Thursday, March 31, 2011

USA Today Profiles Helena Bottemiller!

In a story on three remarkable women in food, USA Today profiles our class alum:

For many new college grads, that first job typically is an entry-level gig with little fanfare or responsibility. For Seattle-area native Helena Bottemiller, it's been anything but lackluster. Shortly after she graduated from Claremont McKenna College in June 2009, food-safety lawyer Bill Marler snapped her up to be part of his new online publication, Food Safety News.

The website launched in September 2009; by its first anniversary, Bottemiller had covered the Food and Drug Administration's 85 food recalls (that's more than one a week), including the infamous salmonella outbreak that resulted in a half-billion egg recall last August. She has covered several other high-profile stories, including seafood safety in the wake of the BP oil spill and congressional hearings for the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which passed in December. At just 24 years old, Bottemiller is becoming something of a Lois Lane in food journalism.

Bad Staff Work Yields Embarrassing Story

At The Washington Post, Ed O'Keefe reports that President Obama accepted a transparency award -- at a meeting closed to the press.

“It’s almost a theater of the absurd to have an award on transparency that isn’t transparent,” said Gary Bass, founder of OMB Watch, and one of five transparency advocates who met with Obama on Monday. “The irony is that everything the president said was spot-on. I wish people had heard what he had to say.”

Bass was joined at the meeting by Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, Patrice McDermott of OpenTheGovernment.org and Lucy A. Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Bass, Brian and Dalglish later blogged about the meeting.

All five groups have criticized the Obama White House and previous administrations for withholding government information or failing to disclose it in a timely manner. (Dalglish’s attendance at the private meeting may seem most questionable to the White House press corps, considering her group serves as a legal advocacy group for reporters and includes several prominent journalists on its steering committee.)

Bass insists the group didn’t realize the White House failed to disclose the meeting to reporters. “I think this is a particularly bad situation and I’m not going to try to defend the president on that,” he said.

Brian called it “crazy stupid” for the White House to keep mum about the meeting. “He even made a joke when we walked in the room about how he wanted to make sure we would be listed on the White House visitors logs,” she said in an e-mail. “Someone on the White House staff should get their butt kicked for this one.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Relevant to today's class...

Cats are always newsworthy

Influencing the Media I

Strategy: ends and means

  • What do you want to say?
  • Whom do you want to reach?
  • How do you want them to react?
  • What resources are available to you?

Paid media, social media, and earned media (today's focus)

What is newsworthy?

  • Niche story or general interest?
  • What geographic area would have an interest?
  • What beats and bureaus would cover?
  • Print story or TV story?

Preparation

  • Build relationships (remember Novak)
  • Media lists (An example)

Media events (more next week)

Press releases (AP contact)

Daybooks

Pitch calls



Reporters Face "Psychological Warfare" in Libya

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro gives us fantastic insight into the harrowing, and frightening, world of foreign correspondence in a piece on today's Morning Edition. Below is one reporter's experience:
"I sometimes feel we are living in a kind of Graham Greene novel here, you know," says Don Macintyre, a longtime foreign correspondent for the Independent newspaper. "There is a sense both of menace and fantasy that is pretty disorienting, frankly."

March Madness



Today's Christian Science Monitor Cartoon.

Cricket Diplomacy...?

The New York Times posted a great article on the cricket match between India and Pakistan. Whether the match will help to open conversation between Manmohan Singh and Yousaf Raza Gilani or whether the adversarial nature of sports will overtake any opportunity for long term progress remains to be seen.

The national teams of India and Pakistan both advanced to the semifinal round of the cricket World Cup tournament. When it became clear that the teams would meet in the Indian city of Mohali, the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, issued a surprise invitation to his Pakistani counterpart, Yousaf Raza Gilani, to join him in the grandstand.

Mr. Gilani accepted. Both men arrived at the cricket ground on Wednesday and took their places in a private box for the one-day match. Both shook hands with the players from the opposing teams after the national anthems were sung before the game began, meeting first the Pakistani then the Indian players. The prospect of the two leaders’ sitting together for hours in a relatively informal setting has many here asking what they will talk about, and whether a breakthrough could be possible between the two fractious, nuclear-armed neighbors.

