There are plenty of generic of “Meets” and “Greets” headlines today with regards to Leonardo DiCaprio’s private audience at The Vatican with Pope Francis. But Ellie Shechet and-or her editor(s) went the extra papal mile and, as such, have the clear current headline lead.
Ha ha. If you see any headlines for this news trail that you particularly enjoyed, please let us know. In the meantime, here are a couple of others worth noting:
When Pope Francis visited New York last fall, Leo’s favorite director got fairly close. But not 15-minutes, private audience close.
Welcome back to another edition of FishbowlNY’s weekly Cover Battle. This round we have ESPN The Magazine taking on Newsweek.
ESPN’s latest features Cam Newton, who is about to play in his first Super Bowl. We hope Newton and the Panthers win just so we can watch them celebrate in front of old white guys who can’t stand that kind of thing.
Newsweek, on the other hand, went with an ominous illustration of Marco Rubio. We imagine that in some ways, this is how the entire GOP feels.
So readers, which cover is better? You can vote, comment, or do both.
Donald Trump’s absence from tonight’s seventh GOP debate, happening in Des Moines, is a topic on one Iowa newspaper front page today. But a bigger story locally is the results of an autopsy performed on Tyler Sash, the Iowa Hawkeyes star defensive end who went on to help the New York Giants win Super Bowl XLVI. He was just 27.
Iowa City Press-Citizen reporter Andrew Logue spoke with a number of sportswriters for his report, including Robert Klemko, who contributes to Sports Illustrated and MMQB, ex-Hawkeye turned Pac 12 Network analyst Anthony Herron and a local fan site overseer:
“You can say ‘I enjoy football, and Hawkeye football,’” said Adam Jacobi, managing editor of BlackHeartGoldPants.com, “but you can also be concerned for these guys and sort of want to make sure that they’re well taken care of after their careers are over.”
“You can’t assume this is safe for these guys anymore, which is a bummer.”
Sash’ mother Barney shared some sobering thoughts with local NBC affiliate KWWL. She remembered finding him shaking badly in his apartment after an NFL contest and hopes his death will renew discussion of this important, serious issue:
“My son just played as hard as he could, all the time and I think it got him into trouble.”
It’s led her to question the sport entirely. “Football isn’t life, it’s a game that we love and have a lot of passion for. But when it cuts your life short, it’s not worth it.”
Young Tyler is the 98th athlete to be posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. He died in September due to the ingestion of a toxic mixture of methadone and hydrocodone. RIP.
The cover story, about Buffett and Musk’s solar power showdown in Nevada, is equally good.
On this day 30 years ago, the space shuttle Challenger exploded moments after it launched. It was supposed to be a celebratory day — Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, was going to space. Instead, January 28, 1986 will always be considered with sadness.
Popular Mechanics spoke with more than 20 people closely involved with the launch and the aftermath (including Dan Rather) to honor this distinct moment in America’s history. The feature will give you chills. Here’s how Megan Raymond, a Concord High School student at the time, described the first few minutes after the explosion:
I remember seeing the explosion, the two streams of white smoke, and realizing there was no shuttle in the middle. I remember thinking specifically: Wait, that doesn’t look right. I remember hearing cameras clicking. I remember one of our beloved teachers standing up on the cafeteria table and shouting, ‘Everybody shut up. Shut the hell up. Something’s wrong.’ We respected him so much that when he did that, we got really scared, because he was scared.
The Slate Group, which owns Slate.com and the podcast network Panoply, is moving its operations to Brooklyn.
According to Ad Age, Slate will move into a 21,000-square-foot space in downtown Brooklyn’s Metrotech. The change isn’t expected until spring.
“We’re following our staff; New York’s creative class no longer lives in Manhattan,” a spokesperson told Ad Age. That’s been true for many, many years now.
The tributes are pouring in for Ezio Petersen, a photographer and radio host who worked over the years for UPI and the New York Post. He passed away on Monday.
Pat Benic, UPI’s director of photography, called Petersen “a special person with a great heart.” And over at Playbill, New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel recalled some early experiences at Columbia University’s radio station:
“I was Ezio’s co-host on his musical theater show on WKCR when I was a student at Columbia. His knowledge of musicals was vast, and he had an extraordinary collection of tape recordings of shows. He never told me how he did it, but he was able to plug into the sound systems of every Broadway musical in previews. He had the entire score to Legs Diamond on tape by the second preview!”
