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Inside Media

The business of news

1. President Trump told a reporter not to be a baby. When New York Times reporter Emily Cochrane asked the president to elaborate on his allegations that a caravan of migrants headed to the US are dangerous, the president began his response “oh please. Please, don’t be a baby, OK." It's unclear why the president might believe that asking for evidence of an allegation is indicative of being an infant. - SLATE


2. The AP deleted a tweet calling a caravan of migrants an "army." In a Sunday afternoon tweet promoting coverage of the same migrant caravan from the item above, the newswire said "a ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march towards US." Critics quickly responded to the tweet, with one saying "some of the members of this 'army' are quite literally malnourished babies" and another asking "are you still a legitimate news source or just propaganda for the racist GOP?" Eventually, the tweet was deleted, and the news agency wrote "we have deleted a tweet about the migrant caravan moving through Central America and Mexico because it lacked context." - THE WRAP


3. When Facebook is down, people read the news instead. On August 3, Facebook was down for about 45 minutes and "traffic patterns across the web changed in an instant." According to web analytics company Chartbeat, people immediately started going to publishers' web and mobile sites to catch up on the news. While this is bad news for bosses who think Facebook is the only thing between them and workplace productivity, it's good for publishers, as it's proof that hunger for content remains steady. With other news aggregation apps surpassing Facebook in referral traffic, and publisher-owned news apps reportedly making a comeback, this might mean news sites can outwit, outlast, and outplay the social media giant. - NIEMAN LAB


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1. President Trump praised a Congress member for an assault on a reporter. At a Thursday rally, the president brought up Montana Republican Greg Gianforte's May, 2017 assault of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, for which the politician pled guilty. “He’s a great guy. Tough cookie," the president said as he concluded his description of the incident. In response, the Guardian's US editor released a statement saying in part that "we hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.” This is the the first time the president has this directly endorsed an attack on a member of the media. - NBC


2. Dan Barry is sharing the backstory of "The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail." The piece, which ran in the NYT on October 15, is a longform narrative piece on the death of Song Yang, a 38-year-old Chinese sex worker. It appears the story started from a place of irritation, as Barry says he was "pissed...off" by a Daily News report headlined “Prostie Death Jump As She Flees Police.” "I really didn’t like how a woman’s life and death was summarized so crassly," Barry said. "At that point I felt almost obliged to tell the story of this woman." - POYNTER


3. Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter is kaput. The website and twice-weekly email is said to be ceasing operations today, a few days after freelancers who'd contributed as yet unpublished works began to receive emails informing that they'd be paid kill fees. At its peak, the newsletter reportedly had 500,000 subscribers and an impressive 50 percent open rate. In 2017, the newsletter entered into an ad sales and content distribution deal with Condé Nast, but neither Condé nor Dunham have commented on the closure. - NEW YORK POST


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4. Moira Donegan's attorney says she "sees through" Stephen Elliott. Robbie Kaplan, the co-founder of Time’s Up, announced last week that she'd be defending Donegan from Elliott's suit over the S****y Media Men Google spreadsheet Donegan first created. In an interview, Kaplan says that Elliott's motive is to silence women from speaking out against harassment and assault, and "to send a strong message to other women that if you do this you will be sued." That said, she says she believes the case will dismissed before it gets anywhere, as "it’s very hard to bring a claim of defamation and succeed in New York, and it’s particularly hard when the plaintiff is someone who has put himself in the public sphere." - THE CUT


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5. News orgs like OZY, Vice, Mashable, and Politico Europe are demanding that freelancers give up full moral and intellectual rights to their work. Freelancers are encouraged not to agree to those contracts, as they're "bad practice." - CJR

6. A $700,000 experiment to build membership models is seeking participants. The Membership in News Fund is behind the effort. - NIEMAN LAB

7. Social media platforms seem to assume journalists will toil for free to rid them of fake news. Sorry, well-funded tech companies, that's not how it works. - NYT

