Media Navel Gaze: June 6, 2011
The Week Unpeeled
The economic picture got a little fuzzy last week, with the employment rate edging up to 9.1 percent in May from 9.0 pct in April and private payroll adding a less-than-expected 54,000 jobs, while home prices declined 4.2 percent in the first quarter and everyone debated what to do about the heavy US debt weight with Moody’s questioning the government’s triple-A credit rating. If that wasn’t a kick in the pants, other below-the-belt-related news dominated:
- Weinergate: (Really, certitude?);
- Former presidential candidate John Edwards is charged with violating campaign-finance laws, supposedly linked to hiding his out-of-wedlock affair;
- Groupon filed for an IPO but showed that maybe it should clip coupons to run operations (lots of losses);
- Europe’s E. coli outbreak worsened and a panel told us that cellphone use may give us cancer;
- The food pyramid got a makeover from the government and became MyPlate;
- The Dow dropped for the fifth week in a row, ending Friday at 12,151; and
- Li and Nadal reigned at the French Open.
The New York Times Masthead Gets Historic Shuffle
Garnering plenty of well-deserved ink, The New York Times on Friday announced that Jill Abramson, its managing editor, would replace Bill Keller as executive editor, the first woman to run the Grey Lady. Running the paper at a tricky transitional time in print journalism, Abramson has served as Washington bureau chief for the Times and deputy bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal, and said the appointment was like “ascending to Valhalla.” Keller will become a columnist for the magazine and the paper’s new opinion section called “Sunday Review,” which is scheduled to begin June 26. Dean Baquet, the Washington bureau chief, will become managing editor.
The Obit of Obits
I was curious how journalists would cover the death of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who was famous for conducting assisted suicides and spending eight years in prison for second-degree murder charges. Villain or human-rights activist? Both sides portrayed in much more expository language, with The New York Times reserving nearly a full page to his obituary (starting on the front page Saturday) and making the important point that his “advocacy” led to growth of hospice care in the US.