- Another all-time low in trust
Gallup says its latest survey “ties the historical lows on this measure set in 2014 and 2012.” (Gallup) Now just 40 percent have a “fair amount” of trust in the media. This prompts a rather proactive, acidly acute assessment from the never-shy folks at Gawker.
“Well, guess what? We don’t trust you [ah, I delete a very descriptive, 13-letter plural noun beginning with “m”] either. Routinely failing to read past the headline. Forming strong opinions on issues with virtually no understanding of them. Loudly condemning entire segments of the media for the most shallow political reasons. Crying out for more substantive coverage and then paying attention only to sex, celebrities, and animals. Can’t take a joke. Can’t detect sarcasm. Always misspelling our names when you send us death threats via email. Always badmouthing us to pollsters…” There’s more. And there’s a good point (or four or five) in that response. (Gawker)
- Case study of public, pundit ignorance: John Roberts
The Supreme Court returns from its cushy summer break Monday (who gets off until Oct. 5?) This morning comes Bloomberg with, “Aghast at the decisions of the last Supreme Court term, conservatives caricatured John Roberts as a leftist. He most certainly is not.” (Bloomberg) Several days earlier came The New York Times with the virtually identical piece and concluded, “This barrage of criticism is hard to reconcile with Chief Justice Roberts’s overall record, which is quite conservative.” (The New York Times) Will it puncture the Roberts caricature as closet liberal? Don’t bet on it.
- The Donald’s Wife
Perhaps it’s mere coincidence, like the combo the other night of a supermoon and a lunar eclipse. But, bingo, we have two fairly similar, virtually simultaneous profiles of Melania Trump in the ever-competitive New York Times and Washington Post. The premise of both is that she’s taking a very low profile (The New York Times) and being a good, loving, motherly former super model. The unanswered questions in both involve the crux of her relationship with The Donald and what explains it. (The Washington Post). There are lots of similar anecdotes about her fashion model days and claptrap from at least one political consultant on why her de facto campaign absence is shrewd. Ultimately, it’s unclear whether she’s an enigma of some complexity, an empty vessel with great wardrobe or, well, just not especially well explained in either opus.
- Hot war for ice hockey data
“Sports data company Stats has lost its third major sports statistics partnership this year to one of its top U.S. competitors.” The National Hockey League spurned the Northbrook, Illinois outfit as it cut a deal with a Minneapolis firm to be exclusive distributor of game statistics. It means that “any media company that wants to use the NHL’s official statistics on things like ice time, shots on goal, faceoffs won and lost, among others, will license it through” the new firm. (Crain’s Chicago Business) Counting how many times gap-toothed guys bash each other over the heads with sticks is apparently more lucrative than we imagined.
- Amid ongoing world domination, Facebook plans to get more ‘lively’
“To keep its decade-old social network lively, Facebook is introducing five big changes to user profiles which are viewed 4 billion times per day.” They include “the ability to use a 7-second looping video as your profile pic. ..Together, these changes should make Facebook more visually stimulating and addicting.” (TechCrunch) Is this like mixing meth and crack?
- Amid ongoing world domination, Google plans to counter Facebook’s Instant Articles
It will shortly unveil a tool for articles on mobile devices similar to Instant Articles, “only “Google would cull articles from cached versions on search, rather than hosting it themselves, and would release it as an open source tool to other platforms.” Next Wednesday in New York is the day and The New York Times and Guardian are among those signed up. (Re/code)
- Does Twitter have a soul?
Do we care? The subject came up with several of its executives discussing a new Twitter product to be “curated” (can we ditch that word, please?) by BONAFIDE JOURNALISTS!!! Some fret over what the product’s guiding principles will be. The Twitter executives say calm down, folks, we love news, we’re working on a set of principles and, if we screw up, an activist user base will let us know. (Press Think) Sounds reasonable. Meanwhile, it predictably named its co-founder to return as the new CEO even as the deal allows him to keep running Square, the payments company he founded. (Re/code)
- Another alt-weekly goes down tubes
Alternative weeklies had a great, roughly 40-year run until the mainstream print revenue tsunami hit them, too, and their content was also no longer quite so alternative. I saw it up close and personal as a publisher of one. Now Philadelphia’s weekly is dying. Counterparts in San Francisco, Boston, Columbus and Knoxville have met a similar fate in the last four years. Well, we might briefly look through the rear view mirror and raise a glass of appreciation to those no longer with us. (Poynter)
- Piling on Planned Parenthood
A classic House of Representatives show trial played out the other day at a hearing on funding for the organization. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) made a big deal out of a chart he displayed to show the nefarious ways of the group. It’s good that someone subsequently fact-checked his chart and found that “it’s not true, as the chart implies, that Planned Parenthood has been performing more abortions while drastically cutting back the provision of other services. The overall number of non-abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood barely changed at all, going from 10.29 million in 2006 to 10.26 million in 2013.” (Vox)
- Swiss TV station ditches cameras for iPhones
It’s outfitted “each reporter on the field with an iPhone 6 kit for shooting pre-recorded stories and for shooting live shots.” (Petapixel) Amazing, eh? In fact, virtually every TV station and cable channel in the U.S. is routinely airing video shot using cell phone cameras. It’s the source of your basic “BREAKING NEWS” disaster footage and is used to shoot a lot of the social media “teases” posted on social media to promote stories on upcoming broadcasts. A TV reporter friend recalls the late Dick Goldberg, his then-Chicago executive producer at the CBS station, holding up a pen 30 years ago and predicting that at some point in my friend’s career he’d be going live using something of similar size. It was prophetic.
- A German’s deep belief (ah, sort of) in the fate of journalism
Axel Springer, the German media conglomerate frustrated by the Japanese in its attempt to buy the Financial Times, just plunked down $343 million to buy online Business Insider, which was started only eight years ago. That’s quite a commitment to quality financial journalism, right? Check this line from The New York Times after its interview with the Axel Springer boss: “Journalism, once largely dismissed in the digital landscape, he said, has shown that it could be a vital and lucrative business online, even if it is not yet precisely clear how.” Well, there’s a small caveat (“even if it is not yet precisely clear how”). Oh, well. Could somebody give ME $343 million for a gambit whose business model is similarly muddled?
- And here’s a media metaphor
“It took three hours for Seattle police on Wednesday to go through the former Seattle Times building on John Street and clear it of squatters who had set up home there.” (Seattle Times) The paper moved elsewhere four years ago but it still seems fitting in a melancholy way that somebody’s huddling amid the ruins.
- Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare
Today’s front page of the day comes from the Chicago Sun-Times, which led Thursday with a front page editorial on gun violence in Chicago. (Courtesy the Newseum)
- Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
David Kohl is now president and CEO of High Times. Previously, he was founder and CEO of K2 Advisors. (Email) | Emily Arrowood is now an assistant editor at U.S. News & World Report. Previously, she was associate research director at Media Matters for America. (Email) | Job of the day: In These Times is looking for a deputy publisher. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: firstname.lastname@example.org.