Friday, June 29, 2007

The high school workshop, part 3

Except for tonight's closing banquet and some farewells, the high school journalism workshop is over. Among the highlights...

1. These students are better educated journalists than they were before they got here, and I think they know it;
2. A few of them are hinting that they are considering attending Point Park, once it comes time to choose a college;
3. A series of friendships have been made;
4. A great newscast has been put together.

I'd call it a success.

The worldwide leader in sports is being sued

The reason? Here are the details. One side note: I once worked in the same newsroom -- he in sports, me in news -- with one of those named in the lawsuite, though it was more than 10 years ago.

China wants to be better understood

And here's what the leadership is prepared to do to ensure that happens.

More signs of media problems in Russia

Here are the details.

Here comes the "bias" charge again

Who's making it? Against which news organization? And why? Read here for more.

Soneone who is not ready to walk down the aisle...

...at least not with Rupert Murdoch. Here are additional details.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The high school workshop update

It's writing and editing day for the high school journalism workshop. Our students have been to three off-campus sites (from which package-length stories will be prepared) and four on-campus locations. There confidence appears to be growing each day.

One of my colleagues got an e-mail this morning from the public relations representative of one off-campus location. It commended our students for the professionalism they showed while gathering interviews and video yesterday.

We're still going strong!

Checkbook journalism

The networks say they don't practice it...this story suggests they do. And one columnist says it is time to admit it.

There's nothing fair about...

...the Fairness Doctrine. Just ask the GOP.

One step forward...one step back

But the Murdoch purchase of the Dow Jones Company is still expected to happen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Just a coincidence?

The "top" story on CNN.com this morning is Paris Hilton's release from jail. Forget for a moment that this story has absolutely zero news value. My question is this -- did CNN place it as the number one story because CNN's Larry King Live is doing the much-promoted interview with the hotel heiress tomorrow night?

I really need to stop being cynical! It does me no good at all.

Is it time for the networks to take an ethics seminar?

After reading this and this you might think so.

Getting ready to say "I do"

No, not me...did that more than 10 years ago! But the huge newspaper deal that has been discussed is moving ever closer to being done.

If you are a free speech advocate...

...it's hard to argue with this decision. But if you are someone who worries about "big" money influencing political campaign advertising, then there are concerns.

Another day...

...another interesting article on Rupert Murdoch, courtesy of the New York Times.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The enthusiasm, wonderment and innocence of...

...a high school student who wants to be a professional journalist.

Point Park University is hosting its annual high school journalism workshop this week. Ten of the attendees are interested in broadcast journalism. My colleagues and I met the group for the first time last night. Two participants are returning from a year ago, and the other eight are new to the workshop.

I've mentioned in other postings that one of the things I really like about teaching college students is the, generally speaking, enthusiasm that they bring to what they do. When they accomplish something for the first time, they know it. We as faculty sense it. Sometimes they play it cool and try not to smile too broadly. Other times the smile is all over their face.

With high school students, it -- so far -- hasn't been much different. The group of 12 we had last summer quickly developed a bond that in many cases has continued. (Modern technology is an invaluable aid in such efforts.) This year's group seems to have come together even more quickly, something I credit to the aforementioned returning students, who appear to have become the leaders that any group seems to need and want.

It should be an interesting week. I'll keep you posted.

An update on the kidnapped BBC reporter

This is more than a bit unsettling.

He's number two (in the ratings)...

...and here is what he thinks about it.

So just who is Rupert Murdoch?

Here is an excellent report, from the New York Times, outlining his moves that created a media empire...an empire that he wants to expand.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A funny YouTube video

I saw this at the Pirates-White Sox game last Friday night. No surprise that this made it quickly to YouTube. If you like the Sopranos, and/or know how that show ended, and/or like baseball, and/or like the Pirates...you will enjoy this.

A kindler, gentler CNN?

You decide...after reading this. Of course, there is an entire ethics debate that can be had out of this.

Murdoch really wants...

...to make another deal? Apparently so. And he's even willing to give up some of his "space" to do it. Read more here.

