New York Times columnist David Segal has perused an advance copy of the March 2016 U.S. issue of Playboy magazine. The one that marks the beginning of a more tasteful photographic era.
Segal writes that the most surprising benefit of the new approach is that it has allowed Playboy to ditch the airbrushing. From his critique:
The centerfold, for instance — yes, there is still a centerfold, in this case, Dree Hemingway, a great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway — cavorts in the buff. But this is the Garden of Eden after a bite of the apple, and our Eve, while amused, seems a bit embarrassed. In one shot, it’s as if someone has just stolen her clothing, leaving her to hide as much of herself as she can with both hands.
Ms. Hemingway and other featured women in the issue are unretouched. Playboy photographs have long been triumphs of technology, giving models a sheen of perfection that is unobtainable without lots of carefully placed lights and aggressive airbrushing. That is over. Some images in the March issue are grainy, and all feel more impromptu than posed. The magazine has adopted the unadorned, point-and-shoot aesthetic made famous by American Apparel ads and fashion photographers like Terry Richardson.
Paradoxical as it may sound, Playboy has undergone major cosmetic surgery and emerged from the operating room looking more natural.
Another intriguing aspect of the U.S. print relaunch is the photographer for the pictorial featuring Myla Dalbesio. That photographer is Dalbesio herself.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Pamela Anderson Covers Playboy’s Final Nude Issue
The Playboy Playmate Reaction Story
Playboy’s First Fold-Out Centerfold Was Shot by a Woman
[March 2016 cover, featuring Sarah McDaniel and done in the style of Snapchat, via: playboy.com]
More than a few curiosities, oddities and abnormalities arose when presidential campaigns and super PACs filed their 2015 end-of-year campaign finance disclosures Sunday night.
Among the notable numbers the Center for Public Integrity flagged:
$4,769,923: Amount raked in by Eleventy Marketing, the top-paid vendor to Republican Ben Carson’s campaign during the fourth quarter of 2015, when Carson’s campaign spent nearly $5 million more than it raised. The Carson campaign raised about $54 million in 2015, mostly from small donors, but spent a big chunk of the money on fundraising expenses.
$1,019,469.74: What a super PAC backed by the National Nurses United union spent advocating for Bernie Sanders. Sanders’s disdain of big money politics hasn’t stopped super PACs from supporting him, with the National Nurses United for Patient Protection super PAC out in force. But while other super PACs are bankrolled by six- and seven-figure donations, all of the nurses’ union coffers are funded by “both mandatory and voluntary dues paid by its 185,000 members,” officials told the Washington Post.
$834,960: White House, red ink? Despite President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign using the “Democratic Hope Fund” to pay down lingering debt — Kanye West is helping! — the commander in chief remains saddled with six-figures worth of obligations. Most of it is owed to Perkins Coie LLP, a massive law firm whose political law practice leader, Marc Elias, is general counsel to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
$500,000: Value of a bank loan Democrat Martin O’Malley took out in December to keep his campaign afloat. With less than $170,000 cash on hand, the O’Malley campaign fell behind on paying senior staffers. Some relief arrived in January when the campaign took receipt of more than $846,000 in public matching funds and paid the loan off, O’Malley spokeswoman Haley Morris noted. The campaign has “actually seen an uptick in low-dollar fundraising since we announced we would be applying for public financing,” she said, although O’Malley’s poll numbers remain dismal.
$307,068: That’s how much Whole Foods cofounder John Mackey contributed to pro-Rand Paul super PAC Concerned American Voters. This may come as a surprise to some, but Mackey, a self-described “ethical vegan,” told Mother Jones that he “rejects the premise that liberal and libertarian values are necessarily in conflict.”
$288,387: The amount Right to Rise USA, the Jeb Bush-backing super PAC, paid a mysterious LLC linked to the Bush campaign’s national finance director. The arrangement makes it difficult to tell where the money is ultimately going.
