Monday, May 4, 2015 :(

This morning, Carly Fiorina announced her candidacy for president. Unfortunately, she did not register all relevant domain names, leaving available for opponents and trolls. Sure enough someone this morning registered the domain and created a page demonstrating how many people she laid off while at Hewlett-Packard.


Clintons and scandals (and a blast from the past)

Nomination politics:
News IQ

The Future of Journalism
  • Remember that you are in an exchange relationship:  you want something from the reporter, and the reporter wants something from you.
  • Mind the clock. Return phone calls and emails promptly.  Be on time.
  • Mind the calendar.  Know when other stories are most likely to eclipse yours.  Know when there is a vacuum that our story can fill.
  • Whenever possible, learn something about the reporter and news organization before the interview.
  • For important interviews and press conferences, rehearse with people who are willing to pose tough questions.
  • Decide what you want to say.  Write down two or three key points that you want to get across.  Segue to them whenever you can.  "But the real issue is...
  • Prepare sound bites (not bytes) ahead of time.
  • Know your stuff.
  • On TV, use gestures that complement your ideas.
  • For phone interviews (either for radio or TV), it is not cheating to use crib sheets.
  • Never get angry, except on purpose.
  • Listen carefully to the question, but never repeat the interviewer’s words unless they reinforce your message.
  • Make your language as simple as possible.  Avoid jargon.
  • If you don’t know the answer, just say so. If possible and useful, tell the reporter that you will provide the information shortly.
  • Deflect if you must, but never say the words "no comment."
  • Never assume that reporters will have the same understanding of "off the record" or "background" as you do.  Unless you have years of experience, just take it for granted that every single thing you say to the reporter (including "casual" conversation) is on the record.
  • Wherever possible, do favors for reporters.
  • When doing opposition research, make sure that there is primary-source documentation for everything.  Double-check and triple-check.
  • Do self-research and vulnerability studies.
  • Proofread all written material that you put online or send to the press.  Errors will count against you.
  • Never post anything (text, video, photo) that you would hesitate to defend in the future.
  • Never post anything while drinking.
  • It is okay to spin, but never lie.

The 2016 Snapchat Election

Snapchat recently hired Peter Hamby, a former CNN Politics reporter and the creator of Hambycasts. According to CNN, the goal of Hambycasts is to "take viewers to meet the players and places that drive American politics."

Snapchat has already created a "Discover" section of its app, which provides media outlets the opportunity to post their own snapchat stories on individual channels. During major events, Snapchat can also create "geofences" around certain locations. Users can opt to publish snaps sent in these locations. Snapchat editors then compile published images and videos into a stream that Snapchat users around the world can access. 

Jonathan Mahler of the New York Times wrote in an article here that "it’s easy to imagine Snapchat dropping a geofence around the Iowa State Fair during a candidate’s visit, or even around a presidential debate. Would these events be as popular among Snapchat’s users as a rock concert? Maybe not, but even a fraction of that viewership would be significant."

Mahler suggests that 2016 may be a Snapchat election. Buzzfeed and Politico both changed 2012 election reporting. Mahler writes, however, that Snapchat could change media further:

 "Snapchat has a particular sensibility — casual, fun, unforced. Content is delivered in colloquial shorthand. Bad news, and there isn’t much of it, might be followed by an “Ugh.” There is liberal use of emojis. This is not a tone that will be easy for middle-aged politicians to get right. And getting it wrong could be painful for everyone involved. Especially the candidates."

Hillary Clin--I mean, Bernie Sanders was on George Stephanopolous Yesterday

In a seven minute interview with Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist Senator of Vermont who recently announced he would seek the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016, George Stephanopolous asked Bernie five questions about Hillary Clinton. In comparison, Republican candidates are rarely questioned about other GOP candidates on similar interviews. Is Hillary's reach this powerful?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In Honor of Letterman's Last Late Show

Today the New York Times published this interview with David Letterman. The interview provides a personal account of Letterman's relationship with the audience, other hosts, and the greater media landscape that complements our discussion of entertainment media in class. The article links to prior media coverage of Letterman and highlight clips of the "Late Show."

In response to "Has doing the show taught you how much of yourself to give to an audience?" Letterman said: 
In the beginning, you think, I can’t wait to get on television. I’m going to straighten it out. Then people will be saying, “God bless you, Dave Letterman, we have been waiting for somebody to take care of television.” That’s how you feel. And now, I don’t feel that way.
If you're interested in Letterman's earlier interviews: here is a 1986 article with the New York Times and here is a 1989 interview with TIME Magazine. 

Entertainment, Baltimore, and the Future of the Media

A few more thoughts on social media
Jon Stewart goes after CNN for putting the White House Correspondents' Dinner ahead of Baltimore.

Class alum Tina Nguyen criticizes CNN coverage of Baltimore (and cites Pomona alum Conor Friedersdorf):

Pols on humor shows:
Criticisms of the Daily Show

Trust and Confidence




Americans' Trust in the Mass Media
Trust in Mass Media, by Party
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Trust in federal institutions:

Trend: Americans' Trust in the Three Branches of the Federal Government
Recent Trend in Trust in the Legislative Branch of the Federal Government, by Political Party

Recent Trend in Trust in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, by Political Party

Coverage of Baltimore Protests and Riots

The media coverage of the Baltimore riots has been interesting to follow because of the overemphasis on violence—"if it bleeds it leads". Coverage of looting and more violent protests diminishes the airtime for coverage of peaceful protests or community organized street clean ups. A young protestor, Danielle Williams, criticizes Thomas Roberts for MSNBC’s coverage of the unrest in Baltimore. "My question to you is, when we were out here protesting all last week for six days straight peacefully, there were no news cameras, there were no helicopters, there was no riot gear, and nobody heard us," Williams said. "So now that we've burned down buildings and set businesses on fire and looted buildings, now all of the sudden everybody wants to hear us."
This biased reporting has occurred across major news networks. “The Worst Moment of Fox’s Baltimore Coverage” an article on Mediaite, highlights Fox News Coverage of the Baltimore riots from Monday night. After focusing attention on buildings allegedly burned down by rioters, Megyn Kelly’s commentary shifted to an unrelated shooting in Brooklyn, New York. The network’s decision to pursue this story, insinuating that it was a related incident was extremely shortsighted:
“We’ve been keeping our eyes open for any related incidents, as we saw back during Ferguson, violence did break out in several other cities besides. Here you go. Here’s the Brooklyn live shot from overhead. So we will work to find out whether this is in any way connected to what we’re seeing in Baltimore. Which we don’t have confirmed.”
As Andrew Kirell of Mediaite confirms, the shooting was indeed unrelated to the Baltimore riots—the Brooklyn shooting was motivated by a local gang dispute.