May 23, 2024

Mystery Solved: ‘Dateline’ Finds Path From TV to Podcast Stardom

Of course, true crime and podcasts go hand in hand. The Hulu comedy “Only Murders in the Building” is explicitly a parody of the ubiquitousness of the genre. And there are plenty of other podcasts on the charts that center on bloody mysteries, with titles like “Morbid,” “Crime Junkie” and “My Favorite Murder.”

Still, the “Dateline” podcasts are helping the genre reach a new audience. The median age of viewers of the Friday night edition of “Dateline” is 63, according to Nielsen. On Spotify, the median age of a “Dateline” podcast listener is 41, according to data from Chartable, which was supplied by NBC News.

The network declined to disclose revenue figures for the podcasts, but they appear to be helping the company’s bottom line. The “Dateline” series command an advertising rate on a par with the podcast version of the popular public radio show “Fresh Air,” according to Standard Media Index, which collects advertising data.

It has been quite a turn of events for a 30-year-old television show.

The show, which premiered in 1992 with Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley as co-anchors, began as a traditional TV newsmagazine — with three to five segments that typically included interviews, features and investigations.

In the 1990s, during network television’s newsmagazine craze, “Dateline” could occupy as much as five hours of NBC’s prime-time schedule each week. Over the past 20 years, the show has remained a mainstay of the NBC schedule, filling in gaps whenever called upon in addition to holding its usual Friday night slot.

“Those of us within the hallways of NBC News have always understood the value of ‘Dateline,’” said Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News. “Historically, to many regimes past, whenever a fall entertainment lineup would start to wobble, we would always get the call to fill those open slots with additional ‘Dateline’ hours on the broadcast network.”

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Hurricane Ian Brings Wind, Rain and TikTok Followers

Despite living in an evacuation zone, Alecsander Haake did not leave his home in the St. Petersburg area in advance of Hurricane Ian. “My mom had work the day before they announced the evacuation — it was a bit too late,” Mr. Haake, 16, said by phone. “There’s a lot of traffic on I-4, so we just hunkered down.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Haake, who is a high school student, posted a TikTok video of a computer screen showing Ian’s predicted path across Florida. “Yo, yo, I live right there, on my mouse,” Mr. Haake says in the video, moving his cursor over the western coast of the state. “Give me a thousand followers, I’ll go live during the hurricane, bro.” If this goal was met, Mr. Haake claimed, he would run outside in the nude during the hurricane.

He got what he asked for — and then some. When he posted that video on Tuesday, Mr. Haake estimated he had about 150 followers. (On the app, a user must have at least 1,000 to use the livestreaming feature.) By Thursday, he had amassed a little over 25,000. “Obviously I wasn’t going to do that,” Mr. Haake said, referring to going outside naked. “I was not going to do that. That was a joke.”

He did ultimately go live on TikTok, fully clothed, just as Ian touched down around him. “It was just breaking in,” he said. “There was a bunch of wind coming through, and rain. I was just standing outside by my garage.” He streamed on TikTok Live for nearly four hours. He said that at one point, as many as 20,000 people had been watching him. Viewers could see the trees in Mr. Haake’s neighborhood blowing dramatically sideways. “Everyone like this, so it gets tons of viewers,” Mr. Haake said during the broadcast. “Can you guys hear when the wind swirls like that? The whistling? That’s kind of scary.”

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Pete Souza’s Obama Book Cuts Obama Out of the Picture

For the Obama aides closing up shop, those final months between Election Day and the inauguration were filled with tears and apprehension. On his last foreign trip as president, Obama privately mused to Ben Rhodes, his deputy national security adviser, that Trump’s victory made him question whether he truly understood the country that elected him as its first Black president. “What if we were wrong?” Obama asked Rhodes during a stop in Peru, according to a recollection Rhodes included in his book “After the Fall.” “Maybe we pushed too far. Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe,” he elaborated. “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early.”

Trump, a real estate baron with no political experience and scant understanding of or respect for American traditions and laws, was sui generis in the country’s modern history. And Obama, a constitutional lawyer by training, was nervous about the upheaval.

“President Obama thought it was the best thing for the country to get him there as soon as possible,” Souza said of arranging a visit for the president-elect. “And Trump came two days after the election,” scoping out his new digs and, it later emerged, hearing the pressing concerns on Obama’s mind.

On Inauguration Day, Souza fielded frantic calls from his counterpart in the new White House, Shealah Craighead, in an anecdote that underscores the seat-of-the-pants nature of the Trump takeover.

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Bill Plante, CBS News’s Man at the White House, Dies at 84

Mr. Plante had a cleareyed view of what it meant to be a White House correspondent.

“It was always interesting — never fail — and in many ways the same every time,” he said in 2016 on, after he announced his retirement. “They’re different people, but they make the same mistakes; they get into the same kind of jams. And you say, ‘Hey, I’ve seen this before.’”

