The New York Times’ remarkable corporate self-criticism

While The New York Times may be the most successful news organization on the planet, it faces the existential threat of digital disruption. This, as Clayton Christensen would say, is a recipe for disaster. But maybe not. The Times’ 2020 Group has published a manifesto for change. The cogent self-criticism in this document is amazing. Learn from it. The Times’ … Continued

The bad faith lesson of Donald Trump at the New York Times

Donald Trump’s latest statements at the New York Times demonstrated an amazing “flexibility” (in other words, he changed long-held positions). If you were scared of Trump’s rhetoric, perhaps this encouraged you. But once you understand the dangers of negotiating in bad faith, your optimism will evaporate. What is bad faith? In a negotiation, each side … Continued

Flummoxed by Trump, The New York Times says “We’re fine, really.”

Trump’s shifting positions, outlandish policies, and tweets criticizing the media that covers him have challenged organizations like The New York Times. After predicting Hillary Clinton would win the election, the Times is having an identity crisis. Now they’ve emailed their subscribers to say “Hey, we’re doing fine.” The letters communicate the exact opposite. The Times asks subscribers … Continued

The Slack letter to Microsoft is built on meaningless platitudes

Slack wrote an open letter to Microsoft, ostensibly welcoming it to the market for workplace collaboration systems. It’s a weird hunk of prose, direct and honest on the surface, but fundamentally insincere. The choice to publish this letter — and to fill it with platitudes — makes me question the judgment of the company. Here’s what happened. … Continued

Fivethirtyeight.com reveals the whole election in one gutsy graphic

This is a puzzling election to understand, with unconventional candidates, unusual voting patterns, and hundreds of fluctuating polls. One site does the best at tracking the race (as opposed to the candidates and issues): Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com. And one very strange graphic on that site shows exactly what’s happening, what matters, and what’s changing. Here … Continued

The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s florid endorsement of Donald Trump

The Las Vegas Review-Journal — owned by the politically active casino owner Sheldon Adelson — just became the first major newspaper to endorse Donald Trump. Endorsements are supposed to be biased, but the more over-the-top they are, the less persuasive they are. This endorsement is so full of florid language that it strains credulity. To understand … Continued

The New York Times’ boldly effective response to Trump’s libel threats

The New York Times published an article about Trump sexually assaulting two women. Trump threatened to sue for libel. The letter that the Times‘ lawyer sent in response really hits you smack on the forehead, because it’s so different from anything else you read in the paper. I’ll analyze. There are three kinds of things you … Continued

Blame yourself, not the media, for salacious Trump coverage

Do you think that the news media favor sensation over substance? The evidence shows the opposite. So why does it seem that way? Because sensation is what we, as readers, want, and social algorithms give us what we ask for. The two most newsworthy things that Donald Trump did in the last two days were these: He … Continued