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Justin McLachlan

Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald Annoyed That TPM Reports He Was Annoyed

The story behind-the-story of the Snowden NSA leaks must still be interesting. And it’s all getting rather weirdly touchy.

Today, the New York Times ran a transcript of an “encrypted question-and-answer session” between journalist Peter Maass and Snowden, in which Snowden is asked about his initial contacts with Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras. It’s a preview of a profile of Poitras called “Snowden’s People” that will run in the Sunday magazine.

The most interesting part of it all is when Snowden says he thought Poitras and Greenwald were annoyed he wasn’t older. He’s 30, though we’re not entirely sure why that would matter (Maass apparently didn’t seem to feel the need to follow-up, but it could have something to do with the belabored security-intensive interview method in which Poitras served as intermediary). This was also just Snowden’s impression upon their first meeting—he doesn’t give any real details on why he thought they were upset about his age—and it was an impression he gave while admitting he, too, was annoyed because Poitras and Greenwald had showed up for their meeting early.

All that was the point of a short transcript that Talking Points Memo highlighted in a post this morning under the headline, “Snowden: Greenwald Was ‘Annoyed That I was Younger’ Than He Expected.” Normally that would be that, but then Greenwald chimed in to help us understand why Snowden’s age was so off-putting.

You see, Greenwald is just easily annoyed.

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Arianna Huffington’s Secret Revealed: Cheese

After Ariana Huffington collapsed in 2007 from exhaustion, she made some changes in her life, changes that have seeped into the culture at HuffPost.

No one is expected to answer work emails after hours or on weekends, for example. She also built sleep pods at the New York offices that she didn’t think would catch on at first, but now are constantly booked. D.C.’s recently renovated newsroom has mediation space, a yoga room and even a kegerator.

Taking time to recharge or get drunk, Huffington says, makes you a better employee. She didn’t exactly say that drunk part, but remember—kegerator. With two taps.

And then, there’s the cheese. Cheddar cheese, specifically. From the Bath Chronicle in the UK:

“Her other ‘little joys’ she says are ‘listening to the country music I love, having a great cheddar cheese, you know, looking at a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.’”

Hmmm. We prefer something a little more exotic to get through our days, like muenster.

Who’s Guessing About Bezos and WaPo Today?

Today, the NYT’s Nick Wingfield and Brian Stelter  are the latest to attempt to read the mind of Jeff Bezos, bringing us the latest in a string of technology and innovation will save us type stories. Ironically, they are the two things some newspapers, WaPo among them, have spent much of the last two decades avoiding.

This one is notable because it attempts to paint Silicon Valley as not just a savior, but an altruistic one at that.

“Call it a sense of obligation. Or responsibility. Or maybe there is even a twinge of guilt. Helping print journalism adapt to a changed era is becoming a cause de jour among the technology elite.”

I’m not and editor, but I think can tighten that up: “Rich tech guy bought a newspaper. Hooray!”

Who else has been riding this bandwagon?

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Tips From Nate Silver to Help You Play By the Numbers

Revolutions, a blog about numbers and analytics, was on hand to hear ESPN’s Nate Silver at the recent Joint Statistical Meeting in Montreal. He’s got some 11 tips and principles for journalists when it comes to dealing with numbers, specifically statistics.

Here’s a few.

  • Our favorite, correlation is not causation. You can’t always connect the dots, as much as you might want to. For example, just because incidences of violence go up when it’s hot, doesn’t mean climate change causes violence, CBS News.
  • The average is still the most useful of all stats. “Because they are looking for interesting stories, journalists often focus on the outliers.” While interesting, outliers don’t illuminate much that you can apply to the world.
  • Make predictions. “If journalists would put their money and their reputations where their mouths are they might get closer to achieving scientific objectivity.”

NYT’s Douthat Imagines the WaPo That Could’ve Been

How was WaPo “lost” to Jeff Bezos?

