84 episodes

Daniel Levitt delves inside the minds of journalists around the world


Inside The Newsroom Daniel Levitt

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Daniel Levitt delves inside the minds of journalists around the world


    Podcast #90 — Glenn Greenwald

    Podcast #90 — Glenn Greenwald

    Hello folks, welcome to the relaunch of the Inside The Newsroom podcast! It’s been a while since I got the microphone out, but I’m back and will be podcasting with a top journalist at least monthly from now on.
    What better way to get back on the horse than have Glenn Greenwald on the airwaves, who the New Statesman recently described as among the greatest journalists of all time. We talked about what it’s like being Glenn, the mental toll of having the U.S. and Brazilian governments after you, the corporatization of journalism, where to start when writing a New York Times bestseller, and Glenn’s best advice for today’s journalists.
    Say what you like about Glenn, but it’s hard to match his achievements. He believes what he believes, and will quite literally risk his life to defend his position.
    “You go into journalism in order to do stories like this. If you want to be universally beloved and applauded by people in power, journalism is not the profession to choose.”
    Earlier this month we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our subscription model. Read all about everything we’ve done so far, and everything we plan to build over the next 12 months. And be sure to check out my Q&A with Walt Hickey, senior data editor at Insider and founder of the Numlock News newsletter. Walt was incredibly candid about what it takes to build an audience and run a profitable business.
    And lastly, we relaunched Data Corner and Election Dissection last week! Read about how the top newsrooms covered the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan from a data viz angle, as well as the latest on the consequential recent elections in Morocco and Norway.
    Okay, let’s do this thing! Podcast is up top, and my post-game analysis and Job Corner are down below… Enjoy!
    Job Corner ✍️
    We have more than 2,500 jobs and more than 300 internships listed in 1,000+ cities across the U.S., UK and Canada. Below is a preview of the openings you’ll have access to when you subscribe. If you’re a paying member, your jobs sheet link remains the same each week.
    Interested in a free week’s trial? Reply to this email and we’ll hook you up!
    Who Is Glenn Greenwald?
    Glenn is a journalist, former constitutional lawyer, author of four New York Times bestsellers, and co-founder of the Hope dog rescue shelter. In 1996, Glenn co-founded his own law firm in New York City, concentrating on First Amendment and civil rights. In 2005, he became bored of being a litigator and travelled to Brazil to “figure out what I wanted to do with my life”. He immediately fell in love the country and met his now-husband: Brazilian congressman for the Socialism and Liberty party David Miranda. They currently reside in Rio de Janeiro.
    Around the same time, Glenn started his own blog and began writing about mass surveillance and the changes around civil liberties in the aftermath of 9/11. In 2007, he was hired as a columnist by Salon, and then joined The Guardian in 2012. It was there that he, along with fellow friend of the podcast Ewen MacAskill, broke arguably the most impactful scandal of this generation: The Edward Snowden CIA leaks.
    From there Glenn co-founded The Intercept in 2014, but resigned in October 2020 over editorial freedom. You can read all about why Glenn did so here, as well as a rebuttal from The Intercept’s editor-in-chief, Betsy Reed. Today Glenn writes about a myriad of topics on Substack, and is always an engaging follow on Twitter. Oh, he and David currently have 26 rescue dogs too.
    Securing Democracy and Car Wash Scandal
    Glenn’s latest book, Securing Democracy: My Fight for Press Freedom and Justice in Brazil, was published earlier this year. It details the events that led to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro indicting Glenn for his involvement in the Operation Car Wash scandal, arguably the biggest corruption scandal in history. The scandal saw former Brazilian president and clear favorite in the 2018 presidential election Lula da Silva im

    • 50 min
    🎧 #89 — Olga Khazan (The Atlantic)

    🎧 #89 — Olga Khazan (The Atlantic)

