Editor’s note: Jeff Israely, a former Time magazine foreign correspondent in Europe, is the cofounder of a news company called Worldcrunch in Paris. For the past 11 years, he’s been describing and commenting on the startup process here at Nieman Lab. Read all his past installments here.
It was January 2020, and Justin Trudeau had decided to grow a beard. This of course was not news in the Watergate or even the who-won-last-night’s-game sense of the word. But if you happen to be a Reuters correspondent in Ottawa, it’s a story with your name on it.
You might moan about celebrity-driven politics or social media or the prime minister’s handsome mug — but there are news pages to fill, eyeballs to count and your editor wants the damn copy. So … Anna Mehler Paperny, whatcha got?
For the second time in five months, Canadian social media users are obsessing over Justin Trudeau’s face.
In September, it was old pictures of the Canadian prime minister in blackface that got him in trouble during the election campaign. In January, it’s Trudeau’s facial hair that is trending online…
Even in pre-Covid times it was all hardly worth noticing, but I’d stumbled upon it on Twitter, where various news business folk were taking snide swipes at Mehler Paperny’s take. “What is this headline?” “Spurious nonsense.” “False equivalency.”
From where I sit, I say: chapeau. The huffing and puffing of “journalism Twitter” notwithstanding, the days when we’re…