January 23, 2022

West Virginia Reporter Is Hit by Car on Air, Striking Nerve With TV Journalists

“I would really like to see the industry cut back on the number of one-man-band-type of live shots because it is hard to be situationally aware, but I just don’t know whether it would have made a difference in this case,” he said.

Professor Tuggle, who did “one-man band” shots in the 1980s, said that if someone had been with Ms. Yorgey, she still could have been hit by the car because it came from outside the shot.

Whoever assigned the story could have decided the water main break was not a significant enough story to warrant sending out a young reporter on her own late at night, he said. The newsroom could also have provided a reflective jacket or told her to stand farther from the road than she might have thought necessary, he said.

Representatives for WSAZ and the company that owns the station, Gray Television Broadcasting, did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday. Ms. Yorgey, who is starting a job at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh next month, also did not respond to interview requests.

The controversy was all too familiar to Alanna Autler, 31, who worked as a multimedia journalist for another news station in Charleston years ago. Ms. Autler said she would sometimes enlist help from friends, colleagues and even strangers to feel more secure as she reported from the scene of a crime or natural disaster.

Ms. Autler said managers had on occasion acknowledged that she was being sent to an unsafe location, but there was no one else around to go with or instead of her. “If you’re the lead story, or the only story, because you are the only reporter, then you feel pressure that the entire newscast falls because of you,” she said.

Once, after being asked to cover a rape for an 11 p.m. broadcast, Ms. Autler told her managers she was scared to go by herself, but they did not provide support. She asked her then-boyfriend’s cousin to ride with her in the news van.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/us/reporter-hit-by-car.html

The Morgan Wallen Conundrum

When Strahan asked Wallen if country music had a race problem, all Wallen could do was shrug: “It would seem that way, yeah. I haven’t really sat and thought about that.” It was a gut-punchingly honest answer from a star who likely had not previously considered the plight of Black performers in Nashville, or perhaps Black people in general.

His use of the slur echoed the callous and unthinking way in which many white Americans toy with the signifiers of Black culture with no sense of their history. It was glib and, in Wallen’s description of his use of it among friends, a feel-good transgression for private spaces.

The number of white pop stars who have been revealed to have used that epithet is staggering, simply because it is not zero. In addition to Wallen, there are at least three: Eminem and Justin Bieber, who were both caught on recordings from their youth that surfaced when they were famous. And then there’s John Mayer, maybe the most telling example, who said it in a 2010 Playboy interview. Each faced condemnation, but the harm to their careers was brief, surprising especially because all three work in traditionally Black idioms. But while Wallen is vocal in his love of hip-hop, and has on occasion dipped into rap-singing himself, he rarely nods directly to contemporary Black music in his own songs, and country itself has largely erased Black foundations of the art form from its self-historicizing.

Before the January incident, Wallen generally avoided presenting his politics in overt ways, unlike some of his genre peers. In 2020, he was booted from performing on “Saturday Night Live” for violating its Covid-19 protocols. (His appearance was rescheduled.) In November 2020, in response to public celebrations of the election of Joe Biden, he wrote on Instagram that “If it’s OK for us to party in the streets with no ‘social distancing’ then we can book shows right now.” Late last year on the podcast hosted by his collaborator Ernest, he and the host poked fun at President Biden mannerisms.

But the spike in Wallen’s album sales immediately after the video of the incident went public prompted and maybe necessitated his emergence as a culture-war cudgel. Listeners leaned in to Wallen’s music as a kind of protest against how he was treated by the country music industry. (Wallen said he donated $500,000 to Black charities, the approximate amount he netted from his sales spike; how much money has reached those organizations has been challenged.)

Wallen, the biggest star in country music, was primed to be the kind of breakout figure that extends the reach of the genre into the pop mainstream, akin to Shania Twain or Garth Brooks. That seems unlikely now.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/arts/music/morgan-wallen.html

Gamers Greet Microsoft’s Activision Deal With Guarded Optimism

Activision’s track record with some of its games also became spottier. In November, it delayed new versions of Diablo and Overwatch. That same month, the newly released Call of Duty: Vanguard was widely panned as being boring and full of glitches.

