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  • Second blogger murdered in Bangladesh

    Yahoo News | The Associated Press | BBC News | The Guardian

    Within hours of Associated Press Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt’s call for an international effort to stop the killing of journalists, a blogger was murdered in the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

    According to Yahoo News writer Shafiqul Alam, three men set upon blogger Washiqur Rahman and hacked him to death with knives on Monday. Police reportedly have two men, both of whom are students at nearby madrassas, in custody; both men were armed with meat cleavers, according to BBC News. A third man escaped the scene of the crime.

    Rahman was not a full-time blogger or professional journalist, but rather worked as IT manager at a travel agency, according to The Guardian. He did not use his blog to focus on Islam, but he often used a separate Facebook page to post stories by other writers that were critical of Islamic fundamentalism.

    This is the second murder of a secular blogger in Bangladesh over the last two months. In February, Avijit Roy, an American blogger whose family came from Bangladesh and who was a prominent atheist writer and supporter of an independent press, was also hacked to death in Dhaka. Police described the main suspect in Roy’s murder as a “fundamentalist blogger.” According to the Committee to Project Journalists, Roy became the 15th journalist murdered in Bangladesh since 1992.

    Imran Sarker, the leader of a Bangladeshi network of bloggers, claimed that the assailants were encouraged to kill Rahman because “we have a culture of impunity here.” This remark echoed Pruitt’s speech at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, in which he declared, “The single most treacherous threat to journalists is killing with impunity.”

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  • Inside NPR’s podcasting strategy

    NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    NPR’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    In January, months after “Serial” rocketed to the top of the iTunes podcasting charts and ignited a conversation about the “Golden Age of Audio,” NPR was preparing to answer with a hit of its own.

    The show had spent more than a year in development. For its launch, staffers used every bit of experience they’d gained about how to engineer a popular program: They cross-promoted previews of the show on podcasting staples like “This American Life” and “Radiolab,” coordinated a media campaign, even set aside a modest sum — about $1,500 — to buy Facebook ads promoting the show.

    It paid off.

    Since “Invisibilia” launched on Jan. 6, its episodes have been downloaded more than 33 million times, briefly eclipsing “Serial” on the iTunes charts. When NPR staffers saw the attention the show was getting from cross-promotion and other media mentions, they cancelled the ad campaign after spending about $400.

    “It’s just been a huge force of nature and it’s been a tremendous validator for us of all these things we’ve learned,” said Eric Nuzum, vice president of programming at NPR.

    The program’s popularity comes at a heady time for podcasters, when listeners, advertisers and technology have converged to create fertile ground for the medium to grow. Before and after “Serial” saw runaway success, two podcasting networks launched, Slate’s Panoply and Gimlet Media, a project of former “This American Life” producer Alex Blumberg. Since then, BuzzFeed, The Associated Press and many others have gotten on board.

    But for NPR, which has been in the podcasting game since 2005, the sudden attention was another indicator that its offerings had been gaining steam with listeners and advertisers for some time. The public radio network doubled its podcasting revenue in 2014, and is on track to double it again in 2015, said Bryan Moffett, interim president and CEO of National Public Media. The network has also seen monthly downloads for its podcast portfolio take off in recent years, increasing from 37.5 million in October 2013 to more than 90 million in March 2015, Nuzum said.

    The key to this audience growth? A lot of pruning. Listeners who checked NPR’s podcast directory in October 2013 would have found a disorganized list of more than 100 different offerings there, Nuzum said. Even as the audience for the podcasts grew, there was no one in charge of the shows and little in the way of strategic direction.

    “It was really hard to find things you were actually there to look for,” he said.

    So, the network gradually trimmed its portfolio of podcasts down to 30, cutting out shows that didn’t fit in with a series of new guidelines. Podcasts that consisted primarily of excerpts from other shows were out. They ditched a lot of shows featuring roundups of stories about movies, or science, or international news. With a few exceptions, anything that wasn’t a “full experience” — a standalone podcast that didn’t need to borrow from other NPR offerings — was cut.

    The next step was to bring a wider audience to this leaner list of shows. The network’s directory, which remains one of the top Google search results for “podcasts,” used to be a bad experience for listeners, who initially had to scroll through page after page to find what they were looking for, Nuzum said. The revised directory displays the slimmed-down list of podcasts prominently, with a simple category search replacing a “mix your own podcast” function on the old podcast landing page.

    The other audience-building strategy that NPR learned is one that was used to great effect in the case of “Serial” and “Invisibilia.” Cross-promotion, the engineering of the so-called “Ira Glass bump,” has brought the network “millions and millions” of additional downloads, Nuzum said. “Invisibilia” is the most telling case. But there are other success stories, too. For several months, NPR had “Pop Culture Happy Hour,” “Ask Me Another,” “How to Do Everything,” “Snap Judgement,” and “Intelligence Squared” take turns having their respective hosts telling listeners to go check out the other podcasts, one at a time. The result? In all but one case, the podcasts saw a spike in downloads the week after they were promoted on the other shows.

