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For media, Biden news conference notable for what's missing – Pique Newsmagazine

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NEW YORK — Joe Biden’s first presidential news conference was notable for what was missing after predecessor Donald Trump: no contentious exchanges with reporters, no Fox News and no questions about COVID-19.

The last omission was probably the least expected, considering the pandemic has killed more than half a million Americans and kept much of the country home for the past year.

Many in the news media had been impatient since Biden had not submitted to a formal question-and-answer session with reporters until his 65th day in the office. When he finally did Thursday, it was carried live on the major broadcast and cable news networks.

Before taking a question, Biden announced he was setting a new goal of having 200 million vaccine doses for the coronavirus administered during his first 100 days in office.

And that was it. None of the 10 reporters who questioned him, some on multiple topics, brought the topic up. Noting that in a tweet, Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times said the questions “suggest that coronavirus is no longer Topic A.”

“Pretty sure it is for the American people and the Biden White House,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted in response.

Four questioners brought up immigration and the Mexican border, while three asked about the filibuster, the arcane Senate rule that will be key to getting legislation passed. Not quite three months into office, Biden was asked whether he would run for reelection and if Vice-President Kamala Harris would be on his ticket.

Biden was occasionally direct, occasionally windy and occasionally cagey in response to questions. When a Bloomberg reporter asked specific questions about economic policy and China, Biden instead embarked on a lengthy verbal treatise on relations between the two countries.

A question about gun control devolved into a long discussion of the president’s infrastructure plans.

Some reporters, noting the unlikelihood of being called on again as Biden consulted a list for reporters to take questions from, made queries on multiple topics.

While former President Trump’s sessions with reporters sometimes included nasty exchanges, there was none of that with Biden. While he was sometimes pressed, like when NBC’s Kristen Welker tried unsuccessfully to pin Biden down on media access at the Mexican border, there was nothing notably harsh.

Trump on Thursday accused the White House reporters of throwing “softballs” to Biden. “It’s very sad to watch, actually,” he told Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham, adding, “Look, the whole thing is ridiculous.”

With only 10 reporters called upon, some were left out, including anyone from The New York Times. So were reporters from outlets popular with conservatives, and favourites of Trump when he took questions as president.

Newsmax’s Emerald Robinson wasn’t called upon, and no reporter from One American News Network was in the room. Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy, who had some memorable exchanges with Biden on the campaign trail, wasn’t called upon.

That quickly became an issue at Fox, where the chyron “Biden Snubs Fox News during First News Conf” was put onscreen.

“I definitely would have told the president to call on Peter Doocy,” said Fox’s Dana Perino, a White House press secretary in George W. Bush’s administration. “Why make Peter Doocy a story? Just take his question and move on.”

Doocy, for his part, said later from the White House lawn that he had a binder full of questions ready to ask.

“Maybe next time,” he said.

David Bauder, The Associated Press



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DeFiance Media Launches To Cover Blockchain-Based DeFi Business And Culture – Forbes

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DeFiance Media, a video-news startup focused on coverage of the business and culture of the fast-growing decentralized finance (”DeFi”) sector, has launched with a presence on OTT and digital broadcast services reaching 65 million homes in the United States and abroad, and a new website providing enhanced coverage.

“We’re not taking the ‘Bloomberg for crypto’ approach” of some competing services covering parts of the blockchain world, Scarpa said. “None of them went on TV. We’re only streaming (video). If you look at mass media, and the way they’re portraying the decentralized narrative, there’s a real hole (in coverage) there, for covering it in a positive way.”

The 24/7 channel will feature a mix of original programming from notable personalities, third-party creators such as Hardcore Finance, news from across the world of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens and related areas, as well as related areas such as biotech, the artists and creators using NFTs, artificial intelligence, “connected living,” alternative energy, and “regenerative culture.” Other programming will come from partnerships with high-profile blockchain and cryptocurrency conferences.

“Our job is really more akin to a Huffington Post in terms of curation for these contributors,” Scarpa said. “We enable them to goose their personal brands. That’s our job, to increase carriage, to amplify their voice, promote what their doing.”  

Scarpa said he was “adamant” about including cultural coverage of the blockchain space, particularly with NFTs, where many musicians, artists and other creative talent are eagerly jumping in.

“They’re in the space now, they’re artists doing really interesting work,” Scarpa said. “They’re really the cultural fabric of the community. If we were only a financial network, DeFiance wouldn’t be broad enough to be something providers want to carry.” 

Scarpa, whom I’ve known socially for many years, served as New York bureau chief in the early days of CNET, which undertook in the 1990s to cover the emerging internet and tech industry in a focused way. Scarpa said he is taking inspiration for DeFiance from the approaches CNET took to industry coverage back then.

Services carrying the startup’s content include aggregators such as Local Now, Select TV, NetRange, Glewed TV, as well as Twitter and Amazon

AMZN
-owned Twitch. The services reach a combined 50 million U.S. households and another 15 million outside the country.

Initial shows include Bitcoin: Culture Conversations, whose episode feature interviews of former Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, venture capital stalwart Tim Draper, actor Adrian Grenier and skateboard icon Tony Hawk, and musicians Blond:ish and Fab Five Freddy. Weekly programs will be hosted by Patrick Tsang, Sarah Austin, Matt McKibbon, Ted Moskovitz, Mike Matsumura, Alex Chizhik, Shimon Lazarov, Steve McGarry, Siraj Raval, and Freya Fox.

