Healthcare reform has agitated right-wing extremists and moneyed interests in the United States for some time — during the presidencies of FDR and Truman as well as Clinton and Obama, most recently — but where do the objections originate from, and particularly those which are known to be based on complete untruths? Some of these lies start with or are repeated by well-known right-wing media personalities, but there are other people who get the ball rolling, who are perhaps less well-known. Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey originated one of the current myths more commonly known as "death panels", but despite her attempts to market herself as a folksy voice fighting for the well-being of senior citizens, she has been an effective advocate for the interests of private health insurance companies since the early 1990s. [more inside]
Almost three years ago, AOL started on a path towards being a "low-cost producer of high-quality content at scale" when they purchase Weblogs, Inc. in late 2006. At the beginning of 2009, AOL count[ed] more than 75 sites in its publishing portfolio and plans to add 30 more in the coming year, all gathered under Media Glow. AOL currently has approximately 1,500 content-writing staff, around 1,000 of those people are working full time for AOL, the rest are freelancing. That's twice the number from a year ago, and AOL has set the goal of doubling or tripling the total by next year. The TechCrunch article states that these writers include former journalists at BusinessWeek, New York Times, USA Today, ESPN, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Consumer Reports, Condé Nast and scores of regional and national newspapers and magazines. In an interview, Marty Moe, SVP of AOL Media, said: "Principally, we have none of the legacy costs associated with producing print publications, for example. We don't own printing presses, or fleets of delivery trucks. We don't have the elaborate editorial structures geared to producing products over a printing press." (via)
The NYT reports that GE has brokered a deal between MSNBC and Fox News to "reconcile" Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly, preventing further criticism of each other or GE. The deal went into effect June 1, the very same day Olbermann declared he was "quarantining" Fox, avoiding discussion of the channel in the future. Mr. Olbermann, who is on vacation, said by e-mail message, “I am party to no deal.” Glenn Greenwald breaks down the political consequences of the deal.
Can the New York Times and Washington Post survive on a pay-wall business model if they do it together?
In a new essay entitled Build the Wall, David Simon (who was a Baltimore Sun reporter before he produced The Wire) argues that if the larger newspaper industry is to survive, The New York Times and Washington Post must start charging readers for access to their websites (preferably done as a single action in concert with each other) — John Gruber, Dave Winer, and the folks at Gawker disagree, and Steven Berlin Johnson argues that while the future for newspapers might be quite bleak, the future for journalism and high quality analysis is actually quite bright. Meanwhile, the Times is currently doing market research to see if it's readers would be willing to pay $5 a month for online access, and the Associated Press announced it's intent to build a new news DRM system that will enable users to “consume, mash up and share AP content based on rights”.
Suing for libel, UK newspaper proprietor Richard Desmond made a point of denying that he exerts any influence over stories appearing in his papers. He lost his case today, but reading his paper's website, you'd be forgiven for thinking he'd actually won it! [more inside]
Dream World News reports on the current events of the subconscious with the highest of journalistic standards. [more inside]
Gaia Photos is "Your global team of local photojournalists," with contributions ranging from Nepal to Canada, and Mongolia to Texas. via The Press Photographer's Year 2009.
An investigation by the Guardian newspaper has uncovered a trail of hacking and other illegal "Dark Arts" at the News of the World. Rupert Murdoch, the paper's owner, is reported to have shelled out over £1m in out of court settlements [more inside]
Crap Detection 101 Howard Rheingold offers a fairly in-depth primer on media and internet BS detection. Lots of links to resources for enabling critical analysis of various information sources included.
