Media Oxpecker: What You (could possibly, but maybe not necessarily) Need to Know

Media news you may have missed while you were busy
interspersing beer with hard liquor.

Has it really been over a month since we’ve done one of these? (Spoiler: It has.) Forgive us. We’ve had some things going on. Blame it on those horrible people at Nashville Scene for showing us such a splendid time in their city. Of course, the future of news waits for no one, so let’s find out what we’ve missed.

  • David Carr looks at Rupert Murdoch’s unsuccessful bid for Time Warner and notices one major component missing from the media behemoth that would have resulted from that merger: Print.

    Mr. Murdoch moved onto his next quarry only after he had quarantined his own print assets under a separate public company. And Time Warner took on new allure when it shed those dowdy old magazine properties that now trade under their own ticker. Print has lost value in business realms because it has, in fundamental ways, lost traction with you and me.

  • Something that hasn’t lost traction with you and me, according to the the Washington Post’s Jim Tankersley, is an appreciation for a well-told story. This week the Post unveiled Storyline, which will use the “power of stories to help us understand complicated, critical things.”

    We’re focused on public policy, but not on Washington process. We care about policy as experienced by people across America. About the problems in people’s lives that demand a shift from government policymakers and about the way policies from Washington are shifting how people live. We’ll tell those stories at Web speed and frequency. We’ll ground them in data — insights from empirical research and our own deep-dive analysis — to add big-picture context to tightly focused human drama.

  • The Atlantic has a story for you: Its events division now produces 125 (!!!) events a year and accounts for nearly one-fifth of the company’s overall revenue.

    As with other publishers, the Atlantic’s events serve multiple purposes: They provide another touchpoint with consumers and they give the brand another platform to sell to advertisers. (The Atlantic’s sponsorships go for up to $700,000 for a major event, per knowledgeable sources). They also create content for the editorial side. Last year, Aspen Ideas generated more than 100 stories for the Atlantic’s site.

  • Everything you need to know about the overuse of the headline trope “What You Need to Know.”

  • BuzzFeed’s Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton spoke with 20 journalists of color and asked for their advice to aspiring writers. While the responses are all excellent, we heartily endorse #13 on the list: “Join journalism organizations.”

    The contacts are worth it, and the affiliation can sometimes give you an instant icebreaker. And you NEED the camaraderie that comes with shared experiences. Having folks with whom to celebrate your success and who will encourage you early in your career is invaluable to a young person trying to build the resume and self-confidence to make it in this industry.

  • But who will give advice to the next generation of robot reporters?

  • How ESPN’s embrace of debate legitimizes anti-gay bigotry:
    “Embrace debate,” goes the justification for ESPN’s sports-shouting model, and on most occasions, it merely makes viewers dumber. Here, with a real issue featuring pretty fucking clearly defined right and wrong sides, it is actively harmful to society. Simply holding a debate over homophobia’s acceptability is in effect already answering the question, endorsing the notion that there are two legitimate sides, roughly equidistant from the truth. This isn’t unique to ESPN. This is the product of the archaic notion that media need be objective, and that objectivity entails equal acceptance of every viewpoint, no matter how medieval or groundless or outright vile.

  • How Mental Floss found success by anticipating today’s internet culture.

  • How to be a better online reader.

  • Anil Dash on the shifting definition of “public” in the information age.

  • How eviction lawyers in San Francisco used a dubious DMCA claim to silence a protest video and have it removed from YouTube.

  • BuzzFeed viral politics editor Benny Johnson is accused of plagiarizing from, of all places, Yahoo Answers.
  • When Sports Illustrated asked a panel of five NFL reporters what source they look to the most, the responses were Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, and Twitter.

  • The evolution of SEO.

  • Why fonts still matter in digital media.

Other things we enjoyed over the past month:

That’s all we’ve got for this week. Now that the conference is behind us, we’ll try to do this thing on a weekly schedule again.

Jason Zaragoza can barely cope with two events per year, let alone 125.

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