Edition #97

"These trying times"


Maria Ressa convicted of cyber libel. (Rappler)
Maria Ressa, CEO of Manila-based Rappler, was convicted Monday morning of cyber libel. It’s a frightening, wrong-headed conviction — the whole case turns on a typo being fixed on a story, if you want a full refresher on the case, see here — and sets a worrying precedent in the Philippines.

Newsrooms Are in Revolt. The Bosses Are in Their Country Houses. (NY Times)
Ben’s latest media column, whooboy! There’s something to how quickly this column has started to set the tone of the media conversation in New York for the week to come. This week’s theme: Eat the rich! “One new media executive told me he issued specific instruction to his executives to be careful about what gets into the Zoom frame: no pool, no ocean, no nanny. At a recent WarnerMedia town hall, employees listening to an executive speak about his experience with police also took note of the hot tub over his shoulder.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman Struggle With Their Startup—and Each Other (WSJ)
Watching the rollout of Quibi has been a very particular flavor of media schadenfreude — know that what is perhaps the biggest investment-backed media start-up of all time was only able to steamroll its way into fewer than 2 million subscribers in its first year … well, you gotta laugh, right? And then there’s this: “The executives wanted a name that captured the company’s strategy. Mr. Katzenberg was initially partial to ‘Omakase,’ a term used to describe high-quality sushi selected by the chef. Ms. Whitman wasn’t in favor. The two agreed to set it aside.”

Caught in the mushy middle: How Quartz fell to earth (Digiday)
I’m not sure how fair to Quartz this piece is, but it’s deeply reported and gets to the root of a lot of the site’s issues — and makes one wonder what it would have been like if it had somehow continued as a part of the Atlantic.

What is a blog? (Monkbent)
I miss blogs. I also do not think they are finished just yet.

If you’re wondering how the potential regulation of Facebook/Google might play out for news publishers globally, it’s worth paying attention to what’s happening in Australia right now. The government is trying to get the two platforms to start paying news organizations directly. I don’t think it will pan out so well for anyone. Shot:

“I have spoken to both sides, and I do not believe the ‘make ‘em pay’ approach is realistic.” (What’s the value of news to the platforms? Splice)


Facebook says it doesn’t need news stories for its business and won’t pay to share them in Australia (Guardian)

Newsletter 📩

What a delight: Jeremy Caplan’s Wondertools. My favorite new newsletter, and feels like the guide to a new era of digital tools.

Interview 🗣

Jon Stewart Is Back to Weigh In (NYT Magazine)
Great interview with Stewart, who is still a sharp observer of the moment and of his own legacy — here, he talks about the legacy of his infamous takedowns on “The Daily Show”: “That’s the part of it that I probably most regret. Those moments when you had a tendency, even subconsciously, to feel like, ‘We have to live up to the evisceration expectation.’ We tried not to give something more spice than it deserved, but you were aware of, say, what went viral. Resisting that gravitational force is really hard.”