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Breaking The Cycle Of Gun Violence Coverage; Journalists Caught Between Police And Protesters; Former Australian Prime Minister Condemns Rupert Murdoch; Lessons Learned From Coverage Of J&J Vaccine Pause; How Subscriptions & Streaming Are Changing Media. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 18, 2021 - 11:00   ET



BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter live in New York. And this is RELIABLE SOURCES, where we examine the story behind the story and figure out what is reliable.

This hour, as the eyes of world fixated on Minnesota and in a week of unrest there, CNN's Sara Sidner and Miguel Marquez will be here to share what it's been like to be caught in the middle.

Plus, the emerging red news/blue news divide about COVID vaccines and how the media must, must be a bridge.

And later, speaking of divides, my interview with the former prime minister of Australia who says these men, the Murdochs, have created a, quote/unquote, market for crazy. Hear Malcolm Turnbull's unique perspective coming up.

But, first, one of the common types of breaking news in America, another mass shooting, actually two of them overnight. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, overnight, three dead and two injured at a confrontation at a bar. And in Columbus, Ohio, one dead and five others wounded at the vigil for a victim of a previous shooting.

Rather than feeling numb to this, let's break the cycle. Try to imagine the pain. The hot lead of a bullet tearing through tissue, shattering bones, cutting through blood vessels, pulverizing organs. It is heinous devastation to human bodies, all too common in America, somehow accepted as normal -- unacceptable pain and devastation.

So I want to ask, how could the press improve the coverage of gun violence? How could we bring it home?

Let me try a few suggestions and then bring in three reporters who have more to add. Number one, for me, this subject is typically covered shooting by shooting, episode by episode, when it needs to be covered holistically. I mean, think about it, oftentimes, the most coverage happens when we know the least.

Think about the first hour after an attack when the TV coverage is full of speculation. By the time the facts are clear, many people have moved on. So that's number one. Number two, the language around shootings. Sometimes it misleads. The

phrase active shooter, for example, creates an impression that these mass murders take place over a lengthy period of time, but more often than not the damage is just in just a minute or two.

So, by the time the news starts covering a so-called active shooter, the activity is almost always over, the gunman almost always either dead or in custody.

Active shootings are real but the terminology ends up misleading viewers when they hear about it, say 30 minutes or an hour later.

Modern weaponry means maximum carnage in the blink of an eye, in a minute or two, and the language sanitizes that fact. Wounded could mean scarred for life, paralyzed. Which leads me to number three, and the experience we all have of waking up to a new death toll from a new shooting spree as happened with Indianapolis this week.

"The New York Times" calling Indy the third massacre in three months. There is the front page. And "The Washington Post" today highlighting the lives lost by showing all eight victims on the front page.

We call these "mass shootings" but maybe "mass killings" is more accurate. Just like Boulder, just like Atlanta.

But all of the attention paid to mass shootings and mass killing merit some scrutiny because some spasms of gun violence get days of coverage and others don't.

This nonprofit research group called the Gun Violence Archive is helping to change that, helping to change old habit around this issue. The archive scours news coverage and tracks every crime. Reminds us that most gun deaths are suicides or single homicides and showing us that there are mass shootings practically every day.

The CNN map tells that story and here is the key bit of language. Quote: CNN considers an incident to be mass shooting if four or more people excluding the gunman are shot and wounded or killed.

So there is coverage of mass shootings, there is coverage of the day in, day out gun violence that claims one life at a time but can't be overlooked.

There is coverage of police killings and they're on videotape often. And we don't know whether to trust the police in their accounts of what happened.

But every time we want to have a broader conversation about the crisis, there is another new shooting to move on and cover. But the broader conversation is necessary.

So let's bring in three experts on this. Kyle Pope is the editor and publisher of "The Columbia Journalism Review" who is leading initiative to improve coverage of guns and shootings.

Abene Clayton is the lead reporter for the Guns and Lies in America Project from "The Guardian". She recently wrote that everything about America's gun debate is wrong. So we're going to ask her about that.


And also with us is CNN senior reporter Oliver Darcy.

Abene, let me start with you. You cover beat this every single day. What is one way that America could improve coverage of gun violence?

ABENE CLAYTON, LEAD REPORTER, GUNS AND LIES IN AMERICA PROJECT, THE GUARDIAN: Yeah, I think it is really important that reporters spread their time and attention on gun violence equitably.

