In Case You Missed It: Steve Friess & Healthcare.gov, Howard Kurtz & the ‘Daily Download,’ Media Swag on eBay
Some good reads from across the web you may have missed in the past 24.
Some good reads from across the web you may have missed in the past 24.
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In dispute were a few photographs that initially could not be confirmed as associated with the shootings. They were taken by an aide to Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) and tweeted by Tim Hogan, the lawmaker’s flack. AP had a “stop the presses” moment and retracted the images, saying the photographs could not be confirmed. Levenson went a step further: On Sept. 17 he reported that the photographs had nothing to do with the shootings.
Enter Friess, who broke the story for BuzzFeed last night, reporting that the pictures were of one of the Navy Yard employees who died from a gunshot wound to the head en route to the hospital.
Last night Levenson’s story underwent major surgery. To his credit, he made clear what the original post had reported, saying the AP has re-released the photos.
But that didn’t stop the tension between Friess and Levenson. Read more
Friess, who just finished up at Politico last week as a tech reporter, wrote a counter piece to NYT columnist Ross Douthat, who declared that in order for WaPo to succeed Politico has to fail. Friess took issue, saying there is a place for Politico‘s niche reporting and WaPo must find its own way, irregardless of Politico‘s success. His point: WaPo can’t be Politico and shouldn’t try as they’re meant to serve a broader audience. He wrote, “The Post’s mission and mandate is to serve an entire and diverse community; Politico’s is to serve a homogenous and specialized one.”
The line that offended reporters such as Politico‘s Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel? “Ross Douthat of The New York Times kicked this parlor game into high gear on Sunday by declaring the Post’s fatal sin as an alleged failure to fully embrace the internet and deploy the sort of kinetic, report-every-bowel-movement coverage of official Washington that has turned Politico into a juggernaut,” wrote Friess. He also wrote that Politico wasn’t profitable until a few years ago when they launched Politico Pro, calling other parts of the publication the “dessert” that created the brand while Politico Pro is the vegetables that feed their bottom line. He also revealed other vanilla details about Politico newsroom parlance, but nothing all that harsh.
Still, after getting flack about his story, Friess took to Twitter: “Amused that ex-colleagues see @BuzzFeed piece as insult. It’s in no way critical of @politico.” Haberman retweeted that with, “Seriously??” Vogel also retweeted, adding, “report-every-bowel-movment.”
VOGEL: “Comparing our journalism to covering ‘bowel movements’ isn’t criticism? Fine to criticize, of course, but own it when you do.”
FRIESS: “Ask any journalist in Las Vegas who followed my blog if I’m shy about owning my own criticism. There’s none in that piece. …That’s colorful writing, not criticism. I’m repeatedly admiring & complimentary of @politico. It’s just different than a newspapr. … Believe me. When I do, I will. But obsessing on a phrase at the expense of an entire piece is… well… very Politico of you.”
VOGEL: “Which is not criticism either, right?”
FRIESS: “Naw. That’s just trolling. You need to brush up on your lingo.”
VOGEL: “Thanks for your advice and insight.”
Indeed there were compliments for his old employer in his piece. For instance, “Politico is a niche publication that does a terrific job focusing on a topic of great and growing interest. But it does not pretend to want to cover all of the myriad and important topics that a general-service newspaper does, nor should it.”
Friess directly disputes Douthat’s premise that WaPo wins if Politico loses, writing, “But we already have a Politico, and it’s a good thing. If the Post becomes Politico, we all lose.”