The NYT‘s Ross Douthat wrote in his column this weekend that it was because the paper missed its opportunity to seize the internet by the throat. What’s fascinating is Douthat knows exactly when this happened. The moment was “in 2006 when John Harris and Jim VendeHei left … to found Politico.”

He argues that Politico created the political-journalism juggernaut WaPo should’ve and could’ve been, a daily must-read that dominates “the D.C. conversation … that matches the metabolism of the Internet.” There can be only one, and according to Douthat, it’s Politico.

It still gets better. Despite the ass kissing you might think this is at first glance, Douthat doesn’t think so highly of Politico.

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Pew Survey: Journos Simultaneously Loved and Loathed

Good news journalists! According to the Pew Research Center’s biannual media attitudes survey, the public is slightly more okay with your existence than in the past—at least in some respects.

They still, by and large, think you focus too much on unimportant stories, are barely ever accurate, try to cover up your mistakes, favor one side over the other and take your cues from the world’s powerful. And it’s just getting worse.

Ratings of the press have become much more negative since Pew Research first began measuring attitudes in 1985. Most of the press ratings tested in this survey are at or near all-time lows reached in 2011. In many cases, the decline in ratings has been dramatic.

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This Week’s WTF Moment In the News

Man kills wife. We share. And Share. And share.

Yesterday in Miami, Derek Medina shot his wife to death and then posted a picture of her body on Facebook with a message that he was going to die and that he’ll miss all his friends. Obvious shock followed, as did the disgust. But here’s the worst part, from CNN: “The disgust did not prevent the commenters from sharing Medina’s photo. Again and again.” Get that? Again and again. We’ve turned ourselves into monsters.

Overworked? Need some vacation? Got a match?

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Quartz Ditches Traditional Comments for Relevant ‘Annotations’

If you need some innovation inspiration, look no further than Atlantic‘s Quartz, a young outlet “for business people in the new global economy.” They publish online, but in an inventive HTML format designed to work well for smartphones and tablets.

The blog Evolving Newsroom notes this morning that now Quartz is taking things one more step by inlining comments to make them more relevant. Instead of a date- or popularity-sorted block at the bottom, Quartz is letting readers add comments that are more like sidebar annotations, right alongside the paragraphs they’re referencing.

While some sites boast of their comment counts, a quick glance usually reveals a mish-mash of trivial blather, name-calling and overt ignorance. Quartz’s approach just might be one that leads to actual, germane discussions.

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What You Should Think, Straight From Politico

Immigration, Blah Blah Blah

Pramila Jayapal writes in a piece headlined “Why don’t Republicans want to win?” that polls show Republicans stand to lose key House seats and national elections if they fail to pass some kind of immigration reform. Here’s a key line though: “…he’s [Speaker John Boehner] been more Hamlet than hero — hemming and hawing while his caucus goes to war with itself over whether reform is to be or not to be. Something is rotten indeed.” That brings us to a more interesting point, as in what if Republicans do pass some kind of reform? Will it be enough? Will Hispanic voters forgive and forget Rep. Steve King‘s “calves the size of cantaloupes” comment just because the GOP passes immigrant-friendly laws it really, really hates just to win votes? We’ve been over the GOP-must-do-this-to-be-relevant arguments so much it’s almost a trope. It’d be nice if opinion writers start thinking a little deeper on the issue and stop giving us generic columns with well trod ideas.

Bet you hadn’t heard, but WaPo was sold this week…

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Twitter Leads To Love and Journalism

If you didn’t know, Twitter has changed everything.

It’s given us more insight into journalists’ and newsmakers’ personalities—the quirks, the foibles, the preternatural ability to crack wonky and bad jokes—all in under 140 characters. Even Jake Tapper can’t hide behind CNN PR (who’ve requested we contact them for “all things Jake”) when he’s on Twitter. For example, thanks to his Tweets we know he’s got a thing for puppies and at least tangentially follows Doctor Who.

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