Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Jeff Cohen of FAIR on John Mark Karr coverage -- who is the real sick puppy?
Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is out with a Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is out witha blistering opinion piece which asks a rhetorical question -- who is the real "sick puppy" -- John Mark Karr who fabricated a story that he killed6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, or media outlines who for 10 days saturated thestory with coverage?
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
RESEARCH: Traditional media trusted over blogs
The public trust newspapers and television news programs as much as their family and friends for information, says a study by U.K. interactive marketing firm Telecom Express noted by I Want Media. Blogs and Web sites are seen as least trustworthy. Also: Blogs are alien or unknown concepts to most U.S. adults.
Friday, August 11, 2006
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Latest Pew study suggests Internet news usage may level off as "supplemental"
POSTED: Aug. 4, 2006
HEADLINE: Online news audience up, but no deep roots planted
By Steve Johnson
CHICAGO -- If you take Wall Street's pack wisdom for truth, old media outlets are knee-deep in the tarpits, awaiting only a little more wallowing -- about to go completely under.
Investors have turned away from proven moneymakers such as local television stations and newspapers in favor of the promise of the Internet, where the growth line is angling upward but the numbers are still comparatively small. But a new study on the way American people are getting get their news suggests Wall Street may be -- hold your breath -- betting too heavily on the unproven.
Every two years, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press asks the people about the press. And the latest survey suggests that, while online news has risen rapidly to become a major player, it also may be near, if not on, a plateau.
"The growth of the online news audience has slowed considerably since 2000, particularly among the very young, who are now somewhat less likely to go online for news than are people in their 40s," the survey says. "For the most part, online news has evolved as a supplemental source that is used along with traditional news media outlets. It is valued most for headlines and convenience, not detailed, in-depth reporting." The proportion of Americans who get news online three or more days a week has risen from 23 to 31 percent since 2000, according to the Pew survey of 3,200 adults conducted over a month this spring. But that's a significantly slowed growth rate from the earlier days of online news, and the survey (at people-press.org) says, "The audience for online news is fairly broad but not particularly deep." Respondents who got news online the day before being questioned spent an average of 32 minutes doing so, "significantly less" than the time newspaper, r!
adio and TV users spent getting news from those sources.
"It's surprising, because there's still a serious amount of mythology about the Internet and our business," says Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington think tank. "If you go to places like Romenesko (an influential daily blog of journalism news), there's the constant noise about how much longer will print be alive, the inevitability of the Internet as the ruling medium. ... What struck me about this survey is that, yes, the Internet has in a relatively short period of time made its way into the daily media diet. However, it's also clear that it has not created a seismic change in how people use media. Yes, it has spread the usage out, but it has not vaporized any of its predecessors." Jurkowitz wrote an analysis of the survey results headlined, "Now in its Adolescence, the Internet Evolves into a Supplementary News Source." It's available at journalism.org and was, naturally, linked to from Romenesko.!
"People intuitively seem to know that the Web is essentially a place of aggregation and convenience, but that it doesn't at this point have a reputation for its own brand of distinctive journalism," Jurkowitz says.
Given how dynamic the Internet is, people are working, of course, to change that. Following a celebrity-sniffing trail blazed by the Smoking Gun site, the start-up celebrity gossip site TMZ (tmz.com) is the darling of old media this week for its work uncovering the unpleasant details of actor Mel Gibson's DUI arrest.
A relative handful of blogs -- political ones such as the Daily Kos (dailykos.com) and personal ones such as Heather Armstrong's Dooce (dooce.com) -- offer original reporting and thinking and draw audiences the size of which would make even newspaper publishers happy. And out there is the promise of "citizen journalism," reporting done by a corps of volunteers in their own communities.
Backfence.com is trying to create a national network of such sites and plans to start a Chicago version after Labor Day. A new venture, NewAssignment.net, will try another tack: soliciting donations to fund professional reporting on stories the "smart mob" -- the collection of Internet users who follow the news -- feels traditional media have failed to cover or cover well. That one's the brainchild of Jay Rosen, New York University journalism professor and media critic via his PressThink blog (pressthink.org). It's an experiment, Rosen writes, in seeing whether the Internet community will back its oft-stated desire for different kinds of reporting.
Early attempts to start such sites have provided mostly weak results in terms of both content and cash. Except in such realms as celebrity and tech news, small-shop blogs and opinion writing, the Internet, for the most part, has not supported a professional newsroom or inspired significant volunteer journalism in this country.
That's not to say, however, that it won't or that the Pew study's suggestion of a plateau will prove definitive. Quick-hit citizen journalism, the posting of I-was-there videos from a local power outage to Hurricane Katrina, is booming on the likes of YouTube. And sophisticated techniques for collecting relevant news online, technologies that troll for news of interest, have barely begun to enter the mainstream.
