Newspaper Trade Group responds to John Oliver

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John Oliver spoke about the deplorable state of print journalism on his weekly Sunday night show, but the Newspaper Association of America isn’t taking the joke.

Mr. Oliver, the host of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, chronicled the layoffs at local newspapers like the Oregonian and joked that the hunt for digital revenue from media companies amid the decline of the impression was “like finding a penny on the sidewalk the same day your bank account is emptied by a 16 year old Belgian hacker.

Mr. Oliver then aimed Trunk,

the rebranded nickname of Tribune Publishing, short for “Online Content Tribune”. The name “sounds like the sound of an elephant ejaculating or, more appropriately, the sound of a pile of printed newspapers thrown in a dumpster,” Oliver said.

Many journalists took the joke in stride. Mr Oliver’s rant was smart – and it underscored how much digital media and TV networks rely on the important work of local journalists on the ground. But David Chavern, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, an industry trading group, felt the need to respond to a perceived jab.

“Whatever you think of the name ‘trunk; and the growth strategy announced by this company, at least they’re trying new things and trying to figure out how to create great news journalism in the digital age. John Oliver doesn’t seem to have any better ideas, ”Chavern said in a statement.

“I would just ask Mr. Oliver to spend more time talking about what the future of information might be like, and less time mocking publishers trying to get there,” he said. added.

It is not known if Mr. Oliver, a comedian, has the secret to fixing the media business. It is not exactly his responsibility. In the meantime, Mr. Oliver has become a sharp critic, criticizing over the segment that too many digital outlets focus on easy clickbait rather than meaty reporting. Indeed, the segment ends with a parody of “Spotlight”, the Oscar-winning film about intrepid Boston Globe reporters, in which actor Bobby Cannavale plays a reporter who canceled a corruption story to write about a raccoon. scrubber who looks like a cat.

So, is Mr. Oliver correct that journalism has become too lazy? We’re not sure – just watch the clip, okay?

Write to Steven Perlberg at [email protected]

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