If you are interested in reading a play-by-play of the match, The Guardian is keeping a comprehensive record.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Webcomics: A Valuable Source of Information for the News Media

When cartoonist Randall Munroe of the popular webcomic XKCD.Com designed a Radiation Dose Chart explaining radiation exposure and how it affects the body, he did it as a public service. "I’m not an expert in radiation and I’m sure I’ve got a lot of mistakes in here," he wrote on his blag, "but there’s so much wild misinformation out there that I figured a broad comparison of different types of dosages might be good anyway."

The chart soon appeared in major media outlets such Al-Jazeera English, The Guardian, and the New York Times, proving that the media will consider any sources that will enhance their coverage. The chart's proven so popular that Munroe is currently translating it into Japanese for the Tokyo media.

Personally, it's the first time I've ever seen a major news outlet use a bananaphone to explain current events.

Behind the Scenes

The New York Times has a great piece up on a conference call by Senate Democrats...they forgot to push the mute button when Chuck Schumer was giving marching orders.


After thanking his colleagues — Barbara Boxer of California, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over how to cut spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John A. Boehner of Ohio, the speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. “I always use the word extreme,” Mr. Schumer said. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”

A minute or two into the talking-points tutorial, though, someone apparently figured out that reporters were listening, and silence fell.

Then the conference call began in earnest, with the Democrats right on message.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Facebook Courting Robert Gibbs

From NYT's Dealbook:
Facebook is in talks to hire Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s former White House press secretary, for a senior role in helping to manage the company’s communications, people briefed on the negotiations said...

Facebook is increasingly in the public eye and is looking to build its communications team ahead of an initial offering.

Investor interest and the attention the company received from the movie “The Social Network” have put increasing pressure on the company communicate better with the public about its products and its policies.


It will be interesting to see what the response from the media is, as well as from President Obama.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Oppo. Targets Journalists, Too

This recent article in Politico describes the coming war between Media Matters and Fox News.

Opposition research not only provides fodder for political news stories, but is now being used as a tactic within media circles-- certainly a consequence of the polarizing tactics of networks such as Fox and MSNBC, which have made commentary and punditry their bread and butter.

"The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stepping Up Censorship in South Carolina: Felons on Facebook?

A new bill has come up in the South Carolina State Legislature aiming to bann convicted felons from using facebook and other social media websites while in jail. The article touches upon interesting issues such as, the government's future involvement with social media websites and the rights of felons while imprisoned.

Jon Stewart offers a comical perspective on GE as a Conglomerate

NY Times on Young Journalists in Washington

From earlier in the semester, but interesting nonetheless:


The New York Times printed an article “Washington’s New Brat Pack Masters Media” about the younger group of Washington journalists/bloggers—dubbed the “Juicebox Mafia”—and their rise in media success. The article describes several young journalists and their opinions on their impact on media as well as several critics of the pack.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Updates on Syria

Al Jazeera is keeping a live blog detailing updates on the unfolding situation in Syria. The posts are a mix of Al Jazeera content and information from other sources. Particularly enlightening are the embedded videos. Some of the videos are Al Jazeera broadcasts while others are footage taken with camera phones, the latter of which are quite graphic.

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/middle-east/syria-live-blog-march-25

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Facebook Majority

Edison Research reports:

According to the upcoming report from Arbitron, Inc. and Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2011: Navigating Digital Platforms, more than half of all Americans ages 12 and older are on Facebook. The study, fielded in January of 2011, indicates that 51% of all adults 12+ have profiles on this dominant site.

We have been tracking the growth of Facebook since 2008, and have watched it go from 8% usage just three years ago, to 51% today. In our presentation on April 5th you will also see the remarkable year-over-year growth of Facebook users especially among people over age 35, trends on frequency of usage, and the uptake of social networking on mobile phones.

