Some media stories of note for Wednesday, May 15, 2013:The Guardian is reporting
that China is attempting to curtail the blogging activities of writers and intellectuals by closing their social media accounts. In recent weeks notable social justice critics have been silenced in social media. There were other recent efforts to curtail mainstream media's use of western-based content.
The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, has defended the seizure of telephone records of The Associated Press. The New York Times reports
he says the article that prompted the seizure arose from a serious leak of information with serious national security implications that put Americans at risk. The Times' public editor, Margaret Sullivan,
weighs in with a critique of the Obama Administration as one of the most secretive and threatening to the press, with implications for readers and democracy. The Times' media writer, David Carr,
looks at how it's not only government snooping on us, but all of us snooping on all of us. The New Yorker is releasing
the technical specs on Strongbox, software that permits reporters to cover their tracks as they reach out to the magazine. It uses a particular network and masks your IP address, information about your computer and browser, and won't plant cookies or third-party content. AllThingsDigital surmises
that the release of the program, created by the late Aaron Swartz, is aimed at letting other organizations create their own versions.
Some media stories of note for Monday, April 22, 2013:
There is a thread of commentary in recent days about the intersection of social media with last week's events in Massachusetts.
Ali Velshi, the recently departed CNN anchor for Al Jazeera, writes about the pain
that comes with making a mistake in this environment of merciless social media criticism. His former employer was often criticized last week for its hasty coverage, and as David Carr notes in his latest Media Equation column,
the impact left some nasty marks. Velshi notes the pressure to be first, or at least not to be last, but also that reporters understand the importance of being correct. CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge notes the same in his recent column,
but stresses the need for accuracy over speed.
Andy Carvin, the National Public Radio journalist who has been at the forefront of using social media, reflects on the value of the new platforms in a speech to the International Symposium for Online Journalism
. He calls on journalists to use social media in a different way, in particular to slow down in their breathlessness about reporting and to be transparent with the audience about what is known and not.
Felix Salmon's latest blog for Reuters
examines the phenomenon last week of how mainstream media integrated social media's coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the manhunt. Salmon notes the indiscretion of many mainstream outlets in reporting whatever information appeared to surface without verification. He worries the social media tail is wagging the mainstream dog. Media transparency is good, he notes, but: "Just because your readers can peer behind the curtain, doesn't mean you have any responsibility to yank it open yourself."
Media stories of note for Monday, April 15, 2013:
Ross Douthat, in his blog on culture for The New York Times,
challenges the notion of "bipartisanthink" in news media. He notes the collision of the traditional premise of an impartial media and the newer practice of ideological media, but he sees parochialism as a major problem for mainstream outlets in condescending on which issues to cover and to underplay stories it does not find valid. He sees an opportunity for mainstream media to lean in to Internet traits and offer greater diversity and a wider range of journalistic ideals.
David Carr's latest Media Equation column
for The New York Times deals with the emerging consumer options that threaten the profitability and structure of the television business. He identifies organizations like Netflix, Dish and others that are breaking the traditional relationship between programming and advertising, and thus the traditional business model. Carr notes that even the programmers themselves are moving in that direction. Witness, he said, the CBS Masters app.
Tom Rosenstiel's latest column for Poynter
identifies some of the challenges today for journalism education. More than anything, he says, a better conversation is needed on how to groom students for the craft. But he lists four principal ingredients for stronger schools: technical skills, journalistic responsibility, business awareness, and the intellectual discipline of verification.
Media stories of note for Monday:
Anette Novak, an international media consultant, suggests the audience should be asked to grade the quality of journalistic content to help improve it. In her latest blog
for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association, she says the creation of paywalls is only part of the challenge for news organizations --- they must also demonstrate what they're doing is of quality. "As an experiment in 2013, news organizations should let consumers show the way forward by asking them to grade the angle, accuracy, and strength of storytelling in our journalism," she writes. "What if the wisdom of the crowd helps us deliver the caviar content?"
Several news organizations permit readers to help correct online content through submitted forms or alert buttons. The New York Times says it is working on a more sophisticated system for its content. Its senior editor for standards, Greg Brock, tells Journalism.co.uk
the existing approach is not strong enough and the Times is working on a "fairly simple" electronic corrections form.
David Carr, the media columnist for The New York Times, weighs in on the controversy
involving the publication of gun ownership data in a New York town. He describes himself as an absolutist on the need for records to be public, but makes a distinction when it comes to publication of content. There has to be a strong public purpose, and he felt this publication didn't meet the test.
"We live at a time when data of all kinds can be unleashed with very little friction; part of the value of the news business comes from making sense of it all," he writes. "When we push the button on something, we expect people to pay attention. We should make sure we are pushing that button for the right reason."
