VIDEO LOSS

a blog about politics, the media, and culture by tom bunting, a Real Journalist

Media

Editor At Newsweek Demoted After Trump Thanksgiving Article Mishap

Editor At Newsweek Demoted After Trump Thanksgiving Article Mishap

Editor At Newsweek Demoted After Trump Thanksgiving Article Mishap

Introducing Flags

Introducing Flags

Introducing Flags

Starting today, you’ll start to see a new post type appear on Video Loss: Flags. Flags are meant to be a blogroll style link to articles that I find interesting or noteworthy. Unlike link posts, they only contain a few comments from me, with an emphasis on linking readers back to the original source article.

As I’ve said before, my goal with Video Loss has always been to create a evolving journal and guide to this bizarre, fascinating, and revolutionary time in American media, politics, and culture. To fit flags into this metaphor, imagine them as newspaper clippings glued into a journal.

Flags are part of a larger set of backend and visual updates coming to Video Loss over the next few days. More information on that will be coming soon!

Introducing Flags

Starting today, you’ll start to see a new post type appear on Video Loss: Flags. Flags are meant to be a blogroll style link to articles that I find interesting or noteworthy. Unlike link posts, they only contain a few comments from me, with an emphasis on linking readers back to the original source article.

As I’ve said before, my goal with Video Loss has always been to create a evolving journal and guide to this bizarre, fascinating, and revolutionary time in American media, politics, and culture. To fit flags into this metaphor, imagine them as newspaper clippings glued into a journal.

Flags are part of a larger set of backend and visual updates coming to Video Loss over the next few days. More information on that will be coming soon!

Correction for “Hillary Clinton’s Gabbard-Russia comment shows misinformation can fester anywhere”

Correction for “Hillary Clinton’s Gabbard-Russia comment shows misinformation can fester anywhere”

Correction for “Hillary Clinton’s Gabbard-Russia comment shows misinformation can fester anywhere”

Last week, I published an article criticizing Hillary Clinton’s recent comments about Tulsi Gabbard and Russia. The crux on my piece hinged on the following statement by Clinton on the Campaign HQ podcast: 

They are also going to do third-party again, and I’m not making any predictions but I think they got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.

Because Clinton was previously talking about Russian interference in the 2016 election—and because she then spoke again about the Russians in the next sentence—I assumed that the initial “they” in this statement was Russia. This assumption was also shared by the New York Times, Politico, and the majority of mainstream news websites that covered the comments. (The host of the podcast, David Plouffe, also portrays her statement this way at the end of the show.)

However, according to Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill, the former Secretary of State was referring to the Republicans. As in: 

The Republicans are also going to do third-party again, and I’m not making any predictions but I think they got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.

It’s linguistically sloppy on Clinton’s part, and I’d argue that she should be more specific when talking about allegations of this magnitude. However, I have no reason to believe Merrill is lying, and as such I’ve taken the article down. 

I apologize to my readers for contributing to a news cycle that was based partially on a misinterpreted statement. I will try to make sure an error like this doesn’t happen again. Misinformation can certainly fester anywhere. 

Correction for “Hillary Clinton’s Gabbard-Russia comment shows misinformation can fester anywhere”

Last week, I published an article criticizing Hillary Clinton’s recent comments about Tulsi Gabbard and Russia. The crux on my piece hinged on the following statement by Clinton on the Campaign HQ podcast: 

They are also going to do third-party again, and I’m not making any predictions but I think they got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.

Because Clinton was previously talking about Russian interference in the 2016 election—and because she then spoke again about the Russians in the next sentence—I assumed that the initial “they” in this statement was Russia. This assumption was also shared by the New York Times, Politico, and the majority of mainstream news websites that covered the comments. (The host of the podcast, David Plouffe, also portrays her statement this way at the end of the show.)

However, according to Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill, the former Secretary of State was referring to the Republicans. As in: 

The Republicans are also going to do third-party again, and I’m not making any predictions but I think they got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.

It’s linguistically sloppy on Clinton’s part, and I’d argue that she should be more specific when talking about allegations of this magnitude. However, I have no reason to believe Merrill is lying, and as such I’ve taken the article down. 

