Darts & Laurels

2012's media highlights and lowlights

DART for the most imaginary friends: Karen Jeffrey, Cape Cod Times In December, her editors at the Cape Cod Times announced solemnly that they “have been unable to find 69 people in 34 stories since 1998, when we began archiving stories electronically.” Jeffrey, an employee since 1981, “no longer works for the Cape Cod Times.”

DART for forgetting what “real-time” means: NBC NBC was so thrilled about teaming up with Twitter for the London Olympics in August, that it didn’t stop to think that maybe it wasn’t the best plan to promote the games on the ultimate instant-gratification platform while choosing to maximize ad dollars by delaying broadcast of the most popular events until prime time. Tired of having the results spoiled for events they couldn’t watch for several hours yet, Americans used Twitter to air unsportsmanlike opinions about the network.

DART for systemic poor judgment: Britain’s waning media empire It was another annus horribilis for Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, accused in the Fleet Street phone-hacking scandal, and various personnel at the BBC (including George Entwistle and new New York Times CEO Mark Thompson), who got caught up in the Jimmy Savile row. To top off the UK’s display of journalistic prowess, the 2,000-page Leveson Inquiry into media ethics included verbatim passages from Wikipedia, one of which erroneously credited a 25-year-old Californian, Brett Straub, with cofounding The Independent. (His friends added him to the entry as a prank.) Whoops!

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.