What a weird amazing day

Feb 07, 2018

He’d like to come and meet us, but thinks he’d blow our minds, so instead, catch Live Views of Starman (241,000+ shares) as SpaceX broadcasts from the Tesla in space. Tweets Alan Yuhas, “a real screengrab of a real car circling the world, which, frankly, seems a little less real today.” As Ryan Pfeil observes, “what a weird amazing day.”

At The New York Times, Kenneth Chang reports as Falcon Heavy, in a Roar of Thunder, Carries SpaceX’s Ambition Into Orbit (60,000+ shares). “Roll over John Glenn, tell Captain James T. Kirk the news!” tweets Bob Andelman.

Ross Andersen suggests, “Read @marinakoren's report from the launch and her smart piece on its not-so-Sagan-esque symbolism.” That’s Marina Koren’s coverage for The Atlantic, A Triumphant First Launch for Elon Musk's Giant Rocket

And at The Guardian, Bonnie Malkin writes about the Space oddity: how Elon Musk and SpaceX sent a car towards Mars. Some perspective, courtesy of Alexander Parker, “Elon Musk just put a mannequin in an electric sports car into space. David Bowie is playing on the stereo. Two of the boosters autonomously returned to earth. Musk is 46. Have a productive day.” 

Media making news

“Holy crap, LAT.” Jim Tankersley is reacting to the news that Los Angeles Times owner Tronc will sell paper, ending a long-troubled relationship, which Paul Farhi reports in an exclusive for The Washington Post. Or as Nicholas Riccardi puts it, “!!!!!!!!” The buyer is billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong. Mitchell Landsberg says there are “Lots of smiles and laughter in the LA Times newsroom for the first time in a very long time.” Meg James and James Rufus Koren cover the story for The Los Angeles Times, Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong close to deal to buy the L.A. Times and San Diego Union-Tribune, writing that “A deal had not been reached Tuesday afternoon, though both sides were working furiously to complete the transaction and an announcement could come as early as Wednesday.” Dan Beucke’s requests are modest: “All I ask is that I don't have to learn another content management system.” 

In other media news, “Vice under pressure: uncertainty in the executive ranks with Creighton unlikely to return to his same job, a substantial revenue miss driven by Viceland, and investors anxious for an exit,” tweets Sarah Rabil. As Keach Hagey of The Wall Street Journal reports, Vice Just Had a Big Revenue Miss, and Investors Are Getting Antsy. David George-Cosh noticed “A scooplet buried in @keachhagey's excellent take on Vice missing revenue targets: Vice is in talks with other Canadian distributors including Bell Media about partnering with Viceland, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Everyone in science & journalism should read this

At The Atlantic, Ed Yong writes about how he Spent Two Years Trying to Fix The Gender Imbalance in My Stories. Kashmir Hill reveals, “This piece reminds me of a time I assigned a writer to do a profile of a woman scientist with a fascinating job. When the writer filed, the profile was of a man instead.” Emma Green says it’s “Important reflection from @edyong209 on the difficulty of making sure women are equally represented in science journalism compared to men. More on how he has tried to fix his own coverage over the last 2 years here.” Michelle Fay Cortez’s advice: “Everyone in science & journalism should read this (esp if you do both). If it's too long, read the bottom first: 2 yrs ago, @edyong209 tracked the gender balance of his sources. He's since doubled the % of women. Here's what he learned on the way.” 

This would really take the cake

So this certainly got people’s attention. Greg Jaffe and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post have the scoop on Trump’s ‘marching orders’ to the Pentagon: Plan a grand military parade (356,000+ shares). Kate Cox says, “I've seen a lot of unsettling things in a decade in DC, but this would really take the cake.” Also, “I never want to hear about millennials wanting participation trophies ever again,” says Mike Drucker.

Another story getting a lot of attention, More texts between Strzok and Page uncovered, lead to more questions (77,460 shares), from Jake Gibson at Fox News. Tweets Byron York, “Fox @JakeBGibson reports: In September 2016, FBI's Page texted Strzok on prepping Comey to brief Obama: ‘potus wants to know everything we're doing.’” Ryan J. Reilly’s take: “Here’s why. James Comey made his announcement on the Clinton investigation in July. The text the Senate report focuses on happened in September. Weiner laptop wasn’t in play yet. This is a massive, massive jump to make.” 


And now, “Re$is$tance, the Scott Dworkin story,” as Harry Siegel titles it. In Cash for Coalition Against Trump Going Into Consultants’ Pockets Instead, Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein of The Daily Beast report on what Justin Miller calls the “Resistance ripoff: 90% of expenditures by Scott Dworkin's group went to himself or staff.” Nick Confessore elaborates: “The @dailybeast reports that @funder — a minor left-wing operative often seen on Twitter claiming he has deep sources in elite Republican politics — is running a scam PAC that seems to exist chiefly to pay @funder.” Just a little “Equal opportunity grifting,” says Brian Martucci.

