Bloomberg News Reportedly Reassigned Journo After Complaints from Wells Fargo CEO

This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite

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A reporter for Bloomberg News was reassigned after the news organization received a phone call from the CEO of Wells Fargo complaining about said reporter. According to CNN, Shahien Nasiripour––who had extensively covered Wells Fargo in multiple reports months ago––had written one particular report on the bank being the “go-to” for the United States gun industry. Following the release of that report, Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan sent around an internal memo addressing this relationship. It was obtained by the Wall Street Journal, but when Nasiripour asked for a copy of the memo, he was denied:
Following the conversation, a member of the Wells Fargo public relations team contacted Caroline Gage, the global executive editor for finance at Bloomberg News. Gage then asked Nasiripour to apologize to the Wells Fargo public relations team for his conduct during the call. Nasiripour agreed to do so and did.
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Bill Clinton on Trump Debate Attacks: ‘I’m Beyond Being Moved or Surprised’

This post is by Joe DePaolo from Mediaite

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image-350x234Former President Bill Clinton spoke out Wednesday, for the first time, about the attacks lobbed at him before and during Sunday night’s Presidential debate by Donald Trump. “I’m beyond being moved or surprised,” Clinton said, in remarks reported by Jennifer Epstein of Bloomberg Politics. “Have been for a long time.” Trump held a press conference shortly before Sunday’s debate with Hillary Clinton, in which he sat with Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey — all of whom have accused the former president of sexual misconduct. Trump also invited Clinton’s accusers to the debate, and made mention of them during the proceedings. “I felt bad for the citizens on the stage who had been told if Continue reading "Bill Clinton on Trump Debate Attacks: ‘I’m Beyond Being Moved or Surprised’"

Bloomberg Editor Resigns Over Concerns About Coverage of Potential Bloomberg Run

This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite

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bloombergA major figure at Bloomberg Politics is resigning over concerns about the network’s coverage of a potential Michael Bloomberg presidential run. The former New York City mayor co-founded the news organization, and with a potential 2016 run in the works, there is certainly a serious question of how they go about covering him. Well, Bloomberg Politics’ Washington news director Kathy Kiely told The Huffington Post she had concerns of that nature, which led her to resign today. Kiely explained, “I did not feel we could cover the Bloomberg trial balloon in the aggressive way I thought it deserved.” She credits all the “good people” working there who are “making an honest effort to work this out,” saying simply she doesn’t think you can “cover the circus unless you can write about one of the biggest elephants in the room.” Bloomberg Politics has featured some coverage of the Continue reading "Bloomberg Editor Resigns Over Concerns About Coverage of Potential Bloomberg Run"

What it means to be a mobile editor, as told by mobile editors themselves

This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab

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“Mobile editor” is a role that didn’t even exist at most news organizations just a few years ago — at least not the multifaceted, multi-team, multi-platform, multi-everything roles that we sometimes see today. “The role of the mobile editor is defined by motion,” The Wall Street Journal’s executive mobile editor David Ho said it describing the position. “Motion and change — not just in the news, but in the technology, the tools, the tasks, the roles, and the workflows. It’s a job of constant evolution, of daily disruption.” “I really struggle to come up with a succinct description of what I do, partly because I do have a regular job description, but I also spend a lot of time currently immersed in certain big projects,” Nathalie Malinarich, BBC News Online’s editor of mobile, told me. “When I started here, our mobile traffic was probably around 10 to 12
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Inside Bloomberg’s Interactive Look at Feminism and Hillary Clinton

This post is by Aleszu Bajak from MediaShift

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This piece was initially published on Storybench, a cookbook for digital storytelling. Storybench is a collaboration between Northeastern University’s Media Innovation program, a new graduate degree in digital journalism, and Esquire magazine. “Hillary Rodham Clinton was fortunate to come of age just as the modern feminist movement was beginning to expand opportunities for women in the workplace—and in politics.” This is how Bloomberg News introduced a recent interactive timeline that shows Hillary Clinton’s political career measured against the rise of the modern feminist movement. Christopher Cannon, a senior designer with Bloomberg’s graphics team spoke with Storybench‘s Aleszu Bajak about how they sourced, designed and built the timeline. Jeremy Scott Diamond, a developer and designer with Bloomberg graphics, provided Storybench with some of the code he used to build the timeline. Timelines aren’t always the best option, says Cannon, but “if you can show multiple narratives and how they
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Bloomberg Business’ new look has made a splash — but don’t just call it a redesign

