New York Times | Zach Everson

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Facebook is not media’s friend

Facebook unfriend adFrom John Herrman’s “Media Websites Battle Faltering Ad Revenue and Traffic” in the New York Times:

But now, there is a realization that something more profound has happened: The transition from an Internet of websites to an Internet of mobile apps and social platforms, and Facebook in particular, is no longer coming — it is here.

It is a systemic change that is leaving many publishers unsure of how they will make money.

Also, this:

Facebook’s users seem to be following Mr. [Mark] Zuckerberg’s lead. NewsWhip, which tracks how publishers are performing across major Internet platforms, says the rate at which links to outside websites are shared on Facebook, compared with videos and Instant Articles, has declined.

Facebook’s algorithm determines what posts users see. And you can’t share a post if you can’t see it. It’s quite likely that, by design, Facebook’s algorithm serves up more videos and Instant Articles than links to external websites. So of course those forms of content get shared more often.

Facebook needs media outlets though, both for their advertising dollars and the content they pump into its ecosystem. Publishers should refuse to advertise or post until Facebook agrees to tweak its algorithm to put their content in front of more users. (Of course this approach requires media companies to work together.)

Photo: Giphy

American Pharoah will win the Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown. Unless he does not.

Belmont Stakes logoThe Belmont Stakes is today. And, if you’re bothering to read this article, you probably already know that if American Pharoah wins, he’ll be horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978. The race is at 6:50 p.m. EDT on NBC. (But coverage of today’s earlier races at Belmont Park has already started on NBC Sports Live Extra, and you should watch it as soon as Barcelona wins this afternoon’s UEFA Champions League finale.)

Here’s my breakdown of the field.

1. Mubtaahij

Morning line odds (which are not an expert’s thoughts on a horse’s chances of winning, but rather a prediction of how the public will bet on the race—the actual odds depend on how the public does bet and, as such, change right up until the race goes off)—10/1

This horse has mostly run in Europe, making it hard to compare his performance to the rest of the field, who have all competed exclusively in the United States. His one U.S. race was the Kentucky Derby where he finished an unimpressive eighth out of a field of 18. (Yes, an eighth place finish can be admirable, depending on how it’s achieved—like if a horse got bumped or tripped but came back. Mubtaahij doesn’t have such an excuse.)

Mubtaahij, however, does have the best breeding for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes—the longest distances these horses have yet, and probably ever will, race. His sire’s (father’s) average winning distance was 8.7 furlongs (eight furlongs to a mile) and his dam’s sire’s (mother’s father’s) was 8.8. Most of the sire’s and dam’s sires of horses in this field had averages winning distances in the seven furlong range.

Fun fact: His owner is a first cousin of the ruler of Dubai.

Verdict: A possibility for third or fourth place, meaning consider him in trifectas (pick the top three finishers) or superfectas (pick the top four finishers).


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Prediction: editor peddling #TakeoutGate tees will be punished more harshly than plagiarist Malcolm Gladwell or sycophant Maureen Dowd

Three journalism scandals from the past two days:

Care to guess which of the three is more likely to get punished? (Hint: It’s the writer who’s not a brand name.)

  • executive director for digital strategy and operations Corey Gottlieb sent told BostInno, “ can confirm that Hilary designed the tee shirt. We certainly don’t condone this type of action and we are dealing with it internally.”
  • Regarding Gladwell, New Yorker editor David Remnick told Capital New York, “The issue is not really about Malcolm. And, to be clear, it isn’t about plagiarism. The issue is an ongoing editorial challenge known to writers and editors everywhere—to what extent should a piece of journalism, which doesn’t have the apparatus of academic footnotes, credit secondary sources? … We try to make judgments about source attribution with fairness and in good faith. But we don’t always get it right.” Executive summary: Gladwell made a mistake, but it’s one all writers make.
  • It appears New York Times brass is yet to comment on Dowd’s reported transgression. In 2012, New York Times writer Mark Mazzetti forwarded one of Dowd’s columns to a CIA spokesperson prior to its publication. Mazetti still writes for the New York Times.

Our bad media indeed.

Get an exclusive inside look at what writers never (rarely?) let you see

“The New York Times” recently launched Times Insider, which “takes readers behind the scenes of the New York Times newsroom to show how its journalists around the globe work and how decisions are made.”

