How the WaPo got its swagger back | Secret sauce for news | Celebrating the ‘comma queen’

By Matt Carroll <@MattatMIT>

July 6, 2016: A trio of news media stories, videos, and data viz compiled weekly. Get notified via email? Email 3toread (at)

  1. How the WaPo got its swagger back: Marty Baron and Jeff Bezos have brought the Washington Post roaring back, with journalism that has been just as aggressive as its sophisticated digital media strategy. It’s a cool thing to see how the editor and new owner have revived one of the country’s great newsrooms, bringing it back hard and strong. Just ask Donald Trump. Here’s how they are doing it. A fascinating read by the New York’s Gabriel Sherman.
  2. Inventing a new secret sauce for newsrooms: Using a cartoon, Hearken’s Jennifer Brandel takes a wry look at how newsrooms pick the stories they write about, and how there might be a better way. Spoiler alert: It involves thinking about readers as individuals, not as a “mass.” An interesting approach worth thinking about, although I have questions about how it would scale.
  3. The comma queen reigns supreme over grammar: Mary Norris, The New Yorker “comma queen” who for the past three decades has helped make the magazine a bastion of near grammatical perfection, has become an unlikely YouTube star, talking grammar on everything from everything from Oxford comma to dangling participles. Her simple, folksy style is a hit even with those of us (like me) whose grammar is slightly suspect. (Wait, should I use “me” or “myself”?) Digiday’s Jordan Valinsky does a nice feature on her here.

Matt Carroll runs the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

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