Blogger and former old-media editor Jeff Jarvis (buzzmachine.com) calls himself an "online triumphalist," but says few thinking people believe "online and blogs are going to kill other media." He argues, though, that time is a "flawed measure" of media usage, pointing out how much longer it takes to get the same amount of news from TV than from reading. "Online necessarily offers more relevance," Jarvis says, "the sense I can get to the specifics I care about."
Professional journalists, he says, will have to adapt to being "more of a moderator" of all the world's news, now available on your computer screen, "than just an author."
But the authors, the Pew study suggests, are still doing pretty well with the American people. Yes, the percentage of people who read a newspaper declined in 10 years from 50 to, best interpretation, 43 percent. But that's still a huge and very marketable chunk of the population, and old media are striving to adapt: The Washington Post Web site, for instance, is reportedly planning to buck newspaper-site tradition by adding links to outside news sources on its site. "While the problems of the old media are there and real and they often get widely discussed in media circles," Jurkowitz says, "for all that they are still around, they are still relied upon, and the Internet has not obliterated them."
This article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Monday, August 07, 2006
PRESS RELEASE: Hinchey, House Colleagues Call On FCC To Review CBS's Attempt To Consolidate Newsrooms
This news release was sent to the Media Giraffe Project on Aug. 7, 2006 by
Jeff Lieberson, a Hinchey staff spokesman. 202-225-1265 / cell:
Hinchey, House Colleagues Call On FCC To Review CBS's Attempt
To Consolidate Newsrooms, Leave Producers Unprotected From Bargain Units
Washington, DC -- As the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) continues to negotiate with the Writers Guild of America, East and west, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and two of his House colleagues today called on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin J. Martin to review the situation and the impact it may have on the public. In particular, Hinchey and his colleagues are concerned about CBS's desire to consolidate newsrooms and remove news producers from bargaining units, thus enabling corporate interests to infiltrate the newsroom.
"The Writers Guild of America-CBS contract protects workers, as well as audiences. This contract ensures that news producers- those who must apply journalistic standards and make decisions as to which stories are broadcast -remain insulated from corporate influence and maintain independent judgment," Hinchey and his colleagues wrote to FCC Chairman Martin. "Removing these gatekeepers of information from the Guild jeopardizes journalistic integrity, making them more vulnerable to CBS's commercial demands. Without such safeguards, how can the public trust the information they receive?"
CBS and the Writers Guild of America, East and west are currently engaged in contract negotiations that would extend their 50-year working relationship in New York, Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Negotiations are expected to resume on August 17 and 18.
"It is the job of the Federal Communications Commission to prevent commercial values from undermining democratic values and ensure that broadcasters serve the public interest," Hinchey and his colleagues wrote to Martin. "Attempts to maximize profits at the expense of diversity in news reporting threaten democratic values and have drastic consequences for our nation."
Joining Hinchey in sending the letter to Martin were: Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). Hinchey is the author of the Media Ownership Reform Act, which would restore fairness in broadcasting, reduce media concentration, ensure that broadcasters meet their public interest requirements, and promote diversity, localism, and competition in American media.
The full text of the letter Hinchey and his colleagues sent to FCC Chairman
July 27, 2006
The Honorable Kevin J. Martin
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
Dear Chairman Martin:
As members of Congress who support diversity, localism, and independence in broadcasting, we are troubled by efforts of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) to fundamentally alter the structure of newsrooms under its jurisdiction. CBS and the Writers Guild of America, East and west are engaged in contract negotiations to extend their 50-year-old working relationship in New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it appears that CBS seeks the authority to remove news producers from bargaining units, terminate workers in the event of mergers, and even merge the newsrooms of competing stations. If such actions proceed unchallenged, audiences will be denied the variety in news sources and local coverage necessary for an informed participatory democratic society.
The Writers Guild of America-CBS contract protects workers, as well as audiences. This contract ensures that news producers- those who must apply journalistic standards and make decisions as to which stories are broadcast -remain insulated from corporate influence and maintain independent judgment. Removing these gatekeepers of information from the Guild jeopardizes journalistic integrity, making them more vulnerable to CBS's commercial demands. Without such safeguards, how can the public trust the information they receive?
Terminating reporters and consolidating news desks will also have a profound impact on news audiences. Fewer reporters working for fewer outlets leads to homogeneity instead of the rich diversity broadcasters have an obligation to provide. When competing stations are no longer competitive-when they share reporters and news writers, and offer identical content-the public interest suffers.
It is the job of the Federal Communications Commission to prevent commercial values from undermining democratic values and ensure that broadcasters serve the public interest. Attempts to maximize profits at the expense of diversity in news reporting threaten democratic values and have drastic consequences for our nation.
News broadcasters enjoy special protections afforded no other business, but they cannot claim press freedoms while at the same time curtailing alternative points of view. We ask the FCC to conduct a review of thissituation and its impact on public discourse. We look forward to your report.
Maurice Hinchey, Diane Watson, Jan Schakowsky