I am excited to be joining CNN.com. Meredith Artley, the managing editor of CNN.com, just sent this note to the staff:
Everyone, please join me in welcoming Carl Lavin to the team as our Lead Homepage Editor. He will guide the talented group that sculpts one of the most powerful pages on the web.
Check out Carl’s background – he was most recently the national managing editor for Main Street Connect, a network of local sites, where he was point for quality, innovation and editorial guidelines for more than 50 news sites in three states. But wait – there’s more – he was the managing editor of Forbes.com where he drove mad traffic, shaped their social media strategy, and led a team that wrote headlines and stories with voice out the wazoo. Before that he was the deputy managing editor for news at the Philly Inquirer. And he spent some time at The New York Times in a variety of leadership posts, including Washington news editor during the Clinton impeachment and 9/11, graphics editor and deputy metro editor.
He has a reputation for being an inspiring leader who people love to work for and with, an audience-focused editor and an excellent communicator with sterling and swift news judgment.
Carl and his wife, Lauren, are in the process of moving from his home in Montclair, NJ to Atlanta. He starts at the end of the month.
Many thanks to Meredith and everyone else at CNN who helped make this happen. There is already a post on cheesesteak to help a former Philly guy feel at home in Atlanta. Other tips? Add a comment here.
Marty Rouse, HRC national field director, at the Equality Forum (Photo by Lauren Shay Lavin)
Many advocates of marriage rights for gay couples used the spotlight on the royal wedding to seek attention for their issue. Events in London and Buffalo, in Australia and Iowa raised awareness and money for marriage equality.
The pomp and majesty of the Friday wedding at Westminster Abbey drew a global audience that many reports estimated at three billion people. From dress (elegant) to tiara (understated), from carriage (historic) to kiss (polite), each detail was dissected intently. The flood of voices and exclamations did much to drown out the few attempts to discern larger meanings in the event.
A day later, in Philadelphia, a panel on national politics at the Equality Forum included advice for those same marriage equality advocates. Use this attention to make the point that marriage does matter, Marty Rouse, national field director of the Human Rights Campaign, told 50 people gathered in a small auditorium at the University of the Arts.
It was a message meant for supporters and there may not have been many reporters in the crowd. Rouse's message, though, could start to resonate as more supporters spread the message and the debate over marriage equality sharpens in 2011 and 2012, with important legal and political events on the calendar.
Yes, Rouse, said, plenty of people will celebrate the passage of civil union legislation allowing same-sex couples dozens of the rights granted to married heterosexual couples. But civil unions are not marriages, he noted. "Millions and millions of people watched William and Kate get married yesterday," Rouse said. "Would they have done that for a civil union?"
Last year, I posted this April Fool's warning:
There is no off season for spoofs. Remember the film team that exposed the low standards of a lot of the reporting about celebrities?
If the stories seemed far-fetched, it was because they were part of a series of fabrications about celebrities ‑ made up and fed to tabloid newspapers by a documentary team that wanted to prove that journalists don't check facts.
That was from October.
As March draws to a close, it's worth repeating this warning, a warning I send around the newsroom every year at this time:
The silly season is upon us. Many publications will be running corrections on April 3 for items they fail to see as pranks on April 1. Don’t let that happen to you – or to your readers.
One editor reminded me about a 1998 prank announcement that fooled the FT:
Guinness brewery issued a press release announcing that it had reached an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory's millennium celebration.
According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed Guinness Mean Time until the end of 1999. In addition, the famous observatory would refer to seconds as "pint drips."
The Financial Times, not realizing that the release was a joke, broke the news in an article in which it discussed how some companies were exploiting the millennium excitement in order to promote their own brand names.
There are sure to be more examples this year. Have you seen any? Comment below.
Update: The UK started the day early, and in style. Some top 2010 spoofs, from a friend's list:
*Ferrets to deliver broadband to rural areas, Telegraph
*AA to use rocketman to rescue stranded motorists, Daily Mail
*Google launches translate for animals, Google
Funny to read. Not so funny when they are re-told as real news.
That was last year. Every year brings a new type of spoof, and 2011 is no different. That hot, newsy Twitter feed? Think twice, or three times.