So often the shooting that get the most attention are those with a certain level of surprise value that happened in white or suburban areas and they garner a lot of attention because so many Americans could say this themselves, I have been there and I could have been here and when you are talking about a shooting in a place like Oakland, Philadelphia, or Chicago, people don't see themselves in those places and there are still a very racist idea that gun violence just happens there.

It's a natural byproduct when, in fact, that's not true. So it would be helpful for reporters to cover it that way, as a racial injustice and to put the same level of attention and focus on the lives that are being lost in daily incidents of gun violence that we do in these high-profile mass shootings. It is really an equity issue.

STELTER: Right. You think about why some shootings get hours and hours of wall-to-wall coverage and others do not. We need to see why that is.

Kyle, you've been drawing attention to this issue with a project called the Inevitable News. Let's take a look at what this means. There is animation we can show of fill-in-the-blank stories where every mass shooting, every massacre has a death toll and location and something about the suspect and it all starts to blur together.

What are you all trying to accomplish with the Inevitable News?

KYLE POPE, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: Well, I think you set it up well, Brian. There is simply wrote about this, there is a pattern to the coverage. There is a kind of like saneness over and over again, and there is a tendency to focus on high-profile mass shootings where as you point out, and Abene point out, that's not the majority of the gun violence that is in this country.

What we're trying to do is to get people to focus on in between, focus on what happens between these big high-profile events and in which 100 people die in America every day from gun violence. I think a good model, we think about this as the coverage of the COVID, where you have -- if you remember early on there was a focus on people who were dying and then I think the media did a pretty effective job early on in the pandemic getting to the systemic and structural issues.

Why are certain groups of people more likely to get sick and die. Why are infection rates disproportionately in people of color and why are health care inequities all around the country and there is a fairly, I think impressive, part on the media to focus in on what is the underlying issue for why the treatment is different. And it wasn't just focusing on the headline of who is dying and I think the same thing needs to happen here.

This is an epidemic of gun violence in this country that has been going on for decades and decades and I think we need as an industry need to focus on that, focus on dedicating the type every day into covering this crisis rather than just covering these mass shooting events.

STELTER: So in newsrooms this week, there are conversations about covering this as a public health emergency and that is what you're saying needs to be done. It is a public health emergency.

Oliver, we're getting ideas on how to cover, and what about police involved coverage and the horrified video of the Chicago, what could be done to improve that coverage?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: I think reporters are now finding themselves in an interesting conundrum. Look, Brian, most people want to believe the official police narrative when the police give a news conference, they want to believe that they are forthcoming with the facts.

The problem is that we're seeing in the last few weeks and over the past few years, that video actually ends up undermining the official police narrative and we learn later on that the police weren't forthcoming with the facts.

So I think there needs to be some perhaps skepticism introduced into the initial accounts of what police say particularly when it is involved one of these fatal shootings where it is basically the police giving their side of the story an the person with the other side is unfortunately dead.

STELTER: Abene, do you find that's an ongoing problem in gun violence more broadly?

CLAYTON: I do, yeah. I think it is really important, when we talk about a police killing, the only narrative out there is the police and it is important to look at that with is this scrutiny. And when we are talking about an issue of community violence, often rarely is there enough information that the police provide to do anything really meaningful, you know?

So I think it is incumbent on recorders to not just put out a press release from the officer say. It really reduces someone's humanity to just, man shot on X block, which is quite dehumanizing.


And to counter those narratives with stories from families, with stories from violence intervention workers rather than just leaning into what police say, which often when it comes to issue of community violence isn't much. So it is really the job of reporters to go beyond that and ask

questions, why do they think this is happening if you're going to go to the police, really scrutinize what they think is the root cause of community gun violence and then add in voices from the people who really know what is going on the best, the folks who have been living in these cities for decades and can really give you a full picture that goes so far beyond the criminal justice system and equally if not more valuable.

STELTER: And it occurs to me, we need more reporters like you who are on this beat full time, who can bring everybody else along.

Abene and Kyle, thank you. Oliver, please stick around. You're coming back later.

Coming up, news about a new generation taking over top newsrooms, and a disturbing story that we just learned about this weekend of a CNN producer arrested in Minnesota for doing her job. Now she was covering one of these protests and really wrongfully treated by the police. We're going to tell you about that.

