June 10, 2019

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June 10, 2019

Good Monday morning, although it’s not such a good Monday in St. Louis. The beloved hockey team there, the Blues, did not win Sunday night — and it just might have been the fault of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I’ll explain, as well as look at the rest of the weekend in media.

Dewey defeats Blues

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch better hope it didn’t jinx its team by accidentally publishing congrats too soon.

Oh, no. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch did something you are to never, ever do. In an e-edition of the paper Sunday, the Post-Dispatch ran a letter from the owner of the St. Louis Blues and comments from advertisers that celebrated the franchise winning the Stanley Cup. Just one problem: the Blues haven’t won the Stanley Cup. Not yet. And maybe not ever if you believe in jinxes.

Just hours after the ad was posted and then quickly removed, the Blues blew a chance to win the Cup by losing at home to the Boston Bruins. Now comes a winner-take-all Game 7 in Boston on Wednesday. The letter in the Post-Dispatch from Blues owner Tom Stillman said, “Winning the Stanley Cup was a dream come true for so many of you. All of us will remember where we were, what we did and how we felt when the Blues brought the Cup home.”

The only thing anyone is going to remember is the Post-Dispatch putting a whammy on the Blues if they don’t win Wednesday. The Post-Dispatch sent out this tweet later Sunday:

“In preparation for the outcome of the Stanley Cup finals, some of our readers got a sneak peek at what our advertisers are hoping to say to the Blues, the fans and St. Louis. We apologize for the sneak peek and hope to share their messages with everyone very soon!”

This is not the first time a newspaper has run the wrong item during the Stanley Cup finals. In 2004, the now defunct Tampa Tribune ran the wrong editorial. It lamented the Tampa Bay Lightning not winning the Cup when in fact the Lightning did win the Cup — just one mile away from the Tribune’s main offices.

Material girl

Madonna is upset at the journalist who reported on ‘trivial and superficial matters’ in her write-up of the star at 60.

Madonna accepts the advocate for change award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Last week, Vanessa Grigoriadis profiled pop star Madonna in a New York Times Magazine piece called “Madonna at Sixty.” Madonna, however, was furious with the story because she said it fixated on her age, writing, “it makes me feel raped.” In an Instagram post, Madonna wrote:

“The journalist who wrote this article spent days and hours and months with me and was invited into a world which many people don’t get to see, but chose to focus on trivial and superficial matters such as the ethnicity of my stand-in or the fabric of my curtains and never ending comments about my age which would never have been mentioned had I been a MAN!”

You can read the article and decide for yourself if the Times’ piece was unfair or focused too much on age, but Washington Post pop culture reporter Sonia Rao notes that Madonna’s response makes you wonder what celebrities expect from journalists. Many expect puff pieces that simply promote a celebrity’s latest project, like when Bradley Cooper told the New York Times that he saw no “upside” in revealing personal details and allowed the Times to do a story on him because he wanted to promote his movie “A Star Is Born.”

Athletes are often the same way, with many choosing to tell their personal stories in The Players Tribune — a website in which athletes write their own stories, sometimes with the help of a ghost writer.

The Athletic abilities

The sports website shows no signs of slowing down as it adds a U.K. hub for Premier League soccer.

The Athletic continues to grow. The subscription-based, ad-free sports website is now launching a United Kingdom hub that will focus on Premier League soccer. According to Digiday, the U.K. team will consist of 50-55 journalists. Already, The Athletic covers every one of the teams in the four main North American professional sports leagues, as well as many colleges. It recently announced it will have writers covering all the WNBA teams.

What’s interesting is this move is not geared to soccer fans in the United States (although it should attract many starved for European soccer coverage), but for fans in the U.K.

Akhil Nambiar, chief of staff for The Athletic, told Digiday, “This is not an extension of the U.S.; this is about how to empower our writers for a U.K. audience.”

Meanwhile, Awful Announcing’s Ben Koo reported that The Athletic raised another $22 million in investment money earlier this year, bringing its total of reported investment to close to $90 million.

It’s not publicly known how The Athletic, which launched in 2016, is doing in terms of subscriptions. Last August, a spokesperson for The Athletic told the New York Timesthat it had “well over” 100,000 subscribers, each paying about $5 a month. One of the company’s investors said subscriptions were “many multiples” of 100,000.

Fighting back

Jim Acosta’s new book about covering the Trump White House will hit bookshelves and Kindles soon.

CNN’s Jim Acosta at the White House. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s book, “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time in America to Tell the Truth,” comes out this week, and he appeared on both CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and “CBS Sunday Morning” on Sunday. In the book, Acosta gives his first-hand account of covering the President Donald Trump White House.

He told “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter, “I wanted to send a message to folks who really care about what we do, and the message is basically this: I did not want my children to grow up in a country where the press is called the enemy of the people.”

Acosta repeated that line to CBS News’ Chip Reid, adding, “I don’t believe that there are two sides to a story when it’s a matter of right versus wrong. It just doesn’t work that way. And I think that in this era, reporters have been thrust into a position where, you know, we are not only calling balls and strikes, but we are calling fouls.”

Turning up the heat

CNN’s Don Lemon perseveres, despite name-calling and disrespect.

CNN anchor Don Lemon. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Speaking at a conference last week, CNN anchor Don Lemon said he has become a target of some President Donald Trump supporters. The Hollywood Reporter writes that while Lemon was taping a segment in a park recently, someone approached him and said, “We built this country. I can’t wait for CNN to fire your black ass, you (homophobic slur).”

Lemon said the constant attacks do make him question from time to time how much longer he can do his job.

“It ain’t easy,” Lemon said, “but I don’t plan to give up.”

‘Undemocratic and dangerous’

The Twitter war between the president and the New York Times continues to heat up.

Just before 6 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, President Donald Trump tweeted:

“The Failing @nytimes story on Mexico and Illegal Immigration through our Southern Border has now been proven shockingly false and untrue, bad reporting, and the paper is embarrassed by it. The only problem is that they knew it was Fake News before it went out. Corrupt Media!”

The New York Times Communications twitter feed responded with:

“Actually, we stand by our story. We are confident in our reporting, and as with so many other occasions, our stories stand up over time and the president’s denials of them do not. Calling the press the enemy is undemocratic and dangerous.”

Mad as hell?

Bryan Cranston dedicates his Tony on Sunday night to ‘real journalists.’

Bryan Cranston accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play for “Network” at the 73rd annual Tony Awards on Sunday. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

At Sunday night’s Tony Awards, Bryan Cranston won for best leading man in a play for his portrayal of Howard Beale in the stage version of “Network.” In his speech, he dedicated his award to “all the real journalists around the world.”

He added, “The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”

Hot type

A list of great journalism and intriguing media.

Bob Woodward, right, with Carl Bernstein in New York last month. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • How come there aren’t reporters like Woodward and Bernstein today? There are, but they just don’t have that kind of impact anymore, writes Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan.
  • Remember the story about the little boy who said “Wow” at the end of a classical music concert last month? There’s much more to that story, as “CBS Sunday Morning” revealed.
  • A photojournalist at a Milwaukee TV station went to a baseball game and tweeted about a kid who was on his phone instead of watching the game. That was the start of what was a very bad day on Twitter for the photojournalist.
  • The second episode of The New York Times’ TV show “The Weekly” — this one about the struggles that New York City taxi drivers face purchasing the medallions they need to operate taxis — was heartbreaking, infuriating and outstanding. You can stream it starting today on Hulu.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
Tom Jones

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