Media Oxpecker: Our Version of the Stories

Media news you may have missed this week while you were busy being exclusive.

  • “I don’t know. I was executive editor for eight years. We probably spent six of those years worrying about what the business model would be. And we looked at everything. We looked at every variation of pay models. We looked at micropayments, we looked at nonprofit status even, for God’s sake—we looked at everything.

    That quote could be attributed to any editor, at any magazine, daily newspaper, or alt-weekly in the universe and it would be plausible. But in this case, those words are Bill Keller’s. The former New York Times executive editor (who coined the term Media Oxpecker!) spoke with Politico about the state of the news industry, along with former Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli, who said:

    One of the things that drives me crazy in a newsroom is when a reporter says, “We’re doing our version of the story.” The world doesn’t need your version of the story. Unless your version of the story is dramatically different–unless the version includes all different facts or spectacularly better writing–your version of the story is a waste of your time and the newsroom’s budget … What I worry most about is news organizations that take the position: We just cover the news, and we do a little bit of everything, and we do our version of stories. News organizations need to figure out who they are so that their readers know who they are.

  • So what’s the Vox version of the stories? We don’t know yet. It’s complicated!

    That’s the type of setup you can expect from a Vox article. Or at least the Vox explainer on Northern Ireland that Charles P. Pierce came across and absolutely destroyed with less than 300 words of his own.

    Visit for the “First of all, how can you misspell ‘Whoa,’ especially in a headline?” and stay for the “Mother of god, kids. Do better.”

  • But like Vox said: It’s complicated! The site is getting praise for allowing readers to toggle between its stories and the full interview transcript which the story was built on. Says Joshua Benton:

    Is this revolutionary? Nope. But think about the small good things it does:

    — It presents content in two different forms. Some people will prefer the story; some will prefer the interview … This serves both.

    — It does so at virtually no cost; the interview’s already complete. And it aligns well with Vox’s message that they’re promoting depth and understanding rather than surface knowledge.

  • “We’ve entered a post-Patch era,” says Ken Doctor. But does the decline of large scale, top-down attempts at “local” news create an opening for smaller scale, locally owned and operated news sites? It’s complicated!

    The pie is simply smaller for locally focused content businesses than it was a decade ago. Today, local media companies compete with a host of other marketing tools, many of which provide a more effective way to reach a valuable local audience at a fraction of the price.

  • Locally owned newspapers in northwestern Missouri are doing well.

  • Twitter isn’t what it used to be.

  • Last month the Newseum reversed course and said it will display weeklies in its Today’s Front Pages exhibit:

    The electronic archive includes PDFs sent in each day by hundreds of newspapers, both U.S. and international. The ground-floor exhibit, visible to passersby, includes a newspaper from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and a dozen other countries. The Newseum’s written policy limited participation to daily newspapers, a restriction that has long irked weeklies’ editors and publishers.

    To get instructions on how to participate, send them an email at for details.

  • Pay no attention to the social media editor commenting “Congratulations!” on every story posted to Facebook:

    If the word “congratulations” is in the comments, a post gets a boost. This makes sense because congratulations is the No. 1 thing people say in response to huge events, like an engagement, a graduation, a new baby, or a new job — exactly the kind of stuff that Facebook wants to surface.

  • 62 percent of people who saw a native ad couldn’t recall what the ad was about, says a survey.

  • In June The Onion will launch, a satire of Upworthy and BuzzFeed style viral sites.

  • And finally, Ben Yagoda on punctuation minimalism and the way we use commas now.

Jason Zaragoza is literally going to write “Congratulations!” on all of AAN’s Facebook posts for the Nashville Convention.

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