December 11, 2018

Tech We’re Using: How the Digital Era Has Changed the Daily Crossword

A digital platform for solving also comes with a digital archive of all past puzzles, as well as other daily offerings, like Joel’s Mini Crossword and our latest word game, Spelling Bee, which I edit. A print solver is generally finished for the day once the corresponding puzzle page has been completed, but an online solver has the ability to start, stop and continue many puzzles at leisure. Progress is always saved in an account, and a login allows access on any electronic device.

On the editorial end, the cohort of online solvers adds a new ripple to our review process when we consider how a puzzle should be presented. This has always been simple in print; the solution grid is displayed in the next day’s paper, and solvers can check their work manually. However, with online solvers entering their answers against a solution key in our back end, things can get complicated, especially with tricky theme ideas that can be interpreted in various ways. We have published puzzles in the past with squares that contain multiple letters, different correct letters for Across and Down, or no letters at all.

Outside of your work, what tech product are you obsessed with?

I’m a big sports nut, and have gotten super into the app Clutchpoints for keeping up to date with pro scores and analysis. The elegant, easy-to-use interface is its selling point, and game updates display better in real time than they do in any official apps l’ve tried in the past. Clutchpoints isn’t just for one sport, either; the user can toggle between major league baseball, the N.B.A. and the N.F.L. with ease.

My favorite part of the app are the game feeds themselves. Next to each box score is a Stream tab that integrates the live play descriptions with social media updates from professional fan pages and well-known analysts. The game might already be on my TV, but now I can have its details peppered with Twitter GIFs and hot takes in the palm of my hand.

Sam Ezersky currently edits The Times’s newest word game for digital subscribers, Spelling Bee. Follow him on Twitter: @thegridkid.

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Amazon Backs Trade Publication’s Hollywood Diversity Effort

“So many panel discussions, so little action,” he said.

In the first year of the program, students will be taught about production, marketing and finance in workshops based at Loyola Marymount University and featuring speakers from the upper ranks of major studios. Participants will also visit film and television companies. In Year 2, students will spend most of their time inside entertainment companies. Each student will be guaranteed a paid internship, with the expectation that they will be considered for a position after graduation.

Graduating students will also visit China for 10 days, spending time with film students at Shandong University in a venture with Shandong Radio and TV, said Stephen Galloway, an executive editor at The Reporter whose prodding started the initiative.

Also on the advisory board are Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, a longtime Southern California school administrator; Aja Brown, the mayor of Compton; Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios; Jon Jashni, a media investor; Casey Wasserman, chairman of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee; and Olivia Diaz-Lapham, chief executive of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.

“It’s so necessary and important to have a pipeline for diverse talent,” Ms. Salke said. “Having a more diverse work force is the only way we are going to succeed.”

The Reporter has stepped into these waters before. For 10 years, the publication has run the well-regarded Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, which has paired 150 high school girls with female Hollywood executives, including Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Pictures, and Megan Colligan, the president of Imax Entertainment.

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Les Moonves Obstructed Investigation Into Misconduct Claims, Report Says

Investigators wrote that they had received “multiple reports” about a network employee who was “on call” to perform oral sex on Mr. Moonves.

“A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it,” the lawyers wrote. “Moonves admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman, his subordinate, in his office, but described it as consensual.”

The woman did not respond to the investigators’ requests for an interview.

Mr. Levander, Mr. Moonves’s lawyer, said Mr. Moonves had “never put or kept someone on the payroll for the purpose of sex.”

CBS declined to comment.

Mr. Moonves’s marriage in 2004 to Julie Chen, now the host of “Big Brother,” appears to have been a “bright line” after which his sexual misconduct seemed to have stopped, according to the report.

The report also details what CBS’s board and management knew about Mr. Moonves’s conduct, and how they reacted to it.

In one case, Dr. Anne Peters, who saw Mr. Moonves for a consultation in 1999, told the lawyers that he had tried to kiss her and masturbated in front of her. Dr. Peters said she had later told Arnold Kopelson, a film producer who was her patient and a friend, about the incident in an attempt to dissuade him from joining the CBS board in 2007.

