Each week we take a look at the best and the worst of what the world of media had to offer.
This past week, much like every week, there have been moments of journalistic brilliance and hard work.
Two venerable publications used cutting edge social media in ways we never would have suspected, and some well-timed digital long form writing proved that it has a long future ahead in journalism.
At the same time, an online publication committed a seriously unfunny gaffe and a a video journalist patted his own back while offending Michael Jackson fans around the globe.
Donald Trump is currently the leading Republican candidate and it appears the media has begun taking Trump seriously. According to David Brooks, Trump is 'riding a deep public fantasy: The hunger for the ultimate blowhard who can lead us through dark times.' Meanwhile, Eugene Robinson said that '...if this is all a big joke, I'm having trouble laughing.'
While the future remains fuzzy, Trump wins this week because he remains a part of the national dialogue -- he has moved beyond the simple criticism of his media presence as an excuse for ratings boost.
Appearing in an animated short celebrating the 100th episode of 30 Rock, we're reminded that Brian Williams is not just a great news anchor, but a funny guy -- possibly the funniest at NBC. For his appearance and repeated proof that he's one of the most appreciated personalities in media, Williams is a winner this week. Now he just needs to bite the bullet and get on Twitter.
After hiding Jonathan Franzen's story about David Foster Wallace behind a 'Facebook 'Like' wall,' the New Yorker's Facebook page received more than 17,000 likes. The result was a lot of attention for the story, and just as much for the magazine's unique and successful efforts in the realm of social media.
Just as 60 Minutes debuted its devastating expose about Greg Mortenson and his alleged fabrication of bestselling books, Byliner released Three Cups of Deceit --not an e-book, but a 'painstakingly edited,' 25,000 word piece about the controversy by author Jon Krakauer. Think of it as a magazine piece, but without the magazine. Back in the early days of publishing this might have been considered a form of pamphlet, but it's probably something else entirely.
Amazon calls this new type of journalistic publication a 'Single.' We call it, based on its relevance and success, a 'winner.'
The New York Times announced this week that less than a month after the paywall debut more than 100,000 customers have paid for access. Its digital subscriber goal for 2011 is to get 300,000 customers, and getting to 1/3 that amount in less than a month is quite the victory. It's to early to draw any real conclusion, but the numbers suggest.
Accused of weaving false narratives in his bestselling memoir Three Cups of Tea and allegedly using the Central Asia Institute (CAI) -- a non-profit organisation he started to help build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- as his 'personal ATM,' Greg Mortenson has seen his reputation evaporate over night. While Mortenson is certainly not the first to misuse funds designated for helping the impoverished or fabricating stories for personal game, the combination of his actions and the subsequent media onslaught guaranteed his position as one of this week's losers.
Michael Wolff, the Vanity Fair contributing editor and Newser founder relaunched this week the 'Conde Nast-ified' Adweek. Alas, much of the attention was directed at their copy-editing department: the social network gaming design firm 'Zynga' was rendered 'Zenga,' on the front page.
This week Dennis Berman, deputy bureau chief for Money & Investing for the Wall Street Journal, submitted the a false personal profile --specifically, that of his dead grandmother -- to start an account at SharesPost, a company that facilitates trade in private equity. He claimed to have done so because he is in the 'business of truth telling,' having deceived because it 'ultimately serves the public good.'
Well, it turns out that Berman may have been in the business of acting unethically. SharesPost insists that this was the case, and so does the Columbia Journalism Review: not just for his methods of accessing SharesPost but for publishing a misleading story riddled with holes and factual inaccuracies.
Wonkette, the political satire site run by Ken Layne, really choked on its kneecap this week after posting a 'Happy Birthday' to Trig Palin, son of Sarah Palin. The post, which included a number of jokes about Trig suffering from Down's Syndrome, was lambasted far and wide. After more nine advertisers pulled out Wonkette finally deleted the post and replaced it with a tepid apology.
James O'Keefe, the 'activist' journalist who took down ACORN and recently punked an NPR exec, released a self-congratulatory music video this week.
This week he he took on his critics by donning a keffiyeh and performing a auto-tuned Michael Jackson-inspired number which he then released as a music video. Yes.
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