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Editorial Dust-Up at BusinessInsider

Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 1:55 PM

In the news: How Business Insider's editorial management handled a recent controversy.

Business Insider recently found itself in the hot seat when conservative writer Daniella Greenbaum published an op-ed piece defending the controversial casting of actress Scarlett Johansson as a transgender character. The backlash was swift and culminated in Greenbaum's resignation from the publication, prompting further backlash from conservative media outlets.

Greg Dool discusses the controversy in a July 12 Foliomag.com piece. Citing reporting done in the Daily Beast, he notes that Business Insider's executive editors will now vet culturally sensitive content to avoid future dust-ups. Dool pulls no punches in his assessment: "If Business Insider's editorial standards are such that a column must be taken down ... who the hell was monitoring this stuff before? Were potential red flags not heralded by Greenbaum's prior 'hot takes'?" The problem, he argues, is that this kind of crisis might have been avoided with more vigilant editorial oversight of op-ed content: "It sets a dangerous precedent when the act of editing is so easily misconstrued as censorship, and publishing a poorly reasoned and ill-defended column only to rescind it in response to public pressure undermines the importance of editorial discretion in the first place." Read the full article here.

Also Notable:

Hearst's Plans for the Future

Last week Troy Young, the new president of Hearst magazines, sat down with AdWeek to discuss his plans for the company. He discusses his prior experience in digital but reassures readers that the publisher will work to maximize potential for its print products as well. Most notably, he echoes a sentiment shared by some other major publishers: "We're a content company. I say that because I sometimes worry that the term 'magazine' can put you in a box.... How do we [service customers better] in video, in digital, in voice and in print?" Read the full interview here.

Shifting Editorial Focus at Women's Magazines

Women's magazines have struggled at the newsstands in recent years, but some are experiencing a resurgence in today's highly charged political climate. Some top titles are funneling resources into political reporting to serve readers increasingly concerned with sociopolitical issues. Riley Griffin of Bloomberg.com writes, "Editors at top women's titles such as Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire are ramping up coverage of sexual harassment, reproductive rights and identity politics. As younger American women use digital platforms to mobilize politically, these editors know they'll have to meet readers where they're most engaged. There's a lot of money to be made there, too." Read Griffin's full piece here.

Misinformation Campaigns in the Fact-Checking World

Last week, Daniel Funke of Poynter.org issued a caveat regarding misinformation campaigns against fact-checking sites, citing recent incidents on PolitiFact and other fact-checking organizations. "Hoaxers regularly go after fact-checkers to delegitimize their work and reinforce their own ideology," he warns. Read the full article here.

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