December 3, 2014

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Rolling Stone story causes the wrong kind of unease

    Sabrina Rubin Erdely‘s story finally got UVA’s administration to deal with campus sexual assault. But if it “turns out to be a hoax, it is going to turn the clock back on their thinking 30 years,” Caitlin Flanagan tells Allison Benedikt and Hanna Rosin. They found Jackie, the main character of Erdely’s story, who “had already been interviewed by the Washington Post for a story that has not yet run.” (Slate) | If the men Jackie accuses of rape “were being cited in the story for mere drunkenness, boorish frat-boy behavior or similar collegiate misdemeanors, then there’d be no harm in failing to secure their input,” Erik Wemple writes. “The charge in this piece, however, is gang rape, and so requires every possible step to reach out and interview them, including e-mails, phone calls, certified letters, FedEx letters, UPS letters and, if all of that fails, a knock on the door. No effort short of all that qualifies as journalism.” (WP) | “If a reporter were doing a story about a university accused of failing to address the mugging or robbery of a student, that reporter would not be expected to interview the alleged mugger or robber,” Columbia j-school professor Helen Benedict tells Ravi Somaiya. (NYT) | Which is true. But it’s also true that most editors would want to see a police report, or would insist on attributing an account of such a mugging to the person who claimed it, not report it as established fact. A counter-narrative is already forming because of Rolling Stone’s decision not to report out its source’s explosive story: Just look at this Jonah Goldberg piece: “Erdely’s story was reported uncritically for days as a powerful example of the ‘rape epidemic’ that is somehow taking place amidst a 20-year decline in reported rapes.” (NRO) | There will be an epidemic of such scare quotes if Rolling Stone’s story doesn’t check out.

  2. The story of that Ferguson protester-hugging-a-cop photo

    Devonte Hart was carrying a sign that said “free hugs.” A Portland, Oregon, police officer asked for one. Does that make the picture a lie? His mom says “It was one of the most emotionally charged experiences I’ve had as a mother.” (WP)

  3. Shakeup at Gawker Media

    Editorial director Joel Johnson told staffers yesterday they’d receive an email from Gawker honcho Nick Denton “stating that he had been fired,” Peter Sterne reports. Denton still envisions a product role for Johnson at the company and will create an executive editor and a group managing editor position. “We hear that Deadspin editor Tommy Craggs is the leading internal candidate” for exec editor. (Capital) | Denton’s memo: “Hard to imagine, but 2015 is going to be even more intense than this year.” (Jim Romenesko)

  4. More NYT buyout departures

    Labor reporter Steve Greenhouse takes the buyout, emails staffers: “I realize that I need to slow down, at least somewhat. I work too damn hard — that’s my fault, not the NYT’s.” His note ends: “Stay in touch. And keep on keeping on with your wonderful journalism – and holding all those damn folks accountable.” | Some of the other names that emerged yesterday: Ethan Bronner. Douglas Martin. Nadia Taha (she’s going to PETA). Tim Hilchey. Christine Haughney. Marjorie Connelly. (Poynter) | The Guild says management accepted 57 members’ buyout applications (out of 63) and that layoffs “could begin as early as Dec. 15.” (Capital)

  5. Center for Public Integrity has a new boss

    Former CNN exec Peter Bale is its new CEO. He succeeds William E. Buzenberg, who plans to move to Boston and “begin a fellowship at the Shorenstein Center.” (CPI)

  6. GE tried to hire Ezra Klein

    “While Mr. Klein was still at the Post, GE courted him and others for a news website and marketing campaign in development. When Mr. Klein left to join Vox, GE and its ad dollars followed.” (WSJ) | Related: Verizon quietly shut down SugarString, its tech publication that was forbidden to write about government surveillance or net neutrality. (DSLReports)

  7. Dr. Nancy Snyderman returns to ‘Today’

    “The appearance will bring to an end what had been an extended absence by Dr. Snyderman, who returned from covering the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and drew a chorus of criticism for breaking a self-imposed quarantine.” (NYT)

  8. A Martha Stewart Café is on its way

    The cafe, in the same New York building as my former employer Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, is already hiring baristas. Let a thousand “It’s a good thing” subheds bloom. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare

    Ferguson kids returning to school share their stories on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (Courtesy the Newseum)

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Andy Wiedlin will be an entreprenuer-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz. He’s currently chief revenue officer at BuzzFeed. (Re/Code) | Salvador Rodríguez is a Silicon Valley correspondent for International Business Times. Previously, he was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. (Media Moves) | Peter Bale will be CEO at the Center for Public Integrity. Previously, he was vice president and general manager of digital operations at CNN International. (Center for Public Integrity) | Jed Hartman will be chief revenue officer at The Washington Post. Previously, he was group publisher for Time,, Fortune,, Money, and (Washington Post) | Job of the day: The San Antonio Express-News is looking for an online producer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

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Correction: Due to my own editing error, this sentence was originally missing a crucial “if”: It should read (without the italics) “But if it “turns out to be a hoax, it is going to turn the clock back on their thinking 30 years,” Caitlin Flanagan tells Allison Benedikt and Hanna Rosin.”

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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