Special non-delivery

It’s after 9 a.m., and we still don’t have our Sunday New York Times — but I’m guessing it has more to do with The Boston Globe. Friends on Facebook who get the Globe, but not the Times, are telling me that it’s arriving late and/or missing sections.

We don’t get the Globe in print anymore; we’re seven-day digital subscribers. But I’m guessing that our amazing delivery person didn’t drop off the Times at 6 a.m., as she usually does, because it wasn’t worth it to run her route without the Globe. I can’t say I blame her. By the way, this is the second or third week that the Times has been printed at Dow Jones’ facility in Chicopee rather than at the Globe’s Taunton plant.

If you’re going to charge an arm and a leg for the print edition, then you’ve got to perform. The Globe’s problems with its Taunton facility go back to the day it opened in 2017, and they’ve never been fully resolved.

Update: The Times was on our front porch when we got home from church a little before noon. And several people passed along this email from the Globe:

Did you know that the Globe’s top listed price for 7-day print has hit $2,340 a year?

1915 photo by Lewis Wickes Hine via the Library of Congress

Did you know that a non-discounted, seven-day home-delivery subscription to the print edition of The Boston Globe now costs $2,340 a year? I didn’t. I should have — it’s right there in plain sight every day on the second page of the metro section, right below “New England in Brief”: $45 a week. We made the switch to digital some time ago, but I flip through the e-paper most days. It was Globe spokeswoman Heidi Flood who called my attention to it when I asked what the price was these days.

“We have a deep appreciation for the support of our home delivery subscribers that enable us to continue to produce and invest in award winning journalism,” she said by email.

Hiding in plain sight

The reason this came up is that a friend from Boston Phoenix days who lives in the suburbs wanted to know why the cost of her subscription had gone up so much. As recently as December, she’d been paying $1,665.60 a year, which struck me as awfully high; the last I’d known, the top price was somewhere between $1,400 and $1,500. Then she received an email from the Globe informing her that the cost would be going up another $5.70 a week, bringing the price to $1,962 per year. Her next step was to call customer service. She was told that the price should actually be $2,100 — but that he could get it down to $1,955. Such a deal!

I asked around on Facebook and Mastodon and got prices that were all over the place, though no one reported paying $2,340. A woman who lives just outside Boston (another Phoenix alum, as it turns out) told me she was paying $1,449.60 a year, which was more in line with what I thought the top price was. Several people were getting a senior discount which, depending on who I asked, meant that they were paying $884 or $1,046.20.

I also found out that the listed non-discounted price has risen a lot over the past few years. As recently as December, the top price was $1,976. In February 2020, it was $1,560. In January 2015, which is as far back as the e-paper archives go, it was $727.28. That means the cost has gone up by 189% over the past seven years.

Now, we’ve long known that the Globe charges more for print and digital subscriptions than just about any daily paper in the country. I think the top digital-only rate of about $30 a month —$1 a day — is reasonable, and that the Globe provides a lot of value. After all, we’re deep into the post-advertising age, and someone has to pick up the cost. But the price of a print subscription is ludicrously high, and I honestly don’t know how anyone can afford it. It also doesn’t help that the actual prices that people pay are all over the place.

You often hear that the print price is way too high for seniors, and that they’re the very group that doesn’t want to read the paper online. “I think of all the older people who still like print and probably won’t adapt well to digital,” my friend told me. Well, I have a suggestion. I’d argue that those of us who are in the 65-to-74 age bracket are either comfortable with digital, can afford print or both. But what about those who are 75 and older? Those are the folks who probably could use some help. Why not sell seven-day print to them at a loss as a goodwill gesture?

Finally, there’s the question of what the Globe is really up to with its print edition. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, the Globe’s paid print circulation in September 2022 (the most recent figures available) was about 64,000 on weekdays and 112,000 on Sundays. Digital was about 282,000 on weekdays and 298,000 on Sundays. That’s quite a change from March 2020, when print was 93,000 (159,000 on Sundays) and digital was 158,000 on weekdays (155,000 on Sundays.) Obviously readers are switching from print to digital in the tens of thousands. The Globe is also picking up a lot of new digital-only subscribers, which is why they’ve been able to keep growing while other news organizations are cutting their newsrooms.

(Note: I’m using the AAM’s figures for digital replica and nonreplica and adding them together. These are somewhat mysterious numbers that are quite a bit higher than the Globe’s own numbers for digital-only subscribers, but I’m using them because they’re publicly reported and I can make apples-to-apples comparisons.)

