“The rise of the misinformed is now the largest obstacle for success for journalists today (outside the concerns that relate to publishing). If people don't trust the news, you don't have a news business.” Thomas Baekdal writes a strategic analysis for media companies to earn their readers’ trust, looking at data from PolitiFact to understand how misinformation spreads and what journalists can do to stop it.
The New York Times has detailed a successful 4-month hacking campaign by China, infiltrating its computer systems and acquiring passwords for reporters/employees. The campaign was likely in retaliation for the NYT investigation of the wealth amassed by relatives of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. Following the NYT announcement, the Wall Street Journal announced that it too was hacked last year. The Washington Post may also have been infiltrated. Slate asks if this could have a chilling effect on journalists writing about China. [more inside]
The First Rough Draft of History: A Behind-the-Scenes History of Newsweek Magazine
Last November 23rd, upwards of 64 people (including at least 34 journalists) were killed in the Philippines. It has become known as the Maguindanao Massacre. [more inside]
Amateur Hour. Internet journalism and the traditional media. Nicolas Lehmann in the New Yorker.
The Price of Payola and Fake News? 1.6 billion dollars for just 2003-5 alone. The GAO's new report lays it out. That's how much seven federal departments spent from 2003 through the second quarter of 2005 on 343 contracts with public relations firms, advertising agencies, media organizations and individuals, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. ... The new report reveals that federal public relations spending goes far beyond "video news releases." (full report is a PDF download from there) And there's another scandal coming, if Wonkette has it right.
Senator's aide admits to writing "Schiavo Memo". Hoping for another "memogate" story, bloggers have been pushing accusations for the last few weeks that the highly-criticized GOP memo indicating the "political advantage" of the Terri Schiavo situation was a forgery or "dirty tricks" from Democrats. Today, the legal counsel to Florida Sen. Mel Martinez admitted to writing and distributing the memo (and promptly resigned.) Many bloggers who pushed the accusation are, shall we say, not exactly jumping at the opportunity to print mea culpas. Considering the growing debate about bloggers being treated as journalistic equals, what obligations does the blogosphere have to simply admit it was completely wrong on a story?
Administration Paid Commentator (WashPost membership rqd) The Education Department paid commentator Armstrong Williams $241,000 to help promote President Bush's No Child Left Behind law on the air, an arrangement that Williams acknowledged yesterday involved "bad judgment" on his part. I'm sure y'all check the Washington Post regularly, but isn't this simply bribing a journalist?
"Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
"Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda." This quote, captured in a USA Today article, came from Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti in response to allegations that CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."
Search the New York Times website for any occurrence of the words "Valerie Plame" during the last week...and you'll find nada, zilch, zip. The so-called "paper of record" has remained totally mum on what may be one of the biggest scandals of the Bush administration yet. You can read about it at Newsday, CBS, Time, and The Nation, and it's been mentioned on NBC... but not a word from the New York Times (save for a reference to it last week by syndicated columnist Paul Krugman, and a wire service story today; neither of those pieces mentions Plame by name). The Times' news and editorial divisions are asleep at the switch on this story. Maybe the Jayson Blair scandal was a distraction from the deeper problem: a paper that is so concerned with being balanced and respectable, it refuses to cover any politically controversial stories. You can e-mail email@example.com to ask why the Valerie Plame news blackout. Or just click this link a few dozen times to send 'em a message.
Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception The New York Times runs a long article detailing its preliminary findings in the matter of Jayson Blair, The Times' young staff reporter who made up sources, facts, and anecdotes in potentially hundreds of stories. Does this investigation help the Times avoid permanent disgrace? Or does this just confirm what you've always thought about the Times? Slate magazine is attributing part of the problem to affirmative action (Blair is black). Is AA relevant here?
The international Press Freedom Index (Sept 2001-Oct 2002), published by Reporters Without Borders contains some surprises. Based on questionnaires sent to "...journalists or foreign correspondents living in the country, researchers, [and] legal experts...", RWB ranked the United States 17th, below Slovenia and Costa Rica. Why? "The poor ranking of the United States (17th) is mainly because of the number of journalists arrested or imprisoned there. Arrests are often because they refuse to reveal their sources in court. Also, since the 11 September attacks, several journalists have been arrested for crossing security lines at some official buildings. "
The editor-at-large of The Spectator has resigned in protest at the publication of an anti-American article.
The editor-at-large of The Spectator has resigned in protest at the publication of an anti-American article. There has already been some discussion of this here but the British press seems to be tearing itself apart about how much to support the War on Terror, and what viewpoints it's acceptable to express. The offending article will presumably appear here sometime in the next few days, though its content is somewhat predictable given the views of the author. Funny quote: "I want to be in the magazine more often than I seem to be". Maybe the price of freedom is eternal whingeing.
"My Untold Story" - What if we threw a presidential campaign and nobody came? Ralph explains how he tried to engage the press, and why it didn't work.
We the Public Press.. In order to form a more perfect newsmedia, establish reader distrust, avoid few legalities, provide for the common deafndumb, promote the grocery store impulse buy kiosks, and secure the Blessings of Boldfaced Lying to ourselves and our Readership, do completely avoid and ignore this annoying Code of Ethics...