For Monday, March 10, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
Timothy Karr, writing for FreePress,
profiles Dunja Mijatovic, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's representative for press freedom. She has been shuttling between the Crimea and the rest of the Ukraine in recent days to attempt to restore operations of media services shuttered and to demand authorities investigate the murder of a journalist. Her role, admittedly challenged in these circumstances, is to enforce press freedoms in the OSCE's 57 member states.
Casey Newton, writing for The Verge
, argues that news personalization services have flailed, if not failed, in the media landscape. He cites the recent all-stock sale of Zite to Flipboard, and the closure of several such sites by others, as evidence that the category isn't lifting off. Flipboard may yet solve the challenge of delivering content, but the conversations and serendipitous qualities other sites deliver is an advantage. "The truth is that the news remains stubbornly impersonal," he writes. "Algorithms have proven brilliant in many things, but newsgathering isn't one of them."
Jessica Gresko, writing for The Associated Press,
examines the landmark Sullivan libel ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court 50 years later and finds its impact endures in the digital era. The ruling came as a result of officials' efforts to reduce the civil rights coverage by The New York Times. It made it much harder for public figures to win lawsuits and money over false statements that damaged reputations. Even if technology today permits more people to write damaging statements, there is also a greater opportunity to reply. Courts have come to consider how false statements are a reality in an environment of open debate.
For Friday, March 7, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
There are relaunches, and then there are relaunches. Witness Newsweek, sold for a dollar only a few years ago, shuttered, now being brought back to print life with today's immensely appealing cover story purportedly on the founder of Bitcoin
. Problem is, not everyone agrees he is who he is deemed to be. He certainly denies it.
Gawker reports Newsweek stands behind the story.
Someone isn't telling the truth. There are plenty of takes on this dispute, and Felix Salmon of Reuters
has something comprehensive on it.
Americans clearly haven't abandoned the television set, no matter the new digital distractions. New data suggest
the typical American continues to spend 34 hours a week glued to the first screen, Re/code reports. The younger you are, the less you watch (those over 65 are clocking in 50.5 hours weekly), and while it's true that there has been some decline in live TV viewing, t's not necessarily so that they're not watching TV. They're just delaying their viewing through the recording device.
Steven Waldman, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, refutes Jeff Jarvis' recent post
that suggested philanthropy is misplaced with a journalism non-profit operation. Waldman says non-profits can be sustainable and can serve needs profit-seeking firms can't or won't. Philanthropy is very much needed in the sector, he says.
For Thursday, March 6, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
The Guardian's Roy Greenslade reports
that the self-appointed Crimean prime minister has closed a Ukrainian television station, 1 + 1, and replaced the frequency with a Russian channel, Rossiya. The channel's broadcast has been terminated, although it is available on cable, satellite and online. In recent days armed guards have barred journalists from entering the peninsula and have been detained as Russia wrests control of the local broadcaster.
***It took a few days, but others are weighing in on Marc Andreessen's vision of a wildly larger and more robust news business. Andreessen wrote last week of an exponentially larger news business with a massive audience grasp that would yield a vibrant business model, essentially a giant Twitter stream of benefit for all. But Ryan Chittum, writing for Columbia Journalism Review, and Rick Edmonds, writing for Poynter, do not exactly concur. Chittum says the problem is that the Internet has unbundled advertising from content, and there is no putting them back together. Edmonds says there is too much competition to suggest the news business will grow heavily.
Getty Images announced Wednesday it is opening its vault of 35 million photos to permit a limited free use of them online. Kristen Hare, writing for Poynter,
nots the limits are notable: non-commercial blogs will embed them, Twitter to share them, and Tumblr pages will feature them. In the days ahead it is likely many will test the boundary, but it is a major step forward for amateurs who want better images to augment their posts.
For Tuesday, March 5, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes in its latest bulletin
how PBS' On The Media reported
this week that journalists are being detained in some cases as they enter the United States for "suspicionless searches." The program examined the plight of producer Sarah Abdurrahman as she, family and friends tried to come back to the U.S. from Canada. The program said several other incidents point to a "growing and disturbing" problem of unnecessary delays and intimidation of journalists.
The phone-hacking trial continues in Britain and today saw some of the most intense examination
of defendant Rebekah Brooks by prosecutors who argued she knew for years about the practice and the cover-up. Brooks has been testifying for nine days. Court heard
owner Rupert Murdoch asked her not to resign when it came to light the phone of a murdered girl had been hacked.
A former journalist has been sentenced to two years in prison
in Vietnam for blogging critically about parliamentary censure in his country. Truong Duy Nhat had quit his job and started an anti-government blog when he was charged and tried. The United States has criticized the sentence, which comes in the wake of Vietnam gaining a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council.
For Tuesday, March 4, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
We have heard the debate on who is a journalist. Now Internet veteran Dave Winer wants to debate
who is a blogger. He doesn't like the term as it's applied to the professional act of journalism. Blogging, he argues, is an amateur thing, and bloggers are often experts who share their knowledge freely. Reporters usurping the word are devaluing themselves and distorting the word. He thinks we need a new word.
Marc Fisher, meanwhile, wonders if accuracy is all that essential in the new business model of journalism that prides speed over veracity. He writes in the Columbia Journalism Review
that a middle ground is emerging: "When is information sufficiently baked to be served up as accurate?" He says some degree of professionalism is essential, but absolute perfectionism prevents journalism from happening at all.
