Posts Tagged: The Media

Erotomania and Murder in Memphis

Alice+Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe, is out now. You can order it from wherever you choose to prepare for the coming apocalypse:




Less than an hour after the murder, Memphis's Chief of Police knocked on the front door of the Mitchell's fashionable home on Union Street. Chief Davis was sorry to disturb "Uncle George," as the retired salesman was affectionately called, and sorrier still for the decidedly unpleasant nature of the call. He had come to arrest George Mitchell's youngest daughter for the murder of Freda Ward.

George had been expecting him. He readied himself [...]


This Social Network Changed How News Works. But Then It Made Some News Of Its Own.

The first mainstream story about the now-notorious Facebook "psychology experiment" study was cautious, even sober. "Even online, emotions can be contagious," New Scientist's headline said. It maintained its tone: [Facebook] manipulated which posts showed up on the news feeds of more than 600,000 Facebook users. For one week, some users saw fewer posts with negative emotional words than usual, while others saw fewer posts with positive ones. …

People were more likely to use positive words in Facebook posts if they had been exposed to fewer negative posts throughout the week, and vice versa. The effect was significant, though modest.

This story was doomed, in the internet sense, from [...]


Does Your Hollywood Box Office Analysis Kowtow to China?

• "Does 'Gravity' Kowtow to Chinese Ticket Buyers?" –Oct. 6, 2013 (Bloomberg)

• "All that kowtowing, and what's there to show for it?" –Oct. 1, 2013 (Rolling Stone)


'New York Post' Full of Lies

Those "bundled-up youngsters who attend PS 10 in Park Slope, Brooklyn… joined by their parents yesterday for the icy trek to school" pictured in the New York Post's attack on the school bus strike, as part of their ongoing anti-union campaign? "EVERY SINGLE THING about this is inaccurate. My kid and her friend were with our sitter (we do a nanny share, it’s great), who picks them up at school —neither of them were with their parents. I walk her to school every morning because it is two blocks from our house. We do not rely on buses. We are completely and utterly and thoroughly unaffected by the [...]


Surprise! Copy Editors Are Destroying America's Newspapers (with PUNS)

The National Conference of the American Copy Editors Society has announced its headline contest winners and it is now clear who is destroying the media. Among the many talented, hard-working winners—and you know we love our copy editors!—we find a batch of puns so foul, so egregious, that it's difficult to not feel pranked.

First place for individuals at newspapers with circulation under 80,001 goes to a staffer at the Wichita Eagle, whose winning entries include this… one.


The No-Promo Revenge Tweet, for Employees and Freelancers Alike

Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman shows how it's done. Displeased with your boss, freelance editor or coworkers? Just refuse to share (but do share why).


The 'NYT' Occupy Wall Street Front Pager Was an Inside Job

Kay Merryweather, 34, an artist on the Lower East Side, volunteers at Trinity Church, giving out food. She said that during the financial crisis, when banks were receiving bailouts and financial executives were receiving multimillion-dollar bonuses, the church often ran out before the long lines of working poor were fed. “The bankers were getting all of these millions,” Ms. Merryweather said. “And we didn’t have enough food.”

But not far away, Benny Zable, 66, a longtime activist, was protesting while wearing a gas mask and a suit that read “Work Consume Be Silent Die.” He said his outrage came from the heedlessness of economic growth. “It’s the greed factor,” [...]


Infection Successfully Quarantined

The bold actions we are announcing today are significant next steps in our ongoing initiatives to increase shareholder value by building scale, increasing cash flow, sharpening management focus, and strengthening all of our businesses to compete effectively in today's increasingly digital landscape.

Delivering a quote for a press release, or for a corporate announcement, represents a difficult problem for media executives. Here, Gannett CEO Gracia Martore gives a statement to Gannett's own USA Today about a plan to split the company into two parts, isolating its broadcasting and digital investments from its not-at-all-doomed newspapers, creating, she says, "two companies that will be among the largest and strongest in [...]


How to Dehumanize a Terrorist: Give Him an MBA

ISIS has swept across Iraq in a stunning show of force, accumulating land and capital at a staggering rate. How, after a decade of American presence in Iraq, can this possibly be explained? What language do we even have for this?

"ISIS: The first terror group to build an Islamic state?" The face of a balding, middle-aged man stares unsmilingly into the camera. He is dressed in a suit and tie and could pass for a midlevel bureaucrat.

But the photograph is that of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who has transformed a few terror cells harried to the verge of extinction into the most dangerous militant group in [...]


War Reporting For Bloody Dummies

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 [...]


Anticipated Demise Occurs

The long-expected death of The Daily, the iPad publication of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, has finally come to pass. Layoffs took place over the summer, when the publication discarded 50 of its 170 workers. Eleven months ago, The Daily's plans for becoming profitable were described as such: "A $30 million tablet-only news publication… with 100,000 subscribers paying 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year, and 250,000 unique readers each month, The Daily is on target to break even in five years." The Daily cost $500,000 per week, and that was just according to the company.