As I wrote recently after the Globe lost its contract to print The New York Times, you have to wonder what the eventual goal is. They’re not going to end the print edition anytime soon — not with the prices they’re charging. But are they seeking some magic number that hits their revenue targets while allowing them to outsource the printing so that they can close their 5-year-old Taunton plant? That’s pure speculation on my part. At a certain point, though, you have to wonder if it makes sense for the Globe do it their own printing.

Why Louis Menand thinks distrust in the media has its roots in the chaos of 1968

Photo (cc) 1968 by Fred Mason / Liberation News Service

I listened to Louis Menand’s New Yorker essay on why the public has lost faith in journalism while I was at the gym Thursday. It’s free, and I recommend it. Among other things, Menand reminds us of how insular, racist and sexist the Washington press corps was until very recently. He writes:

The two main social organizations for Washington journalists were the Gridiron Club (founded in 1885) and the National Press Club (founded in 1908). The Gridiron invited members’ wives to a dinner in 1896, but a skit lampooning the suffrage movement did not go over well, and women were not allowed back until 1972. Into the nineteen-fifties, members performed in blackface for entertainment at Gridiron dinners. [Kathryn J.] McGarr [in her book “City of Newsmen”] reports that the club’s signature tune was “The Watermelon Song,” sung in dialect.

Good Lord. Menand’s principal focus, though, is on the chaotic 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, that infamous gathering where the city’s police force beat up and brutalized antiwar protesters, leading to a backlash that swept Richard Nixon into the White House. In Menand’s telling, the two major television networks (CBS and NBC; ABC was barely a force back then) provided little coverage of the protests, devoting nearly all of their airtime to the convention proceedings themselves.

Their treatment of Mayor Richard Daley, the conservative Democrat who unleashed the police on the demonstrators, was fawning and obsequious. For instance, Menand tells us that the legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite began an interview with the mayor by saying, “I can tell you this, Mr. Daley, that you have a lot of supporters around the country as well as in Chicago.” Cronkite also allowed Daley to accuse reporters who’d been victims of police brutality of “being plants of the antiwar movement.”

Despite this, a narrative emerged that the news media had actually sympathized with the protesters and had taken their side against the police and the mayor. How did this happen? Menand argues it was because the media had covered the convention and the protests in a neutral, objective manner, when what much of the public really wanted was condemnation of the hippies, the Yippies and the entire long-haired youth culture, which they hated because they didn’t understand it. “It is said that objectivity is what we need more of, but that’s not what people want,” Menand writes. “What people want is advocacy.”

And so it is, he argues, down to the present day. The legacy of Chicago, he tells us, is timid television journalism afraid to offend conservatives as well as endemic distrust in the media.

I do have a bone to pick with Menand. He stacks the deck in making his argument that the public has lost faith in journalism, observing that it has fallen from the 72% who said they trusted the media in 1976 to just 34% today — and only 14% among Republicans. That’s factually accurate, but not quite true. What Menand leaves out is that, according to Gallup, 70% of Democrats currently trust the media, and that trust has never fallen below 50%, even in the recent low years of 2000 and 2016.

What surveys have really found over the years is that people trust the media that they use. If you ask someone — even a Republican among that 14% — whether they trust the media that they consume on a regular basis, they’re going to say yes. Otherwise, why would they waste their time? Of course, the media outlets in question are going to tilt toward Fox News and its ilk. The point, though, is that the media have split into ideological camps. Democrats, liberals and most moderates have at least some degree of trust in the mainstream media, flawed though they are. And Republicans, conservatives and the extreme right similarly trust what they consume.

The larger challenge is that the mainstream media, broadly liberal on culture though often mindlessly neutral on politics, continue to practice what Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, in “The Elements of Journalism,” describe as “a discipline of verification,” trying to get it right and correcting themselves when they don’t. On the other side is a right-wing media machine that consists mainly of weaponized propaganda and, increasingly, outright falsehoods — about the 2020 election, about COVID, about schoolchildren who relieve themselves in litter boxes, for God’s sake — repeated over and over.

Americans haven’t lost faith in “the media” because there is no such thing as the media, as there were, more or less, in 1968, or 1976. Today there are multiple medias (to make a plural out of a plural), each catering to their own niche. We live in a post-truth environment, and it’s tearing us apart.