Parris Lilly, a video game streamer and co-host at Gamertag Radio, said Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision would not only help Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s video game subscription service, but also let Activision’s developers step off the treadmill. Microsoft’s purchase might permit developers to “take a well needed break” so they can improve games over time, rather than update them so frequently, Mr. Lilly said.

He added that the acquisition could be an opportunity to fix Activision’s workplace issues under Mr. Kotick. Mr. Kotick declined to say in an interview if he would remain chief executive after the deal closed. The expectation is that he will step down, though he could move into an advisory role, people with knowledge of his plans have said.

Several gamers said the deal also had the potential to transform competitive video gaming leagues — known as e-sports — that are dedicated to Activision games like Overwatch and Call of Duty: Warzone. Such leagues, in many players’ eyes, have languished under Activision’s stewardship. Microsoft has seen success with its game Halo, which is played competitively.

Many gamers also said they couldn’t care less about Microsoft’s framing of the deal as a way to strengthen its footing in the metaverse. They said the metaverse seemed like a far-off idea, whereas the deal had the potential to improve Activision’s games and workplace immediately.

“In all honesty, I don’t really know much about the metaverse and all of that,” Mr. Bienusa said.

Chris Nobriga, 28, from San Jose, Calif., said he had spent over 11,000 hours playing World of Warcraft, an online role-playing game, over the past decade, after watching his brother play sparked his interest.

But although he kept playing, he said, his views on the game changed over time as popular developers left Activision and the company reused in-game systems.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/18/technology/video-games-activision-microsoft.html

Editor Files Discrimination Suit Against The New York Post

Ms. Gotthelf says in the complaint that in November she told the current editor, Mr. Poole, who joined the paper last year, about her experiences with Mr. Allan when they were discussing her contract, which was up for renewal. Two months later, Mr. Poole fired her, according to the complaint. On Tuesday, Mr. Poole announced Ms. Gotthelf’s departure in an email to the staff, writing, “I hope you will join me in wishing her the best for the future.”

A spokeswoman for News Corporation and The Post said in a statement: “Any suggestion of wrongdoing related to the management changes announced today is meritless.” Mr. Allan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ms. Gotthelf is represented by Wigdor, a New York firm specializing in employment law and led by Douglas Wigdor, who has sued Fox News, the cable news channel led by Mr. Murdoch, on behalf of more than two dozen people alleging discrimination. One group of those suits resulted in a $10 million settlement between 18 plaintiffs and the Fox News parent company.

The Post faced a lawsuit similar to Ms. Gotthelf’s in 2009, when the journalist Sandra Guzman accused the paper and Mr. Allan of firing her after she complained about a hostile workplace environment. The suit was settled in 2013, and the terms were not disclosed.

In an interview on Tuesday, Ms. Gotthelf said she had “a tabloid heart, a tabloid sensibility,” adding, “I never wanted to be the news, but women should not be treated like this in the workplace.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/18/business/media/ny-post-discrimination-lawsuit.html

What’s All the Hype About the Metaverse?

Virtual reality is also somewhat advanced in video games. In 2016, Sony released the $400 PlayStation VR, a virtual reality headset that plugged into its PlayStation 4 console to play virtual reality games. This month, Sony said a second-generation headset was coming for the PlayStation 5, though it did not share a release date.

But those were just steppingstones toward the complete metaverse, which is still taking shape. Technologists say that thanks to a number of things — fast internet connections, powerful virtual reality headsets and a large audience of gamers — it is now more possible to live in a richly animated, lifelike 3-D simulation.

“It’s only in the last few years that a critical mass of working pieces has come together,” Mr. Ball said.

Truth be told, not too much.

