IRE’s 2018 Philip Meyer Journalism Awards
Hurricane Maria’s Dead, a collaborative investigation by Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Quartz and The Associated Press that found hundreds of unaccounted for deaths from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, is the first-place winner of the 2018 Philip Meyer Journalism Awards. Lauren Grandestaff of Investigative Reporters & Editors has the full list of 2018 Philip Meyer Award winners here. IRE’s Meyer Award — which honors Philip Meyer, author of “Precision Journalism” and professor emeritus and former Knight Chair of journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — recognizes the best uses of empirical methods in journalism. As a reporter, Meyer pioneered the use of survey research for Knight-Ridder newspapers while exploring the causes of race riots in the 1960s.
Congrats to all the winners!
More journalism news
At The Washington Post, Emma Brown takes a closer look at Alden Global Capital, the New York City hedge fund that backed the purchase of and dramatic cost-cutting at more than 100 newspapers — causing more than 1,000 lost jobs. Her reporting uncovers the hedge fund’s ‘mercenary’ strategy: Buy newspapers, slash jobs, sell the buildings. In other words, it’s all about the real estate. Ron Charles calls it a “Sobering story about a few financiers destroying newspapers and weakening American democracy. They’re the tobacco executives of our era.” Or, as Dan Hinkel tweets, “Socially and financially valuable newspapers are being stripped for their parts for the short-term profit of people who are already rich.” And one more (at least) metaphor, this time from Nolan Hicks: “WaPo deep dive into how newspaper vampire Alden Capital operates, strip-mining community assets to sink money into money losing investments.”
In the piece, Brown reveals, “After The Post sent inquiries to the company’s executives, the website for Twenty Lake Holdings was replaced with a page saying ‘Our website is under construction.’” “If you wipe your website when a reporter comes calling maybe you're business is shady,” notes Niraj Chokshi.
Meanwhile, Owen Gibson says there are “Some good points here from an urgently needed review. Still to be convinced a new publicly funded body is the answer but at least we’re asking the questions. And good that the companies that have squeezed local newspapers for years don’t escape scrutiny.” He links to the story by Jim Waterson of The Guardian, Public funds should be used to rescue local journalism, says report. According to an independent report on the future of the British media, local news coverage in Britain could disappear unless the government provides direct financial support.
And at the Trump rally in El Paso yesterday, a Trump supporter attacked a BBC cameraman, reports BBC News. Tweets Jennifer Jacobs, “Eye witnesses say a Trump rallygoer shoved and swore at BBC's Ron Skeans, pushed other reporters. BBC: ‘A campaign official for Mr Trump afterwards suggested the attacker was drunk.’ Trump noticed. Paused, asked if everyone OK.” “This is not cool. We are NOT the enemy of the people. Especially the poor cameramen and women who are just trying to capture what the president says for their audiences,” Gary Baumgarten points out.
A new Washington Post poll reveals that Americans view Mueller as more credible than Trump, but views of his probe are scattered, write Scott Clement and Matt Zapotosky. Zapotosky notes that, in contrast to the 1998 Kenneth Starr investigation, where 61 percent of Americans said Starr was mainly interested in hurting Clinton and 35 percent said he was mainly interested in finding the truth, “Mueller has the opposite: 57 percent say he’s interested in finding the truth; 36 percent say he’s interested in hurting Trump.” Overall, 81 percent believe Mueller’s report should be made public. Also, as Jim Roberts tweets, “By a 23-point (!) margin, far more Americans trust Robert Mueller’s version of the facts about #TrumpRussia collusion scandal than they do the president himself.”
As for the Senate, Ken Dilanian of NBC News reports that the Senate intel committee has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia. Jesse Rodriguez highlights, “The caveat: ‘We were never going find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,’ one Democratic aide said.” And Richard Allen Greene has a “Prediction: You will soon be seeing tweets from @realDonaldTrump saying: ‘Senate investigation PROVES there was NO COLLUSION.’ Careful readers will of course see what it found is NO PROOF OF COLLUSION. Which is different.”