Greil Marcus writes Real Life Top Ten for the Believer Magazine, in which he lists "anything that remotely has to do with music, a dress Bette Midler wore at an awards show or a great guitar solo in the middle of a song that otherwise wasn't very interesting." But he's been writing this column online for just about 10 years. [more inside]
Steven Wells, the ranting music journalist known as Swells during his time excoriating indie bands on the NME, has died of cancer. [more inside]
As turmoil continues in Iran, with protesters and members of the opposition party empowered by Twitter and camera-equipped cell phones, Clay Shirky gives a TED Talk on the emerging global era of bottom-up journalism, including the phenomenon of the transfer of social technology patterns from the second and third world to the first. Previously
The Medill School of Journalism's Washington Program revealed its Pentagon Travel project last week (multimedia). Most privately paid for travel was found to be within the bounds of federal law, but some still show a clear conflict of interest. Key findings: From 1998 through 2007, sources outside the federal government paid for more than 22,000 trips worth at least $26 million. The medical industry paid for more travel than any other outside interest — more than $10 million for some 8,700 trips, or about 40 percent of all outside sponsored travel. Among the targets: military pharmacists, doctors, and others who administer the Pentagon’s $6 billion-plus annual budget for prescription drugs. Medill acquired 10 years worth of trip data and partnered with the Center for Public Integrity to form a searchable database which includes destination, date, sponsor, sponsor nationality, cost of trip or agency.
When authors and poets write the news "It was on an average Wednesday that a very serious Israeli newspaper conducted a very wild experiment. For one day, Haaretz (scroll down and select June 10th) editor-in-chief Dov Alfon sent most of his staff reporters home and sent 31 of Israel’s finest authors and poets to cover the day’s news. Read articles on integration at the giraffe enclosure, love in the cancer ward, mosaics in Tel Aviv, addicts at the Jerusalem rehab centre, and a visit to the grave of a holy man, among others. [via]
Lens is the new photojournalism blog of The New York Times, presenting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows. A showcase for Times photographers, it will draw on The Times' own pictorial archive, numbering in the millions of images and going back to the early 20th century. Features in their first week include: Essay: Slow Photography in an Instantaneous Age, about what it means to shoot on large-format film in the digital age; Showcase: A Prom Divided, a multimedia feature about a segregated prom in 2009 south-central Georgia.
Excerpt 1: More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq. Excerpt 2: More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq. Can you tell which is Josh Marshall writing on Talking Points Memo on May 14 and which is Maureen Dowd writing in The New York Times on May 16?
The Carolina Photojournalism Workshop was founded in 2004. Each year a small group of UNC multimedia students travel to a different part of the state to produce a web documentary. 2008: Cape Fear to Down Here, 2007: Smoky Mountain Stories, 2006: Stories from the Crystal Coast, 2005: Highlands, NC, 2004: Changing Wetlands Changing Ways.
Steve Coll [pdf], Marissa Mayer [pdf], and Arianna Huffington [pdf] testified today at the Senate Commerce Commitee's hearing on The Future of Journalism, but clearly the main attraction was David Simon [pdf].
My gut reaction was that the story--although a legitimate consumer complaint—seemed to reinforce a cultural stereotype about Black people and chicken. I know for a fact that no one on our staff meant for that to be the point of the story, but the fear that we would be accused of this sounded an alarm to me. It’s sad that I even had to worry about this.Last week a couple of Popeye's restaurants in Rochester ran out of chicken. And local ABC affiliate WHAM decided to run a story. Some people complained, and WHAM responded. Warning: Second link contains some idiocy.
The death of SciAm. It's no secret that print media is getting hit pretty hard, but the butchering of Scientific American seems particularly brutal. [more inside]
Bill Moyers Journal, April 17, 2009 From crime beat reporter for the BALTIMORE SUN to award-winning screenwriter of HBO's critically-acclaimed The Wire, David Simon talks with Bill Moyers about inner-city crime and politics, storytelling and the future of journalism today. Sorry for the one link post.
The New York Evening Graphic was published by Bernarr Macfadden, body builder, health crusader, and prolific author (Strong Eyes , How Success is Won , and Brain Energy  to name a few of his hundred titles). [more inside]
The Huffington Post just announced that it is launching a new initiative to produce a wide range of investigative journalism — The Huffington Post Investigative Fund. [more inside]
Newspapers might be dying, but does it matter? Here's what journalism 2.0 looks like: Spot.us is crowd-funded news for the masses, ReportingOn is Twitter for journalists, Everyblock is ultra-hyperlocal and Connectifyed tells us it'll analyze our social networks.
