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10:15 PM ET, December 20, 2020


 Top News: 
Stephanie Clifford / Elle:
Profile of ex-Bloomberg reporter Christie Smythe, who quit her job and divorced her husband after she fell in love with the man she was covering, Martin Shkreli  —  Why did Christie Smythe upend her life and stability for Martin Shkreli, one of the least-liked men in the world?
Josh Feldman / Mediaite:
Lou Dobbs aired a fact-check of his own election conspiracies, after Smartmatic threatened legal action; sources: Pirro, Bartiromo will air the same fact check  —  Fox Business host Lou Dobbs has recently taken to raising questions about voting machine companies, which have been cast …
The Guardian:
Citizen Lab: iPhones of dozens of Al Jazeera journalists were hacked using software from NSO Group in an attack likely ordered by Saudi Arabia and UAE  —  Citizen Lab researchers say cyber-attack using NSO Group software likely ordered by Saudia Arabia and UAE
Leaked docs show how China stage-managed what appeared on its domestic internet to make coronavirus look less severe in the early days of the outbreak  —  ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.  Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they're published.
Charles Kaiser / The Guardian:
Interview with Arthur Sulzberger Jr, who retires as NYT chairman this month, and AG Sulzberger about turning around the paper, keeping it in the family, more  —  Against the odds, a unique American institution has thrived.  Its chairman is retiring but the paper will stay in the family
Pranay Prabhat / NYT Open:
A look at the NYT's first-party data program for its direct-sold ads; NYT says ad campaigns that used it performed as well as those using third-party data  —  The New York Times launched an advertising data program for our direct-sold ads business that uses our own data and data science techniques.
Discussion: @journalismproj
David Folkenflik / NPR:
NYT retracts the core of Caliphate after a review finds that the podcast gave too much credence to its central character and reassigns Rukmini Callimachi  —  Toggle more options  —  The New York Times has retracted the core of its hit 2018 podcast series Caliphate after an internal review found …
Discussion: @rcallimachi, Washington Post, @opcofamerica, @marksimoneny, @chitrasd, @opindia_com, @louisemensch, @omar_quraishi, @patrickosgood, @leah_sottile, @lizsly, @asadabukhalil, New York Times, @darksecretplace, @hshaban, @natashafatah, New York Post, @mitrakalita, @madhulikasikka, @johnjcook, CNN, New York Times, @nycjim, New York Times, New York Times, @perlberg, @samsanders, @elaheizadi, @brianstelter, @cd_hooks, @cd_hooks, @peterbale, @sultanreina, @katie_robertson, @erikwemple, @nprinskeep, @amalahmed214, @lailaalarian, @lailaalarian, @lailaalarian, @lailaalarian, @doranimated, @madhulikasikka, @madhulikasikka, @radiokitty, @madhulikasikka, @chuckatwbhm, @erikwemple, @erikwemple, @erikwemple, @erikwemple, @erikwemple, @absurdistwords, @absurdistwords, @joshokane, @davidfolkenflik, @jbflint, Washington Post, @glcarlstrom, @davidfolkenflik, @steveguest, @janelytv, @lourdesgnavarro, @qjurecic, @bgrueskin, @miriamelder, @miriamelder, @mitrakalita, @mitrakalita, @sairakh, @erikwemple, @laurawags, @lailaalarian, @lailaalarian, @titonka, @neilphauer, @sulliview, @mattgallowaycbc, @dparvaz, @supriyan, @hannahallam, @johnmoe, @lourdesgnavarro, @jonahdispatch, Axios, @brianstelter, @marcatracy, @katie_robertson, @salmanmasood, @marcatracy, @brianstelter, @katie_robertson, The Line, The Independent, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The Media Nut, The Daily Beast, Forbes, Business Insider,, The Hill, Newser, Mediaite, The Guardian, The Wrap, and Reason
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
The rush for podcast-generated IP that can be sold to Hollywood is driving demand for podcasts like Caliphate, which may ignore facts for “cinematic experience”
Michael Schneider / Variety:
The New York Times has agreed to return the Peabody Award it won for Caliphate, following its retraction of core elements of the podcast series
Ben Taub / New Yorker:
A look back at Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder in Malta, and how her sons used her unfinished work to crack the murder case, bringing down Malta's government  —  After a journalist was assassinated, her sons found clues in her unfinished work that cracked the case and brought down the government.
Gabby Deutch / NewsGuard:
NewsGuard names news sites with most online engagement in 2020: NBCNews, NYT top among trustworthy sites; Breitbart, TheBlaze for COVID-19 and election misinfo  —  NewsGuard's Top Ten Disinformers - and Top Ten Straight Shooters With The Most Online Engagement  —  Facts did not always flourish in 2020.
Mark Jacob / Local News Initiative:
An analysis puts the overall increase in digital circulation for news outlets in 138 markets at 51.2%, from Nov. 2019 to Nov. 2020; print circulation fell 12.9%  —  Newsroom Challenge for 2021: Keep New Customers in the Fold and Find More  —  The pandemic and other major news events …
Andrew Liptak / Polygon:
Several writers of movie tie-in novels say they haven't been paid royalties for their work since Disney acquired Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox  —  This November, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a professional organization for genre authors …
Will Page / Billboard:
Music streaming may have plateaued with an average of 17.5B streams a week for the past four months, while consumption of games, TikTok, and podcasts increase  —  Has streaming volume really peaked in the U.S., or is the current stalled growth a blip?  —  Music streaming services have continued …
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 Featured Newsletter: 
Appetite for ad-free publisher subscriptions could be growing  —  Consumers say their distaste for advertising within publishers' subscription products is growing, suggesting appetites for ad-free experiences could be growing too.
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 More News: 
Alexandra Alter / New York Times:
Spiegel & Grau, the literary imprint shut down by Penguin Random House last year, returns as an indie publishing house with plans for podcasts, audiobooks, more
Michael Pack, CEO of USAGM, has announced that Ted Lipien will be CEO and president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 Earlier Picks: 
Karlene Lukovitz / MediaPost:
Survey: US consumers used seven SVOD and free streaming services in October, up from five in April; 47% used free services in October, up from 39% in April
Benjamin Mullin / Wall Street Journal:
Sources: digital publishers including BuzzFeed, Group Nine, and Axios are prepping for a wave of consolidation, via acquisitions or going public through SPACs

From Techmeme:

Allison Johnson / The Verge:
Google says RCS in Google Messages now has over 1B MAUs, and adds Photomoji, Screen Effects, Custom Bubbles, and other features

Sergiu Gatlan / BleepingComputer:
Apple releases emergency security updates for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS to fix two zero-days that may have been exploited, reaching 20 zero-days patched in 2023

Wall Street Journal:
Sources: Meta plans to launch Threads in Europe in December, the largest expansion since its July debut, offering a choice of using Threads without a profile

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