The two biggest media misses of 2019 serve as perfect examples of what is plaguing the industry from a public trust and confidence perspective.
First, there is the rush to be first instead of accurate, allowing social media to dictate the narrative without anything resembling a meticulous vetting process. The Jussie Smollett fiasco is a prime example.
Remember what was presented as absolute fact after the story broke: Smollett decided to go outdoors, into a polar vortex, and walk to a Subway fast-food restaurant for a sandwich — at 2 a.m. He says he was then spotted by two men wearing MAGA baseball caps — in subfreezing temperatures, mind you — and recognized by them as an actor on a show that most Trump supporters are unlikely to watch. The two men, he said, screamed “This is MAGA country!” (remember, this is in Chicago) AND both men happened to have rope and bleach on their persons (talk about being prepared ahead of time).
Missing from much of the breathless initial reports was a very key word: Alleged. As in, “the alleged attack.”
“Celebrities, lawmakers rally behind Jussie Smollett in wake of brutal attack” — ABC News
“Analysis: The Jussie Smollett attack highlights the hate black gay Americans face” — The Washington Post
” ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett attacked in possible hate crime” — CNN
“Empire star Jussie Smollett attacked in Chicago by men hurling homophobic and racial slurs” — NBC News
“Celebrities rally behind Jussie Smollett after brutal attack in Chicago” — Buzzfeed
Without that word, “alleged,” the supposed attack — and its context — is presented to the reader or viewer as gospel. And, given the obvious questions that emerged around the actor’s tale and utter lack of evidence, the story absolutely warranted the disclaimer of “alleged” until a foundation of facts could be gathered.
Fortunately, thanks to local reporters and law enforcement in Chicago, the story fell apart. Smollett still somehow got off, but his career is in tatters — as it should be for wasting everyone’s time, particularly an already-overwhelmed department like the Chicago Police Department (more than 530 murders in the city last year).
The Covington Catholic catastrophe also was a classic example of newsrooms allowing loud, partisan voices on social media to dictate their vetting process, or lack thereof.
To review what happened back on that cold January day, social media video of the March for Life rally in Washington appeared to show Covington, Ky., students, some of them wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, taunting a Native American man attending an Indigenous Peoples March. One young man became the focus of media attention after staring at the Native American — who approached the Covington student, not the other way around, as first described — for more than two minutes in what the student later described as an effort to calm things down. The student was widely portrayed at first as, essentially, the face of racism.
Many media outlets initially ran with that angle of the story. After all, it contained the perfect ingredients for media outrage because it involved young white men, it involved the Catholic Church, and it involved President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against windmills: ‘I never understood wind’ Trump faces pivotal year with Russia on arms control Bolton says he doesn’t think Trump admin ‘really means it’ on stopping North Korea nukes MORE, since the kids were wearing MAGA hats. A trifecta for titillation.
“Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Mob Native Elder at Indigenous Peoples March” — The New York Times
“The Catholic Church’s Shameful History of Native American Abuses” — The Washington Post
“The Covington Students Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross” — National Review
The student subsequently sued several outlets, including the Post, for hundreds of millions of dollars.
What we witnessed with Smollett and with the Covington Catholic kids is similar to what we saw with the Trump-Russia collusion tale that finally was dismissed after the Mueller report’s release in April, with results that shocked many in the press who had pushed an opposite narrative for two years by working from the premise that President Trump had to be guilty. It is a media that works under this premise: guilty until proven innocent, particularly on cable news, where anti-Trump stories are gobbled up like seagulls eating at the beach. Throw anything negative about this president or his supporters up in the air, and it will be swallowed whole.
United Press International used to have a saying: “Get it first. But first, get it right.”
The Fourth Estate needs to embrace that now more than ever.
Public urged to call police first, not use social media, to report suspicious incidents in Mount Pleasant – Vancouver Sun
Vancouver police are urging the public to call investigators first — instead of posting on social media — with reports of suspicious activity in Mount Pleasant.
The reminder comes as police investigate suspicious events in Mount Pleasant that were reported in social media posts. The posts allege a man in a silver sedan has been approaching or following women in the Mount Pleasant area, asking to borrow phones or inviting them to approach the vehicle. Other posts allege similar incidents are also taking place in Kitsilano and Burnaby.
The flurry of informal reports has prompted the creation of a neighbourhood safe walk and plenty of action on group chats and social channels, although police say they have no evidence to link any of the reported incidents.
“We want them to call police right away,” Const. Tania Visintin said to anyone who has had a similar experience in recent weeks. “Don’t go to the internet and write it on Twitter, don’t tell your barista or server. Call us so we can investigate.”
“We just want the first thing not to be people going to social media, we want you to call us so we can track these incidents and we can see if they’re all linked.”