I apologize to my readers for contributing to a news cycle that was based partially on a misinterpreted statement. I will try to make sure an error like this doesn’t happen again. Misinformation can certainly fester anywhere. 

Is USA Today’s print edition headed for the sunset as GateHouse and Gannett merge? Signs point to yes.

Is USA Today’s print edition headed for the sunset as GateHouse and Gannett merge? Signs point to yes.

Shepard Smith leaving Fox News is only a big deal for media observers

The battle for Fox News’ soul was never really a war

Shepard Smith leaving Fox News is only a big deal for media observers

Shepard Smith leaving Fox News is only a big deal for media observers

HBO is bringing back that boring Axios news show

HBO is bringing back that boring Axios news show

HBO is bringing back that boring Axios news show

In a relatively surprising bit of news, HBO announced yesterday that Axios on HBO will be returning for two more seasons. The deal weds the attention-deficit-disordered news source and the increasingly zombified prestige cable channel together past the 2020 election. 

You might remember that HBO killed their other outside-partner news show, VICE News Tonight, earlier this year. That show—which was much better produced and infinitely more useful journalistically—cost a lot to make and didn’t get a ton of attention. Comparatively, Axios on HBO, is cheaper, breaks way more mainstream news, and ties HBO to one of the few online media brand that isn’t currently on fire

A true shame, but it’s really all our faults for expecting more from our monolithic content providers. 

HBO is bringing back that boring Axios news show

In a relatively surprising bit of news, HBO announced yesterday that Axios on HBO will be returning for two more seasons. The deal weds the attention-deficit-disordered news source and the increasingly zombified prestige cable channel together past the 2020 election. 

You might remember that HBO killed their other outside-partner news show, VICE News Tonight, earlier this year. That show—which was much better produced and infinitely more useful journalistically—cost a lot to make and didn’t get a ton of attention. Comparatively, Axios on HBO, is cheaper, breaks way more mainstream news, and ties HBO to one of the few online media brand that isn’t currently on fire

A true shame, but it’s really all our faults for expecting more from our monolithic content providers. 

Vice News Sells Spotify Three Podcast Series

Vice News Sells Spotify Three Podcast Series

Vice News Sells Spotify Three Podcast Series
Vice News Sells Spotify Three Podcast Series

Elizabeth Warren is now leading the 2020 polls

Elizabeth Warren is now leading the 2020 polls

Elizabeth Warren is now leading the 2020 polls
Elizabeth Warren is now leading the 2020 polls

Video Loss Programming Note 10/5/19

Video Loss Programming Note 10/5/19

Video Loss Programming Note 10/5/19

After a bit of a personal life hiatus, I’m back! Video Loss is in a somewhat workable state now, and during the hiatus I launched a couple of projects I’d been meaning to finish. The first one, a podcast about anxiety that I made last fall, is now available. I’ve got another one that I’m putting the finishing touches on. It should be up this week.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping to start posting daily on here again. With all the crazy media mergers happening, the specter of impeachment, and an increasingly contested primary, there’s plenty to talk about. Hopefully I can add to the conversations already happening.

I’m feeling good, it’s nice to feel like the backend is built up enough so that I can really focus on the content itself.

Video Loss Programming Note 10/5/19

After a bit of a personal life hiatus, I’m back! Video Loss is in a somewhat workable state now, and during the hiatus I launched a couple of projects I’d been meaning to finish. The first one, a podcast about anxiety that I made last fall, is now available. I’ve got another one that I’m putting the finishing touches on. It should be up this week.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping to start posting daily on here again. With all the crazy media mergers happening, the specter of impeachment, and an increasingly contested primary, there’s plenty to talk about. Hopefully I can add to the conversations already happening.

I’m feeling good, it’s nice to feel like the backend is built up enough so that I can really focus on the content itself.