His exasperation with presidents who did not answer pertinent questions — or who avoided questions entirely — sometime led him to shout his questions. When Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s senior political adviser, stepped down in 2007, more than nine months after Democrats took control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections, Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush announced the departure jointly but did not take questions from the media.

“If he’s so smart,” Mr. Plante yelled, “why did you lose Congress?” Mr. Bush didn’t respond.

Shouting questions was a necessary part of the press corps’s job, even if that behavior appeared rude, Mr. Plante told the streaming service CBSN; if reporters did not, he said, “we’d be walking away from our First Amendment role — and then we really would be the shills we’re so often accused of being.”

One of Mr. Plante’s most disquieting moments as a White House correspondent occurred in late October 1983, when he learned that the United States was about to invade the Caribbean island of Grenada. Before going on the air with his exclusive, he asked Larry Speakes, President Reagan’s acting press secretary at the time, to confirm his information.

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Irwin Glusker, 98, Dies; Gave American Heritage Its Distinctive Look

Life was nearing its end as a weekly magazine, but it did not lack for serious subjects in Mr. Glusker’s time there, including one of the Vietnam War’s most notorious atrocities: “I handled the layout of the My Lai massacre,” he wrote in the 1986 memo.

“I handled Woodstock,” he continued, “and helped bury Teddy Kennedy’s presidential aspirations under a couple of spreads on Chappaquiddick.” There were also, he added, the Kent State shootings, the first moon landings and “eight billion words” by Norman Mailer on that subject, which he squeezed in around ads with odd shapes.

After the original iteration of Life ceased publication in 1972, Mr. Glusker opened a design business and produced books in collaboration with, among others, Nancy Sinatra, Charles Kuralt and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He returned to magazine work in the 1980s as Gourmet’s art director. The job was a good fit, allowing Mr. Glusker, an inveterate foodie, to make himself a pest in the test kitchen and to act as a mentor to young people like the noted food photographer Romulo Yanes.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Glusker is survived by a son, Peter, and four grandchildren. His wife, Lilyan (Goldman) Glusker, whom he met when she was a copy editor at American Heritage, died on July 30.

Although the print publications Mr. Glusker worked on have vanished, his art lives on in physical form in at least two pieces outside the publishing realm.

One, a bronze sculpture, “The Rowers,” has stood outside the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park since 1968.

The other, a black-and-white poster-style calendar depicting the moon’s phases, is sold by the Museum of Modern Art Design Store, which commissioned it and calls it a “beloved classic.” The 2023 version is now in stock.

Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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Meta Removes Chinese Effort to Influence U.S. Elections

The Russian operation involved 1,633 accounts on Facebook, 703 pages and one group, as well as 29 different accounts on Instagram, the company’s report said. About 4,000 accounts followed one or more of the Facebook pages. As Meta moved to block the operation’s domains, new websites appeared, “suggesting persistence and continuous investment in this activity.”

Meta began its investigation after disclosures in August by one of Germany’s television networks, ZDF. As in the case of the Chinese operation, it did not explicitly accuse the government of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, though the activity clearly mirrors the Kremlin’s extensive information war surrounding its invasion.

“They were kind of throwing everything at the wall, and not a lot of it was sticking,” said David Agranovich, Meta’s director of threat disruption. “It doesn’t mean that we can say mission accomplished here.”

In a statement, Twitter said it had been investigating the accounts identified by Meta “for some time” and had taken action against accounts that violated the company’s rules, though it did not elaborate.

Meta’s report noted overlap between the Russian and Chinese campaigns on “a number of occasions,” although the company said they were unconnected. The overlap reflects the growing cross-fertilization of official statements and state media reports in the two countries, especially regarding the United States.

The accounts associated with the Chinese campaign posted material from Russia’s state media, including those involving unfounded allegations that the United States had secretly developed biological weapons in Ukraine.

A French-language account linked to the operation posted a version of the allegation in April, 10 days after Russia’s Ministry of Defense originally posted it on Telegram. That one drew only one response, in French, from an authentic user, according to Meta.

“Fake,” the user wrote. “Fake. Fake as usual.”

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Dating Apps Thrive in China, but Not Just for Romance

Soul and Momo declined to comment. Tantan, which is owned by Momo, did not respond to a request for comment.

The apps themselves have changed. Tantan and Momo had long matched users based on their physical appearance, leading to accusations that the platforms cultivated a hookup culture. More recently, these apps have started using people’s interests, hobbies and personalities as the basis for new social encounters.

Douyin, which is owned by ByteDance and is China’s version of TikTok, and Little Red Book, an app with similarities to Instagram, have built “social discovery” features that use their knowledge of people’s preferences to match them. Soul has become especially popular in the past few years for its avatar profiles and its practice of linking users based on personality tests. Last year, the app surpassed Tantan and Momo as the most downloaded dating app on the Chinese iOS store.