$202,892: What Ready PAC, the supposedly defunct super PAC formerly known as Ready for Hillary PAC, earned by selling or renting supporters’ personal information to three other entities: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic operative-led PAC End Citizens United and Infogroup, which promotes “using big data to drive your business” to its clients. It spent more than $316,000 during the latter half of 2015, particularly on consultants, staffers and direct mail.
$167,401: Debt reported by Republican Rick Santorum’s flagging presidential campaign, which also disclosed having next to no cash on hand through Dec. 31. If there’s a silver lining in the 2016 edition of Santorum’s sweater vest, it’s this: His 2012 presidential campaign is still carrying more than $450,000 in debt.
$7,300: The amount Right to Rise PAC — the sister organization of pro-Bush super PAC Right to Rise USA — reported contributing to the re-election campaign of Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican and 2008 GOP presidential nominee had already endorsed fellow Sen. Lindsey Graham for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination when Right to Rise PAC made its contribution on July 31. But Graham quit the race in December — and endorsed Bush earlier this month.
$2,484: What Bush, in a Sunday night email to supporters, said was needed to avoid “not having the resources we need to turn out voters tomorrow” at the Iowa caucus. The email arrived the hour after pro-Bush super PAC Right to Rise USA reported having almost $58.6 million in reserve through December — more than any other super PAC in the nation.
$1,000: The largest “sacrifice” Sen. Ted Cruz asked supporters to make to his campaign by 11:59 p.m. Sunday night.
$251: The amount O’Malley’s campaign paid the Koch Brothers — not to be confused with David and Charles Koch, the billionaires that funnel millions of dollars into conservative causes. O’Malley instead paid Koch Brothers, an office furniture store in Des Moines, Iowa.
$20: Amount Democrat Lincoln Chafee’s presidential campaign, in its final days, paid out for a parking reimbursement at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum. The recipient? Chafee himself.
Jayson Blair had not heard or read anything about this week’s Intercept debacle until it was brought up to him by a New York Daily News reporter. In the resulting piece by Jason Silverstein, Blair, who carved out a very similar trail at The New York Times, has some succinct advice for disgraced reporter Juan Thompson:
Blair now works as a life coach in Virginia, and spoke from his Virginia office. He never tried to re-enter journalism, and advised the same for Thompson.
“It’s very hard for someone to recover from something like this,” the infamous fabulist said.
Blair also speculates how Thompson probably first started down the “slippery slope” of making things up. Read the rest here.goosecreekconsulting.com]
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the requests made Tuesday by Burundi's supreme court for the extradition of seven Burundian journalist for alleged complicity in a coup attempt on 13 May 2015, before they fled to neighbouring countries.
In a communiqué addressed to the international community, the court described the seven journalists, who worked for the country's most prominent media outlets, as “putschists” and “insurgent allies” and called on the host countries to arrest them and deliver them to Burundi's judicial authorities.
The seven include the directors of four privately-owned news radio stations: Innocent Muhozi of Radio-Télé Renaissance, Bob Rugurika, of Radio publique africaine (RPA), Anne Niyuhire of Radio Isanganiro and Patrick Nduwimana of Bonesha FM. The other three are Isanganiro reporters Patrick Mitabaro and Arcade Havyarimana and RPA reporter Gilbert Niyonkuru.
“The arrest warrants already existed but this communiqué constitutes yet further evidence of the determination being displayed by President Pierre Nkurunziza's government to continue persecuting independent media that do not support it,” said Clea Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF's Africa desk.
“This is a witchhunt against journalists and media owners who just did their job by broadcasting information in the public interest. The government is rejecting any peacekeeping mission and insists the situation is normal. But what kind of normality accepts the disappearance of all independent media? We call on the government to show good faith by ending this judicial persecution and by allowing all these radio stations to resume working freely.”
Some of these radio stations angered the government during the abortive coup attempt in May by broadcasting the messages of the army officers staging the coup.
The radios defended their action on the grounds that they were providing information of interest to the public. Some of the other radio stations tried to reach the putschists in order to get comments from them, which was an entirely legitimate action for journalists to take.
