Friday, June 30, 2006

NBC Is no longer in the Arena (Football League)

The network and the league fail to agree on a new TV rights deal. Read more here.

Phone records, the NSA and USAToday

The newspaper acknowledges it cannot confirm an important element to its original story, dated May 11. Read more here.

Kudos to Lesley Visser

She's the 2006 Pete Rozelle Award winner. Details here.

Fewer Ads...More Content

Seems to be the trend in radio. Read about it here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bloggers...take note

Criticisms from the mainstream media are still out there. Take a look at some of the comments from a Washington Post reporter, then consider if what he says has any value.

Dan Rather and CBS News formally part ways

As I said in a posting from last week, I don't see this as a good thing. The announcement from CBS News can be accessed here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

New Indecency Rules Signed Into Law

Renewed pressure is now placed on television organizations to be careful about what is shown and said on their air. Read more here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Does news coverage of terrorism lead to more terrorism?

One study suggests so. Additional details, courtesy of the Washington Post, can be found here.

Apparently CBS Would "Rather" Not

Dan Rather's days at CBS appear to be coming to an end. Read more here.

Speaking personally, I do not find this divorce to be a good thing. I did not watch Rather's CBS Evening News broadcast on a consistent basis. I never worked for him or for any of his competitors. But I do think that for whatever faults he had, Rather believed (and still does believe) very much in the power of journalism and the important role journalists have in society. Yes, he made mistakes. But haven't we all?

Jim Lehrer -- blogging is good for journalism

Additional comments from the anchor of PBS' News Hour can be accessed here, and they come from a story that appeared on

Changes coming to the Nielsen ratings system

And they're probably overdue! Read more here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Seeing former students succeed!

This link should get you to the noon newscast that aired today on WTAE (Channel 4), the ABC affiliate here in Pittsburgh.

Erin Kienzle was a former student of mine at Ohio University, where I earned my Ph.D. If memory serves me correctly, she was enrolled in at least one class for which I served as a teaching assistant and another that I taught. Regardless, seeing a former student succeed is a neat thing for all educators.

Researcher to go on trial in China

Trial starts this week...details

from the New York Times

Pentagon boots reporters from Gitmo

Read more here, courtesy of Editor and Publisher.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ben Roethlisberger...and the media frenzy

The starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers was injured in a motorcycle accident earlier today, and it should come as no surprise that there was intense local (not to mention national) media coverage.

The accident happened around 11:30 local time this morning, about 30 minutes before the noon newscasts. The ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh was first on the air; it, along with the CBS and NBC affiliates ran commercial-free for well over an hour (it very well might have gone on longer) with live updates about and file video of Roethlisberger.

Two general issues dominated the reporting I saw at various parts of the day...
1. How was he? In other words, how serious were the injuries.
2. What was he thinking? In other words, was Roethlisberger being irresponsible for not wearing a helmet.

There was no simple answer to either question. Late in the evening, doctors reported that 7 hours of surgery were needed to handle the various facial injuries "Big Ben" suffered. The doctors added that his brain, spine and other important parts of his body were not seriously affected. As I write this, he is listed in serious but stable condition.

The issue of a lack of a helmet as first blush appears to be easy to answer -- sure, he should have been wearing one. I agree. But let's also consider that there is no law requiring one in the state of Pennsylvania and, if media reports are to be believed, no provision in Roethlisberger either preventing him from riding a motorcycle or wearing a helmet if he rode one.

The one bit of irresponsible reporting I heard came from ESPN News, which suggested on at least two occasions that I heard that Roethlisberger had cheated death. At no point during the day did fatal injuries enter into the conversation.

I'll provide additional details and commentary as I deem it relevant.

Did Charles Gibson demand the WNT job?

One report says the answer is...yes.

Is the Duke lacrosse team rape case a news or sports story?

Click here to see what the Hartford Courant thinks.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

I didn't see all the coverage relating to al-Zarqawi's death, but I am inclined to agree with the comments made here by the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawick and Nick Madigan.

I did watch a sizable block of CNN's coverage -- beginning late yesterday afternoon -- and found most of it dovetailed into the usual television shortcomings: too much repeat, too many talking heads, too much reliance on video (at the sake of storytelling).

Is blogging becoming more professional?

At least one person thinks so. Read Greg Sargent's comments here, which appeared on

Elizabeth Vargas -- I chose to step down

Read more here from a story in the Philly Inquirer.

The Department of Journalism and Computer Science?

Maybe not to that an extreme, but the Online Journalism Review is arguing for a closer relationship between the two departments at universities across the country.

Build literacy programs...not museums!

So argues a Chicago Tribune columnist

Columbia's gain... the Committee to Protect Jounalists' loss. Read more here.

Criticism of media payouts to Wen Ho Lee

From and Jack Shafer

China delays trial for New York Times researcher

You can access the story here, which is from the New York Times

Monday, June 05, 2006

Slow to seek the truth?

A story in Editor and Publisher asks if the media were too slow to investigate charges that U.S. military personnel killed innocent Iraqis.

Are Americans losing interest in the war in Iraq?

Some television journalists apparently think the answer is "yes." Read their thoughts here, which come from a Los Angeles Times story.

Missing Lubbock, Texas girl

2nd late Monday update...AP reports the baby has been found. Additional details when they are known.

Late Monday here for an update on the story, including a sketch of the suspect.

I lived in Lubbock for two years, and my second child was born there. Snatching a child is heartbreaking. Let's pray for a positive outcome. Here is one link from another from

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What role do print media play in an instant-news world?

A lively discussion that appeared on KCRW radio. Access the KCRW link to the program here.

A challenge to talk show hosts such as Laura Ingraham

The challenge comes from critics who say that Ingraham and others who question how journalists are covering events in Iraq are simply misguided.

Read additional comments from a CBS News blog here.

Of course, Ingraham's comments take on new meaning due to the recent deaths of two CBS News employees and the devastating injuries suffered by a third.