Some media stories of note for Friday, May 17, 2013:
Margaret Talbot, writing for The New Yorker online,
examines the recent spate of incidents involving the Obama Administration and the press. She argues that they have damaged the credibility of the government and threatened the freedom of the press. An effect, she fears, is the chilling of sources of information who fear their anonymity cannot be protected. The result of that will be fewer stories that explore significant secretive information and a reduction in civil liberties.BBC reports
on a new British study of 35,000 young people that suggests they now prefer to read on a screen than on paper. They engage in social networking and one-third prefer to read fiction on a screen. The National Literary Trust report, based on interviews with those eight to 16 years old, concluded that 52 per cent preferred a screen, while only 32 per cent preferred a print experience.
The controversy this week involving Bloomberg reporters monitoring the online activity of their clients on Bloomberg terminals has raised a series of ethical issues. The Associated Press has a look
at what experts feel is a shifting landscape in which more access to technology and user activity will permit greater access to consumer information once considered private --- and where privacy is not as respected as it once was.
James Breiner, writing for Poynter
, looks at recent developments in journalism education to teach students how to be entrepreneurial. With more opportunities to build businesses, and less likelihood of one-company careers, journalism schools are finding it valuable to impart business start-up and operational skills in their journalists to teach them how to create and manage their own companies.
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.
Media stories of note for Wednesday, May 1, 2013:
George Packer, writing for The New Yorker,
explores some of the recent exploits, good and bad, on online journalism. He concludes that speed kills. He also suggests that the recent successes of digital journalism will help the public recognize the value of professional journalists and help journalists recognize how much they're needed if they can, as part of the deal, exercise some self-restraint.
Robinson Meyer, writing for The Atlantic,
looks at the quiet growth of Betaworks and its involvement in many parts of the online news ecosystem with its recent acquisitions of such entities as Instapaper and Digg and ownership of such entities as Flow and ChartBeat. He hopes it remains stable enough to enjoy watching.
Taylor Miller Thomas, writing for Poynter,
examines the emergence of strategic news partnerships aimed at diversifying content. She identifies the effects: an increased understanding of new media, expanded coverage, new audiences, and a new context for existing audiences.
This week, The New Yorker adds two voices to the extensive discussion on the phone-hacking scandal and its implications for journalism.
Nicholas Lemann, the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, hopes the scandal
causes journalists to reflect upon their relationship to power. No matter that important information is often brought forward by unorthodox means, "a press pass is not a moral unlimited-ride card," he writes.
Anthony Lane, one of the paper's arts writers and a former Fleet Street journalist, looks
at the culture of News Corp. and its British publications in particular. It is a sharply critical and unflattering portrait, replete with many of the anecdotes in wide circulation about the Rupert Murdoch newspapers.
Eric Alterman's scholarly piece today in The New Yorker examines the tension of the newspaper in the digital age. It is a sympathetic, somewhat nostalgic look at print, but it also pokes into the viability of digital news media and offers a slightly hopeful take on the print future. Like many New Yorker articles, it seeks definitiveness.
He spends quite a bit of time on Huffington Post as a new model worth scrutinizing. He has a fair amount of criticism for the lethargy of change. But he also understands the economic challenge of financing high-quality reporting as advertising revenue fragments and detaches from the conventional media.
Particularly useful in the piece --- at a length only The New Yorker would execute in this hyperattentive age --- is the explanation of the elite/democratic tension inherent in media. Alterman has been a good voice on the loss of liberal media, but this piece parks that perspective --- with one exception, when he notes that the Bush Administration's low rating isn't necessarily echoed in mainstream media.