Prior to the attempted coup, the government had already begun to gag the media in response to the massive street demonstrations in protest against the president's decision to run for a third term. The authorities had already disconnected the transmitters of the main privately-owned radio stations and those of Radio France Internationale broadcasting outside the capital.
Burundi is ranked 145th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2015 press freedom index. As a result of the arbitrary closure of news media and persecution of journalists since the start of the political crisis in 2015, Burundi is unlikely to hold this position in the 2016 press freedom index.
For more information about violations of media freedom in Burundi, click here.
Photo: Agnes Bagiricenge, Secretary general of the Supreme Court, burundi-agnews.org
On The Drudge Report and elsewhere, much is being made today about the fact that Shane Smith drops 52 F-bombs in this week’s Hollywood Reporter cover story, for which he was interviewed alongside Spike Jonze by Lacey Rose at Vice’s Venice, Calif. offices.
But we were equally intrigued by the fact that Smith reverently made mention of David Carr:
There are plenty who are predicting this network [Viceland] will be a replay of Al Gore’s Current TV, which had lots of hype, then fell flat. Thoughts?
SMITH Great. Because if they prophesize my doom and then I kick ass and I’m like (flashes middle finger). As the late, great [New York Times columnist] David Carr used to say, “It’s fighting season.” Look, everybody talks about disruption until you actually f—ing disrupt something, and then everybody freaks the f— out. And we’re going to come along and we’re going to disrupt everything, and everyone’s going to say I’m the f—ing devil himself. And then 12 months from now we’ll be on the cover of Time magazine as the guys who brought millennials back to TV. That’s how it f—ing works.
In the documentary Page One, Carr famously kicked off his own version of “fighting season” when he visited Vice to discuss the company’s partnership with CNN.
After Carr passed away last February, Vice senior editor Ben Shapiro thanked Carr for what he taught everyone at the company and fondly remembered the contributions of his daughter:
A few years ago, we had the great pleasure of working with one of his twin daughters, Erin, in our London and then U.S. offices. We loved her. As a producer, Erin made some of the best documentaries we’ve ever done (if you haven’t, you should really watch her piece on 3-D printed guns). We miss her humor and weird heart brightening up our lives in an office that can get, as all offices do, a bit depressing at times.
All that’s left to say here, re: Carr and the Feb. 29 launch of Viceland is… RIP and rock and roll!
Two U.S. congressmen have asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address concerns that a program to sell mortgages to investors in bulk auctions is harming homeowners.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., requested a briefing on the program in a Feb. 1 letter to HUD secretary Julian Castro.
The letter cites the Center for Public Integrity’s investigation of the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (DASP), a HUD program to sell mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to the highest bidder. The story outlined consumer protection shortcomings in the DASP system. The story was co-published on The Atlantic.
Brown is ranking member on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Cummings is ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
“Several recent reports indicate that the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) may be selling nonperforming loans for properties located in some of our most vulnerable communities to hedge funds and private equity firms via quarterly auctions without sufficient protections for homeowners and neighborhoods,” the letter reads.
Over 98,000 mortgages have been sold through DASP with the stated goal of helping homeowners to avoid foreclosure while also getting troubled loans off the FHA’s books. The Center investigation revealed that the mortgages were sold for as little as 41 percent of their value and that only 16.9 percent of DASP mortgages avoided foreclosures.
In the letter, Brown and Cummings ask HUD several questions:
Are homeowners notified of the status of their mortgage before the sale and are they informed of their inclusion in the program? (According to lawyers the Center spoke to last fall, most borrowers learn their loan was sold well after the initial auction — if they become aware at all — after the mortgage has been stripped of FHA protections.)
How does HUD ensure required loss mitigation procedures are being followed before the sale? (The Center’s original report explains that HUD relies on banks to self-report the loan’s status without checking with the homeowner.)
What protections are provided to homeowners after their mortgages are sold through the program? (Several borrowers reported to the Center that they were repeatedly denied opportunities to negotiate for more affordable loan terms, including terms that would have been available had the mortgages stayed under FHA protection.)
