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Fox News staffers are 'in a panic' about election night coverage after top hosts were exposed to a COVID-19 patient and told to quarantine

Fox News staffers are 'in a panic' about election night coverage after top hosts were exposed to a COVID-19 patient and told to quarantine

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Bret Baier reporting on Fox News on Monday, after being exposed to a coronavirus patient.

  • Fox News staffers are “in a panic” about election night coverage after several hosts were exposed a COVID-19 patient and told to quarantine, a staffer told The Daily Beast Monday. 
  • Several top execs and hosts — including Fox News President Jay Wallace and chief political correspondent Bret Baier — took a flight with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.
  • An internal memo sent to staffers on Monday said that the network would be paring down its in-studio staff for election night, after “a few” positive cases, The Daily Beast reported.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Fox News staffers are “in a panic about election night” coverage after several top executives and hosts were exposed to a coronavirus patient and told to quarantine, one staffer told The Daily Beast on Monday.

The New York Times broke the news about the exposure on Sunday, citing two sources who said that the hosts and executives had taken a private jet with someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The jet had been chartered by the Fox News network to take attendees at last Thursday’s presidential debate back to New York, where the network is headquartered.

Among the people who were on the plane were Fox News President Jay Wallace and hosts Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, Dana Perino, and Juan Williams. Baier is the network’s chief political correspondent.

Those who were on the plane have been told to quarantine or get a COVID-19 test, according to The Times. The Times added that the hosts who were on the plane would be working from their in-home studios for the time being.

The Daily Beast spoke to another staffer who said that they believe the exposure has thrown the network’s plans for election night coverage “into chaos.”

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The Fox News headquarters on Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

“It will be like starting from scratch … It’s not good for anyone,” the staffer said. “It’s insane that there’s a possibility the anchors will have to host the biggest night of 2020 from their homes.”

The Daily Beast also obtained an internal memo to Fox News staffers, written by Wallace and Fox News Channel CEO Suzanne Scott, saying the network would be paring back in-studio operations and increasing testing after “a few” positive cases at the company. Mediaite also published the memo in full.

“We know this election will be like no other and it will be exciting to witness it first hand, but only those employees who are critical to that night’s production will be permitted to work from 1211,” the memo said.

According to CNN, some of the Fox News personalities already had in-home studios before the pandemic, but the network installed dozens more in March when large parts of the country imposed lockdown measures.

CNN reported that in recent months, Fox News programming has consisted of a mix of in-studio and at-home broadcasts.

Fox News’ coronavirus exposure also highlights a divide at the network, with some believing that it has been acting irresponsibly in returning to in-person programming.

A source familiar with the situation told The Daily Beast that it was weird for so many staffers to be sent to Nashville for last week’s presidential debate, when hardly any other networks had a large presence there.;

“Last week in Nashville, [NBC reporter Kristen] Welker was the moderator. But NBC had almost no footprint. ABC had almost no footprint,” the source said. “But [Fox News] had a huge, huge footprint? Why is that?”

According to The Daily Beast, Fox News has been operating its in-studio operations in Washington, DC, and New York City with skeleton staff who are regularly tested. But some staffers say they still feel on edge with little mask wearing.

“In the elevators, everyone’s good about masks,” one source told the Daily Beast. “But in the offices, nope.”

When Business Insider reached out to Fox News for comment on the initial news of the exposure on Monday, a network spokesperson said that they could not confirm details of the exposure due to privacy concerns.

The network did not immediately responde to Business Insider’s Tuesday request for comment on the internal memo and Daily Beast report.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Start Taking Donations, Tips, and Contributions for Your Creative and Professional Pursuits

Start Taking Donations, Tips, and Contributions for Your Creative and Professional Pursuits

With our growing suite of payment features, we want to make it easier for you to earn money on WordPress.com. With the Donations block, you can now accept credit and debit card payments for all types of donations, earning revenue and growing your base of supporters. Collect donations, tips, and contributions on your website to fuel your creative and professional projects or to support and grow your business or organization.