So, we know you’ll find this hard to believe, but there is “Never a dull moment in Trump World,” as Josh Dawsey tweets. Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni of The New York Times have the scoop that Cliff Sims, the (latest) White House tell-all author, is suing Trump for going after him over the book. He’s alleging that Trump used his campaign organization as a “cutout” to improperly seek retribution against former employees and keep them from invoking their First Amendment rights.
The 2020 trail
POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg is reporting that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is making moves toward a possible run for president, and “oh boy,” says Liz Skalka. “Lotta news in this @SallyGold story on deBlasio 2020,” notes David Freedlander. Harry Enten points out, “Recently New York Democrats were asked who they thought would make the best president. de Blasio came in at 6% behind Bloomberg, Cuomo, Gillibrand and Ocasio-Cortez.” John Chase wonders, “Can a presidential candidacy jump the shark before it even started?”
A new deep dive by Nathan McDermott and Andrew Kaczynski of CNN reveals, Kamala Harris supported 2008 San Francisco policy that reported arrested undocumented juveniles to ICE. Tweets McDermott, “In a statement to CNN, Harris’s campaign said that the ‘policy was intended to protect the sanctuary status of San Francisco’ so that police wouldn’t be forced to operate as immigration agents, but that ‘this policy could have been applied more fairly.’” Tina Vasquez notes, “If you look at most Dem's backgrounds in the early 2000's, you'll see it was not at all uncommon for them to be opposed to sanctuary city ordinances, to be in support of militarizing the border, to be taking money from private prison companies, etc.”
Shrill, aloof, unlikeable — all words used to describe Hillary Clinton during the last presidential election, and “[i]t’s not a coincidence that some of these adjectives are now bubbling up in discussions of Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris as they campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination,” writes Maggie Astor in her new piece for The New York Times, ‘A Woman, Just Not That Woman’: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail.
Kerri Miller tweets, “Heard men I respect say this. Here’s what it really means.” And “Speaking of men, I don’t quote any of them in my latest article, an in-depth look at the double standards women running for president face,” tweets Astor. Niki Blasina calls it an “Infuriating but important look at how sexism plays out on the campaign trail, affecting not only how voters perceive candidates but how candidates present themselves to voters.”
Look in the footnotes
At The Atlantic, Ed Yong shines the spotlight on The Women Who Contributed to Science but Were Buried in Footnotes. Inspired by “Hidden Figures,” a team of students led by Emilia Huerta-Sánchez from Brown University and Rori Rohlfs from San Francisco State University have identified dozens of female programmers who made important but unrecognized contributions to genetics. “A really smart way to find overlooked women in science: Look in the footnotes,” tweets Sarah Laskow. Yong highlights, “One woman, Margaret Wu, did the programming for a classic 1975 paper that had a single male author and has been cited 3400 times.”
Shades of gray
Julie Bykowicz and Lukas Alpert of The Wall Street Journal write that “[t]he dust-up between Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and National Enquirer parent American Media LLC has raised questions about the media company’s connections to Saudi Arabia.” Their new story reveals the National Enquirer publisher asked the Justice Department for advice on whether it needed to register as a foreign agent after publishing a glossy magazine promoting Saudi Arabia and its new crown prince. Tweets Bykowicz, “Shades of gray: Why did DOJ tell American Media it did not need to register as a foreign agent? AMI claimed it only followed the Saudi editorial advice about the pro-Saudi magazine because it WANTED to, not because it HAD to.”
Also at The Wall Street Journal, Dion Nissenbaum, Warren Strobel and Summer Said report, U.S. Seeks Accountability for Former Saudi Aide in Khashoggi Killing. Gregg Carlstrom notes, “Saud al-Qahtani was the fall guy in the @JKhashoggi case, the alleged ringleader. But guess what? He’s still advising MbS (despite being fired) and traveling to Abu Dhabi (despite a travel ban).”