The merits of The Circus, a show for a broken Washington

The merits of The Circus, a show for a broken Washington

The merits of The Circus, a show for a broken Washington
The merits of The Circus, a show for a broken Washington

New York Media and Vox desperately want you to think their merger is different

Choreographed rollouts, secrecy, and desperate insecurity define what could be the first Good Media Deal of 2019

New York Media and Vox desperately want you to think their merger is different

New York Media and Vox desperately want you to think their merger is different

Vice News’ post-HBO future comes into focus

Vice News’ post-HBO future comes into focus

Vice News’ post-HBO future comes into focus


Yesterday, Showtime announced that it was picking up Vice’s weekly docuseries, which originally aired on HBO before getting cancelled earlier this year. Despite middling early reviews when it premiered in 2013, the newsmagazine went on to win multiple Emmys throughout its run. The 13-episode seventh season will premiere on Showtime next spring.

A few months after its breakup with its main distributor HBO, Vice is realigning its news division with projects produced with both external partners and other divisions within the company.

  1. This new show on Showtime, which will be a weekly newsmagazine that consists of one to two documentary-style segments an episode.
  2. Vice News Tonight’s relaunch on Vice’s own cable channel Viceland. Vice says it will premiere “soon”, and an absolutely bonkers story from New York Magazine reports that it will cover Viceland’s entire three hour prime time lineup. (The HBO iteration lasted less than a half hour most nights.)
  3. Vice News Dot Com, which recently (and quietly!) got folded into the Vice Dot Com mothership. While Vice News’ content now exists alongside Vice’s other verticals, it continues to expand its original reporting efforts and is in the midst of aggressively staffing up for the 2020 election.
  4. A still unannounced project with Hulu. Originally this show was promoted by Vice leadership to staff as a replacement project for the newsmagazine. An official announcement never came after initial leaks in February, although that recent New York Magazine article confirmed the show was still coming. Presumably, it would be well into production by now. Except an announcement soon.

As a certified Vice News Tonight Stan, this new strategy gives me some amount of optimism. Relying on multiple partners for funding while building out their own internal platforms seems like a winning strategy for a media company with a large audience but shaky financial standing in 2019. While Showtime and Hulu lack the prestige of HBO, they certainly aren’t as unreliable as, say, a Facebook or Twitter. And I’ve been mostly encouraged by Vice’s efforts to rebuild their digital operations under Katie Drummond. (The amount of talent heading to Vice right now is pretty wild.)

The real open question is the show on Viceland. Moving from half an hour to three hours a night without a substantial investment into building the kind of team needed to support that jump is insane. In fact, Vice News Tonight seems to be doing the opposite; star reporters Arielle Duhaime-Ross and Elle Reece have jumped ship to Vox and CNN respectively. (Reeve’s departure is especially painful; her reporting on Charleston was VNT’s one real breakout moment.) New York reports that the expanded lineup may lean heavily into talking heads and roundtables, an easy way to fill up time but an approach vastly less interesting than the old HBO show. All of this is also happening on Viceland, which is (somehow) profitable but completely inconsequential in every other way.

A last note on what this may mean for Vice’s future: an item in Vanity Fair from earlier this summer raised the idea of a CBS/Viacom buyout of Vice. Apparently, Nancy Dubuc (Vice’s new CEO) was immensely interested in the proposition, as were some forces over at CBS, including Shari Redstone. Someone uninterested in the idea was historic Vice skeptic Bob Bakish, the current CEO of Viacom and the incoming leader of a merged CBS-Viacom. That deal hasn’t closed yet, but CBS’s pickup of Vice on Showtime may suggest a newfound willingness on Bakish’s part. At the very least, it means that Dubuc and her New Vice still have supporters at CBS.


Vice News’ post-HBO future comes into focus


Yesterday, Showtime announced that it was picking up Vice’s weekly docuseries, which originally aired on HBO before getting cancelled earlier this year. Despite middling early reviews when it premiered in 2013, the newsmagazine went on to win multiple Emmys throughout its run. The 13-episode seventh season will premiere on Showtime next spring.

A few months after its breakup with its main distributor HBO, Vice is realigning its news division with projects produced with both external partners and other divisions within the company.

