Blog Posts by Michael Calderone

  • Associated Press monitors CNN since dropping service

    CNN and AP in disputecnnCNN Worldwide President Jim Walton told staff in June that the network was dropping its contract with the Associated Press and would provide its audience with content that is "distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own."

    But the AP has been closely monitoring CNN's coverage and claims that the network routinely uses the wire service's reporting, according to internal memos obtained by The Upshot. CNN, the memo states, "continues to rely heavily, and apparently systematically, on AP breaking news, exclusive enterprise and in-depth reporting." (You can read the first AP memo here).

    CNN, which had a relationship with the AP since the network's founding in 1980, is also now trying to sell its own service, CNN Wire. However, CNN isn't completely alone when it comes to news gathering: The network recently struck a deal with Reuters to supplement its coverage when needed. (Disclosure: Yahoo! News is an AP partner).

    "We have not missed any major news story since discontinuing the use of the AP," said CNN spokesman Nigel Pritchard. "This has been a seamless transition for us. CNN is proud of the outstanding and original journalism of recent months, and continues to look to the future, not the past."

    AP spokesman Paul Colford, while not commenting on the memos, summed up the news organization's problem with the network's coverage. "CNN continues to make extensive use of AP's original reporting, even though they no longer pay us for it," Colford said. "We are monitoring it very closely, and are considering our options."

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  • Rush Limbaugh falls for Wikipedia hoax

    Limbaugh falls for Wikipedia hoaxbearJudge Roger Vinson is expected to allow a Florida lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of health care legislation to proceed. Rush Limbaugh got that part correct.

    However, the New York Times reports that the conservative talk-radio host (and health care reform critic) wasn't right on a few personal details about Vinson, who is a senior judge on the Federal District Court in Pensacola. Contrary to what Limbaugh said on air, the paper notes that Vinson isn't an "avid hunter and amateur taxidermist who once killed three brown bears and mounted their heads over his courtroom door to 'instill the fear of God into the accused.' "

    [Photos: Rush Limbaugh's swanky fourth wedding]

    Those were a few of the details added to — and since removed from — Vinson's Wikipedia page. The Wikipedia user "Pensacolian" included the bear-killing anecdote earlier this week and attributed the bogus information to the Pensacola News Journal.

    "I've never killed a bear, and I'm not Davy Crockett," Vinson said Wednesday.

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  • Egyptian paper doctors photo of Mubarak and Obama

    Egyptian paper doctors Mubarak photomubarak2

    Al-Ahram, the state-run newspaper in Egypt, recently ran the above photo of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leading President Obama and other world leaders during Middle East peace talks at the White House.

    But that's not quite how the walk to the East Room played out. The BBC reports that Al-Ahram apparently had some fun with Photoshop, and placed the country's leader up front.

    You can see the original Getty photo below.

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  • Newsweek departures continue: Hosenball heads to Reuters

    Newsweek keeps losing reportersnewsweekcoverInvestigative reporter Mark Hosenball becomes the latest high-profile Newsweek staffer to leave since the magazine was sold last month. He's joining Reuters as a money and politics reporter after 17 years with the weekly magazine.

    "I'm delighted to be given the opportunity to report in depth for one of the world's most important and respected media organizations on a subject that's at the heart of American politics," Hosenball told The Upshot.

    Hosenball, when asked if the sale played a role in his departure, said "it's hard to deny that that was at least some factor in my thinking." Still, Hosenball said he thanks Newsweek "enormously for many years of extremely enjoyable and productive journalism."

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  • O’Donnell, conservative bloggers fire back at Rove

    Karl Rove takes heat from the rightrovecarvilleKarl Rove is used to riling up liberal hosts like Keith Olbermann. Now he's being compared to them.

    "I just finished watching Karl Rove trashing GOP Senate primary winner Christine O'Donnell," wrote conservative author and blogger Michelle Malkin. "It was on Sean Hannity's FNC show. Might as well have been Olbermann on MSNBC."