The company hopes to make money several ways: with ad-revenue shares from carriers, branded entertainment/sponsored content, events, content licensing to Getty Images and similar outlets, and transactional markets, among other potential opportunities.

DeFiance is based in Puerto Rico, and has a studio in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, Scarpa said. But in keeping with its core subject matter, the operation is heavily decentralized, with contributors and programming coming from numerous cities.

The company has been raising a seed round of about $2 million, Scarpa said.

It counts among its investors and advisers a number of notables in the blockchain world and related areas, including investor Brock Pierce, who is long-time chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation; Eric Pulier, founder of Vatom; Doug Scott, founder of gaming culture company Subnation; Hong Kong investor and podcast host Patrick P.L. Tsang; Good Human co-founder and former Warner Bros. Entertainment VP James Glasscock; and Craig Sellars, co-founder/CTO of cryptocurrency services company Tether. Sellars and Pulier are credited as pioneering creators of the technologies behind NFTs.

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NASA Invites Media to Next SpaceX Cargo Launch to Space Station – NASA

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NASA Invites Media to Next SpaceX Cargo Launch to Space Station  NASA



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How HuffPost Canada's digital impact and untimely demise changed Canadian news media – Poynter

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Mel Woods found out they no longer had a job from a group chat.

The Vancouver-based journalist was working as HuffPost Canada’s only worker in the western region of the country, covering viral and trending stories as an associate editor, up until the outlet’s unceremonious March 2021 demise. BuzzFeed bought HuffPost in November 2019 and, just two weeks after the newsroom’s decision to unionize, closed HuffPost Canada and left 23 staff without their jobs.

It’s another data point in a long list of recent closures and contractions on the Canadian media landscape.

Many of those laid off have landed positions elsewhere. Woods now plies their trade at Xtra — a Toronto-based outlet focused on 2SLGBTQ+ perspectives — and others have surfaced as staff at The New York Times, CBC and Politico, among others. Some left for public relations gigs, and others are currently working as freelancers. The announcement of the closure just one week from the meeting, Woods said, left some staff scrambling.

“For somebody who was suddenly unemployed, it was a very, very busy week because we had to sort out what happened and when, and what the unionization played into it, what severance played into it and why it had happened because it caught all of us by surprise,” Woods said.

HuffPost’s union, CWA Canada, had never faced a closure in its history. President Martin O’Hanlon said the ceasing of operations points to BuzzFeed’s lack of understanding of the Canadian media landscape.

“I don’t think it says a lot about the Canadian media industry, per se, I think it says a lot about BuzzFeed. And I think it tells you that BuzzFeed is just interested in America, and in making as much profit as possible,” O’Hanlon said. “… They don’t give a damn about Canadian journalism is the bottom line.”

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for BuzzFeed said: “BuzzFeed announced a restructuring of HuffPost in March in order to break even this year and fast-track its path to profitability. As part of these changes, we made the difficult decision to close HuffPost’s Canada and Quebec operations. The incredibly talented teams there have made enormous contributions to the political and news ecosystems in Canada — from extensive, award-winning coverage of the federal election, to relentless reporting on how COVID-19 exacerbated a long-term care crisis, and a powerful investigation of how mental illness is responded to as a crime. We know this decision was painful for everyone affected, but we are confident that these journalists will continue to do powerful and impactful reporting in the years to come. We continue to do everything we can to ensure their transition is a smooth one.”

The announcement certainly wasn’t easy on the staff of HuffPost Canada. The all-hands meeting in which the closure was announced, which Woods said was predicted within the staff to be announcing a new U.S. editor-in-chief, had the password “spring is here.”

But the closing of HuffPost Canada is more than another sad story to add to the layoffs seen at other newsrooms in Canada, most publicly at Global and Postmedia. HuffPost’s Canada’s coverage won awards posthumously. Woods won an award from RTDNA Canada for examining gender and transphobia more than two months after the outlet officially closed.

The skill and success of the staff was partially due to the culture and the diversity of the newsroom, Woods said.

“The fact of how quickly folks have been snapped up by other places is proof of the respect that was had for our newsroom,” Woods said. “We kind of sprinkled our seeds everywhere.”

Woods likened the HuffPost style that they have taken to Xtra as “serving (readers) their vegetables, but in a good way,” through a metrics and service journalism-focused approach.

Some of those seeds appear to have taken root elsewhere. New approaches to digital journalism in Canada, including what service looks like to staff and readers, is a common thread in discussions with Canadian newsroom leaders.

The Canadian Association of Journalists recently completed data collection for their first diversity survey, modeling their work after the News Leaders Association in the U.S. Meanwhile, CBC made the decision to turn off all Facebook comments on news stories for a month beginning in mid-June, which editor-in-chief Brodie Fenlon attributed to a data-gathering exercise mixed with a want to protect the mental health of journalists. It is a policy that they have since extended to the end of October.

HuffPost Canada’s digital impact, and its dismantling, points toward a future for Canadian journalism that must consider the health of its readers and staff while acknowledging the changing needs of digital media.

CBC’s decision to direct the tenets of service journalism toward its own staff hints toward an industry that is understanding (at a glacial pace) just how worn down it is and how building back means doing so with care. At this year’s Michener Awards, a ceremony dedicated to public service journalism and its impact on society, APTN journalist Kenneth Jackson acknowledged what it means to sit with the impact your work makes, on subjects, readers and staff.

“If you want to do service journalism you can’t fly above it,” he said, “you gotta get down and wear it.”

BuzzFeed appears to have worn its decision, as have the journalists who had to face the consequences.

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