“He was a generous co-host. Columbia required that a student be on every show, but Ezio treated me as professional, even though I had no idea what I was doing. It took me two years to figure out how to turn on the microphone. I do a lot of radio now, and if I’m any good, it’s because I spent three years with Ezio every Sunday night from nine until midnight.”
Playbill also has some thoughts from various press agents and publicists who knew Petersen. Read them here.
When Petersen’s WKCR program ended in 1997, it was for the oddest of reasons. Again, from Playbill:
The program director for the station, Jason Das, called host Petersen and told him the show had been dropped because Petersen had neglected to take a new exam to show proficiency with the Emergency Broadcast System (which was changed to the Emergency Alert System). Petersen told Playbill he’d seen flyers for the exam posted at the station for over a month, “but I just read it and zoned on it. It’s not a hard system – it takes two minutes to learn – and I know what I’m doing. I asked Jason [Das] why not just suspend me instead of cancelling the show? I pointed out the notice was posted for new programmers but I wasn’t sure if long-term broadcasters were also affected. The board said they tried to reach me and co-host Ken Bloom before the deadline about this, but this is not true.”
In recent years, Petersen, retired from photography, hosted a weekly Internet radio show called Musical Theater Today. RIP.
New Republic owner Chris Hughes and his husband Sean Eldridge have just laid down $23.5 million for a townhouse in the West Village.
The New York Post reports that the three bedroom and bath 4,000 square-foot house comes with a home theater, wine cellar, working fireplace and a tunnel. Yes, a tunnel connects the main house to a carriage house. It begins in the main house’s basement, goes under the backyard garden, and ends at a staircase that leads to the guest quarters.
Many media people are probably annoyed that Hughes spent $23 million on a house while selling the New Republic. That’s stupid. Hughes can spend his money however he wants. Also, what would you prefer to own, a magazine that loses millions every year or a house with a tunnel?
Time’s latest cover story is dedicated to a toy. Mattel’s Barbie, as you have no doubt heard by now, has three new body types — tall, curvy and petite. Time was the first to report the news.
Time has a giant feature on this change and what it might mean to the world. It’s well worth a read, but make no mistake: The bottom line is Barbie sales have been dropping for years now and Mattel was freaked out. So, presto! New body types. Let’s hold the applause.
The Wall Street Journal has made a few changes to Page One. There will now be two separate Page One groups — news and enterprise.
Journal editor Gerard Baker explained in a memo the reason for the change:
Page One has been the embodiment of our finest journalism for decades. But as its very name implies it is a print construct. Despite some important and memorable digital work in recent years, its operations and structure have become steadily less well-suited to the demands of digital news. We need to continually improve both the news and enterprise functions of Page One for all platforms of The Journal.
As part of the overhaul, Alex Martin, previously Page One editor, has been named editor of news. Matthew Rose, previously the Journal’s Washington bureau deputy chief, will serve as editor of enterprise.
If the ear-splitting decibel level was any indication, the media mavens and money men had plenty to talk about today. My lunch date, Steve Komarow, CQ Roll Call’s vice president and news director, certainly did. Up from Washington for a quick trip (he was catching the 3 o’clock Acela back to DC after our lunch), I was glad he made time to meet me and dish about the mood on the Hill, size up the head-scratching presidential campaigns and talk about CQ Roll Call’s position as the go-to source for news and analysis for Washington insiders. Lisa Linden, CEO of LAK PR, who knows more Beltway power brokers than anyone else I know, arranged our confab.
Steve, who is celebrating his first anniversary at the helm, oversees the largest newsroom dedicated to coverage of Congress and has a CV that is ripe for the Showtime treatment. “I’ve never had a beat I didn’t like,” he said. Steve got his start in the ’80s as a local news reporter for the Associated Press in Washington in the 1980s. “Marion Barry was mayor — it doesn’t get any better than that,” he said between bites of Cobb salad. Then, he moved to Capitol Hill — “at the time of the Jim Wright scandal [the congressman resigned in 1989] and the end of Tip O’Neill’s term as Speaker.”
A decade later, he landed at USA Today as a defense correspondent, covering three secretaries of defense and military operations in several war zones like Haiti and the Balkans. He made headlines as the first reporter to cover a cruise missile launch from inside a B-52 bomber. When I asked Steve if he was an adrenaline junkie, he seemed amused and said simply, “I like to challenge myself.”
