July 11, 2017 Last Updated 6:48 am

Late breaking NYT scoop leaves some news orgs in an awkward position; local news outlets feeling left behind

Morning Brief: Some magazine publishers decide to jump on the Amazon Prime Day bandwagon, offering readers highly discounted subscriptions to some of their titles

Things move awfully fast these days, so fast that many news organizations find themselves dangerously out of date the minute their presses begin to print the first edition of the newspaper. This morning I went from website to website to see if any news organization could find a way to downplay last night’s bombshell from The New York Times that “Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material (he was about to discuss) was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.” If true, the email (oh the irony) will be the equivalent of the Nixon tapes.


For news websites that have supported the president and dismissed the idea of Russian involvement in the 2016 election, there was little to say. So, perhaps, the home page of The Drudge Report was the perfect response, a headline written in resignation of the news, with only a link to the NYT story. Even Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post found itself forced to feature the email on its front page this morning, a task that its editors must have found disheartening.

The story broke so late in the day, far later than has been the norm for new breaks in the story, that UK news organizations were unable to respond. David Millward, who writes for The Telegraph from the US, penned a column that tried to dismiss the whole idea that the NYT was onto a significant story in a column that despite being less than 24 hours old feels decades behind the times (or Times). But the BBC and Guardian were quicker to react, and are now leading with the revelation.

I have heard some reporters say that the pace of the news is drip, drip, drip, but compared to Watergate this is a tsunami. One that is leaving many news organizations on the outside.

The Los Angeles Times, for instance, is currently leading its website with a story about Texas gerrymandering, so outside the story is its editorial team. The paper that once saw itself as second only to the NYT, has long since changed ownership since the days when it was the arch rival I had compete against when I worked for Hearst. Back then, the paper featured incredibly long features on everything. The joke back then was that the paper could jump any story three times, even one about a cat in a tree. Today, owned by Tronc, the paper feels very much isolated and irrelevant on the west coast.

The New York Times, Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman and Maggie Haberman:

Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign

The email to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting. In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Trump acknowledged that he was interested in receiving damaging information about Mrs. Clinton, but gave no indication that he thought the lawyer might have been a Kremlin proxy.

Mr. Goldstone’s message, as described to The New York Times by the three people, indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information. It does not elaborate on the wider effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign…

…Donald Trump Jr., who initially told The Times that Ms. Veselnitskaya wanted to talk about the resumption of adoption of Russian children by American families, acknowledged in the Sunday statement that one subject of the meeting was possibly compromising information about Mrs. Clinton. His decision to move ahead with such a meeting was unusual for a political campaign, but it was consistent with the haphazard approach the Trump operation, and the White House, have taken in vetting people they deal with ahead of time.

Politico, Darren Samuelsohn:

Fake news could prove vexing in Mueller probe

Robert Mueller’s far-reaching Russia investigation is expected to delve into one of the biggest political phenomena of the Donald Trump era — fake news…

…But Mueller — who is keeping mum on the scope of his investigation — faces a steep challenge. He has to prove that Trump’s aides and allies directly assisted the Russia-linked mischief makers, thereby running afoul of a federal law that prohibits presidential campaigns from accepting or coordinating contributions or expenditures — directly or indirectly — from foreign nationals.

“It’s hard to imagine there wasn’t some coordination on this,” said Nick Akerman, a former federal prosecutor with expertise in computer technology and fraud cases and who worked on the Watergate special task force that helped force President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

But he added, “I don’t know if we have the ability to pin this down short of finding an insider who’d detail all this stuff…I’m just not convinced it’s a very traceable sort of thing.”

This issue of who gains the most when a major news story is dominating the airwaves and print is an important one for local newspapers. If everyday either the NYT or Post is breaking important stories, local papers appear very much on the outside.

This is a topic addressed by Gerry Smith of Bloomberg News in a story yesterday.

One can understand why the papers breaking the stories would benefit, and others not so much. But things have changed at even these major papers — where once advertisers would rush to take advantage of the stories appearing, today there are few advertisers that think to react by shifting dollars to print or these newspaper’s websites.

Also, one wonders whether the papers will benefit much from new paid digital subscriptions. After all, any story breaks in one place is soon reference elsewhere, such as on social media or television.

Bloomberg News, Gerry Smith:

Trump Bump for President’s Media Archenemies Eludes Local Papers

Scrutinizing the president turns out to be good business, at least for top national papers like the Times and the Washington Post. A different story is playing out for local publications, which are still suffering through the industry’s long decline and need to retain subscribers who are sympathetic to Trump. Consider McClatchy Co., which owns about 30 papers, including the Miami Herald. Its shares have plummeted 31 percent since Election Day. Subscriptions have barely budged.

The diverging fortunes in the industry have underscored what many in the traditional news business know only too well: Famous titles can lumber on as they grope for a digital future, but most local papers are fighting for survival.

“For us in Texas, the bump has definitely been more muted because we’re not the primary source of news out of the White House,” said Mike Wilson, editor of the Dallas Morning News. “We serve a community with many deeply conservative pockets. That may be a different demographic from the New York Times and Washington Post audience.”

The tsunami of political news, both in the US and UK, has mercifully suppressed the story which often dominates the dog days of summer: the rumors regarding the next generation iPhone. These stories were always tedious, but they tended to spread the leaks out quickly, leaving Apple with the unenviable task of holding a new product rollout event where everything was known by everyone before the event even took place. That probably won’t be the case this year.

Sadly, these Apple events have become rather phony, with plenty of whoops and hollers supplied by Apple staff and rookie reporters. I find them cringeworthy.

Still, there are some nice features inside iOS 11 that iPhone owners will find attractive. One is an expansion of single sign on, with Comcast, Cox, AT&T U-verse, Verizon Fios, Time Warner Cable and others seen to be included in the latest beta. Also, screen recording via 3D Touch will save a video of the screen to the Camera Roll, a feature that many will find useful when trying to save those GIFs they find in Twitter.

Amazon Prime Day

Finally, today is Amazon Prime day, the day the online retailer dumps a boatload of discounted products for those who simply can’t help themselves by shop online for things they really don’t need.

Magazine publishers are very much involved in the discount day, with Hearst offering many of its titles at hefty discounts (such as a 6-month subscription to Road & Track for $0.99.)

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