Good idea, but the issue -- to me -- is still trying to get local editors that international news is important.
November 30, 2008
Good idea, but the issue -- to me -- is still trying to get local editors that international news is important.
Yes, the main Nerf factory in southern China is laying off workers. In response, some of the workers demonstrated. Eventually the demonstration turned into a riot. (China has a hard time dealing with peaceful demonstrations.)
Workers riot at Chinese toy factory.
Possible story angles:
- How have local sales of Nerf or other toys been in this economic downturn?
- How have other manufacturers dealt with the layoffs that come with an economic downturn? (Hint: contact the AFL-CIO and National Association of Manufacturers for their views.)
- How significant is the economic connection between US buyers and other countries? (To mention the obvious: China and toys; Korea and cheap cars; India and call centers.)
- What are the laws in the United States that deal with layoffs and firings?
- How do the individual state laws affect how a person is treated when he/she is laid off?
- Are public employees (i.e. GMU employees) treated differently from the private sector?
November 28, 2008
New media and old can clash and crowd each other out, but blogger extraordinaire Arianna Huffington argues in a new book that the two worlds are rapidly joining together to bring out the best in each other.
Read the rest of the article here.
November 26, 2008
Some of my favorite reasons:
- It's not a hurricane so Anderson Cooper of CNN is unable to position himself in the middle of the storm for optimal drama...
- Where are the winning and losing teams?
- I can almost hear producers wondering each night if there isn't a
better story to lead with. "Isn't there a story we can do on Sarah
- Why can't this be happening to Russia or China? CNN would send Christiane Amanpour there.
From Health News Coverage:
Network evening news viewers were the most likely to find health news
in their programming. Looking at every newscast (Monday - Friday) on
the three evening news programs from January 2007 through June 2008
reveals that fully 8.3% of airtime was devoted to health-related news,
with a heavy emphasis on specific ailments such as heart disease and
cancer. This was more than twice the coverage of health in any other
news genre except newspapers (where it was 5.9%).
Cable news, on the other hand, found very little room for health news, just 1.4% of programming studied
From Religion in the General Election:
[T]here was little attempt by the news media during the campaign to
comprehensively examine the role of faith in the political values and
policies of the candidates, save for those of Republican vice
presidential nominee Sarah Palin. And when religion-focused campaign
stories were covered by the mainstream press, often the context was
negative, controversial or focused on a perceived political problem.
Journalists Need a Bailout, Too
We print journalists are victims of economic forces beyond our control. We were as surprised as everyone else was by the sudden collapse of the reliable reporting market. We had no idea that real news and clear-eyed analysis were being "bundled" with subprime celebrity gossip, US Weekly derivatives, and Jennifer Aniston/Angelina Jolie swaps. We need a swift infusion of federal aid. Otherwise all the information in America will be about Lindsay Lohan's sex life
November 24, 2008
November 23, 2008
See ABC story.
So here's the pitch...
What are the numbers like at Mason?
How have they changed?
How has the increase (if it has happened) affected how Mason operates? Looks? Feels?
And if the Mason foreign enrollment has not gone up, while the rest of the universities have, why? What were Mason's numbers like immediately post 9/11? In the years after 9/11? And compare those numbers to other colleges in the area/state/region during the same period.
November 21, 2008
AP Chief Executive Tom Curley delivered the news as part of a "town hall" meeting with employees.
"All areas and ways of doing business are being reviewed," said an
AP statement provided to Reuters. "The AP, which recently instituted a
strategic hiring freeze, may need to reduce staff over the next year.
If so, it hopes to achieve much of the reduction through attrition."
November 20, 2008
Seems to cut costs one of its publications is accepting vendor-supplied content for news articles and slide shows.
EWeek news editor John Hazard is reportedly frustrated with the situation. He said he has had to reject most of what comes in.
In addition, Eweek is doing a print feature for 2009 titled "Products to Watch." They are printing a notice that the "products may or may not be reviewed by eWeek Labs. The point of the section is to expand our ability to recommend products that we think are compelling for our
[Thanks to mediasurvey.
So that takes us back to the issue of local television news accepting VNRs without revealing the source. Or the hack who sits in the back of the newsroom who just puts his byline on a press release.
It keeps happening and we are not talking about it enough in classes to make sure our students know these things are wrong. (I know some students are confused about this issue because some have told me they saw nothing wrong in it. And I had many 303 -- intro class -- students write their stories by just paraphrasing other reports.)
The Ziff-Davis flagship publication will no longer be available on newsstands. According to the New York Times, the publication made 80 percent of the profit and 70 percent of the revenue came from the digital business. The print edition was a drag on the company.
The Times article looked at other publications that are no exclusively online, including the Christian Science Monitor and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.(FYI, the Doomsday Clock that has been at the top of each issue of the Bulletin is still there. The timeline makes interesting historic reading.)
In my classes when I asked my students, "Do you read a newspaper," they always answered, Yes." But when I asked how many read a print edition, I usually only got one or two positive responses.
Online news delivery is here and finally making money -- for some.
I figure it is our job to make sure that the same rules of ethics and clear writing apply. Just because the reproting is being done online should not mean the rules of proper journalism should be relaxed. (And that, for many of my past students, was a hard part to accept.)
