Media Convergence

Friday, December 01, 2006

Journalism Selections #9

Romenesko

Nicholas D. Kristof was named Print Journalist of the Year by Media Web. I didn't think much of this until I got to the jump in the article, where they discussed Kristof's controversial decision to purchase two young girls from a Cambodian brothel (for what amounts to US$600) and escort them back to their home villages. After that it was impossible not to think of something an ethics professor of mine once brought up in class, about a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist who took a photo of a starving Sudanese girl being stalked by a vulture. She said that he walked away and left her there because he thought that was the ethical thing to do as a journalist, although I did a bit more reading on the topic and found out that that wasn't quite so. (He had chased off the vulture and said he saw the little girl make it to the feeding tent. A year later, he committed suicide.) Nonetheless, the discussion we had after she brought it up is pretty much seared in my mind.

The teaser after the article cites a letter from a reader, who says that she respects and admires Bob Woodward because, after reading his reporting, she had no idea what his political leanings were.

Taken together, I'm left with two thoughts:

  • I find it extremely difficult to believe that choosing to help someone when the opportunity is presented can ever be unethical. While I understand that a journalist's job is to first and foremost spread truth (and that spreading the truth is the most powerful thing a person can do), I know that I, personally, would find it impossible to walk away from a situation where I knew that the money in my pocket could buy freedom from sex slavery for another human being.
  • It's a sad day when an act as simple as helping to lift another human being out of misery and sorrow can be seen as exhibiting "political leanings".


On second thought, I'm not sure that I feel terribly comfortable with those assertions. Last semester I watched a documentary on photojournalist Jim Nachtwey, who has captured some of the most upsetting things I've ever seen. From what I could tell, Nachtwey was respectful to his subjects, often giving them a little something to help them out, but he never did acted in what I would call a "life-saving manner". But maybe he didn't have to. It seemed to me that his subjects knew that the most he could ever do for them is to tell their story with fairness and accuracy.

I suppose it is moral conflicts like these that makes coverage of incidents like this such a minefield for anyone who tries to think about it. I guess the only statement I can make with any certainty is that no one from our cushy society who has not experienced such things is in any place to offer moral judgement.

(I found this website while writing this part of my blog entry, and I found it extremely thought-provoking, especially with regards to the way images (such as the one with the starving and stalked Sudanese girl) can have the effect of removing the incident from its wider political context, which ultimately serves no one.)

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Altercation

Eric Alterman posted a link to this essay by historian Diane McWhorter that put much of the responsibility for the increasing violence occuring in the name of fighting the War on Terror at the feet of the American public and the media. She makes the case that Nazi Germany's strength was derived from the voluntary support of the majority of the country, not the threat of force from an armed and bloodthirsty elite. She goes on to discuss the self-censoring that takes place in this country with regards to using Nazi Germany as a benchmark for discussion about modern politics:

For some reason, I keep thinking about an observation Eleanor Roosevelt made in an unpublished interview conducted in May of 1940, as the German Wehrmacht swept across France. She expressed dismay that a "great many Americans" would look with favor on a Hitler victory in Europe and be greatly attracted to fascism. Why? "Simply because we are a people who tend to admire things that work," she said. So, were the voters last month protesting Bush's policies—or were they complaining that he had not made those policies work? If Operation Iraqi Freedom had not been such an unqualified catastrophe, how long would the public have assented to the programs that accompanied the "war on terror": the legalization of torture, the suspension of habeas corpus, the unauthorized surveillance of law-abiding Americans, the unilateral exercise of executive power, and the Bush team's avowed prerogative to "create our own reality"?



Mrs. Roosevelt's example notwithstanding, polite discussion of that question does not contain any derivative of the words fascism, propaganda, or dictatorship. God forbid Nazi or Hitler. The extent to which it is verboten to bring up Nazi Germany has now become a jape. "Can't pols just have little Post-its on their microphones reminding them not to compare anything to the Nazis?" Maureen Dowd wrote in the Times recently, after yet another off-message senator was taken to the woodshed. The ban applies equally to the arena of intellectual debate, such that even the wild and woolly Internet has a Godwin's Law to describe the cred-killing effect of dropping the N-bomb. So, even though it is a truism that we learn by analogy, even though the Bush administration unapologetically practices the reality-eschewing art of propaganda—with procured "journalists," its own "news" pipeline at Fox, leader-centric ("war president") stagecraft, the classic Big Lie MO of, say, draft avoiders smearing war heroes as unpatriotic—we are not permitted to draw any comparisons to the über-propagandists of the previous century.


