Look today
He’s scheduled to appear on HuffPost Live at 3:30. (HuffPost Live)
- Metered paywalls work better than hard paywalls
73 percent of “global newspaper companies” polled by Peter Marsh and the International News Media Association say they have some sort of paywall in place. And “Retention rates appear to be significantly higher for newspapers that use metered pay models as opposed to hard paywalls.” (INMA, via The Guardian)
- Tampa Tribune ceases publication of Hernando Today
“A tough newspaper advertising climate made the printing and distribution of the twice-weekly newspaper cost-prohibitive, said Ken Koehn, managing editor of The Tampa Tribune.” (Koehn’s byline is on the article.) (Hernando Today) | The Tribune competes with the Tampa Bay Times, which Poynter owns and which has had troubles of its own. Tribune officials “declined to return calls from the Tampa Bay Times to discuss the status of Hernando Today or other publications.” (Tampa Bay Times)
- More trouble at the OC Register
Two shareholders claim the newspaper’s parent company, Freedom Communications, is “insolvent” and ask for it to be placed in receivership. Gustavo Arellano: “The most interesting part of the complaint, however, is how much of the complaint remains redacted and under seal. One section, for instance, has the titillating headline ‘Defaults and Liens Under the Company Pension Plan.'” (OC Weekly) | “Freedom spokesman Eric Morgan called the petition ‘meritless and unfounded.'” (LAT)
- Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare
Australia’s Daily Telegraph fronts news about AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd with a typeface that recalls the band’s logo. It is important to note that prosecutors in New Zealand dropped the murder-for-hire charge that let a thousand “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” jokes bloom, though! Rudd “still faces charges of possessing drugs and threatening to kill,” Rose Troup Buchanan reports in The Independent. (Front page via Kiosko)
- Speaking of typefaces
Dylan Lathrop writes about ITC Serif Gothic, a typeface shared by “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.” “It also doesn’t hurt that The Verge logo is based on the same font,” Lathrop writes. (The Verge)
- Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
Leah Kauffman, Robert McGovern and Matt Romanoski have joined Philly Voice. Previously, they were executive producers at Philly.com. (technical.ly) | Marina Marraco will be a reporter at WTTG in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was a reporter at WESH in Orlando. (Media Moves) | Scott Levy is now news director at WIVB in Buffalo. Previously, he was news director for WTAJ in Altoona, Pennsylvania. (TV Spy) | Job of the day: ASNE is looking for an executive director. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: firstname.lastname@example.org.