Donations block example for an arts organization

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What can you accept donations for?

You can collect financial contributions on your website for just about anything — the sky really is the limit. Here are examples of things people support through donations:

  • Creative pursuits for musicians, artists, designers, writers, and more
  • Concrete creations like podcasts, video games, music clips, and photography
  • Bloggers and content creators of all shapes and sizes
  • Everyday passions like news summaries and mindfulness exercises
  • Professional endeavors including civic engagement and professional development
  • Nonprofits and community, religious, and political organizations

Donations block examples for a musician and radio station

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Continue to build your community by engaging with your supporters in a unique and authentic way. People can opt to support you through one-time, monthly, or yearly contributions, and the Donations block lets you engage with each level for a more custom experience. For example, you might send your monthly supporters additional content and information on top of what you send your one-time supporters.

As you ask for support, we’ll handle the rest — the credit and debit card payment processing, sending receipts, reporting, and more.

Ask for your first donation

Above all, the first step in earning money on your website is to ask for it. You can add a Donations block to your website in a matter of minutes; watch this short video to learn how. Alternatively, a step-by-step guide follows below.

How to use Donations block to earn money on your WordPress.com website
  • To use the Donations block, you’ll need a WordPress.com website with any paid plan — Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce.
  • On any page or post, add the Donations block.
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  • To set up your first donation request, create a Stripe account if you don’t have one already. Stripe is the company we’ve partnered with to process credit and debit card payments in a safe, secure, and speedy way.
  • After you’ve connected to Stripe, configure the block’s settings, like how often you’re asking for donations. It can be any combination of single (one-time), monthly recurring, or yearly recurring donations.
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  • Set three donation amounts that you’d like visitors to choose from for any of the payment intervals. These are fully customizable. Be sure to set your currency as well.
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  • You can also allow visitors to donate what they want — essentially a blank box for them to fill out how much money they would like to give.
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  • Review all of the text in your Donations block — you can edit every single letter, so be sure to provide enough information for your visitors about their donation, why you’re asking for it, etc.
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  • Publish your block!
  • You can manage your supporters, see earnings, and keep an eye on other metrics in the Earn dashboard.
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  • Last but not least, tell others about what you’re doing! Share on social media, email, and however you best communicate with people who might donate to your cause.

A suite of payment features to fit your needs

Looking to accept payments for something else? There are several other payment features on WordPress.com to suit your needs and help you make money with your website. In addition to the new Donations block, here are other features:

  • Payments block: Accept one-time or recurring payments on your website for physical items, digital downloads, services, memberships, subscriptions, and more.
  • Premium Content block: Create one-time, monthly, or yearly subscription options to share select content with those who pay for it — text, images, videos, or any kind of content. Exclusive content can be sent to email inboxes or viewed on your website.
  • Paid newsletters: Using the Premium Content block, you can share your site’s latest premium content via email newsletters in a fully automated way.
  • eCommerce Store: Turn your website into an eCommerce store and sell products and services seamlessly.

If you’re interested in setting up a membership- or subscription-based website, learn more about getting started with memberships and subscriptions.


Add the Donations block and start earning money with your website today!

Toward zero: Reducing and offsetting our data center power emissions

Following the massive Australian bushfires earlier this year, I was motivated to act within my role as a data scientist at Automattic to help fight anthropogenic climate change. Together with colleagues from across the company, we formed an employee resource group focused on sustainability. We are pleased to announce that as a result of our efforts, Automattic now offsets data center power emissions produced from non-renewable sources. This means that the servers running WordPress.com, WordPress VIP, Tumblr, and other Automattic services contribute net zero carbon emissions to our shared atmosphere.

Measuring and offsetting emissions is not a trivial task. In the interest of transparency, this post provides more details on the decisions we made and answers questions that readers may have on the topic. We hope that this will benefit other organizations that are in a similar position to Automattic. We welcome feedback and are happy to answer any other questions you may have.