This post is by Caroline O'Donovan from Nieman Lab

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Bloomberg launched a fresh, new Bloomberg Business Tuesday night, to both acclaim and confusion. Change has long been afoot lately at Bloomberg Media, which hired Justin B. Smith away from Atlantic Media in 2013 and Josh Topolsky away from The Verge last July to help reconfigure the company’s digital presence. The new look — inspired in part by the boldness of Bloomberg Businessweek, the print magazine the company bought in 2009 — is fresh, colorful, and not a little bit dizzying. In a piece for VentureBeat called “Bloomberg Business’ new site design is beautifully bizarre — and it’s begging for haters,” Harrison Weber writes that the design “pulls you in as much as it spits in your eye. Yet, for some reason, I want more.” This sentiment was, meaningfully, echoed on Twitter.

Finance media’s hottest club is Ello

This post is by Caroline O'Donovan from Nieman Lab

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By now, you’ve probably heard of Ello, the anti-Facebook social networking site founded by a handful of graphic designers. Though initially meant to be a closed experiment in network building, Ello grew popular due to its anti-advertising, anti-data mining stance. As Kyle Chayka wrote for Gizmodo not long ago, Ello also fits into the Web 1.0 trend, driven both by nostalgia for the aesthetic of decades old web design and a desire for respite from the age of massive social platforms. From Chayka’s story:
“People have more fun when they can be vulnerable and open,” [Paul] Ford explained to me in an email. Especially when they “aren’t bracing themselves for a bunch of shrieking assholes to violently weigh in on every possible thing in order to score more virtual rage points.” The appeal of a tighter content ecosystem is clear when any public tweet might be singled out by an internet terror machine like Gamergate.

Though the quieter environments can be a more productive place to talk, the flip side of that is they’re inherently more exclusive; Ello, for example, is still invite-only. With its retro-trendy, whitespace-heavy design, Ello has been popular among designers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, and other professionals whose brands are heavy on visuals. But as the network has grown, so has the diversity among subgroups. Journalism professor Jay Rosen, for example, has been blogging on the platform with regularity. But the first journalistic subgroup for whom Ello really hit home is finance journalists — at least a little ironic, given the site’s origins. Earlier this fall, journalists like Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal started jokingly referring to the growing community of business writers on the site as “Finance Ello.” Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 4.29.08 PM Weisenthal only joined Bloomberg recently from Business Insider, and was briefly without a platform to publish on between jobs. For a high-metabolism reporter, that can be a frustrating situation to be in, one which open platforms like Ello provide an interim solution for. jobs day Since jobs day (which is like a monthly election day for finance media) Weisenthal has been actively encouraging other business writers on Twitter to join the new platform, offering invitations, promoting the work of other journalists, and even pushing people to follow the Bloomberg News account. In fact, as of late November, he’s actively hiring someone to run Bloomberg’s Ello (and Twitter and Facebook) accounts: Through his efforts, uptake has sharply increased. Finance journalists who have migrated to Ello include other Bloomberg employees, Wall Street Journal correspondents, Business Insider writers, Financial Times reporters, Economist bloggers and more. There, they write notes with charts about breaking finance news, share links to published stories and comment on each other’s analysis. In an email, Wiesenthal told me he considers Finance Ello 80 percent serious and 20 percent joke. “The joke part is that it’s kind of a novelty to post in a totally new place that at first blush doesn’t offer *that* many advantages over what exists,” he says. Indeed, there’s little extraordinary about Ello. It’s unlikely to become the next huge traffic driving platform, or change how most journalists do business. But it’s interesting to observe how people in the profession gather online and use new digital tools to communicate about their work. For one thing, Ello lacks the character limits of Twitter, which makes it an ideal home for blogpost-length writing without the barrier of having to actually start your own blog — not unlike Medium’s pitch to writers. With a baked-in community of users and relatively functional comment threads, Ello makes sense as a place to gather for thoughtful conversation. “You can do a post the length of a tweet. Or you can do something longer,” says Weisenthal. “And then it’s very easy to see a conversation grouped around one post, rather than a sprawling thread that can be difficult to track.” Semi-private — or semi-private feeling — spaces like Ello tend to allow for more candid conversation than hugely popular social sites, which is part of their draw. Reporters see the platform as a safe space to test out new theories. For example, Business Insider reporter Shane Ferro wrote a somewhat personal Ello post about transitioning from a job in legacy media to a job at a startup and the cultural differences in those two environments. “It’s nice to have a space that feels a little bit quieter, and which lends itself to longer thoughts,” says Weisenthal. “I love Twitter, but it can be a shouty place, and Finance Twitter tends to be less shouty than, say, Politics Twitter. So the peace and quiet of Ello is nice.” Another benefit of Ello over other platforms is the ease with which graphics can be included in posts, according to Weisenthal. “Finance and econ talk is often greatly helped by the ability to include tables and charts within the discussion, which Ello does naturally,” he says. On Twitter, images take up precious character space; on Ello, that’s not a problem. Matthew Boes covers the Federal Reserve for Bloomberg; he’s been taking considerable advantage of Ello’s graphically-inclined interface. (His embrace of Ello is likely not unrelated to his boss’s — Weisenthal’s — enthusiasm.) Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.56.07 AM Ello doesn’t function seamlessly for everyone. Designer Jeffrey van der Goot wrote on Medium about the ways in which the site’s weighting of design over function prevent it from being widely usable. In a post on The Toast called “You’re Not Stupid; Ello is Badly Designed,” Elena Palmer details the frustration of trying to discover and talk to friends on the platform. The difficulties of using Ello for fast and efficient communication are not lost on the members of Finance Ello. Bloomberg’s Matt Levine wrote a post on Ello about what he thinks the site is good for — talking to people, rather than linking to external publisher content. But in a reply, user Lew Burton expressed his frustration with the site. “I like Ello, but it kinda feels like my old bike where the kickstart never worked and I would miss the early ferry,” he writes. “I find that the flow is awkward, I want to be alerted to conversations being updated, and don’t get that here.” Despite the initial splash of Ello’s release, it doesn’t feel like the mainstream conversation has moved there. The company hasn’t released numbers on active users, but early analysis suggests that only a small fraction of Ello’s comparatively small user base posts regularly on the site. But it’s possible that for niche communities like Finance Ello, the platform’s clunkiness and small user base is more feature than bug. After all, that’s what lends the site its air of privacy: As with so many things, if it were easier to use or more popular, it wouldn’t be as fun. Cale Weissman, a reporter for Business Insider Intelligence, agrees that Ello’s alternative, artisanal aesthetic could be part of the draw. Recall the 20 percent of Finance Ello that’s a joke — maybe part of it is the irony of a bunch of reporters who obsess over markets and jobs rates and stock indexes electing somewhat arbitrarily to descend on a design-forward social media platform that has rejected the primary way social networks make money. Whether you see the humor in that or not, the really funny thing is that Finance Ello might actually be taking off. “I think if anyone actually knew what it took to get people to move platforms en masse they’d be really rich,” Weisenthal says. “Still seems like kind of a mystery to me.”

