A computer-generated Chicago corruption mad-lib

Muck Rack Daily

A computer-generated Chicago corruption mad-lib
January 29th, 2019 View in browser
Muck Rack Daily

Earned media is the backbone of your communications plan, because when done right, it’s a strategy that will allow your brand to develop the kind of recognition, trustworthiness and authority that you need to succeed with your target demographic. Over on the Muck Rack Blog today, Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, outlines the 3 foundational pillars for earned media success.


It’s meta meta

The big question: Do You Still Have A Job At BuzzFeed? Lucky you, there’s a BuzzFeed quiz for that. BuzzFeed’s Jason Sweeten tweets, “I made a quiz for all my friends in BuzzFeed Creative who don't know if they have a job still,” and, as Jack Crosbie puts it, “holy shit asdfjhkl.” Steve Silberman says, “The @BuzzFeed quiz to discover if you've been laid off at @BuzzFeed is the most @BuzzFeed thing ever. It’s meta meta.” Also, “yes I’d like to report one of the top ten most brutal online murders of all time,” tweets Patrick Blanchfield.

Matthew Perpetua, who was laid off from BuzzFeed after serving as Director of Quizzes, asks a different question at FluxBlog: How Laid Off Are You? Quizzes would seem to be big business for BuzzFeed, so how did Perpetua end up on the chopping block? It turns out, BuzzFeed probably isn’t too motivated to pay staff to create quizzes when the community is offering them up for free. Writes Perpetua, “It’s kinda amazing how much revenue-generating traffic the site gets from unpaid community volunteers. So, in a ruthless capitalist way, it makes sense for the company to pivot to having community users create almost all of the quizzes going forward. “

At The New York Times, Brian Feldman writes about BuzzFeed’s Expansion, Contraction, and Layoffs, and Matt Pearce tweets, “Something that got a bit lost in the BuzzFeed layoffs — BuzzFeed is apparently cutting 15% of its *budget,* not 15% of its staff, which is even worse.”

There are still some paying jobs in journalism, though, and The Marshall Project has just announced that it’s hiring two regional reporters. Tweets Geraldine Sealey, “@MarshallProj is hiring two regional reporters to cover criminal justice in high incarceration states especially in the South. Great jobs covering vital issues in areas often underserved by news. Apply!”

The shutdown’s costs

At CNBC, Ylan Q. Mui looks at the damage from the longest federal government shutdown ever: The shutdown cost the economy $11 billion – including a permanent $3 billion loss, government says (35,000+ shares). The Congressional Budget Office is also projecting that economic growth will slow to 2.3% this year as the benefits of the new tax law begin to fade.

Meanwhile, The lowest-paid shutdown workers aren’t getting back pay, reports The Washington Post’s Danielle Paquette. Contracted cooks, janitors, cleaners, security guards and other laborers — ”Those who need it most - and are least able to fight back - aren't getting any back pay from the #shutdown,” tweets Paul Brandus.

In other economic news, Phil Kuntz has a question for “#BikersForTrump, is #TrumpForBikers?” Bloomberg’s Gabrielle Coppola writes that all of Harley-Davidson’s profits in the most recent quarter were wiped out by President Trump’s tariffs.

Welcome to 2020

In her analysis, Welcome to 2020: Obstacles for Trump and a wide-open Democratic race, Sofi Sinozich of ABC News breaks down the new ABC News/Washington Post poll, which finds a third of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents oppose Trump for the party’s nomination to a second term, and 56% of all adults say they wouldn’t consider voting for him.

Astead Herndon and Susan Chira of The New York Times ask, Can Kamala Harris Repeat Obama’s Success With Black Voters? It’s Complicated. Here’s one quote from that piece: “She’s a woman,” said Nathaniel Stewart, a 58-year-old barber. “And we need strong backs right now. I don’t know if she can pull off that type of strength to take on Trump. I’d rather Cory.” Tweets Cecil Harris, “The answer should be an emphatic ‘Yes!’ But it was disappointing to learn that about 10% of Black male voters chose @staceyabrams opponent in the Georgia governor's race. That is unconscionable. Support Black women!”

Reading the story, Khalid Salaam wonders, “How are we defining black voters? Am I a black voter? I don’t really know what that term means so can anyone assist me with this? (I also look at these 2020 discussions and wonder if we’re even going to have a true & free Prez election, but whatever).”

