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23 Jan 2012 10:10


Biz: Associated Press leader Tom Curley to retire, leaves controversial legacy

  • The guy who guided AP into the aggregation era: You probably don’t know this guy very well, but all the organizations that give you your news know him quite well. Tom Curley, who has led the Associated Press since 2003, plans to retire later this year, after his successor is found. Curley, a former USA Today publisher, faced a not-very-enviable task as AP’s leader: As many of his member publications found it difficult to stay afloat (in some cases, trying to drop AP entirely as a cost-saving measure), Curley took a very hard stance against copyright issues, and once played a role in a protracted fight with Google over access to AP articles. (For years, the Curley-led Associated Press considered Google merely running headlines in search results to be lawsuit-worthy, before eventually backing off.) The AP’s leader will leave a somewhat-difficult legacy in its handling of the blogosphere, too: After previous stunted attempts to show control over its content, the site is moving forward with a new content-licensing initiative called NewsRight. Journalism is a difficult business to keep financially stable, and the AP has had a lot to fight against. But at times, you sometimes wonder if folks like Curley simply didn’t understand the environment. Their issues are certainly not as bad as the music industry’s. But they’re certainly not shining examples of new-media transition. (Photo by Richard Drew/AP) source

16 Jun 2011 16:30


Politics: Media outlets cut away from Pelosi’s job talk

  • ‘Less jobs, more Weiner,’ media pleads: This is the sort of thing that, after what’s already been a very overblown frenzy over the scandal (and today’s resignation) of Anthony Weiner, serves as an instant representation of what’s frustrating us right now. What makes this even worse is that Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly and stridently called for Weiner’s resignation. As the Democratic Leader, that condemnation is part of what Weiner seemed to feel forced his hand. Is there really even anything left to ask her about this? source

02 Jun 2011 15:08


Politics: Piper Palin would prefer a media-free family vacation

  • Thanks for ruining our vacation.
  • Piper Palin (daughter of Sarah, age 9) • Making a comment to a photographer during Sarah Palin’s massive bus tour. This strikes a rather awkward contrast, because media attention is precisely the intended effect of this tour as far as Mama Palin is concerned. (Seriously, did she not tell her what was going on?!?) Though we hope it’s obvious, we’ll strenuously make it clear that this isn’t intended as yukking it up at the expense of a young, innocent girl — we frankly can’t imagine what it would be like growing up in such a publicly prominent family, and one that does have its share of disgusting things written about it on the internet. There is something very emotionally evocative, rather, at the thought that the media attention which is basically the lifeblood of Sarah Palin’s career, political or otherwise, seems to be rankling her daughter, who just wants a nice vacation. source

04 May 2011 15:52


Politics: Maddow wants the media to stick to the facts on bin Laden’s death

  • There’s going to be plenty of time to score political points on this. Osama bin Laden is going to be dead forever. Osama bin Laden is never coming back.
  • Rachel Maddow • Discussing attempts in the news media to tilt the facts of the Osama bin Laden raid to suit certain political themes, in her appearance on The Daily Show last night. Maddow is spot on in this analysis, for a very good reason — it’s demonstrably obvious that news agencies since bin Laden’s death don’t have a conclusive, clear view of exactly what went down. This is borne out by the wild conflicts and discrepancies in reporting various details of the operation since word broke on Sunday. Maddow, to her credit, has done two episodes of her show post-bin Laden, and both were earnestly refreshing in acknowledging that waiting for verifiable fact is more useful than rushing to make the story sound cooler, or fit into a political narrative. source

15 Mar 2011 00:59


Politics: Evan Bayh: Former Democratic Senator joins Fox News

  • Democrat Evan Bayh, who was both Governor of and Senator from Indiana, has signed up to be a Fox News contributor. Bayh declined to run for re-election in 2010, and some thought he might become a lobbyist after his exit. They were wrong, though, and now he’s primed to become Fox’s new token Democrat. (Alan Colmes! What, what?) Now, some might say that any Democrat would be crazy to join (and, in doing so, help promote) a place like Fox News, given that it’s, well, Fox News. Others, however, argue that people like Bayh are doing an invaluable service to the Democratic cause in providing a liberal perspective to an audience that would not otherwise hear one. What do y’all think? Is Bayh a sell out, or will his stint at Fox help open some eyes? source