8. Actor Geoffrey Rush is suing Sydney’s Daily Telegraph for defamation following a report on his alleged sexual harassment of a colleague. His alleged victim is expected to testify in support of the paper. - PRESSGAZETTE

9. Do you follow these good digital security habits? If not, you should. - GIJN

10. Minnesota's American Public Media is looking for an Associate Producer. The job is with Kerri Miller's live, weekday call-in program, which covers "everything from politics to parenting, health sciences to science fiction and more." - JOURNALISMJOBS


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4. The NYT is defending its profile of far-right activist Gavin McInnes. The piece on the Vice co-founder turned Proud Boy has been the brunt of harsh criticism for its decision to give the right-winger attention, and for allegedly glossing over his troubling past. In a statement, the Times says "we disagree with the main points of criticism" and that "our story is an unflinching look at Gavin McInnes that directly addresses his racist, sexist and xenophobic comments as well as violence perpetrated by a group he actively leads." - THE WRAP


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5. Longtime Merrill College of Journalism instructor Tom Linthicum has published his first book. Called “A Man Called Mark: The Biography of Bishop Mark Dyer," the project began when Dyer asked him to help with a memoir, then became a bio gig after Dyer died. - MERRILL J SCHOOL

6. The Pulitzer Center is offering grants to journalists who want to cover the rainforest. There are awards for English-speaking outlets as well as ones based in the Amazon region. - PULITZER CENTER

7. There's a journalism workshop planned for the one year anniversary of Hawaii's false nuclear attack alert. Journalists working in all media are invited to the Honolulu event, for which 15 reporters will be subsidized by Atomic Reporters and the Stanley Foundation. - ATOMIC REPORTERS

8. BBC Africa Eye used open-source tools to debunk a viral murder video. The alleged Cameroon slaying of two women and two children was debunked "using both traditional and more modern digital journalism techniques." - JOURNALISM.CO.UK

9. Lucky Peach co-founder Peter Meehan has joined the LA Times food staff. His title is "contributing editor," and he'll report directly to DME Kimi Yoshino. - LA TIMES

10. Lansing, Michigan's The Newsroom seeks a Capitol Reporter. The progressive outlet is looking for someone capable of daily, investigative, and enterprise reporting for the role. - JOURNALISMJOBS


1. The Washington Post has published Jamal Khashoggi's final column. Like everyone else, editor Karen Attiah says she'd hoped they could edit it together. It's a call for free expression in the Arab world, and it's heartbreaking. According to Vanity Fair, Post staffers are understandably having trouble coming to terms with his death, but are using their anger and frustration to move forward on a story that's very difficult to report. - WASHINGTON POST


2. Fake news is making college students question all news. A Project Information Literacy study of nearly 6,000 US college students revealed that half of them they lack confidence in their ability to separate fake and real news they see on social media. 36 percent of those surveyed also say that the prevalence of fake news has made them trust all media less. “The rather contentious and poisonous public discourse around ‘fake news’ has substantially put young news consumers on guard about almost everything they see," one researcher says. - POYNTER


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3. Everyone hates those "more from around the web" modules. An Arkadium study revealed that 79 percent of those surveyed dislike the widgets, and 20 percent believe most of the linked stories are fake news. 40 percent blame the site on which the widget appears for any iffy content they see in those widgets, even though publishers can't control what's displayed. Will one study (of only 300 people) be enough to convince publishers to dump the troubling feature? Guess it depends on how easy it would be to replace the revenue those bottom-of-the-page boxes bring in. - WHAT'S NEW IN PUBLISHING


4. Facebook's incorrect ad data might have led publishers to make some bad decisions. How many times have we heard that publications are laying swaths of staffers off because they are making a "pivot to video"? That content gold rush appears to be ending like all gold rushes do - with disappointment, as it's since been revealed that Facebook's ad metrics were shockingly overinflated. Now, website traffic on those pivoting pubs is tanking and news orgs are wondering if they fired quality journos "based on faulty data provided by a giant platform that publishers believed they could trust." - NIEMAN LAB


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