Asked for comment on the matter, Friess told FishbowlDC… Read more
WaPo can’t be Politico and shouldn’t try, says ex-Politico writer — The recent sale of WaPo to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has sparked a lot of analysis of why the newspaper’s profits have slumped. But in a piece for BuzzFeed, Steve Friess — who left Politico just last Friday after writing for Politico Pro – argues that much of that analysis has been misguided and that “if the Washington Post becomes Politico we all lose.” Friess, who was a senior reporter for the publication, is careful not to burn bridges despite what the subhead says: “A recently departed Politico reporter on why The Washington Post should steer clear of his old employer’s model.” He writes that Politico has been profitable because of their very close coverage of a niche, and that most of the profits come from Politico Pro. WaPo, on the other hand, must focus on a broader array of coverage and couldn’t make a revenue if it took to Politico’s model. Friess cited analysis from NYT’s Ross Douthat that WaPo’s “fatal sin is an alleged failure to fully embrace to internet and deploy the sort of kinetic, report-ever-bowel-movement coverage of official Washington that has turned Politico into a juggernaut.” He argues that there’s a market for both, but WaPo needs to be itself, not Politico.
Why you should read it: There’s been a lot of coverage of the WaPo sale, and Friess puts a compelling argument that goes against the grain of popular analysis of the sale.
What can Bezos do? — WaPo doesn’t get sold every day, so we’re going with another look at the sale to finish off today’s reading list. Though it doesn’t happen often, WaPo has changed hands before. And, TNR’s Todd Gitlin reports, the newest owner may “figure out not only how to get people to read journalism but how to create it somewhat afresh. Or he may take one or another low road.” Gitlin offers no solution, but says WaPo’s woes “will not be reversed if new money tries to do more of what the old money failed to do successfully–retrench and shift digital.”
Why you should read it: Gitlin offers not just insight into Bezos takeover of the paper but puts it in context with past sales and acquisitions by other tech billionaires.
About a month ago, Miles Smith, a weekend producer at WJLA, left his job. And Friday was Steve Friess‘s last day with Politico Pro. The couple is relocating to Ann Arbor, where Miles (pictured at far right) will return to school and Friess will resume his freelance writing career.
We’re thinking their respective office meetings in the last year made for interesting pillow talk. As is common knowledge, Robert Allbritton sold WJLA to Sinclair Broadcast Group.
See his heartfelt memo, including the revelation that he and his partner plan on becoming fathers. Read more
Gregory catches fire for misguided question — David Gregory’s interview with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who broke much of the recent information on the NSA, Sunday on “Meet the Press” was going smoothly until Gregory pointedly asked Greenwald why he shouldn’t be prosecuted. WaPo’s Erik Wemple detailed the interview and criticized Gregory on his question, saying “he seeded his question with a veiled accusation of federal criminal wrongdoing, very much in the tradition of ‘how long have you been beating your wife.’” The exact question was the final one in the interview: “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” Wemple points out that only Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) argued for Greenwald’s arrest. Wemple adds that Eric Snowden, the NSA leaker who has been in contact with Greenwald, probably wouldn’t need any help from a journalist in securing sensitive info that he had access to.
Brandus gives life advice to grads — In his column for The Week, Paul Brandus offers his advice to high school graduates. When he was was 18, he says, he made a list of everything he wanted to do with his life. One might call it a bucket list. As he got older he added some things to the list and dropped others. “You might think some of these are cliches — but they’re also true, and will help you lead a truly fulfilling life,” he says. It’s a pretty extensive list, and has cliches, as Brandus warned. But much of the list seemed like advice that wasn’t dished by out old, successful people at every commencement speech or given by every aunt, uncle and grandparent at graduation parties. The first piece of advice: “Zig when others zag.” Brandus goes on to encourage traveling, and taking only carry-ons whenever possible. He also gives a lot of advice about baseball — where to sit to catch a foul ball, which parks are the best, whether to watch games on TV or listen to them on the radio. Thanks for the advice, Paul. We’ll be sure not to visit the salad bar after 3 p.m.
Quotes of the Day: Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath
“DC ON ALERT: Outside White House, Pennsylvania Ave again closed to pedestrians.” — NBC News’ Peter Alexander with accompanying photograph.
