"Beginning in July, AP will initially check automated stories before they are published. But the goal is to be fully automated by the end of the year." — Will you care when your news is written by machines? Will you accuse the machines of bias, malice, or ignorance, and do so in the comments? Or will this hallowed national pastime lose its appeal and fade away? It's not the same, throwing rotten tomatoes at a projection screen; who will bother to impugn the robot writers?
For all the cloudiness over the really real reasons that Jill Abramson was fired—because she was "brusque"! because she tried to secretly hire another co-managing editor to run digital! because her Times tattoo isn't large enough! not sexism!—there is at least one set of cold, hard data:
As executive editor, Abramson’s starting salary in 2011 was $475,000, compared to Keller’s salary that year, $559,000. Her salary was raised to $503,000, and—only after she protested—was raised again to $525,000. She learned that her salary as managing editor, $398,000, was less than that of the male managing editor for news operations, John Geddes. She also learned that her salary as [...]
Here is a short documentary about private military contractors produced by Vice to promote the next Call of Duty jump-and-shoot game. Interview subjects include: Erik Prince of Blackwater, P.W. Singer of the Brookings institution, and David Sanger of the New York Times. The cut at the end—ᴀ ɴᴇᴡ ᴇʀᴀ ᴏғ ᴄᴀʟʟ ᴏғ ᴅᴜᴛʏ ɪs ᴄᴏᴍɪɴɢ—is legitimately startling, even if the branding is otherwise clear.
But is that what they're talking about right now at Activision? Or at Vice? Tone and propriety and boundaries? The deed is done. Probably not.
Here's what they might be talking about: Pan your view from Twitter to the YouTube comments, where 4500+ people [...]
What is an “explainer”? There are a lot of things out there to read. Some of them are long. Many involve complex, nuanced ideas. That doesn’t have to be the case. When it is the case, it’s a failure of journalists to make news engaging and accessible. An explainer is an article that breaks down an important topic into just the things you care about and need to know. It's unlike all other kinds of articles in that way. If you still can’t understand it, that’s on us. That’s our bad.
How do I know what I care about and what I need to know? Explainers tell [...]
"Immersive Storytelling" would be a good name for an album by a terrible band.
"There is a world in which what happened to Manley and Reid would serve as a cautionary tale to the staffers, operatives, and elected officials that feed Halperin and Heilemann their scoops. Indeed, one Congressional reporter tells me the incident caused Hill sources to freeze up as skittishness set in following Reid’s quote. You might think, too, that the focus and nature of Halperin and Heilemann’s projects would be its own disincentive to cooperate: Game Change, after all, made it clear that the authors consider everything—every private marital conversation, every petty squabble, every venal freak-out, every off-color remark, every otherwise forgotten scandal—in-bounds…. But that is not Halperin and Heilemann’s [...]
Do you hate it when your friends, co-workers and office enemies become successful? Then be careful where you work. What outfits like PostBourgie have done—it is now too late to stop the Grape Drink Mafia!—is gather together a super-smart (or sometimes just super-aggressive) group of people that will go on to success and perhaps even dominance in media. (You could say something similar about n+1, but they're all basically unemployed novelists, and there weren't that many of them anyway. What about The New Inquiry? Well, only time will tell. Check back in later 2013.)
Over the last twenty years, a handful of scenes emerged that seem [...]
Jessica Alba on the cover of Entertainment Weekly in March of 2001, summer of 2006, and again this month.
When I was a young and odd child, one of the oddest things I did was collect Entertainment Weekly. Our family, like so many middle class families, had always had a subscription to Time, and one day Entertainment Weekly began arriving with it. In those early days, it was called entertainment weekly, and in many ways, it resembled many of the entertainment websites (The A.V. Club, Grantland, Vulture) that dominate the field today. There were long, industry-oriented cover stories, buttressed by surprisingly non-banal interviews with stars, producers, directors, [...]
Jill Abramson, the first female, and most tattooed, executive editor in New York Times history, is "unexpectedly leaving the position" after taking over in 2011. She is being replaced by a Dean Baquet, a guy who punched a wall.
Jill Abramson, abruptly stepping down as NYT editor in favor of managing editor Dean Baquet? Gotta be a back story there
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) May 14, 2014
Update: An alternate viable headline, courtesy of the reporting of Ken Auletta at The New Yorker Dot Com, could be "'Pushy' Woman Pushed Out":
Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as [...]
