Posts Tagged ‘Jack Shafer’
In case you missed the big news yesterday, The Guardian broke a News Corp. scandal. According to the paper, the European edition of The Wall Street Journal had been funneling money through companies to secretly buy huge quantities of the paper at a discount, thus misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal’s circulation numbers.
Not good, right? Especially when the Journal’s parent, News Corp., is already dealing with the phone hacking incident. Even if this ends up being not as big of a deal as it seems, it’s still enough to make people — once again — question the company, and that’s never a good thing.
Here are a few other reactions to the scandal from the media world.
The Reuters you know is changing. There has been a slow but noticeable march away from a wire news service to a more complete website over the past year. In July, Reuters’ website was revamped to appeal to a wider audience. In May, the site hired its first Op-Ed Editor, James Ledbetter, and then just last week they grabbed the great Jack Shafer to pen opinion columns.
Today, Adweek caught up with Ledbetter, and he confirmed the move. “We really want to be a leader in the space of opinion and commentary, which has never really been an explicit goal for Reuters in the past,” said Ledbetter. He also stated that the hiring spree isn’t over either, and that the opinion section should mesh perfectly with the other content:
You don’t have to look very hard at the staffing levels of American newspapers to realize that places where you might have had local columnists or a local opinion staff commissioning pieces—in many places those jobs no longer exist. We think that there is a role within the traditional Reuters marketplace for opinion and commentary.
The shift to a more complete site is a good idea, but will it work? Reuters is certainly not the first place most people mention when discussing columnists or moving think pieces. Ledbetter thinks otherwise, and wisely will be leaning on the site’s ace in the hole. “If, six months from now, you haven’t read a Jack Shafer column, call me,” he added.
Jack Shafer, everybody’s favorite media critic, has a new gig. According to Daily Intel, Shafer is going to Reuters, where he’ll cover media for the site’s opinion section. There aren’t many details as of now, but he will apparently be cranking out content a few times a week, like he did for Slate.
Congats to Reuters, grabbing Shafer is a huge score.
Jack Shafer, the last great media critic, is conducting a live chat at 12:30 today, over at Poynter. If you’re on Twitter, you can submit questions with the #Poynterchats hashtag, or you can simply head over there then and check it all out.
We’re sure Shafer will have some interesting things to say, as always. And if you happen to squeeze in any comments about how fantastic FishbowlNY is, that would okay with us.
Last night two big stories broke. One was that Steve Jobs was stepping down as CEO of Apple. The other, and the one much more important to those of us in the media world, was that Jack Shafer was laid off by Slate. It caught everyone by surprise because Shafer and his Press Box column are phenomenal, it seemed crazy that Slate would let someone like him go. But such is the life of journalists.
Because we’re big fans of Shafer, we thought we’d pass along the interview he did with Adweek last night. In true Shafer fashion, he was blunt, sarcastic and enjoyable. Below, a few choice quotes.
On why he was let go:
“I’m not the only one who has been let go by Slate. Slate has expanded ambitiously, and right now it’s responding to the industry-wide recession in a sensible fashion by cutting some costs—and I’m one of those costs.”
On where he’ll write next (he will still contribute to Slate):
“I haven’t phoned-up Rupert Murdoch and asked him if he wants another columnist at the Wall Street Journal.”
On his writing style:
“Let’s start some fights and see who wins.”
If you haven’t heard, News Corp. has been deeply mired in a phone-hacking scandal that came to a head earlier this week when Guardian‘s Nick Davies and Amelia Hill reported that News Corp.’s News of the World journalists may have hacked into the voicemail of a 13-year-old girl who went missing in March 2002. Jack Shafer at Slate pens an entertaining column that provides a big picture look at the scandal for those who want to catch up, and makes Shafer’s feelings toward Rupert Murdoch, the beleaguered head of News Corp., very, very clear.
If you’re no Murdoch fan yourself, here are our favorite of Shafer’s gleeful takedowns of the media mogul for your reading pleasure:
1. If Rupert Murdoch could be slain by a mere scandal, he would have been embalmed and entombed long ago.
2. We expect the worst from Murdoch, and he lives up to our expectations.
4. Murdoch’s instinct, of course, will be to sacrifice [Rebekah Brooks], but I doubt that the mob that is gathering will be satisfied with one body. They’ll want strong, tough, old meat, too. Something that’s fit for grilling on the barbie.
“Only when a journalist is fired or quits does the complete fury he feels for those quacking mallards who have made his life miserable begin to surface,” writes Jack Shafer at Slate. He’s collected a few of the best kiss-off notes from fired journalists on his blog, and some of them are truly amazing.
“Jesus spent three days in Hell. … I could only handle one,” —wrote Richard Morgan, who quit Gawker after one day in January 2008.
And another favorite: “Don’t worry about me; I’ll land on my feet. I don’t regret coming here, even though I’ve been laid off now. In fact, my only regret is that you haven’t come to visit the Beacon Journal. I would have loved to piss on your shoes,” wrote Mark Schlueb, in a letter to Knight Ridder CEO Tony Ridder, in April 2001
Unsurprisingly, Tina Brown gets a few mentions. Who knew she wasn’t popular? “If some ditzy American editor went to London, took over the Spectator and turned it into, say, In Your Face: A Magazine of Mucus, there would be a big uproar, but here in America, we expect turnover,” wrote Garrison Keillor, after Brown replaced Robert Gottlieb as editor of The New Yorker in April 1995.
And after his Newsweek blog was canceled by incoming editor Brown in 2011, Mickey Kaus wrote, “The people at the Daily Beast seem to be having a desperate sort of faux-fun as they try to madly generate paying hits before Barry Diller‘s money runs out subsidizing Ms. Brown’s big bucks staff.”
The whole collection, well worth the read, is at Slate.
On of the major upsets at the National Magazine Awards this week was the “Reporting” award, which went to Harper’s for Scott Horton‘s “The Guantanamo ‘Suicides’.” The piece had a mixed reception when it was published; moreover, it was up against two standout articles — not just of this year but of any year — the Rolling Stone article “The Runaway General” by Michael Hastings (that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal), and The New Yorker exposé of the Koch brothers by Jane Mayer.
Horton’s piece begins with the premise that not only has President Obama failed to close Guantanamo, he may be more implicated in horrors that have occurred there than has previously come to light. It begins:
[N]ew evidence…suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.
I am dumbfounded. The Harper’s piece is a souffle of conjecture. Did the judges actually read it? Do they really think the Obama administration is covering up murders committed during the Bush administration?
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