2020年1月24日 星期五

The Daily: Here’s What Else You Need to ‘NoTuhDay’

The story behind a bewildering pronunciation.
The host whisperer. He tried. He really tried.Lowell Meyer

The inquiries from listeners began from the moment “The Daily” launched back in 2017. What, exactly, is the host trying to say at the end of the show?

“Can you tell me, please,” wrote a Kian Ostad, “what’s the word in start of briefing? ‘Here’s what you need to n?????’”

There was genuine confusion. Even low-level rage.

“Please, please, please change the inflection, speed, and delivery of your closing intro: ‘Here’s what else you need to know today,’” wrote Karena O’Riordan. “It haunts me.”

In my mind, the words were crystal clear. For everybody else, not so much.

Even listeners who could discern them seemed amused by the pronunciation. They took mischievous stabs at spelling out the final offending words.

Tonodooday. TuhNOduhdei. Tunotudae. Tonodudday.

This week, in an ad for this newsletter that aired on the show, we decided to tackle the controversy head on. In it, my colleague, the producer Michael Simon Johnson, explained his role as my coach for the final section of the show and his (so far) fruitless efforts to improve my delivery of those eight words.

Here’s the reality: I just say it weirdly. The word “to,” the word “know” and the word “today” are elided into a messy tangle. Some days I manage to put enough space between them to render them understandable. Other days they’re indecipherable. (The later in the night I record them, the worse it gets.)

After a valiant battle, Michael Simon Johnson has given up trying to change how I say it. But in the ad, he has finally given listeners the gift of an explanation, at least according to this relieved listener:

“omg the daily has finally explained why @mikiebarb says ‘here’s what else you need to know today’ the way he does. and i say finally because i have been wondering about the answer to this question for YEARS. feels great to have another mystery solved. i am blessed today.”

P.S. Another colleague, Andy Mills, has charted the evolution of the sentence through the lifespan of the show. Listen here.

Talk to Michael on Twitter: @mikiebarb.

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To royal — or not to royal

It started with a few late-night messages on our team Slack channel. Could we, should we, would we … cover Meghan and Harry’s decision to step back from royal duties? Just about everybody was talking about the story. But did it merit a full “Daily” episode in the middle of the Senate impeachment trial?

On our team, there were strong feelings on both sides. Senior editor Lisa Chow was in the Yes camp:

“I wanted a break from impeachment news. And here was this story full of drama — a story about race and money and culture. And that felt much bigger to me than just celebrity news. Plus, I knew there’d be great tape, which helps a lot in this medium.”

Senior producer Andy Mills was in the No camp:

“I worry about the things that usually suck up media attention — scandals, celebrities, political fighting — and how rarely those things actually produce compelling stories that shed light upon the human condition. So when Lisa, a journalist who usually shares this same concern, brought up the idea of doing a story about the royal family, my first thought was: traitor! But I figured that if this was coming from her, maybe there’s something in all of these stories I’m ignoring that I’m missing.”

Lisa’s point of view prevailed. And Andy’s point of view evolved.

“After listening to Mark Landler’s breakdown of the drama, I’m grateful to have had my echo-chamber burst and feel like I have a better grasp on why people find this story so enticing.”

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A Flintstone moment

Peter Baker’s nemesis.Michael Barbaro/The New York Times

Peter Baker is the White House bureau chief for The Times, an author of six books, a preternaturally fast writer of front-page stories and, it turns out, a little bit of klutz in the studio.

Our interview with him for Tuesday’s episode, about the differences between the Clinton and Trump impeachment trials in the Senate, began with a loud and colorful mishap that is best explained in audio form. (Yes, we record everything.)

Take a listen.

On ‘The Daily’ this week

Tuesday: Bill Clinton did not command the party the way Donald Trump commands his party.” Peter Baker on what the last Senate impeachment trial tells us about this one.

Wednesday: “I thought to myself, did he just make a mistake? And lo and behold, it was actually a change.” Julie Davis explains how a small group of moderates swayed Mitch McConnell to alter the Senate trial rules.

Thursday: A royal exit, in the midst of Brexit: How you voted on staying or leaving the European Union, Mark Landler says, “weighs very much in how you feel about Harry and Meghan.”

Friday: In the swing state of Pennsylvania, the question of electability may hinge on one issue. Our producers traveled there with Shane Goldmacher to investigate.

That’s it for The Daily newsletter. See you next week.

Have thoughts about the show? Tell us what you think at thedaily@nytimes.com.

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