Steve was embedded with the U.S. Army during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and went on to cover the capture and trial of Saddam Hussein, reconstruction efforts, and the insurgency. In 2006, Komarow returned to the AP as deputy international editor in New York, overseeing journalists in more than 90 countries before moving to the Washington bureau. He also did a stint at Bloomberg News before landing at CQ Roll Call.
It was clear talking to Steve that he is very much the political news junkie who enjoys the digital “deep dive” CQ offers to its subscribers. Although you might not know it from the exhaustive media coverage of the Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls, “There is a lot of [other] serious stuff going on” in Washington and CQ Roll Call’s readers are looking for all the inside baseball intel they can get. “Our readers are professional people in the White House and Congress, federal agencies, lobbyists. They are very interested in process, policy and regulations. They are looking for a very specific level of detail. It’s our job to keep our eye on the ball.”
And so they do. Last summer, Congress was trying to pass an appropriations bill just after the Charleston, S.C., church shooting. “There had been several Democratic amendments and late one night, the Calvert Amendment from the Republicans came through that would have undone the ban [in the previous iterations] on the Confederate flag at cemeteries managed by the National Parks Service. No one caught it, but we did. It was pulled from the floor and there was an uproar on the Hill. After that they never passed another [appropriations bill].”
“Almost everything” is behind a paywall because, explained Steve, “Our subscribers are looking for an edge. We have to provide news and analysis they can’t get from other sources.” Gone are the days when hearings provided true “oh my god” moments, said Steve. “They’re scripted and more for show.” As for the information that comes out of Congress itself, “There’s a misconception that everything about Congress is online. It takes real work and a certain level of reporting to find out what’s really happening and give insight on what could happen next as opposed to what they tell you is happening. Congress is full of clues and we know the code.” The site also serves as a subscriber resource with lengthy profiles of every single member of Congress. The print magazine, CQ Weekly, serves as “a showcase for our reporters’ best work.”
Steve is expanding CQ Roll Call’s coverage of state news (“There’s much more being done at the state level than the federal level”) and is in the process of designing a new digital edition of the magazine. There are also podcasts on various topics available on iTunes. While the site is all about using the best technology to deliver the latest digital news, Steve believes strongly in accuracy over speed. “People pay for reliability and it’s our job to provide accurate accounts of what’s happening. That’s what the amateurs out there can’t do. We’re very much a gumshoe organization.” Next week, Steve will be making “a significant personnel announcement” that is sure to get people talking.
If you’re a reporter “who loves covering policy,” CQ Roll Call may be the place for you. Steve, who in his teenage years toiled as a butcher in a Westport, Conn., steakhouse, explained it this way: “You’ve got to love finding out how the sausage is made.” Reporters also have to be comfortable reading and interpreting data in the ream of reports out of Congress. “You’ve got to understand when someone is trying to bamboozle you.” And, of course, having a thick skin is absolutely essential. “Congress can be intimidating. I sometimes have to tell young reporters your job is to be the skunk at the picnic.”
That was the perfect segue to ask Steve what he thought about Donald Trump. He declined to offer his own opinions (“I’ve got to stay objective”), but said the genuine discontent among some voters has helped fuel his rise. Still, “It’s too early to make predictions. In three weeks, after Iowa and New Hampshire, things are going to look a lot different.” After watching an episode of The Good Wife, which made the Iowa caucus look a high school popularity contest (A silly story line had Chris Noth‘s character running for president) I asked Steve to explain its true significance. “Iowa is an institution, but it’s actually not a very good predictor [for the election’s outcome] but it might narrow the field some.”
No doubt things will only get more interesting in Washington as the election draws near. “Congress is in turmoil. The Republican party is divided and the Democrats on the Hill are unusually quiet,” said Steve as we finished up lunch. “There’s a lot of quirky people in Washington. We’re doing our best to be useful.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman amid a sea of suits
2. Harry Macklowe
3. New York Magazine publisher Larry Burstein and Maurie Perl
4. Jim Abernathy with Penske Media vice chairman Gerry Byrne
5. Catie Marron
6. Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield and blink and you missed him Andy Bergman
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia with Barbara Liberman
9. Lynn Nesbit and Kathy Lacey
11. Chris Taylor
12. Wenda Harris Millard
14. Keith Reinhard
15. New Criterion EIC James Panero (who I ‘Lunched’ with a while back) and wife Dara Mandle chatting about her upcoming 10th anniversary Poet’s Night on April 5 at the National Arts Club. James has a lengthy piece on the Metropolitan Museum of Art in The Wall Street Journal next week. Quite the busy media couple, no?