Of course, accuracy can matter. The New York Times determined this week that it should correct its 1853 report
on the kidnapping of Solomon Northup, the slave made contemporarily famous by the adaptation of his memoir for the Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave. It turns out there was an error in the story, Andrew Beaujon writes for Poynter
, and the Times has corrected it.
For Monday, March 3, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
Dean Starkman, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review,
identifies what he argues is the consensus view on journalism's future. Among them: paywalls are necessary but not a panacea for serious news organizations; the traditional news story retains its primacy; crowdsourcing has its place, but not a substantial one; coverage of state and local governments has suffered and is appalling.
The situation in the Ukraine poses immense challenges for foreign reporting, but there is no small distress for domestic journalists, either. Masked gunmen broke into
and seized the Crimean Investigative Journalism Center.
No one was injured, but the center no longer is functioning at its office.
PandoDaily last week wrote
that First Look Media founder Pierre Omidyar had been supplying support to Ukrainian groups opposed to the government. That set off a slanging match with Glenn Greenwald, who noted this
was not any grand revelation and that, more importantly, this was not any big deal, in that his journalism was unfettered. Jeff Jarvis, meanwhile, weighed in by
declaring First Look could help itself by being less defensive and more assertive in this space. It should declare its principles to assure its audience. Others indicate, though, that Greenwald has already done that
For Friday, February 28, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
Doc Searls, the insightful Internet veteran, posts a typically shrewd note
on the struggle news organizations are having with finding the right way to price their digital and print offerings. His idea: price them the same, charge for the news, and give away anything older than a day online free. He thinks the apps should be less complicated and fettered by welcome pages. And he believes there should be no charge for archival access: it's a waste of effort to charge and gets peanuts in return.
Clay Shirky, another insightful Internet veteran, contributes an essay
to Politico on what the splintering of television has done to politics. The array of offerings in the cable/satellite age vanquished "reasonable" debate and gave rise to more radical camps. Television treats the audience as targets, not participants, and new tools are emerging that campaigns would be wise to enlist to corral committed voters to spread the word.
The American Press Institute site features a question-and-answer session
with Angie Drobnic Holan, the top editor at PolitiFact, the fact-checking/finger-wagging service from the Tampa Bay Times. She argues that fact-checking is, or at least ought to be, at the core of every organization. There is no secret about the approach, just a consistent effort.
For Thursday, February 27, 2014, here are some media stories of note:Al Jazeera today deemed
a global day of action to protest the trials of four of its journalists in Egypt accused of supporting the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. The four have been held since December. Their arrests prompted an international outcry, so far to no avail.
Adam Lashinsky, writing for Fortune,
examines the move by LinkedIn to open its blogging platform (eventually) to all its members. He wonders if the company is becoming a publisher. LinkedIn prefers to see itself differently, with its publishing tool as a stronger connector within its network, a better driver of advertising revenue and recruitment information, and an inducement for more premium accounts. Lashinsky believes its next move may be to hire journalists.
Three News Corp. reporters, a prison guard and a former police official have been charged
in the U.K. probe into bribing public officials. Meantime, the phone-hacking trial has heard owner Rupert Murdoch wanted Rebekah Brooks
as editor to make the Sun more fun and less about politics and that Brooks consented to payment
to a public official for information when she believed there was an overwhelming public interest.
For Wednesday, February 26, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
Marc Andreessen, the veteran Internet developer and founder of Netscape, argues in an essay
on his blog that the future is immensely bright for news --- as in exponentially larger, due to the ability to reach audiences. But he prescribes significant change: better ads, an aversion by business to free provision of good content, a tier of paid high-end content, philanthropy as support, crowdfunding and bitcoin payments, among others. The result will be a commingled media, one large Twitter stream. He argues some factors hold back the business: bloated cost structures, a focus on objectivity, among others. It won't be easy, he says.
The days of simply grazing among your Facebook friends are over. CNET notes
the social media platform is beginning to insert more than advertising into your NewsFeed: posts it feels you might want to consume. If you've Liked a page, chances are Facebook will show you something it tags as a way to widen your view.
Bob Garfield, the host of NPR's On The Media, writes of the Faustian pact
native advertising offers journalism in its existential crisis. He wonders why advertisers, if they're so confident of their brands, feel it necessary to emulate journalism to sell themselves. He also wonders why journalism is taking this short-term return with long-term consequences.
For Tuesday, February 25, 2014, here are some media stories of note:
Ellyn Angelotti, writing for Poynter,
thoroughly examines the new U.S. Department of Justice guidelines that aim to ease the government's intersection with journalists in investigations. Rather than use law enforcement tools to seek information from journalists routinely, there now must be extraordinary circumstances to prevent their newsgathering activities. Angelotti identifies several attributes that improve conditions for journalists, but also notes there will be times that the hand of the law reaches in. The new guidelines arrive after considerable attention on surveillance practices and government efforts to compel journalists to divulge sources.
Thomas Rose, writing for J-Source,
notes what might be a growing trend in Canada for authorities to issue "production orders" by courts that compel journalists to surrender material obtained in their newsgathering. The practice undermines journalism, Rose writes, and risks public trust of its independence.
Rick Edmonds, also writing for Poynter, delves into a Newspaper Association of America report suggests more than half of readers are print-only consumers. While digital audiences grow, the mainstay of the paper's reach is ink-on-paper. Mobile-only audiences are quite small, the report notes.