Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Journalism professor speaks out about media

Interested to hear if the reader of this column agrees with the UT-Pan American journalism educator and her comments about the media...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The U.S. Justice Department frowns on a shield law

Probably not a surprise that the U.S. Justice Department has come out against a law protecting journalists.

I'm curious what the reader of this post thinks of the arguments put forth by the department. Do they have any merit?

The "timing" of the Bush/Roberts announcement

Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz has an interesting column centering on the timing of President Bush's announcement that John Roberts was his Supreme Court nominee.

Would this president intentionally overlook the traditional media news cycle so that he could have a first and full attempt to introduce his nominee? Or is this late in the evening decision simply another indication that traditional media organizations have lost some clout not only with this administration, which has a less than stellar opinion of the media, but also with the general public?

Monday, July 18, 2005

A new definition of a "citizen journalist"?

WABC-TV in New York is asking its viewers who capture potential newsmaking events on their cellphones to send those images to the station.

Does this empower the public? Is this another manifestation of trying to do television news on the cheap? Is there a place for this kind of public input, especially in light of the images that people in London captured in the aftermath of the train and bus bombings?

NPR/PBS and conservatives

A good discussion point (or two) here from the Washington Post...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Yet another commentary criticizing Judith Miller and the New York Times

This one comes from Pat Buchanan, who appears to still be angry about the Watergate era.

Am I the only one who has noticed that there appears to be widespread support among many commentators and the general public about the jailing of Judith Miller? Perhaps support is too strong a word, but the public appears to condone the action.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Judith Miller sent to jail; a bad day for journalism

The Radio-Television News Directors Association issued a well-crafted press release detailing its displeasure with the decision to jail New York Times' reporter Judith Miller for her refusal to reveal her sources for a story. The press release is included in this posting. It likely comes as no surprise to the reader that I am deeply disturbed by the judge's decision. This might be an excellent (albeit unfortunate) time to review the First Amendment with our students and to remind them of the amazing priviliges that U.S. journalists enjoy especially when compared to their colleagues in other countries.

RTNDA Decries Sentencing of Reporter Judith Miller to Jail Term
WASHINGTON—Today's sentencing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller to jail for refusing to divulge a confidential source sends a chilling message to all journalists and could suppress the flow of vital information to the public, the Radio-Television News Directors Association said today.

"The most effective way for journalists to support Judith Miller is to work for swift passage of a federal shield law," says Barbara Cochran, RTNDA president. "We are calling on our members to contact members of Congress and ask them to support the legislation now pending in the House and Senate."

The Free Flow of Information Act, designed to “give reporters the same protections that are afforded other professions such as clergy, attorneys and physicians,” is sponsored by Sens. Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Rick Boucher (D-VA).

The four have wide support from other members of Congress as well.

Matthew Cooper of TIME and Judith Miller had refused to reveal their sources to investigators trying to figure out who leaked the name of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media. Cooper, whose employer handed over his notes last week, today agreed to testify before the grand jury. Miller, on the other hand, refused to divulge her sources, and was sentenced today to serve time. She will serve an undetermined amount of time at a Washington-area jail.
Cooper and Miller are two of the reporters who have recently faced orders from federal judges to reveal the identity of confidential sources. Local television reporter Jim Taricani of WJAR-TV in Providence, RI, spent 121 days under house arrest earlier this year for refusing to reveal his confidential source in an investigation of corruption in local government.

“Getting a federal shield law is crucial for every journalist,” says Cochran. “Protecting a reporter’s right to confidential sources is essential to preserving the public’s right to know and to hold government accountable for its actions. Without this protection, whistleblowers and others would be afraid to come forward to expose wrongdoing and to effect change. It would be devastating if reporters have to choose between going to jail and breaking a promise to a source.”

For more on the Free Flow of Information Act, including the bills themselves, and a list of legislators who back them, please visit

The Radio-Television News Directors Association is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTNDA represents local and network news professionals in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries.