- Critically derided but ratings winner
“Many critics trashed Wednesday’s Republican debate…Except for the 23 million people who tuned in Wednesday night to check out the inexcusable moderator lapses, the missed opportunities, the marathonic CNN political programming. Though not quite the Fox News mark of 24 million for its Aug. 6 debate, it’s the biggest ratings get in CNN’s 35-year history.” (The Washington Post) The network staunchly defended the mountainous coverage of Donald Trump leading up to the debate; something on the order of nearly 2,200 reports since he announced his run three months ago. It’s the go-heavy-with-one-story self-justification. But look at the ratings; it’s how that world counts. (The Huffington Post)
- Drip, drip, drip
Layoffs, buyouts, layoffs, layoffs. Ouch. Newspapers struggle to manage decline. Thursday brought bad news in New Orleans (Poynter) and Columbus (Columbus Business First). The day before was the New York Daily News (POLITICO). And at least buyouts, if not layoffs, are assured at the Los Angeles Times. (Poynter) There are lots of stories in the numbers and there’s a melancholy homogeneity about it all. Yes, some bigshot columnists, like New York’s Mike Lupica, were touched. But it’s mostly names you don’t know, many part of the newsroom bedrock. In New Orleans “Andy Grimm, who was hired away from the Chicago Tribune to cover federal courts, also was let go, as were reporter Ben Myers and graphics reporter/editor Dan Swenson. Benjamin Alexander Bloch, who covered coastal parishes and the Gulf of Mexico, was fired, as was Dinah Rogers, the paper’s assistant photo editor and a 24-year employee.” (Best of New Orleans).
- Obama and VICE
According to my White House email, his Friday schedule includes delivering “brief remarks to an audience of criminal justice activists, state and local elected officials, and community leaders gathered for a screening of ‘Fixing the System,’ an upcoming special documentary by VICE Media on criminal justice reform airing September 27 on HBO, that features the President’s visit to El Reno Federal Correctional Institution.”
- The search for ‘trendy, buzzy’ stories
“Are you fast, funny and ready to prove it? The Huffington Post is looking for a trending news writer who can surface buzzy stories before they go viral and file across all sections of The Huffington Post. The candidate should be a self-starter with a knack for mining emerging and established social media platforms to find tomorrow’s Internet obsession today.” (The Huffington Post) Did I see you just raising your hand, or at least going to your Gmail account? Can you “surface” buzzy stories BEFORE they go viral? Be honest. It’s a special, special talent.
- MSNBC lineup changes
There have been some already, they announced a few more Thursday and more are surely to come amid what is seen, in theory, as a programming integration of NBC News and the cable outlet. Chuck Todd, as previously announced, starts his new daily show on Sept. 28. (The New York Times) One or two prime time offerings are assumed to be dead (white) men walking. More to come.
- The Dolans cash out
In May I watched James Dolan at a cable convention in Chicago talk openly about a desire to sell the family-owned Cablevision (daddy really built things). Was he serious? Well, they’re selling for $10 billion and “attention will now turn to what the Dolans choose to do with their other two major assets that were spun out of Cablevision in recent years: AMC Networks Inc. and Madison Square Garden, owners of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. (The Wall Street Journal) “Media executives have long said the younger Mr. Dolan, 60, who plays in a rock band called JD & the Straight Shot and is known for his involvement in managing the Knicks, appears more passionate about the sports and entertainment parts of the family business.” As long suffering Knicks fans know, that means trouble since he’s proven pretty close to incompetent in that realm.
- Bloomberg’s London palace
Mike Bloomberg so clearly desires to be a player of historic note in London, not just New York. He’s bought a second estate and is finishing a prodigiously challenging 500,000-square foot palace of a headquarters for his 3,100-employee European operation. “We’re creating a building that captures our company’s DNA of open-spaces and technological innovation, while embracing the City of London’s rich tradition.” Check out a company video detailing a building meant to endure. (Bloomberg) It notes that just one quarry in Europe had the right sandstone for the face, the bronze is from Japan and the serrated glass from China. It’s got 15,500 tons of steel, or twice the weight of the Eiffel Tower; 600 tons of bronze (the “weight of five blue whales”); 1,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable (the distance of London to Prague); and 450 tons of aluminum (enough to make 2.5 million spoons). Unlike most new buildings (I’m going out on a limb here), it will incorporate “a third-century A.D. temple dedicated to the god Mithras that once stood in the center of the city.” (Archaeology) And the other day Bloomberg canned lots of employees to save money.
- Diversifying Times’ critic ranks
“Wesley Morris, a black journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2012 while at the Boston Globe, is joining the New York Times as a critic at large…Executive Editor Dean Baquet said [last year] that he would ‘love to diversify’ the Times’ contingent of 20 cultural critics, which included no African Americans and only two of color. He pledged that despite a financial crunch that resulted in layoffs, ‘I have an obligation to diversify the staff and I will figure out a way.'” (The Maynard Institute)
- Tribune gets defensive
Criticized heavily by business and politicians for canning the Los Angeles Times’ publisher, Tribune Publishing said the Times and San Diego Union-Tribune are a “cornerstone of our Company’s portfolio.” (POLITICO) That’s somewhat short of a revelation given how they generate 40 percent of revenues. Cuts are on the way amid very sluggish financial performance and pretty obvious creative and strategic languor on the digital side.
- Media-loving Turkey
Sheesh. “An investigation was launched against journalist Cüneyt Özdemir on Monday for allegedly disseminating terrorism propaganda in an interview he conducted with a 21-year-old woman who was imprisoned during the Gezi Park protests in 2013 — one of the largest civil protests in the history of the Turkish Republic.” He’s a TV reporter. The interview was four months ago. So now the interviewee joins a terrorist political party and this guy is accused of disseminating terrorist propaganda. Have a good weekend. (Today’s Zaman)
- Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare
Today’s front page comes from El Mercurio in Santiago, Chile, which showed damage from the 8.3-magnitude earthquake that struck on Wednesday. (Courtesy the Newseum)
- Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
Tony Messenger is now a metro columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Previously, he was editorial page editor there. (Email) | Job of the day: Stars and Stripes is looking for a general assignment reporter. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: email@example.com.