CAUTIOUS CORRESPONDENTS: “I don’t want to overly speculate because as you know early reports are often wrong, we could be way off base but clearly they are saying this was an explosive device, an improvised explosive advice, in other words, a bomb.” — CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’ve been careful all afternoon, did not jump to conclusions.” — FNC’s Bret Baier.
Did someone say conclusions? “I’m getting suspicious with everyone telling me not to ‘jump to conclusions.’ I hadn’t, but now I’m beginning to …” — Conservative Commentator Ann Coulter.
Journo finds new ritual in wake of tragedy
“New weird post-tragedy ritual: I click ‘like’ on the ‘we’re ok’ Facebook status of friends who might not have been…” — Yahoo! News’ Olivier Knox.
It’s a go. “Supposed to board a flight from New Orleans to Boston in 10 minutes. TSA and gate agent both still telling me it’s a go.” — Digital First Media Thunderdome’s Adrienne LaFrance, who also writes for WaPo and Nieman Lab.
Award-winning “too soon” quote: “I’m going to speculate the bomb was planted by cable TV talking heads.” — David Burge, Iowahawkblog.
Why he looked at gruesome Boston pictures: “I looked at the photos because apparently I just have to know how awful the world can be sometimes.” — Dave Stroup, Digital Director, Aneesh Chopra for Virginia Lt. Gov.
Coping, communicating: “Hispanic kid who work at Don Juan’s takeout counter translating reports of Boston Marathon explosion to non English speakers at table.” — InTheseTimes labor journo Mike Elk.
Mistakes bound to happen…“Post also reported 10 more dead than Boston PD are confirming.” — Seth Mnookin.
Don’t blame Boston scribes: “Boston is a hell of a news town. Great reporters doing what they do. All the wild speculation and rumors, not coming from hometowners.” — AP‘s Matt Apuzzo, who works on the Washington D.C.-based investigative team.
On Capitol Hill: “Mood extremely tense on Capitol Hill. Police evacuating grounds as precaution after Boston marathon bombing.” — Stephen Barton, Policy and Outreach Assistant at Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Reporter on the ground: “Fine. Reporting. I was 10 feet from explosion. Shaken up. But not a scratch. Worst thing I ever saw.” — Boston Globe reporter David Abel.
The Media Critics
“When network news is good, its great. Brian Williams on NC right now is great stuff. Matt Lauer doing a standup from outside Mass General.” — Politico‘s Jake Sherman.
Just the Facts
“#Boston police officer tells me bombs were packed with small metal objects meant to maim–nails, zippers, blades.” — ABC’s Terry Moran.
“Was interesting to watch nearly everyone in my Twitter feed automatically assume the New York Post was lying today.” — BuzzFeed‘s Rosie Gray.
Journalists emote on Boston tragedy… Read more
Quotes of the Day
Hookerpalooza: So many hookers, so little time
Monday at 11:36 p.m.: “The Washington Post piece today on Menendez and the Dominican hookers was completely, utterly wrong. Our story coming soon.” — The Daily Caller‘s Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson. 11:40 p.m.: “WaPo might have saved itself the embarrassment if they’d bothered to call us before running their stupid piece.” 12:46 a.m.: “Turns out the Washington Post got the wrong hooker: [Read here].” After going mute for 48 hours after WaPo ran a story saying one of the hookers was paid off, Breitbart‘s Matthew Boyle, who likes to brag that he broke the original hooker-Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) story for his former employer, The Daily Caller, finally piped up this morning at 12:49 a.m.: “Washington Post mixes up prostitutes. You got the wrong girl, guys.” Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston sums the whole thing up well: “Seriously, folks, what could go wrong if an “escort” was your main source?”
A journo’s dinner: “Just one of those days where 6pm Cheetos from White House vending machine is first meal of the day.” — AP‘s Josh Lederman.
Gossip columnist or therapist?