  1. This new show on Showtime, which will be a weekly newsmagazine that consists of one to two documentary-style segments an episode.
  2. Vice News Tonight’s relaunch on Vice’s own cable channel Viceland. Vice says it will premiere “soon”, and an absolutely bonkers story from New York Magazine reports that it will cover Viceland’s entire three hour prime time lineup. (The HBO iteration lasted less than a half hour most nights.)
  3. Vice News Dot Com, which recently (and quietly!) got folded into the Vice Dot Com mothership. While Vice News’ content now exists alongside Vice’s other verticals, it continues to expand its original reporting efforts and is in the midst of aggressively staffing up for the 2020 election.
  4. A still unannounced project with Hulu. Originally this show was promoted by Vice leadership to staff as a replacement project for the newsmagazine. An official announcement never came after initial leaks in February, although that recent New York Magazine article confirmed the show was still coming. Presumably, it would be well into production by now. Except an announcement soon.

As a certified Vice News Tonight Stan, this new strategy gives me some amount of optimism. Relying on multiple partners for funding while building out their own internal platforms seems like a winning strategy for a media company with a large audience but shaky financial standing in 2019. While Showtime and Hulu lack the prestige of HBO, they certainly aren’t as unreliable as, say, a Facebook or Twitter. And I’ve been mostly encouraged by Vice’s efforts to rebuild their digital operations under Katie Drummond. (The amount of talent heading to Vice right now is pretty wild.)

The real open question is the show on Viceland. Moving from half an hour to three hours a night without a substantial investment into building the kind of team needed to support that jump is insane. In fact, Vice News Tonight seems to be doing the opposite; star reporters Arielle Duhaime-Ross and Elle Reece have jumped ship to Vox and CNN respectively. (Reeve’s departure is especially painful; her reporting on Charleston was VNT’s one real breakout moment.) New York reports that the expanded lineup may lean heavily into talking heads and roundtables, an easy way to fill up time but an approach vastly less interesting than the old HBO show. All of this is also happening on Viceland, which is (somehow) profitable but completely inconsequential in every other way.

A last note on what this may mean for Vice’s future: an item in Vanity Fair from earlier this summer raised the idea of a CBS/Viacom buyout of Vice. Apparently, Nancy Dubuc (Vice’s new CEO) was immensely interested in the proposition, as were some forces over at CBS, including Shari Redstone. Someone uninterested in the idea was historic Vice skeptic Bob Bakish, the current CEO of Viacom and the incoming leader of a merged CBS-Viacom. That deal hasn’t closed yet, but CBS’s pickup of Vice on Showtime may suggest a newfound willingness on Bakish’s part. At the very least, it means that Dubuc and her New Vice still have supporters at CBS.


It would appear Al Franken is going on a speaking tour

The former Senator from Minnesota is taking another step back into the spotlight

It would appear Al Franken is going on a speaking tour

It would appear Al Franken is going on a speaking tour
It would appear Al Franken is going on a speaking tour

America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One

America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One

America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One

‘Vice News Tonight’ Lands At Viceland Cable Network

‘Vice News Tonight’ Lands At Viceland Cable Network

‘Vice News Tonight’ Lands At Viceland Cable Network
‘Vice News Tonight’ Lands At Viceland Cable Network

I don’t care about Anthony Scaramucci ever, and especially now

I don’t care about Anthony Scaramucci ever, and especially now

Driving the news: In a phone interview on Sunday afternoon, Scaramucci compared Trump to a melting nuclear reactor and said he may support a Republican challenger to Trump.

Granted, in a normal world, it would be noteworthy if a former Administration official publicly condemned the President they served under. 

But we aren’t in normal times and Scaramucci isn’t a normal former Administration official. He’s a dipshit con-artist, who infamously served as Communication Director for eleven days before John Kelly unceremoniously dumped him. His career both pre-and-post White House has been unremarkable. There is little reason to give him space in the news, especially for a EXCLUSIVE interview. 

The President is angry at him on Twitter, sure, but when we are still reeling from two mass shootings, have an administration that has no response to the factors that keep causing mass shootings, and know that Trump loves changing narratives when they don’t suit him, should we really be letting that dictate news judgement? 

