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kottke.org posts about MSNBC

Big News Orgs Get New Public Editors (Against Their Wishes)

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 12, 2019

This fits into the burgeoning category of “this is cool but I wish it weren’t necessary”: the Columbia Journalism Review has appointed public editors for a group of four news organizations because they won’t do it themselves.

Public editors and ombudsmen have historically stood as critical advocates for consumers of news, identifying blind spots the outlets can’t see themselves and operating as collectors of critical opinion when decisions go awry. The flameout of public editors in the US, which reached a point of despair in 2017, when The New York Times sent its last public editor packing, is the most visible sign of the growing distance between news organizations and the people they serve. As attacks on the media have increased under the presidency of Donald Trump, the response of newsrooms has, more often than not, been to form a defensive huddle.

That stance is particularly dangerous now, as the nation braces for another presidential election, one that is almost certain to be more partisan, more vicious, and more focused on the perceived failings of the press than any other in the history of the country. It’s a bad time for newsrooms to retreat from their readers.

And what great choices for editors: Gabriel Snyder (NY Times), Ana Marie Cox (Washington Post), Maria Bustillos (MSNBC), and Emily Tamkin (CNN). Here’s CJR editor-in-chief Kyle Pope answering some questions about the project. And here’s Tamkin’s first piece, on CNN’s practice of regularly interviewing people without expertise or responsibility.

Guilfoyle has not worked as an economist. She has not crafted foreign or immigration policy. She is not an expert on Central America. What possible value, I wondered, were CNN’s viewers getting from watching Guilfoyle speak about this subject? If Cuomo wanted Trump talking points, couldn’t he have just played a clip of Trump himself? If Cuomo wanted someone behind Trump’s immigration policy to explain it, shouldn’t he have brought in a member of the administration?

But again, it’s a bummer that a small organization like CJR has to foot the bill for this on behalf of these media organizations’ readers and, you know, democracy.

MSNBC’s hurricane tracker

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 29, 2008

Here’s MSNBC’s nifty new hurricane tracker tracking Gustav bearing down on Louisiana like a shotgun full of wind and rain. Built by Stamen. (via jimray)

Fox lips the new blond? A slideshow

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 27, 2006

Fox lips the new blond? A slideshow of the glut of blond female news anchors concludes by asking if big puffy “Fox” lips are the next big trend. “When Rita Cosby switched from Fox to MSNBC, a construction crane was called in to move [her lips], which resemble a pair of oily, red eels mating angrily.”