Visintin said Monday that a handful of suspicious circumstances had been reported directly to police in the Mount Pleasant area in recent weeks and that investigators are taking them seriously. And while there is an understandable desire for residents to warn others in the community, Visintin notes that unconfirmed social media posts can create a lot of fear.
“If we truly believe that we need to warn the public, we 100 per cent will and that will come from our mouth right away,” she said, noting there is nothing wrong with warning others, but that it’s important to contact police first with information that can help an investigation.
“If anything, we should all get out of this is awareness. We need to remind everyone — men, women and children — to be alert, be aware of your surroundings, know where you are, have your phone on you charged in any kind of situation so this is a good reminder of that.”
Visintin also noted that many of the posts about the recent circumstances are written by individuals on behalf of a friend or are secondary sources, which poses a challenge for investigators who need to speak directly with victims.
Turkey prepares second indictment of six Khashoggi murder suspects: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish prosecutors have prepared a second indictment in connection with the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, naming six new Saudi nationals as suspects, broadcaster CNN Turk and other media said on Monday.
Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen at the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. Turkish officials believe his body was dismembered and removed from the building, while his remains have not been found.
Twenty Saudi nationals are already on trial in an Istanbul court for Khashoggi’s killing. CNN Turk said the indictment against the six suspects, including two consulate workers and four other Saudi nationals, was sent to the court to be combined with the main case.
Two of the suspects, a vice consul and an attache, were facing life jail sentences for premeditated murder with monstrous intent, the broadcaster said.
The four others, who CNN Turk said had arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 10-11, 2018, more than a week after the killing, were charged with destroying, concealing or tampering with evidence, which carries a sentence of up to five years in jail.
The Istanbul prosecutor’s office did not immediately provide comment on the media reports.
A Saudi court this month jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for the murder, four months after Khashoggi’s family forgave his killers and enabled earlier death sentences to be set aside.
(Reporting by Daren Butler and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Dominic Evans and Andrew Cawthorne)
Media Beat: September 28, 2020 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News
There was a time, not that long ago, when advertisers could reach just about everyone pretty easily. All it took was a lot of money, and a simple media buy on a handful of TV, radio, and print outlets. Back then, harnessing the power of mass media was not a guarantee of success, but it was almost always a key component.
It helped create enormous brands like McDonald’s, Coke, Pepsi, Nike, Apple, Ford, Chevy, AT&T, Tide, Crest, Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, Toyota, Tylenol, Kleenex, Budweiser… OK, I’ll stop.
Things are a lot more complicated these days. Media has fractionalized into much smaller entities while media consumption has increased significantly. It is not nearly as easy as it once was to reach mass audiences. While you once only had to choose among 3 or 4 video (TV) options, today you have hundreds. While you once had a few dozen print options to analyze, today there are literally millions of websites serving a similar function. A media strategist’s job is far more daunting.
One of the results of this change in media reality has been a change in media strategy. Whereas brand builders once believed that wide reach was essential to building a dominant brand, this belief has gone out of fashion. It has been replaced by the belief that the most effective use of media is one-to-one, personalized messages.
I would like to offer, for your consideration, an alternative point of view.
It is beyond question that it is much harder for brand builders to reach mass audiences these days. But I would like to question the presumption that because reaching mass audiences has become more difficult, pivoting to a personalized, one-to-one media strategy is the correct response.
In other words, have we recognized the disease but prescribed the wrong medication? The fact that online media technology now allows us to tailor messages to individuals, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better idea. The fact that it’s more convenient doesn’t necessarily make it more suited to the job of building brands.
And the fact that mass reach is much harder to achieve does not mean that it is a bad strategy. It just means that it takes more work and perhaps it takes a more sophisticated strategy – and more sophisticated strategists – to execute properly.
Sadly, we have taken media strategy in the opposite direction. Despite the extraordinary complexity of the digital media ecosystem we have substantially tethered our media strategists to the most crude and unsophisticated aspirations — high click rates and low CPMs. You can sit in media meetings for months listening to highfalutin’ jargon, you can suffer endless data analyses, you can scrutinize this-ographics and that-ographics, but in the end when the reports come in and the chips are on the table, most likely it’s going to come down to the crudest, least sophisticated and least challenging of outcomes — clicks and CPMs.
This is evidence that the principles of brand building have been subsumed by the practices of the direct marketing industry. – Continue reading The Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman’s blog feature here
Conspiracy theorists would have you believe that 5G spreads Covid-19, causes cancer, kills birds, and ruins your soufflé. It doesn’t, but let’s clear up some of the nerdy sciency stuff on how it works.
A quick history lesson first. The first iPhone was 2G (as in the second generation), it was slick but it primarily did voice calls. Then came texts, sexts, and other greater smartphone functionality. So, developers focused more on the data side of phone usage and 3G was born. Data hungry customers wanted more and more of it and they wanted it faster and faster than ever – leading us to where we are today, 4G / LTE.
