Tag Archives | Journalism

Rise to the Call for Real American Media

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 2.19.40 PMRemember when corporate owned mainstream media was relevant? Me either. Not to any meaningful extent anyway. Of course, there are a few good exceptions. “60 Minutes” is not so bad. We always have “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” to fall back on. Some crazy percentage of people get their news from these Comedy Central shows. Jon Stewart still refuses to admit he is a news reporter of any kind. Is he embarrassed to be a part of that once proud profession? Has it gotten so bad that a stigma is now permanently attached to the field? Or do people just prefer comedy with their news? After all, a spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down. Stewart and Colbert are masterful at that, and deserve their warehouse full of Emmys.

The two remaining examples of relevant mainstream news are essentially mirror images, now largely overlooked remaining bastions of a bygone era in which the everyman felt he could connect with the powers that be.… Read the rest

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Obama’s Escalating War on Freedom of the Press

Newseum 5 Freedoms 1st AmendmentThe part of the First Amendment that prohibits “abridging the freedom … of the press” is now up against the wall, as the Obama administration continues to assault the kind of journalism that can expose government secrets.

Last Friday the administration got what it wanted – an ice-cold chilling effect — from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled on the case of New York Times reporter James Risen. The court “delivered a blow to investigative journalism in America by ruling that reporters have no First Amendment protection that would safeguard the confidentiality of their sources in the event of a criminal trial,” the Guardian reported.

The Executive Branch fought for that ruling — and is now celebrating. “We agree with the decision,” said a Justice Department spokesman. “We are examining the next steps in the prosecution of this case.” The Risen case, and potentially many others, are now under the ominous shadow of the Appeals Court’s pronouncement: “There is no First Amendment testimonial privilege, absolute or qualified, that protects a reporter from being compelled to testify … in criminal proceedings.”

At the Freedom of the Press Foundation, co-founder Trevor Timm calls the court ruling “the most significant reporter’s privilege decision in decades” and asserts that the court “eviscerated that privilege.” He’s not exaggerating.… Read the rest

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NSA College Recruitment Drive Goes Quite Wrong

NSA college recruitmentWhen the National Security Agency visited the University of Wisconsin last week to recruit language students to be the next generation of intelligence workers, events didn't go smoothly as planned. Journalist Madiha Tahir, currently taking a language course at the university, posted an audio recording of the NSA officials' presentation to the student body going off the rails, as she and others tear the presenters to pieces with questions about Edward Snowden, the legality and ethics of their work, and if being a good liar is an asset for getting a job at the NSA. She has also posted a rough transcript on her blog. Her comment that sums up the whole debacle: "I'm just surprised that for language analysts, you're incredibly imprecise with your language. And it just doesn't seem to be clear."
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Conspiracy Theories Surrounding Journalist Michael Hastings’s Death Grow

michael hastingsAcclaimed reporter Michael Hastings died tragically when his car crashed and burst into flames over a week ago. The mysterious accident has already led to talk of the conspiracy theory variety, as Hastings had been investigating stories related to the CIA and NSA prior to his death. Now WikiLeaks has revealed that Hastings contacted them hours before he died, and KTLA Los Angeles adds that on that day Hastings sent a mass email to associates saying that he was being investigated by the “Feds”, was “onto a big story”, would be going “off the radar for a bit”:

The crash that killed journalist Michael Hastings was ruled an accident by police, but conspiracy theories continued to circulate on Friday. Hastings, 33, was killed in a fiery solo-vehicle crash in Hancock Park early Tuesday morning.

He was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of Gen.

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Does Making Films Help Make Change?

President Obama on The Daily Show closeThere has been a major shift in media culture as most TV networks have abandoned long-form information programming. In these times, with Twitter playing a big part in disseminating news, TV has to be punchy, quick and visual. The age of media mergers has seen showbiz merging with news biz, and soundbites have become shorter as the newscast story count rises.

Significantly, the best TV criticism of these trends in the US appears in a nightly program on the Comedy Central channel. But ultimately, there is nothing funny about the way a media system – intended to bolster a democratic discourse – contributes to its decline.

News is increasingly becoming more about the image than the information – an approach to “coverage” that is at its core tabloid in its sensibilities, often intended for a memorable emotional impact that will boost media ratings and revenues. The race for “breaking news” is breaking our ability to understand the context of events.… Read the rest

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How “Israel Bombs Syria” becomes “Israel Is Only Defending Itself”

Syria-from-Golan-Heights

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An Israeli plane bombs a target in Syria. The news is passed along first to Fox News, (huh?) by someone in the Administration.. It happened on a Thursday, but we find out about it  late on Friday. The New York Times assigns three reporter to cover the story that goes up on the website in the middle of the morning on Saturday.

Earlier that day, President Obama, speaking in Costa Rica, said there will be no US ground troops on the ground in Syria.  Now, the Administration says it is considering “military options.”

Saturday’s New York Times choses this story for the first page:

ISRAEL TIGHTENS BORDER DEFENSE AS SYRIA ERUPTS.”

And so, the story is reframed with Israel the defender, not the aggressor. The bombing makes it into the third paragraph  on page 1 but refers only to the bombing of  “a target.”

The earlier story has now ben moved  by the Times to the bottom of page 10:

“ISRAEL BOMBS SYRIA as the UNS Considers Its Own Military Options.”

“American officials did not provide details on the target but, instead, referenced an earlier attack attacking a Syrian military supply effort to Hezbollah.”

Unmentioned is that the original report understated the extent of the damage caused by the bombing.… Read the rest

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“Yahoo! Education” Declares Reporting a Dying Career, Suggests Becoming a PR Specialist Instead

800px-Anna_reporterFirst, consider how the name “Yahoo! Education” could be interpreted.

With that in mind, consider whether Terence Loose had a straight face when he wrote in the recent article Dying Careers You Should Avoid for “Yahoo! Education:”

Dying Career #2: Reporter

They say a species must adapt or die, and with the trend of the Internet replacing print journalism (you are reading this on the computer, after all), media folks who don’t adjust might not survive too much longer. In short, many reporters could be going the way of their typewriters soon.

Projected Decline: Reporter and correspondent positions are expected to decline by 8 percent from 51,900 jobs in 2010 to 48,000 in 2020, for a total of nearly 4,000 jobs lost, says the U.S. Department of Labor

Why It’s Dying: The Department of Labor says that because of the trend of consolidation of media companies and the decline in readership of newspapers, reporters will find there are fewer available jobs.

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