Did the media fail by dismissing Trump supporters?

These two pieces make that case. Let the self-flagellation  begin.

From Columbia Journalism Review

Its inability to understand Donald Trump’s rise over the last year, ending in his victory Tuesday night, clearly stand among journalism’s great failures, certainly in a generation and probably in modern times.

Reporters’ eagerness first to ridicule Trump and his supporters, then dismiss them, and finally to actively lobby and argue for their defeat have led us to a moment when the entire journalistic enterprise needs to be rethought and rebuilt. In terms of bellwether moments, this is our anti-Watergate.capture

From NPR: 

Donald Trump’s election early Wednesday as president — utterly unprecedented, utterly unexpected — caught the media flat-footed. The distance between the nation’s political press corps and its people has never seemed so stark. The pundits swung and missed. The polls failed. The predictive surveys of polls, the Upshots and FiveThirtyEights, et al. with their percentage certainties, jerked violently in the precise opposite direction of their predictions as election night progressed.

And now journalists are confronted by the prospect of a president who avidly campaigned against them and has promised retribution at a time when many of the nation’s most important news organizations can least afford it.

This one goes on to say — It wasn’t us!

 It’s one of NPR’s strengths that it can draw on reporters from hundreds of member stations in states both red and blue. Our reporters consistently capture voters in their own voices. News organizations often struggle to do that.

 

 

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Woe is the N&O: Email, libel and the press under siege

The News & Observer in Raleigh was my  journalism home for most of the 1990s. Despite staff and budget cuts, it’s still a great paper. So, I find this libel ruling extra disturbing. From the Columbia  Journalism Review: 

JOURNALISTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY are assessing the fallout a week after a North Carolina jury awarded nearly $6 million in libel verdicts against The Raleigh News & Observer and one of its reporters.

The case seems to provide more evidence that the growing unpopularity of media may translate into less-sympathetic jury pools when news organizations face lawsuits. Adding to worries among newsroom leaders are the ways outsiders, including jurors on the N&O case, interpret internal communications among reporters, sources, and editors.

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I would say watch out what you say in an email — or be prepared to defend it in court. Still even the most benign comment can be taken out of context. More from CJR:

After reading about the N&O trial, Barry Yeoman, a North Carolina journalist who does plenty of investigative work, started looking through old emails among editors about certain stories he covered. Investigative journalism is a collaborative process, he tells me. It’s messy, with a lot of rough edges rubbing up against each other. You sharpen ideas, and some of those ideas end up getting scrapped.

“So if somebody looked at my emails out of context, they may see a point in my thinking where either I have proposed something beyond where the facts may go, or I’ve proposed something that is too timid,” he says. “It is in the honest conversation that I can push the boundaries and an editor can push me back. Or I can arrive short of the line, and an editor can beckon me forward. And it is a dance that happens backstage so that the final product is absolutely true.”

Yeoman says he does worry one email or another he wrote to an editor could be misinterpreted if it ever got in front of a jury. But in many cases, he says he will still write it. “You need to put your thoughts out there if you’re going to get the feedback and the dynamic back and forth that story development needs,” he says.

As for The News & Observer, the paper has vowed to appeal, and it stands by its coverage as accurate and valuable to the community. “Our 2010 stories about the SBI raised important questions about how that agency investigates and how agents testify at trial,” N&O editor John Drescher said in a statement. “After the stories were published, numerous changes were made in how the SBI and the state crime lab work.”

“The N&O has not and will not shy away from reporting on tough issues important to North Carolina,” he added. “We will appeal the jury’s decision and look forward to discussing these stories with the appellate courts.”

 

Rescheduled:LinkedIn as a reporting tool: Webinar for working #journalists

NOTE: This event has been rescheduled for June 20.

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I’m always pitching this to my students. I need a review myself. LinkedIn can be a great reporting tool.