Considering the enthusiasm with which I've heard many of my fellow citizens support the idea of torturing other human beings in the name of fighting "terror" (an oxymoronic idea if I ever heard one), and considering the way I've seen major news stories swept under the carpet by the mainstream media, I can't say her arguments didn't strike a chord with me. On the contrary, I think she's right on.



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PressThink

This new venture by former WaPo political reporters John Harris and Jim VandeHei has been roundly thumped by media critics as a lame idea, and Jay Rosen is no exception. Harris and VandeHei say that they're trying "to pull back the curtain on political stories and narrow the gap between reporters and their audience." Rosen says, Um, isn't that what you are supposed to be doing?

A commenter on Rosen's blog asks why anyone would want to tour the sausage factory, meaning the process through which news is produced. I have to agree. Even though I've reported on and written a grand total of seven stories, I find the process to be very messy, especially in comparison to the polished product that should be the end result.

Rosen also says that he really doesn't think that "middle of the road" journalism is what the public wants anymore. I tend to agree. I'm really tired, for instance, of reading a news article on global warming that gives equal weight to two opposing view, when 98% of the scientific community agrees that one of those views is the correct view. To me, that is like writing an article on the planet Earth, and dedicating equal space to the Flat Earth Society. "Middle of the road" journalism is, to me, a cop-out taken by those who find the truth to be a little too uncomfortable for their liking.




Saturday, November 18, 2006

Journalism Selections #8

PressThink

Jay Rosen interviewed former Times-Picayune reporter John Quaid about pro-am journalism. The interview was pretty interesting, especially in light of the things I've been learning in my reporting class over the past month or so. I've realized that some of the most powerful tools a journalist has are other people. Other people not only give you quotes and data and interviews, but they can hook you up with some pretty sweet story ideas, too.

Over the course of this interview, Rosen and McQuaid discuss the changing role of journalism when it comes to holding government officials accountable and the different kinds of online social networks that would be useful for professional journalists.

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Romenesko

The St Pete Times published an article about News Corp's dual involvement in the upcoming OJ Simpson book and interview. On one hand, the book's publisher is Judith Regan, whose imprint is owned by HarperCollins, the publishing arm of News Corp. On the other hand, pundits like Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera (both employed by Fox Broadcasting, also owned by News Corp) are some of the most outspoken critics of the OJ Simpson media blitz.

I have my own theory about this, but Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, puts it better than I could:

“My theory has always been that Fox News and Fox Broadcasting are the perfect synthesis. The one produces all this outrageous programming that the pundits on the other can complain about.”


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Altercation

I don't know why I was shocked to find out about the multibillion dollar buyout of Clear Channel. I guess I figured that there was some sort of natural limit to the size of a media conglomerate like that, but if there is, it's pretty evident that we haven't reached it yet.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Journalism Selections #7

Romenesko

Again, a few articles of note from Romenesko:

1. The new editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bill Marimow, sat down with Editor & Publisher to talk about his decision to join the staff of the Inquirer, which is struggling financially. The clip that Romensko excerpted stood out to me as well:

"I have come to believe that a newspaper has to tailor its mission to the resources that are available," Marimow, 59, said. "I don't think a newspaper like the Inquirer can sustain a network of national and foreign bureaus. But if the mission is defined as being the absolute authoritative source on Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania suburbs, and South Jersey, it can do it."


In light of my recent obsession with Rob Curley and his love of "hyperlocal" news media, I find this very interesting. While I don't dispute that national and foreign news is important, I do think that more news outlets should focus on their local communities. The St Petersburg Times is good about this, with segmentation that gives just about every community within the Greater Tampa Bay area its own news coverage. Today, I spent a considerable amount of time at OnMilwaukee.com, reading articles about recent events in Milkwaukee and checking out a few of the features it offers, especially the entertainment reporting.

I have no idea as to how successful OnMilwaukee.com when it comes to connecting with their community, but I know that I was riveted, and I've never even been to Milwaukee before. I've said it before, and I'll probably sound redundant at this point, but if St. Petersburg had something like this, or like Lawrence.com, I would visit it all the time. TampaBay.com is nice, but ultimately it's just a portal for other, more traditional media outlets. (I count the blog-style of itsyourtimes.com as "traditional" media, as blogs have been so ubitiquous as to be a part of mainstream discourse at this point in time.) I really love good feature writing for this reason - it lets you know what's going on in your community on a personal level.

