December 21, 2015 Last Updated 4:43 pm

Pressure builds on NYT editors to explain why errors continue; Spanish parliamentary election ends dominance of major parties

Morning Brief: The Washington Post again updates its new app, this time to fix blank content issue, as developers look to have apps in shape by the time the app stores shutdown for the holidays

If it bleeds it leads, otherwise, EU politics is not very interesting to The New York Times. Whether it was simply the news judgement of the weekend staff, or a general distain for news from Europe that doesn’t involve terrorism or migrants, the NYT decided to bury any coverage of yesterday’s pivotal election in Spain well inside it website.

Even this morning, the NYT only lists the election that will likely bring chaos to Spanish politics as the third most important story in “World” – it leads with terrorism, of course.

You, too, may not have any interest in Europe (I know a lot of TNM’s UK readers are moving in that direction), but more and more what the Times considers the news is diverging from what its new competitor, the Guardian, thinks is news. The Guardian has a bit of an advantage, as it is a UK-based newspaper that has website that can be fine tuned to UK< US or Australian audiences. The NYT has its own International NYT edition, though it appears there is a growing wall between the two websites, rather than a growing synergy.

NYT-socialmedia-740The NYT, and how it reports the news, was very much in the crosshairs this weekend. Its reporting concerning the social media habits of the San Bernardino shooters had brought unwanted attention to the paper’s continued reliance on anonymous sources. The paper had said that the woman shooter had “talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad.” Later the FBI called that assertion into question, saying that there was no evidence for this, though there was private messages, not visible to the public or authorities.

The story, which made both the FBI and Obama administration look bad, was written by the same reporting duo who were behind a story this summer that claimed that the government was opening an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Margaret Sullivan, the NYT’s Public Editor, said the story ” began to unravel soon after it first went online.”

This weekend Sullivan again had to write about a story written by Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt, who work out of the paper’s Washington DC bureau.

“I have two major and rather simple questions: How did this happen? And how can The Times guard against its happening again?” Sullivan asked. Unfortunately, she did not get very satisfactory answers from NYT editors who seem to be reacting incredibly slowly the paper’s quickly decaying reputation.

“This was a really big mistake, and more than anything since I’ve become editor it does make me think we need to do something about how we handle anonymous sources,” said executive editor Dean Baquet. The paper finally on Thursday added a note to the story, but for days seemed to be debating what action to take.

Of course, the false story became a talking point during last week’s Republican debate, something that was all too  predictable.

“And then we now learn that DHS says, ‘no, we can’t check their social media,'” said Carly Fiorina, in expanding on the inaccurate story. “For heaven’s sakes, every parent in America is checking social media and every employer is as well, but our government can’t do it. The bureaucratic procedures are so far behind. Our government has become incompetent, unresponsive, corrupt. And that incompetence, ineptitude, lack of accountability is now dangerous.”

One expects such nonsense from Fiorina, the worse CEO in American history, but one expects a bit more from the NYT.

It should be noted that more than a few readers and media observers continue to call Margaret Sullivan the best NYT public editor ever. I wouldn’t got that far, as there have been some very good ones. But they have a damn good point.

Back to Spain…

Like stories involving Greece and its negotiations with Europe, the Spanish election story will have legs, as they say. In yesterday’s election, the ruling Conservatives again came out on top, winning the most seats. But they lost their majority, winning 123 seats, but needing 176 to have a majority. The Socialists came in second with 90 seats, but will need to work with third parties, whose share of the vote grew tremendously.

Podemos-Iglesias“Spain is not going to be the same anymore and we are very happy. The bipartisan political system is over,” said Pablo Iglesias, leader of the anti-austerity paper Podemos (which translate as We Can). Podemos won 69 seats, while the new center-right party, Ciudadanos (Citizens) won 40 seats.

While many think the left leaning parties could form a unity government, this may proven hard to accomplish as several parties hold positions that would prevent them from cooperating. If this happens, Spain may be back at the polls very quickly.

Update: Looks like the “A” team is back from the weekend, and so Spain makes the front page of the International edition on Tuesday. See here.

The major app stores will soon shutdown for the holidays, so getting bug fix updates out before that happens is an obvious priority.

The Washington Post, which updated its newish app (simply called The Washington Post) on Thursday, rushed out another update late on Friday to fix an issue where blank content would appear following new app installs.

The Economist for iPad also was updated, not only to fix bugs, but also to add 3D touch support. Press home screen will now pull up a menu of Quick Actions. Lightly pressing a story in the table of content will pull up a preview of the story. All good features, assuming iPhone and iPad owners get used to using 3D touch.

One app that really needs an update is ESPN’s mobile app, which still doesn’t have an area for college football bowl games. Probably too late now.

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