Still, Menand has written a worthwhile overview of what has happened to journalism over the past half-century, quoting media observers from Michael Schudson to Margaret Sullivan. If you want to know how we got to where we are today, you could do worse than to spend some time with this piece.

An astonishing story claims an Everett weekly published falsehoods about the mayor

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. Photo (cc) 2019 by Joshua Qualls / Governor’s Press Office

I can’t recommend this long, astonishing story highly enough. In the new issue of Boston magazine, Gretchen Voss reports on the Everett Leader Herald’s crusade against Mayor Carlo DeMaria. The paper’s editor, Josh Resnek, has accused DeMaria over and over of blatant corruption and sexual abuse. DeMaria is currently pursuing a libel suit against the paper.

Not to give away the ending, but Voss writes that Resnek has admitted to making up much of what he’s written about DeMaria, who barely won re-election last fall in the face of the Leader Herald’s relentless attacks. In a deposition, Resnek admitted that he’d faked key interviews and concocted evidence. Here’s a key paragraph that comes near the end of Voss’ story. You won’t understand all of it without reading the entire story, but you’ll get the gist:

During his deposition, Resnek sealed his legacy: not that of a fearless journalist but of a fabulist. He admitted that he’d found no evidence of DeMaria receiving a kickback for the Encore casino deal in Everett, even though he’d reported in the paper that he had. Resnek claimed he was merely expressing his “opinion.” Resnek also confessed that he had made up all the quotes attributed to [City Clerk Sergio] Cornelio in his explosive September articles about the Corey Street deal [in which Resnek claimed that DeMaria had extorted $96,000 from Cornelio]. Every single one of them. Resnek failed to conduct even the most basic journalistic efforts to determine whether there was a formal agreement between Cornelio and DeMaria. In fact, a judge had issued a written opinion that Cornelio and DeMaria did act together in the purchase, development, and sale of the property, and DeMaria had obtained an advisory opinion from the state ethics commission concerning his interest in acquiring a financial stake in commercially zoned land in Everett. DeMaria also filed a “Disclosure of Appearance of Conflict of Interest” with the City Clerk’s Office for his ownership interest in a property adjacent to Everett Square. Resnek owned up to the fact that he’d never checked for these documents.

Voss also reports that Resnek tried to enlist Boston Globe reporter Andrea Estes in his attempt to destroy DeMaria. Estes comes across as interested in what Resnek had to tell her, and in fact she’s written several stories about DeMaria, including this one, about excessive campaign contributions that a contractor made to the mayor, and this one, about DeMaria’s being the state’s highest-paid mayor. But Voss’ story makes it clear that Estes did her own reporting and that Resnek exaggerated his contacts with her.

Why has the Leader Herald engaged in a multi-year campaign against DeMaria? According to Voss, it may have been retribution by the politically wired Philbin family, who ran afoul of DeMaria going back to his time as a city councilor. The Philbins bought the Leader Herald in 2017 and hired Resnek, a veteran journalist with multiple career stops in the Boston area. Here is a characteristic line from an opinion piece that Resnek wrote in 2019, quoted by Voss: “Kickback Carlo DeMaria is in his tenth year of organized, obscene, uniquely disguised municipal theft and greed.” Yikes!

The Leader Herald, a free weekly, is nearly 140 years old. Incredibly, it is also one of three independently owned news outlets in Everett, a blue-collar community with about 49,000 residents. One of them, the Everett Advocate, is enjoying DeMaria’s libel suit against the Leader Herald, running a story under the headline “Sinking Fast: the Implosion of Matthew Philbin; Leader Herald Owner Admits to Actual Malice.” (Actual malice is the legal term for publishing a defamatory claim about a public official or public figure despite knowing or strongly suspecting that it was false.) The story also describes Resnek as a “corrupt reporter.”

Resnek is still writing for the Leader Herald. I scrolled down through its website and could find no sign that he’s written anything about DeMaria’s lawsuit (at least not recently) or the Boston magazine story.

The third Everett news outlet, the Everett Independent, which once employed Resnek, appears to be a lively weekly newspaper. The current edition features a front-page photo of DeMaria to accompany a story on the debut of sports betting at the Everett casino.

Needless to say, it will be fascinating to learn the outcome of DeMaria’s lawsuit.

Nancy Barnes’ debut

And there it is. Nancy Barnes, The Boston Globe’s first female editor, makes her masthead debut. Barnes succeeds Brian McGrory, who after a 10-year run is off to Boston University, where he’ll chair the journalism department.