2. The death of Ed Bradley is a tragic loss. Everything I've seen and heard of him indicates that he was not only a gifted journalist, but a wonderful person as well. This WaPo article is one of many powerful obituaries I've read about him today. This anecdote from Deborah Willis, professor of photography at NYU, really stood out to me:

Willis chatted with Bradley two months ago in Manhattan. Bradley had arrived at the New-York Historical Society to listen to her interview the artist Betye Saar. Afterward, "He complimented me on my interview! Do you know how much that meant to me?" she says.


3. Normally the business side of journalism bores me to sleep, but this article, about the clash of cultures between the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune held my attention all the way to the end.

The LA Times is known as a newspaper with a global focus, sometimes to their benefit and sometimes to their detriment. I tend to like them. They win Pulitzer Prizes and they cover lots of important international stories. Last year I read a book written by Chris Ayers, one of their entertainment reporters who became an embedded journalist in Iraq. It was self-deprecating and funny and human and I thought it was a great read. Earlier this year I found an article written by Claire Hoffman, in which she is physically assaulted by Girls Gone Wild head honcho Joe Francis, to be riveting. They do great work, yet I hear a lot of criticism about their seeming obliviousness to local news. It certainly make me think a lot about the different niches occupied by various news outlets.

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Altercation

Eric Alterman posted this article about the lack of election related news in a survey of the most emailed new stories. The author points to two potential causes:

  • Oversaturation of political ads in every other media outlet led to election burnout.
  • Voters who felt they learned all they needed to know about the candidates and issues from TV and radio


I know I certainly agree with the first cause. I was very interested in the election and its outcome, but after the first week or so of the constant barrage of campaign ads and posters and people standing on the corner waving signs, I could not wait for November 8th. I remember hearing that some campaigns had started buying up radio time, simply because they had more money to spend on advertising than there was space available. That's an insane amount of money, and an argument for publicly funded elections if I ever heard one.

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PressThink

Next week I'm going to find a new blog to cover. He hasn't posted anything since November 2, when he wrote about the Polling Place Photo Project. I checked out the site but didn't really think too much of it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Journalism Selections #6

Romenesko

Romenesko posted a provocative interview with journalist Mark Halperin a few days ago. The interview, conducted by Hugh Hewitt, covers some pretty controversial stuff on the part of Halperin, such as the fact that he has interns from Bob Jones University (which rose to fame for its antiquated miscegenation policies) and he thinks the media hates the military and loves abortion and gay people. However, I found his assertion that journalists who vote are hurting the U.S. to be the most outrageous, not to mention the most ludicrous.

Part of my problem with this statement is personal. I've been a political animal since the days of junior high, when I used to talk about being a civil rights attorney and I stuck Amnesty International stickers on my walls next to my pictures of Keanu Reeves and Leonardo DiCaprio. I'm very opinionated, and I find it baffling when people say they have no opinions. How can you know something and not have an opinion on it? How is that even possible? (I tend to think such people are either lying or very, very shallow.) I started voting as soon as I turned eighteen. My first choice of major, way back in the day in Oklahoma, was political science. Politics are a major part of who I am. I find it impossible to be otherwise.

So when I hear journalists like Halperin talk about how voting "opens up the question of how can I say I’m being objective, and fighting for truth, if I’m making a decision about who to vote for in a presidential race," it makes me ill. Not just because it's our civic duty and our right to have a say in who our leaders are, but also because it seems to me as though Halperin and his cadre of non-voting journalists have bought a little too deeply into the idea of absolute journalistic objectivity. I personally don't believe such a thing exists, and I feel as though the public is better served by knowing the biases and the opinions of the people producing their news. In other words, I am all about transparency.

It sounds like Hewitt agrees with me:

MH: Do you want to live in an America where there’s media that’s just all based on being pro-Bush or anti-Bush?

HH: No, I want to live in an America where there’s a media that I can understand, and understand where they’re coming from, so that I can correct for their deep-seated bias, which distorts the news, so that it drives the country in bad directions.

MH: So you reject the model which says that there can be a news organization staffed by people who aren’t biased?

HH: Yes, absolutely. I reject that model.

