The Dr. V Story: A Letter From The Editor (Grantland / Bill Simmons)
“How could you guys run that?” We started hearing that question on Friday afternoon, West Coast time, right as everyone was leaving our Los Angeles office to start the weekend. We kept hearing that question on Friday night, and all day Saturday, and Sunday, too. We heard it repeatedly on Twitter and Facebook. We sifted through dozens of outraged emails from our readers. We read critiques on various blogs and message boards, an onslaught that kept coming and coming. I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized that we definitely screwed up, but it happened sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. On Sunday, ESPN apologized on our behalf. I am apologizing on our behalf right now. My condolences to Dr. V’s friends and family for any pain our mistakes may have caused. So what did we screw up? Well, that’s where it gets complicated. The Guardian In a mea culpa that stretches to almost 3,000 words, Grantland’s editor-in-chief Bill Simmons writes that despite being extensively edited by multiple people, the ESPN-affiliated website had made the “massive mistake” of failing to have its article — about the inventor of a revolutionary golf club who committed suicide while the piece was being researched, and whom it posthumously outed as transgender — read before publication by someone familiar with the transgender community. He then lists seven errors of judgment contained in the piece that would probably have been caught and corrected. “I want to apologize. I failed,” Simmons writes. THR In addition to the editor-in-chief’s very lengthy apology, Grantland also posted a response by Christina Kahrl, titled: What Grantland Got Wrong. Not only does Kahrl cover baseball for ESPN.com, she is also on the board of directors for GLAAD, making her a fitting commentator on the issue. She admitted that the fact that Dr. V was a transsexual, “wasn’t merely irrelevant to the story, it wasn’t his information to share.” Kahrl goes on to state that: “I’m trans — so what?” Grantland / Christina Kahrl When you’re a writer, you want something you create to have a long life, to be something that readers will remember and revisit for years to come. If such was Caleb Hannan’s wish, it’s been granted, because his essay on “Dr. V And The Magical Putter” figures to be a permanent exhibit of what not to do, and how not to treat a fellow human being. Deadspin This weekend, Gerri Jordan, proprietor of Yar Golf, agreed to speak with me about the chain of events that led to the October suicide of her partner, Dr. V. Monday, she declined to carry through. “I have spoken with an attorney,” she wrote in an email, “And we are gathering information for potential legal action.”
Ex-Politico Reporter Sells Blog to U.S. News & World Report (The Daily Caller / The Mirror)
Political reporter Dave Catanese left Politico in January, 2013 under a swirl of controversy. In a New Year’s Eve resignation note, he took veiled swipes at some of his colleagues and bosses. At the time, he denied they were parting shots at all. But in 2012, things had became tense when Catanese took an alleged self-punishing time-out after he went on Twitter and defended GOP Rep. Todd Akin and his “legitimate rape” slur. In March of 2013, the reporter got his act together to create TheRun2016.com, a site about the 2016 presidential race. He moved the operation to South Carolina to enjoy milder temps, but showed up to Washington area political events like CPAC. And look at him now. FishbowlDC The site was created in March 2013 as a one-stop-shop for the most important early machinations in the already developing race for the White House and offers a mix of crucial news bits, counterintuitive analysis and original on-the-ground reporting.
Brand Tweets That ‘Honor’ MLK Backfire (Digiday)
People all over the world Monday took a moment to stop and remember Martin Luther King, Jr. for his bravery, strength, eloquence and vision. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of people who themselves lack said vision or eloquence. For better or worse, brands feel compelled to chime in on a day dedicated to honoring a truly unique humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Bustle On the slightly less offensive end of the spectrum, there were businesses that chose to honor King by using him to peddle merchandise on their corporate Twitter accounts. The shining example here is Pop Chips, which tastefully referred to King as an “eternal poptimist” and plastered one of his quotes against the Pop Chip background. We’re sure King would be proud of that. There was also ZzzQuil, which proclaimed on its Twitter that “today is the day for dreaming.” PRNewser I think it was MLK who said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” These people are not them.
CNN Begins Weekday Push With Chicagoland (Capital New York)
As CNN president Jeff Zucker promised late last year, the cable news channel is giving weekday primetime space to an unscripted reality series. The new eight-episode series Chicagoland will debut on Thursday, March 6, according to a promo that just began airing on the channel. The exact hour that the program will air was not mentioned, but CNN has been airing documentary films under the “CNN Films” banner Thursdays at 9 p.m., so that is the most likely timeslot.
