The Washington Post

Media news derivatives: May 14

In case you missed it---There’s some disagreement over The Washington Post’s big story about Mitt Romney’s high school days. Was it a balanced portrait of a young man or a hit piece? And just what qualifies as a hit piece?

Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton calls the piece “interesting, compelling and well documented.”


*Kara Swisher reports big news at Yahoo:

Yahoo’s embattled CEO Scott Thompson is set to step down from his job at the Silicon Valley Internet giant, in what will be a dramatic end to a controversy over a fake computer science degree that he had on his bio, according to multiple sources close to the situation.

*Sean Hannity calls “attachment parenting” the “new extreme” in parenting. Only it’s not terribly new. He also says that cover image on Time magazine reflects “desperation in the media.”

*Mathew Ingram of GigaOm reports that Google exec Richard Gingras is suggesting that newspapers are the new Yahoo.

Gingras says that the previous dominance that newspapers enjoyed was due primarily to geography, and to some degree demographic targeting. Now, thanks to the Web, he says we are seeing “a disaggregation of content flows as well as advertising.” Like media theorist Clay Shirky, the Google executive argues that one of the big problems for newspapers is that they always depended on “cross-subsidization” of topics — so the classified ads and the lifestyle section paid for the foreign reporting. Now, he says “we have blogs focusing on these niches alone, with a much keener sense of commercialization.”

*Poynter solicits donations via Press+.

*Bummer: David Carr lets us know that there are no longer intellectual bonus points to be gained from not watching the tube:

There used to be some intellectual cachet in sniffing that you didn’t watch television, but that time is past. Both premium and basic cable churn out so many remarkable goodies that can be recorded or consumed on demand — “Archer,” “Girls,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Killing” and “Louie,” to name just a few — that it feels like a sucker’s game just to settle for sponsor-infested spoon-feeding. Then again, if the business model producing some of that yummy programming dries up, the shows might go away as well.

*Peter Osnos writes in the Atlantic: “This year’s Overseas Press Club of America awards shows that, even if international reporting resources and bureaus are being scaled back, the quality is still excellent.” One of the award recipients? Osnos’s son Evan.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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