MH: All right. Well…

HH: I’ve rejected that model forever. I think most of America rejects that model. I think you guys in Manhattan and D.C. have persuaded yourselves that eventually, America will accept you back after shattering your credibility, and it’s just never going to happen, because we don’t believe you.


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Altercation

Eric Alterman is on assignment, so Salon's Eric Boehlert took over for the week. The most interesting item in this blog is a column he wrote, taking the U.S. media to task for its failure to correctly report the Rush Limbaugh/Michael J. Fox fiasco. I think he has a point. As far as I knew, Limbaugh had apologized to Fox for speculating that he might have been faking his Parkinson's in an Missouri political ad. (Just like Limbaugh faked his hearing loss from overuse of prescription painkillers? Oh, wait...) I was actually sort of surprised to hear that, but I figured, hey, maybe he realized his mistake and felt bad about it. Of course, that goes against the mantra of the right-wing pundit, which is "Never admit when you are wrong."

Well, it turns out I was right to be surprised, as Limbaugh never apologized. In fact, he said he stood by his statement. You'd never know this from any of the news media I saw or heard about the issue.

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PressThink

This guest column about the little war between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Ottawa press gallery was fascinating to me. It felt a bit like reading a satire of our own DC press corp - just with different names and "scrumming" (the equivalent of a journalistic ambush). Who knew the political media in Canada was as dysfunctional as our own?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Journalism Selections #5

Romenesko

Here are three articles from this week's collection of blog entries that caught my attention:

1. A Reporter's Story: How H-P Kept Tabs On Me For a Year

The best thing I got out of this article - written by Pui-Wing Tam after she found out that investigators hired by Hewlett-Packard had been spying on her - was knowing that I'm not wasting my time by shredding all of my documents before sticking them out with the recycling. Not that I am concerned that anyone will be coming afer me, a lowly third-year journalism student with a miniscule portfolio consisting of work related to the campus, but still...you never know.

Stories like this remind me of the incredible power wielded by a journalist who does his or her job well. By the same token, I'm also reminded of the fact that, even in a country filled with people who pay lip service to the ideals put forth in the First Amendment, many powerful people have no problem doing things to intimidate members of the press. Granted, it's not the same as in, say, Russia, where it's not uncommon for a journalist to lose his or her life over their stories, but it's all a matter of degree, really. Those who are firmly entrenched in power usually have no desire to let anything - let alone some piddly ideas like "freedom of speech" and "freedom of press" - come in between them and their ability to dictate the world around them.

2. An Open Letter to Jann Wenner

Journalist Michael Simmons calls out Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner on his magazine's decreasing relevance to, well, anyone, really. I'll admit, I used to read Rolling Stone, but that was when I was thirteen or fourteen and I didn't know any better. But when my dad made fun of Rolling Stone as a lame teeny-bopper magazine, I quickly switched to Spin and Alternative Press for my music journalism fix. (My dad was a teenager during the late 60s in Los Angeles, so he would know.) Later, after my critical abilities had developed to the point where I didn't just mindlessly absorb information and entertainment as it was shoved in front of me, I picked up a copy of Rolling Stone, and I was horrified. Mind you, this was after a few years' worth of reading rock-related writing by guys like Robert Christgau, Mark Jacobsen, and "the Holy Ghost", Lester Bangs, but that was enough to ruin RS for me. I mean, how can you compare some throw-away PR puff piece on Britney Spears to Jacobsen's article on Chuck Berry or Bangs' interview with Lou Reed? You can't. It's the equivalent of reading Danielle Steele after finishing A Confederacy of Dunces. The only commonality is that both were written using the English language.

I'm glad Simmons included a link to Arthur Magazine, which runs articles on quirky subjects like bingo halls, "magic mushrooms", Dolly Parton, and garage rock demigod Billy Childish. Now I just have to find a way to get my hands on a copy.

3. Hyper-local Hero

This article was the one I found to be, by far, the most exciting. It discusses media pioneer Rob Curley, who has made a name for himself in the still-in-its-toddlerhood world of media convergence by encouraging newspapers and news portals to shift their online focus away from the Big Stories - the Watergates and the Iraqs and the Plame Affairs - and get back to the stories that impact the residents of their respective communities. One project includes packaging up local high school sports, but with the kind of glitzy production values usually preserved for ESPN. Another is an interactive map of historical housing values, broken down street by street and neighborhood by neighborhood.