November 18, 2008
The latest dust up is that the liberal cartoon -- which has been in Stars and Stripes for more than 30 years -- came over the cartoon that showed soldiers' reactions to the Obama victory.
Hoo-boy did the letters fly into S&S.
Here is the Ombudsman of S&S addressing the issue: Trudeau’s election ‘Hoo-Ah’ escapes an Uh-Oh (Links to the orginal letters are in this story.)
And here is a letter from Doonebury creator Garry Trudeau: How 'Doonesbury’ serves the troops
This is becoming a very interesting lesson on freedom of the press and expression -- the very thing the U.S. military is sworn to protect.
November 15, 2008
Offers some good ideas to get discussion going in class -- especially when discussion ethics.
November 14, 2008
Looking for a story idea?
Not the history of the volcano erupting but rather the historic search and rescue operation that took place. See my note at the end.
November 14, 1985Volcano erupts in Colombia and buries nearby towns
this day in 1985, a volcano erupts in Colombia, killing well over
20,000 people as nearby towns are buried in mud, ice and lava.
What the history books don't say is that many of the dog search teams that the United States sent to the area were used just a couple of months earlier in Mexico City.
In Mexico the dogs were used -- for the first time ever -- in an urban disaster environment.
In Colombia it was the first time dog search teams were used in a natural disaster environment. Usually the dogs are used to find lost children in the wilderness.
The operations in Mexico and Colombia saved lives because people who would have otherwise been missed by normal search and rescue methods were found by the dogs.
Now I know that journalists are not supposed to be math wizards, but even I can see that this is not the way to solve this problem.
Or this...Or this way..Or you can use the Discovery Institute "And then a miracle happened" method and insert whatever you want to make the answer come out the way you want it to...
But my favorite is...
November 13, 2008
The terrorists were executed last weekend.
The lead up to their execution was a series of interviews that were described more as terrorist propaganda instead of a serious look at what makes a terrorist.
"Even on death row, they continued to make news, obviously aided by the
prison authorities. There were the media interviews they gave, always
using the opportunity to justify their acts in the name of Islam and
not for once showing any sign of regret; one of them even got married
while on death row; and they were constantly in contact with the
outside world with easy access to telephones and the Internet. So much
for Indonesia's high security prison system."
The story, Good Riddance, criticized the Indonesian media, especially television, for seeming to "be a willing partner throughout this whole spectacle, especially during
the last four weeks while the authorities hesitated in carrying out the
CNN International (I don't know about the US version) is also airing interviews with the bombers. The teasers show nothing but unrepentant killers who hide behind religion to justify their actions.
So, the $64,000 Question is: At what point should journalists pull the plug on these kinds on interviews?
Here is a report from Asia Media on the response in South Asia.
BTW, if you are ever looking for reports on how things are going in Asia for journalists, Asia Media is a good place to start. (Some students might even be from the countries covered in these reports. Would be interesting to get their perspectives on the differences between the US media and that of their home countries.)
5 On election night in 1952, TV viewers saw Walter Cronkite sitting beside UNIVAC 1, which famously called the race for Eisenhower after only 7 percent of the vote had been tallied.
6 Not quite. Cronkite sat beside a cardboard panel
with blinking Christmas lights. The real computer was projecting
returns in Pennsylvania.
An intersting story might be a follow up to this item:
16 For the 2006 elections, the Department of Defense
launched a Web-based voting system for overseas military personnel and
American expatriates. The system cost more than $830,000; 63 people
used it to vote.
How many used the system this year? I recall reading that military absentee ballot requests were way up this year. Was it this system or good old fashioned snail mail?
November 12, 2008
So here is the story idea:
- What are the history of other condiments?
- What is the most popular condiment in the States? (Hint, it's not mustard or ketchup.)
- What are the most popular condiments on campus? Why?
- How do students use condiments? (For example, I always travel with Tabasco sauce for just about everything -- except fine French cooking. I find most American food too bland and Brazilian food too salty.)
- What is "American" food? (Look at the food lines in the Johnson Center. Pretty international fare if you ask me.)
November 11, 2008
"On Tuesday night, for the first time in the history of the craft, there were so many voices that it was very difficult to separate the voice of what we would call traditional media and the voice of all the others," said Con Psarras, news director at KSL-TV, the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate. "That confuses people."
Read the report on the panel discussion here.