ProPublica’s Eric Umansky and Andrea Bernstein introduce us to ‘Trump, Inc.,’ a Podcast on the Many Mysteries of Our President’s Businesses. Tweets Margaret Sullivan, “This is cool: A new weekly podcast from @ProPublica and @WNYC on Trump's finances. In the manner of @Fahrenthold, it starts with the multitude of questions.” Adds John Culhane, “ProPublica is the present and the future of great investigative journalism. Whatever we can do to support their important work, we should do.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Christopher Steele

Philip Bump directs you to Hero or hired gun? How a British former spy became a flash point in the Russia investigation, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind Helderman’s story on Steele for The Washington Post, which Andrea Bernstein calls “A remarkably clear account.” Says Dan Zak, “Finally, a story that lays it all out there, and in a way that I can follow. A great kicker too. Here’s everything you wanted to know about Steele, the dossier and — most importantly — the timing of it all.” And Bill Grueskin points out, “This exculpatory NYT story about Trump and Russia, running right before the 2016 election, has never been fully examined or explained. But it keeps coming back.” 

Et tu tumblr

BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman found out that Russian Trolls Ran Wild On Tumblr And The Company Refuses To Say Anything About It. “et tu tumblr,” asks Claudia Koerner. Rob Pegoraro notes a “Reporting tactic that I guess I'm surprised I haven't seen before: use tracking pixels in e-mails to count how often recipients open them.”

Meanwhile, Sarah Frier tweets, “Once I asked a FB employee what was different about working there vs anywhere else. ‘The company really cares so much about being loved. By everybody,’ they said. Case in point:” At The Verge, Casey Newton reports that Facebook hired a full-time pollster to monitor Zuckerberg’s approval ratings, and explains why he quit after six months. 

Heckuva job

Abe Kenmore cuts to the chase: “A contractor with FEMA promised 30 million meals before failing spectacularly.” He links to the reporting by Patricia Mazzei and Agustin Armendariz of The New York Times, FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered (112,000+ shares). Mike Wereschagin breaks it down: “Puerto Rico needed 30 million meals. FEMA hired a one-person shop. She delivered 50,000. And, of course, her last name is Brown, because the universe likes to remind us of things we've forgotten. Heckuva job.” 

Wow. Wow.

This “Very sad piece captures the downside of the gig economy. Too much focus on the benefits of having a side hustle, not enough on what it does to people who used to do the same job for a living,” says Lydia DePillis. That’s Ginia Bellafante’s story in The New York Times, A Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy (19,000+ shares). “Wow. Wow. Reminder that (actual) economic/status anxiety in face of technological disruption is not monopolized by the white working-class of the heartland,” tweets Marc Tracy.

Jim Waterson reveals “Things I have learned about New York police in the last month: *They can hand actual ‘get out of jail free cards’ to family members *They can legally claim that sex with a suspect was consensual when accused of rape.” In a new piece for BuzzFeed News, Albert Samaha writes, This Teenager Accused Two On-Duty Cops Of Rape. She Had No Idea The Law Might Protect Them. Delaney Strunk tweets, “I had no idea this loophole existed in New York and 34 other states. I feel sick.” And this is why “everyone should be writing about anna chambers,” as Alex Press says.

Ramin Setoodeh advises that you “Read this brilliant (and alarming) story by @moryan.” Maureen Ryan of Variety did the math on “Star Wars” and figured out that 96% of Its Film Universe Writers and Directors Are White Men

Not white, though: First modern Britons had 'dark to black' skin, Cheddar Man DNA analysis reveals (82,000+ shares). Hannah Devlin reports on the findings for The Guardian. Trita Parsi says, “I could hear Alanis Morissette signing ‘Well isn't it ironic’ as I was reading this.” In other words, “Lol white supremacists,” as Kareem Shaheen tweets. 

Chewie, we’re home…

So back to “Star Wars.” Anthony Breznican wrote the new Entertainment Weekly cover, Venture into ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ or as Jessica Derschowitz puts it, “Chewie, we’re home.” Also, “Introducing two new hairstyles now available at Drybar: ‘I woke up like this Chewie’ and ‘Classic hot guy Han,’” tweets Samantha Highfill. Rachel King offers this “Story treatment proposal: ‘The Brotherhood of the Traveling Jacket (A Star Wars Story).’”

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About the author

Nashville-based writer, marketing communications consultant, and all-around word nerd. Usually covered in dog and/or cat hair.

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