Somewhat quietly within the past couple weeks, two major newspapers, on each side of the Atlantic, have opened up their data and content APIs. Last month, on their Open blog, the New York Times introduced their Developer Network. Then just yesterday, on their DataBlog and OpenPlatformBlog, the Guardian launched Open Platform. [more inside]
They call themselves Visual Journalists. Prime among them is the Bombay Flying Club, a group of photo-journalists who are using the latest web and flash technologies to frame their online news gathering and documentary storytelling. [more inside]
Is the police blotter dying? Not so. In other parts of the world, the blotters are a little weird and violent. (nsfw)
Nardwuar the Human Serviette is an interesting, abrasive and knowledgeable music journalist. Many of his interviews are on film and posted to youtube. Previously on metafilter. Warning: single link to a youtube user. [more inside]
The death of the news.
What is really threatened by the decline of newspapers and the related rise of online media is reporting -- on-the-ground reporting by trained journalists who know the subject, have developed sources on all sides, strive for objectivity and are working with editors who check their facts, steer them in the right direction and are a further check against unwarranted assumptions, sloppy thinking and reporting, and conscious or unconscious bias.
In 1998, a journalist at The New Republic named Stephen Glass wrote a compelling piece in the influential magazine entitled 'Hack Heaven'. It told the story of how Glass witnessed a 15 year old hacker named Ian Restil being hired by a large Californian computer company named Jukt Micronics at a hacker convention as a security analyst after Restil hacked Jukt's website. But the entire story was, in fact, entirely fictional. [more inside]
Journalism may be going through a painful period but thanks to the web the once lowly information graphic is finally growing up to be all it never could on paper. Especially the New York Times seems to currently stand out in how frequently and quickly they build amazingly detailed and insightful interactive features. Consider the tracking of US Airways Flight 1549 or the piece on raising its engine from the Hudson. Other recent highlights: 9,955,441 parking tickets issues in NYC mapped by street, The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipts 1986 — 2008, Ansel Adams's Yosemite, the view from the 10-meter platform explained, A look at the language of presidential inaugural addresses 1789 to the Present, A Map of the number of medals that countries won in summer Olympic Games, Going to the End of the Line, The 44 Places to go in 2009, an explanation of how the Pentagon responded to criticism of then-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, The Soyuz Spacecraft, How the Towers Stood and Fell and many, many, more. [more inside]
The Canadian Journalism Project (CJP) and its websites, J-Source.ca (English) and ProjetJ.ca (French), provides a source for news, research, commentary, advice, discussion and resources about the achievement of, and challenges to, excellence in Canadian journalism.
Lunatic Magazine is a bi-annual online photo magazine presenting new work of photographers from around the world. Lunatic offers the opportunity to photographers to promote original stories, images, and photojournalism. (Issue1, Issue2, Issue3)
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age. At Harvard they are working with the Business School on new business models, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society on understanding online life, and the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations on one potential path for news organizations.
Journalism and complex public issues - a British newspaper editor's travails
Virtually all the predictions about the death of old media have assumed a comfortingly long time frame for the end of print—the moment when, amid a panoply of flashing lights, press conferences, and elegiac reminiscences, the newspaper presses stop rolling and news goes entirely digital. Most of these scenarios assume a gradual crossing-over, almost like the migration of dunes, as behaviors change, paradigms shift, and the digital future heaves fully into view. But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May? [more inside]
Of all the offshoots of the "Stuff White People Like" meme, my favorite is Stuff Journalists Like. From Free Food to Press Passes to Exclusives, this blog is covering everything in the ink-stained-wretch's lifestyle, including some things they really just barely tolerate. For a more serious look at the Journalistic Profession during this time of Transition/Crisis/Insanity, there's always Jay Rosen, whose PressThink blog has been previously seen here and is getting more attention than ever via (shudder) Twitter. Or, for something more in-between... 10,000 Words uses a bright, shiny bunch of tag clouds, maps and other visual aids (plus fun with typography) to tell the journos how it should be done while doing it.