Sara Sidner and Miguel Marquez join us live from Minneapolis next.



STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES.

In America, John Eligon, said, we can't even process one police killing before there is another. There is three on average since the start of the Derek Chauvin trial. As seen in Chicago, in the heartbreaking case of Adam Toledo, these are split-second life and death decisions that were then debated for days, weeks and months, largely because of the availability of video. That's the X factor. That was not available decades ago but it is available today.

So, let's go Brooklyn Center now, to Minnesota, where reporters have been symbolically and literally in between protesters and police working to tell the story of unrest there without getting caught up in the action. There have been cases of reporters harassed, assaulted, even arrested in Brooklyn Center in the last week and there are real concerns about how police are treating journalists there.

On Tuesday, CNN producer Carolyn Sung was thrown to the ground and zip tied even though she identified herself as a journalist and showed her credentials. Sung is Asian-American and she kept speaking in English but still a trooper yelled at her, do you speak English?

She was put on a prisoner transport bus, she was searched, she was ordered to undress and she was ordered to put on an orange uniform. And then after more than two hours, attorneys were able to intervene and secure her release.

These details come from the letter that was sent last evening from dozens of media outlets sent to state authorities calling for change to make sure these sort of things couldn't deep happening.

You could see the headline from "USA Today" about police rounding up journalists, forcing them to the ground, taking pictures of their face and press credentials. Now, as of Saturday night, as of Sunday morning, police are vowing they will not do that again. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is expressing regret for some of the episodes in the past week, an embarrassment for the mistreatment of journalists.

He's writing on Twitter, the journalists must be allowed to safely cover protests and civil unrest and I've directed our law enforcement to make changes to make sure the journalists don't face barriers. Bottom line is that unrest is no excuse to violate the first amendment. And all of this is unfolding while reporters in Minnesota are bracing for the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, closing arguments expected to begin tomorrow.

With me now live in Minnesota are the CNN correspondents Sara Sidner and Miguel Marquez who are living the story and telling the story about it every single day.

Miguel, you were with Carolyn -- Carolyn Sung, the person who was arrested. Thankfully, you were not detained or arrested at that evening. But these problems have been going on throughout the week. There was a video shared on Twitter of a water bottle being thrown at your crew one occasion.

This seems like it was protesters trying to create trouble. This was a story that went viral in right wing media and, frankly, that claim that CNN was covering it up which is ridiculous.

But tell us what happened. Tell us what happened, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it was no cover-up. There was a lot of things happening at the Brooklyn Center Police station. There was the main body of protesters that are holding a rally focused on the eyes on prize and focused on what they wanted to do.

There were a few protesters at the gates to the police station yelling at the police and then we -- there was the law enforcement behind the gates and we wanted to show all of that in our live shots and tell people what was going on there.

We even moved because some protesters didn't want to be on camera so we moved to accommodate them. And then another smaller group of protesters came around and started sort of shouting us down. They had a loudspeaker, shouting us down. They wanted us to move to a place where we can't see the protesters that were taunting the police and that is when this water bottle gets thrown at one of our guys. He stumbled back, fell over -- tripped over a curb but it heightened everything.

We started to figure out how to make an exit because it was just getting too intense there. But we didn't want to look like we were running that is when somebody hit me with a water bottle and then we started moving toward our cars to continue to pelt us with whatever they could find. We got in the car and we took off.

I cannot blame them for being angry. But a lot of people are very angry, suspicious of the press, the corporate media, all of those things come into these places, and it is just one of those situations where it was intense.


There were people who were angry at everything and everybody and we happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time -- Brian.

STELTER: Yeah, tensions amongst the protesters. Tensions between police and the press as well. Here's a photo of -- I believe it's a photo journalist whose finger was broken. You could see there he said he was shot in the hand with a rubber bullet by the police in Brooklyn Center and the impact broke his ring finger in two places.

So, like I said, we've got assaults, harassment, arrests.

And, Sara, that brings me to you, how do you navigate what is, you know, what -- a six or seven nights of unrest, in some ways predictable as it gets dark, it gets uglier there. How do you navigate it?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You navigate it by doing your job. You're out there to show what is happening and out there to show what is really going on.

