Media matters 2010

Written by  //  December 31, 2010  //  Beryl Wajsman, John Moore, Media  //  No comments

GlobalPost
Mission: GlobalPost has been one of the leaders in the movement to create new, more sustainable models for journalism at a time when news organizations everywhere are struggling with historic forces of change driven by technology, new consumer habits, and an eroding economic support system for traditional media. Our particular mission is to help fill the enormous void that has grown up in coverage of the world by US news organizations. More than ever before in history, we need knowledge of other countries and of the global forces that are impacting our economy, our environment, and our very security.
That is why GlobalPost exists and why we are working so hard to offer excellence in global reporting while also building a company with the financial strength to support our journalism mission. I am proud to report that GlobalPost is making excellent progress and in an effort to keep you, our readers, informed let me share just a few recent highlights. …
Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism: The State of the News Media 2010 is the seventh edition of our annual report on the health and status of American journalism.
(Vanity Fair October 2007) Michael Wolff: Is This the End of News?
March 2009 – Two thoughtful pieces on the future of news and the print media
Steven Johnson: Old Growth Media And The Future Of News
When you hear people sound alarms about the future of news, they often gravitate to two key endangered species: war reporters and investigative journalists. Will the bloggers get out of their pajamas and head up the Baghdad bureau? Will they do the kind of relentless shoe-leather detective work that made Woodward and Bernstein household names? These are genuinely important questions, and I think we have good reason to be optimistic about their answers. But you can’t see the reasons for that optimism by looking at the current state of investigative journalism in the blogosphere, because the new ecosystem of investigative journalism is in its infancy. There are dozens of interesting projects being spearheaded by very smart people, some of them nonprofits, some for-profit. But they are seedlings.
I think it’s much more instructive to anticipate the future of investigative journalism by looking at the past of technology journalism.
Clay Shirky: Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable
Print media does much of society’s heavy journalistic lifting, from flooding the zone — covering every angle of a huge story — to the daily grind of attending the City Council meeting, just in case. This coverage creates benefits even for people who aren’t newspaper readers, because the work of print journalists is used by everyone from politicians to district attorneys to talk radio hosts to bloggers. The newspaper people often note that newspapers benefit society as a whole. This is true, but irrelevant to the problem at hand; “You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model. So who covers all that news if some significant fraction of the currently employed newspaper people lose their jobs?