Meanwhile, several billionaires are talking about 2020, and you may have heard one of them get heckled in a Barnes & Noble yesterday. Another one, Mike Bloomberg, agrees with that heckler, writing in his Statement on Independent Run that “the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President.” David Gura offers a “Shorter @MikeBloomberg: @HowardSchultz, don't run.” For Larry Dignan, the whole thing leaves a bitter taste: “There is something truly sad about Mike Bloomberg's post on independent's winning the White House. Not that he's wrong mind you, but it's sad that we're in a two party, arguably crazy system.”

Let’s just say this story has everything

Ellen Mayer shares, “wow so pleased i was awake to witness the sunrise and also um... this?” She links to the big scoop by Jon Seidel, Fran Spielman, Mark Brown and Tim Novak of the Chicago Sun-Times about Viagra, sex acts, use of a luxury farm: Feds detail investigation of Ald. Solis. Tweets Shia Kapos, “Let's just say this story has everything: Sex, drugs, Oprah's farm AND politics.” Which isn’t great news for Scott Simon, who points out, “I wrote a comic novel about the Chicago City Council and can't compete with real life. Discouraging…”

And while we’re at it, Mayer notices, “also... this?” The Sun-Times’ Seidel, Spielman and Tina Sfondeles drop another bombshell: FBI secretly recorded Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan at his law office pitching firm’s services. As Mayer says, “this story feels like a computer-generated chicago corruption mad-lib but it appears to be real life.”

Elsewhere in the U.S.

“The Wall Street Journal, whose story started Steve Wynn’s precipitous fall, just posted its account of the state’s complaint against the company.” Jon Ralston links to the reporting by Alexandra Berzon and Micah Maidenberg of The Wall Street Journal, Wynn Resorts to Settle Nevada Regulator’s Probe. Tweets Kate O’Keeffe, “NEW: Nevada regulators confirm WSJ’s bombshell reports that ex RNC finance chair Steve Wynn was accused of raping, assaulting & harassing Wynn Resorts employees for years while company execs turned a blind eye.”

At The New York Times, William Neuman reveals that Kevin O’Brien, the De Blasio Aide Who Was Forced to Resign, Had Been Fired Over Sexual Harassment Before. Tweets Nolan Hicks “It’s never the first time: Top City Hall aide granted quiet exit after confirmed allegations of sexual harassment was previously sacked for misconduct — and it was hushed up too.” Adds Bill Ritter, “this is why potential employees are vetted. who vetted this former chief of staff for @NYCMayor ???”

Meanwhile, St. John Barned-Smith and Nicole Hensley of the Houston Chronicle have the latest on the police officer shooting in Houston: 4 Houston police officers shot in southeast Houston narcotics operation, a fifth injured. The veteran narcotics officers, who had a warrant and were hoping to arrest heroin dealers, “were met by a hail of gunfire, instead, as one of the suspects inside unleashed a barrage of bullets that wounded four officers, two critically.”

Crazy, important story

Turning to the business of legal drugs, America’s Love Affair With Cheap Drugs Has a Hidden Cost, reports Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, who spent a year investigating the FDA’s oversight of the generic-drug industry. Zachary Tracer calls it a “Crazy, important story from @annaedney that cuts to the heart of worries about generic drugs.” On Twitter, Edney shares this tidbit: “In my story today, FDA inspectors alleged Mylan attempted to keep failures of some of its drugs to meet U.S. standards from coming to light by using obscure file names, including one that ended in the acronym ‘LMFAO’ (Laughing My F*cking Ass Off).”

Tuesday round-up


Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked: It looks like there won’t be a host for this year’s Academy Awards. When was the last time there was no designated host for the ceremony?

Answer: It was an intentional choice for the 61st Academy Awards in 1989 — the one where Rob Lowe memorably (not in a good way) performed in the opening Snow White musical number. A bonus bit of trivia: This was also when they started announcing winners by saying, “And the Oscar goes to…” instead of “And the winner is…” The LA Times called that telecast “surprisingly devoid of magic” and “on the musty side.”

Congrats to…Roberta Rosenberg, first to tweet the correct answer.

Your question of the day for today is…Pizza Hut is the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL this year (yes, that’s a thing), and in honor of the Super Bowl, they’re temporarily changing their name to what?

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


Featured Journalist: Rene Butler

Today’s featured journalist is Rene Butler, a freelance feature writer based in the U.K. who covers the arts and entertainment beat. Rene’s work can be found in such outlets as the Daily Mail, The Independent, the Daily Mirror and Harborough Mail. What story is he most proud of working on? Stay tuned, because he tells us he hasn’t written it yet. Find out more and see some of Rene’s work here.

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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