Who cares? Why should anyone care? This is stupid. This is a distraction. 

I don’t care about Anthony Scaramucci ever, and especially now

New News

New News

New News
New News

Axios, Vice News Tonight, The Weekly, and the attempted reinvention of television news

The GateHouse-Gannett merger is official

The GateHouse-Gannett merger is official

The GateHouse-Gannett merger is official
The GateHouse-Gannett merger is official

Welcome back to Video Loss

Video Loss looks different, but the mission (lol) is the same

Welcome back to Video Loss

Welcome back to Video Loss
Welcome back to Video Loss

It would appear the guy who bought Gizmodo Media Group is a massive dummy

It would appear the guy who bought Gizmodo Media Group is a massive dummy

It would appear the guy who bought Gizmodo Media Group is a massive dummy

Maxwell Tani at The Daily Beast is out with a shocking story detailing the state of G/O Media, the company that formed to manage the former Gawker Media sites after Univision sold them off to private equity firm Great Hills. The staff at these sites (which include Gizmodo, Splinter, Jezebel, Kotaku, and Deadspin) are now a few months into the new regime led by CEO Jim Spanfeuller and, uh, things don’t sound like they are going well:

Leaning on editors to be nice to advertisers. Asking for sites to quadruple their traffic—with no new resources. Relocating to roach-filled offices. Publicly remarking about ethnic stereotypes.

Among the insane things Spanfeuller is apparently doing at G/O:

  • Reviewing editorial content on Japolkin (the network’s car blog) that involves Lexus, an advertiser across G/O’s sites. The goal? “To ensure that its stories did not discourage the luxury automaker from advertising.”
  • Doubling down on programmatic display ads, a technique he used to great success at Forbes.com years ago, but has since completely nosedived in terms of sales rates. (He told staff they were about to make a “huge comeback.”
  • Suggesting that the reporters at Kotaku bring along sales representatives to interviews.
  • Telling a Lifehacker writer that the lifehack for Japan is that no one talks.
  • Coming up with a new catchphrase for the famously counter-culture Jezebel: We Champion Women
  • When pushed on diversity, giving an answer that “was as if he was thinking about these issues for the first time.”
  • Attempting to cut down on costs for rented chairs at events, because they “cost much more than the chairs he rented for his wedding.”
  • Seeking to exponentially increase traffic, not but investing in new resources, but by adding listicles and slideshows.
  • Suggesting his team build a new video player (in 2019!!!!).

A lot of these decisions make sense if you know Jim Spanfeuller’s background: he’s been floating around digital media for years attempting to chase the success he had building Forbes’s web presence.

At Forbes, he aggressively expanded the magazine’s amount of content and advertising, creating a massive network of low-quality contributors who could post on Forbes with minimal editorial oversight while selling display ads backed by performance guarantees. According to Digiday, this eventually led to display ads with CPMs between $25 and $40, an astronomical sum at the time. This model of endless content backed by traditional advertising seems to be what he’s attempting to build at G/O Media.

Except: it’s not 2009 anymore and G/O Media isn’t Forbes. Remember when I said he’s been trying this for years? Spanfeuller was plucked out of semi-retirement by Great Hills to run G/O Media after his time at The Daily Meal and Active Times, two lifestyle sites he launched in 2011 with massive ambitions and similar strategies to his work at Forbes. Editors were expected to produce eight stories a day, while Spanfeuller hired a massive ad team operating with a similar mandate to what he led at Forbes.

The problem was that these sites didn’t have the name recognition of Forbes and were being built in a fundementially different time for digital media. While the model of scale worked back when Forbes was growing, changes in social media algorithms, more discerning audiences, and the collapse of value in selling display ads meant that The Daily Meal and Active Times limped around for years before being quietly sold to Tribune Publishing in 2016. It wasn’t a complete disaster, but it showed that the Forbes model of expansion was no longer viable.