    The network repeated the experiment again, this time with eight or nine podcasts. After that, staffers divided NPR’s podcasts into four or five small groups with shows that relate to one another and instructed the hosts of those shows to promote the other podcasts in the group. Eventually, the plan is to move those groups around and try another round of cross-promotion.

    “It’s a great case study in the power of focus,” Nuzum said.

    Although advertisers have followed listeners to NPR’s podcasts, the shows won’t eclipse NPR’s larger streams of revenue anytime soon. While podcasting is among the network’s fastest-growing revenue sources, it is still nowhere close to the largest, Moffett said. He was reluctant to break down the dollar amounts specifically, but he did say that podcasting is currently a seven-figure business that the network is trying to grow into the mid-seven figures. Compared with NPR’s total corporate sponsorship revenue, which is a mid-eight figure business, that’s relatively small.

    NPR is still interested in stoking advertiser interest, however. In late April, the network will hold a podcasting upfront in conjunction with WNYC and Chicago Public Media featuring the stars from their respective podcasts. The idea, Moffett says, is to pitch the larger advertising and marketing community on different podcasting offerings from public media outlets.

    “When you look at the iTunes year recap for 2014 in podcasting, six of the top 10 most downloaded podcasts were from the three of us,” Moffett said. “I think that we at least feel that public radio, and particularly those three entities, have been a driving factor in podcasts for a very long time.”

    Follow @benmullin
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  • AP CEO says murdering journalists should be a war crime

    Good morning. Here are 11 media stories.

    1. Protecting the free press

      Associated Press Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt called for an international legal standard of punishment for people who kill and kidnap journalists Monday during a speech at Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club. "The single most treacherous threat to journalists is killing with impunity. Impunity for those who kill journalists only empowers them." (AP) | "Last year was a particularly deadly year for the AP — four of the news cooperative's journalists were killed on assignment." (AP) | Related: The man who fatally shot AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus in Afghanistan was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week. AP correspondent Kathy Gannon, who was injured in the shooting, reaffirmed her resolution to go back to Afghanistan. "I will return for both of us." (AP)

    2. The next most trusted name in fake news

      Comedy Central has named a successor for longtime "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart: Trevor Noah, who joined the show in December. Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless discussed the selection process. "You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart – there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different." (The New York Times)

    3. Is the leaked Germanwings transcript fair game?

      A transcript from a recorder aboard Germanwings Flight 9525 leaked to the German newspaper Bild last week details the final moments of the plane, which went down in the French Alps on Tuesday. (CNN) | On Sunday's edition of "Reliable Sources," CNN business and aviation correspondent Richard Quest said the transcript didn't need to be leaked. "Now, there is a difference between leaking the core fact and leaking the individual document which has the detail, details that frankly the families don't need to know yet and we don't need to know." (CNN) | The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations condemned the leak. "It is vital for the investigating body to ensure all information under their control is properly handled until the completion of the investigation." (Business Wire)

    4. Apple CEO takes First Amendment stand

      In an opinion piece for The Washington Post Sunday, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out against recent legislation that would allow business owners to refuse service to customers on the basis of their religious beliefs. "These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear." (The Washington Post) | "Supporters of the Indiana law say it prevents the government from compelling people to provide services such as wedding photography for same-sex weddings or other activities they find objectionable on religious grounds." (ABC News)

    5. Athletes leapfrog traditional reporting

      Richard Sandomir examines The Players' Tribune, a website founded by MLB star Derek Jeter that aims to "give an athlete a platform to say what is on his or her mind, serious or not, without a reporter playing the journalistic middleman." (The New York Times) | On Thursday, the site published a first-person essay from Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz, who defended himself from allegations of using performance enhancing drugs. "In some people’s minds, I will always be considered a cheater. And that’s bullshit." (The Players' Tribune) | Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy responded, suggesting Ortiz may have been unwise to discuss steroid use. "Jeter failed you on this one. A good editor would have discouraged this theme." (The Boston Globe)

    6. Last week in AP Style

      There was a flurry of stories toward the end of last week that tackled one of the most pressing issues for Poynter readers: the annual revision of the AP Stylebook. Here are some highlights: You can call your sandwich a BLT on first reference. (Poynter) | The stylebook will have an updated entry on suicide that discourages going into details. (Poynter) | AP is still considering making a ruling on the term "Redskins." (Poynter) | Deadspin weighed in on the new sports style guidelines. "Getting rid of 'dingers' is a bad move. 'Dingers' is an excellent word for home runs. 'Jacks' is OK. 'Taters' is the best." (Deadspin) | Kevin Draper also laid out an incomplete styleguide for the site. (Deadspin)