These findings come from a national survey of 2,020 persons age 12 and older. This is the 19th in a series of studies Arbitron and Edison have conducted since 1998 on topics relating to digital media. The complete study will be presented in a webinar on April 5th at 2PM Eastern, and interested parties can register here.

Wikileaks, the press, and government power: the catch

Fixing the secrecy system

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/03/wikileaks_and_press

...what the Wikileaks debate is really about: not the press’s right to publish secrets or the government’s right to keep them, but which part of the system for keeping them needs fixing in order for it all to work again. Those who would clamp down on Wikileaks want to fix the press part. But it’s unfixable, because though a “responsible” press will continue to exist, and though even Wikileaks has somewhat tempered its zeal, there will always be an “irresponsible” publisher out there. So now it falls to the government alone to delineate and enforce secrecy. Paradoxically, therefore, the revolution in openness ends up concentrating more power in the hands of the government.

...

Rather than trying to balance the value of an act of free speech against the cost of it, which is a tricky calculation, the United States divides the populace into the guardians of secrets (government employees) and publishers (everyone else). The government has almost total control over the former and almost none over the latter: it decides what secrets to keep and punishes severely those guardians who betray them, but anyone else who obtains and publishes a leak enjoys the protection of the first amendment, revoked only for speech that poses a “clear and present danger” to the United States.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Neon Tommy


From LA Times Tumblr:

Read more about Neon Tommy, the student-run news website of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, in James Rainey’s latest On the Media column.
They’re also on Tumblr, covering newsartssports and food politics (as “Neon Tummy”) (hee!).

Third Essay Assignment

1. Pick any current (2011) event in the Mideast. Compare and contrast coverage in two American and two non-American sources (from different countries). How did each define the story? Did any show a bias? Did any miss something important? In your essay, try to find some outside documentation of the event in question (e.g., government sources) and learn about the news organizations. Distinguish between coverage that an organization itself produces and wire stories that it merely carries. Remember that coverage may consist of more than one story and may involve more than one day. You may find non-American sources at:

2. Do the same kind of analysis as in question 2, but for an American news event. Here you may find stories at http://www.watchingamerica.com/index.shtml

3. If you are covering the legislative simulation, write an essay on the opportunities and constraints of covering legislation. That is, how did you use the participants, and how did they try to use you? How did the experience compare with the real Congress? (See, esp. readings for the week of February 28).

4. Pick any national interest group or party organization. You are the communications director for that organization. Devise an advocacy ad for or against some aspect of President Obama’s agenda. You may draft a print or Internet ad, write a script for a video or audio spot, or (if you have access to the equipment), actually produce such a spot. Whom are you trying to persuade to do what? Where would you place the ad? How would you try to get “reverb” in the MSM and new media? If the group already runs ads, tell why yours is an improvement, or at least a worthy addition. (The ad will not count against the page limit.) In your analysis, supply appropriate evidence. (Potentially useful resource are http://attackadgenerator.com and http://www.xtranormal.com )

  • Essays should be typed (12-point) stapled, double-spaced, and no more than three pages long. I will not read past the third page.
  • Put your name on a cover sheet. Do not identify yourself on the text pages.
  • Cite your sources. You may use either endnotes or parenthetical references to a bibliography. In either case, put your documentation in a standard format (e.g., Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style).
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you.
  • Return essays by the start of class on Wednesday, 6 April. Essays will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness and a full grade after that. I will grant no extensions except for illness or emergency.

That other fight in Libya

CNN and Fox News correspondent in Libya have been feuding. A Fox analyst reported that the CNN corespondent and other journalists had been used as human shields. The CNN reporter attacked Fox's report on Monday, and also attacked the quality of work done by Fox's reporters in Libya.

