The Pulitzer Prizes will be announced today; an odd TV media feud; Assange fallout continues

Your Monday news roundup

April 15, 2019

Today is one of the most exciting days in journalism as winners of the Pulitzer Prizes are announced. Be sure to check in with Poynter.org as we bring you the latest on journalism’s most prestigious awards.

While you wait for the winners to be announced, we have a couple of pieces to tide you over. Roy J. Harris Jr. has a Pulitzer preview. And, just for fun, check out my list of the 25 greatest movies involving journalism. I’ve already received tons of feedback, most notably: Where’s “The Philadelphia Story” and “The Front Page?” Take a look at the list and let me know what you think.

Odd feud

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo attends The Hollywood Reporter's annual Most Powerful People in Media cocktail reception at The Pool on Thursday, April 11, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Here’s a media fight that seemingly came out of nowhere. In a profile about him in The Hollywood Reporter last week, CNN’s Chris Cuomo discussed the relevance of his program, as well as that of his CNN colleagues. He compared CNN and its hosts to broadcast networks. In doing so, he seemed to take a shot at NBC’s Chuck Todd.

“Anderson Cooper is a hell of a lot bigger than any male anywhere on network television,” Cuomo said. “I would argue that Chuck Todd ain’t Jake Tapper. Jake Tapper has a much bigger footprint in politics that Chuck Todd does.”

Todd responded during an interview on WABC radio in New York, saying, “I just read it as somebody who wanted to defend the fact that nobody in broadcast television wanted to hire him, I guess, or he couldn’t get the job that he wanted. I don’t know what it was, but he was awfully defensive, so he took shots at other people. I’m like, dude.”

In the Hollywood Reporter interview, Cuomo also defended criticism that he is too kind when he interviews Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Donald Trump. (Recently, by the way, Cuomo’s CNN colleague Don Lemon questioned Cuomo on the air about why he would even have Conway on his show.)

“My defense is this: Kellyanne is a personal friend of mine,” Cuomo said in the interview. “I care about her. … I care about her family, OK? I have personal affection for her. I understand why people are upset about what she says. Knowing that, you tell me: Who is a more rigorous questioner of Kellyanne than I am? Besides, we’d take anybody from the White House at any time. They won’t come.”

The future of journalism

AP executive editor Sally Buzbee had some worthwhile thoughts when she accepted the William Allen White Foundation National Citation for outstanding journalistic service at the University of Kansas last week. Buzbee spoke of the three guideposts newsrooms must use to navigate the future of journalism:

Embrace innovation. Collaboration. And, she added, “Good, fact-based reporting never goes away.”

The part about collaboration does seem intrinsic to the future of journalism, and we’re already seeing smart examples of it in California and North Carolina.

“These collaborations are some of the most vital things happening in the news industry,” Buzbee said. “They’re resulting in excellent journalism. And they’re helping us all figure out what the future might look like — what business models might work going forward.”

Strongest show

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in her office on April 10, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

What a lineup on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Sunday evening’s show had features on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “Game of Thrones” and the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

The best piece was Lesley Stahl’s segment on Pelosi. The most interesting quote? Pelosi: “I think our future is strong enough, built on a strong foundation to withstand everything, including the current occupant of the White House. I don’t think for two terms, though.”

More Assange fallout

A poster displayed on the railings outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested and taken into custody Thursday, April 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

There continues to be a debate about whether the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange poses a threat to freedom of the press. The United States did not charge Assange for publishing classified material under the Espionage Act, but instead under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Translation: Assange is not being charged for publishing classified materials, but for conspiring to steal them.

So, is that good news for press freedom advocates or is it still a threat to journalism? Some, for instance, are comparing all this to The Pentagon Papers.

“It is a threat to press freedoms, no question about it,” the Intercept’s Ryan Grim said on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN. “The First Amendment doesn’t distinguish between journalists and non-journalists.”

Grim warned journalists covering the story to not be fooled by the Justice Department painting Assange as simply a hacker — this still could be a dangerous threat to journalists.

 Call of the weekend

Tiger Woods smiles as he walks off the seventh tee during the final round of The Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Georgia. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

CBS’s Jim Nantz when Tiger Woods sunk his final putt to close out his improbable victory at The Masters: “The return to glory!”

Number of the day

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) listens during a House Financial Services Committee hearing. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

3,181: That’s the number of times, according to Media Matters, that Fox News and Fox Business Network mentioned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) during a six-week period from Feb. 25 to April 7. That comes out to almost 76 times a day. Fox said it isn’t alone in covering AOC, pointing to other networks and publications that heavily cover the congresswoman.

As Media Matters notes, Fox News host Stuart Varney once said, “We have an AOC segment every single day, almost every single hour. She’s good for our ratings.”

Check it out

The New York Times’ Karen Crouse, who just might be the best golf writer in the country, chronicles Tiger Woods’ remarkable victory at The Masters.

The Tampa Bay Times has unveiled newspaper racks with video monitors that stream news, advertising and information.

The Atlantic’s Elaina Plott covers the rise of George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush and, perhaps, the future leader of the GOP.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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