    7. Blogger sentenced to flogging speaks

      Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger given 1,000 lashes for criticizing the country's clerics, called the punishment "cruel" in a letter from prison. "Badawi, 31, recalled that he was 'surrounded by a cheering crowd who cried incessantly ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest)' during the whipping, according to a pre-released article from Der Spiegel’s edition to be published on Saturday." (The Guardian) | The punishment has been condemned by Reporters Without Borders. (Reporters Without Borders)

    8. John Burns retires

      Several journalists reflected on the career of New York Times correspondent John Burns, who retired last week. "For 40 years at The Times, John Burns reported from bases in Johannesburg, Moscow, China, Bosnia, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and London — not to mention the countless other datelines he accumulated in the more than 3,000 stories he wrote." (The New York Times) | Burns will contribute to the international and sports desks. (The New York Times) | "Few contemporary foreign correspondents have worked in as many conflict zones as Burns. And fewer have his gift for telling vivid tales of ordinary lives interrupted by war." (The Atlantic) | "Two bits of journalism advice I got from John Burns: 1) Show up wherever the story is. 2) Pencils are more reliable than pens." (‏@ravisomaiya) | He now has his own about page. (The New York Times) | Burns' final story before his retirement. (The New York Times)

    9. 'A little bit of flirting' in 'Serial'

      At a Boston University conference Sunday, "Serial" host Sarah Koenig discussed her interactions with Adnan Syed, whose homicide case provided the focal point for the hit podcast. "'Sometimes, as uncomfortable as it is to admit it, there’s a little bit of flirting going on,' Koenig said, of listening back on her reporting. 'I’m a little cringe-y looking back. I’m laughing too much. It sounds like we’re friends.'" (The Boston Globe)

    10. Front page of the day, selected by Kristen Hare

      The Spokesman-Review goes big with the loss of hometown favorite Gonzaga University to the Duke University Blue Devils. (Courtesy the Newseum)


    11. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

      Marc Weiner has been named news director at FIOS1 News in New York. Previously, he was an executive producer for Al Jazeera America. (Rick Gevers) | Gregg Birnbaum will be a senior news editor at CNN Money. He is managing editor and head of political content at the New York Daily News. (Capital New York) | Tanzina Vega will be a digital correspondent at CNN Politics. She is a reporter at The New York Times. (Poynter) | Nikki-Dee Ray has joined the weather team at WTVR. Previously, she was chief meteorologist at KLBK. (TV Spy) | Job of the day: The Boston Globe is looking for a digital reporter. Get your résumés in! ( | Send Ben your job moves:

    Corrections? Tips? Please email Kristen Hare: Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here.

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Glor named weekend anchor at CBS Print
Written by Lou Gulino   
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 23:07

Former WSTM-TV staffer Jeff Glor has been promoted to the anchor desk at CBS News. Glor will serve as the anchor of the Saturday Edition of the CBS Evening News.  Glor worked at WSTM from 1997 to 2003.   Interestingly he will go head to head at the anchor desk with former WTVH  anchor David Muir, who anchors World News Saturday for ABC. 

Here is the official release from CBS News:

Jeff Glor has been named anchor of the Saturday edition of he CBS EVENING NEWS, it was announced today by Sean McManus, President,
CBS News and Sports. The appointment is effective immediately. Glor will continue as a National Correspondent reporting for all CBS News broadcasts.         

 "With his outstanding coverage of breaking news, politics and human interest stories, Jeff has been a valuable addition to our already
impressive group of correspondents," said McManus.  "He is a smart, dedicated reporter who has proven his versatility and talent both in the
field and in the anchor chair." 

Glor has been the National Correspondent for THE EARLY SHOW since March 2007 and has served as substitute anchor for the CBS EVENING NEWS. While at CBS News, Glor has covered many major domestic and international news stories, including President Obama's Inauguration,  Campaign '08, the war in Iraq, the crash of US Air Flight 1549, the  Beijing Olympic Games, the Republican National Convention and the Papal visit.  In May 2008, Glor traveled cross-country for the CBS News "Eye on the Road" series.          

Before joining CBS News, Glor served as the weekend evening news anchor and a weekday reporter for WHDH-TV in Boston, where he reported on the Pope's death from Rome and the hearings on steroid use in Major League Baseball from Washington, D.C.

Jeff Glor was born in Buffalo, N.Y.  He was graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University in 1997 with a degree in journalism
from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in economics from the College of Arts and Sciences. 


"People in the media say they must look … at the president with a microscope. Now, I don’t mind a microscope, but boy, when they use a proctoscope, that’s going too far."
--Richard M. Nixon

Wall of Distinction





Hart Seely

The Post-Standard

What does Hart Seely do? The question should be, what doesn’t he do? He’s been a reporter and master-ful writer for the Post-Standard for more than three decades. Some of the other titles he’s earned are author, essayist, humorist, political commentator, broadcaster and foreign cor-respondent.

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