Fifty-seven journalists killed in 2010

Fewer journalists were killed in 2010 than the previous year but more were kidnapped, Reporters Without Borders said in its annual report.
(BBC) … Pakistan, Iraq and Mexico seeing the most deaths. Criminal gangs and militias were increasingly to blame, while the number killed in war zones fell.
Media Law Outrage: Hungary’s ‘Orbanization’ Is Worrying Europe
The fact that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has just cold-bloodedly pushed through a law that muzzles the press, only a few days before he steps onto the pan-European stage, is just the final straw. It has been a last, and possibly decisive step towards autocracy. No other European politician will have as much power to implement such drastic measures against critical media as Orbán, whose right-wing populist Fidesz Party has a two-thirds majority in parliament. The new, 170-page law attempts to regulate all television and radio stations, newspapers and Internet sites. It even applies to blogs and foreign media available in Hungary.
27 December
In ‘Daily Show’ Role on 9/11 Bill, Echoes of Murrow
Did the bill pledging federal funds for the health care of 9/11 responders become law in the waning hours of the 111th Congress only because a comedian took it up as a personal cause?
“I don’t even know if there was a deal, to be honest with you, before his show,” said Kenny Specht, the founder of the New York City Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation, who was interviewed by Mr. Stewart on Dec. 16.
That show was devoted to the bill and the comedian’s effort to right what he called “an outrageous abdication of our responsibility to those who were most heroic on 9/11.” Politico adds more historical context. However, the best take is  He’s No Murrow, He’s Stewart, and That’s Plenty.
26 December
A yuletide parachute at a major Canadian broadcaster
(Globe & Mail editorial) Jim Shaw, the CEO of Shaw Communications Inc. – both a cable and a broadcasting company, as well as a supplier of forms of telecommunication – retired at the age of 53 in November. The board of directors awarded him a pension of $495,833 a month, or $5.95-million a year. … Canada should consider removing nationalistic ownership restrictions; there are more direct ways to encourage Canadian culture. Failing that, specially protected industries such as broadcasting should be held to a higher standard of corporate governance – at the very least to greater explanation of extraordinary compensation, and not just tucked away in a footnote.
23 December
(Radio New Zealand International) Independent media in Tonga upset at ban on coverage of PM’s swearing in
21 December
Jon Stewart Did What Pundits and Reporters Should Have Done
20 December
No Joke: By pushing for the 9/11 first responders health bill, Jon Stewart steps onto the political playing field.
(Slate) Last week, Stewart stepped onto the field. The change came after Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would provide $7.4 billion in medical benefits to firefighters, police officers, and health workers who got sick from working at Ground Zero on and after 9/11. Stewart didn’t just mock the 42 Republicans who refused to consider the bill until the Bush tax cuts were extended. He ripped them apart. “I can’t wait for them to take to the floor to talk about why their party hates first responders,” he said. He shredded Sen. Mike Enzi’s argument that the bill would lead to waste, fraud, and abuse by pointing to Enzi’s support for corruption-riddled spending in Iraq. Last week, he did a follow-up segment, “Worst Responders,” in which he called the refusal to pass the 9/11 bill “an outrageous abdication of our responsibility to those who were most heroic on 9/11.” The bill would even be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes. “It’s a win-win-win-win-just [bleep] do it!” he yelled. He also blasted the media for failing to cover the story, noting that the only cable news network to devote a full segment to the issue was Al Jazeera. He then interviewed four first responders—a fireman, a police officer, a Department of Transportation worker, and an engineer—who suffered illnesses as a result of their work at Ground Zero. The segment had funny moments. But the jokes didn’t come first.
15 December
The WikiLeaks (Taking Stock of WikiLeaks) saga continues – should Assange [fascinating profile] stay behind bars? Or is he a folk hero, robbing the rich of their control of information and delivering it to the poor (world at large?).
7 December
WikiLeaks Data Dump Drives News
(Pew Research Center) Two topics dominated the news agenda last week. Attention to the economy reached its highest level in 20 months and a major document dump cemented WikiLeaks’ status as a significant newsmaker.
30 November
Releasing, reporting, or dumping?
(The Economist) … I think the current dump of diplomatic cables is basically a poor editorial decision. I think the format of “document dumps” is an attempt to evade the very idea that the organisation is making editorial decisions, to make it merely a neutral throughput for leaked information. But I don’t think that works. I think it’s clear that the institution of WikiLeaks needs to recognise that it is making editorial decisions, and that those decisions need to take place in a fashion at least as transparent as WikiLeaks would like corporate and governing institutions to be. Basically, I think WikiLeaks needs an ethical review board. [We applaud the entire tone of this piece.]
18 November
WorldCrunch: making global news accessible
(Editor’s Weblog) All news can be global and local, declares the website of new start-up WorldCrunch, whose mission is to provide English translations of news articles from around the world. “What we’re looking for is to provide a global view of the world,” co-founder Jeff Israely told the Editors Weblog, explaining that global news should always be relevant in a local sense also.
The goal is to bring together a selection of articles from around the world, maybe 20 to 30 a day, carefully chosen by knowledgeable journalists, that will deepen the Anglophone public’s knowledge of global affairs [italics added]. It will be a general news site, covering topics from politics and economics to culture and entertainment, the only criteria being that stories have value for a global reader.
31 October
Breaking News: Condé Nast/Wired Acquires Reddit