Meet Anne Larner, one of a rising tide of local news entrepreneurs in the Boston suburbs

Anne Larner

On this week’s “What Works” podcast, Ellen and I talk with Anne Larner, a civic leader in Newton, Massachusetts, a city of nearly 90,000 people on the border of Boston. Anne is on the board of directors of The Newton Beacon, an independent nonprofit news outlet covering Newton.

Anne has a long track record of civic engagement in Newton and in Massachusetts. She moved to Newton in 1973 and has served on the School Committee, the Newton League of Women Voters, and has been a PTO president, among many roles. She also served 15 years at the MBTA Advisory Board, a public watchdog agency.

Newton is a microcosm of what’s happening in local news all over the country. Years ago, Newton had four local newspapers: The Newton Times, the Graphic, the Tribune and the Tab. But Gannett shut down a number of Massachusetts newspapers last year, including the print weekly, the Newton Tab. The Gannett digital site, Wicked Local, is still up and running. But content is regional.

Ellen has a Quick Take on MLK50, the award-winning Memphis newsroom that focuses on poverty, power and justice. They’ve received two major philanthropic grants that allow them to build for the future. And speaking of MLK50, executive editor Adrienne Johnson Martin was here at Northeastern ahead of Martin Luther King Day to give a talk on their work in Memphis. We’ll feature some interviews from that by our colleague Dakotah Kennedy.

I’ve got news about the Rebuild Local News Coalition, a new nonprofit organization that’s advocating for solutions to the local news crisis. But wait. It’s not new. And the solutions that it’s proposing aren’t new, either. We talked with the co-founder of the coalition, Steven Waldman, last summer, and our conversation is worth a listen if you missed it earler. Still, this is good news, which Dan explains.

You can listen to our latest podcast here and subscribe through your favorite podcast app.

From Azerbaijan to Boston, Northeastern students identify undercovered stories

Demonstrators in Baku, Azerbaijan, show their support for the war with Armenia. Photo (cc) 2020 by Interfase.

From time to time I like to ask my journalism ethics students to identify stories that they think have been undercovered. I always learn something. My graduate students dug deep last week, unearthing stories that had received some coverage — especially in the mighty New York Times — but not enough to break through into the public consciousness. At a time when the media are focused on important stories such as the police killing of Tyre Nichols and trivia such as Harry and Meghan (or was that the week before?), here is what is on my students’ minds:

The renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At a moment when the world is riveted by Russia’s unprompted war of aggression in Ukraine, the military conflict between these old rivals has received very little coverage. The Times reports:

Barely two years later, the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is heating up again, and Russia, distracted and weakened by the war in Ukraine, has not stepped in. Defying the Russian presence, Azerbaijanis are testing whether Moscow is still able and determined to impose its will on other, smaller neighbors amid its struggles in Ukraine.

It’s not easy being fake green. Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, signed legislation recently that designates natural gas as a source of “green energy” — and we can expect to see similar legislation pop up in other states. As The Washington Post reports, citing documents it has seen:

The Empowerment Alliance, a dark money group with ties to the gas industry, helped Ohio lawmakers push the narrative that the fuel is clean, the documents show. The American Legislative Exchange Council, another anonymously funded group, assisted in the effort.

Deadly pro-democracy protests in Peru. The unrest in Brazil following an attempt by supporters of the former authoritarian president, Jair Bolsonaro, to overthrow the democratically elected government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is apparently all the South American news that U.S. audiences can handle. Yet protests have also been mounting in Peru over the removal of that country’s leftist president, Pedro Castillo. The authorities have killed 50 demonstrators. The Times again:

Rather than fade, protests in rural Peru that began more than a month ago over the ouster of the former president have only grown in size and in the scope of demonstrators’ demands, paralyzing entire sections of the country and threatening efforts by the new president, Dina Boluarte, to gain control.

Hundreds of sexual assaults in the Boston Public Schools. The Boston Globe reported that hundreds of sexual assaults are taking place in the city’s school system every year, noting that City Councilor Erin Murphy has said that there were 744 such assaults during the 2021-’22 school year alone. The Globe’s story, though, zeroed in on whether Murphy’s claims were accurate and how the district tallies sexual assaults — overshadowing what would appear to be the larger issue, which is that the BPS has a serious problem on its hands. From the Globe account:

Between 2018 and 2022, reports of student-on-student sexual misconduct rose in BPS from 371 to 759, an increase that Murphy and three other councilors also have pointed to in advocating for tighter security in schools, including bringing back a police presence on campuses.