Der Spiegel Scales Back Its English Edition (CJR / Behind The News)
In late December, the German weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel published a story covering the latest slew of revelations about surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency. The report detailed the internal machinery of a branch of the NSA called Tailored Access Operations, which the outlet called “the top operative unit.” It was reported by a team of journalists, including American Internet activist Jacob Appelbaum, based on classified documents to which the magazine had exclusive access. The story was published in English, too, on Spiegel International, the same day that the magazine hit newsstands, and it was subsequently picked up across English-language media. At Spiegel International, the coverage drew droves of readers, who shared it across social media platforms. The lead story received more than 16,000 recommendations on Facebook. But now the site, a hodge-podge of originally reported pieces and translations from the 67-year-old German magazine, is being significantly curtailed.
As Netflix Rises, HBO And Showtime Subscribers Shrink as Percentage of U.S. Households (Variety)
Is Netflix putting a dent in premium cable subscriptions? A new study suggests that a growing number of consumers are opting to pay for standalone Internet video services instead of subscribing to HBO or Showtime — although the data does not prove there’s a trend.
Chicago Sun-Times Parent Guts Grid (Crain’s Chicago Business)
Wrapports LLC, owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and startups such as nascent business publication Grid, has disbanded the Grid staff, with publisher Brandon Copple exiting last week. The Grid brand, which devolved from a print publication to an online product over the past year, will live on in Sun-Times papers. Other staffers have shifted to jobs within Wrapports, effectively shuttering the operation.
PolicyMic Launches New Vertical for Entrepreneurs (Capital New York)
PolicyMic is launching a new vertical aimed at entrepreneurs, on the heels of a new round of funding. The site, which touts itself as the home for “the voices of our generation,” closed a $3 million round of funding in October led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with contributions from Lerer Ventures, Red Swan Ventures and Advancit Capital.
Men’s Magazine Titles Ad Pages Surge in 2013 (FishbowlNY)
Though print ad pages for magazines were down four percent in 2013 compared to 2012, that’s actually good news. PIB’s data showed that the loss was less than that of 2012, when ad pages declined by 8 percent. Not only that, but most men’s titles showed strong numbers for the year.
Capital New York Rolling Out A Nearly $6,000 Annual Paywall (Adweek)
Four months ago, Allbritton Communications bought the three-year-old media and politics site Capital New York with the aim of transforming media in the Empire State the way the company’s Politico, with its breakneck, must-read reporting on the Beltway, did for Washington, D.C. Soon, it will find out whether the plan worked. Capital next month will start asking readers, following a free trial, to pay for its morning newsletters, customizable alerts and breaking news blasts.
Verizon Agrees to Buy Intel’s Failed Internet TV Project (The Verge)
After publicly announcing and failing to follow through with a big plan to launch a set-top box, Intel is selling the project to Verizon. The telecoms company will purchase assets of Intel Media, a division set up to develop “over the top” TV services. Details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but Intel was previously rumored to be seeking $500 million.
Debate on Photo Retouching Flares Online, With Roles Reversed (NYT)
Last week, two publications that consider themselves champions of women faced off — with an unexpected outcome. Jezebel, a website that made its name protesting artificiality in women’s magazines, announced on Thursday what seemed like a subversive feminist stunt. It dangled a $10,000 bounty for anyone who could produce raw, unretouched versions of photos of Lena Dunham from the new issue of Vogue, aiming to “reveal how many pounds Dunham lost on the Vogue diet” of digital alteration, as The Cut put it. The next day, Jezebel posted the originals. The unedited photos garnered more than a million page views — but the exercise also fell somewhat flat.
Online Viewing Threatens BBC License Fee (Financial Times)
It is among the simplest of taxes, which survived the ire of Margaret Thatcher and now generates nearly £4 billion a year. Yet technology, politics and demographics are now combining to challenge the BBC license fee as never before. “The days are numbered for the license fee in its current form,” said Paul Armstrong, a consultant at Digital Orange.
Behind The Dialect Map Interactive: How an Intern Created The New York Times’ Most Popular Piece of Content in 2013 (Northwestern University / Knight Lab)
How do you create the most popular piece of content of the year at one of the nation’s most prestigious news outlet? Well, for starters, study or consider careers in politics, law and philosophy before eventually deciding that statistics is for you. Then apply to grad school and while you’re there dig in to some intriguing data that Harvard researchers had published 10 years prior, apply some stats and smart algorithms, post your work online, then wait for The New York Times to call.
Sad YouTube: The Lost Treasures of The Internet’s Greatest Cesspool (BuzzFeed)
The YouTube comment section has long been considered the worst place on the Internet. You won’t find much consensus about anything online, but one thing pretty much everyone can agree on — including, seemingly, the people at YouTube itself — is that the user-generated content beneath practically every video is a semi-literate cesspool. But for the last year I’ve been increasingly discovering — thanks in part to a longer than usual lull in employment — that everyone was wrong.