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NY Times Launches Politics Site, Newsletter

The New York Times has gone all in on politics with the debut of First Draft, a new site and newsletter dedicated to analyzing politics, elections and policies.

The Times is touting First Draft as “highly visual” and interactive. Readers will get a shot at asking Times editors anything from their take on the latest news to fact checking a bold claim.

The site will feature breaking news, highlights of the paper’s political coverage, and interviews with experts and big whigs. Speaking of important people, First Draft’s initial newsletter comes packing an interview with Vice President Joe Biden.

First Draft is overseen by Times Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan. Carl Hulse serves as chief Washington correspondent and managing editor of the site. His team is rounded out by reporter Alan Rappeport, and editors Nicholas Corasaniti and Paul Volpe.

You can sign up for First Draft’s newsletter here.

NY Times Exec Editor Dean Baquet Explains His Biggest Fear

dean baquetAs executive editor of The New York Times, Dean Baquet has a lot on his mind. But what bothers him the most? What worry swirls in his head? Baquet told The Daily Beast his primary fear is how the Times reports on dangerous areas.

“My biggest concern is how to cover the world right now when it’s really dangerous,” explained Baquet. “How the hell are we going to cover what is a new, heightened U.S. intervention in a region in which the enemies of the U.S. have proven that they do really bad things to journalists? That’s the thing that keeps me most awake at night.”

Baquet also said that he worried about President Obama’s attempts to stop any reporting on national security subjects. He described Obama’s attitude toward the press as “disturbing.”

For more from Baquet, check out the full interview.

NY Daily News Proclaims Diddy Dead Since 1996

Sean Combs — aka Puffy, aka Puff Daddy, aka Guy Who Blessed The World with Da Band, aka P. Diddy, aka Diddy — is dead.

The New York Daily News reported that despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, Combs has been dead for the past 18 years. He was killed in a 1996 shooting, which — sadly enough — was the same year Tupac Shakur was murdered.

We would like to thank the Daily News for alerting us to Combs’ death.

To our dearly departed Diddy, please know that it’s kinda hard with you not around. Know you in heaven, smilin’ down. Watching us while we pray for you; every day we pray for you. Till the day we meet again, in my heart is where I keep you friend.

Financial Times Debuts New Look

Say hello to the brand new Financial Times, featuring a new typeface (called “Financier,” of course), new color graphics and a lot less clutter. We’re just glad it’s still pink. Or salmon. Or whatever.

Here’s what Lionel Barber, the FT’s editor, had to say about the revamp:

The refreshed newspaper is an agenda-setting slice of the best of the FT. It complements FT.com and other channels, providing the definitive global perspective on what readers need to know each day. The new FT has visual impact and is easy to navigate, highlighting trends and providing original news, insight, analysis and context.

We think that about covers it.

NY Times Baghdad Bureau Chief Talks Iraq

Tim Arango has been The New York Times’ Baghdad bureau chief since 2010. He recently took part in a Reddit AMA, and below we’ve gathered some of the highlights.

On if America’s influence on Iraq was negative:

Yes, there is no other way to see it. Everything that is occurring in Iraq today is related the American legacy there. The forerunner of ISIS was created to oppose the American occupation, and many of its leaders were in American detention facilities in Iraq. On the other side of the ledger, as it pertains to Iraqi politics, you see the American legacy. The U.S. basically chose Maliki, whose sectarian politics alienated many Sunnis, creating the fertile ground for ISIS to sweep in to these areas. And many of those Maliki policies that have pushed aside the Sunnis were started by the Americans. Excluding Sunnis from political life? that has its origins in the American De-Baathification policy. Maliki’s security policy of conducting mass arrests of Sunni men in the name of fighting terrorism? the U.S. did that too.

On the Times’ Baghdad bureau:

Read more

WSJ Cuts Awards Coordinator

wall_street_journal_logo_01The Wall Street Journal has cut its awards coordinator Debbie Luczak Hoffman. Hoffman — whose role was to nominate the Journal for various honors, including the Pulitzers — had been with the paper since 1992.