    Malkin is just one of the conservative commentators and bloggers taking shots now at Rove, the former top Bush adviser who is now a Fox News political analyst.

    O'Donnell herself responded Wednesday on "Good Morning America."

    "Everything that he is saying is un-factual," O'Donnell said. "And it's a shame, because he is the same so-called political guru that predicted I wasn't going to win. And we won and we won big. And again he is eating some humble pie and he is just trying to restore his reputation."

    So how did Rove get in so much trouble on the right?

    He certainly didn't waste time in starting to unload on O'Donnell, who had just been declared the winner over Republican U.S. Rep. (and establishment favorite) Mike Castle. Rove spoke of her "own checkered background," and said she has "little track record" and "serious character issues." (You can watch  Rove's appearance on Hannity's show below.)

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  • Candidates get over $460,000 from journalists, media pros

    DNC-donor Anna Wintour and Desiree RogerswintourAnna Wintour hasn't  kept her political allegiances hidden. In July, the Vogue editor made headlines by having President Obama over to her Manhattan townhouse for a $30,000-a-head Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

    But Wintour has done more for the party than simply host a fundraiser. Last year, she gave a little over $30,000 to the DNC  and another $2,000 to New York Congressman Timothy Bishop.

    The Center for Responsive Politics calls attention to donations from Wintour and 234 other self-identified journalists or media professionals in its analysis of the 2010 election cycle. Candidates, or party committees, took in more than $469,900 from individual media donors over the past two years.

    Several news organizations prohibit both journalists and employees from donating to political campaigns, including the Associated Press, New York Times, and Reuters. The center's list doesn't include editorial staffers from publications like the Times or the Washington Post, but does cite individuals on the business side of those news organizations.

    Clearly, political reporters from nonpartisan media outlets — rather than, say, staffers in a magazine's marketing department — would run up against the most glaring ethical issues by making contributions to candidates. However, the 235-person list doesn't include any 2010 campaign reporters.

    But journalists from partisan media outlets or lifestyle magazines aren't always bound by strict rules concerning donations, and some justify giving to candidates of their choice.

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  • Famed civil rights photographer doubled as FBI informant

    Photographer Ernest Withers also FBI informantwithersErnest Withers, a revered civil rights photographer who captured iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr. on the night King was shot in Memphis, actually played a different role the day before: FBI informant.

    The Commercial Appeal, a newspaper in Memphis, just completed a two-year investigation that reveals how Withers provided the FBI with details about where King was staying and information on his meeting with black militants on April 3, 1968 — the day before the assassination.

    Withers' spying, however, extends far beyond the slain civil rights leader.

    The Commercial Appeal found FBI reports indicating that Withers collaborated for years with FBI agents monitoring the civil rights movement. Those FBI reports, the paper's Marc Perrusquia writes, "reveal a covert, previously unknown side of the beloved photographer."

    Withers is certainly beloved in Memphis, where a namesake museum is scheduled to open next month. It remains to be seen how these new revelations may affect Withers' legacy.

    The Memphis paper reports how Withers' spying assisted J. Edgar Hoover, the controversial FBI director who long covertly monitored King and others considered radicals. Withers, the paper notes, gave the bureau a "front-row seat to the civil rights and anti-war movements in Memphis." In the 1960s, he provided information on everyone from the Invaders — a militant black power group — to church leaders, politicians and business owners. Experts believe the FBI paid Withers for spying.

    D'Army Bailey, a retired Memphis judge and former activist once watched by the FBI, told the paper that such covert tactics are "something you would expect in the most ruthless, totalitarian regimes."

    [Related: White House defends MLK quote on Oval Office rug]

    Digging into the late Withers' past wasn't easy. The Commercial Appeal's scoop proved to be the result of shoe-leather reporting, determination and a bit of luck.

