Joe Pompeo
Joe Pompeo
Media Correspondent, @VanityFair @VFHIVESource
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As the Markup Implodes, Craig Newmark Learns How Media Really Works

As the Markup Implodes, Craig Newmark Learns How Media Really Works

Craig Newmark, the Craig in Craigslist, has been criticized for helping to bring about an extinction event for vast swaths of the journalism world, by creating a platform that sucked up the classified advertising on which it depended. More recently, he’s been a journalism savior, distributing his riches to nonprofit newsrooms and learning institutions alike. And now, thanks to a blowup at one of them, he’s discovering darker truths about journalism—ones he may have never expected, accused newspaper villain though he was. “Craig is a good guy and a self-identified nerd who hates conflict,...

May 1, 2019
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“The Post Is Looking for a Journalistic Unicorn”: Inside the Confounding Search for Marty Baron’s Successor

“The Post Is Looking for a Journalistic Unicorn”: Inside the Confounding Search for Marty Baron’s Successor

It’s been nearly a month since Marty Baron’s from The Washington Post, which saw a return to its glory days under his eight-year editorship, and the search for a successor is heating up. A short list of candidates has begun to circulate. Insiders are gaming out who of those they think would be strong, who they think would be a mistake, who they think sounds the most plausible, and so on. But there’s one person who, barring some turn of events, is definitely not going to be the Post’s next executive editor, and that’s turning out to be the biggest head-scratcher of the succession process so...

Mar 24
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“They Thought They Had Identified Another Political Star”: Sources Say Cuomo’s Tortured Pandemic Memoir Fetched a Seven-Figure Advance

“They Thought They Had Identified Another Political Star”: Sources Say Cuomo’s Tortured Pandemic Memoir Fetched a Seven-Figure Advance

The scandals swirling around Andrew Cuomo have reignited speculation about the memoir he published last year, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic, highlighting his then heralded handling of New York’s coronavirus emergency. The biggest curiosity of all remains the size of Cuomo’s book deal with Crown, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House. The governor has declined to specify how much he got for the book, , “You’ll see it on my financial disclosure,” the deadline for which is May 15. But the talk among sources familiar with the deal is that the book sold for at...

Mar 8
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“It’s Chaos”: Behind the Scenes of Donald McNeil’s New York Times Exit

“It’s Chaos”: Behind the Scenes of Donald McNeil’s New York Times Exit

The turbulent exit of reporter Donald McNeil Jr., a 45-year New York Times veteran owning the biggest story in the world, has unraveled the Times newsroom and set social media ablaze, with private discussions taking place among employees of color on Slack, alumni jumping into the fray on Facebook, and polarizing takes flowing freely on Twitter. Though the broad outlines of McNeil’s ignominious departure are known, along with about McNeil’s conduct on a trip with high schoolers, I’ve been able to piece together a clearer picture of the Times’ handling of the whole messy affair, based on...

Feb 10
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“Unfit to Remain in Office”: In the Wake of Insurrection, the Nation’s Newspapers Excoriate Trump En Masse

“Unfit to Remain in Office”: In the Wake of Insurrection, the Nation’s Newspapers Excoriate Trump En Masse

It’s a rare day when the nation’s editorial boards, all around the country, left and right, are united in what they believe is the most vital and urgent message to impart upon their readers. Thursday, January 7, was one of those days.In the wake of the previous afternoon’s violent, stomach-churning, ragtag insurrection attempt by a mob of extremist Donald Trump supporters at the direct incitement of their dear leader, America’s newspapers wielded their institutional voices to vigorously condemn the coup-ish actions at the Capitol, as well as the outgoing president’s role in the undemocratic...

Jan 7
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“They Do Not Want to See Him Go”: After Remaking CNN and Antagonizing Trump, Jeff Zucker Eyes the Exits

“They Do Not Want to See Him Go”: After Remaking CNN and Antagonizing Trump, Jeff Zucker Eyes the Exits

In October speculation about the future of CNN began to swirl following that network president Jeff Zucker’s contract renewal was up in the air. Asked about his plans during an internal meeting, Zucker was noncommittal, the Wall Street Journal, which also reported that he wouldn’t make a decision on whether to stay at CNN until after the election. At the time, a knowledgeable source told me, “If and when he leaves, it will be on his timetable and his terms.”The timetable still hasn’t been confirmed, but there’s talk in the upper ranks of WarnerMedia that Zucker is expected to leave CNN in...

Nov 20
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“Even Graver Than in Watergate”: Will the Woodward Bombshells and Damning Book Blitz Blow Up Trump’s 2020 Chances?

“Even Graver Than in Watergate”: Will the Woodward Bombshells and Damning Book Blitz Blow Up Trump’s 2020 Chances?

Even in a news landscape where it feels like nothing is shocking anymore, the first excerpts from the new Bob Woodward book still landed like a pair of hydrogen bombs. It wasn’t so much the revelation that President Donald Trump had privately acknowledged the danger and severity of the novel coronavirus, even as he was significantly downplaying and minimizing the threat in remarks to the American public. Of course he’d said something like that. We hear all the time about hard-to-believe things Trump said, either from people describing the president’s conversations anonymously to reporters,...

September 10, 2020
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“Brazen Effort to Squelch Speech”: The Trump Family Is All Tangled Up in a Tell-All Legal Battle

“Brazen Effort to Squelch Speech”: The Trump Family Is All Tangled Up in a Tell-All Legal Battle

Earlier this month a source close to Mary L. Trump , “She feels very determined. She has a very clear-eyed view of her family and the importance of what she’s witnessed. I think she’s been getting herself ready for this moment for a really long time.”This moment, of course, is the forthcoming publication of Too Much and Never Enough, an unforgiving memoir about the Trump clan and its influence on President Donald Trump, Mary’s uncle. Or, as the subtitle puts it, How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Mary, according to my source, had fully prepared herself for the likely...

June 24, 2020
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The Hedge Fund Vampire That Bleeds Newspapers Dry Now Has the Chicago Tribune by the Throat

The Hedge Fund Vampire That Bleeds Newspapers Dry Now Has the Chicago Tribune by the Throat

On December 20, two Chicago Tribune journalists sent a letter to a hedge fund manager who holds the fate of their newspaper in his hands. “Press commentary about your media acquisitions has been relentlessly negative,” wrote the pair of veteran investigative reporters, David Jackson and Gary Marx, to the hedge-funder, Heath Freeman, president of Alden Global Capital. “Is there a counter-argument this coverage has not reflected, or evidence that has been overlooked or ignored?”Alden, a New York City–based firm that has become the grim reaper of American newspapers, had recently increased its...

February 14, 2020
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“A Darwinian Moment”: The Coronavirus Is Blowing Up the Media Landscape

“A Darwinian Moment”: The Coronavirus Is Blowing Up the Media Landscape

The years 2008 and 2009 are remembered as exceedingly dark days for the media business. Between the digitally-fueled collapse of legacy revenue streams and the gruesome carnage of the financial crash, the industry began to endure pain and suffering like never before, from mass downsizings—a hundred New York Times journalists , 1,400 McClatchy employees , and so on—to newspapers and magazines going bankrupt or being shut down altogether: Farewell Rocky Mountain News and print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. RIP Radar, Gourmet, and Condé Nast Portfolio. (It would take too long to...

April 21, 2020
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