- Times versus Post on clickbait
It falls short of Ali-Frazier, but here’s a New York Times thesis: “Since the days when most major cities supported multiple newspapers, the news media has long been subject to groupthink, and prone to search for sensation. But as more readers move toward online social networks, and as publishers desperately seek scale to bring in revenue, many have deplored a race toward repetitive, trivial journalism, so noisy that it drowns out more considered work.” (New York Times)
And here’s a Washington Post response: “I like Doritos, too. I also like a steak. And chicken fingers. And Brussels sprouts. (For real, I do.) And yogurt. You get the idea. Liking Doritos doesn’t preclude liking other, better-for-you options too. To suggest that it’s all one or all the other suggests that people are entirely one-dimensional in their consumption habits; either you like Doritos and eat them every day all day or you don’t. There’s no in-between.” (Washington Post).
I go with the Post after spending Monday delving into the history of organized labor, checking a Yankees box score, watching tape of a Liverpool soccer game, reading about Scott Walker at the Iowa State Fair and having had a fleeting craving for Doritos. Quality still sells. But we need not get too precious or be a slave to the Kardashians.
- Jay Carney’s defense of Amazon
Amazon responded, if fitfully, to a New York Times expose on its work culture. By one Amazon author’s analysis, The Times’ own depiction was probably flawed for a lack of nuance in separating out different parts of the company. (Bloomberg). You did read it and wonder if this was a Fortune 500 company or a cult. At minimum, it was not a sterling performance by Jay Carney, the bright former Time magazine reporter and White House spokesman. He’s now with Amazon and exhibited unabashed flackery as he essentially argued that no company could be this successful and abuse workers as claimed. (Poynter). “I think the fundamental flaw in the story is the suggestion that any company that had the culture that The New York Times wrote about, sort of a cruel, Darwinian or Dickensian kind of atmosphere in the workplace could survive and thrive in today’s marketplace.” Carney is smarter than this. History is redolent with similar attitudes from executives whose workers were grotesquely exploited in many industries, including auto, steel, coal, garment, meatpacking and textiles. There is no inevitable link between profits and decent treatment of workers in the marketplaces of yesterday or today.
- How’s North America’s first micropayment system working?
Well, it’s a bit unclear. Canada’s Winnipeg Free Press became the first North American newspaper to launch a micropayment system when it unveiled its paywall in May. “Digital access to the Free Press is included in a print subscription. Readers can also pay $16.99 ($12.95 U.S.) per month for unlimited online access. And for commitment-phobes, there’s also the option of paying by the story, at 27 cents (21 cents U.S.) a pop. Users can access two articles per month for free before they’re prompted to create an account and enter a payment method.” (NiemanLab) So far 1,300 people have made micropayments, though the paper won’t discuss their frequency or total revenues. But since you can request a refund after reading an article, it seems reassuring that the refund rate is less than 1 percent.
- New media’s old media problem
It’s diversity. One investigation finds “that only some of these outlets are making decent headway, while others lag far behind the newsrooms of so-called legacy media. Still others are unwilling to share their progress at all, even as they talk a big game about the value of a diverse newsroom.” One of the few new media outlets to disclose any numbers is BuzzFeed, which cites 27 percent as its non-white editorial workforce. That seemingly puts it ahead of The New York Times and behind The Washington Post. Politico doesn’t disclose numbers, as is the case with many new media outlets, but one reporter says, “It’s the whitest newsroom I’ve ever worked in.” (International Business Times)
- White AND apparently not that well paid
An online salary survey of just over 1,000 reporters claims most earn between $25,000 and $55,000 a year. About half who responded come from expensive big cities and, no surprise, tend to be paid more than those living elsewhere. The survey is ongoing. (Medium)
- Huffington Post unmoved by Trump’s resilience
It considered him a joke a month ago when it decided to cover his campaign in its Entertainment section, and it’s not changing its stance. “We’re more committed to the decision than ever. Trump is nothing but a sideshow and not a legitimate presidential candidate with serious policy ideas for moving the country forward.” (Adweek)
- CNN expose prompts hospital unit closing
St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida badmouthed a CNN investigation but is closing its cardiothoracic surgery program amid CNN disclosures of nine infant deaths in four years. “After much consideration, we have made the decision to permanently close our Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program,” the hospital said in a statement. “We are proud of the work that has been done and the lives that have been saved.” (Cox)
- Cable’s summertime blues
Well, Donald Trump can’t boost everybody’s ratings. “Ratings are down by double digits at many of the top cable channels as increased competition from the broadcast networks and the growing popularity of streaming services such a Netflix and Hulu have cut into their audiences. In addition, June through August is when viewers are tapping their digital video recorders and checking out video-on-demand to sample the shows they missed during the traditional fall-to-spring television season.” (Wall Street Journal)
- Health care information for transgender citizens
Here’s slicing the media pie thinly: a new website based on the premise that “one in four transgender people delay seeking healthcare due to discrimination.” MyTransHealth was funded on Kickstarter and will launch in New York City, Miami and San Francisco. (TechCrunch)
- Why TV craves Donald Trump
Here’s a firm grasp of the obvious: ratings. And imagine if “Saturday Night Live” was running original shows right now. “They’d be killing it, And I would bet that they are going to make a push to bring Trump on as host, which would be an absolute ratings bonanza.” (Advertising Age)
- Media ad wars just starting
“The first significant shots of the 2016 presidential television ad air war—likely to cost $2 billion or more by November 2016—have been fired. The largest expenditures to date have been the multi-million dollar buys each from New Day for America, the super-Pac supporting John Kasich, and the Clinton campaign.” Still, for a media world that’s desperate to know how the war might go, these early blasts— measured in dollars—often take on an outsize significance. But it’s all too easy to misinterpret these early buys, and therefore misunderstand the battle.” (Bloomberg)
- A play to honor a thoroughbred writer
If you’re anywhere near bucolic Saratoga Springs, New York on Friday, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will offer the second public performance of “This Was Racing: An Evening with Joe Palmer.” It’s a one-man show by Walter May and based on a book published in 1953, right after the death of Palmer, the longtime racing columnist for the New York Herald Tribune. It took a while but May has finally turned the rights he owned into a show. (Adweek) Break a leg, Walter.
- Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare
On Tuesday, Gambit in New Orleans gave us a peek at what’s changed since Hurricane Katrina hit nearly 10 years ago. (Courtesy the Newseum)
- Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
Dana Bash is now chief political correspondent at CNN. Previously, she was chief congressional correspondent there. (Poynter) | Jonathan Swan has joined The Hill’s campaign team. Previously, he was national political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald. (Email) | Bill Dallman is now vice president and news director of KCBS and KCAL in Los Angeles. Previously, he was vice president of news at Fox Sports 1. (Email) | Meredith Talusan is now a LGBT staff writer at BuzzFeed. Previously, she was a contributor there. (Email) | Sabina Widmann-Hernandez is now vice president, general manager and director of sales of Univision stations in San Diego, California. Previously, she was director of sales of Univision stations in San Diego. (Email) | Stephanie Smith is now a senior editor at Yahoo Food. Previously, she was a reporter for Page Six. (Email) | Job of the day: The Washington Post is looking for an opinion blogger. Get your resumes in! (Wash Post PR) | Send Ben your job moves: email@example.com.