What data does HUD provide to the public about the program? (At the time of the Center’s investigation, HUD did not provide or seem to collect detailed information about the mortgages after auction.)
What percentage of mortgages are sold to nonprofits? (The Center reported only 2 percent of sales went to nonprofits as of September 2015.)
“Many of these questions we have been trying to get answers to for a long time,” says Alys Cohen, a staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. “FHA is supposed to work for homeowners, not just the lending community.”
Cohen adds, “The bottom line is lenders still say these sales are a way to get rid of loans that have no other options but we know many homeowners that are trying to save their homes are having their loan sold without any notice.”
HUD has continued to sell mortgages through DASP after the Center for Public Integrity report. The latest sale took place on Nov. 18, 2015 and put 7,787 mortgages on the auction block. Mortgages were grouped into 24 pools, two of which were bought by nonprofits, according to a post-sale report. Seventeen pools went to the investors at Bayview Acquisitions, LLC. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who together hold the rights to many more mortgages than FHA, have followed with similar sales.
If the glove doesn’t fit, you must… take some creative license.
Our Facebook pal Burt Kearns, a longtime TV and film producer, showrunner and writer, covered the OJ trial for Premier Story and A Current Affair. Following Tuesday night’s premiere, he ruminated as follows:
So here’s my issue. I covered the case. And in court, the glove… did… not… fit.
So why does it fit so well in the ads? #PeopleVsOJSimpson #MarkFuhrman #TabloidBaby
Touche! Although at least one commenter responded to Kearns’ Facebook thoughts by suggesting that the glove did in fact fit and OJ’s struggle to put it on was an act. If you believe that, then Ryan Murphy and co. with these marketing materials are tipping how they ultimately feel about the trial outcome.
Kearns, in his 1999 book Tabloid Baby, touched on many aspects of the Simpson case. It will be interesting to see if and-or how the FX true crime series encompasses something else in that Kearns tome. Namely, that he spied Robert Kardashian making off with OJ’s Louis Vuitton bag the morning OJ returned from Chicago.
Now that Meredith’s hopes of merging with Media General are officially over, the publisher is on the lookout for companies to acquire.
Meredith CEO Steve Lacy told the New York Post that he presented five companies to the board — two TV companies and three digital properties.
Meredith had previously attempted to merge with Media General, but Nexstar swooped in with a better offer.
However, losing out on that deal resulted in Meredith getting a $60 million termination fee from Nexstar. That money is about to come in handy.
If you work with podcasts, how many times have you heard complaints about the difficulty of getting accurate data on audiences and their listening habits, and the lack of an industry standard? Probably too many times to count. Is a download a listen? Were listens on a web player figured into a podcast’s total audience? And so on. (Though podcast metrics are not, as some have pointed out, worse than, say, broadcast radio measurements.)
A group of public radio staffers from stations and networks across the U.S. have been working since spring of last year on comprehensive guidelines to help improve the accuracy and reliability of podcast audience measurement in the industry as a whole, and also help generate more consistent data for potential sponsors. The fruits of their discussions were published in this document, made available Tuesday. The recommendation, the report cautions, “are not intended to operate as a full technical standard per se, but rather overall principles and public radio’s technical guidelines for measuring podcast usage.”
The document first clearly defines the “slippery label” that is podcasting, distinguishing it as a subset of the broad category of on-demand audio:
[Podcasts] consist of recurring shows or audio content collections. Measurement of downloads should include any form of on-demand, digital listening to that podcast, regardless of platform and inclusive of full episode downloads and downloads of segments of an episode. Often this is limited to audio files downloaded because they were enclosures in an RSS feed but may also include things like download links on a Web page or plays of an episode via a Web-based player.
It also encourages organizations that rely on both internal and third-party metrics to choose as the “primary source” the metrics that “adhere closest to the guidelines outlined in this document,” noting that “the guidelines presented in this document have the greatest impact when adopted by the greatest number of organizations.”
