Media notes: Sanders says N&O told him ‘goodbye’ and that his ‘services were no longer needed’ – Raleigh & Company


There’s turmoil at the News and Observer, with columnist Barry Saunders getting shown the door last week. I didn’t always agree with Barry but I enjoyed reading his columns. He was one of the outsized personalities that give the hometown paper real flavor and his loss is devastating to the N&O in my opinion. I’ve long said that there were two main reasons I kept subscribing to the N&O: Joe Miller’s Take It Outside column and Barry Saunders’ column. Now both are gone.

At a time when newspapers around the country are demonstrating their value in holding the powerful accountable, McClatchy seems to be going in the opposite direction. It’s sad, because it doesn’t have to be this way.

Some say the N&O is all about “generating clicks” nowadays, and reporters are being pushed to produce clickable content. As someone else said, reading social media is like reading the National Enquirer. Is this really the direction a media company wants to go?

I miss the days when the News and Observer was fully in the game. We need good journalism now more than ever.

As The McClatchy Company’s reinvention initiative continues to roll out at The News & Observer, changes are ongoing.Reporters met with editors in recent days to discuss how the initiative relates to their job and what changes may be coming for their roles. Others are finding out that they have lost their jobs.

The most prominent change, revealed in this story, is the departure after 24 years of columnist Barry Saunders, 59. According to multiple sources, the move wasn’t his decision. Saunders didn’t respond to a voicemail message.

But during an appearance Saturday night on WRAL-TV’s public-affairs program “On the Record,” he confirmed that he was forced out.

“I can tell you that that decision was made above my pay grade,” Saunders said on the show, which was taped Friday. “I was told that they were saying goodbye. Remember the old Manhattans song, ‘we called you here today for a bit of bad news’? I was just told my services were no longer needed there.”

Source: Media notes: Sanders says N&O told him ‘goodbye’ and that his ‘services were no longer needed’ – Raleigh & Company

Life before the Taliban: Photos show Afghanistan before it plunged into hell | Daily Mail Online

These fascinating photographs from Afghanistan in the 1960s are a far cry from the war-torn images in the news today. The eye-opening collection was captured by university professor Dr Bill Podlich from Arizona, who swapped life in America to travel to Kabul with his wife, Margaret, and two teenage daughters, Jan and Peg. Using his Kodachrome film, his images show a peaceful Afghanistan making strides towards a more liberal and Westernised lifestyle – a stark contrast to harrowing sights seen during the Taliban regime.

Source: Life before the Taliban: Photos show Afghanistan before it plunged into hell | Daily Mail Online

Chasin’ Jesus: Guns, guns, guns

Interesting commentary on guns.

Reading about guns every day, and — of course — seeing them on TV and in films as instruments of redemption. The perennially armed cops in the US are already heading to fatal shootings in excess of one thousand before the end of 2017; and there is the development of the Redneck Revolutionary movement — supposedly antifascist — in which ostensibly antiracist white people remain rooted in, and celebrate, gun culture. “Racism no – Guns yes” is their mantra apparently.

American culture is Baudrillard on steroids and acid. The simulacra has taken over as we withdraw into our electronic life-support and hallucination dens. We come to believe that what we read and see in audiovisual media is true, in part because we have eschewed real experience as too troublesome or risky. We need a reality check on guns.

Source: Chasin’ Jesus: Guns, guns, guns

43 stunned reactions to Donald Trump Jr.’s damning emails

My favorite is this one from Sal Gentile: “Donald Trump Jr. is like a Scooby Doo villain who wears a mask of his own face.”

On Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. released a June 2016 email chain with Rob Goldstone in which the pair set up a meeting between Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer. While the decision to publish the chain was apparently a hasty attempt to get ahead of a damning New York Times story that detailed the emails, many observers were left stunned that the president’s son published the most concrete evidence yet of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s government.

In the email exchanges, Goldstone explicitly stated the existence of “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful” to Trump. “This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” Goldstone wrote.

“If it’s what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. responded.

Source: 43 stunned reactions to Donald Trump Jr.’s damning emails

Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic

This story and the links in it offer a very detailed look at Trump’s troubling connections to Russian organized crime.

In 1984, a Russian émigré named David Bogatin went shopping for apartments in New York City. The 38-year-old had arrived in America seven years before, with just $3 in his pocket. But for a former pilot in the Soviet Army—his specialty had been shooting down Americans over North Vietnam—he had clearly done quite well for himself. Bogatin wasn’t hunting for a place in Brighton Beach, the Brooklyn enclave known as “Little Odessa” for its large population of immigrants from the Soviet Union. Instead, he was fixated on the glitziest apartment building on Fifth Avenue, a gaudy, 58-story edifice with gold-plated fixtures and a pink-marble atrium: Trump Tower.

A monument to celebrity and conspicuous consumption, the tower was home to the likes of Johnny Carson, Steven Spielberg, and Sophia Loren. Its brash, 38-year-old developer was something of a tabloid celebrity himself. Donald Trump was just coming into his own as a serious player in Manhattan real estate, and Trump Tower was the crown jewel of his growing empire. From the day it opened, the building was a hit—all but a few dozen of its 263 units had sold in the first few months. But Bogatin wasn’t deterred by the limited availability or the sky-high prices. The Russian plunked down $6 million to buy not one or two, but five luxury condos.

Source: Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic

Q&A: Garry Kasparov on the press and propaganda in Trump’s America – Columbia Journalism Review

Insightful commentary on Trump and the press from Russian democracy activist and chess legend Garry Kasparov.

while all traditional politicians understand the importance of messaging and perception, they realize that avoiding substantive questions only leads to more of them. During the campaign, and during his presidency, Trump has attempted—with considerable success—to transcend that norm, as with so many others. He responds instead with counterattacks and bold statements and accusations, knowing they will get more attention than subsequent fact-checks. It’s one of many ways that Americans are learning from Trump that much of their democracy was run on the honor system, on agreed standards, not laws, and now there’s someone who isn’t going to play by those rules.

Source: Q&A: Garry Kasparov on the press and propaganda in Trump’s America – Columbia Journalism Review

When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot For Humans?

Terrifying commentary on climate change.

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

Source: When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot For Humans?