This Week’s Poynter Power Rankings

From the Poynter Power Rankings by Tom Jones:

Here are my Poynter Power Rankings: a look at those people, places and things that had a big impact on the media. They were the movers, shakers and influencers of the week.

COVID-19 experts
Just when we thought it was safe to go back to our lives, we were slapped in the face by something called omicron. The new COVID-19 variant has sent chills down our collective spines and has us rubbing our temples that we might go back to square one when it comes to the pandemic. Are we overreacting? Underreacting? What do we need to know? As always with the coronavirus, information is crucial at this moment. Time and time again, the TV networks have called up those who have been our most trusted go-to voices — Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Ashish Jha, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta — to give us the latest information. Their expertise is as valuable as ever. Many people on TV talk about COVID-19. But these are the people to listen to.

Give CNN credit for yanking Chris Cuomo off the air while it investigates whether he crossed the line by helping his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was accused by 11 women of sexual misconduct. Now, before we go and give CNN too much credit, it was a day late in taking Chris off his prime-time show. News that Chris might have been more involved than originally thought broke Monday afternoon and Chris was on the air that night. That should not have happened. But he hasn’t been on since. It will be interesting to see what CNN does. It’s going to get criticized either way, but you have to think the heat will be greater if Chris is eventually allowed to return to the air and his prime-time show. If that happens, CNN’s credibility will take a hit and Chris’ credibility might never recover in the minds of many.

Tampa Bay Times
I have to give a shout out to the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times, in particular, reporters Corey G. Johnson, Rebecca Woolington and Eli Murray. They wrote part three of their “Poisoned” series which revealed how a lead factory polluted a Tampa neighborhood. Yes, this is a story that impacts just one part of the country, but it’s a good example of the importance of local journalism.

Pelham Examiner
A reader of the Poynter Report (who happens to be in the network news business) sent me a note about the Pelham Examiner in the New York City suburb of Pelham, New York. The Examiner is the school newspaper of Pelham Memorial High School and consists of 42 staffers, aged 10 to 18. But it’s more than a school paper. As the Freedom Forum’s Karen Hansen writes, the independent Examiner “isn’t just a fun extracurricular to put on college applications. It’s essentially the town’s only paper, putting out information Russello says people otherwise just wouldn’t know.” Check out Hansen’s story and especially be sure to check out the Pelham Examiner’s website. And my Poynter colleague, Kristen Hare, wrote about the Examiner and its coverage of the coronavirus. This is good stuff!

Year-end lists
Maybe it’s clickbait, maybe it’s like eating ice cream instead of vegetables, and you can call me a sucker, but sign me up for all the year-end lists — movies, music, TV shows. And this is the month they all come out. Some of them can be pretentious (I mean, geez, did you see NPR’s best in music list that I linked to Thursday?). Some can be pretty basic. Some can be pretty obscure, such as The New York Times’ “The Year’s Best Wine Books.” But I still love them. And here’s more today: The New York Times with the “Best Albums of 2021”; The New Yorker’s “Best Movies of 2021”; IndieWire’s “The 25 Best Movies of 2021”; and Paste Magazine’s “The 50 Best Albums of 2021.” Keep ‘em coming, people.

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