“What I like most about Soul is that it doesn’t force you to look at a photo and swipe left and right,” said Yang Zhongluo, 23, a masters student in Beijing who met some of her close friends on the platform. “It lets you post, share ideas and then everyone can like and comment.”

In July, Soul filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong after tripling its monthly active users to 31 million between 2019 and 2021. Three-quarters of its users were born between 1990 and 2009, according to its prospectus. (It filed to go public in the United States in 2021, but stepped back from such an offering.)

Many users of these dating apps appear less interested in romance than in meeting friends. In an October survey conducted by a Chinese research institute, 89 percent of respondents said they had used a dating app before, with a majority saying they wanted primarily to expand their social circles, not find a partner.

Vladimir Peters, a Shanghai-based developer who is working on his own dating app, said many younger Chinese now want the apps to provide a more holistic experience that blends entertainment and hobby exploration — not just a love match.

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Film Academy’s Museum Connects With Visitors in First Year

“I met a guy a couple of weeks ago who said it was his 83rd visit to the museum and was committed to reading every label,” Stewart said.

If nothing else, Angelenos now have somewhere to take Hollywood-fascinated visitors that does not involve the dreaded Hollywood Highland shopping mall or the sticky, stinky Walk of Fame.

What the future holds is anyone’s guess. Tourism officials hope that 2023 will mark a full recovery for Los Angeles, which would benefit the museum; the number of visitors to the area, particularly from overseas, is still far behind prepandemic levels. But a recession could just as easily stymie growth.

The Academy Museum will also face increased competition in the years ahead. The adjacent Los Angeles County Museum of Art is in the middle of a colossal expansion. And construction has begun near downtown Los Angeles on the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which will house items collected by George Lucas, including 20th-century American illustrations, comic books, costumes, storyboards, stage sets and other archival material from “Star Wars” and other movies.

For the academy, the continued financial health of its museum is of crucial importance. The construction debt is secured by the academy’s gross revenues, the vast majority of which come from the annual Oscars telecast. But awards revenue — after rising for decades — declined 10.8 percent in the academy’s 2021 fiscal year, reflecting plummeting Oscars viewership. Kramer, facing the likelihood that broadcast rights for the ceremony will continue to decline in value, perhaps dramatically, is scrambling to diversify the organization’s revenue streams.

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TikTok Seen Moving Toward US Security Deal, but Hurdles Remain

Negotiations between CFIUS and TikTok have dragged on as officials wrapped their arms around complex technical questions about the app. They edged closer to a detailed agreement in recent months, two people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Under the draft terms, TikTok would make changes to three main areas, the people with knowledge of the discussions said.

First, TikTok would store its American data solely on servers in the United States, probably run by Oracle, instead of on its own servers in Singapore and Virginia, two of the people said. Second, Oracle is expected to monitor TikTok’s powerful algorithms that determine the content that the app recommends, in response to concerns that the Chinese government could use its feed as a way to influence the American public, they said. Lastly, TikTok would create a board of security experts, reporting to the government, to oversee its U.S. operations, three people with knowledge said.

BuzzFeed earlier reported TikTok’s plan to store its data with Oracle; Axios earlier reported that Oracle had started monitoring TikTok’s algorithms.

TikTok is represented in the negotiations by the law firms Covington Burling and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher Flom, people familiar with the matter said. Among the government officials negotiating a deal are Adam Hickey, a Justice Department national security lawyer, two people with knowledge of the talks said.

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Women and Gen Z Drive ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Box Office

Never underestimate the interest in ogling a cute guy on a big screen.

Harry Styles, the white-hot musician, sex symbol and fledgling movie star, powered the critically drubbed and controversy-entangled “Don’t Worry Darling” to a solid $19.2 million in estimated ticket sales at North American cinemas over the weekend. That No. 1 total was propped up by more than $3 million in preview screenings from earlier in the week.

Women made up 66 percent of the audience, according to Warner Bros., the studio behind the $35 million film, with an unusually large 52 percent of ticket buyers under the age of 25.

“Don’t Worry Darling,” an R-rated romantic mystery co-starring Florence Pugh and directed by Olivia Wilde, who also acted in it, received a B-minus grade from moviegoers in CinemaScore exit polls. It played in 4,113 theaters in the United States and Canada.

The film collected an additional $10.8 million overseas, in 61 markets.

Reviews were mostly negative, and Wilde and her film generated a torrent of unfavorable prerelease publicity, with Wilde getting into a public tit for tat with Shia LaBeouf, who was originally hired for the role that Styles ended up playing; Pugh seeming to actively resist promoting the film, leading to reports of a rift between herself and Wilde. In August, Pugh voiced discomfort about an emphasis on sex in “Don’t Worry Darling” marketing materials. (“Reduced to your sex scenes” is how she put it, speaking to Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s not why I’m in this industry.”)

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