Activision Blizzard is well known for making online games that have a metaverse component, where players spent hundreds of hours forming communities within the games. In its role-playing game World of Warcraft, released in 2004, gamers worked together online to complete quests in an effort to make their digital avatars stronger by collecting items like weapons and armors.

But the company has not dabbled in virtual reality. It has primarily made games for personal computers and game consoles but has yet to release a virtual reality game.

So far, Microsoft’s work on the metaverse has been nascent.

For several years, the software giant has developed the HoloLens, a $3,500 headset that shows digital holograms, with a focus on applications for businesses and government agencies. The device is related to augmented reality, which some technologists consider to be part of the future metaverse.

Microsoft is also the developer of the Xbox, the second most popular game console after the Sony PlayStation. But unlike the PlayStation, the Xbox has been conspicuously absent from the virtual reality gaming space.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/18/technology/personaltech/metaverse-gaming-definition.html

N.B.A.’s Warriors Disavow Part-Owner’s Uyghur Comments

On Monday, the Warriors minimized Mr. Palihapitiya’s involvement with the team.

“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” the team said in a statement.

In recent years, China has corralled as many as a million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities into internment camps and prisons, part of what Chinese authorities say is an effort to tamp down on extremism. The sweeping crackdown has faced a growing chorus of international criticism; last year the State Department declared that the Chinese government was committing genocide and crimes against humanity through its use of the camps and forced sterilization.

Mr. Palihapitiya’s comments could be the latest chapter in what has become a fraught relationship between the N.B.A. and China, where the league hopes to preserve its access to a lucrative basketball audience. In 2019, a team executive’s support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong prompted a backlash from China in which Chinese sponsors cut ties with the league and games were no longer televised on state media channels. The league later estimated that it lost hundreds of millions of dollars.

On Monday, Mr. Palihapitiya, 45, who was born in Sri Lanka, moved to Canada when he was a child and now lives in California, said in a statement posted to Twitter that after re-listening to the podcast, “I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy.”

“As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience,” he said. “To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States or elsewhere. Full stop.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/18/sports/basketball/warriors-chamath-palihapitiya-uyghurs-nba.html

Jodie Ginsberg, a Fighter for Press Freedom, Is Expanding Her Battle

The Committee to Protect Journalists was started in 1981 by two American journalists who had worked on the side to raise awareness about the case of Alcibíades González Delvalle, a Paraguayan columnist and critic of his country’s military government who had been arrested over one of his columns.

Within weeks of their campaign, Mr. González Delvalle was released. Realizing that no other organization was monitoring press freedom from the United States, the two journalists, Michael Massing and Laurie Nadel, brought together a board of prominent, award-winning journalists from large organizations including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post and CBS. The celebrated CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, recently retired, signed on as the group’s honorary chairman. Its mandate was to protect journalists outside of America who didn’t have the shelter of the First Amendment or easy access to human rights lawyers.

“We felt that we enjoyed these protections and privileges and other countries didn’t,” said Mr. Massing, who is still on the board. “We would use our own influence and prestige in America to help journalists in other countries.”

Since then, C.P.J. has grown into one of the leading press freedom organizations, with a $10 million annual budget, more than 50 employees and contractors, and a global presence that stretches from the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to Guatemala City to New Delhi.

In 2001, it expanded its mandate from raising awareness about journalists under threat to helping some of them directly, offering emergency funds to hire lawyers, get medical attention or flee their countries.

Last year, the organization helped some 60 journalists and their families evacuate Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/17/world/europe/jodie-ginsberg-committee-to-protect-journalists.html

Jodie Ginsburg, a Fighter for Press Freedom, Is Expanding Her Battle

The Committee to Protect Journalists was started in 1981 by two American journalists who had worked on the side to raise awareness about the case of Alcibíades González Delvalle, a Paraguayan columnist and critic of his country’s military government who had been arrested over one of his columns.