And I do want to speak to something. You know, we heard from the governor that he deeply regrets the misconduct of police that occurred against journalists in particular. And so when you hear that, we've heard this before. Our reporter Omar Jimenez was arrest by state police here and we heard the regret before.

So what changed, exactly? Nothing. Nothing changed. The police are still treating journalists, throwing them to the ground, the fact that they ask Carolyn Sung who is an excellent producer, who cares deeply about the stories that she goes out and covers, the fact that they were asking her after throwing her to the ground, do you speak English, what is that tell you about the mentality of the police that grabbed her?

It's not okay and it should not be a regret. It should stop. It should change.

Now what they're doing it the journalists, they're also doing to some of the protesters who had nothing to do with the violence as well and we should speak on that as well.

So, when you have a situation when you are in the a kettle, where police basically surround everyone, so no matter which way you try to leave a venue, you're going to face police, you're going to be face- to-face police, they could either let to you go to your car or what they were doing was literally jumping out and snatching people and throwing them to the ground. Now the other side of this is that police were in a situation at one

point where they were getting things thrown at them and they reacted. But the way that they're reacting seems to be extreme compared to the things that are happening to them when they're in full riot gear.

And so, seeing that happen, it is our job to be out there to show everything that's going on, what's happening to the police, what the police is doing to people and what the protest is all about, because this protest --


SIDNER: -- is ultimately about the pain of somebody who was shot and killed for no good reason.

STELTER: And, Sara, you were -- there was a moment in one of the coverage where you were talking with a man that said the media makes this worse, the press just makes this worse. That moment certainly went viral this week.

What do you say to that, the idea that the press makes this worse?

SIDNER: Look, we're out here to tell the story. If we don't show up, guess what happens in we get slayed for not being there to show what is going on. So there is this dichotomy that we are constantly juggling and there is a reality if there are cameras there, then people are shown sometimes, it encourages more people to an area that may have nefarious ideas.

But we're just reflecting what is happening out there. And so, to that gentlemen I said, look, if you want to talk about the issues, let's talk about them, right now, your life on TV. He did not believe me, but we were live on television.

He had a platform to the world at that moment in time and that is all we're doing -- is we are here to reflect what is going on in the society.

And to be perfectly honest, everybody has one of these, they have their own little TV station. So if we weren't there, trust me, it would get out. And that is what's s changed, is that the media, whether you call it mainstream media or not, everybody has their own little TV station and they're all broadcasting all of the time.

So attacking us isn't doing a whole lot of good. And as I said then, we're not going away. I'm not leaving. This is my job.

But I care about the community as well and I want to tell the stories, both the good and the bad, whatever it is happening.

STELTER: And about that job, Miguel, you were just in Indianapolis covering a massacre there. I know you're back in -- you were in Indianapolis, now you're back in Minneapolis. How do you personally process all of the pain of these stories?

SANCHEZ: It's -- it does take a toll. And I've got to tell you, that I'm incredibly worried about Minneapolis and across this country whenever the verdict comes down in the Derek Chauvin trial. You know, covering the Brooklyn Center protests and being here, being in New York, being in Baltimore over the years, everybody has the story.

What we saw with Daunte Wright and with Derek Chauvin and George Floyd, those are the extremes.


Those are sort of the very tip of the iceberg. It is the every day transactions between African-Americans and the police forces just like we saw in Virginia with Lieutenant Nazario, and that transaction caught on camera.


SANCHEZ: The fact that we have the cameras, the fact that they're there, you know, it's just -- it's very, very difficult and it's going to be -- it is been a tough week and I'm really afraid it is going to be even a tougher one -- Brian.

STELTER: Miguel and Sara, thank you both for being there.

Coming up, the Fox News information universe, is it more like a black hole? You have to hear a former world leader's blunt words about Fox's owners. That is on the other side of this break.



STELTER: What happens on Fox News in the U.S. affects the entire world. And the Murdoch media empire spans that world, as our viewers in the U.K. and Australia know all too well. In Australia, the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ripped into Rupert Murdoch in a recent parliamentary proceeding.

It is quite rare to hear someone of Turnbull's stature, speaking out so bluntly against the Murdochs. So, I wanted to find out why, and what he wants all of you to know. Watch.


MALCOLM TURNBULL, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: The Murdoch media empire has enormous political power. It is the most potent political force in Australia. It does not operate as a conventional news or journalistic operation any longer. It's influenced in the United States and Britain in all of the countries where it is to be found is now utterly partisan.

