June 17, 2014

Twice in the last two weeks, New York Times reporters got burned by anonymous sources, Jack Shafer writes. The Times and The Washington Post “tend to rely more heavily on” anonymous sources “than other print outlets” — “In the past four days, the Post cited unnamed sources in at least 18 pieces and the Times did the same in 17 stories ranging from the Iraq civil war to a smartphone app that predicts what a user will type next.”

• “I have nothing against anonymous sources who help guide reporters toward the verifiable — I just draw the line at routinely printing what they say,” Shafer writes.


  1. Jason Leopold was a sloppy journalist who realized that FOIA scoops meant “no one sharing it had to worry about whether they could trust the person who had unearthed the documents; they only had to trust the documents themselves.” Jason Fagone writes a fascinating profile of a self-described “FOIA terrorist.” (Matter)
  2. Former employees at the Salt Lake Tribune have filed suit to suspend changes to the newspaper’s joint operating agreement with the Deseret News. “The group argues the agreement gives the Tribune too little revenue to publish its print edition long-term and also jeopardizes its website, which relies on print revenues,” Michelle L. Price reports. (Associated Press)
  3. Chelsea Clinton‘s reported $600,000 salary from NBC “only underscored the stunting of network news,” Michael Hiltzik writes. “What’s happened to the money saved? It’s gone to fatten the bottom line and to finance stunt hiring like Clinton’s.” (Los Angeles Times)
  4. Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler “started a push at Bloomberg to make sure we are quoting women equally to men in stories,” senior executive editor Laurie Hays says. (Capital)
  5. Egypt said it would free Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy for health reasons. Elshamy began a hunger strike earlier this year. (Associated Press)
  6. “Journalism education has come to the same ominous inflection point that journalism itself has reached,” Jon Marcus writes, “and the stakes are just as high.” How j-schools are adapting (or not) to the changing industry they’re trying to prepare grads for. (Nieman Reports)
  7. Business Insider’s European operation is close (Digiday). Henry Blodget: “When you have a billion people on Facebook each of whom has a customised front page, there is less reason for people to check a website.” (The Guardian)
  8. The historical marker outside the doomed “Watergate garage” in Arlington, Virginia, should go, too, W. Joseph Campbell argues. (Media Myth Alert)
  9. The Local News Lab launches in New Jersey. It’s a project of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and is funded by a Knight Foundation grant. Participating sites at launch are Jersey Shore Hurricane News, Brick City Live, The Lo-Down, Morristown Green, New Brunswick Today and Sheepshead Bites, Caroline O’Donovan reports. (Nieman)
  10. Louisville Courier-Journal Executive Editor Neil Budde says he used an imperative to cut costs as an opportunity to reimagine the news organization. Reporters won’t spend as much time with editors, Budde says: “I think in the past we have had editors who were fairly aggressive in reworking stories for reporters. There is a little more expectation that the reporters are more independent and produce stories that are in better shape.” (WFPL)


  • Josh Rottenberg joins the Los Angeles Times as a senior film reporter. He’ll report to Rich Nordwind, AME John Corrigan writes in a memo to staffers.
  • First Look Media names John Temple its president of audience and products (FLM).
  • Digital magazine OZY hires Politico CTO Ryan Mannion. He’ll move to Mountain View, California, for the gig.
  • BuzzFeed reporter Hunter Schwarz is joining The Washington Post. (@hunterschwarz)
  • Leslie Hurst is retiring as publisher of the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion-Ledger.


  • Quartz is ahead of schedule in its goal to be profitable by next year, Jasper Jackson reported at TheMediaBriefing. Another goal, says publisher and president Jay Lauf: 1 million readers in India by early 2015. (Quartz launched its India channel last week.)
  • Nonprofit news sites are finding native advertising to be “an intriguing option for policy-minded organizations whose arguments and causes are difficult to boil down to a snappy slogan,” Texas Tribune Fellow Jake Batsell writes., because a banner ad is a particularly poor fit for these kinds of advertisers.
  • “Ads seem trivial,” Sara M. Watson writes at The Atlantic. “But when they start to question whether I’m eating enough, a line has been crossed.” Personalized ads are kind of creepy.
  • Sports writers can be pretty curmudgeonly when it comes to the Web (“I hate freaking bloggers”), according to a study written up by Joseph Lichterman at Nieman Lab. There’s general “disdain toward social media and the generation of online-first sports sites that has grown up over the past decade.”


  • Delta tweeted a picture of a giraffe to represent Ghana after Monday’s U.S. World Cup victory. Ghana has no giraffes. Delta apologized, with a typo. And life went on.

We’re bringing back the morning roundups I did when I first started at Poynter in 2012. Their format may change wildly until we figure out what works. If you’ve got suggestions, criticisms or you’d like me to email you this roundup each morning, please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org.

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

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