Seeing how the “Times” is this blog’s chief competitor, I’m going to try to one up it.

Today, I’m working on the first draft of an article about my recent visit to Boston (I was born there and grew up 15 miles north of the city, but haven’t had much opportunity to explore the city since). It’s part of MapQuest’s 99 Summer Travel Quests series. While traveling around Boston, I shared the experience in real-time via Tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook updates. And now I’m letting anyone watch me write the article. Seriously:

Those links will be live from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT today. A couple caveats:

  • If I’m not there, assume I’m in the restroom and/or getting a snack, and will be back shortly.
  • You might see big blocks of text pasted into the document. I’m not cheating. Those are notes and I’m copying them from iA Writer, the app I typically use for writing an article.

Unintentional comedy at its best: Racehorse owner profiles

From The New York Times’s “Orb Finds Joy in Mudville”:

Orb is owned by Ogden Mills Phipps and Stuart Janney III, who are first cousins and prominent members of the Phipps racing empire. Six generations of the family have been involved in the sport, stockpiling victories in the biggest races, all except the Kentucky Derby. Easy Goer finished second for the Phippses and McGaughey behind Sunday Silence in 1989. Throughout the lead-up to the race, the family insisted they did not have Derby fever. But a glance at Phipps during the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” showed he might have had more emotion inside than he was letting on.

Afterward, the owners gave credit where it was due, to [Shug] McGaughey, who has trained for the family since 1986 and has been a fixture in his barn throughout the week, carefully watching over his charge and getting his hand dirty in the process.

“This is a time to reflect on our terrific trainer,” Janney said. “I certainly hoped it would be his time, and it was.”

Phipps, who is known as Dinny, quickly chimed in, “Well, he’s right about that.”

Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is making big progress

Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death PenaltyToday’s New York Times published an editorial titled “Kentucky’s Egregious Death Penalty,” calling on the state to abolish capital punishment.

Since 2009, I’ve overseen the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty‘s online presence and am on its board of directors. Here are KCADP’s blog posts that highlight Kentucky’s progress towards eliminating capital punishment, beginning with the American Bar Association’s findings from its two-year assessment of the state’s death penalty, which it released in December 2011:

Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Recommended Internet consumption: If Mitt Romney was so good for Mass., why is Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) bragging about his Obama ties?

Pulpo gallega at Louisville's Seviche A Latin RestaurantSalman Rushdie, The New Yorker, “The Disappeared: How the fatwa changed a writer’s life”—”‘You must never write history,’ he [Arthur Hibbert] said, ‘until you can hear the people speak.’ He [Rushdie] thought about that for years, and it came to feel like a valuable guiding principle for fiction as well. If you didn’t have a sense of how people spoke, you didn’t know them well enough, and so you couldn’t—you shouldn’t—tell their story.” Read more.

Katharine Q. Seelye, The New York Times, “Hitching His Wagon to Obama’s Star: a Republican Senator”—”President Obama is appearing in yet another television commercial in the Massachusetts Senate race. This time, it was not produced by the Democratic candidate, Elizabeth Warren, but by the Republican, Senator Scott P. Brown…That approach would be unusual enough for a Democrat in a year in which many feel the need to distance themselves from the administration, but it is virtually unfathomable for a Republican. That both candidates are trying to leverage their ties to Mr. Obama underscores how popular the president is here and how unpopular his rival, Mitt Romney, is, even though he once served as the state’s governor. Mr. Obama is expected to carry Massachusetts overwhelmingly in November.” Read more.

Neetzan Zimmerman, Gawker, “Restaurant Owner Creates Fake Sex Site Profile for Patron Who Posted Negative Review Online”—”An Ottawa restaurateur was found guilty yesterday of defamatory libel after she created a phony sex site profile for a patron who wrote a negative review of her restaurant. Marisol Simoes, co-owner of two dining establishments in the city’s ByWard Market district, also impersonated customer Elayna Katz in a raunchy email sent to Katz’s superiors at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. ‘I am open to anything — couples, threesomes and group sex,’ Simoes wrote in the email, which she signed in Katz’s name. ‘Am especially into transsexuals and transgenders (being one myself). I am…a tiger in the bedroom.'” Read more.

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