16. Discovery ID’s Henry Schleiff sporting his usual country club couture — Loved the yellow v-neck!
17. Two of my favorite Michael’s regulars: PR maven extraordinaire Judy Twersky who always connecting me to the most interesting collection of bold facers (Charles Spencer, Dennis Hof and Heidi Fleiss – bet you never thought you’d see those names in the same sentence!) and Susan Silver, the talented comedy writer and the female voice behind The Mary Tyler Moore show, Maude, The Bob Newhart Show and The Partridge Family. If you want have some laughs over lunch these are definitely two gals you should know.
18. Steve Komarow, Lisa Linden and yours truly
19. The ‘Two Joans’ — the fabulous producer Joan Gelman and the First Lady of radio Joan Hamburg who can be found on 77 WABC
21. Quest’s Chris Meigher and Peter Lyden
22. Barry Frey, who stopped by our table to ask Steve about Donald Trump’s latest stunt involving his feud publicity stunt with Fox News and PR princess Maury Rogoff
25. Tom Goodman
28. Bisila Bokoko
29. House Beautiful’s Kate Kelly Smith
81. Vicky Ward
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
Via The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone, it was revealed this afternoon that Bloomberg Politics Washington news editor Kathy Kiely has taken the ultimate stand. Concerned about limitations surrounding her ability to properly cover the political aspirations of boss Michael Bloomberg, she has tendered her resignation.
The first wave of reaction is, predictably, nothing but praise. Among those congratulating Kiely on her principled stand are the Boston Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan, PRI’s David Beard, AI Monitor correspondent Barbara Slavin, former colleagues Tom Lee and USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco.
— Jim O’Sullivan (@JOSreports) January 27, 2016
— David Beard (@dabeard) January 27, 2016
— Barbara Slavin (@barbaraslavin1) January 27, 2016
— Tom Lee (@tjl) January 27, 2016
— Robert Bianco (@BiancoRobert) January 27, 2016
After attending a luncheon during which she was presented with the sixth annual Visionary Leadership Award from the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, WuDunn gave a 4 p.m. afternoon Master’s Tea talk titled “A Path Appears: Why Should We Change the World?” From Yale News associate editor Susan Gonzalez’s solid summary:
One of the biggest challenges she faced reporting in China, WuDunn said, was that she and other reporters were constantly being followed by government agents.
“You have to be careful about who and where you are getting information from,” she said. “You constantly had to look around to see who was behind you. Sometimes it was just to scare us, to back us off, sometimes not. It was a huge psychological burden.”
At one point during the Tea discussion, a student asked how they could follow in her path. To read the answer from WuDunn, who was visiting campus as a Poynter Journalism Fellow, click here.
Hannah Gordon, a journalism and communications student at St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York, recently got a golden ticket of sorts. She was invited to come to New York and have her resume and clips reviewed by editor Richard Jones, a New York Times editor who directs the paper’s Student Journalism Institute.
Gordon has long dreamed of working at the paper. But as she writes post-visit, the quiet newsroom vibe and other factors changed her mind:
Finally, I met Margaret Sullivan, the public editor. She’s from my hometown, Lackawanna, and offered advice and other contacts for me to network with. Then she asked how I liked the Times – and I was honest.
I told her I was disappointed… I did not find the bustling, comradery-filled newsroom I imagined. My visit made me realize it was sterile journalism. While I longed to have my name and picture on its wall of Pulitzer Prize winners, I knew I wouldn’t fit in to the culture there. I knew I wouldn’t be happy in a place where I couldn’t fully express my creativity and quirkiness while still producing solid copy and respectable work every day. My talk with Ms. Sullivan helped me realize that.
Gordon will not lack for other options. As a profile this week on her school’s website outlines, she has written for The Buffalo News, USA Today and has the kind of initiative required today in the media field:
“Hannah stops in to see me at the start of every semester to tell me what she’s been doing over the break. It is such a delight because she has so much energy, enthusiasm and passion for her work,” said Dr. Pauline Hoffmann, dean of the Jandoli School. “She studied for a semester in the Czech Republic. When she returned, she pitched the idea of telling stories of her time there to The Buffalo News. What a pleasure to open the paper and see stories I know were pitched by her.”