The decision: For 2020, we decided to purchase offsets from Simoshi via the United Nations’ offset platform. These offsets are produced by improving the efficiency of cooking stoves in Ugandan schools. Emission reductions are achieved by using less wood to cook the same amount of food. This project also has third-party certification from the Gold Standard, and it contributes to nine of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including No Poverty, Quality Education, and Gender Equality. See the project page and the following video for more details:

Why did we choose this project? Anyone who’s tried to purchase offsets knows that it can be complicated. We don’t have in-house sustainability experts, so we relied on publicly-available information to better understand the topic. Resources we found useful include: Carbon Offset Guide, atmosfair, and Greenhouse Gas Protocol. As the price of offsets varies widely, we chose to follow Microsoft’s approach and set our own internal price of $15 per metric tonne of CO2e. Simoshi’s project stood out because it matches our budget, has a clear emission reduction mechanism, is certified by the United Nations and the Gold Standard, and has many benefits beyond emission reductions, which align with our company’s values.

What emissions do our offsets cover? Automattic has servers in many data centers around the world, operated by different providers. As we don’t control the data center providers’ choice of energy utilities, we treat the emissions from data center power use as being in Scope 3, i.e., as indirect emissions from our value chain. For each data center, we used publicly-available information from our providers to determine whether they’re powered by renewable resources. This led us to conclude that approximately half of our data center energy use is covered by renewables paid for by the data center providers. For the other data centers, we used our servers’ power consumption logs to get the estimated power used over a period of one year. We then multiplied these figures by 1.5 to obtain a conservative estimate that accounts for power usage effectiveness. Using a variety of resources on grid carbon intensity, such as those published by the American Environmental Protection Agency and the European Environment Agency, we converted these power use estimates to emission estimates. This gave us an overall figure of 1,850 tonnes of CO2e for 2020.

Why offset rather than reduce emissions? We are aware that offsetting is an imperfect solution. Ideally, we would source all our energy from renewables. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t even be possible to buy energy generated by burning fossil fuels. However, given the current reality, setting our own price on carbon and offsetting non-renewable data center emissions is a good temporary solution. This also gives us a financial incentive to work with providers and shift toward greener data centers. In fact, this sort of shift happened last year when we changed our main European data center to a provider that operates on 100% renewables. We hope to continue making such changes in coming years, i.e., reducing emissions where feasible and offsetting the rest.

Why aren’t we doing more? From watching the climate action space, it seems like every announcement is greeted with demands to do more. This is a positive thing — society should hold companies accountable for their actions. As a company, we believe that we can always do better: The opening sentence of our creed is “I will never stop learning”, and we know that we are “in a marathon, not a sprint.” It is our hope that as we learn more about the space and our impact, we will be able to take stronger climate action.

What are we planning to do next? Automattic is a fully-distributed company. This means that our employees aren’t required to commute to central offices, which leads to significant savings in carbon emissions. However, we historically relied on flying to in-person meetups a few times a year to foster collaboration and bonding. Since March 2020, all business travel has been suspended, and it is still unclear what travel will look like in the post-pandemic world. In any case, as an employee resource group, we are planning on quantifying our travel emissions, and advocating for reducing avoidable trips and offsetting emissions from trips that are deemed essential. One change that is already taking place is aligning more teams around fewer time zones. In addition to helping with synchronous collaboration and decreasing isolation, this will reduce the distance traveled per person once meetups resume. We will share more on other actions we take in the future — watch this space! We also welcome feedback from our customers, so please comment on this post or contact us to share your thoughts.

WP_Query Arguments: Categories and Tags

WP_Query Arguments: Categories and Tags

In the earlier parts of this series, you’ve learned how WP_Query is structured and what its properties and methods are. The next stage is to understand the various arguments you can use with it and how best to do so.

WP_Query has a large number of possible arguments, which makes it extremely flexible. As you can use it to query just about anything held in your wp_posts table, it has arguments for every permutation of query you might want to run on your content.

