While we were all staring at the sun 

Muck Rack Daily

While we were all staring at the sun 
August 22nd, 2017
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Muck Rack Daily
Hello from Muck Rack, where you can get a snapshot of what journalists around the world are reading, thinking and commenting on right now.

There are lots of ways to connect with journalists without actually talking to them. And none of them can match the value of speaking one-on-one, in person or on the phone. Veteran #PR guy Tim O'Brien explains it all in his new post on the Muck Rack blog, Here’s what happens when you actually talk to a reporter.

Mark your calendars for 12:30 p.m. EDT tomorrow (Wednesday)! Join @MuckRack for the August edition of #MuckRackCafe, a live 30-minute Twitter interview with a journalist. Tomorrow, we'll be chatting with Brian Ries, senior producer of the social publishing team at CNN. Bring your questions for Brian. See you tomorrow!

Artisanal journalism

We told you not to look directly at it, but not everyone listened. In The New York Times, Matt Flegenheimer reveals All the Light Trump Was Not Supposed to See. But He Peeked (17,000+ shares). Flegenheimer tweets, “Trump has defied precedent, decorum, political gravity. Why not the sun?” Ethan Klapper says, “This @mattfleg bit on Trump looking at the sun is a good, artisanal piece of journalism that everyone should read.” And Matt Chaban tweets, “I tellya, I would read @mattfleg's account of watching paint dry.”

But for best post-eclipse coverage, “Guardian wins,” says Adam Weinstein. “Pulitzer material by @guardian here,” tweets Megan Hess. See what all the fuss is about by checking out The Guardian piece, How to tell if you damaged your eyes during the eclipse (99,000+ shares).

Meanwhile, Joy Press tweets, “WHOA: While we were all staring at the sun, LA Times' top editors were ousted & new publisher announced.” Meg James at the Los Angeles Times has the story, Ross Levinsohn named new publisher of L.A. Times as top editors ousted. Tweets Nicholas Riccardi, “Major media news. The @latimes, against all odds given what it's been thru, remains a gem in the media landscape.” Kyle Stokes notes, “Reporters on explosive @USC story told corporate management of concerns with now-ousted editors' handling of project.” Poynter’s Benjamin Mullin has more with Tronc purges senior leadership at the Los Angeles Times.

In other media news, Jack Shafer tweets, “The good side of @gawker, by @MichaelSocolow,” linking to Gawker has been gone for a year. We’ve never needed it more than now, by Michael J. Socolow of The Washington Post. Tweets Laura Helmuth, “Gawker was, above all, courageous. Important lessons for media one year later.” “Hard agree,” says Ben Mullin.

And from Maya Wilson at Poynter comes this bright spot: High school journalists who busted bogus principal aren’t done asking questions. Tweets Jeff Halliday, “Kudos to #TheBoosterRedux journos, #SPLC for their support & to #MayaWilson for a great closing line.” Click on the story for that kicker.

Trying not to lose

Philip Rucker and Robert Costa of The Washington Post take us Inside Trump’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. Tweets Charles Arthur, “How do you solve a problem like Afghanistan? (Answer: you don’t.)” Trip Gabriel tweets, “WaPo: Trump, despite campaign promises, had no policy preferences, just wanted to be seen as strong & decisive.” “The WP has this exactly right: ‘a president obsessed with winning has now settled on simply trying not to lose,’” says Yochi Dreazen. Also, as Jamil Smith points out, “They showed Trump photos of 1970s Afghani women in miniskirts to prove to him that it could revert to Western norms.”

Also going inside the decision, The New York Times’ Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman, who report, Angry Trump Grilled His Generals About Troop Increase, Then Gave In. Tweets Landler, “Trump slammed Obama's Afghan policy. But he bowed to his generals, much like Obama in 2009. The inside story.” “I thought he knew more than generals. Guess not,” says David Andreatta.

“Another indispensable report from the front by the one & only @Tmgneff, a USMC vet. A must read. The whole thing,” Jacob Bogage tweets. That's Thomas Gibbons-Neff’s piece in The Washington Post, ‘It’s like everyone forgot’: On a familiar battlefield, Marines prepare for their next chapter in the Forever War.

Promises, promises

“As @POTUS heads to Arizona today, here's what you need to know about what his aides want to do about Dreamers,” tweets Anita Kumar, linking to her reporting for McClatchy, Trump aides plot a big immigration deal — that breaks a campaign promise.

Also, Trump rebuffs coal industry; CEO claims promise broken, report AP’s Jeff Horwitz, Michael Biesecker and Matthew Daly. “Pattern emerging as Trump administration crafts policy: President’s bold declarations not always implemented,” tweets Amy Resnick. AP Politics tweets, “Promises, promises: Coal baron’s letter says industry will collapse without aid Trump pledged, hurting his voters.”

And Glenn Kessler and Meg Kelly of The Washington Post have your latest tally: President Trump’s list of false and misleading claims tops 1,000

I think we have a winner!

