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The State of Journalism

Another Sad Newspaper Ads Story

DuaneDudekTwitterSad and Sadder. That essentially describes the scenery of TV and film critic Duane Dudek‘s exit from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Friday, his last day, Dudek posted a farewell newspaper blog note titled “Forget It, Jake. It’s Chinatown.“ Today, on his personal blog, Dudek goes a little deeper to frame the context of his departure and the idea that the position of local movie reviewer will not be filled. Moving forward, the paper where the writer started as a copy boy will no longer carry staffer or freelancer film reviews:

It is another service reduction for readers as newspapers struggle to survive. But with the demise of movie advertising in the paper, movie coverage failed to pay its way. The writing was on the wall when show time listings for Marcus Theaters and other exhibitors – which many readers believed to be a public service but were paid ads – moved online.

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Glossy Mag Ignores Lindsay Lohan’s Rep

ShutterstockLindsayLohan2013Last week, we wrote about OK! magazine’s inventive Jennifer Aniston cover story. This week, once again per Gossip Cop, it’s deja voodoo all over again as the magazine is making up more great stories. With yet another noteworthy twist.

It’s one thing to falsely allege that Tom Cruise and Lindsay Lohan hooked up in London. It’s quite another to race towards deadline with that fable after a rep for one of the celebrities has confirmed “Tom & Lindsay: IT’S ON!” is way off. From Gossip Cop associate editor Shari Weissreport:

The entire OK! dating premise was a “lie,” Lohan’s rep told Gossip Cop exclusively. Lohan’s spokesperson even revealed to us that she told the tabloid that its story was wrong and laughable, and yet the magazine still chose to run it.

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Another Week of Jennifer Aniston Lies

ShutterstockJenniferAnistonAugust2014OK! is not just the name of a magazine. In this case, it was also the exclamation we uttered as we moved on from Gossip Cop’s report about the publication’s non-existent current cover story:

According to the cover, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux were “finally married” in a “secret wedding” at a farm in New York, with Aniston taking Theroux’s last name and declaring it “the best day of my life.”

The actual story inside the magazine’s pages is not surprisingly another bait-and-switch from the tabloid, which claims the two are actually just talking about supposed “Christmas nuptials,” and directly contradicting the cover. OK! claims Aniston and Theroux are planning a “small, exclusive gathering” somewhere in New York, although the outlet later forgets the whole “farm” thing and starts talking about Manhattan venues.

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Craig Silverman Finds Himself Knee-Deep in Fake News

At the end of a very good piece by The Verge reports editor Josh Dzieza about how Facebook is fanning the flame of viral fake news, Craig Silverman talks about an unanticipated priority.

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A month ago, Silverman launched watchdog site emergent.info with Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism to debunk items like the one above, concocted by current fake news headline-grabber National Report:

Silverman is interested in the dynamics of online rumors generally, but the fake news sites have become an unexpected focus. “I’m actively now thinking about ways to go after these fake news sites,” he says. “We need some way to crawl these sites and figure out which stories are starting to get velocity so we can counteract them, ruin their incentive, prevent them from getting the big hits. But I have no idea what the best way might be. There are so many.”

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Anatomy of a Daily Mail Article

dailymailonline200It’s not every day that we come across a journalist resume with the heading ‘Freelance Writer, Pastry Chef.’ Then again, when the resume belongs to the author of a mind-boggling Daily Mail puff piece, it makes perfect sense.

Jennifer Pearson is part of the army of MailOnline contributors tasked with tapping out content at the paper’s multiple LA offices. After taking a look at a photo of Katie Couric waiting for a plane at JFK, she came up with this:

The 57-year-old journalist cut a casual figure in faded, cuffed dungarees, plain white T-shirt and a black leather jacket as she pored over her handy iPhone, most likely reading messages, news and other pertinent information.

It must have been interesting reading because Katie’s attention was undivided and her face set in concentration.

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George Clooney Has No Comment About In Touch Weekly Drone

As we all saw, George Clooney and bride Amal Alamuddin were extremely generous with the paparazzi when they got married in the land that gave us that photographer term. It almost seemed as if the choice of Venice’s canals was Clooney’s clever solution to dealing with the inevitable media crush: let the media get close without being able to get too close.

ShutterstockClooneyWedding

But apparently, all this was not enough for In Touch Weekly. As reported by the Daily News‘ “Confidenti@l,” the magazine tested a new drone approach to journalism above the Clooney-Alamuddin pre and post-wedding festivities:

We’re told the magazine wanted to try out the strategy in a “limited situation,” and the Clooney celebrations seemed the right opportunity because they were outside of the U.S., where drone use is mired in controversy and legal problems. But after what it considers a successful trial, our insider says, In Touch plans to rent a drone in this country and eventually buy its own.

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A Scientific Journal Goes Down the Tubes

ExperimentalClinicalCardiologyCoverNew York-based magazine The Scientist has brought to our attention a reminder of just how widespread the corrosion of the print world has become.

Per their pick-up of a recent Ottawa Citizen investigation, Toronto-born publication Experimental & Clinical Cardiology was sold in 2013 by Pulsus Publishing Group to some individuals based in NYC. Those buyers apparently quickly flipped the magazine to new proprietors and the rest is sordid history:

The new owners claim to be in Switzerland, but according to the Citizen, contributor payments are routed to a bank in Turks and Caicos. “We don’t have a clue who these people are,” [former publisher Robert] Kalina told the paper. “It is very sad.”

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Freelance Journalist Confesses Their Native Advertising Sins

ShutterstockWastepaperMoneyBasketThe latest installment of Digiday’s “Confessions” series could not be timelier. It features a veteran freelance feature writer who has had to cross over to the sponsored-content side to earn a decent living.

On the plus side, the unidentified individual says they’re making $500 a day and, as a result, are chipping away at some accumulated debt. On the down side, the client stories being passed on are consistently “lowest common denominator.”

From the Q&A with Lucia Moses:

You don’t want your real name used on the native ad pieces. Is that [lowest common denominator aspect] why?

Because it’s not work I’m proud of. It’s not anything remotely interesting. But I was at [a major news organization] and didn’t put my name on many stories. If I were writing stories for dumb women’s magazines, I wouldn’t want my name on many stories, either.

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The New Face of Patch: Tammy

In a brief but excellent item about the current post-AOL Patch landscape, Talking New Media’s D.B. Hebbard cites the following sad state of Midwestern affairs:

Several Patch sites appear to have become largely controlled by a local business that uses the site to promote their services. One Wisconsin site, for instance, only contains stories from someone labeled as “Tammy” who posts “opinion” pieces that may, or may not, actually be paid posts – it’s hard to tell.

We made the effort to track down Tammy’s work. What’s amazing is that Hale Global isn’t even trying to disguise the bot-like behavior of this contributor. And we’re betting that biography won’t be filled out soon.

TammyOakParkPatchBio

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Gawker Shares Egregious Time Inc. Spreadsheet [Updated]

SICrowdSourceCoverWow. Via the Newspaper Guild, Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan has obtained an internal Time Inc. spreadsheet that was used to help decide which Sports Illustrated writers to lay off.

It is column “J” that is already reverberating across social media. The column is titled: ‘Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertisers:’

Anthony Napoli, a union representative with the Newspaper Guild, tells us: “Time Inc. actually laid off Sports Illustrated writers based on the criteria listed on that chart. Writers who may have high assessments for their writing ability, which is their job, were in fact terminated based on the fact the company believed their stories did not ‘produce content that is beneficial to advertiser relationships.’”

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