In this tutorial, I’ll look at two types of argument for categories and tags. The arguments for these two taxonomies are similar but do have some differences you need to know about if you’re going to use them effectively.

A Recap on How Arguments Work in WP_Query

Before we start, let’s have a quick recap on how arguments work in WP_Query. When you code WP_Query in your themes or plugins, you need to include four main elements:

  • the arguments for the query, using parameters which will be covered in this tutorial
  • the query itself
  • the loop
  • finishing off: resetting post data

In practice, this will look something like the following:

The arguments are what tells WordPress what data to fetch from the database, and it’s those that I’ll cover here. So all we’re focusing on here is the first part of the code:

As you can see, the arguments are contained in an array. You’ll learn how to code them as you work through this tutorial.

Coding Your Arguments

There is a specific way to code the arguments in the array, which is as follows:

You must enclose the parameters and their values in single quotation marks, use => between them, and separate them with a comma. If you get this wrong, WordPress may not add all of your arguments to the query or you may get a white screen.

Category Parameters

Let’s start with category parameters. The options you have here are as follows:

  • cat (int): use category id.
  • category_name (string): use category slug (NOT name).
  • category__and (array): use category id.
  • category__in (array): use category id.
  • category__not_in (array): use category id.

Note that for none of these do you use the name of your category. Even the category_name parameter takes the slug as its value, not its name. I tend to use this one rather than the ID as when I come back to my code at a later date, slugs are easier to identify than IDs. However, if you think your site users might change the slug for one or more categories, I recommend using the ID to avoid any problems.

Let’s take a look at how you use each of these.

The cat Parameter

The cat parameter is straightforward: just use a single category ID or a string of category IDs.

Querying for one category looks like this:

Querying for multiple categories looks like this:

The above will tell WordPress to fetch posts that are in any of the categories listed. If you want to find posts in every one of an array of categories, you use the category_and parameter, of which more shortly.

You can also use the cat parameter to find posts that are in one category but not another, by using a minus sign before the category ID as follows:

The above would query posts in category 12 but not in category 13.

The category_name Parameter

The category_name parameter uses the category slug, not the name (confusing, I know!). Again, you can use it with a single category or with a string of categories to find posts that are in any of the categories.

To query posts in a single category, you add:

And to find posts in one or more of a number of categories, use this:

As with the cat parameter, this won’t find posts that are in all of the categories, but it will find posts in any of the categories.

The category__and Parameter

If you want to find posts that are in all of an array of categories, this is the parameter you use. It takes the category IDs for its value. So to find posts in all of three categories, you would use:

Note that this uses an array not a string, so you code it differently. The parameter has two underscores in its name: use just one and it won’t work.

The category__in Parameter

The next parameter looks for posts in one or more of an array of categories. It actually works in the same way as the cat parameter, and also takes the category ID as its value.

So to query posts in one or more of an array of categories, you would use:

The above would fetch posts from one or more of these categories.

The category__not_in Parameter

The category__not_in parameter does as you would expect: it queries posts which are not in a category or an array of categories.

To exclude posts from one category, you would use the following:

And to exclude posts from an array of categories:

This would exclude posts from any of these categories.

Tag Parameters

Tags have slightly different parameters from categories: you can’t work out what they might be based on your knowledge of category parameters, I’m afraid!

The tag parameters are:

  • tag (string): use tag slug.
  • tag_id (int): use tag id.
  • tag__and (array): use tag ids.
  • tag__in (array): use tag ids.
  • tag__not_in (array): use tag ids.
  • tag_slug__and (array): use tag slugs.
  • tag_slug__in (array): use tag slugs.

Let’s look at each of these.

The tag Parameter

The tag parameter takes the tag slug for its value and can be used to find posts with one tag or with any of a string of tags.

So to find posts with one tag, you use:

And to find posts with tags from an array of tags:

Note that the above queries posts with any of the tags in the array, not all of them.

The tag_id Parameter

The tag_id parameter works in a similar way to the cat parameter: it takes the tag ID and can be used with a single tag or multiple tags.