Elsewhere in the administration, Alec MacGillis of New York Magazine asks, Is Anybody Home at Ben Carson’s HUD? Tweets MacGillis, “What's it like to actually work in Donald Trump's gov't? I went deep into a single dep't, the one run by Ben Carson.” Spoiler alert: “I’ve never been so bored in my life,” said one career employee.

“Who has most contempt for the poor in Trump Admin? I think we have a winner!” Ron Rosenbaum says, linking to Treasury secretary’s wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts Hermes and Valentino fashion (15,000+ shares), Damian Paletta’s piece in The Washington Post about Louise Linton, the wife of  Steven Mnuchin. “From the annals of truly bizarre behavior,” says Lisa Rein. Maggie Haberman and Mikayla Bouchard have the story for The New York Times, Louise Linton’s Couture Draws Ire on Instagram, and She Lashes Back. “Louise Labels punches down,” says Bob Ivry. At HuffPost, Yashar Ali calls it: Steve Mnuchin’s Wife Has A ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Moment On Instagram.

And then there’s this, from CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Paul LeBlance: Trump nominee Sam Clovis: 'As far as we know' homosexuality's a choice, 'logical' LGBT protections could lead to legalization of pedophilia (83,000+ shares).

Meanwhile, German police seize Trump-shaped ecstasy pills, report CNN’s Zamira Rahim, Hilary McGann and Nadine Schmidt.

Spoiler: it’s insane

Blake Hounshell tweets, “I witnessed a murder -- then I became fake news -- searing piece by Brennan Gilmore,” referring to How I Became Fake News, Brennan Gilmore’s piece in POLITICO. Gilmore tweets, “I wrote a piece on what happened to me and my family after I spoke out about #Charlottesville. Spoiler: it’s insane.” 

Breaking news this morning from Dana Hedgpeth at The Washington Post: ‘My actions were despicable’: Catholic priest steps down after revealing he was a Ku Klux Klan member decades ago. In an editorial for the Arlington Catholic Herald, the Rev. William Aitcheson reveals that he burned crosses as a member of the Ku Klux Klan more than 40 years ago before he became a clergy member. 

At The Atlantic, Vann R. Newkirk II writes about Growing Up in the Shadow of the Confederacy. He tweets, “I wrote on what it's like to grow up black in the shadow of Confederate statues, and what it means to see them fall.”

“.@Reuters dives deep into Tasers and cases involving people who died after police stunned them with the devices,” tweets Mark Berman, linking to Shock Tactics: A 911 call, a Taser shot and the toll of stun guns, the investigative reporting from Reuters’ Peter Eisler, Jason Szep, Tim Reid and Grant Smith. Tweets Anna Mehler Paperny, “.@specialreports investigates 150 deaths involving Tasers. Dead are unarmed, in psychological distress, seeking help.”

Here’s the “Crazy and incredible follow-up to that crazy and incredible R. Kelly story from a few weeks ago,” as Addy Baird puts it. BuzzFeed’s Jim DeRogatis has the story, R. Kelly Paid An Underage Woman Not To Speak. Now She’s Telling Her Story. “Horrendous details from a then-underage teen on how she was treated by R Kelly,” says Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. Tweets Lindsey Adler, “Jerhonda Pace is breaking her NDA to talk about R. Kelly's patterns of sexual and emotional abuse. This is bravery.” 

The case for comedy


Now seems like a really good time for this: BBC Culture’s poll brings you The 100 greatest comedies of all time. Tweets Guy Lodge, “Today's fun internet time-hoover, complete with the ballots of all 253 participating critics.” “Absolutely brilliant list, not least because nine of my ten choices ended up on it,” says Robbie Collin. “and no.62 is a delightful surprise,” says Robin Parker. But Katey Rich says, “Don’t Blame Me, I Put Broadcast News at #1.”

Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: Meat Loaf’s longtime collaborator, Jim Steinman, composed Bonnie Tyler’s biggest hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” The song was also featured in a music scored by Steinman, which turned out to be one of Broadway’s most expensive flops. What was the name of the musical?

Answer: That was the “$12 million Broadway failure,” Dance of the Vampires (or “Tanz der Vampire,” as the original German language version is named).

Congrats to…Caroline Fatchett, who was first to tweet the correct answer.

Your question of the day for today is…On Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album, the demented laughter you hear on “Speak to Me” and “Brain Damage” came from the band’s road manager and sound engineer. Name him—and his famous daughter.

As always, click here to tweet your answer to @MuckRack.

Career Updates
Changes at MarketWatch, Shape; promotions at NextGov

Anneken Tappe, most recently a senior reporter with Debtwire Europe, has joined MarketWatch as a markets reporter. Meanwhile, Noah Dreier, who was previously Glamour’s art director, has moved to Shape, where he’s been named creative director.

And a couple of promotions to announce at NextGov. Frank Konkel, who has reported and written hundreds of stories for NextGov since joining the digital outlet three years ago, has been named executive editor. And Heather Kuldell has been promoted from news editor to managing editor.

Don’t forget - if you change your job in journalism or move to a different news organization, be sure to email us (hello [at] muckrack [dot] com) so we can reflect your new title. News job changes only, please! Thanks!
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