Our best goes out to people who are losing their jobs [...]


Spain on Strike, Where Union Isn't a Dirty Word

It's a very remarkable feeling to read the Guardian's ongoing account of today's general strike in Spain. If this were happening in the U.S., it would have been like, "COPS SKIRMISH WITH JOBLESS UNIONS" or something inexplicable and misguided. Over there, it's like, "This is what workers are protesting, and also the cops hit this one dude at a peaceful labor protest." (The Times however did a nice job this morning.) The general strike is focused on the new government's response to the crippling recession and high unemployment, which has as a central component easing of employment laws, so that it will be easier to make more [...]


The Banks and New York City and the Media

I have had an NYPD-issued press pass twice. In New York City, the press is "credentialed" by the police department, independently of the City, at its discretion. The process is slow and you have to go downtown for quite a while. Both times I have been very careful to play their game. You have to bring published clips, among their required materials, that prove you need to deal with things like "robbery scenes, fires, homicides, train wrecks, bombings, plane crashes, where there are established police or fire lines at the scene." Now I'm by no means a real reporter's reporter, but I succeeded both times by bringing past stories that [...]


Steal This Occupy Wall Street

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The Ebola Franchise

An Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed over 650 people, making it easily the deadliest in the disease's relatively short history. It has also brought us one of the weirdest Times op-eds you'll ever read. It scans almost like an example or a template: Just replace "Ebola" with any other bad thing, adjust proper nouns in the "do better" sections, and SEND IT TO THE PRESSES. Some of its recommendations: -Infected individuals must be isolated in health centers to prevent the virus from spreading to others and to give them the care they need.

-Bodies of victims must also be disposed of with care: The virus, present [...]


A Friendly PSA: It's "Kenan." Yes. Kenan Thompson.

Despite his status as a former Nickelodeon star and 10-year "Saturday Night Live" veteran, Kenan Thompson has never been one to grab news headlines, so it was surprising when he spoke up about SNL’s lack of black female cast members. Unlike Jay Pharoah’s more incendiary call for SNL to "pay attention" to the issue a few weeks prior, Thompson's contribution to the debate was sparse and seemingly reluctant, and his remark that the show "never finds [black women] that are ready" in auditions… did not go over well.

The few times Kenan does make the rounds on the internet, though, I always notice a bigger problem: Those backlashers, [...]


The Unverified

A few months back, Mike Hayes, who's a senior reporter at BuzzFeed and who also runs the official BuzzFeed Twitter account, sent around an email to the office. Twitter, he reported, was going to be verifying the whole staff at once. To be eligible, employees just needed to attach their work email addresses to their Twitter accounts.

And so then one day in March, poof. Scores of BuzzFeeders with blue checkboxes on their Twitter profiles. Other companies, like The Verge, followed.

so many buzzfeed writers, verified. heads need to roll over this. verify me @twitter

— max read (@max_read) March 12, 2013

There's sort of nothing funnier [...]


Is This Publicity Bad Publicity?

In our attention-addicted world, the notion of bad PR has become a quaint anachronism, like watching a TV show when it’s broadcast or publishing Katie Roiphe. But while you’d be forgiven for assuming that any appallingly newsworthy transgression is ultimately a positive career move (let’s face it, Tan Mom probably has an agent by now), that’s not always the case. There is such a thing as bad publicity—however, it’s tricky to predict whether a horrid scandal will render you irredeemably persona non grata, or set you up for life. Since it would behoove us all to grasp the whys and wherefores of this complex terrain, here’s a handy [...]


Romney Shocker: Rich Man Stays at Decent Hotels!

Here are the shocking revelations about where Mitt Romney slept in January while campaigning, according to the fine people at Think Progress, who themselves sleep in biodegradable hovels. Uh, the Empire Hotel doesn't even make the list of the best hotels (or most expensive hotels!) in New York. And there's basically nowhere else to stay in Palm Beach except the Breakers. Even I've stayed at the Omni Parker House in Boston! This is one of those topics on which the media is not equipped to advise us. All hotels look expensive to the LIBERAL MEDIA.

The campaign also spent $60 on a Best Western in Arizona, by [...]


25 26 Arrested Reporters and What They Do

Put together by Josh Stearns, this document has been a great resource to track journalists working on Occupy Wall Street stories around the country who've been arrested. So who are they? Only seven of the 25 arrested are full-time employed traditional news-gathering employees. A number were student reporters; a few were interns; a larger number were freelancers. Some work for traditional "objective" news organizations; others work for "non-objective" news organizations, like Alternet and Indypendent Reader. This means something—mostly about the media and what it is now, possibly also who the police perceive as media and relation of reporter to demonstration. But with the exception of a Journal-Sentinel photographer, [...]