The Fox reporter has responded, calling the CNN reporter's work "dull" and his description of Fox's coverage as "bull****"

Reports of the squabble can be found here and here





International II

The first casualty:



Bureau closings
Dropoff in International News

See for instance:
So to the limited extent that news organizations do present international news, where does it come from?
Where to turn for international coverage:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bill Gentile's Backpack Journalism Blog

http://billgentile.com/backpackjournalism/

I decided to look into backpack journalism after reading Priya Kumar's Article on Backpack Journalism. Almost immediately, I came across Bill Gentile's Blog. He is a well known backpack journalist who has won an Emmy for his work. His blog shows how anyone can take part in backpack journalism, and encourages people to get involved. He offers "Backpack Journalism Expeditions," workshops, consulting, etc. on his website.

As Kumar notes in her article, backpack journalism requires minimal equipment, which allows journalists to operate the equipment with little or no assistance. This gives them more freedom to explore certain places and issues that are rare on television. In addition, these journalists can help viewers achieve a more personal news experience while providing them with greater context than most short reports on broadcast television. Finally, both Kumar and Gentile note that this type of journalism will allow viewers to see conditions in parts of the world where large news networks cannot afford to send journalists and crews.

Practice Exam

Briefly identify 8 of the following 10 (5 points each):
  • The "CNN Effect"
  • Jim VandeHei
  • Semipublic control
  • Gag rules
  • Truncated muckraking
  • Niche journalism
  • The "perp walk"
  • Unmediated campaign information
  • Patch.com
  • David Stockman
Answer two of the following three questions. Each answer should take a paragraph or two (15 points each).
  • What is the "strategic grid" in campaign communication?
  • Did coverage of the health-care debate work to the president's advantage or disadvantage?
  • Explain the 'issue-attention cycle."
Answer one of the two questions. Your answer should take 2-3 bluebook pages. (30 points)
  • Define the "horse race" frame. Do the media favor it over other frames? How did it shape 2008 coverage. Explain.
  • Is media consolidation a problem? Is so, why? If not, why not?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Theme Park of CMC's Dreams

Move over, spaghetti trees. On April 1 2009, The Economist made headlines with its announcement of a new theme park: Econoland. Be sure to check out the article and explore Econoland's clickable map. Part of me truly wishes this was real.

Among the thrilling experiences Econoland will offer are:

The currency high-roller: Float like a butterfly with the euro and drop like a stone with the pound! Chamber of horrors: Tremble at the wailing of distressed debt! Fiscal fantasyland: Watch the economy shrivel before your very eyes as you struggle to stop growth falling! Bankrupt Britain: Pit your wits against the government as you try to sink sterling and bring the country to its knees! The Severe Contest: Try your strength against a bear market!

International

An introduction to international coverage: a 1957 BBC story about Switzerland:




International affairs do not dominate the US newshole.



Current stories





War Coverage

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Effect of Japan Coverage on TV Viewership

I thought it was interesting to see some of the results of the Japan Tragedy on TV Viewership on the CNN vs. Fox News Battle. (Both Stories from Thursday Night 3/17)

From the Washington Post's TV Column:

On Friday in prime time, Fox News Channel maintained its lead over CNN, but it was a close race: FNC averaged 2.7 million viewers to CNN’s 2.6 million.

That day, CNN had pulled off the now rare feat of edging out FNC for the total day’s ratings lead.

CNN, which has taken a battering in the ratings (and in perception) of late, averaged 2.3 million viewers for the day last Friday — its biggest audience since the presidential inauguration in January 2009.

By Wednesday — the most recent day for which numbers are available — FNC was firmly back on top in the ratings, with an average of 2.5 million prime-time viewers to CNN’s 1.6 million. MSNBC was well behind, attracting 873,000 viewers.

Friday through Wednesday, CNN had averaged 1.9 million viewers and FNC 2.2 million. MSNBC averaged 807,000.

Given the American public’s ongoing interest in the tragedy in Japan, industry pundits are forecasting that CNN will beat MSNBC in prime time and in total day ratings for the month of March.

It would be the first time that CNN has accomplished such a ratings feat since Michael Jackson’s death in the summer of 2009.


From the NYTimes Media Decoder Blog:

Continuing interest in the breaking news out of Japan led CNN to a rare prime-time win over Fox News Wednesday night among the viewers most sought by news advertisers.