08 Mar 2011 21:32


Politics: New York Times’ Bill Keller rips on Fox News unobjectively

  • I think if you’re a regular viewer of Fox News, you’re among the most cynical people on planet Earth. I cannot think of a more cynical slogan than ‘Fair and Balanced.’
  • New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller • Assessing Fox News while speaking at the City University of New York graduate journalism school late last week. As you might guess, the comments weren’t taken particularly well, partly because he’s the executive editor of the New York Times and the NYT regularly breaks news about Fox News. Including, uh, like two days ago. Now, considering how hard-up they are about their objectivity (this piece on Nate Silver is a pretty great example), it’s a reasonable criticism – and one that sticks a little harder than the one about Anderson Cooper using the word “liar.” Because, unlike this, he landed a direct blow on a competitor that compromises his paper’s objectivity. source

24 Feb 2011 12:36


World: Media reports from Libya still scarce, but here’s a little footage

  • “Gaddafi Get Out”: The crackdown in Libya has made it part perilous, part impossible to get proper media coverage of the event. That being so, any time there’s a chance to see footage, shouldn’t we take it? These images are, after all, the only visually evocative way to inform our international consciences, which in matters of decades-long strongman rulers likely should be more burdened. source

09 Feb 2011 21:14


Biz: Did the TV guys win? How fast-flying TBD got its wings clipped

  • Above is a quick chart comparing DC media outlets to through December. See something notable here? Yeah, we do too. has slightly lower traffic than it did six months ago. But TBD has come out of nowhere to effectively triple the amount of traffic WJLA was getting. Which is pretty amazing, if you think about it – an effective rebranding greatly expanded Allbritton’s reach. (Both are effectively dwarfed by The Washington Post, but the Post has a national reach whereas the Allbritton-owned sites skew local.) And TBD’s editor Erik Wemple says January was the site’s best month ever. Despite this, though, WJLA effectively won the battle for media presence in Allbritton’s corporate structure. How did this happen?
  • HoW TBD BECAME TBD Allbritton, which also owns Politico, said it planned to launch a local news site last year. They brought on Jim Brady, a former Washington Post and AOL guy, who crafted a vision of a local news brand that worked across the board – in broadcast, on cable TV and online. It launched six months ago to much industry attention for its HuffPo-like approach to local news.
  • The visionary, out Unfortunately, corporate culture hurt the site right off the bat. Only a year after Brady started with Allbritton, he was out, a victim of a debate over aggregation (which TBD is really good at) vs. original reporting. “As we talked about the next phase of our growth, it seemed clear to Jim and I both that we had some stylistic differences,” wrote publisher Robert Allbritton.
  • Did The TV Guys win? Now, just six months after TBD launched, it appears that the folks at WJLA control TBD’s destiny. The TBD TV component (on cable) is effectively going away., the former site, is coming back alongside TBD. And WJLA’s general manager, Bill Lord, will be taking over as head of each of the local news entities. It appears the old-schoolers won. source
  • » Bloodletting on Twitter: Jim Brady, an active tweeter, has been ripping his old company over the last day or so over the decision to restructure. In his harshest tweet, he offered this sentiment: “At good companies, the people who resist necessary change are pushed aside. At bad companies, they are put in charge. RIP, the old TBD.” There is a degree of universal-ness to what he has to say, and many have been made their feelings known about the matter on Twitter today. While it’s certainly not the worst decision a company has made, TBD’s restructuring reflects a debate happening in newsrooms around the world: Is change needed? Or is the status quo more effective? Allbritton appears to have chosen the latter route, despite, you know, the chart above.

03 Feb 2011 14:27


World: Egyptian pro-government forces try to intimidate foreign press

  • The Egyptian strategy is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions.
  • Middle East Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, Mohamed Abdel Dayem • Speaking on the increasingly apparent targeting of journalists by pro-government forces (CNN’s Andersen Cooper reports being attacked for the second time in two days), the director suggests a broad strategy by the Mubarak regime to minimize the media’s ability to bear witness to what’s happening in Cairo. source

31 Jan 2011 21:09


U.S., World: By the numbers: al-Jazeera English’s huge leap in online traffic

  • 4M number of online views al-Jazeera English says it has gotten since Friday
  • 1.6M number of views the network has gotten from the United States alone
  • 2,500% the increase in the site’s online traffic since Friday (a big deal) source
  • » Why they aren’t on cable: As our buddy ProducerMatthew figured out last night, they’re fighting in a very competitive space. And now he has a little backup from the New York Times. In statements acquired by the paper, many cable companies said similar things. It’s like applying for a federal job and getting a form rejection letter apparently, except with Comcast.