It is more like a political party, but the only members are the Murdochs. And as you know, it has driven populist right-wing agendas, denying climate change, supporting extremism on the right of politics, of populist politics to the extent most irresponsibly, of all you might think, supporting the proposition that Joe Biden had, in fact, stolen the election, and was not legitimately elected president. And that, of course, was directly connected to the sacking -- the

assault -- of violent assault on the United States Capitol. A shocking event, and one of the darkest days in America's political history.

STELTER: You, Mr. Turnbull, seem more disturbed by the attack on the U.S. Capitol than a lot of people here in the United States. A lot of conservatives are trying to deny what happened and pretend it wasn't that bad. But I appreciate that you saw it for what it was.

TURNBULL: Well, it was an assault on democracy. It was -- and it -- and you see, what Murdoch has delivered, largely through Fox News in the United States, is exactly what Vladimir Putin wanted to achieve with his disinformation campaigns, turning one part of America against another, so exacerbating the divisions that already exist in American society, and undermine the trust Americans have in their democratic institutions.

Now, that's the -- that was the objective of the Russian disinformation campaign. And that is exactly what has been delivered from -- by Fox News and by other players in that right-wing, populist, you know, media ecosystem.

And it is, in effect, they -- what they have created is a market for crazy. They've become unhinged from the facts. That is now basically, they've worked out that you can just make stuff up. They -- we -- you know, everyone talks about and complains about social media. But what is being done by curated media, mainstream media, including and in particular Fox News, has done enormous damage to the United States.

I mean, the question you have to ask yourself, is America a more divided country than it was before? Thanks to Murdoch's influence, the answer must be yes. Do Americans have less faith in their electoral institutions and their legitimate institutions of government as a result of Murdoch? Yes. Now, that is a terrible outcome. That is a terrible outcome.

STELTER: You said Murdoch has created a market for crazy. I've never heard anyone say it quite like that before, a market for crazy. And if this clip is re-aired on Fox News, they'll say, you're insulting all of Trump's supporters, you're insulting all of Conservative America, and they would say that's going to harm your cause. Have you thought about what the right way or what the most effective ways are to combat the so-called market for crazy?

TURNBULL: Look, when somebody tells lies and spreads misinformation, and you call them out, you are calling out the liar, not the people that have been taken in by the lies. They're the victims. Right? So, you know, there -- Murdoch has to take responsibility for what he has done. You know, politicians take responsibility, they come up for election every few years.


The power that has been -- the power that is exerted by Murdoch and in such a partisan way. I mean, this is -- look, I've been involved in the media business most of my life since the -- since the mid-70s, early 70s, in fact, and, you know, I grew up with newspapers that some of them lent more to the left, others more to the right.

But they basically reported the news straight. And on election day, they would say, you know, vote for this party or vote for that party. Fair enough. What you now have with Murdoch, and you see it with Fox News, so Americans don't need, you know, an Australian to tell them this, but what you see now is just undiluted propaganda.

STELTER: Fox CEO, Lachlan Murdoch has relocated near you. He's relocated to Sydney or there abouts. And so, I wonder why you think that is, and whether the two of you should get together and try to hash this out?

TURNBULL: Well, look, I've known Lachlan Murdoch for many years. And I've spoken to him and his father, about fact, I know pretty much all the family. I've spoken to both of them about these issues in the past. I would say that Lachlan is more right-wing than his father, more extreme, and he -- I think the bottom line is, they enjoy the power.

You know, a lot of people assume that people are attracted to power simply for the purpose of doing something. That's a very generous assumption, that many people in the media, in business, in politics are attracted to power for its own sake, and asking them, Why do you want to exert this power?

It's like saying to somebody, you know, why do you want to have sex? It is an -- it's an urge. It is a -- so that -- so the power, the influence, that is what turns them on? And it's very, very dangerous. I mean, I saw the relationship between Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump. I have never seen a politician as deferential to Murdoch, as Trump was.

And, you know, it was -- it was clearly a very symbiotic relationship. Murdoch knew very well, I'd heard this, he knew very well what Trump's shortcomings were. He didn't think he was qualified to be president. But once he thought he could make him president and have that influence over him, but to what end? He did so.