He also shows how to capture the 18-to-24 year old demographic, the one all of the newspapers and advertisers cannot stop salivating over, with lawrence.com. The site focuses on "alternative-entertainment" for KU students, with articles written in a snarky, irreverent, somewhat profane voice, off-beat reader blogs, and a PDA-friendly site that features movie listings, show times and drink specials. If St Petersburg had a similar site, I would visit it all the time.

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Altercation

Eric Alterman posted a series of links about the prevalance of extremely negative political ads airing on television right now. USA Today and the New York Times both published articles about the recent ads that attack Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford by appealing to racist ideas about black men and white women. ABC News lists the various ads causing controversy around the country. (I agree with Alterman's take on the phony "balance" displayed in this article. As far as I knew, reporters weren't allowed to report on what is going to happen in the future - unless ABC News has a crystal ball in the middle of their newsroom.) The Washington Post ran an article that described ad campaigns undertaken on behalf of many candidates, all of which turned ordinary things like misdialed phone numbers and votes in favor of scientific inquiry into allegations of wild sex orgies involving children and Playboy Playmates sponsored by taxpayer money.

As far as I can tell - lame endings to ABC News articles notwithstanding - all of these ugly ads are coming from Republicans, which makes sense, as they have little to they can point to as examples of their worthiness of elected office. Democrats, on the other hand, have plenty to attack without having to resort to political attacks. It's not partisanship - it's common sense.

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PressThink

Jay Rosen must be absorbed with his new projects and his classes, because there hasn't been a new post since October 7th. I'll give him another week, but if I don't see anything by then I'll find a new blog to follow.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Journalism Selections #4

Romenesko

Things seem sort of quiet down in Miami, so this week, I've picked a couple of links from Romensko that caught my interest:

Michael Getler, the ombudsman for PBS, published a column on his blog, in which he discussed the way the political media tends to frame issues in terms of "Republican vs. Democrat" rather than focus on the impact of these issues on the lives of individuals, families and communities. As a letter writer said:

While listening to ‘Washington Week in Review,’ I was returned again and again to the politics of a current event (in this case, scandal around Hastert et al) by the comments of John Harwood. I have noted this in numbers of ‘talking heads’ who are more interested in the chess game than the issues to the detriment not only of the integrity of the news but the elucidation of events for the public who depend on them.


This bears out my experience with much of political journalism in this country. For instance, my husband and I watch the three major cable news networks quite a bit, and invariably, the discussion surrounding almost every event (the exceptions are sensational crimes like child murders and sexual assault) invariably return to discussion of how this issue will impact this candidate's chances for re-election, or how senators will vote on that issue.

I have two major problems with this. First, it assumes that there are no valid viewpoints outside of those espoused by the Republican and Democratic Parties. As someone who knows libertarians, anarchists, social democrats, progressives and true (not neo) conservatives, I am fully aware that there are valid, intelligent ideas and opinions out there that receive virtually no serious play on the airwaves. When these points of view do receive attention from the mass media, it's usually in the form of glowering, bullying Bill O'Reilly and his phony "good ole boy done well" demeanour, who is notorious for shutting off the microphones of those who dare disagree with him.

This leads to my second issue - considering that television news is one of the primary sources of political information for the people in this country, setting up a false framework that consists of only two positions imposes an artificial limit on public discourse, and ultimately serves to continue the impression that politics is nothing more than a football game. Consequently, it's impossible to open up to the letters to the editor in any given publication without seeing a slew of articles insulting liberals, conservatives, Republicans or Democrats.

Also, I want to mention this article published by the Boston Globe about scams and Spare Change, a weekly paper that serves the homeless and the extremely poor both through media coverage, and also by offering employment as vendors of the newspapers. I found this sad, not just because Spare Change and the people they help are harmed by this, but also because I tend to think the managing editor of the paper is right, that the scammers are probably homeless as well. It's too bad, because I used to work in Harvard Square, and I made a point to get my weekly copy of Spare Change - sometimes even two or three. They covered stories that neither the Globe nor the Herald would cover (this was, after all, during the Big Dig fiasco), and I knew that the majority of the money was going to the vendor in a way that was reciprocal and let the vendor preserve their dignity.

(St. Pete, with its considerable population of homeless, could really benefit from a similar paper.)

