March 22, 2019

Gawker Names Dan Peres as Editor in Chief, Hoping to Breathe Life Back Into Site

Mr. Goldberg said in an interview that the company had hired a law firm to investigate the claims and that its review had “cleared” Ms. Griffith. Mr. Goldberg confirmed that Ms. Griffith would stay on under Mr. Peres.

“I am deeply saddened about the allegations that were brought forth by two former staff members,” Ms. Griffith said Thursday. “With the conclusion of a rigorous and in-depth third-party investigation, I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting down to work with our new editor in chief, Dan Peres, who I very much admire.”

In 2004, a satirical article in Details titled “Gay or Asian” drew outrage. Mr. Peres apologized at the time, admitting that the story had crossed a line, and stayed on as editor until 2015.

“I regretted it at the time and I regret it still,” Mr. Peres said Thursday. “I remain deeply apologetic. It was tone deaf, juvenile, and offensive.”

Mr. Goldberg said he believed that Mr. Peres, who has a memoir coming out about his career in media and overcoming an addiction to opiates, was a talented editor who would not be daunted by the spotlight that Gawker’s relaunch would inevitably bring.

Founded in the early 2000s as one of Gawker Media’s first two blogs, initially covered news and gossip about New York City media and society.

But Gawker Media’s legal battle against Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, starved the company of cash and resulted in its selling itself to Univision. Gawker eventually settled for $31 million.

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Tech Fix: Facebook Did Not Securely Store Passwords. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Ultimately, a company as large, rich and well staffed as Facebook should have known better.

There’s no easy way to know. Facebook is still investigating, and will begin alerting people who might have had their passwords stored in the plain text format.

Facebook is not requiring users to change their passwords, but you should do it anyway.

There are many methods for setting strong passwords — for example, do not use the same password across multiple sites, and do not use your Social Security number as a username or a password. You can set up security features such as two-step verification as well.

There are a few other steps to take. I recommend also setting up your Facebook account to receive alerts in the event that an unrecognized device logs in to the account. To do so, go to your Facebook app settings, tap Security and Login, and then tap Get alerts about unrecognized logins. From here, you can choose to receive the alerts via messages, email or notifications.

An audit of devices that are logged in to your account may also be in order, so that you know what laptops, phones and other gadgets are already accessing your account. On Facebook’s Security and Login page, under the tab labeled “Where You’re Logged In,” you can see a list of devices that are signed in to your account, as well as their locations.

If you see an unfamiliar gadget or a device signed in from an odd location, you can click the “Remove” button to boot the device out of your account.

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Tech Fix: I Deleted Facebook Last Year. Here’s What Changed (and What Didn’t).

The social network uses a variety of approaches to collect information about web users. One involves Facebook pixel, an invisible tracker that brands can embed into their websites. When you load a website for a brand, Facebook pixel sends information about the device and its browsing activities back to the company. The social network can then use that information to help brands target you.

When I deleted Facebook, I wanted all of that ad targeting to go away. So not only did I erase my Facebook account, I also installed tracker blockers on my computer browser and mobile devices to prevent advertisers from using web cookies and invisible tracking pixels like Facebook’s. (For instructions on how to shake ad targeting more thoroughly, see this previous column.)

The extra steps worked. The onslaught of targeted online ads stopped.

“If you have the tracker blocker and deleted your Facebook account, you’ve exited,” said Gabriel Weinberg, the chief executive of DuckDuckGo, which offers internet privacy tools including a web browser that blocks trackers.

Facebook says it does not build profiles on people who are not on the social network, nor does it serve targeted ads to them. “Sites and apps send us information about the people who visit them, regardless of whether that person has a Facebook profile,” the company said in a statement. “If you aren’t a Facebook user, we don’t know who you are and don’t build any kind of profile on you.”

Advertisers still have methods other than Facebook to chase me around, but there are economic reasons for them to give up. With Facebook’s tools, it was relatively affordable and effective for them to track and target me. Without those, it gets a lot more costly.