It would appear that Spanfeuller has not learned many lessons from this experience, however. It’s especially confounding because G/O’s sites already have a defined culture and an obsessive audience. You theoretically wouldn’t need to do much to allow these sites to thrive, and yet Spanfeuller is attempting to force his outdated model of web publishing onto them. It’s hugely disappointing as someone who loves G/O’s trailblazing journalism, and it unfortunately appears doomed to fail.

It would appear the guy who bought Gizmodo Media Group is a massive dummy

Maxwell Tani at The Daily Beast is out with a shocking story detailing the state of G/O Media, the company that formed to manage the former Gawker Media sites after Univision sold them off to private equity firm Great Hills. The staff at these sites (which include Gizmodo, Splinter, Jezebel, Kotaku, and Deadspin) are now a few months into the new regime led by CEO Jim Spanfeuller and, uh, things don’t sound like they are going well:

Leaning on editors to be nice to advertisers. Asking for sites to quadruple their traffic—with no new resources. Relocating to roach-filled offices. Publicly remarking about ethnic stereotypes.

Among the insane things Spanfeuller is apparently doing at G/O:

  • Reviewing editorial content on Japolkin (the network’s car blog) that involves Lexus, an advertiser across G/O’s sites. The goal? “To ensure that its stories did not discourage the luxury automaker from advertising.”
  • Doubling down on programmatic display ads, a technique he used to great success at Forbes.com years ago, but has since completely nosedived in terms of sales rates. (He told staff they were about to make a “huge comeback.”
  • Suggesting that the reporters at Kotaku bring along sales representatives to interviews.
  • Telling a Lifehacker writer that the lifehack for Japan is that no one talks.
  • Coming up with a new catchphrase for the famously counter-culture Jezebel: We Champion Women
  • When pushed on diversity, giving an answer that “was as if he was thinking about these issues for the first time.”
  • Attempting to cut down on costs for rented chairs at events, because they “cost much more than the chairs he rented for his wedding.”
  • Seeking to exponentially increase traffic, not but investing in new resources, but by adding listicles and slideshows.
  • Suggesting his team build a new video player (in 2019!!!!).

A lot of these decisions make sense if you know Jim Spanfeuller’s background: he’s been floating around digital media for years attempting to chase the success he had building Forbes’s web presence.

At Forbes, he aggressively expanded the magazine’s amount of content and advertising, creating a massive network of low-quality contributors who could post on Forbes with minimal editorial oversight while selling display ads backed by performance guarantees. According to Digiday, this eventually led to display ads with CPMs between $25 and $40, an astronomical sum at the time. This model of endless content backed by traditional advertising seems to be what he’s attempting to build at G/O Media.

Except: it’s not 2009 anymore and G/O Media isn’t Forbes. Remember when I said he’s been trying this for years? Spanfeuller was plucked out of semi-retirement by Great Hills to run G/O Media after his time at The Daily Meal and Active Times, two lifestyle sites he launched in 2011 with massive ambitions and similar strategies to his work at Forbes. Editors were expected to produce eight stories a day, while Spanfeuller hired a massive ad team operating with a similar mandate to what he led at Forbes.

The problem was that these sites didn’t have the name recognition of Forbes and were being built in a fundementially different time for digital media. While the model of scale worked back when Forbes was growing, changes in social media algorithms, more discerning audiences, and the collapse of value in selling display ads meant that The Daily Meal and Active Times limped around for years before being quietly sold to Tribune Publishing in 2016. It wasn’t a complete disaster, but it showed that the Forbes model of expansion was no longer viable.

It would appear that Spanfeuller has not learned many lessons from this experience, however. It’s especially confounding because G/O’s sites already have a defined culture and an obsessive audience. You theoretically wouldn’t need to do much to allow these sites to thrive, and yet Spanfeuller is attempting to force his outdated model of web publishing onto them. It’s hugely disappointing as someone who loves G/O’s trailblazing journalism, and it unfortunately appears doomed to fail.