The document also gets into the nitty gritty of measurement standards, such as how to best count unique downloads:
It’s difficult to count accurately the number of downloaders: no unique ID is transmitted when requesting a podcast file; multiple downloaders can use a single IP address (such as when they are on a shared private network); one downloader can have multiple IP addresses (such as when changing cellular towers). Each downloader does transmit a user agent description which varies by software and sometimes by hardware used. The combination of IP address and user agent provide something closer to a unique identifier for a device, which is itself an approximation of a unique identifier for a downloader. Where the user agent of the requesting client is available, this will be a count of the unique combinations of IP address and user agent for the period reported. Otherwise, this will be a count of unique IP addresses for the period reported.
NPR’s Boston-based Digital Services team is working now to incorporate these guidelines into the tracking mechanisms in its Station Analytics Service, a digital metrics dashboard. Tweaks will be reflected next month.
An ironic element of Jack Marshall’s thorough Wall Street Journal look at the resurgence of Patch is the mention of the number of sites currently operating within the hyperlocal network. The Hale Global tally sits at 900+.
That’s the same number Tim Armstrong once feverishly raced past, on his way to a forced turnover of his pet project at the turn of 2014. It’s all about how you scale.
Hale has stated previously that 2014 was a profitable year. Not surprising given how lean the machine was. But the fact that Hale has been able to, according to Marshall, continue that track in 2015 and into this year as it expands is duly impressive.
Another interesting aspect of the WSJ article is that it once again raises the issue of comScore accuracy. The New York Times has been quick to point out the same in the face of much ballyhooed Washington Post U.S. monthly stats:
Patch’s internal traffic numbers don’t tally with those of comScore, however. The measurement specialist estimates around 7 million users visited the network in December 2015, compared with nearly 15 million in December of 2013. According to Mr. St John, the discrepancy [Patch claims via Google Analytics some 23 million plus uniques in January 2016] can be explained by comScore’s panel-based methodology, which fails to accurately reflect traffic to hyperlocal sites.
We always thought email and smartphone notifications would need to be a critical component of a successful Patch. St. John echoes that idea in the piece. Marshall also got some interesting quotes from Armstrong.
As far as the great quote used for our headline, you’ll have to read the WSJ item to understand why St. John makes that colorful comparison. This past Monday, the new Patch added sites catering to Boston and Chicago.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
The New Patch Bears the Stamp of Its CTO
For six months, candidates and outside groups assailed Iowa TV viewers with a nonstop barrage of political ads.
They aired thousands of spots on morning shows. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders went big on soap operas. Team Rubio sought out football games. Everyone clogged up the commercial breaks on Wheel of Fortune.
Millions of dollars and roughly 100,000 TV ads later, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data provided by advertising tracking firm CMAG/Kantar Media, no one is ready to say any of the ads made the decisive difference in the Iowa caucus on Monday.
But one thing appears to be clear — nice was better than nasty.
Travis Ridout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political advertising, said Sanders and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in particular probably benefited from ads introducing themselves to voters and building a sense of viability.
Rubio finished a strong third on the Republican side. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont who identifies as a socialist, nearly tied Clinton, the former Secretary of State and Democratic establishment favorite.
Meanwhile, Right to Rise USA, the pro-Jeb Bush super PAC behemoth, ran the largest number of negative ads and so-called contrast ads, which compare candidates with each other and often have a negative cast.
The super PAC drew fire for targeting Rubio with negative ads, which didn’t work particularly well. Rubio buried Bush on caucus night.
“They spent an enormous amount of money trying to depress support for other candidates,” said Elizabeth Wilner, vice president at Kantar Media/CMAG. “That clearly failed.”
Early in the campaign season, Bush hired prominent Iowa hand David Kochel, seen as a sign that he would vigorously compete there. But his campaign opted not to air a single ad in Iowa, instead letting the super PAC pick up the slack.
Right to Rise USA ultimately aired almost twice as many ads in Iowa markets (10,355) than Bush received votes on caucus night (5,238).
The airtime assault is now poised to continue in New Hampshire, whose first-in-the-nation primary takes place next Tuesday. The number of political ads aimed at the Granite State jumped 76 percent, from 9,029 to 15,917, between December and January.
