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Former WH Chief Defends Powerful Women Appearing in ‘Women’s Magazines’

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You may have noticed a not-so-recent trend: powerful women in politics, technology and other fields appearing on the covers of magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan as they make major career transitions.

Unfortunately, these very women often receive a steady drumbeat of criticism after making such appearances. This doesn’t just apply to politics, either–remember Marissa Mayer‘s 2013 cover shoot?

Last week, Marie Claire’s newest contributing editor Alyssa Mastromonaco finally stood up to defend the practice in The Washington Post with the simple headline “Being informed and fashionable is natural for women.

Mastromonaco is more qualified than most to comment on this topic: she spent six years as President Obama’s White House Deputy Chief of Staff.

We’ll review what she wrote after the jump.

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The Spin Cycle (Borscht Edition): 11 Crazy Conspiracy Theories About MH 17

Are you one of the few who still believe that every big story has one true narrative? Did you not listen to Mike Allen?!

Our point: as Julie Ioffe notes today in The New Republic, the Russian public has a totally different understanding of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 than the rest of the world.

“Watching some of these Russian newscasts [where most of the television is owned or controlled by the Kremlin], one comes away with the impression of a desperate defense attorney scrounging for experts and angles, or a bad kid caught red-handed by the principal, trying to twist his way out of a situation in which he has no chance.”

“The discrepancy,” she writes, “does not bode well for a sane resolution to this stand-off.”

After the jump, 11 of the craziest conspiracies being floated over the Russian air waves. Read more

Politico, Burson-Marsteller Discuss the Future of Journalism

In a perfect world, would the answer to the question “What does the future of journalism look like?” include the word “Politico?”

We’re not sure as we don’t live in a perfect world. But this related conversation between King of Poli-Blogs Mike Allen, Burson-Marsteller’s Worldwide Chair/CEO Don Baer and Alan Murray of the Pew Research Center is still interesting, particularly in the wake of White House “TV Whisperer” Dag Vega’s move from politics to corporate PR. A couple of key quotes from Baer:

“The vast majority of journalists and news organizations still think of themselves as content producers…I think you’ve got to turn that upside down and say ‘what service am I providing you, the reader?’”

And Murray:

“Being provocative to the point of being hostile gets you noticed.”

While we certainly don’t disagree with Murray, we have to wonder whether this is really a good thing (if it means Kara Swisher being bolder in her reporting, then yes. If it means more hyper-partisan op-eds, then no). And if you speculated as to whether political coverage would, in general, grow more or less partisan in coming years, this interview serves as an unfortunately definitive “yes.”

CNN Reporter Calls Israelis ‘Scum’ as They Bomb Gaza

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Meet CNN International Correspondent Diana Magnay.

She used to cover the millennia-old tension between Israel and the rest of the Middle East until recently. Why no more? She had a bad day at the office recently during the most current dust-up on the Gaza Strip.

Behind her report in “The Situation Room” were some onlookers who were cheering the explosions from missiles launched by the Israeli army. Much to Magnay’s chagrin, she called our allies to the east “scum” and lost her gig.

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Ann Friedman of New York Magazine Defends ‘PR Girls’ Everywhere

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Today in New York magazine, regular contributor Ann Friedman becomes one of the first journalists to offer extended commentary on an unspoken issue within the public relations industry: media relations push-pull is in many ways a game of girls versus boys. And that’s not a good thing.

We’re oversimplifying, of course:

“While there are many men in PR — including 80 percent of upper management — it’s women, often young women, who are likely to be doing the grunt work of sending emails and writing tweets and cold-calling contacts. The very work that journalists, and the rest of us, are likely to see as fluffy.”

Do go on…

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Jill Abramson Talks to Katie Couric About What Went Wrong at The New York Times

In one of her first post-firing video interviews, deposed New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson spoke with Yahoo!’s Global News Anchor Katie Couric about what went wrong with her career at The Grey Lady.

On the “fired for being a woman” narrative:

“I don’t see gender as being…the whole explanation, by any means, of what happened, but it’s somewhat irksome to me to see so much focus on the issue of why was I fired.”

And yet…

“I think that women are scrutinized and criticized in a somewhat different way, and that certain qualities that are seen in men as being the qualities of a leader … are somehow not seen in as attractive a light when a woman is involved.”

Here’s our favorite line:

“How many people in the real world really care why Jill Abramson lost her job?”

We would say quite a few, actually. Couric didn’t ask Abramson how the NYT could have handled the firing better on the PR front, but someone could certainly write a book…

Another Reporter Quits Kremlin-Funded News Network Because Truth and Ethics

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Man, they get all the good interviews.

Just when you think you have lost hope in network news, a story like this comes along trying to restore that faith. Now, if only you can get over the fact it’s from MOSCOW! Yes, really.

The RT is a Russian news network that has one huge setback in that “unbiased reporting” angle — it is completely funded by the Russian government and Putin runs the thing. You can imagine no one is talking to smack to that president on-air right?

ICYMI, there’s a little news in the Ukraine about a “tragic mistake,” which some Ukrainian officials have called shooting down a Malaysian passenger jet mistaken for the enemy. Despite that horrific murder of 295 people, the RT is in full spin mode, which caused one reporter to grow a set of ethics and quit.

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Washington DC’s Top PR Players (Besides Jay Carney)

As you may have heard, former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is rumored to be Apple’s top candidate for their next head of PR. Uber has their sights on him, too.

This wouldn’t be his first foray into the private sector (Carney began his professional career in journalism, before signing on as Director of Communications to Vice President Joe Biden in 2008), but it certainly represents a step in a new direction: to the silicon-ed valleys of the west.

As a NYC-based former Washingtonian (well, Arlington, Virginia, to be exact) this move got me thinking: What would Frank Underwood say?

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NPR to Employees: ‘Retweets Actually Are Endorsements, So Quit It!’

does-not-equalSomething that has plagued reporters of any ilk for years is the dreaded retweet button.

Although they work for a particular network (local or national), they have personal accounts … and opinions. Thanks to becoming the personification of the TV network, the disclaimer “Retweets are not endorsements” appears throughout Twitter bios everywhere.

But does that even matter? Are retweets endorsements or just sharing opinion?

Twitter has created a subculture and an unspoken set of rules that reflects retweets as implied endorsements. You share with your followers and that means it becomes your opinion. To be retweeted means someone else likes your tweet because you shared good information. And that they agree with it, most of the time.

So, NPR has stepped in and said what most of us already think…sorta.

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Digiday’s Sternberg to Run Sponsored Content for The Washington Post

JOSH_300x250This morning we learned that Josh Sternberg will leave his position at one of our favorite blogsDigiday, to run native advertising operations at The Washington Post’s Brand Studio.

Here’s what you may not know: while Sternberg’s most recent role was Senior Editor of Digiday’s own sponsored Content Studio (and he has been reporting on the site for some time), he was once a PR guy specializing in media relations and strategic comms.

As he told PRNewser co-founder Joe Ciarallo back in 2009, he leveraged his experience at RLM and Stanton Crenshaw (now Crenshaw Communications) to launch his own shop called Sternberg Strategic Communications before moving into journalism in 2012.

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