To find posts with a single tag, you use this:

To find posts with one or more tags from a string of tag IDs:

You can also use tag_id to exclude tags, either when using it for single tags or multiple tags.

So to query posts except those with a given tag, you’d use:

While to find posts with one of two tags but without another tag, you’d use this:

So the above will query posts with either or both of tags 21 or 23 but not tag 22.

The tag__in Parameter

This parameter lets you find posts with one or more of an array of tags. It works in the same way as tag when used with an array:

This will query posts with any or all of the tags listed. If you want to find posts with all of the tags, you use tag__and, which I’ll cover in a moment.

The tag__not_in Parameter

The tag__not_in parameter lets you query posts which don’t have a given tag or array of tags.

Use it like this to exclude one tag:

Note that you still need to use an array even though you’re only using one tag. For more tags, use:

This will query posts that don’t have any of the above tags.

The tag_slug__and and tag_slug__in Parameters

These two parameters behave in exactly the same way as the tag__and and tag__in parameters, except that you use that tag slug in your arrays instead of the tag ID.

So, for example, to find posts which have both of a pair of tags, you use tag__slug_in:

This finds posts with any of these tags. You could also use the tag parameter with a string of tag slugs to achieve the same result.

To include posts with all of a set of tags, use tag_slug__and:

Instead of querying posts with any of the tags, this only queries posts that have all of the tags.

Advanced Use of Categories and Tags With WP_Query

Let’s take a look at some advanced uses of category and tag arguments with WP_Query, based on questions raised in the comments to this article.

List Subcategories of a Category

To list the subcategories of a given category (with a link to the subcategory archives for each), you wouldn’t use WP_Query. Instead, you’d use wp_list_categories(), which outputs a list of categories with links to their archives. To output the subcategories of a specific category, use the ‘child_of' argument.

Here’s the code:

Substitute the 5 in the code above for the ID of the category whose subcategories you want to list.

Display the First Post From a Category in One Element, Then More Posts in Another Element

This is a useful technique if you want to highlight the most recent post from a category, maybe including the excerpt and featured image for that post, and then show a list of the next few posts from the category.

You do this by using the 'posts_per_page' and 'offset' arguments.

The simplest way to do this is to write two separate queries. The first uses 'posts_per_page' => 1 to just fetch the first post. The second query uses 'offset' => 1 to fetch posts after the first post, and also uses 'posts_per_page' to define how many posts to output.

Here’s the code:

An alternative method, which involves fewer calls to the database, is to write one query and then loop back through that query a second time, rewinding the query and using a variable to make sure the post output by the first loop isn’t repeated. 

You can find more about using one query for multiple loops in our tutorial on the subject.

Display Posts From Multiple Categories

If you want to display posts that are in a given category and also in one or more of your other categories, you use the cat and category__in arguments. For each of these, you use the category ID.

Imagine you want your posts to be category 1 and also in one or more of categories 2, 3, and 5.

Here are the arguments you would use for this:

Summary

Querying your posts by category and/or tag is something there’s a good chance you’ll have occasion to do with WP_Query. By using the arguments above, and combining them where necessary, you can create powerful arguments to extract exactly the data you need from the database.

If you want to learn more about WP_Query, check out some of my other posts in the Mastering WP_Query series.

The Professional Triumph of the Firstborns

The Professional Triumph of the Firstborns

When corporate boards pick out new CEOs, they scrutinize candidates’ qualifications, studying their performance in previous jobs and vetting their academic credentials. But a recent study suggests they might want to look even further back in the histories of corporate hopefuls: CEOs’ experiences in childhood seem to shape what kind of leaders they grow up to be.

The study—co-authored by the University of Chicago’s Todd Henderson and Florida State University’s Irena Hutton—looked at more than 650 CEOs’ birth order, family size, and history of childhood trauma, as well as their parents’ occupations and socioeconomic standing. This information covered a range of CEOs who held their positions in the ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s, and was assembled from a smattering of sources, including newspapers, biographies, trade publications, and alumni magazines.