“You might be too expensive for them to chase,” said Michael Priem, the chief executive of Modern Impact, an advertising firm in Minneapolis.

Facebook has often defended targeted ads by saying that internet users are annoyed when they see irrelevant ads. I disagree. Yes, the ads I now see have nothing to do with me — but the benefit was watching my spending drop immensely.

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The New Zealand Attack Posed New Challenges for Journalists. Here Are the Decisions The Times Made.

“Instead, you have someone who designed a horrific terrorist attack using all of the power of social media and the internet to spread his vile views,” he said. “So for us, it was how do you cover it in that context, how do we understand it and explain it, and how do we avoid becoming the tools of a terrorist?”

Our editors often have to decide if we should publish disturbing images or videos from shootings, bombings and war. They must weigh an image’s news value and our mission to inform the public about the horrors of an attack against how intrusive the image is and how upsetting it could be for our readers or those affected by the tragedy to see it.

“We have to have a real reason for showing these things,” said Mark Scheffler, our deputy editor of video. The video or images must be used “to tell a broader story, not just to say, ‘Here’s video of this guy’s shooting spree.’”

[Read about a recent debate among our readers and in our newsroom over whether we should have published graphic photographs after a deadly attack in Nairobi.]

This case was different because the person who shot the video was not an eyewitness, journalist or member of law enforcement. It was the attacker himself.

“Here, the fact that the video was made by the killer added a whole other dimension to it,” said Phil Corbett, our associate managing editor for standards. “You have this additional factor of, Are you going to help publicize this terrorist video that the killer has made himself, obviously with the intent of it being seen as widely as possible? That made all of us even more cautious and wary about whether we would use any images.”

Ultimately our editors decided not to run any of the gunman’s video of the attack or even link to it.

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Tech We’re Using: Talking to Taffy Is Low Tech. And Intense.

I never communicate over social with people I’m writing about. I give them my card at the end of our first meeting and put my cell onto it, and if they have something they forgot to tell me or are worried about, they can contact me.

It has led to a lot of further interactions that have really made the story. Also, it’s helpful to ask Bradley Cooper over text what kind of hat he was wearing rather than go through other people, particularly during film promotion time. I’m not so organized all the time, and sometimes I don’t think to ask pertinent questions until I read the transcript or realize I want to describe something I saw that I didn’t ask about in the room.

When people you write about share a story or not share what you’ve written on social media, what do you generally consider that to mean?

God, that’s a hard one. I think it’s really hard to be written about. You’re essentially vulnerable to a stranger. I feel very bad for everyone I write about. I tell them before publication: “You can read this if you want, but it’s not really for you. It’s about you, but it’s not for you.”

When someone asks if it’s a good or a bad story, I always say, “It’s not good or bad, it’s a third thing.” Some people want to stay in touch. Some people never want to see me again. There are very few people who have hated their story.

But that’s not the same as the person being comfortable with it. If I do a good job and tell the intimate story that I, as a reader, want to read, then probably that person I wrote about never wants to be in a room with me again.

This is a long way of saying: I don’t take it personally. I don’t even notice most of the time when it happens, because I unfollow people pretty quickly because the experience was also very intense for me, and it’s sad to me that I have these short-lived intensive relationships and then they’re over. Like, when “Shakespeare in Love” used to come on HBO, I’d watch it. Now I have a hard time watching it. When I see Gwyneth, I have every emotion I had when I was reporting and writing and closing and publishing that story, which is the opposite of escapism.

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Jake Phelps Dies at 56; as Thrasher Editor, a Skateboarding Guru

“It would make this rad sound when you were grinding it,” Mr. Reyes said.

Fausto Vitello, Tony’s father and a founder of the magazine, named Mr. Phelps to replace Mr. Thatcher in 1993, liking his outspokenness and his connection to the skate scene. .

Over the years, Mr. Phelps transformed himself from a somewhat traditional editor in chief into something more like a figurehead. Not always one for the office, he preferred the so-called “hellride” trips he would go on with pro skaters in producing feature stories for the magazine.

