Nieman Foundation at Harvard
The enduring allure of conspiracies
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What We’re Reading
We keep an eye out for the most interesting stories about Labby subjects: digital media, startups, the web, journalism, strategy, and more. Here’s some of what we’ve seen lately.
January 19, 2021
Buzzfeed News led media companies in FOIA filings during the Trump years, followed by The New York Times. SS
Axios / Sara Fischer / Jan 19
“A board made up of representatives of Pocket Casts’ owners — NPR, New York Public Radio, Chicago Public Media and BBC Studios Americas — agreed in December to sell the platform … NPR’s financial statement showed that Pocket Casts had a net loss in the network’s fiscal year 2020. NPR’s share of the loss was more than $800,000.” SS
Current / Tyler Falk / Jan 19
“Shoot with small, unobtrusive gear. It is acceptable to deliberately choose to work with consumer gear so that you look like an observer. Many reporters are taking their notes in composition journals rather than traditional reporter’s notebooks for the same reason. While these are deliberate choices to conceal your identity, they fall short of outright deception.”
Poynter / Kelly McBride / Jan 19
Forbes will hire 20 to 30 writers who already have “big followings” for the endeavor. The writers will split subscription revenue for the newsletters 50/50 with Forbes. “All the revenue comes with the guaranteed minimum of a full-time Forbes salary and benefits, as well as legal support, editorial guidance, copy editing, and fact-checking assistance.” SS
Axios / Sara Fischer / Jan 19
“We find that Trump voters with higher levels of basic political knowledge and engagement with election news were more likely to hold false beliefs about the election, while the opposite was true of Biden voters.”
Misinformation Review / Gordon Pennycook / Jan 19
Among the commentators in the running for the 7 p.m. slot once devoted to news: Maria Bartiromo. “’It is ludicrous and disheartening that we are rewarding [Bartiromo] with a prime-time spot, knowing full well she is among the most responsible for propagating the big election lie,’ a news division staffer said.” SS
Washington Post / Jeremy Barr / Jan 19
“In the past few weeks, online job advertisements have been posted for a video editor, senior producer, news reporter, and motion graphics designer/producer for The ads say the endeavor will be ‘dedicated to unbiased, nonpartisan reporting’ and is projected to start in February.” (This is not his first foray into journalism. In 2017, Ricketts shut down DNAinfo and Gothamist sites a week after workers voted to unionize.)
Omaha World-Herald / Paul Hammel / Jan 19
“Yesterday I went shopping for a new winter coat that would fit over a bulletproof vest so I can safely (and warmly) cover the inauguration of the next president of the United States.”
CNN / Kerry Flynn / Jan 19
“The value of those titles has been revealed to lie not in the cover price or advertising potential, but in those ‘rusted-on subscribers’ that buy them year on year – disincentivising change. The resurrection of The Listener, almost identical in form and focus, suggests there was next to no enthusiasm for a refresh.” SS
The Guardian / Elle Hunt / Jan 19
“People don’t notice this boilerplate language after a while, or even begin to bristle at it.” SS
Washington Post / Margaret Sullivan / Jan 19