Journalism’s new (not really) vehicle for delivering news — email newsletters

CATEGORY: JournalismI don’t read The Washington Post any more. I don’t see a hard copy. I don’t go prowling around its website.

Instead, I read four of its newsletters delivered by email every day. In fact, WashPo offers 68 newsletters culled from the work of its journalists and pundits. So it’s easy to select the kind of news anyone might want (rather than have an algorithm do it).

These newsletters are well-crafted and not necessarily hastily churned-out hodgepodges of factoids. For example, the Daily 202 (all about news from the American capital), begins like this today:

10 important questions raised by Sally Yates’s testimony on the ‘compromised’ Michael Flynn

Sally Yates’s Senate testimony in three minutes

THE BIG IDEA: Sally Yates’s riveting testimony Monday raised far more questions than it answered. Most of all, it cast fresh doubts on Donald Trump’s judgment. [boldface in original]

Each Daily 202 from WashPo is designed to be quickly read. Each item is one or two paragraphs and contains a link or two for further consumption.

WashPo’s not alone in the newsletter game. Continue reading

Peddlers of climate change deceit have significant advantages over climate realists

Climate realists are fighting an uphill battle against professional climate disruption deniers who have media bias, time, money, and an apathetic public on their side.

Merchants of Doubt

Merchants of Doubt

For the other posts in this series, click here.

Today scientists are as certain about the threat of industrial climate disruption as they are about tobacco smoke causing lung cancer, yet neither the United States nor the broader international community has made any significant progress toward addressing the disruptions expected as a result of the Earth’s changing climate. The question is why.

When we look at the public discussion of industrial climate disruptionA (aka global warming or climate change), it’s clear that the playing field is not level. It’s very clearly slanted in favor of peddlers of deceit like Tom Harris, Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), and his fellow professional climate disruption deniersB for four main reasons. First, the media prefers publishing disinformation that’s interesting to publishing uninteresting “me too” articles. Second, professional climate disruption deniers simply have more time and money available with which to push their disinformation. Third, writing disinformation is remarkably easy when you’re not inhibited by facts, yet correcting the disinformation is difficult partly because it requires strict adherence to the facts. And fourth, Harris et al are peddling disinformation that people want to hear, rather than an unpleasant reality that they need to hear. Continue reading

The Boy Scouts of America fail to live up to their own Oath and Law

The Boy Scout Oath
On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

The Boy Scout Law
A Scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. (source)

When I joined the Cub Scouts, I was in First Grade. Over the next eight years, I earned every Cub Scout rank and then worked my way up to being a Life Scout, the second highest rank, just below Eagle. Continue reading

Meanings, pt. 1: Post-OJ America

by Michael Tracey

“Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

So on to the really interesting part: what has it all meant, what do I take away from this curious episode in my life, and from a decade-long involvement not just in the narrative around the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, but the cultural ecology out of which that narrative climbed?

Henry James once wrote that to be an American is a complex fate, a sentiment I’d like to amend by suggesting that to be alive is a complex fate, pulled asunder as we are by the competing forces of deep, unspoken Neolithic urges, the demands of the caring heart and struggles in usingdavid the Rational mind, all elements present in the World of JonBenet.

Three general issues suggest themselves: Continue reading

Daxis, pt. 3: snake on a plane

by Michael Tracey

There had earlier been another development that caught the attention of the local US intelligence services based in the embassy. In July Daxis had told me that he had got a job teaching in an international school and that while there for the interview he had “made some lovely new friends ~ little girls age five…” In a mail on July 13 he mentioned one in particular, adding “I lust for a little five year old at school…” He wrote to me of how he had massaged her bare foot and how she said to him, laughing, “…you’re a monster” except that because of her accent it came out as “monsta.”


The only rational conclusion was to assume the worst and that he had his next target. Continue reading

Jesus, McCain and the GOP: a former Republican ponders the future of the party

Most folks don’t realize it – even people who know me fairly well – but I used to be a Republican. Back when I was younger and, one supposes, more naïve about the relevance of certain kinds of economic theory, I was a pretty mouthy GOPper. I voted for Reagan twice and Bush the Elder once, and while I can defend myself by saying things like “Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis,” I think it’s now clear that history will regard those voting decisions as, at best, insufficiently considered.

As time passed and I grew more … educated … I became more and more conflicted. Continue reading

LA Times: Another editor out for refusing to make budget cuts

Today I’d hate to be the managing editor of The Los Angeles Times, John M. Arthur, 60, or its innovation editor, Russ Stanton, 49. That’s because rumor has it they’re on the short list to be the next top editor at one of the nation’s finest newspapers.

If named, this is what publisher David Hiller will expect of either: Cut The Times’ approximately $120 million budget by 1 percent. That would mean firing people. If either wishes to keep that job, they’d better do it — because Hiller fired the previous two editors who refused to make cuts he demanded.
Continue reading

The price of anonymous sources: Error hits LATimes' Clemens claim

The Los Angeles Times blew a story more than a year ago that reported a federal affidavit claimed seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens used steroids. How and why did that happen?

Fourteen months ago, Lance Pugmire and Tim Brown of The Times reported “Roger Clemens, 44, one of professional baseball’s most durable and successful pitchers, is among six players allegedly linked to performance-enhancing drugs by a former teammate. … The names had been blacked out in an affidavit filed in federal court.”

The next day, Kevin Ryan, then the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, said it contained “significant inaccuracies.” Now we know what the inaccuracies were.
Continue reading

The value of incompetence: Tank the firm, grab the gold

What do you get if the share price of the company you run topples from $50 to $30 on your watch?

What do you get if your principal stockholder bails out, claiming you failed to act to maintain the share price?

What do you get if you lay off hundreds of employees over the years to reduce expenses but fail to improve the product sufficiently to invigorate revenues?

What you do get? You get rich. Now that Chicago businessman Sam Zell has wheeled himself into ownership of the Tribune Co., current Chairman and Chief Executive Dennis J. FitzSimons is expected to leave at the end of year — with an estimated $40 million, according to corporate disclosure documents.
Continue reading

Why is it we can read but we’re not supposed to talk about it…?

spongebobreads.jpg My fellow Scrogue Denny Wilkins (Dr. Denny to you) passed along a great essay by Steve Wasserman, former editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review on the gradual disappearance of book reviews and book news coverage from newspapers that appears in the latest issue of Columbia Journalism Review. Wasserman’s essay hits on some points near and dear to my heart as a writer, professor, and pedantic bastard (as a friend once addressed me in a high school yearbook salutation) so I figured you (and I address this affectionately, as my high school friend addressed me) pedantic bastards who read S&R might find those points of interest, too. Continue reading