District officials attribute the rise in reported incidents to more people in the district’s actively reporting incidents since returning to in-person learning.

The Church of England and same-sex marriage. The Church of England recently apologized for its past mistreatment of LGBTQ people and said it would now bless same-sex unions — but that it would continue with its policy of not performing same-sex marriages. Once again, from the Times:

The Church of England is the original church in the global Anglican Communion, which now claims tens of millions of members in 165 countries. The communion has been engaged in a bitter debate over how to treat its L.G.B.T.Q. members since 2003, when the American branch — the Episcopal Church — consecrated an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire. The communion has struggled to avoid schism as some provinces have moved to welcome L.G.B.T.Q. members and celebrate their relationships, while others — mostly in the global South — have remained vehemently opposed.

A shocking story about foster care and juvenile detention. In Illinois, the state foster care system has been locking up children in juvenile detention solely because the system’s social workers have been unable to find a suitable placement for them. Now the system is being sued by the Cook County public guardian. The Illinois Answers Project, a nonprofit news organization, reports:

The Illinois Answers investigation showed a steady increase in the number of Illinois foster children held for weeks or months after a judge ordered their release from detention centers. A total of 73 foster children were locked up for weeks or months in the Cook County juvenile temporary detention center without pending charges during 2021, according to an analysis of court and DCFS records.

Famine in Africa reaches a new crisis level. About 20% of Africans, or 278 million people, were facing hunger in 2021, according to a report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The situation has only gotten worse since then — especially in Somalia and other parts of East Africa. Reuters reports:

Conflict and climate change are the long-term causes. Heavy debt burdens following the COVID-19 pandemic, rising prices and war in Ukraine have made things much worse as European aid has been sucked away, data and testimony from more than a dozen experts, donors, diplomats, medical staff and men and women in farms and marketplaces across nearly a dozen countries in Africa and beyond shows.

The West continues its slow escalation in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine and the West’s support for that country’s existential battle against Putin’s Russia is hardly undercovered. But there’s been a slow escalation in terms of both the weapons that are being provided to Ukraine and in the war aims, with the U.S. and its allies now talking about helping Ukraine take back Crimea, which Russia overran in 2014 — something the public may be less than fully aware of. Here’s the Times:

The new thinking on Crimea — annexed illegally by Russia in 2014 — shows how far Biden administration officials have come from the start of the war, when they were wary of even acknowledging publicly that the United States was providing Stinger antiaircraft missiles for Ukrainian troops.

A new drug menace hits the streets. A drug known as “tranq,” a mix of fentanyl and the animal tranquilizer xylazine, is wreaking havoc in urban centers where homeless people congregate, resulting in the loss of life and — literally — limb. Tranq was the subject of a recent in-depth report in the Times, but the news has not yet become widely known among the public. From the Times story:

Xylazine causes wounds that erupt with a scaly dead tissue called eschar; untreated, they can lead to amputation. It induces a blackout stupor for hours, rendering users vulnerable to rape and robbery. When people come to, the high from the fentanyl has long since faded and they immediately crave more. Because xylazine is a sedative and not an opioid, it resists standard opioid overdose reversal treatments.

What’s behind the Boston housing crisis? Though it’s well-known that there is a critical shortage of housing in the Boston area and that rents are skyrocketing, the causes and possible solutions are poorly understood. An article in Forbes found that the average monthly rent in Boston is now in the range of $3,400, making the city as expensive as San Francisco, long known for its out-of-control housing costs. Mayor Michelle Wu has introduced a rent-control ordinance, and she has also proposed abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency. A Boston magazine profile of Wu’s choice to head the BPDA (at least until it’s abolished), Arthur Jemison, looks at whether the agency could possibly be part of the solution:

As Jemison began to speak, there was no doubting the enormity of the task before him. He knew that reforming the system was unavoidable. Business as usual had left too many people behind during Boston’s resurgence, and the city needed more environmentally friendly and affordable housing. At the same time, some disgruntled developers were suggesting that taking their business from Boston to less-demanding regulatory environments such as New Hampshire would spare them the headache—and profit loss—of complying with Boston’s aggressive requirements, especially given the sky-high construction costs and rising interest rates that were making real estate projects increasingly difficult to get off the ground just about everywhere.

