March 4, 2022

Good Friday morning. We’ve made it through an incredibly busy week in the media. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to dominate the news, and we also had President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a story that changes by the hour, but it does appear to be getting worse and worse for the people of Ukraine. Russia seemingly is ramping up its savage attacks. So continue to check your trusted news source on that. I highly recommend CNN’s coverage, as well as that of The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Today’s Poynter Report is an abbreviated version with links to journalism you should check out over the weekend. But, before I get to that, here are a few nuggets of media news you should know about …

RT America ceases productions

CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported Thursday that the production company behind the American version of the Russian state-funded network RT laid off most of its staff. And Misha Solodovnikov — the general manager of the production company, T&R Productions — told staff that it will be “ceasing production.”

Darcy wrote, “The layoffs would mean an effective end to RT America. The network, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s main mouthpieces in the US, was dropped earlier this week by DirecTV. The satellite carrier was one of the two major television providers in the US to carry the network.”

Staffers were told in a meeting that production was ceasing and they would receive two months severance pay. A source in the meeting told Darcy that it lasted all of two minutes.

Darcy wrote, “RT, which operates multiple networks across the world, has seen its reach significantly diminish in recent days as technology companies and television providers have moved to sever ties with it as a result of Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine.”

‘The Daily’ adds another host

The New York Times’ highly successful podcast “The Daily” is adding another host. Sabrina Tavernise will become the second host, sharing hosting duties with Michael Barbaro. Each episode will continue to have just one host, meaning Tavernise and Barbaro won’t be on the same episodes. Barbaro has been the main host since the podcast debuted in February 2017.

In its announcement, Times management said, “Having a second host will make ‘The Daily’ even stronger. It will allow both Michael and Sabrina to dig deeper into stories and share responsibility for The Times’s flagship show, which — as Michael himself has told us — has grown too big for one person.”

Tavernise has been with the Times since 2000. She is a national correspondent and also has been a foreign correspondent. Of late, she has reported extensively on Ukraine and has worked on several audio projects for the Times.

In a statement, Tavernise said, “I fell in love with audio when I first worked with ‘The Daily’ and its brilliant creators a few years ago. The emotional power of hearing people’s voices — and the music and the drums — took storytelling to a whole new level. I felt like I was suddenly seeing colors, after a lifetime in black and white. I am so excited at the thought of joining this incredible team.”

Let the games begin

The Paralympics get underway today in Beijing. The International Paralympic Committee changed an earlier decision and now will not allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate. The New York Times’ David Waldstein and Amy Chang Chien have the details: “In Reversal, Paralympics Bars Athletes From Russia and Belarus.”

Meanwhile, NBCUniversal has the games — here’s its homepage with events and TV schedules.

Also, check out NPR’s Emily Feng with “China is a Paralympics star, but its people with disabilities face high hurdles.”

And now to some journalism I recommend for your weekend…

And, finally, today, this free article from The Washington Post’s John Woodrow Cox, Ian Shapira and Omari Daniels: “Here’s how Americans can donate to help people in Ukraine.”

Have a good weekend, everyone. See you again on Monday.

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…
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