Politico’s first few days off Capitol Hill

When Allbright Communications bought the website Capital New York on Sept. 3, there were several questions floating around but mainly, there was doubt.

Allbright owns Politico, one of the powerhouses for political news in Washington D.C. Politico has come a long way since its inception in 2007 and grabs the attention of roughly 5 million Americans every month.  It also publishes a newspaper four days a week that is free to pick up and brings in a good percentage of its revenue through advertisements. According to BusinessWeek, “the ads that appear in Politico come in two flavors: issue-advocacy advertising, in which a group attempts to influence a specific bit of pending legislation; and corporate image advertising, in which a company tries to burnish its own reputation in Washington.”

Politico took on the project in order to revamp the site to be focused on New York City and State politics and media coverage, rather than hyperlocal reporting. It’s part of a larger mission to “colonize” and cover politics in large markets. If all goes well in New York, Politico is looking to further broaden its horizons. Continue reading →

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Five Lessons I Learned by Applying for a Summer Internship

Journalism summer internships aren’t very difficult to come by if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  But if you’re lucky like me and have mentors left and right, it’s a really stressful process. Everyone wants to help but ends up pointing you in a different direction. This past Thursday I applied for an internship I had stumbled upon a week before.  Here are five things I thought every journalism student should consider if they ever find themselves in my shoes.

Start early. The whole “I do my best work under pressure” b.s. is just that. Bullshit. If you really want an internship, start looking in the summer and continue to do so during the semester. Make an Excel spreadsheet (lots of internships want people who can use it!) to keep track of what you’ve already applied for and what you’ll get in return (school credit or cash?).  Have your resume and clips ready. If you don’t know how to write a cover letter (like me), ask for help. If you don’t have clips, write good stuff and get it published. Pick up the phone and call the internship coordinators or the human resources departments if the information isn’t already online.  Sometimes they’ll hang up on you, sometimes they’ll be rude but if you want to be a journalist, you’re going to have to get used to it.

Continue reading →

“The Atlantic” writer aims to shame indie rock band

Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” album promotion image (Photo credit: Arcade Fire / JF Lalonde)

The beautiful thing about soccer bloggers is that they have to understand not just the sport, but the country in which it is being played.  With that comes a deeper understanding of culture and racism, among other things.

So as I was perusing Twitter tonight, I found that a few of my favorite writers were outraged about an article about the band, Arcade Fire, on The Atlantic‘s website.

And when I read it, so was I.

(I am begrudgingly linking the audience to this story here. )

Hayden Higgins, the author of the story titled “Arcade Fire Exploited Haiti, and Almost No One Noticed,” made several statements in his piece claiming that the band used Caribbean-sounding music and Haitian costumes to get people to buy their new album, “Reflektor.” He also said that even though their intentions were sincere, there music has perpetuated stereotypes.

What? What?

First of all, there are ZERO examples  that the music has caused people to view Haiti solely in the way that the band has “portrayed” the island nation. Not one quote from a listener, a fan, an ignorant American, no one. When you’re going to make such a bold statement about a band like that, you better be able to back it up.

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On college journalism critics

Several students at my school have a problem with the way our student-run newspaper, The Statesman, and I reported on a recent car accident on campus involving one of our staff photographers. We received a letter to the editor that said my work was “offensive.”  Someone on Facebook said “we had no problem throwing one of our own under the bus.”

So I’d like to tell my side of this story. Continue reading →

“Toronto Star” cashes in for exclusive video of mayor

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. (Photo credit: o.canada.com)

On Thursday, Toronto’s daily newspaper, The Toronto Star, published a new, never-before-seen video of the city’s mayor in an inebriated state.

According to PoynterThe Star paid a source $5,000 for the video.  The source claimed to have filmed it from another person’s computer. The videos shows Mayor Rob Ford, in a visibly intoxicated state, pacing around a room and yelling, threatening to commit “first degree murder.”  The story adds a new facet to Ford’s history of substance use nearly six months after Gawker started a $200,000 “Crackstarter” (don’t bother holding your laughter, I didn’t) to buy and publish a different video of the mayor supposedly smoking crack cocaine.

The Toronto newspaper originally refused to disclose the video’s price  when it initially posted the story to its website just after noon.  Poynter spoke to one of  the reporters who wrote the story, Kevin Donovan, who said “we are not disclosing the amount but it is not a lot.”

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Female reporter analyzes previous work for gender bias, results surprising

Journalist Adrienne LaFrance. (Photo credit: Honolulu Civil Beat )

Lady journo Adrienne LaFrance wrote an interesting piece this week about how she analyzed all of her published articles (for various publications) from the past year for gender bias.

The results were unbalanced, to say the least.

“We analyzed 136 of my stories published between Aug. 13, 2012 and Aug. 13, 2013,” LaFrance wrote.  “Over the course of the year I covered all kinds of topics — media, technology, the 2012 election, Hurricane Sandy, the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Boston marathon bombing…in all those stories on all those topics, I mentioned 1,566 men and 509 women.”

LaFrance found that only 25 percent of the 2,075 people mentioned in her reporting were women. She also discovered that “internationally, 24 percent of news subjects are female, according to the Global Media Monitoring Project.”

LaFrance’s findings pose the question of whether or not journalism is biased in terms of gender but her colleagues believe that women are underrepresented in society.

However, I thought she made a very important point when she said that journalists don’t look for sources based on gender, they look for whoever is most qualified to comment on the subject.

Continue reading →

The Star-Ledger proves to be stronger than the storm of financial shortcomings, avoids publication shutdown

New Jersey’s largest daily newspaper, The Star Ledger, narrowly escaped ceasing production this past week by coming to a tentative agreement with its production unions.

NJ.com reported that after two weeks of fierce and heated discussion, The Newhouse family, which owns The Star-Ledger, and the union negotiators were able to come to an agreement, but neither side got exactly what they wanted.

Continue reading →