[Read: ‘Popular’ kids aren’t that special]

Not every element of family history seemed to be linked to CEOs’ later-in-life job performance, but many were relevant. “If I were a board member and I was in an interview with a [potential] CEO, I would ask them, ‘Tell me about your family history,’” Henderson told me. (The study has been submitted to an academic journal but has not yet been peer-reviewed.)

One pattern that emerged from Henderson and Hutton’s data was that firstborn and only children seemed to have better odds of becoming CEOs than latter-borns did: Nearly half of the CEOs they studied were the oldest sibling or an only child, which is, the researchers note, higher than this group’s share of the population born between 1920 and 1959, when most of these CEOs entered the world. (The CEOs were also overwhelmingly male and white.)

Other research has also found firstborns to have a professional edge: They’re more likely to hold managerial positions, and they tend to make more money. There’s some evidence that this has to do with household dynamics. “Firstborns are more likely to have college degrees, and even before that get lots of mom-and-dad time early on, which might make them more successful later,” Henderson said. “That explains why more firstborns are CEOs—they get a bigger investment in their human capital.”

Once hired, CEOs—firstborns or not—tend to run companies in ways consistent with their upbringing. Children with higher socioeconomic backgrounds have been shown to be more risk-averse, and indeed, Henderson and Hutton find that CEOs who grew up well-off seem to be more cautious executives, investing less money in higher-payoff corporate initiatives and spending less on research and development. Meanwhile, CEOs from less affluent backgrounds were more willing to take risks with company spending.

Researchers aren’t certain why this dynamic exists, but they have some guesses. “CEOs who grew up with successful parents may feel that they have access to winning formulas; therefore they may feel less need to alter their blueprint for success,” Sharna Olfman, a developmental psychologist at Point Park University, wrote to me in an email. “CEOs who are the first in their family to achieve significant economic success are by definition charting their own paths and do not have a surefire path to follow, freeing them up to be more original and creative in their approach.”

Henderson, who specializes in corporate and securities regulation, noted that from the perspective of maximizing a company’s value, making bigger gambles leads to higher payouts. “If what you’re interested in is stock returns, you want to take risks,” he said.

Socioeconomic background was the strongest determinant of executives’ risk-aversion that the researchers found, but it wasn’t the only one. “Trauma” is a catchall category the study used to refer to adverse events in CEOs’ childhoods, from the genuinely traumatic (having a serious illness or abusive parents) to the merely difficult and disorienting (moving to a new city). The former types of experiences were linked to more conservative corporate leadership, while the latter seemed to induce an amount of risk-taking that was good for the bottom line.

Previous social-science research has suggested that being a firstborn might also give one less of an appetite for risk. But Henderson and Hutton found that this largely does not extend to corner offices—except when CEOs were selected to run their own family’s business. In these cases, the researchers write, “firstborns, relative to the laterborns, prefer more cautious policies that lower firm value.”

Henderson thinks that corporations owned by a particular family might pick the oldest child to run things because firstborns’ personalities tend to resemble those of their parents more closely. “The parents are more likely to choose the person that’s like them—the firstborn—to run the firm, and that firstborn person may not be the best choice,” Henderson said. “Businesses like IBM, they’re not subject to this kind of family dynamic. They just choose the best person for the job”—and therefore they may be less likely to install overly cautious firstborns as leaders.

Why the obsession with uncovering any variable that might affect corporate executives’ job performance? Perhaps overeager parents will sift through the results of studies like this in search of things they can do to prepare their children for success in the business world. But the most attentive audience of research like this is the people tasked with hiring CEOs.

Other researchers in the past have examined how CEOs’ behavior is tied to their personalities, their experience with industry turmoil early in their careers, and even the terms of their mortgages, so family history is just another cache of potentially useful information. Everyone’s upbringing probably seeps into their working life in one way or another—it’s just the case that with CEOs, companies care a whole lot more about the consequences of that seeping.

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