“She recalls Kopelson responding that the incident had happened a long time ago and was trivial, and said, in effect, ‘We all did that,’” the investigators wrote. They added that Dr. Peters had tried to discuss the incident with Mr. Kopelson, who died in October, on several other occasions, and pushed him to come forward with the information after the #MeToo movement gained momentum.

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‘Transactional’ Sex and a Secret Resignation Letter: Takeaways From a Report on Les Moonves

Dr. Anne Peters told the CBS lawyers that Mr. Moonves assaulted her in 1999. According to the report, she said that she warned Mr. Kopelson not to join the board, citing the alleged assault. “She recalls Kopelson responding that the incident had happened a long time ago and was trivial, and said, in effect, ‘we all did that,’” according to the report.

Mr. Kopelson, who died in October, became one of Mr. Moonves’s staunchest supporters on the board. As the #MeToo movement gained momentum, Dr. Peters and a friend urged Mr. Kopelson to publicly disclose the alleged 1999 assault. The lawyers’ report found that “there is no evidence that Kopelson, whom we were unable to interview before he passed away, told anyone on the CBS Board about the incident, spoke to Moonves about it or otherwise did anything with the information.”

On the board, Mr. Kopelson continued to defend Mr. Moonves. “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff,” Mr. Kopelson said in a board meeting this summer. “Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”

Dr. Peters didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Gil Schwartz, the longtime head of communications at CBS, had known since late 2017 about some of the sexual assaults that Mr. Moonves had been accused of committing, according to the report. Mr. Schwartz learned about the episode involving Dr. Peters in August, shortly before it became public in a Vanity Fair article. The report said that after discussing the matter with Mr. Moonves, Mr. Schwartz drafted a resignation letter for the chief executive, but Mr. Moonves didn’t sign it. Mr. Schwartz didn’t tell the board, the report said.

It wouldn’t be until the following month that Mr. Moonves stepped down from CBS. Mr. Schwartz also left the company in September.

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Film Academy Museum, Yet to Open, Reveals Inaugural Exhibitions

The motion picture academy will have local competition. The Los Angeles County Museum has its own film program and has hosted popular movie-related exhibitions like one on the filmmaker Tim Burton. Well-established local organizations like American Cinematheque already coordinate public screenings of significant art films. 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. The Lucas Museum, shaped (without question) like a “Star Wars” vessel, and its surrounding campus will cost an estimated $1 billion.

But the motion picture academy — with a collection that includes 190,000 film and video assets and 61,000 posters — has wanted its own museum for decades. The organization, steered by its determined chief executive, Dawn Hudson, has pushed through recent setbacks that have included sparring architects, a ballooning budget (the museum was originally expected to cost around $250 million) and an opening date delayed by two years because of construction difficulties.

For four years now, Brougher has been the director of a museum that does not exist. The museum announced in April that its doors would open in the middle of next year. But Brougher said that a few more months were needed to install exhibitions and test interactive features.

Unveiling his programming plans nonetheless represents a step forward. “It’s a thrill to finally be able to talk about all the various things this museum can be,” he said. “I’ve been holding it in for so long.”

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Netflix Will Keep ‘Friends’ Through Next Year in a $100 Million Agreement

“That’s content we definitely want on our platform,” ATT’s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, said of “Friends” at an investor conference on Tuesday. “And clearly it’s important to Netflix as well.”

He added that the new agreement between the two is nonexclusive, meaning “Friends” would likely appear on ATT’s coming service by 2020. The sides are currently negotiating rates for after 2019 that would be significantly lower than $100 million, since the show would no longer stream exclusively on Netflix, the people with knowledge of the matter said. It’s also possible that “Friends” could leave Netflix after next year, they added.

To attract new streaming customers, ATT will likely have to keep some of its shows and films off other services like Netflix and have them available only on ATT’s offering. Disney, which plans to debut its own streaming service by the end of next year, will start pulling some of its films from Netflix after next year.

