The ombudsman for National Public Radio has published the results of his investigation into a series on the South Dakota foster care system for native children. Edward Schumacher-Matos found serious deficiencies in the series, which had been awarded a Peabody Prize for journalistic excellence. He determined the series, which alleged that South Dakota was removing children from native homes in order to collect federal funds, did not offer proof, was inaccurate and incomplete, did not offer the state adequate opportunity to respond, and was unfair in tone. His investigation took 22 months to complete and he has produced six reports on what he concluded was a series that should not have run in its current form. NPR has, in turn, rejected the thrust of his criticism and stood by its stories.
Jay Rosen, the New York University media scholar, wonders in his latest Pressthink post whether new Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos will have the courage to challenge power and win. The Post has a history of doing so, he notes, and Bezos' moment will eventually come to test similar determination. He wonders if Bezos can do that, given that Amazon is already "enmeshed in the surveillance state" with a $600-million deal with the CIA on cloud computing. He writes: "It’s not enough to defy the government and reveal what it wants to keep secret. When you go up against the most powerful and secretive forces on the planet, you have to try to win."
The good news for the news business is that people are reading more news than ever on their tablets and smartphones. The less-good news is that people are spending less time on each visit. That's the conclusion of a new study by Localytics, a web analytics firm, which studied 100 million mobile devices and 500 applications over the last year. PandoDaily reports the data indicate people open the news apps 25 times monthly, up 39 per cent from 18 times a year earlier. But the duration of the visits decreased by 26 per cent to about 4.2 minutes daily. The study also indicates that tablets are the main device for news reading. They are used 50 times more than smartphones.