    Hello folks! Happy December and welcome to another episode of Inside The Newsroom, where today’s guest is Olga Khazan! As you might know, The Atlantic is my favourite news outlet of them all, so it was an absolute delight to speak to Olga about covering health, gender and science, what it’s like behind the scenes at one of America’s oldest publications, and we discussed her awesome new book, Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World.
    Be sure to check out last week’s content including our podcast with Mr. Hurricane Man Josh Morgerman, as well as Inside The Middle East and Picks of the Week, where we rounded up the reactions to U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s likely last visit to the Middle East, and visited New Zealand where geologists hope to harness heat from volcanoes to fight climate change. Okay, let’s get to today’s newsletter!
    Job Corner
    More than 1,000 full-time journalism jobs and internships waiting to be applied to at the likes of the Boston Globe, BuzzFeed News, the Charlotte Observer, The Athletic, The Guardian, the Texas Tribune and the Washington Post. Keep spreading the word 🙏👇
    Preview of the job board… 👇
    Who is Olga Khazan?
    Olga has covered health, gender and science for The Atlantic since 2013, and has also written for the likes of the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Forbes. She was born in Russia and moved to the U.S. with her family when she was just three years old, initially living in Los Angeles before settling in Midland, Texas.
    On many occasions, Olga found herself on the outside, unable to fit in with her American counterparts. Her experiences fuelled much of the motivation and content for her new book Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World, which explores the social and psychological concepts behind conforming to new groups and societies. As if that wasn’t enough, Olga recently joined Substack where she posts insights from the book, as well as other smart life advice, which we’ll get onto shortly.
    Olga 👇
    Long Live The Atlantic
    If you’re a frequent reader of this newsletter, you’ll be familiar with my obsession with The Atlantic and know that it’s my favourite newsroom. The way they dissect and explore the most important issues less than 24 hours after an event is unequalled and, as Olga puts it, her and her colleagues tell the “second day story on the first day”.
    From its humble Boston roots in 1857, to its many journalists in multiple states in 2020, The Atlantic has blessed the world with some of its most defining articles. Whether it was W. E. B. Du Bois’ “The Strivings of the Negro People” in 1897, which introduced the idea of the African American’s experience of “double consciousness” that’s still talked about today; Helen Keller’s 1932 “Put Your Husband in the Kitchen” where she encouraged men to do more housework way ahead her time; Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “Letter From Birmingham Jail” that would serve as one of the defining texts of the civil-rights movement; or modern-day great Ta-Nehisi Coates who in 2014 wrote “The Case for Reparations”, The Atlantic has been leading public debate for centuries. Long may it continue…
    Support Independent Journalism
    Hey there, each podcast episode and newsletter takes around 12 hours to put together. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please consider subscribing so we can continue delivering you the most important news from around the world 🙏
    You’re Weird 🤨
    No you’re weird! Shut up Daniel… Weird was released in April and is the finished product of more than five years of research and writing. The book explores the science behind being an outsider and why being culturally, socially, physically or mentally different should be a badge of honor instead of a slur.
    Olga isn’t alone. There’s a little weirdness in all of us, but it depends on how brave and willing we are to embrace it, which is why I

    • 40 min
    #88 — Josh Morgerman (Hurricane Man)

    #88 — Josh Morgerman (Hurricane Man)