As Jim Romenesko notes, Gerard Baker, the Journal’s editor, recently told Der Spiegel that winning Pulitzers wasn’t important. “I don’t judge the success of the Journal by the number of Pulitzer prizes,” said Baker. “It doesn’t say anything about the quality of our journalism.”

One wonders if Baker still feels that way.

Source: Rupert Murdoch Downsized Post Joan Rivers Coverage

According to Capital New York’s Joe Pompeo, the original mock-up for today’s New York Post front page featured Joan Rivers across the full bottom half of the page. So what happened?

NYPostFront_0905

If you believe the reporter’s source, it was none other than the boss-of-all-bosses who decided half the front was too much:

This is the story being relayed in some corners of the Post‘s Sixth Avenue offices: Yesterday happened to be one of those days when Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the Post‘s parent company, News Corp, was passing through the newsroom. (He’s been back in town since at least September 2.) And apparently, when Murdoch saw the mock-up, he wasn’t having it.

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Happy National Newspaper Carrier Day!

On September 4, 1833, the New York Sun anointed Irish-born Barney Flaherty into a then-very promising profession. The ten-year-old was the nation’s first paperboy and in his honor each year since, the fourth of September is marked by some as National Newspaper Carrier Day.

NAALogoNot too many papers today are celebrating the occasion. In fact, over at USA Today, the “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” cries have everything to do with the twilight era of a paperboy and papergirl’s business. Nevertheless, Christian Science Monitor reporter Lisa Suhay has some fascinating info on how the profession stacks up, 181 years later:

Today, according to John Murray, vice president of Audience Development at the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), nearly 80 percent of carriers are adults, and even though subscribers are now billed directly by the newspapers, 95 percent of all carriers are still independent contractors just like the original paper boys.

The main reason the job has transitioned mostly to adults is due to the evolution of newspapers, both in overall size (including more circulars), and broader distribution. Often distribution hubs are located far from most carriers’ homes and daily deliveries include burgeoning routes with as many as seven different newspaper titles being delivered by a single carrier, which make it too difficult for a child on a bike to manage, according to Murray…

Read more

NY Times’ Dean Baquet: ‘I Think We’ll Survive’

Dean Baquet GDean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, isn’t worried about the future of the paper. In a conversation with the Times’ David Carr, Baquet explained that as long as the paper provided vital information to smart people, all will be well.

“I’m actually not that worried about the future of the New York Times,” Baquet said, according to Capital New York. “If you produce a news product that is worthwhile and worth saving, which is my goal, I think we’ll be fine. I think it will be tough, but… as long as we are essential, I think we’ll survive.”

To that end, Baquet cited the Times’ coverage of the gruesome — yet newsworthy — ISIS beheading videos. “We do have to cover these things,” he said. “I can’t get away with saying, we’re not gonna cover these wars because they’re too dangerous. But it’s really hard. And that decision is not about making a buck or being competitive, it’s about the role a news organization like the New York Times plays in society.”

We agree with Baquet that the Times will persevere. It’s the best paper in the world. But it’s not hard to imagine that one day it will be a digital-only product. That future is just farther away for the Times than most other papers.

NY Times Has 1,700 Obituaries for ‘Pre-Dead’

NYtimes buildingAnyone interested in morbid news will appreciate The New York Times pulling back the curtain on its obituaries desk.

According to Margalit Fox, the Times currently has about 1,700 obits for “pre-dead” people on file, ranging from a few hundred words (if you were boring) to more than 10 thousand (if you were rich).

Unsurprisingly, Fox writes that one of the most uncomfortable aspects of preparing obits is interviewing people who the Times deems close to death:

One of the most stressful aspects of reporting an advance entails, when feasible, telephoning its pre-dead subject for an interview. This is one of the stranger social predicaments in human experience and, trust me, there is nothing in Emily Post to cover it. The midcentury Timesman Alden Whitman, an obituary writer famous for sitting down with his subjects in advance, favored tender circumlocutions on the order of, “We’re updating your biographical file” and “This is for possible future use.” I have used both with a fair margin of success.

Another approach we’d suggest: “Hi, this is Margalit Fox with the New York Times. You’re probably about to croak. Any comment?”

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