“Jake didn’t even have a computer on his desk,” Patrick O’Dell, a former Thrasher employee, wrote on the website Vice. “He didn’t have an email address. His voice mail wasn’t set up.”

Mr. Phelps loved “bombing” the hilly streets of San Francisco on his board, a dangerous thing to do in your 20s, to say nothing of your mid-50s. He would sometimes make his way up to the intersection of Dolores and 20th Streets in the wee hours of the morning, wait for the traffic lights to be just right and fly down the hill. One day in 2017, Mr. Phelps, then 54, fell and struck his head on the pavement hard enough to put him in the hospital, and on the local news.

Mr. Phelps spent a lot of time in hospital beds. He claimed to have a 290-page medical record that detailed seven knee surgeries and fractures to his legs, pelvis, collarbones, thumbs and skull.

“He’s put together with a lot of pins and screws,” Mr. Reyes said.

Mr. Phelps’s easy access to pain medication, and the drinking that went along with his lifestyle, led him to struggle with substance abuse. Mr. Reyes said the habit had grown out of the surgeries and his love for skateboarding: The pain pills allowed him to get back to skating.

Mr. Phelps’s sister, Marie Phelps, described a wide gulf between the man in private and his public self. One “saw a different side when he let down the mask of the Phelper,” she said. “He was a vulnerable, deep, thoughtful person.”

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Bernard Krisher, Free Press Champion in Cambodia, Dies at 87

Not everybody loved Mr. Krisher. He could be obstinate, demanding and confrontational.

“He could be unrelenting against personal enemies and those who he felt had crossed him,” Mr. Doyle said. “So there existed a quite polarized view of Bernie. I spent many years working with Bernie, and I saw both sides.”

Ker Munthit, a former reporter for The Associated Press in its Cambodia bureau, said in an email that Mr. Krisher “was pushy and insisting in whatever he had in mind that he wanted to advance or be done, and that could be a bit annoying.”

“However,” Mr. Munthit added, “regardless of the misgivings one might have about him — me included — it is undeniable that he has done some great things for the good of the country.”

Bernard Krisher was born on Aug. 9, 1931, in Frankfurt. His father, a Polish Jew, owned a fur shop. The family fled Nazi Germany in 1937 and passed through France, Spain and Portugal before heading for the United States and settling in New York City, in Queens.

His daughter said his humanitarian work was inspired by the help that he and his family had received from strangers when they were fleeing persecution. He believed, she said, “that a true humanitarian act is to help a stranger, not one of your own.”

Mr. Krisher attended Queens College and was drafted into the Army in 1953. He spent two years in Germany as a reporter for Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper. He then worked for The New York World-Telegram and The Sun in New York and studied journalism at Columbia University.

He joined Newsweek in 1962 after moving to Japan, where he became its Tokyo bureau chief in 1967. He later left Newsweek for Fortune magazine.

In Japan, he met his future wife, Akiko, who survives. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a son, Joseph, and two grandsons.

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Understanding The Times: How The Times Decides What to Investigate

CORBETT: Stories in my view have to be persuasive. Persuasive meaning you can make a case for whatever your thesis is. And your thesis has to be buttressed with all manner of things. It can be documents; it can be interviews; it can be the person’s own statements. Typically it is a combination of many things. There is no one handbook on what makes an investigative story.

How is this different from the way investigative journalism is portrayed in movies like “Spotlight”?

CORBETT: I think “Spotlight” is actually a pretty good rendering of investigative journalism, because it wasn’t glamorous. It was people going through all these documents and papers and trudging along.

MURPHY: The accurate part, too, is that it is a 24/7 commitment. I think that comes across in the movies. People are living and breathing it.

Where does the thrill come from that is captured in the movies?

CORBETT: Well, for most journalists, the thrilling part is the discovery.

MURPHY: I think the thrill is the same across the profession. I think a big part of it is the creation part. If you find A and B and are able to make C from it, you are basically creating a C that didn’t exist before. And it is hopefully in an area that makes a difference or has some sort of impact or is relevant to people’s lives.