UPCOMING JUNE LINKEDIN FOR JOURNALISTS WEBINARS

Hi! Mark your calendars for our next training dates. To join our live sessions, please click on the Webex links on the day of the webinar, register online, and follow the instructions. Thanks and we hope you can join us!
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GLOBAL SESSION: Monday June 13, 20  2016 9aPT/12pET

To join the online global session:

1. Go to https://linkedin.webex.com/linkedin/j.php?MTID=m1248163aba77d10fce734e63d2a89f0e
2. Enter your name and email address
3. Enter the meeting password: 12345
4. Click “Join”
5. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen

To avoid incomplete registration: Please be on time and please join the web portion (so you can see my desktop) of the meeting before dialing into the teleconference line (so you can listen along). You’ll be prompted with the dial-in information upon entering the web portion of the meeting.

ASIA-PACIFIC (APAC) SESSION: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 130p (UTC/GMT +9)
***Please note the June 15, 130p time is local Japan time. This webinar is reserved for news journalists who live and work in Asia-Pacific. If you’re based outside of APAC, please join our global session on June 13.***
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Time:
10:00am (GMT +5:30 / Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore time)
12:30pm (GMT +8 / Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing time)
1:30pm (GMT +9 / Tokyo time)
2:30pm or 3:30pm (GMT +10 or 11 / Sydney time)

To join the online APAC session:

1. Go to: https://goo.gl/3YMvhA
2. Enter your name and email address
3. Enter the meeting password: 2016
4. Click “Join”
5. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen

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These trainings are for current professional news journalists and freelancers who work for mainstream news media outlets. Thank you

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Ink-stained again

IMG_0279My Globe hasn’t been delivered in a week either. Except on Sunday. If you haven’t been following the delivery crisis — new company failed to deliver 10 percent of papers –you can catch up via my NU colleague Dan Kennedy. 
I freelance for the Globe, and my husband works there full time. So, we showed up as a team on Saturday night — actually Sunday morning at 12:30 –to join the Globies who signed up to deliver the  paper. It was a symbolic act — papers showed up Sunday, but didn’t show up on Monday.  We had fun, until about 4:30 in the morning. It took us until 8:30 to cover most of Cambridgeport. Still, it gave me a dose of that newsroom camaraderie that I miss.

IMG_0270First, we had to slide inserts and preprints into the live sections. I salute those who work there every night, like the woman next to me, who told me she has been doing it for 25 years. My ink-stained hands dried out quickly and my arm ached a bit.  I ran my hand across the still warm front page and felt sad for the loss of print. I know, I know, I know. Change happens and I’m in. But, that doesn’t mean we aren’t losing something too.

IMG_0275The smell  of the fresh papers reminded me of the chapter about the Journal Inquirer in Dan Barry’s memoir, Pull Me Up.

“Ink. The building smelled of ink, spilled and bled. It was a tart and chemical smell, the kind that weaves into the fabric of your clothes and then under your skin, the kind that comes home with you, sits at the dinner table, tells you constantly what it is that you do.”

IMG_0274I took a deep breath. About 160 papers later, we were off.

Door-to-door delivery sounds easy; it wasn’t. In and out of the car on a cold or wet night has to be awful.  Last winter, the drivers had to deal with four feet of snow.

We learned that many of the people who pay for Globe delivery don’t live in the new, modern apartment buildings around MIT or even in rehabbed triple deckers. We often plopped the papers on to the stoops and porches of older, sagging duplexes.

IMG_0273And, they did plop. I’m not sure why it was nice to hear it from the other side of the door. The sound made me recall watching a paperboy ride his bike down the street in Amherst. His bag was filled with copies of the Hampshire Gazette featuring my first-ever daily story. I recently opened one of my mother’s old books and a stiff copy of the story — abouIMG_0272t how gypsy moth spraying was killing bees —  slid out.

So, the  delivery problem isn’t yet solved, I still haven’t recovered from the all nighter, but I appreciated one last ink bath.

(Kevin Cullen wrote a nice column in the Globe  about his journey.)