Nights at the Columbia Daily Spectator were spent in a breathless, tipsy, exhausted, self-important haze. The office, like that of many college newspapers, was a clubhouse run by flighty, inexperienced, earnest kids who were behind on their homework. There was an idea that we should be finished by three a.m. in order to send the paper to the printing press. That was the goal post, anyway. In the meantime, we ate pizza from V&T’s (which we got for free in exchange for a daily ad); drank Blue Moons (which we got for cash); argued, gossiped, and fell in love with one another while we waited for the stories to [...]
You can call it a "revolution in multimedia storytelling that has swept through digital publishing the past year" or you can call it "an indiscriminate assemblage of tech gimmickry in search of a purpose" or, for the sake of concision, you can call it "Snowfall," but the question remains, how are these dazzling displays of "immersive" journalism to be paid for, particularly when you consider that the only people who really pay attention to them are other folks working in media already? Nobody knows yet!
"I was supposed to fly to Afghanistan today but my body armor didn't arrive in time," was something Willem Marx said to me one of the first times we met. He says things like this on a not infrequent basis. Marx currently works at Bloomberg TV and has reported from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uzbekistan, the Arctic Circle, and other less trodden parts of the world.
In 2009, he spent time [...]
People are always saying things on the Internet all the time. But they are such teases. We like details. So we have to ask.
Interviewing @lordemusic over dinner, I suggested sharing truffle pizza. Her reply: "Then you'll write about it like Lynn Hirschberg!"
— Jonah Weiner (@jonahweiner) October 11, 2013
Jonah! So what happened here?
Rolling Stone asked me to write a short profile of Lorde, a young musician from New Zealand whose single “Royals” has been the number-one song in America for three weeks now. This was just the other week. She was in Los Angeles to tape a performance of “Royals” for Ellen, [...]
Recently I saw the journalist Clare Morgana Gillis, and asked her about her war reporting. "If you want to know a bunch of stuff about my background and whatever you can Google it," she said. She is tall and intimidating, was wearing wraparound sunglasses at the time, and seemed to be doing her best to look everywhere but at me. As it happened, I had some clue about her background; a few people had pointed her out to me, saying, quietly, that she had undergone something unusual.
Just a couple years ago, Gillis made her first trips to combat zones. Already in her mid-30s, she held a doctorate in early [...]
"To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism à la carte. A nation outlives its generations."—What is an ambitious, bold, beautifully written magazine cover story worth in 2014? That is to ask: Can it still force people to talk, or is the power of the information void such that it will be merely processed and forgotten, filed away in the abandoned longform warehouse? This is as good a month as any to find out.
This thing will probably show up on your Facebook at some point today, most likely under one of those two-sentence headlines that everyone sneered at last year and then started using exclusively in let's say… January? Like this one from the Washington Post: "Just 7 percent of journalists are Republicans. That’s far fewer than even a decade ago."
There are other headlines that would also be accurate. "Just 28 percent of journalists identify as Democrats. That’s fewer than even a decade ago." Or: "Haha, so the whole libertarian journo-man thing is a 90s thing?" Or: "Finally, a majority of journalists have realized that identifying with a political party [...]
On one side of The Divide—the gap in the justice system between the rich and the poor that provides the title for Matt Taibbi’s brilliant and enraging new book—financiers and other wealthy people commit egregious crimes, including laundering drug money, and rarely face jail time. Prosecutors worry about "collateral consequences" before filing charges.
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi with illustrations by Molly Crabapple, will be published on Tuesday. You can order it now now now, wherever capitalism allows you to obtain books:
Here is a hidden camera investigation focused on suburban New Jersey adults purchasing alcohol for actors posing as thirsty teenagers. It is hard-hitting exposes like this one that Edward R. Murrow had in mind when he invented broadcast journalism in 1948.
If you’re anything like me—a neon-blooded selfie-taking party slug with an APPetite for Disruption and Media Diets—you’re probably flailing in an ever-spinning maelstrom of opening and closing tabs, like, all the goddamn time. (While also struggling to maintain the appearance of being human!) One oft-encountered problem we NetLords run into as the tabs careen into our fat faces with a squawking, Hitchcockian fury, is whether or not we fall into the wide chasm of the term “millennial.” It’s a classification as broad as fellow alien Metta World Peace’s shoulders—Certified Journalists have calculated the birth year of millennials to fall anywhere between 1980 and 2000. So where on this fabricated, [...]
Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter: Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20. A hyperactive former Eagle Scout, Allen will have been up for hours, if he ever went to bed. Whether or not he did is one of the many little mysteries that surround him. The abiding certainty about Allen is that sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits “send” on a mass e-mail newsletter that some of America’s most influential [...]