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  • Islam controversies dominate week of Sept. 11

    Protest at Islamic center and mosquepark51protestTwo Islam-related controversies — an abortive Quran-burning and a dispute over a proposed community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan — combined to lead the news cycle during the week of Sept. 11, according to a study from Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

    Terry Jones, the fringe Florida pastor at the center of the Quran-burning controversy, became a regular on network morning shows last week before deciding Saturday not to go through with his stunt. Several national media figures spoke out against lavishing unwarranted attention on Jones, but that didn't stop reporters from flocking to Gainesville -- or their networks from carrying his Thursday news conference live.

    The Jones ordeal — included by Pew under the category "anti-Muslim sentiment" — was the second-biggest story across all media platforms, filling 15 percent of the news hole from Sept. 6 to 12. The fourth-biggest story that week was the debate over construction near ground zero, which clocked in at 4 percent. Combined, the two controversies topped even "the economy," which accounted for 17 percent of news coverage across television, online and newspapers.

    But looking at just television news, the anti-Islam storyline led both broadcast (21 percent) and cable networks (24 percent).

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  • Washington Post to start running front-page ads

    Washington Post now selling front page adswapoboxWashington Post readers in the D.C.-metro area probably noticed a Capital One-sponsored advertisement wrapped around Sunday's paper. The removable wrap, which covered half the front page and all of the back page, was an advertising first for the newspaper.

    But there's another first coming this Sunday: The Post will run a display ad on the bottom of the actual front page.

    "A number of other newspapers have done it as well," said Wendy Evans, the Post's vice president of advertising. "It's not new in the industry, but new to us."

    Indeed, the Post has been something of a holdout from the general embrace of front-page newspaper ads, as advertising revenue has sharply dropped for all print publications in recent years. Several major newspapers now run front-page display ads, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times — with the latter paper starting to run front-page ads just last year.

    Newspaper executives and editors pride themselves on maintaining a church/state wall between editorial and advertising and their traditional reluctance to sell front page ads stemmed largely from the sense that they appeared to broach that wall — sending the message to readers and advertisers that the front page, which editors have long viewed as their own sacrosanct turf,  would essentially be up for sale. But harsh economic struggles have forced newspaper companies to get more creative when it comes to generating revenue. And with its inaugural front-page ad scheduled for next Sunday, the Post is showing that it's no exception.

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  • Americans spending more time consuming news, study finds

    Steve Jobs unveils the iPadjobsipadFewer Americans may be buying daily newspapers or watching a network newscast, but that doesn't mean interest in the news is dropping.

    In fact, a new Pew study finds that Americans are spending an average of 57 minutes each day consuming news from traditional media outlets like TV, radio or newspapers — the same amount as a decade ago. What's changed is that Americans now spend an additional 13 minutes consuming news online, bringing the daily total up to 70 minutes.

    The biennial study from Pew's Research Center for People & the Press notes that is "one of the highest totals on this measure since the mid-1990s and it does not take into account time spent getting news on cell phones or other digital devices." So it can be expected that the total would exceed 70 minutes when factoring all the other ways people consume news today.

    Increasingly, news consumers look for up-to-the-minute information online. But the study finds that "instead of replacing traditional news platforms, Americans are increasingly integrating new technologies into their news consumption habits."

    For instance, newspapers remain a vital source of news even as print consumption drops. Now, just over a quarter of Americans still read a print newspaper — down from 30 percent in 2008 and 38 percent in 2006. Still, younger readers — who may have never dropped change into a newspaper box — continue flocking to websites like Indeed, the Times boasts the youngest newspaper audience online, with more than a third of its readers under 30.

    Times executives will probably consider such statistics as the paper prepares to launch a metered pay model that could erode online readership. In addition, the study notes that nearly "one-in-ten of internet users younger than 30 (8%) — and 6% of all internet users — volunteer the New York Times when asked to name a few of the websites they use most often to get news and information."

    The study also looks beyond consumption across platforms and into how ideological viewpoints shape where people look for news.  Political views appear to have the greatest effect when it comes to frequently partisan cable news, a platform where 39 percent of Americans regularly get news.

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