This Week in Review: Questions on journalists’ handling of NSA files, and the value of viral content

This post is by from Nieman Journalism Lab

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Scrutiny for The Guardian over leaks: The stories continue to spill out of Edward Snowden’s documents from the U.S. National Security Agency — we’ve learned in the last two weeks that the NSA has been tracking cellphone locations worldwide, infecting computer networks with malicious software, getting into Internet companies’ data by tapping into the Internet backbone, spying on the porn habits of Muslim “radicalizers,” and trying to expand its power.

The two biggest stories, however, have been about the journalists that have published the stories on the leaks. The first was regarding The Guardian, whose editor, Alan Rusbridger, was called in to testify to a Parliament committee about his paper’s reporting on the leaks. The paper’s staff could be charged with terrorism offenses related to their publication of the leaks.

Rusbridger gave a vigorous defense of The Guardian’s handling of the documents, saying that the paper has only published about 1% of Snowden’s documents and that he doesn’t expect to publish many more. He also detailed the efforts the British government has taken to intimidate the paper, including prior restraint on publication, the forced destruction of the paper’s Snowden data, and calls from lawmakers to prosecute the paper.

Not surprisingly, journalists from Britain and elsewhere rose up in Rusbridger’s defense. Mike Masnick at Techdirt mocked some of the members of Parliament’s questions, including one that asked, “Do you love this country?” Trinity Mirror journalist David Higgerson used that question to warn of the dangers of giving government even more control over the press. The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade marveled at the fact that Rusbridger was even called to testify before Parliament, and from the U.S., Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein and USA Today’s Rem Rieder both expressed alarm that The Guardian is facing scrutiny at a time when the true scrutiny should be on excessive government surveillance and secrecy. Rusbridger also made his own case before the hearing in an interview with The Washington Post.