CORBETT: In a lot of journalism it is clear what the big, important things are. But with investigative journalism, you have perhaps a greater opportunity for novelty, for finding new information, for telling a new story, because it takes such a commitment and you are going so deep into something that typically not every other news organization is doing that same thing. There is something very thrilling about understanding: “Ah, this is how this works, and this is what the consequences of this are.” And we get to show that.

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The New Social Network That Isn’t New at All

Christopher Best, Substack’s chief executive, said the company’s creation was driven by feelings like the ones I was having. “We felt this growing sense of despair in traditional social media,” he said. “Twitter, Facebook, etc. — they’ve all incentivized certain negative patterns.”

What firms like Substack and Revue make possible is more personal than the wave of newsletters that emerged in the early 2000s from companies like Daily Candy, Flavorpill, Nonsense NYC and Oh My Rockness. Those brands mostly blasted lifestyle content out to the masses, targeting city residents with disposable income and attracting millions of dollars in venture capital, said Naveen Selvadurai, an entrepreneur and partner at the start-up incubator Expa.

More recently, media start-ups like The Skimm, a daily newsletter started by two former NBC producers, have grown from dozens of readers to millions. (The New York Times is a minority investor in The Skimm.) Axios has tapped into the newsletter market with a focus on politics and business. Other big media companies — Vox, BuzzFeed, CNN — have latched on to the trend as they seek a deeper bond with readers.

Newsletters could be a more reliable means of increasing readership for major publishers whose relationships with social networks have soured. Remember when Facebook moved away from promoting videos on the platform? Or when it decided to show more posts from friends and family, and de-emphasize content from publishers and brands? With every shift, big media companies had to adjust.

“Publishers have learned the hard way that traffic from social media is too volatile,” said Martijn de Kuijper, Revue’s chief executive.

For me, a guy writing dispatches from home in his pajamas, email offers a more personal connection between writer and audience. Since beginning The Dump, I’ve traded emails with people who might have followed me on Twitter but felt more comfortable talking with me one on one.

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Disney Moves From Behemoth to Colossus With Closing of Fox Deal

To win approval from antitrust regulators around the world, Disney had to agree to modest concessions.

It is already deep in the process of selling Fox’s 22 regional sports channels, a move required by the Justice Department. The Yankees teamed with Amazon this month, for instance, to buy the YES Network, which serves the New York metropolitan area, for roughly $3.5 billion. To appease European regulators, Disney agreed to divest a stake in A+E Networks, which include the History channel. (Disney will retain 50 percent ownership of the division in the United States; Hearst owns the other half.)

The final sticking points came from Brazil and Mexico. Regulators in those countries are forcing Disney to sell Fox Sports, a competitor to ESPN that holds extensive rights to televise soccer matches. Brazil’s antitrust regulator, Cade, said in a statement that operating both channels would give Disney too much control of the sports TV market in the country. Mexico’s telecommunications regulator, IFT, held a similar view and added stipulations about Disney’s ownership of the National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild channels.

At Disney’s annual meeting this month, Mr. Iger said the 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight labels — trumpet fanfares included — would continue to exist. That decision pleased Hollywood, but it could lead to consumer confusion since Mr. Murdoch retained ownership of the Fox broadcast network, a chain of local Fox television stations and his crown jewel, Fox News. Those businesses, along with the FS1 sports channel, were rolled into a new publicly traded company, Fox Corporation, on Tuesday.

Paul D. Ryan, the former Republican congressman from Wisconsin who served as speaker of the House from October 2015 to January 2019, joined the Fox board on Tuesday. Other board members include Mr. Murdoch and Roland A. Hernandez, a former chief executive of Telemundo. Mr. Murdoch’s oldest son, Lachlan, serves as the new company’s chief executive.

The Murdochs are expected to receive roughly $12 billion in proceeds from the Disney deal, according to Bloomberg. Shareholders in the assets that were sold to Disney had the option to accept Disney shares or cash out. Disney said on Friday that, based on initial results of that process, holders of about 52 percent of shares asked for cash and 37 percent asked for Disney shares. The balance did not make a request.

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