Gordon is set to graduate in December, a semester ahead of her student cycle’s normal schedule. And of course, she could always changed her mind vis-a-vis the NYT.
[Photo via: sbu.edu]
Beyond the twenty nominated actors at this year’s Oscars, there is a glimmer of #OscarsSoDiverse in the form of Best Documentary Feature nominee What Happened, Miss Simone?
The acclaimed Netflix documentary, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, could very well be a punchline in host Chris Rock‘s opening monologue. As director Liz Garbus explains in the current issue of Deadline’s AwardsLine, the film owes its title to another African-American trailblazer:
“We were searching for a very long time for a title for the film. I looked at all the great writers who had written about Nina. Ossie Davis read a brilliant eulogy at her funeral. And then finally a wonderful researcher came upon this fabulous 1970s article from Redbook that Maya Angelou had written, and in that article I found the title. That was very late in the process; we were down to the wire. They were on opposite ends of the decision-making pole, but because the opening scene was like a question – and Dr. Angelou was asking the same question – it seemed to fit.”
The category favorite is Amy, the documentary about the late Amy Winehouse. To view the November 1970 Redbook article in question, click here. The key excerpt:
Her sinewy fingers knit dark patterns in the air as she explains that history, Black history, lives for her in the urgency of today, the past being the very alive parent of the future.
A listener, enraptured, is reluctant to interrupt this voice that has whispered “love” into thousands of ears and shouted “revolution” into the hearts of millions.
But what happened, Miss Simone? Specifically, what happened to your big eyes that quickly veil to hide the loneliness? To your voice that has so little tenderness, yet flows with your commitment to the battle of Life? What happened to you?
Rolling Stone has launched its first podcast — Rolling Stone Music Now. The show is hosted by executive editor Nathan Brackett and features music news, interviews with musicians and more.
Regular Rolling Stone writers and editors joining Brackett on Music Now include Brian Hiatt, Rob Sheffield, David Fricke, Brittany Spanos, Simon Vozick-Levinson, Andy Greene, Josh Eells, Jason Newman, Patrick Doyle and Kory Grow.
You can subscribe to Music Now via the iTunes store.
As Hugh Ryan reports for NPR, the magazine is aimed at gay black men. Each issue has a limited print run of 400 issues:
The magazine began as a personal project between Khary Septh and Kyle Banks, who are boyfriends in real life. They wanted to create a photographic collage of a group of their queer black friends, all creative professionals working in various industries around New York City whose aesthetic influence, The Tenth’s founders say, can be found everywhere from Beyonce’s looks to FK Twig’s moves.
Septh and Banks wanted their collage to spotlight individuals whose influence is almost always behind the scenes, but they never thought it would go beyond the walls of their Brooklyn loft.
Ryan goes on to detail the struggle of The Tenth to find advertiser support. An exception is The Ace Hotel, which in Los Angeles hosted the launch event this month for Volume 3.
President-elect Michael Bloomberg (we kid!) is worth roughly $49 billion. That’s according to Recode, which claims to have a more accurate number than Forbes, which said Bloomberg was worth a measly $35.6 billion.
“The former New York City mayor’s wealth is almost entirely sewn up in his company, which means he’s worth whatever his company is worth, or what someone might be willing to pay for it,” explained Recode.
Because Forbes’ number is based on a look at Bloomberg LP in 2013, the $49 billion mark is likely more accurate. We’re glad this is all cleared up.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowksi, one of the most well-regarded NBA reporters, plans to launch his NBA site The Vertical this Friday, Jan. 29.
In an interview with Katie Nolan, Wojnarowski gave his fans plenty of details about the new site.
The Vertical will debut with a behind-the-scenes look at an NBA team as it prepares for a regular season game. The piece will be penned by Michael Lee, who previously worked for The Washington Post. Chris Mannix, formerly of Sports Illustrated, will host The Vertical’s video features and JJ Redick, currently of The LA Clippers, will host a weekly podcast. That’s in addition to The Vertical podcast, hosted by Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski has been with Yahoo since 2006. The New York Post reported that he recently signed a four-year contract extension with Yahoo that will pay him roughly $2 million a year.