And so, you ended up again, where did you end? You ended with an assault on the Congress. You ended up with a country that were a third. So, I recently saw the public believe that Biden was not legitimately elected. You know, in defiance of all the facts, and all the reality.

Now, that is a -- that is the type of outcome that Vladimir Putin could only dream of having achieved. But it was done by Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan and their organization, and they are not held to account at all, but they should be.


STELTER: And speaking of the Murdochs, the family divide is starker than ever. Lachlan's younger brother, James, who left the family business in disgust, signed an open letter this week defending democracy, defending voting rights. Meanwhile, Lachlan defended Tucker Carlson and dismissed the ADL's call to action after Carlson invoked the racist white replacement theory.

A tale of two brothers, and who will be in charge in the future. All right, coming up, COVID confusion. It's partly due to right-wing media chaos. So, how can you immunize yourself from disinformation? Science communicator Laurel Bristow is next.



STELTER: They call it the Vaccine Wall. It's the wall we hit when every American who wants a shot has a shot. When supply exceeds demand, and in some places, that is already happening. As the U.S. hits another milestone this weekend with fully 50 percent of Americans now getting at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Good news. But here's the but. The New York Times says more rural, more Republican counties are showing a glut of supply, meaning unused doses.

The Times doing the math and finding that the least vaccinated counties have something in common. They are home to a lots of Trump voters. This is a public health challenge for sure. But is it also a media challenge? A news literacy problem?

Let's ask Laurel Bristow. She's an infectious disease specialists and science contributor for NowThis. She's hosted a new series on TikTok called "Viral," trying to reach people where they are with accurate information about science. Laurel, what's the literacy problem when it comes to Coronavirus?

LAUREL BRISTOW, SCIENCE CONTRIBUTOR, NOWTHIS: I think the literacy problem that we have when it comes to Coronavirus is that there's just so much information out there coming so quickly that people aren't used to trying to interpret what is the things that you need to pay attention to versus what are things that are likely going to be updated or changed later on.

STELTER: Hmm. People want absolutes. They want to know exactly what to do when to wear the mask, when not to, but the science keeps evolving.

BRISTOW: Absolutely. I think it's really important to remember that people who actually work very closely on these issues are going to avoid speaking in absolutes because things will update and change as we get more data and information. That's why it's always really remember -- important to remember, too that if something that you read or see seems too good or too bad to be true, it probably is.

STELTER: One of the lessons learned from coverage of the J&J pause. There was this alert 7:00 a.m. you know, one day this week, big breaking news. Then, I think folks took a step back and recognized how exceedingly rare these blood clots apparently are. What is the lesson learned for the news media here?


BRISTOW: I think the important thing to remember with the Johnson & Johnson situation is that A, the pause is an example that are safety signals and watchings for these sort of things work really well, and that we're pausing to investigate.

And also the reason for the pause was really kind of lost in the drama and the scare that happens with the idea of blood clots, which was really to be able to inform providers of what to look out for in these extremely rare instances, so that they could be properly treated.

STELTER: It just seems like we have to recognize change as a part of the scientific process. It doesn't mean it's comfortable or easy or satisfying. But things are going to keep changing. And as a media literacy story, that means, you know, what you heard a month ago, you have to be open to new information.

BRISTOW: Absolutely. It's one of the biggest points that I try to drive home, especially with my work on the show, "Viral" on TikTok is that things are going to update and science requires patience, and people need to allow room for things to change as we get more information.

STELTER: So, what is the news consumer to do, be open to new information? And what else? What sources do you recommend?

BRISTOW: I absolutely recommend that people try to get their science news from journalists who have a proven track record of covering this sort of thing. With so much information, we've seen a lot of dabbling of outside groups that may be missed the point of press releases or science briefs that are available to them.

STELTER: Right, right. Absolutely. Laurel, thank you very much for being here. Thanks for what you do.

BRISTOW: Thanks so much for having me.

STELTER: After the break, the revolving door is really spinning. Big news out of ABC, CBS Reuters just this week. We're going to tell you what it means, next.



STELTER: Big news this week about the next generation of newsroom leadership. There are lots of open jobs in lots of newsrooms, and they're starting to be filled. Newspapers, magazines, digital outlets, T.V. all seeing major changes at senior executive ranks.