“I’m starting to think that people are using the HOH tip line to save time and money on therapy and journals.” — Roll Call HOH writer Neda Semnani.
“Leaving house late again – does it ever feel like you try 2B organized but sometimes all goes awry? Where the heck is his backpack & my wig!” — ABC “The View’s” Sherri Shepherd.
Pundit urges cold beer
“The city of New Orleans Is under a boil water advisory. Another excuse to drink cold beer.” — Democratic pundit on CNN and ABC Donna Brazile.
Important news nugget of the day…“Brodie Jenner is joining the Kardashians next season. (Remember his reality show “Bromance?”)” — FBDC and TheBlaze‘s Eddie Scarry.
And now a word from BuzzFeed D.C. Bureau Chief John Stanton: “NO WASHINGTON POST IT CAN’T BE CALLED SNOWQUESTER”
Politico Playbook Publish Time: 8:25 a.m.
Convo Between a Reporter and a Researcher
Politico‘s Steve Friess: “Entertaining twitter debate betw [WaPo's Greg Sargent] & [NJ's Ron Fournier] right now. Summary: GOP bad. No, everyone is. No, just GOP.”
Logan Dobson, research analyst for The Tarrance Group, a GOP Polling firm: “Steve Friess, it’s possible we have different definitions of entertaining.”
Writing tip, important Q and more…
Quotes of the Day
“No one cares what’s said on Sunday talk shows, Martha.” — NPR’s Steve Inskeep on the ABC “This Week” roundtable, joking to host Martha Raddatz. The joke is in reference to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton‘s remarks before Congress last week in which she said appearing on Sunday talk shows is not her preferred way of spending her Sunday mornings.
Reporter robbed of copy of Advise and Consent
“To whoever stole the $3 copy of Allen Drury’s Pulitzer-winning but out-of-print Advise and Consent off my doorstep: I hope you enjoy it.” — Kasie Hunt, political reporter, NBC News. Hunt told FishbowlDC the book was in a box from Amazon. So far, no leads.
Senator’s parents are named what?
“In his opening remarks, Biden took note of the presence of the senator’s parents, Moon and Verna Landrieu, as well as many of their nine children and 37 grandchildren. ‘I love these Landrieu family gatherings,’ he said.– A weekend White House VPOTUS Pool Report referring to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
Comedian puts McCain on level of Applebees
“Dear @ThisWeekABC : Bragging about an ‘Exclusive’ interview w/ @SenJohnMcCain is like bragging you scored a table at Applebees.” — Lizz Winstead, comedian and co-creator of “The Daily Show.”
The Geek Squad
@daveweigel. I can see his computer screen. It’s just a waterfall of raw code like in the matrix.” — NationalReviewOnline‘s Jonah Goldberg in reference to the most wildly popular Boybander around town outside WaPo‘s Ezra Klein. Slate‘s Weigel was spotted at the National Review summit Friday night, where he was standoffish.
Important Q to Ponder: “Which interview serves up more softballs to Obama, TNR or 60 minutes?” — Blake Hounshell, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine.
Time for better dreams?
“My dream on my next trip to New York: meeting
@chrislhayes. My likely reality: missing #uppers because I stayed up too late.” — Jesse Taylor, founder and editor of Pandagon.net. He was previously an internet consultant for Jerry Springer‘s political group, Make Ohio Blue.
Journo irritated by weather
“What the hell is that symbol on Monday, & why will it be 70 one day, snowing 2 days later?”– PBS Political Director Christina Bellantoni.
Spotted: Radio host for 94.7 FreshFM Tommy McFly in the toiletries isle at Target in Columbia Heights.
Unnecessary Tweet of the Day
“Anyone else realize New York is sexist? If there’s a Man-hattan shouldn’t there be a Woman-hattan???” — Ron Meyer Jr., spokesman for American Majority Action.
Peter Ogburn and Eddie Scarry contributed to this report.
Convo Between Two Journos… Read more
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