As the field winnows down, advertising could have a more powerful impact.
“Advertising in the best circumstances makes a difference at the margin that is much more noticeable in a general election when you’re talking about a two-way race over a long period of time,” said Wilner.
Super PACs more negative
Overall, the candidates who led the field in Iowa ran more positive ads than negative ones, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data provided by Kantar Media/CMAG, though the outside groups supporting them typically struck a less sunny tone.
On the Republican side, nearly three-quarters of the ads run by the big winner of the night, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, were positive. Factoring in ads from the cluster of super PACs supporting him, however, drops the percentage of positive ads to not quite half of the total.
Cruz had help from two super PACs — Keep the Promise I and Stand for Truth Inc. — that pumped more than 2,500 ads into Iowa markets during the last three weeks of January through Feb. 1, saturating the airwaves up until caucus-goers cast their ballots.
One other pro-Cruz super PAC, Keep the Promise III, had earlier aired a few dozen ads.
Advertising, of course, only tells part of the story.
Cruz’s victory has also been credited to an organized ground game and a strong performance on the stump, said Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign and is now senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Larry Levy, the lawyer for Keep the Promise I, a super PAC supporting Cruz, said the group intends to continue on its current course.
“You have a finite amount [of money] and then you figure out what’s the most effective way to use that money, whether you’re running a PAC or a business,” he said.
About 80 percent of the ads run by real estate mogul Donald Trump, who finished second, were positive. That’s essentially the same portion as Rubio and the outside groups supporting him.
Trump didn’t air any ads until January, but then sponsored 6,280 spots in the lead-up to the caucuses on Feb. 1 — an average of about 1 TV ad every seven minutes.
Rubio and the outside groups supporting him took the candidate’s football roots — he was a star player in high school — into account in their ad strategy. They’ve so far aired roughly 400 ads during football games in Iowa and New Hampshire markets, more than any other candidate.
Rubio even produced a football-specific ad in which he “fields” questions while tossing a football. The ad has so far aired 34 times during games in Iowa and New Hampshire markets.
On the Democratic side, Kantar Media/CMAG classified all of Clinton and Sanders’ ads as positive. That includes one Sanders ad widely viewed as attacking Clinton’s ties to Wall Street that doesn’t actually mention her by name.
Good showing critical
Ads are expensive, and a good showing in the Iowa caucuses is critical to the ability of campaigns and outside groups to keep attracting funding so they can buy time.
Annie Presley, the former deputy finance director for the Republican George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign, said candidates who aren’t viable “can’t expect people to keep giving.”
Presley, who isn’t raising money for anyone this year, added: “Those guys who were [at] 2, 3, 4, 5 percent — if their money doesn’t dry up, I’ll be very surprised.”
Coming out of Jeb Bush’s sixth-place finish in Iowa, his backers say New Hampshire will be critical.
“He certainly always was expected to do better in New Hampshire,” said lobbyist David Beightol, a Bush backer, who has given $2,700 to Bush’s campaign.
On a phone call with donors Tuesday morning, Bush campaign officials took no questions and asked only for deployment of volunteers, not for money, said a Bush bundler who did not want to be identified discussing communications with the campaign.
“I can imagine they probably have had a conversation which says it’s fools’ folly to ask people to raise money right now,” the bundler said.
“He’s got to come out of New Hampshire looking viable,” the bundler added.
Otherwise, establishment donors will turn to Rubio, who now has momentum after his unexp ectedly strong third-place finish in Iowa.
Cruz bundler Mica Mosbacher, meanwhile, said her phone has been blowing up since the caucus results came in. Prospective donors have been emailing and texting her, including some at 2 a.m. after the caucus win — a change from her typically having to chase them down.
“I am hearing from potential donors that I thought had forgotten me,” she told the Center for Public Integrity.
A typical email for her today: “Ted Cruz had a good night. Any fundraisers coming up?”
Michael Beckel contributed to this report.
This story was co-published with TIME.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a Manama appeal court decision today upholding internationally-known photographer Ahmed Al Fardan's three-month jail sentence and his arrest after the hearing to begin serving the sentence.