Harassing the homeless at Boston’s South Station. I was so impressed by what my students found that I decided to add one of my own: Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung’s report that homeless people are being chased out of South Station by private security guards at midnight even on nights when the temperature falls below 32 degrees, thus violating an agreement reached with city and state officials in 2015. What’s worse, the MBTA gave the Globe information that turned out to be wrong. Leung writes:

In an e-mail, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo insisted that “the station is not ‘locked up’ at 11 p.m.” Pesaturo would later add that the property management firm confirmed to him that it’s “a 24/7 operation.”

I decided to see for myself and went with a Globe photographer to South Station one evening earlier this month. Shortly after 11 p.m., as the last of the day’s commuter trains departed, we heard a message over the public address system: “This building and the commuter rail will be closing soon. Thank you.”

Update (Feb. 1): Leung posted a follow-up Tuesday evening reporting that Gov. Maura Healey has intervened. Once again, homeless people will be allowed to stay at North Station overnight when it’s colder than 32 degrees — just in time for the record cold that’s coming Friday night into Saturday.

WSJ columnist: Russian interference got Trump elected in 2016

Well, well, well. Someone needs to translate this into English, but I think that Holman Jenkins — a hard-right columnist for The Wall Street Journal — is saying that the Russians got Donald Trump elected in 2016. Here’s a free link. Jenkins’ main purpose is to rip the FBI for inserting itself into the electoral process, but this tumbled out in the process:

The fictitious email [between Debbie Wassserman Schultz, then head of the Democratic National Committee and Leonard Benardo of the Open Society Foundation] referred to a presumably equally fictitious conversation between the Clinton campaign’s Amanda Renteria and Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch about making sure the Clinton server investigation didn’t “go too far.” The words found their way into a Russian intelligence document, which found its way to the FBI, becoming the justification for FBI chief James Comey’s chaotic actions in the 2016 election, which likely elected Mr. Trump.

The Herald boasts about pushing the state to remove gun records from public view

The Boston Herald is very proud of itself for getting the state to withdraw gun records from public view that could identify buyers and sellers. Under the headline “Herald Gets Action! Gun sale data shared by the state taken down,” Matthew Medsger writes:

The state has reversed course on a plan to share potentially identifying information contained in decades of gun transactions it had recently posted online following complaints by gun rights groups and inquiries by the Herald.

Last week, the Herald learned the state had released about two decades worth of firearms sales and transfer data via the mass.gov website and that a pair of gun rights advocacy groups were calling for the removal of the files from public review.

The two groups involved in pushing for the reversal were the Gun Owners’ Action League and Commonwealth Second Amendment.

Veteran investigative reporter Beth Healy, currently with WBUR Radio, tweeted, “It’s a dark day when a newspaper touts suppressing information for the public. Journalists work to shed light on things the government keeps secret. No more pressing issue in America than #GunViolence.”



The Friday reading list

On this Friday morning, I’ve got three stories that I think are worth sharing with you. This is not the debut of a regular feature, but from time to time I run across good journalism that I want to put out there without much in the way of commentary. That’s what we used to use Twitter for, right?

The Washington Post isn’t going to be fixed anytime soon. Those of us who follow the trials and tribulations of The Washington Post have assumed that longtime publisher Fred Ryan had at least one foot on the proverbial banana peel. But according to Clare Malone, writing in The New Yorker, Ryan has emerged as more powerful than ever since the retirement of Marty Baron as executive editor. He seems to have no fresh ideas for reversing the Post’s declining fortunes, but Bezos apparently likes him. It doesn’t sound like Baron’s successor, Sally Buzbee, shares Bezos’ affection for Ryan, but she lacks the clout that the legendary Baron had.

Questions about the police killing of Tyre Nichols. MLK50: Justice Through Journalism is among the projects that Ellen Clegg and I are writing about in “What Works in Community News,” our book-in-progress. The website, based in Memphis, focuses on social justice issues. In a list of questions that need to be answered about Nichols’ death, this one stands out: “Since 2015, Memphis police have killed at least 15 people. How many people would need to die at the police’s hands before city leaders concede that the latest incident isn’t an indictment of a few bad apples, but reflects an institution that requires immediate overhaul?”

The Durham investigation was as corrupt it appeared. New York Times reporters Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner go deep (free link) into Bill Barr and John Durham’s years-long effort to discredit the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and to somehow drag Hillary Clinton into it. The best quote is from Robert Luskin, a lawyer who represented two witnesses Durham interviewed: ““When did these guys drink the Kool-Aid, and who served it to them?”