Here are the four new faces that were announced this week. Neeraj Khemlani and Wendy McMahon are going to run CBS News and the CBS stations together. Kim Godwin will run ABC News, becoming the first black woman to run any of America's big broadcast news divisions. And Alessandra Galloni will become the first female editor-in-chief at Reuters. That's 170-year history at Reuters, now with a woman in charge of the newsroom.

So, those are the rules that were announced this week. But there are other vacancies that remain atop the Washington Post and the L.A. Times, for example. So, what does all this mean about the future of media and the news you consume?

Well, Claire Atkinson has been covering this. She's the chief media correspondent for Insider, and my newsletter psychic Oliver Darcy is back with me, as well. All right, Claire, these appointments, clearly an effort by a male-dominated profession to diversify.

CLAIRE ATKINSON, CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, INSIDER: Absolutely. And for the longest time, there's been men in charge of the news. And that just this week, we've seen this amazing tidal wave of change where women and people of color are now suddenly in the driver's seat deciding what news we see, at a time when the news has never been more important to big corporate America with Hollywood on the sidelines and sports sometimes shut down.

Live news is what's brought in the advertising and suddenly big corporate media is having a rethink about what they want from their news divisions.

STELTER: There is a critique sometimes called the glass cliff, referring to the glass ceiling, the glass cliff, that women get these top jobs, when the situation is quite precarious, when the newsroom is in tough shape. Certainly, that was the case two years ago when Susan Zirinsky was named the head of CBS News.

Now, she's stepping aside for a producer position and two new bosses are coming in. But what do you make of that issue that, you know, these appointments are happening at difficult times for some of these institutions?

ATKINSON: Absolutely. I mean, covering race is an extraordinarily, very different topic than politics, you need people who understand that topic that's reflected in these appointments. It's --we're in a different world now where, you know, linear ratings are going down, streaming is in the ascendant, you need people who understand digital, you need people who can figure out where to get young audiences.

These people have been given a shot that there's a, you know, a feeling that if things don't work out, they'll get pushed to the side very fast. And so, you know, the tenure of a news network leader has been very long historically. Now, I think we're seeing it shorten. Susan Zirinsky was in the job two years.

She made a lot of strides in terms of putting women and particularly women of color in top positions. And you know, it's a shame to see her go. And I think people are asking the question why CBS would let go of a very senior black woman who's now going over to ABC News. But again, you know, that they got to perform. These people are being picked because they're the best.

STELTER: Oliver, let's talk about what these news leaders need to bring to these jobs. There are three S's that I see. It's obviously subscriptions, getting people to pay for news, also, streaming, moving into digital and streaming, and of course, standards, keeping standards high at a time when there's a lot of nonsense out there.

And democracy is under attack in many different ways. So, we saw the news recently from Reuters, they said they're going to have a paywall going up. Just the latest news outlet to come up with some form of a paywall. Are those three S's, are those the right ones?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, I think so. And you're talking about the paywall. I think we're really in this precarious position, where the quality news is more and more being moved behind paywalls.

And so, you know, when people pick up their phones throughout the day, while they're picking up the kids from school or on a break, at work, they're looking at, you know, the stuff that's free that's easily accessible, the social media influencers, the politicians who are tweeting with an agenda. And I think that's something into the dynamic that as journalists we're going to have to confront in the years ahead.


STELTER: It's a real challenge. It really is. And, you know, folks do need to pay for news. It all -- it makes all the sense in the world why Reuters and others are doing it. You're going to see more and more subscription models. And yet, it does put high-quality news behind a paywall. Oliver, 15 seconds, what are you watching for out of these new appointments at these companies?

DARCY: I think we got to watch to see how they perform in launching their streaming platforms and what subscriptions look like, you know, that's the big thing to pay attention to. Can they lift the subscriptions, or on these streaming platforms?

STELTER: Right. Speaking of subscriptions, thank you both. Make sure you're signed up for Oliver -- Oliver and I write this at Reliable Sources Newsletter every night. is the link to go ahead and sign up. On this week's podcast, my longtime friend and mentor Lisa Napoli joins me to discuss her new book titled, "Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR."

Tune in wherever you listen to your podcasts. And tonight here on CNN, the conclusion of the original series, "THE PEOPLE V. THE CLAN," back- to-back episodes begin tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time here on CNN. I'll see you right back here next week.