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Altercation

This week, Eric Alterman wrote a column for The Nation, about the alarming frequency with which anonymous internet interactions, through email, blog comments and chat transcripts, have achieved enough respectability, to the point where they can be considered as valid as any other source. I've participated with internet communities for quite a few years now, and I shudder to think of how our world would be if people actually took those who post these illiterate, barely hinged, profanity comments (one can practically feel the spittle flying out of the monitor as one reads) seriously. The anonymity of the internet gives many people permission to speak as abusively as possible to one another - name calling, profanity and even death threats abound. At the same time, trolls represent a minority of users, and so to quote one as proof of anything strikes me as lazy sensationalism.

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PressThink

Jay Rosen must be preoccupied with NewAssignment.Net this week, because his last blog entry was made last Saturday. In it, he talks about the newest program instituted by the Sunlight Foundation: "a new distributed research and reporting project that will enable citizen journalists to find out how many members of the House of Representatives have their spouses on the payroll." Considering the high number of politicians who manage to find a way to make sure their spouses get paid, too, this project seems like it has a lot of potential to uncover some pretty egregious misuses of campaign funds and public monies.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Journalism Selections #3

Romenesko

Like Romenesko, I've been fascinated with the recent events at the Miami Herald and its Spanish-language counterpart, el Nuevo Herald, in the wake of the scandal over Radio Martí and TV Martí. Over the past week or so, the following has happened:



(I have not had to keep track of this many entanglements and scandals since high school. )

What originally seemed like a straight-forward story - violation of company policy followed by punishment - has erupted into a full-fledged debate over newsroom ethics and racial sensitivity. Last week I applauded Díaz and The Herald for refusing to cave into what I called "irrational sentiment". This week, after hearing that Díaz tried to squash Hiaasen's column for being potentially inflammatory, I'm inclined to revoke my earlier statement.

(Besides, if you ask me, the column was classic Hiaasen - just who does Díaz think he's dealing with here?)

I imagine that the notoriously vocal anti-Castro faction in Miami probably had a lot to do with putting pressure on Díaz, but it also seems like the staff of el Nuevo Herald was pretty upset as well. Fiedler certainly didn't help matters by referring to the paper's Cuban critics as "Chihuahuas". I tend to agree with those who are critical of his statement - calling someone of Hispanic origin a Chihuahua is not that different than calling a person of African origin a monkey.

I also thought this blog entry by CBS News' Valerie Hyman was excellent. In it she succinctly lays the blame for the increasingly sorry state of local television news today at the feet of Wall Street:

Here's what happens: election years make local TV stations happy. Dueling candidates bring in hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of advertising dollars to local stations. The problem is, when the "off" year rolls around, as it will in 2007, Wall Street demands higher profits than it got during the election year.

So 2007 is supposed to be better than 2006.

It can't happen.

But the corporations that own those stations will do their best to satisfy Wall Street anyway. Rather than fight the notion that news is a commodity like corn and pork bellies, CEOs of those media corporations keep figuring ways to get Wall Street the profit it wants.



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Altercation

Eric Alterman linked to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that calls out the business media for overstating the health of the economy. The proof that is so often offered up is that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at an all-time high. Putting aside the faultiness of measuring a nation's economic health based on indicators like the Dow Jones or GNP, it turns out that business reporters weren't even citing this fact accurately. Rather than adjusting the Dow Jones to reflect inflationary discrepancies, they made their evaluations based on current-year prices. As the CBPP put it:

To fail to adjust for inflation, and to say that the Dow has passed its previous peak, is like saying that a worker whose wages are a couple of cents an hour above where they were six or seven years ago is better off today, even though the purchasing power of his or her wages has fallen significantly.


Had these overzealous business journalists done their reporting properly, they would see that the Dow Jones is actually down 17% from its all-time peak. Considering that most people (myself included) have a barely-above-rudimentary grasp on topics related to economics and business, it's critical that business journalists report accurately and fairly, rather than grasping for the sexiest possible headline.

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PressThink

Jay Rosen gave an interview to Slashdot, one of the most well-known online geek communities. In it, he answered several questions related to his new project, NewAssignment.Net, as well as other forms of "open source journalism". I learned a lot more about open source journalism as a result of this interview, but what I found most interesting is the fact that Rosen even had this interview with the members of an online community in the first place. Online communities and blogs are often seen as the red-headed stepchildren of mainstream culture and media, something only used by computer geeks, so I see this as yet another movement towards legitimacy for online communities.