CNN’s lineup of hourlong programs averaged 679,000 viewers in the category of viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, edging the perennial leader, Fox News, which had 644,000. All of CNN’s programs, which were dedicated to the events in Japan, showed increases.

It was the first time CNN had moved ahead of Fox News in prime time among the 25-54 audience since August 2009, on a night that included coverage of the memorial to Senator Ted Kennedy.

"The CNN Effect" and Humanitarian Aid

In Chapter 11 of her book, Graber mentions the "CNN effect," a phenomenon whereby the U.S. intervenes in foreign affairs as a result of graphic media coverage. While Graber remains hesitant about the theory, she cites the media as greatly influencing U.S. humanitarian interventions.

A recent book review I read in The New Yorker discusses this idea, albeit with more emphasis on the consequences of aid itself. Below is the beginning of the article:
Alms Dealers
Can you provide humanitarian aid without facilitating conflicts?



In Biafra in 1968, a generation of children was starving to death. This was a year after oil-rich Biafra had seceded from Nigeria, and, in return, Nigeria had attacked and laid siege to Biafra. Foreign correspondents in the blockaded enclave spotted the first signs of famine that spring, and by early summer there were reports that thousands of the youngest Biafrans were dying each day. Hardly anybody in the rest of the world paid attention until a reporter from the Sun, the London tabloid, visited Biafra with a photographer and encountered the wasting children: eerie, withered little wraiths. The paper ran the pictures alongside harrowing reportage for days on end. Soon, the story got picked up by newspapers all over the world. More photographers made their way to Biafra, and television crews, too. The civil war in Nigeria was the first African war to be televised. Suddenly, Biafra’s hunger was one of the defining stories of the age—the graphic suffering of innocents made an inescapable appeal to conscience—and the humanitarian-aid business as we know it today came into being.


“There were meetings, committees, protests, demonstrations, riots, lobbies, sit-ins, fasts, vigils, collections, banners, public meetings, marches, letters sent to everybody in public life capable of influencing other opinion, sermons, lectures, films and donations,” wrote Frederick Forsyth, who reported from Biafra during much of the siege, and published a book about it before turning to fiction with “The Day of the Jackal.” “Young people volunteered to go out and try to help, doctors and nurses did go out to offer their services in an attempt to relieve the suffering. Others offered to take Biafran babies into their homes for the duration of the war; some volunteered to fly or fight for Biafra. The donors are known to have ranged from old-age pensioners to the boys at Eton College.” Forsyth was describing the British response, but the same things were happening across Europe, and in America as well.

The article draws an interesting connection between the media and U.S. aid culture. From where do our humanitarian inclinations really arise? You can finish reading the article at the address below:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Economist's timely analysis of NYT's paywall market strategy

Why would a paper want to punish its most loyal readers, who are more likely to live in the country and are thus worth more to advertisers, while letting casual, low-value readers snack on its content without paying?

The answer is that newspapers such as the New York Times have come to see the web in a different way. Although digital advertising revenues at the Times’s News Media Group grew by a healthy 18% between 2009 and 2010, to $212m, overall ad revenues fell by 4% and subscription revenues also fell. The New York Times has concluded (as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times concluded some years ago) that online advertising cannot possibly grow quickly enough to counteract the decline in paper advertising and readership that newspapers, by putting the content online for free, are almost certainly speeding. The web is great—but it is great not so much as a source of revenue but as a cheap way of attracting paying subscribers. It’s a shop window, not a business. Heavy users get the requests for money because they are most likely to become subscribers.

For the entire article: http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2011/03/grey_lady_builds_paywall

Friday, March 18, 2011

NY Times will start to charge frequent viewers

I got an email today from the NY Times saying that it will start charging frequent viewers to try to increase revenue. But will people pay?

I deleted the email but here's an article about it:

The Times Announces Digital Subscription Plan


The New York Times introduced a plan on Thursday to begin charging the most frequent users of its Web site $15 for a four-week subscription in a bet that readers will pay for news they are accustomed to getting free.