Monopolizing the Snowden documents?: The second big story revolved around Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist who is launching his own news organization with eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and others. The Rolling Stone’s Janet Reitman wrote a long, rich profile of Greenwald and Snowden, and The Independent profiled his new colleague, Jeremy Scahill. NYU’s Jay Rosen, and adviser to the new organization, talked to The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf about how it will manage reporting with an open perspective as opposed to traditional objectivity.

Greenwald and Omidyar faced several criticisms of their possession of Snowden’s documents. First, Greenwald refuted an accusation by a Wall Street Journal reporter that he failed to properly disclose the nature of his freelance relationship with the CBC. Then came a more substantial critique from Mark Ames at PandoDaily, that Greenwald and Omidyar’s possession of the documents amounts to their privatization by a tech mogul who will be running a for-profit news organization. “Information of national importance, such as which major tech companies colluded with the US government to spy on private citizens, will be published at the discretion of the founder and largest shareholder of one of those companies,” Ames wrote.

In a lengthy response to Ames, Greenwald argued that no one has monopolized the documents and that the way he and the others with access to the documents have handled them has been the best of several options. PandoDaily’s Paul Carr responded back to Greenwald, particularly his accusations about Ames and PandoDaily.

The Berkman Center’s David Weinberger also delved into the debate, concluding that the fact “that the charge that Glenn Greenwald is monopolizing or privatizing the Snowden information is even comprehensible to us is evidence of just how thoroughly the Web is changing our defaults and our concepts.” Also at PandoDaily, David Sirota looked at why The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman has been received better for his reporting on the documents than Greenwald, and blogger Marcy Wheeler examined Bob Woodward’s role in the monopolization debate.


How much value does viral content have?: A number of different issues and stories converged into a wide-ranging discussion on the value of viral content over the past week or two. The first was Michael Wolff’s column in USA Today criticizing the traffic-based business model of Business Insider and suggesting that the site’s owner, Henry Blodget, sell before that model collapses. Blodget responded that the overpriced high-end digital ad market actually works in his site’s favor, as more advertisers will gravitate to his low-cost model. Reuters’ Felix Salmon, meanwhile, critiqued Wolff’s numbers as “unreasonably bearish.”

At PandoDaily, Bryan Goldberg also criticized the effectiveness of a business model that relies on viral traffic (especially through social networks like Facebook), arguing that it doesn’t mesh well with the precision of a well-planned advertising campaign. Likewise, Mathew Ingram of Gigaom said chasing after pageviews is a fool’s errand when the value of pageviews continues to drop. “That’s not just because there are more and more sites doing it, but because the value of incremental pageviews is sinking inexorably towards zero,” he wrote. (Facebook also released a change to its News Feed that will make it more difficult for viral content to spread as quickly or ubiquitously there.) Blodget also defended Business Insider’s infamous slideshows as a form of native digital storytelling, something PandoDaily’s Hamish McKenzie balked at, though Ingram offered a defense of the humble slideshow.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal’s Farhad Manjoo wrote a profile of Gawker’s Neetzan Zimmerman, who generates an absurd amount of viral traffic there. (Later, Capital New York reported that Zimmerman is getting his own section of the Gawker website.) The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein highlighted several lessons from Manjoo’s piece, noting that it shows that garnering huge traffic via social media isn’t a crapshoot, but a skill that can be mastered. PandoDaily’s McKenzie also drew attention to the “mechanics” of viral content being used by Zimmerman and sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy, calling it “annoying as hell.” At the Columbia Journalism Review, Ann Friedman offered some tips on doing viral content well within a journalistic context.

In addition, several viral stories were revealed to be hoaxes last week, led by a Huffington Post column on poverty and a Thanksgiving airplane note-passing story. There was both hand-wringing and ambivalence over all the falsehood being passed around online. “If there’s a great reward, and little downside, to be had in publishing B.S., the Internet’s going to get more B.S.,” wrote Slate’s David Weigel, and The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman saw it as indicative of the “immature overexcitement that engulfs some people” online. Vice’s Harry Cheadle urged us all to be a little more skeptical, because the false information online isn’t going away. On the Media’s PJ Vogt, on the other hand, said he’s starting to treat these viral stories as “pieces of culture rather than pieces of reporting.”

katie-couric-yahooYahoo brings Katie Couric aboard: Yahoo announced this week that it’s hiring Katie Couric as its “global anchor” — another big traditional media name jumping to an online-only organization, though not necessarily the poaching maneuver we’ve become used to. Couric, the former anchor at CBS News, has been working as a special correspondent for ABC and has a syndicated daytime talk show (which will continue, at least initially).