(Tech Crunch) Reddit is a social news site that has always played second fiddle to Digg, although Reddit does have an active and loyal userbase. Users praise Reddit for having a very quick load time and no advertising. Like Digg, news stories on Reddit are submitted by users, and other users vote up or down on the story. When it gets enought “up” votes, the story appears on the home page.
Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert host Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Mall
With midterm elections looming and Democrats bracing for a historic thumping, the two comedians reined in their three-hour show to nonpartisan bits, musical entertainment and gentle ribbing of the purported enemies of incivility. The denizens of the Capitol, visible behind the stage, escaped their usual excoriation.
But at the rally’s conclusion, Stewart changed his tone and his outfit. Having swapped a black T-shirt and blazer for a suit and tie, the comedian argued that the rally’s target was the caustic level of discourse in Washington, and its nasty echoes on cable television’s 24-hour news cycle. Stewart said that noisy debate obscured a reality that he perceived: that everyone throughout the country had found a way to work together.
22 October
Reporters Without Borders’ world press freedom index criticises France, Italy
According to the 2010 world press freedom index from Reporters Without Borders (or Reporters Sans Frontières, RSF), France and Italy trail the rest of Western Europe, ranked 44th and 49th respectively out of the 178 countries rated. Northern Europe leads the table, with Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland sharing joint first place. “These six countries set an example in the way they respect journalists and news media and protect them from judicial abuse,” and RSF emphasised their continual progress, praising in particular the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative and Sweden’s Press Freedom Act.
8 September
The End of News, Part II
We’ve seen way too many articles recently about newspapers in financial trouble: closing bureaus, cutting back on commissioned pieces that require in-depth reporting, and erecting paywalls for their online editions in an attempt to reverse the exodus of subscribers expecting to get all their news for free. While the physical print model of news journals might disappear relatively soon — which will instantly eliminate any such news source from the 1/5 of Americans who rarely use or have access to the Internet, and don’t use smart phones — it doesn’t mean that what they do also needs to end. As the future of these institutions seems increasingly in peril, I recently began to notice some of the incredibly important things they do and have done.
8 September
Qur’an burning day to go ahead despite death threats
(The Guardian) Pastor Terry Jones to go ahead with Qur’an burning day despite Hillary Clinton saying plan is disrespectful and disgraceful
7 September
Terry Jones, The Man Behind “Burn A Quran Day”
(CBS News) Pastor Terry Jones was little known outside Gainesville, Florida until his Koran burning plan went international with groups from the VFW to the State Department protesting, and General David Petraeus warning that the images of burning the Quran could endanger U.S. troops.
But a deposition obtained by CBS News from a court case last month raises question about how much Pastor Jones even knows about his controversial cause.
1 September
Postmedia debuts new look
18 June
Court OK’s Canwest newspaper sale
(CBC) An Ontario Superior Court judge gave the go-ahead Friday for a group of creditors led by Paul Godfrey, the CEO of the National Post, to buy parent company Canwest’s entire newspaper division
The approval from Judge Sarah Pepall was one of the crucial steps for the newspaper division to emerge from insolvency restructuring.
14 June
Newspapers finding new sources of revenue, OECD says
“Large country-by-country and title-by-title differences and the data currently do not lend themselves to making the case for ‘the death of the newspaper,’” states the report.
“While it is clear that newspapers and other more formalized news outlets are experiencing threats and challenges to their more traditional business models from the Internet, it is also true that we are experiencing a period of great opportunity that must be seized by industry to ensure the success of news outlets with the corresponding benefits to society and democracy that they offer.”
10 May
Maziar Bahari: Justice, Iranian Style
The sentence just handed down against me in absentia by Tehran’s courts tells you more about the regime than about my ‘crimes.’
(Newsweek) … I can write these lines with my tongue firmly in my cheek from the safety of my house in London, of course, but more than 30 journalists, writers, and bloggers are still languishing in Iran’s prisons. Dozens of others are either out on bail or furlough and can be put in prison anytime the Revolutionary Guards desire. Hundreds of other Iranians are in jail for charges that are even more absurd than mine. Five activists were executed on May 8, and 25 others are on death row.
6 April – another incomprehensible move by CBC
Barbara Budd: The Voice, interrupted
(Globe & Mail) The co-host of CBC Radio One’s As it Happens … announced her departure last Monday after 17 years on the air. Since she started on As it Happens the day of Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, Ms. Budd has worked with some of the CBC’s leading journalists, including Alan Maitland, Michael Enright, Mary Lou Finlay and Ms. Off. She works part-time – coming in at 3:30 in the afternoon to record her contributions, delivering a funny, sometimes serious or cheeky counterpoint that helped continue the show’s popularity, 42 years after its inception.
25 March
Sorry Ann Coulter, Canada’s Just Not That Into You
(HuffPost) So, when did Ann Coulter start being afraid of Canadians? Well, this week, apparently, when a crowd of roughly 200 college students (the AP puts the number as high as 2,000 whereas both student eyewitnesses and the Ottawa police assert the number was closer to 200) of every political stripe protested her speech at the University of Ottawa, prompting her to cancel it due to “security concerns.”
22 March
Ann Coulter visit sets off furor
18 March
CNN veteran Christiane Amanpour moves to ABC News
(Reuters) – Veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour was named on Thursday to anchor the ABC News’ Sunday morning program “This Week” starting in August, after 27 years as an international correspondent for CNN.

2009

17 October
David Rohde: 7 Months, 10 Days in Captivity

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