Within weeks of their campaign, Mr. González Delvalle was released. Realizing that no other organization was monitoring press freedom from the United States, the two journalists, Michael Massing and Laurie Nadel, brought together a board of prominent, award-winning journalists from large organizations including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post and CBS. The celebrated CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, recently retired, signed on as the group’s honorary chairman. Its mandate was to protect journalists outside of America who didn’t have the shelter of the First Amendment or easy access to human rights lawyers.

“We felt that we enjoyed these protections and privileges and other countries didn’t,” said Mr. Massing, who is still on the board. “We would use our own influence and prestige in America to help journalists in other countries.”

Since then, C.P.J. has grown into one of the leading press freedom organizations, with a $10 million annual budget, more than 50 employees and contractors, and a global presence that stretches from the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to Guatemala City to New Delhi.

In 2001, it expanded its mandate from raising awareness about journalists under threat to helping some of them directly, offering emergency funds to hire lawyers, get medical attention or flee their countries.

Last year, the organization helped some 60 journalists and their families evacuate Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/17/world/europe/jodie-ginsberg-committee-to-protect-journalists.html

One America News Will Be Dropped by DirecTV, a Major Distributor

Chanel Rion, the chief White House correspondent for One America News, derided DirecTV in a Twitter post on Friday that referred to the decision to drop the channel. “With moves like this, DirecTV will have to become state-owned to survive,” Ms. Rion wrote, adding, “They would have better luck in Pyongyang.”

One America News, which is based in San Diego, started in 2013. Beginning with the 2016 election, the network acted as a venue for viewpoints and coverage aligned with Donald J. Trump and his right-wing allies.

Its anchors have regularly questioned the outcome of the 2020 election. The network is facing defamation lawsuits from two election technology companies, Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems, that have accused the channel of spreading falsehoods that they manipulated vote tallies to swing the election to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

One America News has also promoted the false theory that left-wing agitators, and not Trump supporters, were the primary instigators of the Capitol riot.

This month, on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack, One America News ran a segment about “the patriotic demonstrations at the Capitol on Jan. 6” that suggested the attack was a so-called “false flag” operation by liberals intended to strip patriotic Americans of their liberties. “Leftist, Media Narrative Surrounding January 6th, 2021 Simply an Excuse for Democrats to Seize Power,” read an onscreen headline.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/15/business/media/one-america-news-directv.html

Cryptocurrency Enthusiasts Meet Their Match: Angry Gamers

So far, 10,000 digital wallets — tools that allow people to store their crypto assets — have been connected to the Quartz platform, even though Ubisoft minted just 3,000 NFTs in its first batch, Mr. Pouard said. That suggested an appetite for more NFTs in the future, he said.

Ubisoft eventually plans to take a cut of sales of future NFTs, Mr. Pouard added. “We’re moving from a business model focused on just a game to a business model focused on an ecosystem in which every player can be a stakeholder,” he said.

Zynga, which is set to be acquired by Take-Two, hired Mr. Wolf, a games industry veteran, to lead a crypto effort in November. The goal was to create new games on the blockchain, making it easy for players to acquire, own and sell NFTs, Mr. Wolf said. He provided few details about how the effort would work, including whether the NFTs could be transferred between Zynga games.

“We’re still developing all that,” he said.

Other game companies have waded into NFTs, echoing how crypto can generate new wealth for users. This month, Yosuke Matsuda, Square Enix’s president, wrote in an open letter that creating blockchain games would allow players to make money. That would become “a major strategic theme” for the company, he said.

But as the number of NFT announcements from game studios piled up, players became increasingly annoyed. After users rebelled against Sega Sammy’s crypto plans, one of its executives said in a management meeting last month, “If it is perceived as simple moneymaking, I would like to make a decision not to proceed.” (The effort is continuing.)

Other game companies have come out against crypto. Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox, told Axios in November that some games centered on earning money through NFTs appeared “exploitative” and he would avoid putting them in the Xbox store. Microsoft declined to comment.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/15/technology/cryptocurrency-nft-gamers.html