Nieman Foundation at Harvard
True Genius: How to go from “the future of journalism” to a fire sale in a few short years
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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.
August 30, 2021
“Allbritton, who had sunk more than $50 million of family money into Politico by 2018, is now among the most successful media investors of the century — although Politico, which never entered the buzzy venture capital fray, had rarely been mentioned among hot media start-ups.”
The New York Times / Ben Smith / Aug 30
“There’s an overly neat analogy that could be drawn here about the White House entertaining a representative of a hostile power, but it’s not entirely wrong. [Fox News reporter Peter] Doocy gives the White House a way into the often-sealed discourse on the right, a way to draw those snowballs into the sunlight.”
The Washington Post / Philip Bump / Aug 30
Former Denver Post editor Greg “Moore recalls being grilled by Alden’s bean-counters over every issue imaginable, and some that weren’t imaginable, like ‘Why do you have photographers?’ and ‘Why can’t you be the same size as some pissant paper in New Jersey?'” JB
Media Nation / Dan Kennedy / Aug 30
“…to honor the women and men of Afghanistan who have dedicated themselves at great personal risk to create and support journalism that has chronicled decades of life and war. From staff and freelance correspondents to interpreters to drivers to hosts, courageous Afghan residents helped produce Pulitzer-winning and Pulitzer-worthy images and stories that have contributed to a wider understanding of profoundly tragic and complicated circumstances.”
The Pulitzer Prizes / Aug 30
“There is no guarantee ESPN will reach a deal. It remains to be seen whether gaming companies have an appetite to pay for the ESPN name when they are already investing to establish their existing brands…A brand-licensing deal would allow ESPN to profit from the boom in sports gambling without taking bets and making payouts to winners, which requires licenses in individual states.”
The Wall Street Journal / Cara Lombardo and Benjamin Mullin / Aug 30
“Reporters weren’t embedded in these coastal and low-lying areas because the danger was simply too great, so webcams were the main way to assess the damage…Can all the live feeds and social snapshots, showing the real-time reality of the weather, cause viewers to take the threat more seriously?”
CNN / Brian Stelter / Aug 30
“On the one hand, we had people who said, during interviews, ‘We just want the facts. We don’t want any interpretation. We don’t want the narrative.’ But some of the examples they gave, what they saw as a narrative, someone else might see as just facts. Journalists are in a tricky situation. You don’t want to create a false equivalency between two topics; you don’t want to pretend that there’s considerable evidence that climate change is not caused by humans.”
CJR / Lauren Harris / Aug 30
“Frankly, I am burned out, and the vacation I sort of managed to take a few weeks back just showed me how badly I need time off after 10 years. News, however, demands one be 100% present.”
Bklyner / Liena Zagare / Aug 30
“In the first quarter of 2019, the 25 newspapers had a combined circulation of 4.7m. A year later, this total figure had fallen by 11% to 4.2m. The latest figures for these titles show a combined circulation of 3.4m, down 20% in a year.”
Press Gazette / William Turvill / Aug 30
“More than a dozen media, including Meduza, TV Rain and Novaya Gazeta have signed an open letter to the government calling on it to remove individual journalists and their outlets from its blacklists and repeal laws on ‘foreign agents’ and ‘undesirable organisations’ altogether. ‘We are convinced that these events are part of a coordinated campaign to destroy independent Russian media, whose entire “guilt” is constituted by their honestly fulfilling their professional duties to their readers,’ the letter reads.”
The Guardian / Andrew Roth / Aug 30