Now with 5G is more than just data speed. A 5G cell tower can handle up to 100 times the users of a 4G tower and if the provider is operating in the upper end of the frequencies, there will be lightning speeds available for users. So yes – it’s faster. No – it doesn’t give you Coronavirus. And being connected is everything today.
The same could be said for radio. And now more than ever.
Listeners are not seeking out your brand anymore for their most beloved Pearl Jam song, or the new Sia hit. They can access their favourites in seconds in seconds on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube or a myriad of other digital music providers. Radio’s primary function has shifted. This pivot was unavoidable with the tide of change driven by the technology shifts of the last few years as well as the ubiquity of abundant music platforms. But it’s been Covid-19 that was the catalyst for a greater, wholesale change to both listening habits and audience needs.
Music is no longer the principal audience magnet.
It’s still important to get it right, but the playlist’s role now is to set the tone of the party. It’s no longer the whole party. Now, the content between the songs is the glue – some of it is the brand value of the imaging and promotions but most importantly it’s the human connections, that compelling in-the-moment content, and the memorability of your on-air teams that will define your success and pave our future. Today is the day for radio, as an industry, to double down on talent. It’s time to revisit strict song counts and relax inflexible time constraints on handcuffed talent. We should be ready to experiment with adding voices – more callers in music shifts and more multi-person shows beyond just breakfast.
Talent has always been the difference-maker but now they are our only point of difference. 2G or 5G, text, or voice. People need people. So, let’s deliver! – Ronnie Stanton Media
As one of a handful of hosts at Apple Music Hits, Stroumboulopoulos says the “Hockey Night” gig led him to reevaluate his professional choices. “Once you do ‘The NewMusic,’ your own talk show and hockey, you’ve sort of finished the game as a host in Canada.” – Jonathan Dekel, The Star
Rogers Communications Inc. says it will spend $3 billion in Quebec over the next five years if it emerges victorious in its bid for the Canadian assets of Cogeco Inc., but the Montreal-based cable company and takeover target remains unswayed. – Geoff Zochodne, Financial Post
One-third of Sunday night’s three-hour Emmy telecast on ABC was devoted to a TV show, “Schitt$ Creek,” that averaged just 375,000 total viewers per first-run episode in its sixth and final season earlier this year.
According to trade press reports on Monday, “The 72nd Emmy Awards” on ABC Sunday night drew only 5.11 million total viewers from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern — down from the 6.9 million the show attracted a year earlier.
The highlight of the show was watching “Schitt$ Creek” win all of the first seven categories announced during the Emmys’ first hour.
It was possibly the first and only time this had ever happened… – Adam Buckman, TVBlog
Online music listening is trending away from radio to other platforms, in-home radio ownership amongst topline music format listeners is weak, and YouTube continues to be the dominant discovery home for most all music fans.
Just days after Penske Media Corp. and MRC announced they were entering a joint venture to bring their Hollywood magazines under one roof, news is out that Penske paid about $225 million to control 80% of the new company, called PMRC.
MRC will own the other 20% or so, according to the New York Post, which first reported the news.
PMC will bring Variety, Rolling Stone and Music Business Worldwide together with MRC’s The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Vibe under PMRC. Its day-to-day operations will be led by PMC. – Sara Guaglione, Media Post Weekend
Citing the First Amendment, US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler blocked an order that would have forced app stores to stop offering the Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat.
Beeler said in a 22-page ruling issued Saturday that WeChat “is irreplaceable for its users in the U.S., particularly in the Chinese-speaking and Chinese-American community” and added that the government had not shown that banning the app was necessary to address the potential security concerns. – Wendy Davis, MediaPost
Two years after Russian state media began radio broadcasts in Washington D.C, Radio Sputnik has made its way to Kansas City. Sputnik officials are negotiating to start broadcasting in other cities. – Chris Haxel, NPR
Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner may stay affiliated with the magazine after his initial three-year deal with Penske Media that kept him on board finishes at the end of the year. The deal kept him on board as “editorial director” of the magazine, although it was a largely honorary title.
Wenner, who co-founded the mag in 1967, is in negotiations with CEO Jay Penske for a contract extension, sources close to the company tell Media Ink. – Keith J. Kelly, New York Post
Harold Evans, the Brit journalist who uncovered Bloody Sunday, the Thalidomide scandal and a KGB spy at the heart of Britain’s Secret Service, died Sept. 23. He was 92. – Niall O’Dowd, Irish Central
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U.S. judge urges Apple, Epic Games to put antitrust claims before jury – Reuters Canada
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Lester B. Pearson high school – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)
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Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
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