The normalization of Bryan Goldberg (CJR)

The normalization of Bryan Goldberg (CJR)

The normalization of Bryan Goldberg (CJR)
The normalization of Bryan Goldberg (CJR)

HBO Cancels Vice News Tonight, Josh Tyrangiel

HBO Cancels Vice News Tonight, Josh Tyrangiel

HBO Cancels Vice News Tonight, Josh Tyrangiel
HBO Cancels Vice News Tonight, Josh Tyrangiel

On why only four women have written cover stories for The Atlantic since 2017

On why only four women have written cover stories for The Atlantic since 2017

“ It’s really, really hard to write a 10,000-word cover story. There are not a lot of journalists in America who can do it. The journalists in America who do it are almost exclusively white males. What I have to do — and I haven’t done this enough yet — is again about experience versus potential. You can look at people and be like, well, your experience is writing 1,200-word pieces for the web and you’re great at it, so good going!”

There’s been a lot of talk on Twitter about this quote, and for good reason: it’s a dumb thing to say! I’ve included his full quote to get some context; to Goldberg’s credit, he is talking about The Atlantic’s failure to be more proactive about commissioning women for cover stories.

Still, it’s immensely insulting to make any kind of insinuation that the reason The Atlantic cover stories have been mostly written by dudes is because there aren’t as many skilled women. This is especially true for The Atlantic, a magazine that has been particularly bad at getting women to write cover stories and which is home to some spectacularly stupid male-written cover stories. This is, after all, the place that in the last year has published on its covers an incredibly stupid treatise on hardened immigration laws by David Frum and a scientifically disingenuous and openly harmful transphobic screed by Jesse Signal.

(Also, bears repeating that his premise is objectively wrong: other magazines, newspapers, and online publications have been publishing 10,000 word pieces from women with no problem! The New Yorker does it all the time! It’s a failure on The Atlantic’s editors, not on the pool of talent.)

For funsies, I went through and counted how many Atlantic cover stories have been written by women. Since the start of 2017—the timeframe Goldberg generally points to as the beginning of an improvement for The Atlantic’s gender equality—women authors have accounted for 4 cover stories. There have been zero women-written cover stories this year.

As the rest of the piece notes, Goldberg and Executive Editor Adrienne LaFrance have expanded the number of women in masthead editorial positions, something they deserve credit for. However, until they reach gender parity on the magazine’s most influential and prestigious product—the cover story—they are not doing enough. And frankly, Goldberg's excuse is bullshit.

On why only four women have written cover stories for The Atlantic since 2017

Vox Media sites go dark on last day of union bargaining

Vox Media sites go dark on last day of union bargaining

Vox Media sites go dark on last day of union bargaining

Vox Media’s network of websites, including The Verge, Polygon, Vox, and others, are in the midst of a day-long staff walkout, an unprecedented show of force by the Vox Media staff union as negotiations for a contract with management reach their final day.

“We have decided we’re not showing up to work today until we resolve these issues,” Vox Media Union’s Twitter account said, pointing to negotiation issues like wage scales, raises, severance, and Vox Media’s increasing reliance on subcontracting work. Vox and its union have been negotiating on this contract for fourteen months, a tense process that has as of yet failed to reach an agreement.

As of this morning, Vox.com and Curbed have not published a single new story. Polygon’s new articles seem to be authored by freelancers (likely previously scheduled to go up today) and top-level editors. Eater’s new articles today are published under an “Eater Staff” byline. SB Nation’s main staff seem to be not publishing today, although the site’s vast network of fan blogs appears to be trucking along unaffected. Only The Verge seems to be publishing articles by its regular reporters.

In an email to staff, published by Bloomberg, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said he was “disappointed” by the walkout. He also seemed to dismiss some of the union’s demands, saying “while paying people a lot more than market wages sounds great on the surface, it’s not realistic or smart.”

We’ve seen a massive shift towards unionization in the digital media industry over the past few years, beginning with Gawker Media all the way back in 2015. Since then, we haven’t seen an example of collective action quite as bold as what the employees of Vox Media are doing today, although Slate employees came close to a full on strike last year.

I’ll be following this story throughout the day to see where it goes.

