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Analysis

National Press Club Names Winners of Annual Journalism Contest

The National Press Club yesterday announced the winners of it’s annual Journalism Contest. Recipients will be honored at a Press Club dinner on Wednesday, July 30.

The Washington Post won in the Breaking News: Print category for its coverage of the Navy Yards shooting in September 2013 that left 12 dead.

Katherine Skiba of the Chicago Tribune was recognized in the Washington Regional Reporting category for her writing including a look at congressional foreign travel.

The Sandy Hume Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Journalism went to Ted Mann of The Wall Street Journal for a series on the New Jersey bridge scandal.

Sara Sorcher of National Journal is the recipient of the Michael A. Dornheim Award for her work on defense procurement, civil applications of unmanned aerial vehicles, federal budgeting, and congressional oversight. Molly Ball of The Atlantic will receive the Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis for coverage of the struggles of the Republican Party following the 2012 elections.

For a full list of winners (the list is long and exhaustive) click here.

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Howie Kurtz to Obama: Get Off My Lawn!

Fox News host and extremely funny person Howard Kurtz isn’t too keen on Obama’s recent appearance on “Between Two Ferns.” But unlike some of his Fox News peers, his issue isn’t that Obama has “demeaned the office of the Presidency.”

No. Instead, Kurtz just doesn’t think the video was funny:

But there is a problem when the president does the web show “Funny or Die” with Zach Galifianakis. He wasn’t funny. He died. Which senior administration officials thought this was a good idea? What’s next, driving around with Jerry Seinfeld in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”?

Oh, Howie.

1) You are perhaps the only person -certainly the only media critic -who thinks this video is not funny.
2) It was Valerie Jarrett who thought this was a good idea, and she’s telling everyone.
3) Obama is not a comedian, but yes, going on Jerry Seinfeld’s web show would actually be a great idea too. It is also funny and beloved of the kids.

More brilliant insights from Old Man Kurtz, after the jump…

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‘Between Two Ferns’ Gives Obamacare a Social Boost

The White House has been saying of late that Obama’s much ballyhooed appearance on Zach Galifianakis’ web show “Between Two Ferns” has prompted a 40% boost in traffic to Healthcare.gov.

Now, this chart from web monitoring company Kontera would seem to support that assertion. Kontera monitors web and social mentions using a consumption index that assigns a score of 0 to 100 to various topics depending on how much chatter there is about them online. As you can see below, social mentions of “Obamacare,” the “Affordable Care Act,” “Barack Obama,” and “Zach Galifianakis” all jumped dramatically from March 10 to March 11 when the video went up. “Obamacare,” in particular saw a huge jump of nearly 50% compared to the day before

Like Madonna, CQ Roll Call Masthead Undergoes Constant Re-Invention

Today we learned that Sujata Mitra is leaving CQRC for HuffPo. That made the 7th article this FishbowlDC editor has written about CQRC staff changes in less than two months. And now comes the 8th. In an email to staff, Anne Hoy announced three promotions and EIGHT new hires as part of an expanded collaboration with Thompson Reuters’s WestlawNext legal research system. CQRC currently provides “Washington Briefings” and policy updates for researchers using the database in the areas of securities, banking, and energy. The new hires and promotions are aimed at expanding CQRC contributions to include mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, capital markets and immigration.

They also come after a series of shake-ups at the org, which, taken together, indicate that CQRC is hiring people who can commoditize their information assets, at the expense of retaining more traditional journalistic talent.

The most recent round of staff changes is pretty intense, so rather than repackage it, we’ll let you read in straight from the horse’s mouth after the jump.

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Oh Great, Now the First Amendment’s Gone Too…

Supreme CourtAnyone who’s been in DC long enough is intimately familiar with the government’s efforts to eradicate the Second Amendment. Eminently reasonable human and originator of sensible policy solutions Wayne LaPierre has made that obvious to anyone within shouting range (And you wonder why we don’t go to the Capital Grille anymore….)

But of course, us media types don’t much care about that because 1) we all have very limp and slender wrists that are incapable of wielding weapons anyway and 2) it’s likely that we would be the victims of more gun violence, if there were more guns, because we make people very angry.

But now the government has gone too far! They’re going after Our Precious -The First Amendment! Goddamnit, that’s the whole reason we have a briefing room in the White House! That’s the whole reason we have a Planet Hollywood DC Newseum!