At ATT’s analyst conference last month, John Stankey, the executive put in charge of WarnerMedia, said streaming players like Netflix were “going to see a pretty substantial structural shift” in the availability of content over the next 18 to 24 months.

Companies like Netflix “should expect their libraries are going to get a lot thinner,” he said.

Streaming services have anticipated this for years. In order to differentiate one offering from another, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have stressed the importance of exclusive content. Netflix, for example, has spent billions building up original shows, including hits like “Stranger Things.”

“That’s going to make it exciting for us,” the Netflix chief executive, Reed Hastings, said on the company’s earnings call in October of the forthcoming competition. “It’s great for consumers. Incredible for producers. I mean there’s never been so much TV and movies being created around the world. So the game is on.”

The market will support two or three on-demand streaming services, including Netflix, Mr. Stephenson said on Tuesday, “and we want to be one of the two or three.”

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Oath Agrees to $5 Million Settlement Over Children’s Privacy Online

The settlement is the latest evidence of the scrutiny internet giants are facing over how they collect and use data from children for online advertising. Google was criticized this year by New Mexico’s attorney general for how it may collect children’s location data, while other privacy advocates have pressed for more transparency about how children may be tracked and targeted for ads on YouTube, which is owned by Google.

In an age when online privacy has become a significant public concern, Coppa is one of the few federal regulations in place. It requires companies to obtain explicit, verifiable permission from parents before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from children under 13 or targeting them with ads tied to their online behavior. Personal information includes cookies that track a user across websites and geolocation data, which is then used to send specific ads to specific people. Advertisers are typically willing to pay more for ads tailored to individuals and their online behavior rather than placing ads on specific websites in the hopes that they might be seen by people interested in their products.

Ad exchanges, which connect websites and potential advertisers through real-time bidding processes as pages load, must comply with Coppa when they know they are working with children’s sites.

Technically, AOL’s policies prohibited the use of its display ad exchange to auction ad space on children’s sites, but the company did business there anyway, according to the settlement documents, which examined AOL’s practices between October 2015 and February 2017. Its auctions of ad space on those sites regularly collected personal information from users, like they would on any website, then shared that with bidders, resulting in targeted advertisements.

An account manager for AOL in New York repeatedly told one client, called Playwire Media, that the company’s ad exchange could be used to sell ad space while complying with Coppa, which wasn’t the case, according to the settlement documents. Based on the statements, Playwire, which represented sites like, and, used the exchange to place more than a billion ads on space that was supposed to be covered by Coppa.

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culture 2018: The Best TV Shows of 2018

Because this is a reboot — new cast, new setting — and not a revival, it qualifies as a new show. And because it’s loving, interesting and jubilant, it qualifies as one of the best new shows. The new Fab Five, based out of Atlanta, give makeovers to deserving individuals and emotional sustenance to viewers. There were two seasons of the show in 2018, and the second is superior, but both have an earnestness and positivity that are a welcome respite from the grinding misery of life. (Streaming on Netflix.)

I ripped through the 10 episodes of “You” like a fiend, like it was salt and vinegar chips, like it was Christmas morning, like I had rabies. It’s that fun and that addictive — and that close to the edge of being straight-up trashy. Instead, the drama about a bookstore manager stalking an MFA student is a savvy sendup of social media culture (well, “culture”) and New York nonsense, packaged in a tight thriller with a gloriously nasty sense of humor. (Streaming on Lifetime.)

TV is not great at depicting grief. Usually shows race through the mourning period, never mention dead characters again and don’t acknowledge the looping nature of despair and the permanence of profound loss. Then there’s this show, which … does. Elizabeth Olsen’s portrayal of a young widow is prickly and real, and the characters around her are all dealing with their own lives in addition to supporting her through her trauma. There’s only so much support anyone can give, and that anyone can accept. (Streaming on Facebook.)

