The Washington Post

News media derivatives: Aug. 1

In case you missed it: Both NBC and Twitter came to their senses yesterday and ended this craziness with Guy Adams of the Independent.


*Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer apologizes to commentator Charles Krauthammer for having denied vigorously Krauthammer’s claim that the White House had returned a bust of Winston Churchill to the British Embassy back in 2009. In fact, the White House did do such a thing. Pfeiffer wrote to Krauthammer, in part:

I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post. The point I was trying to make – under the belief that the Bust in the residence was the one previously in the Oval Office– was that this oft repeated talking point about the bust being a symbol of President Obama’s failure to appreciate the special relationship is false. The bust that was returned was returned as a matter of course with all the other artwork that had been loaned to President Bush for display in his Oval Office and not something that President Obama or his Administration chose to do. I still think this is an important point and one I wish I had communicated better.

*Want to know a thing or two or 2 million about Joe Ricketts, the billionaire sponsor of the New York local news site Try this piece by Joe Pompeo of Capital. On the question of why a rich guy like Ricketts is funding local Web journalism:

It’s not an easy question to answer. Ricketts is somewhat enigmatic. He’s not a recluse, but he seldom gives interviews, preferring instead to speak to his public, such as it is, directly, either through occasional blog posts on his personal website, or the professionally edited shorts that reside on his YouTube channel. He is not a player in the digital media scene; not among its savants, its big-name consultants or its bankrollers, whether they’re do-good charities or venture firms. He is active in politics, but he pays into his political activities directly. There is no discernible political agenda to DNAinfo, and if anything the site seems to skew against determining the course of the conversation, focusing instead on breaking straight news and saturating at the pavement rather than the council chamber and the executive offices of government or the boardrooms of the city’s power elites.

*Daniel Gross of Newsweek Daily Beast writes about how CNN and the “Today” show are raking in the money, though they’re getting the publicity of failures:

Franchises like CNN and Today are failing. Their share of the overall audience is falling. News flash: establishment media brands of all types are losing eyeballs, mindshare, and the share of advertisers’ wallets. Worse, the numbers are laid bare for all the world to see on sites like TVNewser. TVNewser reported that last Friday, for example, The Piers Morgan Show airing on CNN at 9 p.m. ET attracted a mere 112,000 viewers in the 25–54 demographic.There are podcasts that have bigger numbers than that.

Which is why, paradoxically, to succeed in mainstream media these days is, ultimately, to fail. As I argued in a column earlier this year, those who spend half their lives climbing to the top of the career ladder often suffer a cruel fate. They’ve excelled and won prizes, the adulation of peers, high salaries, and even higher status. And yet when they’re given the reins to a franchise, they’re instantly branded a failure. That’s what happened to Katie Couric when she took over the CBS Evenings News. And it’s what will likely happen to her successor, Scott Pelley. Savannah Guthrie won’t be able dramatically to reverse Today’s trend lines any more than Ann Curry did. And the next president of CNN will have a tough time turning back the clock 20 years, to a time before the Internet and aggressive rivals.

*A mammoth downsizing of the Daily, News Corp.’s tablet magazine. Daily’s top editor, Jesse Angelo, says this:

“These are important changes that will allow The Daily to be more nimble editorially and to focus on the elements that our readers have told us through their consumption that they like and want. Unfortunately, these changes have forced us to make difficult decisions and to say goodbye to some colleagues who have worked hard to make The Daily successful. These moves were driven by the needs of the business. The Daily is the first of its kind, and it remains the best of its class. We are still in the infancy of this innovative new media platform, but we have delivered excellent content, steadily increasing readership, quality reporting, and award-winning design. Our standards will not diminish as we move forward, nor will our enthusiasm for creating an outstanding daily digital publication.”

*Justin Peters on Business Insider writes a post titled, “A Reporter Tries A Bunch Of Cures For Jetlag.” A taste:

When you travel, your circadian clock resets gradually, over a period of days, after prolonged exposure to natural light. There are several products that claim to speed the circadian-reset process, and I tested these on the return leg of my trip. The Valkee Bright Light Headset, for instance, is a slim, attractive Finnish invention that beams bright light into your brain through tiny bulbs embedded in a pair of earbuds. Though the science behind the Valkee is vague—for one thing, it’s unclear whether mammals can actually sense light through their ears—the company claims success treating seasonal affective disorder in Finland.

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


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