    Hello folks and welcome to another episode of Inside The Newsroom, where today’s guest is the hurricane man himself, Mr. Josh Morgerman. I had Josh and his director Caroline Menzies on the pod last year to talk about their hit TV show, Hurricane Man (highly recommended watch) which followed Josh to the world’s most remote places during the infamous 2018 cyclone season. This time around Josh’s setup was dramatically altered by Covid-19, so we caught up on this year’s hurricane season of which he spent in Mississippi.
    As ever be sure to check out last weeks’s coverage outside the newsroom, with Inside The Middle East and Picks of the Week. And if you’re a fellow weather geek, enjoy some of my previous podcasts…
    Job Corner
    We finally did it, 1,000 journalism jobs and internships! This week’s new postings feature the likes of CNN, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal. Keep spreading the word! 🙏 👇
    Data Corner
    * Cyclone Activity: Real-time data for all major ocean basins around the world, from Colorado State University
    Who is Josh Morgerman?
    Josh was born and raised in New York, studied history at Harvard and now resides in L.A. where he runs his own branding consultancy company. Yes, not the typical route to becoming one of the world’s leading storm chasers. As Josh puts it, he was born to chase, which is why Josh has spent the past few months in Bay St. Louis in Mississippi, so that he’s just a drive away from this year’s hurricane action amid international travel restrictions. In non-Covid years, Josh has travelled to some of the most remote areas in the world to capture valuable data for scientists and academics to study.
    Josh has been chasing storms for the best part of the past 30 years, but it was last year that shook him to his core. Chasing the most powerful hurricane on record to make landfall in North America led Josh to the Bahamas, where he intercepted Hurricane Dorian head on. When the worst of the storm had passed, not much was left standing, and there was a gut-wrenching 48-hour period when no one could reach him and he was presumed dead. While Josh didn’t study meteorology in college, he’s certainly a student of the field, so we’ll quickly run through some key terms we’ll use in today’s newsletter…
    Correction: I originally stated that Hurricane Dorian was the most powerful hurricane on record. It’s not. It’s the most powerful to make landfall in North America.
    The Hurricane Man 👇
    Quick Glossary
    What’s the difference between a cyclone, hurricane and typhoon?
    A cyclone is the generic term for a rotating storm, and also the name given to large-scale rotating storms in the Southern Hemisphere. Under that generic label we have hurricanes, which are large-scale rotating storms in the North Atlantic and the Northeast Pacific, while a typhoon is the equivalent for large-scale rotating storms in the Northwest Pacific.
    What is Accumulated Cyclone Energy?
    Commonly known as ACE, it measures multiple metrics including wind speed and the number of days a storm lasts in order to give an overall impact.
    What are the different cyclone basins?
    The major ocean basins include the North Atlantic, Northeast Pacific, Northwest Pacific, North Indian, South Indian and South Pacific.
    What Are the Differences Between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres?
    Key differences between the north and south include the time of year each has its season: In the north typically between June and November, and in the south typically between December and April. Cyclones in the north rotate counterclockwise, and clockwise in the south due to the Coriolis effect.
    Support Independent Journalism
    Hey there, each podcast episode and newsletter takes around 12 hours to put together. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please consider subscribing so we can continue delivering you the most important news from around the world 🙏
    Record Year in the Atlantic
    Now that we know that there are multiple

    • 52 min
    🎧 #86 — Dalal Mawad (Associated Press)

    🎧 #86 — Dalal Mawad (Associated Press)