The latest entry in the terrible workplace genre, “Corporate” is as nihilistic as they come, so bleak it often becomes absurd and even supernatural. Because the corporation at the heart of “Corporate” is so large — their slogan is “We don’t make anything, we make everything” — the characters have no respite from their overlords, and even weekends, parties and restaurants are tinged with office-adjacent misery. Because many people will experience work drudgery in their lives, shows or movies about it are better when they’re surgically specific in their critiques — and “Corporate” is. (Streaming on Comedy Central.)

Warning: This show has the catchiest theme song maybe ever, all the more dangerous because its lyrics are just the name of the show, so every time you mention “Cupcake and Dino,” it’s an invitation to just sing the song. This gleeful cartoon about two brothers who take on odd jobs all over their town of Big City is reminiscent of “Adventure Time,” but a little more wild and silly. (Streaming on Netflix.)

Ryan Murphy’s ensemble drama set within the drag world of 1980s New York knows how to balance its sad side with its soapy side with its fun side with its human side. It’s a show about allegiance and community, about characters who have found one another on the fringes and made a life and a world for themselves.

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Philippine Journalist, a Thorn to Duterte, Turns Herself In to Face Charges

Rappler, founded in 2012 as a scrappy investigative and entertainment outlet, has been a main target of his verbal abuse. Its star political reporter, Pia Ranada, in particular has been singled out. At one news conference, Mr. Duterte warned her not to go to his hometown, Davao, where he was once mayor, because “something bad will happen to you.”

Earlier this year, Ms. Ranada was stripped of the press pass that allows her to cover Malacañang Palace, the Philippine equivalent to the White House. Rappler reporters have been barred from covering any official presidential events. Such treatment has alarmed media groups.

“More than his inability to tolerate dissent, Duterte’s relentless persecution of the media appears to be part of the increasingly authoritarian direction his presidency has taken,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said in a statement on Sunday night.

Rappler’s newsroom has also been on the front lines of a war against misinformation on Facebook, where most Filipinos get their news. Rappler reporters have been the targets of online death and rape threats so severe that senior editors have debated installing bulletproof windows in the news organization’s office.

This year, Rappler became an official fact checker for Facebook, which has called the Philippines “Patient Zero” in the battle over misinformation.

The Philippine government’s case against Ms. Ressa and Rappler was brought by the country’s Department of Justice and centers on a 2015 investment in Rappler by the Omidyar Network, an American organization owned by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. At the heart of that case is a financial transaction that is also the subject of a Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission effort this year to revoke Rappler’s license to operate.

The charges treat Rappler as though it were a “dealer in securities” and not a news organization, Ms. Ressa said, adding that Rappler has paid the right taxes required of a news organization in the Philippines.

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Killings of Journalists Show the Bloody Fingerprints of Organized Crime

Mexico has borne the brunt of these killings. Nine reporters were killed by organized crime in Mexico in 2017, and at least four have been killed there since the start of this year, according to Reporters Without Borders. The group said it was investigating four more killings to determine whether they were linked to organized crime.

“We have reported 32 Mexican journalists that have been killed by drug cartels since 2012, and 90 percent of the crimes against journalists in Mexico have gone unpunished,” Ms. Ghani said. “It’s a country where impunity prevails more than any other country.”

Six were killed elsewhere in Latin America, the group said. In Ecuador, two journalists, Javier Ortega and Paúl Rivas, and their driver, Efraín Segarra, were kidnapped in March and later killed by Colombian drug traffickers. And in Brazil, Jefferson Pureza Lopes, Jairo Sousa and Marlon de Carvalho Araújo, three journalists who had been critical of local officials, were gunned down by gang members in separate attacks.

In India, Sandeep Sharma, who exposed an illegal sand-mining ring that included a local police chief, was run down and killed by a truck.

The European Union, which has historically enjoyed high levels of press freedom, has not been spared. Two journalists, Jan Kuciak in Slovakia and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, have been killed there in the last two years, reflecting the spread of Italian mafia activity throughout the bloc. The killing of a third journalist, Viktoria Marinova, in Bulgaria in October is being investigated to determine whether criminal organizations were involved.

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