Focus, focus, focus, focus, focus

OK, the director of CNN Digital didn’t say the same word five times, but she could have. Have a specialty, measure what matters, match platform to message, tend to your story after publication, and go in order.

Here’s the flavor of Meredith Artley’s remarks made at Harvard last week and a link to the audio of her presentation:

Artley also discussed how analytics can be used to improve journalism — without compromising an outlet’s commitment to hard news. “It’s not saying, ‘Let’s not do Ukraine because nobody’s clicking on it.’ It’s saying, ‘This is a critically important story — how do we need to position this … to reach the broadest audience?'” she said. “Don’t simplify the argument into ‘data bad, journalistic instinct good.’”

Meredith Artley of CNN Digital: Five rules for modern journalists Journalist’s Resource: Research for Reporting, from Harvard Shorenstein Center.

Scientific American wants a winter/spring intern

Scientific American, Editorial Intern (Winter/Spring)

Nature Publishing Group (NPG), the publisher of Scientific American and a family of scientific journals and reference works, is currently accepting applications for Winter/Spring editorial interns at Scientific American.

The internship includes such duties as assisting editors, reporting, proofreading, fact checking, and proposing and writing short articles for Scientific American magazine, Scientific American Mind magazine, Scientific American online and Scientific American Español online. Interns typically leave with at least a handful of clips. Please indicate in your letter which platform most interests you.

Qualifications: Must have command of basics of reporting and writing and a strong interest in science and technology topics. An undergraduate degree in a science discipline is preferred but not required. Intern for Scientific American Español must have strong writing and communication skills in Spanish and English.

To apply, use our link:


via Scientific American Jobs – Scientific American.

Simple look at ethics loophole

Study highlights check-splitting in Va. gift reporting – The Washington Post.

This Washington Post story examines a legal practice that splits the cost of a gift from a lobbyist to an elected official. The cost of an expensive dinner divided by nine clients that the lobbyist represents becomes a cost below the $50 reporting threshold in Virginia. Some say “splitting the check in that way undermines the spirit of disclosure rules.”

The story uses real examples and on-the-record sources to examine the procedure. The story is a nice model of public-affairs reporting.


N.F.L. Pressure Said to Lead ESPN to Quit Film Project –

N.F.L. Pressure Said to Lead ESPN to Quit Film Project —

The Post sale gave a chance to understand a bit more about the business of journalism. Today’s New York Times story is another. Journalism values independence from sources. Disney owns ESPN. The NFL contract pays the bills by attracting advertisers and audience. But this brain-injury reporting stretches allegiances.

Brief history of news business profits

The Post, the sale and the news business – The Washington Post

People ask me about what will become of journalism. (It will endure or the democracy crumbles, I reply.) In reflecting on the sale of The Washington Post, long-time newsman Walter Pincus gives a condensed history of news profits. (See the link above.)

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has bought the paper, much like the wealthy Eugene Meyer bought it in 1933. Meyer didn’t see a profit for 20 years. Pincus explains:

Like most owners of local U.S. newspapers, Meyer was already successful and never saw newspaper ownership as a money-maker. Instead, as [Philip] Graham put it, the family thought of the newspaper as a public utility and if it ever made as much as 7 percent on its gross income, it would be deemed a success.

Then the acquisition of television and radio stations and the conglomeration of media companies into chains sent profits to the 25 percent range and family companies went public and were beholden to stockholders rather than only rich families.

Now the publicly held Post has sold once again to a rich man, and maybe he’ll see the news organization as a public good. Journalism’s duty is to tell the truth and serve the public. We often fail. But as we go, so goes the democracy.

Pincus’ column is worth reading for the history in the first take, but the second half bears a debatable supermarket metaphor and is weak on the past decade. Pincus has been at the Post more than 50 years. He’s seen plenty.

Washinton Post sale and Freedom of the Press

The Washington Post will be sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. (Link goes to photo gallery but starts with an advertisement.) Newspapers always have been owned by wealthy people. The old First Amendment joke was “The press is free to those who own one!” Free to very few people. Now that even I can “own” this blog press, the number of voices is great. That, coupled with some big media with funds to investigate and pursue stories that challenge special interests, could make for a robust public square. But the people have to complete the loop. A free press must have a responsive public.