Beginning March 28, visitors toNYTimes.com will be able to read 20 articles a month without paying, a limit that company executives said was intended to draw in subscription revenue from the most loyal readers while not driving away the casual visitors who make up the vast majority of the site’s traffic.

Once readers click on their 21st article, they will have the option of buying one of three digital news packages — $15 every four weeks for access to the Web site and a mobile phone app (or $195 for a full year), $20 for Web access and an iPad app ($260 a year) or $35 for an all-access plan ($455 a year). All subscribers who take home delivery of the paper will have free and unlimited access across all Times digital platforms except, for now, e-readers like theAmazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook. Subscribers to The International Herald Tribune, which is The Times’s global edition, will also have free digital access.

No American news organization as large as The Times has tried to put its content behind a pay wall after allowing unrestricted access. The move is being closely watched by anxious publishers, which have warily embraced the Web and struggled with how to turn online journalism into a profitable business.

The rest of the Article can be found at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/business/media/18times.html


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Class Alum on the BBC

BBC television recently interviewed Helena Bottemiller. She offers some journalism takeaways from the experience:
1. Find a niche - that's the only way I was able to be considered an "expert" here (though this still makes me laugh, no one can be an expert at 24...but oh well).
2. Know your audience - I had to think about how I'd explain this to my grandma or someone who knows nothing about food policy (not my usual audience) - and I got stopped mid-sentence when referring to the "Lakers." The producer insisted I say "Lakers basketball team" instead so that viewers in, say, Iraq would understand the reference.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Harry Shearer on Journalism in the US

Harry Shearer, actor and radio show host, talks about the state of journalism in the US. He spends a long time discussing the news coverage of Katrina, which is of special interest to him because he is from New Orleans. He also jokes about the NPR video sting which caused Vivian Schiller to resign.

The video can be found on C-Span at this website:

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Actor-Harry-Shearer-Remarks-on-the-State-of-Journalism/10737420207/

He doesn't start talking until about six minutes into the video - I recommend skipping the introductions.

It's not quite Elmo...

...but here's footage of Mister Rogers testifying before Congress.

Campaign Ad for CMC Alum

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Media and the Disaster in Japan

Scott Gold and Hector Becerra write at The Los Angeles Times:
After the quake, it took 45 minutes for the tsunami to reach the coast of Japan — 45 minutes of knowing, of waiting, of bracing.

When it came, they were all glued to their televisions — a Jesuit priest in New York, an engineering professor in rural Oregon, a geophysicist in San Diego. What unfolded had never been broadcast live before: a 13-foot wall of mud that belittled human achievement, folding houses inside out, propelling yachts across miles of rice fields, rupturing oil refineries, sweeping trains from their tracks and killing hundreds.

By now, we're versed in bearing witness to the aftermath of disaster: limbs jutting out from collapsed buildings in Haiti, survivors using laundry to spell out "HELP US" on their rooftops after Hurricane Katrina. This was different — a disaster unfolding in visceral, wrenching real time, for viewers who were alternately spellbound and tortured by their inability to do anything about it.

Japan's plight came on a sunny Friday afternoon; the magnitude 8.9 earthquake, the largest to strike the area in more than a millennium, hit at 2:46 p.m. local time. Japan is not only an advanced economy but one of the most wired nations on earth; at one point Friday, there were 20 tweets a second coming out of Tokyo.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bell

Dan Wood writes at The Christian Science Monitor:

It started as a local story about small-city graft but quickly grew to become a national symbol of greed and failed government.

Nine months ago, the 40,000 residents of the city of Bell, Calif., – where 1 in 6 lives below the poverty line – became incensed with the discovery that several city officials were making six- and seven-figure salaries after creating secret boards and giving themselves outrageous raises.

Now, the light shined on the city of Bell by journalists, public officials, and the courts will reap large lessons from coast to coast, several political analysts say. As eight current and former officials await trial for fraud, Bell voters – one-fourth of the city’s population – will select five new city council members Tuesday from among 17 candidates in a recall election.

...