The sentence was originally imposed nearly a year ago, on 17 February 2015, when Fardan was convicted of “trying to participate in an illegal demonstration,” a charge brought against him following his arrest in December 2013.
RSF regards today's appeal court decision and arrest as arbitrary and demands his immediate and unconditional release.
“We also call on the Bahraini authorities to stop such practices, which are designed to intimidate independent journalists, and to free all journalists held on trumped-up charges,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF's Middle East desk. “Journalists in Bahrain are persecuted by the regime.”
Fardan's lawyer, Mohamed Mehdi, told RSF that his client was shocked by the appeal court's decision, especially as he recently married and has been working for the past year for Gulf Daily News, a local paper. Mehdi has decided to ask for the sentence to be commuted to community service or a fine.
Fardan worked for the Nurphoto, Demotex and Sipa photo agencies when he was arrested at his home in Abu Saiba, in western Manama, at 3 a.m. on 26 December 2013 and, according to the information obtained by RSF, was beaten at the time of his arrest. He was freed two weeks later on bail of 100 dinars (245 euros) pending trial.
ESPN’s The Undefeated has added four staffers to its team. Details are below.
- Lonnae O’Neal has joined as a senior writer specializing in profiles. O’Neal previously worked for The Washington Post.
- Latoya Peterson, previously an editor at large for Fusion, will serve as deputy editor for digital innovation.
- Former Vibe editor in chief Danyel Smith has been named senior culture editor.
- Clinton Yates, previously with WaPo, has been named a senior writer.
The Quartz Los Angeles reporting team is small. At the moment, there is no office and the staff is made up of just two full-time journalists: David Yanofsky and Corinne Purtill.
Next Monday, those two will welcome a third L.A. team member. Erik Olsen is coming on board as Quartz’s West Coast video correspondent. On the video end, he is the seventh member of that group. Here’s the memo from editor in chief Kevin Delaney:
I’m happy to announce that Erik Olsen joins Quartz on Monday as our west coast video correspondent, based in Los Angeles.
Erik comes to us from the New York Times, where he spent more than a decade as senior video journalist, most recently based in Berlin. He has shot, written, edited and narrated a vast range of stories from breaking news and scoops to documentary-length features.
At Quartz, Erik will join our video team in pursuing their mandate to produce smart, creative video without undue deference to the existing formats and conventions of the medium. His efforts will build on their success — since the middle of last year, the videos that team has produced have already been viewed more than 100 million times.
During his two years in Europe, Erik covered nearly every major story on the continent, from the conflict in Ukraine to the refugee crisis and the anti-immigration movement in Germany. He’s a skilled multimedia reporter who wrote articles and shot photos for the paper as he produced videos. His main obsessions are science and the sea.
A Los Angeles native, Erik has interned at Apple, cut his teeth as a local newspaper reporter, run a popular blog about travel (when they were called Weblogs!), and produced for ABC News and Current. He has lived in Thailand, Chile and Spain and traveled to 30 more countries in the course of his work. Erik is an adventurer in the best sense of the word. He kayaks, scuba dives, skis, and once took a 10,000 mile trip by land and sea from Antarctica to Los Angeles. Lately, he has become a drone pilot.
Erik has a master’s in environmental management from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in modern European history. He speaks Spanish and German. You can follow him on Twitter @olsentropy.
Please join me in welcoming him.
The video above, by the way, is currently Quartz’s most viewed. Not that you would know that from YouTube. To the roughly one million views there, add another 23 million plus from the Facebook end.
To offset ad dollar losses, Rodale will bump up the single copy cost from $3.99 to $4.99. Subscription prices will also go up.
Of course with no ads, no ad sales staff are needed. So Rodale is cutting about 20 sales members from Prevention, including publisher Lori Burgess.
Rodale CEO Maria Rodale told the New York Post that she would “try to transition them to other jobs in the company,” but Rodale is already cutting many positions company-wide, so we imagine staffers aren’t holding their breath.