November 10, 2008
Accuracy in Broadcasting & Journalism:
The Critical Influence to the Future of a Democracy
November 19, 2008
National Association of Broadcasters
1771 N Street, NW
7:30 -8:00 a.m. Welcome and Continental Breakfast
“Being a Responsible Journalist”
Bob Franken - TV correspondent and columnist (confirmed)
8:00 -9:30 “Acquiring and Keeping Sources in Chaotic Environments”
Richard Miniter - Author and columnist (confirmed)
Jane Watrel - Freelance Reporter NBC (confirmed)
Kathie Scarrah-Associated Press
9:30-10:30 “America’s Financial Meltdown –Who Got It Right, Who Got it Wrong”
Beverly Kirk –Host, Washington Report-News Channel 8 (confirmed)
Jane Norris – Host, WFED “The Federal Drive” (confirmed)
Jodi Schneider-Congressional Quarterly
10:45-12:00 p.m. “New Media Challenges - The 21st Century Journalist”
Mike Allen – Chief Political Writer, The Politco (invited)
James Taranto – Editor, Wall Street Journal’s “OpinionJourmal.com” (confirmed)
Michael Levin-Host, ProgressiveBlendRadio.com
12:oo-12:45 Lunch & Keynote Address
Editor and Publisher TALKERS Magazine
12:45-1:30 “Accuracy in Reporting: The Influence of a Responsible Press on the World’s Conscience”
Dr. Walid Phares – FOX TV correspondent (confirmed)
Jim Bohannon – Host, “The Jim Bohannon Show” (confirmed)
Paul Rodriguez – Former Investigative Reporter and Editor, Insight Magazine, Burson Marsteller (confirmed)
1:30-2:30 “Adversity at Home and Abroad: Beating the Odds to get the Story”
Jigme Ngapo - Tibetan Service Director, Radio Free Asia (confirmed)
Joel Mowbray – Columnist, “Town Hall” (invited)
Cyndi Scott, President = Three Roads Communications
2:45-4:oo Communicating in a Time of Crisis and Political Uncertainty
Don Baer – Vice Chairman, Burson-Marstellar Global (confirmed)
Russ Hodge-Three Roads Communications (confirmed)
Lucie Morillon – Director, Reporters without Borders (confirmed)
4:-5:00 Closing Remarks
Mildred Webber-National Association of Broadcasters
Blanquita Cullum – Founder & President, Young American Broadcasters
Now I ask, how can it be so much cheaper for Cedar Rapids to import salt from more than 5,000 miles away than the Detroit or Canadian version? I would think that any reporter would ask this question but Channel 9 in Cedar Rapids did not make that connection. They went with ONLY the danger to car windshields from the larger grain Brazilian salt.
Is the lack of curiosity a result of limited air time -- so they could not discuss the larger issue? Or is it a result of what we are seeing in more and more U.S. journalists: a complete lack of interest in the rest of the world?
And are our students any better?
November 9, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 7, 2008
The Presidential Transition website has loads of information about how the transition works and what positions the president can fill.
Here is the main page for the Leadership Positions. And for anyone who has been in Washington for more than 2 days, here is the all-powerful Plum Book.
For a bit more information on what these powerful people are supposed to do, Brookings has the Prune Book.
Loads of good information for background stories.
Or to start a pool as to who gets what positions in the new adminsitration.
November 6, 2008
Every now and then, however, they have a piece that crosses the line into the world of us lesser mortals.
Toni Bowers, head blogs editor for Tech Republic has a create little column on correct grammar.
Think of this as a way to get the students who are so computer/geek oriented to realize we, who push correct spelling and speaking, are not always old fashioned and wrong. :)
Six grammar and punctuation mistakes you might not know you're making.
November 4, 2008
Everything from MSNBC and CNN to The Onion and InDecision 2008 (Jon Stewart and friends) are on the list.
Worth a look.
With all the talk of the Obama wave of young voters, I thought it might be prudent to see just how much young voters have participated in the past.
The largest percentage of 18-24 year olds voting was 1972, the first presidential year they could vote and when the draft for the Vietnam War was an issue.
The following table was gleaned from the U.S. Bureau of Census Historic Time Series Tables of Voting and Registration by Race, Hispanic Origin, Sex, and Age Groups: November 1964 to 2006. The table is in Excel format and CSV.
|Year||Total voting-age population||Voter turnout by Percentage|
|Total population||18-24||25-44||45-64||65- Older|
|* 1972 is the first year 18-21 year olds could vote in national elections.|
|* Note that since the 26th Amendment was approved in 1971 the|
|the 18-24 year old group has always been less than 50 percent.|
|Figures courtesty of the U.S. Census Bureau|
November 3, 2008
The uselessness comes from the generational differences in what is useful and familiar.
So how about a discussion with journalism students about what they see as useless and what we older folks see as comfortable? (And granted there may even be some old-timers not comfortable with the fax.)
And remember that there is always the Beloit College Mindset List to see how today's students perceptions of the world are different from the profs. (And I am told by the authors of this list that it will be available in an expanded book form in time for the 2009 Fall term. Maybe the feature writing profs should look at this.)
How can a journalist be fair and balanced if he/she has opinions strong enough to go into a voting booth?
This is the question that purists in the industry AND critics of "the media elite" raise time and time again.
It is always worthwhile for incoming journalists -- our students -- to address early. They really need to get their minds wrapped around the idea that the role of a journalist is to be a fair reporter of events.
But then, what is fair?
Do creationists deserve equal time with evolutionists in a science article?
Does Ralph Nader deserve as much equal space as Obama or McCain in an article about what steps the next president must take? If yes, how about Bob Barr? The Communist Party candidate? Where do you draw the line?
Just thought this time of year is a good time to once again raise the issue of ethical behavior in journalists.
November 2, 2008
Any ideas on how to fix this in the future?