October 14, 2016 Last Updated 4:42 pm

The Telegraph launches new mobile app; Idaho Statesman makes a tough call

Morning Brief: Reporters covering rallies begin to express their concerns for the safety of journalists, as security is tightened as attendees lash out at the media

The past week and a half has been rather crazy, hasn’t it? Finally we will down to final the weeks of the election cycle and maybe, maybe things will settle down. Then again maybe they won’t.

One thing I wonder is if we now have entered a time when attacks by politically motivated hackers will be the norm?

If you’ve noticed, there have been times during the past two weeks when TNM has been offline. Most of the attacks have been against our sister site PoliMedia.press. They have been simple DDoS attacks that take the site offline briefly. They are stupid and juvenile really, what good does it really do? It has, however, caused me to invest a little more in network security, so if there is an industry to invest some of your retirement savings in, I would suggest that one.

The UK daily newspaper The Telegraph launched a new mobile app this week and the reviews inside the British App Store are decidedly mixed (there are only three written reviews inside the US store, and they are negative).

telegraoh-iphone-380The problem users have with the app, which is simply called The Telegraph, is its design. The app looks like it has taken the late sixties as its inspiration (sock it to me).

For US news readers, there may be other issues, such as the incredibly lightweight journalism, but I guess that is just a matter of what one expects from their newspaper.

Among the new features are a customizable menu; a Top Stories channel which brings together what the editors consider to be their choices of most important stories from each section; push notifications (didn’t the old app have this feature?); and, of course, its design changes.

The app joins the other six apps inside the App Store, including one called The Telegraph Daily UK Edition, which some readers may find a better choice as it works on both the iPhone and iPad, and is less dramatically designed.

But there is one major difference: the old universal app requires a subscription, this new app is free to both download and read.

The new app is one that I will keep on my iPhone for a while to see if I actually access it. As The Telegraph was a supporter of Brexit, I might open it every once in a while, just to see how wrong the paper’s editorial board might be with the next major issue (Scottish independence?)

iidst-frontMany newspapers have decided that it is in their best interest to not make endorsements at election time. Some shy aways from the national races and stick to the local candidates and ballot initiatives, while some shy away altogether.

But imagine what is is like for a paper like the Idaho Statesman, the McClatchy-owned daily published out of Boise? Few polls are being taken in the state for the presidential election as the state is so Republican, but the last two polls both put Donald Trump up by 21 points in the state. FiveThirtyEight gives Trump a 93.3 percent chance of winning the state on November 8.

So, you can imagine what it was like for the editorial board when they sat down to make their decision and knew it would be an endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

“We recognize a lot of you are not going to like our choice of a Democrat in this Republican state — where Sen. Ted Cruz won the GOP primary in a landslide and where Sen. Bernie Sanders soundly defeated Clinton in the Democratic caucus. But our hope is that you will consider our reasoning before critiquing our conclusion. At this critical time in our nation’s history, we need, more than ever, to listen to each other with respect,” the paper’s editorial said when it appeared online late yesterday afternoon (it was featured in the print edition this morning).

The paper did a good job of going through the issues of concern to them, rather than sticking to personality (temperament), which may be why the comments on the editorial are rather civil compared to what is often seen in The Washington Post. Maybe Idahoans are just more civil, at least online.

Jim Acosta of CNN posted this tweet yesterday afternoon:

What is there to say except that political reporters need to get paid battle pay this election cycle.

Things are getting worse, and reporters covering the campaign, who normally are instructed to ignore taunts from rally attendees, are starting to speak out, they are beginning to feel that things are getting dangerous.

“Covering Donald Trump rallies has never been easy for journalists. Members of the press are often the target of jeering by unruly crowds that are egged on by the candidate himself,” Ed Mazza, the overnight editor at The Huffington Post wrote last night. “But as the campaign falters and Trump spins tales of a media conspiracy, the scene appears to be getting even uglier.”

Seerma Mehta, political writer at the Los Angeles Times also tweeting a video of the police escorting the media out from last night’s Trump rally.

“This is getting increasingly scary,” Mehta said.

Yesterday, the chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement saying that Donald Trump was a danger to freedom of the press.

“Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values. On October 6, CPJ’s board of directors passed a resolution declaring Trump an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists and to CPJ’s ability to advocate for press freedom around the world,” said Sandra Mims Rowe, chairman of CPJ’s board.

The statement refers to the revoking of press credentials and concludes:

“For this reason CPJ is taking the unprecedented step of speaking out now. This is not about picking sides in an election. This is recognizing that a Trump presidency represents a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”

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