Couric told The New York Times her new job hasn’t been fully defined, but will involve shaping Yahoo’s growing news operation and told Capital New York that she and Yahoo would be very flexible with the possibilities of her new position, though they’d bring a broadcast journalism sensibility to the web. All Things D’s Kara Swisher said bringing a broadcast news heavyweight to the web is a flashy but risky move.

The Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson argued that Yahoo is bringing in Couric and former New York Times tech writer David Pogue because it’s looking for established brands with a history of bringing in video audiences around which to anchor advertising, and the Lab’s Ken Doctor saw the move as part of a broad set of experiments with the nature of the newscast on the web.


A leave of absence for Lara Logan: CBS News completed its internal review of 60 Minutes’ faulty October report on Benghazi (for which it offered a terse apology last month), and it resulted in the report’s lead journalist, Lara Logan, and its producer, Max McClellan, taking leaves of absence. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple denounced the leaves of absence as “worthless” as a punishment, and Mother Jones’ David Corn questioned why 60 Minutes’ executives hung onto the story long after they had reason to believe it was false.

The Christian Science Monitor’s Peter Grier wondered whether Logan was being made a scapegoat for malfeasance higher up 60 Minutes’ editorial ladder, and Mediaite defended Logan, arguing that CBS’ action “sends a message that the idiom ‘What have you done for me lately?’ is not only true, it’s become CBS network policy.” In a staff meeting, CBS News chairman Jeff Fager reportedly denied scapegoating Logan. Elsewhere, Newsweek’s Jeff Stein called for more attention to the possible role Logan’s husband, former intelligence agent Joseph Burkett, may have played in connecting her to the story, and the Columbia Journalism Review’s Brendan Nyhan chastised 60 Minutes for its lackadaisical correction efforts.

Reading roundup: A few other stories that have sprung up this week and last:

— The fallout from Bloomberg News’ self-censorship of news about Chinese corruption continues: Chinese authorities conducted unannounced “inspections” of Bloomberg’s Chinese bureaus, and one of Bloomberg’s reporters in the U.K. was barred from attending a press conference with a Chinese leader there, to the disapproval of the British government. The New York Times looked more closely at Bloomberg’s transition as a news organization and its dilemma in China, and meanwhile, a prominent Hong Kong journalist called for Bloomberg CEO Dan Doctoroff to resign his chairmanship of a prominent international press freedom dinner, while American journalists defended him. (Doctoroff ended up chairing the dinner.)


— As The New York Times’ David Carr reported, New York magazine will drop from weekly to bi-weekly print publication next year. Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan called the print cutback “a process of right-sizing,” though The Awl’s Choire Sicha noted that New York still makes a lot of money off of print advertising. Harvard Business Review’s Sarah Green said the reporting on the print cuts shouldn’t characterize them as a failure, but simply an adaptation that’s more good than bad.

— The Beastie Boys fought a parody of their song “Girls” in a viral online ad by the toymaker Goldieblox, igniting a brief but intense debate on the correct application of fair use. Goldieblox filed a lawsuit defending its right to use the song, but took the video down a bit later with a conciliatory letter to the band. In the few days in between, the lines were drawn quickly and sharply. Arguing in favor of Goldieblox’ use of the song: Tech entrepreneur Andy Baio, Techdirt’s Mike Masnick, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Stanford’s Julie Ahrens, and Gigaom’s Mathew Ingram. Arguing against Goldieblox: The Columbia Journalism Review’s Ryan Chittum (twice) and Reuters’ Felix Salmon.

— The U.S. Federal Trade Commission held a conference this week on native advertising, urging advertisers and publishers to more clearly mark native advertising as sponsored content and make it less deceptive. Ad Age, Forbes, and the Columbia Journalism Review have more detailed descriptions of the discussion at the conference.

— Longtime New York Observer editor Peter Kaplan died at 59 this week, prompting remembrances of the man and the vanishing style of journalism he represented from many of those who knew him, including Gawker’s Tom Scocca, Observer publisher Jared Kushner, BuzzFeed’s Doree Shafrir, The New Yorker’s Nathan Heller, and The Guardian’s Michael Wolff.

Image of dengue virus by Sanofi Pasteur used under a Creative Commons license.