The Evil Government Culprits this time are the Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. Together they have, according to Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman, essentially eradicated the wall between individual actions of protected free speech and so-called “coordinated” actions with terrorists to actually abet or incite violence.

The case in question is that of Tarek Mehanna, a hapless idiot who attempted to Lawrence-of-Arabia his way to a jihad camp in Yemen, and upon failing miserably, decided to instead translate jihadi propaganda and upload it to the Internet. In some jujitsu-esque twist of logic, the Courts have ruled that this independent act of translation and uploading -which normally would be protected free speech -is actually terrorism because, you know, 9-11 and such.

The whole story is interesting but complicated, and your editor is too hungover to really explain it very well. Just read it for yourself. And weep. And then drink. More.

Author Readies Ezra Klein for Sainthood

images-3On Sunday, the NYT ran a dialogue among readers on “The Rise of Incivility.” Online of course. People are jackasses online – didn’t you know? And lately cyberbullying has been in the forefront of peoples’ minds as some teens are tragically turning to suicide for relief.

Enter the so-called expert in the dialogue: Mitch Horowitz, who apparently hasn’t heard of Google. If he had, he might have a clue what he’s talking about. Instead, he’s just the author of the the forthcoming One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life. And someone who thinks WaPo‘s Ezra Klein is the epitome of “good humor and adult responses within the political discussion.”

Oh really?

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WaPo’s Heil At Helm of Gossip Beat

EmilyH007_052910It’s a natural fit.

Before going to work for WaPo on Al Kamen‘s “In the Loop” column, Emily Heil worked at Roll Call where she covered features as well as wrote HOH, the publication’s Capitol Hill gossip column. Before that, she covered the gossip beat for The Hill with a column that no longer exists called “Under the Dome.” 

And now that Amy Argetsinger is pregnant and moving on to a more family friendly beat, Heil is sliding into gossip once again as she replaces Argetsinger at “Reliable Sources.”

Rest assured, with Heil soon at the helm, things are bound to improve. It’s WaPo — so they won’t let her take that many risks — but up is the only direction things can go.

See the internal memo sent around by WaPo‘s Jen Crandell. Read more

Morning Reading List 9.30.13

morningreadinglistresizedTV ain’t always not easy: On Sunday, Slate‘s Geoff Pullum took CNN’s Dana Bash to task for the way in which she expressed news of a possible, impending government shutdown. In it, he slowly dissects phrasing she used to articulate what she gathered by speaking to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Why you should read it: It’s not often that an author gets so affected by something that he has to put a damp cloth over his eyes. Read here.

If you’re not already miserable, give it time: CQ Roll Call‘s Steven Dennis offers this uplifting take on the situation on Capitol Hill. He writes about how the dysfunction on the Hill is apt to bring about a depressing holiday season. So forget joy. He even has congressmen who are so frustrated they’ve taken up chopping wood to relieve stress. “It’s not just frustrating, it’s maddening,” said Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper, a Blue Dog Democrat who has long pushed for a grand bargain on the debt. “I’ve started chopping wood just to relieve the frustration,” he said.

Why you should read it: The story offers a more emotional side to how lawmakers are experiencing the potential shutdown. Read here.

Who thought Breaking Bad fizzled?

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What’s Elise Foley Tweeting?

In this feature, we examine the tweeting habits of DC journalists. This week: HuffPost‘s Elise Foley.

Reading through a week’s worth of Foley’s tweets was much more fun than drudging through the Twitter feed of RedState and FNC’s Erick Erickson, who we featured last week. For starters, Foley only posted 184 tweets, compared to Erickson’s 396. While she does like to click “Retweet” a lot, most of the retweets had at least some value, and the rest her feed was mostly a pleasant mix of humor and information. Overall, we broke Foley’s tweets into six categories: Retweets, Just stories, Opinions, Funny, Quotes and Elise’s two cents.

Here are a few examples from each category. Read more

What’s Erick Erickson Tweeting?

In this feature, we examine the tweeting habits of DC journalists. This week: Red State‘s Erick Erickson.

When first looking at Erickson’s Twitter feed, it’s not immediately apparent that you’re not looking at your own Twitter feed. Most of the 396 tweets were just retweets of other people. Overall, Erickson’s feed can be broken into seven categories: Retweets, HA HA HA, “4yo”/family, Stories (mostly his own), Opinions (mostly controversial/antagonistic), Funny (at least a little bit) and Random/Unnecessary.

Here are a few examples from each category. Read more

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