Fail fail fail
As Ian Failes says, “This is so dumb.” The Academy has unveiled 4 Oscars categories to be presented during commercial breaks — cinematography, film editing, live-action short and makeup and hairstyling. Gregg Kilday has that story at The Hollywood Reporter, and Lance Ulanoff wonders, “Why is @TheAcademy so determined to ruin my #Oscars?” What went wrong? Mark Harris explains: “This is a failure of stewardship, a failure of nerve, a failure of producing, a failure to understand television, a failure of network custody of the Oscars, and a failure of Academy governance.” So here’s an idea: “This is so, so embarrassing, please just give control of the Oscars to people who actually like the Oscars already,” tweets Mark Berman. Dan Zak adds, “With all due respect to short films, hairstylists & makeup artists, EDITING and CINEMATOGRAPHY are literally what make a movie. @TheAcademy is so weird. P.S. If you're in the Academy, vote Glenn Close or die.”
Straight-dope uncut old-school
Holly Bailey calls this one “A story on the extremely competitive Porta-Potty business in NYC that you didn’t know you needed, complete with lovely portraits of ‘The Five Families of Feces.’” Alice Speri says it’s “Why I love New York, and magazine writing.” They’re talking about The Porta-Potty King of New York City Faces a Threat to His Throne, by David Gauvey Herbert for New York magazine. Noah Hurowitz tweets, “this is that straight-dope uncut old-school new york mag shit that i CRAVE.” David Uberti is a little on the nose with, “This story is extremely my shit.” Allison Benedikt confirms, “Yep the toilet story is great.” Or as Katie Notopoulos says, “This is.... the best story I've read in my life.” And Silvia Killingsworth “might re-read this morning.”
More Tuesday reads
Speaking of toilets...“Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be Apple contractors,” John Keilman says (sings?), and here’s why: Apple ‘Black Site’ Gives Contractors Few Perks, Little Security, Joshua Brustein reports for Bloomberg. The dek says it all: “Contractors a few miles from the company’s spaceship-like headquarters live in fear of termination—and the bathroom lines.”
Maybe this will be the one to get everyone’s attention. Jonathan Watts of The Guardian reports on a new study by the Institute for Public Policy Research that finds climate and economic risks ‘threaten 2008-style systemic collapse.’ And “Actually, it could be much worse than that,” tweets Arthur Neslen.
“Build the Bollards! Lawmakers have a deal and it’s $1.38 billion for 55 mi of new barrier.” Nick Miroff links to the report by Erica Werner, Damian Paletta and Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post, Lawmakers say they have reached an ‘agreement in principle’ to avoid government shutdown. On Twitter, Sullivan notes, “big questions remain. Will Trump sign it if it passes? Will he try to declare a nat'l emergency to fund a wall anyhow? How will GOP lawmakers respond to criticism of the deal from the right?”
At HuffPost, Paul Waugh explains Why A No-Deal Brexit Is Now Theresa May’s Fallback Plan To Save Her Party - And Herself. Jess Brammar says, “In case you missed @paulwaugh’s brilliant longread from yesterday, it’s a cracker for your morning commute.”
According to a CBC/Radio-Canada analysis of 9.6 million tweets from accounts since deleted, Twitter trolls stoked debates about immigrants and pipelines in Canada, report Roberto Rocha and Jeff Yates for CBC News. The troll accounts originated in Russia, Venezuela and Iran.
Also at CBC News, be sure to read the obituary for foreign correspondent Joe Schlesinger, one of Canada’s foremost journalists, who has died at age 90. Schlesinger “narrowly escaped the Nazis as a young boy growing up in the former Czechoslovakia and ended up becoming one of Canada’s most beloved and respected journalists,” covering some of the most significant events of the 20th and 21st centuries. Tweets Bill Neely, “The amazing life of Joe Schlesinger, one of Canada’s best known journalists, who has died at 90.”