The Front Page: Barstool Sports

It’s Friday, November 5th. 

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In a long feature story this week in Business Insider, three women reported having “frightening and humiliating” sexual encounters with Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, a sports and pop culture-focused digital media company.

Media reporter Julia Black interviewed over two dozen people for the story, including current and former employees. Out of those sources, the three women said they had feared sharing their experiences would prompt attacks from Portnoy and his company’s fans, who call themselves “Stoolies.” 

While Stoolies criticized the article on Reddit, shares of a Barstool parent company, Penn National Gaming, fell more than 20 percent. This is not the first time Portnoy—and his brand—is under fire. He has been recorded using racist and misogynistic language and encouraged fans to harass or dox critics of Barstool and female journalists. Insider opted to use pseudonyms for women who came forward. 

Portnoy responded to allegations of sexual abuse reported on Thursday. In two videos posted on Twitter, Portnoy claims Black spent eight months reporting the story to fulfill her narrative, which is ultimately part of “woke, cancel culture.”

Black asks that tips pertaining to Portnoy and Barstool Sports be sent to

— This issue is by Holly Rosewood with editing by Gabe Schneider.

A Bit More Media

Q/A: Stephanie Kuo — In our latest Q/A, Janelle Salanga spoke with Stephanie Kuo, director of training at PRX, about audience-first journalism, collaborative newsroom models, and New Yorker tote bags. “Audience-first journalism is not just about who it is that you’re trying to reach,” says Kuo. “It’s understanding the behaviors of people.” You can read the rest here.

“Access isn’t a scarce commodity” — Bitch Media, the Disability Visibility Project, and Alice Wong have teamed up for a digital series that “explores access through a disabled lens.” From audio descriptions and disability fashion to anti-ableism and remote work, series articles show how inaccessibility is still the default, despite increased coverage during the pandemic.

Is enabling Big Oil objective? — HEATED and Earther report that three D.C.-based political newsletters published misleading advertisements from Big Oil ahead of a landmark Congressional hearing—during which company executives were accused of spreading climate misinformation. Starting in May 2021, Axios Generate, POLITICO Morning Energy, and Punchbowl accepted significant sponsorship from fossil fuel interests that ramped up in October, the investigation shows.

Finding NPR’s next audience — Erika Aguilar, the new executive producer of NPR’s Morning Edition and Up First, talked to Ernesto Aguilar about expanding the audience at NPR and within public media, more generally. “All our children are going to be incredibly diverse people for generations. We cannot move without them, or we will become irrelevant.” Before joining NPR, Aguilar worked at KQED as director of podcasts.

“For seven months, I lived in fear” — In October 2020, Lexis-Olivier Ray was attacked by police while covering the Los Angeles Dodgers’ World Series celebration. Four months later, despite not being arrested or cited, Ray was charged with failure to disperse. Now that the statute of limitations has expired, Ray shares how the assault affected his mental well-being as well as his profession.

How to improve nonprofit news grant-making — Scalawag executive director-publisher Cierra Hinton’s advice for funders: Be available. “I know it’s an investment, I know it’s a lot of money, but are the mechanisms that you’re putting in place for accountability really getting you accountability, or is it just more barriers to access?” In September, Scalawag received a two-year, $350,000 grant to support its Race & Place coverage. Read more from Hinton’s interview with Erica Beshears Pearl here.

Stay Up To Date 

  • 3 days until … Is the Freelance Life for Me? The Houston and Sam Houston State student chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists invite early career and experienced journalists to this panel discussion on the freelance business, from the perspective of reporters and editors. 
  • 6 days until … Challenging the System on Imposter Syndrome. Registrants can name their own price for this session, which is the second in the 2021 Women’s Leadership Accelerator presented by the Online News Association.
  • 8 days until … a digital open house hosted by the L.A. Times Guild and the Washington Post Guild Latino Caucuses. The open house is for college students and will include multiple panels that will be recorded.
  • 11 days until … Trans in Sport, a workshop hosted by the Poynter Institute and sponsored by the Gill Foundation. ESPN reporter Katie Barnes and Poynter Senior Adviser and Faculty member Joie Chen will lead the session.
  • 13 days until … “Is that really journalism?” Journalism & Advocacy. This free event, hosted by the University of Texas at Austin’s Solidarity Journalism Initiative, focuses on the role of journalism in social change and definitions of advocacy. 

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A few more resources

Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | | 10 Jobs and a Dog | NABJ | AAJA | NAHJ | NLGJA | @WritersofColor | MEO Jobs | Freelance Journalist Rates | Source Jobs | Opportunities of the Week ($)   

How about a style guide? Trans Journalist Association | Diversity Style Guide | Tribal Nations Media Guide | NABJ Style Guide | Disability Language Style Guide | NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook

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