    Hello folks! Happy U.S. election day and welcome to another episode of Inside The Newsroom! Best of luck to everyone voting today, I’ll be following along every step and making a whole lot of charts along the way!
    Before I do, I can’t wait to share my conversation with Dalal Mawad, senior producer and correspondent for the Associated Press, and perhaps the most accomplished guest at such a young age we’ve ever had on the podcast. I was also joined by Aina, my very first co-host, as we learned from Dalal what it was like living and reporting through the huge chemical explosion in August, and how the heck the country escapes its deep political and economic crises.
    Be sure to check out last week’s episode with New York Times editorial writer Binyamin Appelbaum, who took us inside what it was like to interview the Democratic presidential candidates last year, his views on news reporting vs opinion journalism, and what policies are needed to solve the harshest income inequalities highlighted by Covid-19… 👇
    I’m still figuring out next week’s guest, so until then, enjoy this week’s… 🤓
    Job Corner
    We upped our game to add almost 200 new postings to the job board, taking our total to 900! Help us out be spreading the word!
    Data Corner
    * Refugees: Database on the world’s refugees, from the UN
    * Protests: Global mass protest and conflict data, from ACLED
    Who is Dalal Mawad?
    Dalal was born and raised in Lebanon and has carefully observed everything that’s happened in her country over the past 15 years. She graduated with a bachelor’s in economics from the American University of Beirut, a master’s in international political economics from the London School of Economics, and a master’s in journalism from Columbia. Oh, she also happens to be fluent in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. I’m not jealous at all…
    Dalal covers the entire Middle East and North Africa region, and has reported on several wars and other disasters in the past, including Syria’s civil war and Palestine’s humanitarian crisis. Before the AP, she reported for the UN, Al Jazeera, and the New York Times. She’s also the recent winner of the Samir Kassir Award, the MENA region's most prestigious journalism award, for her feature on Lebanon’s drag performers.
    Dalal 👇
    Blast Investigation Update
    Tomorrow marks three months since one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, at a warehouse in the Port of Beirut that killed more than 200 people and ripped the city to shreds. Political interference and a seriously flawed judicial system mean we still don’t have answers on who was responsible. Calls for an independent international investigation were discarded as a waste of time by President Michel Aoun, making a credible and impartial domestic investigation seemingly impossible.
    Two fires that broke out on September 8 and September 10 prompted allegations of evidence tampering, and as of October 13, reports say 25 people have been arrested in relation to the explosion. But the authorities have failed to publicly detail any evidence, and not a single minister has been questioned as a suspect. Meanwhile the FBI has also failed to conclude what caused the blast, and U.S. government sources have suggested the blast was an accident. The country’s economic and political woes mean there’s simply not enough money to compensate the people of Beirut, as outlined in Rania’s tweet below…
    Crisis No. 1: Politics
    Lebanon’s political and economic crises are directly linked and haven’t appeared overnight. Before we dive into where the economy stands, let’s recap a tumultuous 15 years that is the root for most of the country’s problems…
    2005: Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri is killed in a car bomb, killing 21 others. Hezbollah enters government for the first time.
    2006: Hezbollah goes to war with Israel, which kills 1,200 Lebanese in five weeks.
    2008: Diplomatic relations with Syria are established for the firs

    • 45 min
    #82 — Louise Story (Wall Street Journal)

    #82 — Louise Story (Wall Street Journal)

    Hello! Welcome to another episode of the Inside The Newsroom podcast. It’s been a while since we hit the airwaves, but now that the paywall is up and the bulk of the world’s elections are completed, I plan to bring you a podcast every week until Christmas. Leading things off is my colleague Louise Story, The Wall Street Journal’s Chief News Strategist and Chief Product and Technology Officer. We talked about how Louise rose through the newsroom, a couple of crucial management concepts she learned at business school, and the emergence and future of strategy within journalism. We also mentioned the rise of newsroom strategy jobs, so I’ve listed below a selection of relevant postings we recently added to the job board. Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Instagram, so take a read of this masterpiece by The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino on The Age of Instagram Face. As ever, thank you for supporting the newsletter. You are literally the ones that make it happen. 🙏
    Job Corner
    * Business Insider — Editorial Subscriptions Strategist — New York
    * Politico — Product Manager — Arlington, VA
    * The Economist — SEO Manager — London/New York
    * The Independent — Product Manager — London
    * The New York Times — Product Designer — New York
    * Business Insider — Social Media Fellow — London
    * Dallas Morning News — Audience Engagement Intern — Dallas
    * Philadelphia Magazine — Audience Development Intern — Philadelphia
    * Spectrum Networks — Product Intern — Colorado
    * The Texas Tribune — Engagement Fellow — Austin
    Who is Louise Story?
    Louise is currently The Wall Street Journal’s Chief News Strategist and Chief Product and Technology Officer. She returned to WSJ two years ago having interned there in the summer of 2004, and previously spent the bulk of her career at The New York Times in various reporting, editing and strategic positions. Before all of that, Louise put the time in to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in the classroom, gaining a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Yale, a master’s in journalism from Columbia before returning to Yale for an MBA. She now leads a team of more than 150 people at the Journal known as DXS — Digital Experience & Strategy — all working toward the goal of making WSJ more of an audience-focused newsroom. Perhaps her largest project to date was orchestrating a content review that involved reading more than 7,000 articles in two weeks to understand what type of content resonates most with readers. Like most of us, Louise didn’t get to where she is without the help of others, which is why she’s making herself available on her personal email to answer questions about her career, the future of strategy and journalism, and how to get involved with DXS at the Journal. Email her below… 👇
    Louise 👇
    The Rise of Strategy in the Newsroom
    Strategy within journalism is nothing new, at least it wasn’t for well-functioning newspapers before the advent of the internet. Without reducing newsrooms’ old strategy to a single line, it was largely “maximise reader engagement in order to maximise newspaper sales,” and that often fell to marketing and sales teams while reporters and editors concentrated on what they did best. Healthy revenues from a combination of advertising and newspaper sales likely made strategy relatively seamless. Then came the Dot-Com boom in the mid-to-late-90s, which saw most newsrooms, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, launch their websites, and suddenly journalists were forced to think about reader engagement and then social media when Facebook and Twitter became mainstream around 2010.
    What’s different in today’s newsrooms is the pace of technological change and number of threats from technology companies — In 2000, newspapers and magazines held half of all advertising spending, but that share has since declined to less t