"The city of Bell is typical in that voters don’t pay much attention to their state and local legislative bodies, and the media are too stretched to look at each of the governmental jurisdictions within their territories,” says Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies. “Governmental officials in the smaller jurisdictions rely on this lack of attentiveness and interest. There are a lot of Bells throughout the county; we just don’t know about them.”

The Bias of NPR

http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/08/npr-executives-caught-on-tape-bashing-conservatives-and-tea-party-touting-liberals/

Interesting article about how NPR executive was caught "bashing" the Tea Party and Conservatives.

What is Journalism? By the LA Times


What is journalism? As a jour major, I'm interested to see how you'd define the term in an era where the news scene seems to evolve by the second. Thanks!
It’s a great (if philosophical) question.
Journalism is evolving — you are right about that. The technology is more complicated and some of the technologies make the content come at us faster and sometimes in greater amounts. And yet, in the end, people have always sought good stories to read and to write, so that’s the same as it ever was. 
In short, pageview, pixel or paper — it’s good storytelling.

Lots and lots of tips! How to submit an op-ed

http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/duke_community/oped.html

Ignore the last tip - "Here's a wild guess: You're hoping to publish your article in The New York Times, with The Washington Post andThe Wall Street Journal as backups. Well, welcome to the club. These and other national publications, such as Newsweek and USA Today, receive a staggering number of submissions, the overwhelming majority of which are rejected. You have a better shot at regional newspapers and, especially, at local papers, which almost always give preference to writers from the local area."


Go big or go home, CMC.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Staffer We Discussed

At Politico, Jake Sherman and Marin Cogan report:

Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the powerful Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has launched an inquiry into whether spokesman Kurt Bardella improperly shared e-mails from other reporters with a New York Times reporter writing a book on Washington’s political culture, POLITICO has learned.

Bardella has been cooperating extensively with the Times’s Mark Leibovich on the book, and Issa told POLITICO Monday that he would “get to the bottom” of exactly what Bardella shared with Leibovich.

On Tuesday morning, Issa fired Bardella as a result of his investigation.


...

Bardella has been of particular interest to reporters and Capitol Hill aides in recent months, after a New Yorker piece quoted him taking credit for his boss’s increased prominence in national politics and making somewhat impolitic remarks about reporters and women.

In his comments to POLITICO, Issa said that Bardella had been "about one nanosecond from not working on Capitol Hill anymore" after the New Yorker piece. Issa said Bardella "would have been fired" if he was not otherwise an exceptional young person.

Bardella also recently had an episode with former Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, now a contributor at The Daily Beast, in which Kurtz published an interview thinking he had been speaking to Issa when he had really been speaking to Bardella.

Kurtz, who later ran a correction for the mix-up, told POLITICO that he remains puzzled as to why Bardella did not correct him when he was addressing him as “Congressman” or when he sent an e-mail after the interview saying “thanks for getting me the congressman so quickly.”

At The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza recalls a key passage from his earlier article:

This long back and forth was the lead-in to a Bardella quote I used in the piece:

[R]eporters e-mail me saying, “Hey, I’m writing this story on this thing. Do you think you guys might want to investigate it? If so, if you get some documents, can you give them to me?” I’m, like, “You guys are going to write that we’re the ones wanting to do all the investigating, but you guys are literally the ones trying to egg us on to do that!”

To me that last quote was one of the most important things Bardella told me. The rest of it—that offices clash over how to leak info and that bookers and reporters are competitive—is interesting but relatively well known, and not very relevant to a piece about Darrell Issa. But that Bardella accused reporters of offering to collaborate with Issa as he launches what will inevitably be partisan investigations of the Obama Administration seemed jaw-dropping. This is exactly the dysfunctional investigator/reporter dynamic that in the nineteen-nineties fed frenzies over every minor Clinton scandal. In his short-lived career, Bardella was witness to the fact that it was all starting over in 2011, now that there was again a Republican House and a Democratic President. From what I know of what Bardella shared, the beat reporters who cover Issa and engaged in this kind of game with Bardella will be the ones most embarrassed by the e-mails that Leibovich possesses.


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