Media Boom, ESPN’s Health, and Text-to-Novel Tech: this week on Fresh Powder

Business is booming

Sorry, Donald. The media is winning your War on the Media; in fact, the President might have given us the ammunition for the uprising — all that “Fake news” yada yada yada. Despite him, business is booming at many national publications (The New York Times and The Washington Post, for example) and networks (CNN, MSNBC, etc). Turns out, the media was boss-level tough.

Election analysis

FBI Director James Comey was back in the CNN daytime programming cycle last week, defending himself over that ill-timed Clinton emails letter late in October. On the subject, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver put the media on the defensive. His analysis determined the letter and the media’s subsequent coverage of it cost Hillary Clinton 1-4 percentage points in the polls (she lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than one). Silver, being a stats guy, cited an algorithm which tracked the letter and emails as the mainstream media’s No. 1 story for a good six or seven straight days leading up to Election Day. The report was the 10th in a series analyzing what happened in the election.

A novel, by SMS

Maybe tablets and iBooks tried getting kids to pull up books on one of their many differently-sized screens, but recent reports suggest that has gone backwards as the printed word makes a slight comeback. Although that seems like good news, the universe is trying again with an app called Hooked, for which authors are writing fictional text message conversations for publication. Readers pull up a story and flip through segmented text threads split into a series of “episodes.” Heavy on dialogue, obviously, but you won’t find chunky, exploratory paragraphs here. No, sir. But how will Cliffs Notes summarize “Texts from Dad”?

New game plan

So you followed ESPN’s 100 no-holds-barred layoffs a week or so ago, and now you’re worried about The Worldwide Leader’s ability to keep saturating you with 24/7 sports coverage? Don’t be. Alas, where there’s football, there will always be ESPN. But, if it’s smart, the network will reconsider the way it’s disseminating all of its programming by dropping its allegiance to cable companies, like us cord-cutters contributing to ESPN’s slow bleed, and start thinking like HBO — in the direct-to-consumer kind of way (any new, original programming like Game of Thrones is just a bonus).

This also happened last week: First, a quick update on Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino: it was terrible, but some random neighborhood cafe wants credit for it. And now, something fun for you to try: As a kid in school, you asked your grandparents about the world wars you were studying in class and your parents about those curious 1960s. Have you ever since wondered what your children, or children’s children, will ask you about the events in their shiny new history books? Well, The Atlantic wants to prepare you for that with this tool.