    • 49 min
    #80 — Cass Sunstein (Harvard University)

    #80 — Cass Sunstein (Harvard University)

    Hello! Welcome to another edition of Inside The Newsroom, as we welcome in Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School and one of the foremost behavioural economists to have ever lived. Cass has a new book out in September called Too Much Information, which explores the theory that when information is positive, we eat it up, but when it’s negative we don’t want to even hear it. In the podcast, we dissected his 2008 book Nudge, which still has great influence more than a decade later. Before we do, I wanted to honor the passing of another legend to have walked this planet. Congressman John Lewis passed away over the weekend at the age of 80. John was an absolute icon when it came to civil rights, and carried the torch lit by Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks well into the 21st century. Rest in peace, Congressman.
    Sharing Is Caring
    Podcasts are fun. I love doing them. But they take a bloody long time to put together. I estimate a single hour podcast and newsletter takes around 12 hours to put together. So how about a cheeky share to show your appreciation? Please and thank you. 🙏
    Job Corner
    The job board has been updated and this week’s deadlines include jobs at CTV, the Financial Times, Newsquest, Poynter, the Pulitzer Center and the City NY. Spread the word. 🤜🤛
    Who is Cass Sunstein?
    Cass is considered one of the smartest behavioural economists and legal scholars on the planet. He’s the founder and director of the Program on Behavioural Economics and Public Policy at his alma mater, Harvard Law School, the author of dozens of books — one of which (Nudge) is the subject of the podcast, and was the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 to 2012 in the Obama administration, of whom he became friends with during their time together at the University of Chicago. I’ve followed Cass’ work for a long time, so it was an absolute treat to hear him speak at the London School of Economics back in January on his then latest book How Change Happens (more on that later).
    Together with Richard Thaler, Cass co-authored perhaps his most influential book, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Published in 2008, the book describes the theory that almost all decisions we make in life, whether it’s where and when to buy a house or even as small as picking what to have for lunch from a restaurant menu, are influenced by the decisions and frames, or “nudges”, made by other humans, aka “choice architects”. For example, would you go bungee jumping if the instructor told you there was a 90 percent chance nothing bad would happen? Probably. But what about if the instructor told you there was a 10 percent chance you’ll die if you jump? Probably not, right? The book was well-received among free market policy makers as a way to increase economic activity. But you can apply the theory in almost every aspect of life, such as where in a new school an architect chooses to place the bathroom will determine how often students go to the toilet. Cass and Thaler have been heavily influenced by another pair of behavioural scientists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, whose friendship helped shape the world we live in today…
    The Undoing Project
    The friendship between Tversky and Kahneman is among the most important in recent history, and was excellently chronicled by author Michael Lewis in The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World. Lewis documents how the two Israeli psychologists identified in the late 1960s how humans tend to make decisions based on emotion over rationality — see Moneyball. Before Tversky and Kahneman, not much was known about why we make the decisions we do, and their work has since influenced most, if not all, behavioural economic theory we have today, including that of Cass and Thaler. Check out Lewis speak about the book and friendship to Malcolm Gladwell below…
    Related Podcasts 🎙️

    • 42 min

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