Vox Media sites go dark on last day of union bargaining

Vox Media’s network of websites, including The Verge, Polygon, Vox, and others, are in the midst of a day-long staff walkout, an unprecedented show of force by the Vox Media staff union as negotiations for a contract with management reach their final day.

“We have decided we’re not showing up to work today until we resolve these issues,” Vox Media Union’s Twitter account said, pointing to negotiation issues like wage scales, raises, severance, and Vox Media’s increasing reliance on subcontracting work. Vox and its union have been negotiating on this contract for fourteen months, a tense process that has as of yet failed to reach an agreement.

As of this morning, Vox.com and Curbed have not published a single new story. Polygon’s new articles seem to be authored by freelancers (likely previously scheduled to go up today) and top-level editors. Eater’s new articles today are published under an “Eater Staff” byline. SB Nation’s main staff seem to be not publishing today, although the site’s vast network of fan blogs appears to be trucking along unaffected. Only The Verge seems to be publishing articles by its regular reporters.

In an email to staff, published by Bloomberg, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said he was “disappointed” by the walkout. He also seemed to dismiss some of the union’s demands, saying “while paying people a lot more than market wages sounds great on the surface, it’s not realistic or smart.”

We’ve seen a massive shift towards unionization in the digital media industry over the past few years, beginning with Gawker Media all the way back in 2015. Since then, we haven’t seen an example of collective action quite as bold as what the employees of Vox Media are doing today, although Slate employees came close to a full on strike last year.

I’ll be following this story throughout the day to see where it goes.

The Mic-Bustle deal is official: Around $5m, every editorial staffer gone

The Mic-Bustle deal is official: Around $5m, every editorial staffer gone

The Mic-Bustle deal is official: Around $5m, every editorial staffer gone

How Craigslist Killed The Newspaper

How Craigslist Killed The Newspaper

How Craigslist Killed The Newspaper
How Craigslist Killed The Newspaper

Things may be looking up for The Outline!

Things may be looking up for The Outline!

Things may be looking up for The Outline!

Joshua Topolsky’s The Outline is hiring staff writers and editorial fellows.

This is notable because the last time The Outline was in the news was when it laid off all of its staff writers a few weeks ago. That announcement triggered a freelancer boycottand a number of articles questioning the outlet’s longterm sustainability.


On top of that, The Outline is closing out a rough second year, one that also saw it parting ways with an Executive Editor, a Power Editor,  more staff writers, a Chief Revenue Officer, the head of podcasts, and the entire video team.

But maybe things are getting better at the millennial’s New Yorker?

It’s important to note that these listings appear to be for some kind of special project, one focused on technology. (Which makes sense, considering Topolsky is perhaps best known for co-founding and serving at the first EIC at The Verge.)

I started off as a huge fan of The Outline. Topolsky’s work on The Verge is underrated for how influential it is for online media and I really enjoyed the audacity of what The Outline was trying to do. Things have definitely slowed down in the months since, as the ambition faded in the wake of cutbacks. I find myself checking it less often nowadays. Still, it’s an interesting project and I hope they manage to turn it around.


Things may be looking up for The Outline!

Joshua Topolsky’s The Outline is hiring staff writers and editorial fellows.

This is notable because the last time The Outline was in the news was when it laid off all of its staff writers a few weeks ago. That announcement triggered a freelancer boycottand a number of articles questioning the outlet’s longterm sustainability.


On top of that, The Outline is closing out a rough second year, one that also saw it parting ways with an Executive Editor, a Power Editor,  more staff writers, a Chief Revenue Officer, the head of podcasts, and the entire video team.

But maybe things are getting better at the millennial’s New Yorker?

It’s important to note that these listings appear to be for some kind of special project, one focused on technology. (Which makes sense, considering Topolsky is perhaps best known for co-founding and serving at the first EIC at The Verge.)

I started off as a huge fan of The Outline. Topolsky’s work on The Verge is underrated for how influential it is for online media and I really enjoyed the audacity of what The Outline was trying to do. Things have definitely slowed down in the months since, as the ambition faded in the wake of cutbacks. I find myself checking it less often nowadays. Still, it’s an interesting project and I hope they manage to turn it around.