The Front Page: Quid pro Cuomo

It’s Friday, December 3rd.

Chris Cuomo, a man who once responded to insult by minimizing a racial slur, has been suspended “indefinitely, pending further evaluation” by CNN.

Transcripts, text messages, and emails from the New York Attorney General’s office show the Cuomo Prime Time anchor actively protected his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, from sexual harassment allegations.

CNN’s decision appears to adhere to parent company WarnerMedia’s ethics policy, but it’s clear certain tenets were disregarded to allow a primetime family reunion last spring.

“A conflict of interest arises when a personal or family interest interferes with our ability to make sound, objective business decisions,” reads the policy.

Yet an odd assortment of bedfellows, including Matt Yglesias, Tucker Carlson, and ​​Clyde Haberman, have come to his defense, arguing in essence that family comes first. Margaret Sullivan dismisses these objections succinctly: The claim is “​​nothing but an excuse for unethical behavior and a breach of journalistic standards.”

Had CNN not given the younger Cuomo space to engage in chummy banter with his elder, then-governor brother (or had many journalists not cheered on the show), it’s unclear whether he would have felt comfortable breaking this code of conduct.

Still, claims of sexual harassment against Cuomo earlier this year were met with silence from the star and his network—and commentators Ryan Lizza and Jeffrey Toobin only received mild slaps on the wrist when it came to their own sexual harassment claims—so Cuomo may have disregarded long-term disciplinary concerns. And it’s unclear how long that suspension will last, or whether he will be, as Brian Stelter suggested, back on the air by January. Already, a CNN spokesperson stated that the company “appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second.”

At the end of the day, CNN has long perpetuated a culture that offers its star talent extreme leeway, both personally and professionally—as long as they keep the ratings up. And in the unlikely case his suspension is, in fact, indefinite, he’ll still have a SiriusXM program.

— This issue is by Holly Rosewood with editing by Curtis Yee.


WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Books Every Journalist Should Read

Last month we asked you what book changed your view on the journalism industry, for better or for worse. Here are some of your answers and a few of our own:

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, The Objective will receive a 10% commission from any purchase made through our affiliate link. If you’re in need of a gift (for yourself or a friend), we’d appreciate your support! 

For the next issue of the newsletter, we’d like to know:

What non-profit (or for-profit) newsrooms deserve recognition for their work challenging status quo journalism, centering their community, and working in partnership with that community? 

Reply to this email directly and let us know! We may feature your answer in the next newsletter edition.


SEEKING COMPENSATION

A bit more media

Q/A: Wirecutter on Strike — From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, Wirecutter workers went on strike for a fair contract. Before the picket, the Objective’s Gabe Schneider spoke with Tim Heffernan, a Wirecutter writer and bargaining committee member, about the union’s priorities. Read the full interview here.

“Pay us what we’re owed” — If not getting paid for creating five magazines wasn’t enough, the Meredith workers that did so were also laid off after doing that work. Those seven former editorial employees of Shape magazine—who say they published five issues of Sweet July Magazine without receiving financial benefits—are now seeking compensation and recognition for their unpaid labor. Meredith Corporation has also reportedly asked the former workers to create the last issue of Sweet July as temporary employees.

Solidarity Journalism — Resources for practicing solidarity in journalism from the Solidarity Journalism Initiative at the Center for Media Engagement are now available. By employing the outlined techniques, journalists and editors can more accurately and empathetically cover historically marginalized communities. Related: How journalists can treat their sources better

Exit Interviews: Moiz Syed — In the latest installment of OpenNews’ Exit Interviews seriesMoiz Syed explains how wearing an “Abolish ICE” t-shirt to his job at ProPublica contributed to his understanding of the industry’s definition of objectivity. Syed, who co-created the Journalists of Color Resource Guide, left the newsroom in 2021 but looks forward to possibly returning to journalism “with fresh ideas.”

Denver’s “Summer of Violence” — In 1993, crime was down in Denver, but local media painted a dramatically different picture. Instead, writesLynNell Hancock, newspapers and TV stations created a near-constant stream of exaggerated crime coverage over four months, in many cases propagating racist rhetoric backed by local politicians and law enforcement.

Wear Your Voice shutting down — Staff at Wear Your Voice have announced they were laid off last month, and the digital magazine will be shutting after seven years in operation. “One day I hope to tell the whole story of what it took to create this platform and how much of a consistent struggle it was for us to survive and thrive,“ said founder Ravneet Vohra. The magazine plans to keep the website and social media accounts available as archives.


WHAT’S HAPPENING

Stay Up To Date 

3 days until … Checking In: Mental Health in Journalism. Five journalists join the Chicago Headline Club for this virtual mental health check-in designed for staff journalists as well as freelancers. Questions can be submitted in advance.

5 days until … Expert Talk: Reclaiming Narratives of Power and Justice. The Op-Ed Project hosts this event featuring co-founder and co-executive director of the Prison Journalism Project Yukari Kane and Jesse Vasquez, director of development for the Friends of San Quentin News.

5 days until … Report for America – How You Can Help Strengthen Local Journalism. Report for America, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and the University of Missouri School of Journalism share application tips for more than 100 fellowship positions in this webinar.

6 days until … Remaking the Economy: Information, the Media, and Economic Justice. This webinar by Nonprofit Quarterly spotlights leaders of nonprofit and co-op media outlets to explore the future of commercial and community journalism. 

What events should we feature? You tell us. Reply directly or send an email to [email protected].


AND FINALLY

A few more resources

For your portfolio website: If you identify as a journalist with a background historically underrepresented in journalism, Authory will provide you with a free one-year account to back up your articles (a $96 value). 

Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | JournalismJobs.com | 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

Want to get in touch? Email us at [email protected].


Thanks for reading. We’ll have more for you soon. 

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