David Carr, in his latest Media Equation column
for The New York Times, reports on how traditional media aren't faring badly, at least for the time being. Media companies have managed in 2012 to perform ahead of many other industries and cope with change. "Eventually we may be right — the sky will fall and the business will collapse — but for the time being, the sky over traditional media is blue and it’s raining green," he writes.
Jay Rosen, the New York University journalism professor, offers a view
on the emerging model of journalism that emphasizes truth-telling and eschews the notion of objectivity or the division between news and opinion. "The outlines of the new system are coming into view. Accuracy and verification, fairness and intellectual honesty–traditional virtues for sure–join up with transparency, 'show your work,' the re-voicing of individual journalists, fact-checking, calling BS when needed and avoiding false balance. Progress is slow, we’re not there yet, but this is the direction things are headed in," he writes.
Stuart Leavenworth, writing for the Sacramento Bee,
examines the plight of the newspaper editorial and the debate about its place in a media environment of emerging forms of engagement and a reduction in the one-to-many and top-down traditional media approach. He concludes, as an editor responsible for that function, there is a role for them as adcocates as part of a broadly-based newsroom effort to involve the audience ,
The AOL Jobs site
, citing a recent book, notes that media jobs rank third and journalism jobs sixth in attracting those with the characteristics of psychopaths.
Judging by the public comments, there is great surprise and some outrage at recent revelations that many news media and newsmakers engage in a delicate dance of approving quotes before publication.In the last few weeks The New York Times identified quote approval in Washington as endemic of the craft. Since then several organizations have stepped forward to acknowledge quote approval as a condition of participation in coverage. Even bestselling author Michael Lewis has had to concede he required quote approval in exchange for access to Barack Obama for eight months.Now the media columnist David Carr has weighed in, rather unhappy at the extent of quote approval but realistic about its place in today's journalism --- and even in his own work.
Carrisn't a purist. He recognizes that reporters often don't take accurate notes and need to ensure there is accuracy and authenticity in their work by essentially asking sources for a second run at expressing themselves.But Carr also believes the time has come for pushback.
"Journalism in its purest form is a transaction." he writes. "But inch by inch, story by story, deal by deal, we are giving away our right to ask a simple question and expect a simple answer, one that can’t be taken back. It may seem obvious, but it is still worth stating: The first draft of history should not be rewritten by the people who make it."
The New York Times' David Carr chronicles the extensive effort
by NBC's The Today Show to make right on an audio editing mistake that created an error.
The clip left the impression that George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, uttered racist statements. The Today Show fired or disciplined several employees and issued a statement apologizing.
What it didn't do, Carr noted, was tell its audience it had erred. Carr examines the case as an example of American television culture about correcting the record.
"Give NBC credit for dealing with a big error that threatened to sow further mayhem on a very delicate story," he wrote. "It’s just too bad it failed to remember that the fix for bad journalism generally includes more journalism. The kind that goes on the air."
In his latest The Media Equation column,
The New York Times' David Carr notes the problem of the "burped up" thought that is Twitter, particularly when it intersects with professional expectations.Carr cites the recent suspension of CNN's Roland Martin following a Tweet during last week's Super Bowl. Carr writes a thoughtful and self-deprecating look at the challenge of using social media when his employer has high standards.
The instant judgment isn't always congruent with the overall judgment.He concludes that 140 characters makes it difficult to be journalistic, even if it is fun and even if is a requirement.
In recent days a debate has surfaced on the ethics of TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and his new fund for start-up companies. The specific issue: How can Arrington continue to write for TechCrunch
(now owned by AOL) when he has venture capital (some of it AOL's) in the mix.As it turns out, he has gone to the sidelines. But the handling of his case and its implications have stirred a healthy discussion in the craft about conflicts of interest, preferential treatment, and whether there are new boundaries emerging of acceptable practice.
In the midst of this, the head of AOL has suggested TechCrunch might have had different standards than its journalistic outlets.The latest to weigh in is the media columnist for the New York Times, David Carr, whose writing today is withering on most everyone involved.
Carr mainly registers disbelief the situation got this far, but he identifies the central problems for journalism as it deals with new challenges in reporting on technology.
The New York Times' David Carr has a take
--- and a relatively negative one at that --- on Rupert Murdoch's plan to create a firewall and charge for online content at his newspaper Web sites.
Carr said he's personally unlikely to pay for something he now consumes free and expects other consumers are in the same place and space. But he does ask if Murdoch has one more revolution left in him.
While no expects a full firewall around all of the News Corp. content, Carr believes Murdoch will have difficulty generalizing the narrower successes now experienced at his Wall Street Journal and the rival Financial Times.
"The deeper problem for Mr. Murdoch and every other newspaper owner is that although the revenue picture for newspapers has changed considerably in the last two years, the consumer is still stuck on zero when it comes to what he or she will pay for the vast majority of content," he writes.