We should have known it was inevitable. Your local newspaper being written in India. Get ready for the outsourcing of journalism. Maureen Dowd doesn't like it.
When I heard NPR's remembrance of Tom Gish yesterday, I figured someone would beat me to posting about him here on the Blue for sure, but apparently not. Gish, who died last week at 82, was the editor and publisher of The Mountain Eagle, a rural Kentucky newspaper. While still covering typical small-town happenings over the last 50+ years, he and his wife Pat (and eventually their kids) brought to light myriad injustices, from political corruption to poverty, safety violations in local mines to illiteracy. I found this appreciation, with bottom line proof of the Gish's popularity and influence, despite the death threats, firebombing, boycotts, and other hardships they endured:
"The population of Letcher is less than half what it was when they moved up here," said Ben Gish, editor of The Mountain Eagle and the couple's son. "But circulation has more than tripled."
"The population of Letcher is less than half what it was when they moved up here," said Ben Gish, editor of The Mountain Eagle and the couple's son. "But circulation has more than tripled."
"Scandal is our growth industry. Revelation of wrongdoing leads not to definitive investigation, punishment, and expiation but to more scandal. Permanent scandal. Frozen scandal." [Via]
Can nonprofit news models save journalism? The advertising-supported, for-profit institutional model of journalism (skip this ad) is on the wane. Except for a few large and successful outlets, investment in comprehensive reporting has suffered from a shrinking bottom line, even as the hoped-for development of citizen journalism has been generally underwhelming. But some see a solution taking shape in not-for-profit, independent, citizen-supported online news organizations that would employ skilled professional journalists. Pointing to the encouraging recent growth of NPR and PBS as news outlets, many industry thinkers are starting to agree that "The only way to save journalism is to develop a new model that finds profit in truth, vigilance, and social responsibility." Editors are beginning to experiment with models like that of Paul Stieger's ProPublica (a sort of reporting clearinghouse), Geoff Dougherty's ChiTown Daily News, The NYC Center for an Urban Future's City Limits, and Scott Lewis' Voice of San Diego. Great idea - will it work?
New friendly fire coverup: Army shreds files on dead soldiers. "Hours after Salon revealed evidence that two Americans were killed by a U.S. tank, not enemy fire, military officials destroyed papers on the men."
Newsfilter: "After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition and appear online only, its publisher announced Tuesday." [more inside]
The Daily Beast is the latest venture from Tina Brown. (mis)Named after the newspaper in Evelyn Waugh's (awesome) novel Scoop, the site is a mixture of original journalism and curated links from around the web, and of middle and low brow. Already it's attracted attention for both a (previously spiked) feature on Jennifer Lopez and for its logo, which some allege is remarkably familar. Reviews have been so so, but its stated aim to "sift, sort, and curate" finally allows us to get the best of the web...
…if you are the single newspaper in San Francisco or Kansas City or St. Louis, you are just highly constrained about how rigorous you can be in the accuracy of your reporting. Because the whole model is: You are appealing to everybody. Because the whole model is: You are appealing to everybody. … That's why the existence of an independent media sector is so important.Talking Points Memo is one of the more notable successes in independent journalism and using blogs as a format for journalism. It has broken at least a couple of stories that got picked up by the mainstream press: The Duke Cunningham bribery scandal, and the U.S. Attorneys firing scandal. It's grown from being a one-man shop in 2000 to a staff of ten today. Josh Marshall talks about how it came to be.
Fun lovin' prankster and b3ta user godspants edited the wikipedia page on Cypriot soccer team AC Omonia to include the "facts" that the fans are referred to as "the zany ones", wear hats made of shoes and sing a song about a little potato. Yesterday there was a match between Omonia and British club Manchester City. British Tabloid the Daily Mirror used the wikipedia "facts" in their build-up article. Daily Mirror obviously doesn't realise their journalist has been guilty of incredibly lazy research, despite the prankster emailing them, and the Mirror refers to the "Zany ones" in their post-match article the next day.