A selective guide to fake Twitter feeds:
BP, Rahm Emanuel, Bronx Zoo cobra, Darth Vader.
Non aviators may be confused by some of the news about the Reagan National traffic controller who has been suspended from his job after no one could reach him as planes were landing at the airport.
Reports of planes "forced to land" or "landing without clearance" point to a control problem, but not a cockpit problem or a passenger safety problem.
The Daily Beast labels the article "scary" and summarizes that pilots were "forced to land their passenger airliners without direction." Similar language appeared in other reports.
Pilots are in charge of a flight, not controllers. A few hundred airports have control towers. Thousands do not. All pilots train constantly on standard approach and landing procedures and do not depend on controllers to conduct safe operations.
Three keys: 1. Shared communication channel. Each airport has a designated radio frequency for all cockpit-to-tower and cockpit-to-cockpit communication. All pilots approaching National or departing National will be communicating on the same frequency. 2. Automated weather and airport condition reports. All pilots know to obtain weather and airport conditions from a separate standard radio broadcast for each airport. It includes wind speed and direction and which runway or runways are being used for landings and departures. 3. Collision-avoidance radar. All airliners have cockpit radar equipment that displays the location of other aircraft and sounds alarms if planes are approaching each other.
In addition, all airports have standard approach and departure lanes in the sky, clearly marked on navigation charts, that pilots know to follow.
Does a pilot need clearance to land safely? No. Controllers do provide essential traffic guidance and are a vital part of a safe transportation system. Flights to and from airports without air-traffic controllers are not, however, out of control.
If you are worried about flying to Reagan National, this might come in handy. Click to read the AOPA refresher guide to landing at non-towered airports.
Any editor wants to create compelling content. On the highway between Newark, N.J., and Manhattan recently, we had a good indication that our friends at the Financial Times have reached a new level of reader engagement. While I drove, my wife, Lauren Shay, shot some photos. This driver mostly kept his minivan in his lane as he used two hands to hold the weekend section of the FT.
Newspapers are not the only distractions for drivers. Below, on the same trip, are Lauren's photos of other drivers who used the time to talk, eat anad text. Please note that texting takes two hands, too.
(Photos by Lauren Shay Lavin)
This year, Matt Richtel of The New York TImes won a Pulitzer Prize for his carefully reported series Driven to Distraction. Texting while driving had been an issue from Texas to Michigan and from coast to coast. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Bloomberg he wanted to reduce temptations that would distract drivers:
“I don’t want people talking on phones, having them up to their ear or texting while they’re driving,” LaHood said in an interview this week. “We need a lot better research on other distractions,” including Bluetooth-enabled hands-free calls and the in-car systems, he said.
What will LaHood do when he finds out drivers are reading newspapers, too? Right, he'll tell them to get Google cars, that drive themselves.
TV ratings trends and even a job switch or two have fueled the argument that audiences are more attracted to news delivered with a point of view. News from the left has helped Rachel Maddow and MSNBC. News from the right has helped Fox News. That's the argument.
Don Lemon on CNN showed another dimension on Saturday evening. Lemon hews closely to the CNN down-the-middle, politically nonpartial approach to the news. Politics, though, do not drive every news consumer. In the middle of a live report on allegations that an Atlanta pastor sexually abused young men in his congregation, Lemon admitted that as a youth he was a victim of a pedophile.
I have never admitted this on television. I’m a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me.
TVNewser was quick on the beat, reporting CNN Anchor Don Lemon's On-Ar Revelation:
Lemon’s admission led to an audible gasp from one of his guests. “I’ve never admitted that on television and I never told my mom until I was 30 years old,” Lemon said later in the segment. “Especially African-American men don’t want to talk about those things.”
The supportive reaction on Twitter and Facebook showed that Lemon had touched his audience:
You are an exceptionally brave man.God Bless You,Sir.
I am proud of you for talking about your abuse. I respect you as a reporter and a man.
@donlemoncnn You have no idea how many people you helped to get free tonight.
These are just a quick sampling. At the end of his program, Lemon thanked his audience for the tweets. Others will have to judge how much it means for a reporter to share his all-too-human story and how many ways there may be to escape what Jay Rosen has derided as the view from nowhere.