We're outta here!

Who are "we"? And why? Here's the answer.

232 million people

What are they doing? Link here for the answer.

Now Congress is getting into the act

And it is my opinion that the involvement by more than 70 members of Congress -- asking that the satellite radio merger not happen -- all but ensures the marriage of Sirius and XM is doomed. The link above also will allow you to read the actual letter submitted by the members of Congress.

Monday, June 18, 2007

An interesting radio day here in Pittsburgh

I listened to the two local sports radio hosts grumble about the just-completed U.S. Open, which was held at Oakmont Country Club. (No, I'm not going to name them and give them free pub in the process.) Their principal complaint was that the difficult course made it impossible for them to...get ready for this...really enjoy the event.

Yes, you are reading correctly. The hard course, in their minds, ensured that they (and, they believe, by extension others) did not enjoy watching the golf because the conditions took away from the game. Make it too tough and viewers at home might not come back next year, one of them warned.

I am a casual golf fan, and no one deserves the pain of watching me play, but I spent a lot of time last week and over the weekend reading and watching what the golfers were saying. With the exception of one golfer (Phil Mickelson) who really appeared frustrated, none of the pros had much negative reaction. Sure, they knew it would be tough. But they expected it.

One of my sons and I had the immense privilege of being there on Thursday and Sunday, and, yes, there was no doubt that the layout of the course was difficult. But let's keep this in mind -- the U.S. Open is America's national championship. Shouldn't it be tough on the players?

I am one who does not enjoy golf when I see scores that are significantly in the red. (For those who are not golf fans, any red score means under par.) Watching scores that begin to reach -20 does nothing for me because I'm left with the impression that there is really little challenge for the pros. Oakmont over the past few days was very challenging.

One of the aforementioned hosts complained that the average weekend golfer likely would have shot something in the 110s had he been subjected to the same conditions. To me, he missed the point -- so-called Average Joe was not being asked to tackle Oakmont. The men who have proven each week that they are the best in the world were.

I was impressed by a comment made by one caller today. He noted that par was set at 70 at Oakmont during the U.S. Open. This is important because for the members who play there, par is 71. In other words, the caller noted, if the standard par had been in place, Angel Cabrera's winning score would have been only +1. Yes, I know the layout isn't nearly as challenging for the club members. But the point the caller made is still important.

The bottom line, I think, is this: In the absence of anything to say today about the beloved Steelers...with there being no news about the Penguins...and with the Pirates stumbling along, the local radio sports hosts wanted, needed, tried to be controversial...in order to generate callers. If so, I feel bad for them.

Independent, public-driven journalism...

...and the challenges it faces in one Asian nation. Read additional details here.

Another suitor for Dow Jones

Two industry powerhouses reportedly are considering a plan to purchase the Dow Jones media company.

Friday, June 15, 2007

FCC's Martin is still fighting for...

...you need to link here for the answer.

Performance payments

You might be surprised to learn who wants such a deal.

The Bush administration demonstrates yet again...

...that it is no friend of the media. Find out more here.

Dan Rather's critics are lining up

Here's one example of those who are beginning to line up to torch him for his comments about CBS News and its management. Be prepared...there likely will be more in the coming days.

We (Don't) Want Rupert!

The "we" might surprise you. Read more here.

Remember the posting about the blogger who was booted from a baseball press box?

Well, this is America...when someone does something to you that you don't like. You...sue!

TV...just for students?

No, I'm not talking about Channel One. Instead I'm referring to something that NBC is starting. This might be worth your attention.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Should reporters interview people who...

...killed innocent men and women? An interesting question. Here's one approach -- considered from an ethical perspective.

Uh, oh...Bill O'Reilly is testy again

Here's what he has to say. And here's why.

By 2012...

...the following will (will?) be true.

Journalism and public service

The head of the NAB says anyone who doubts the industry's commitment to public service is making a mistake.

Journalists as "feral beasts"

No, it's not me making the comparison. But it is being made by a soon to be out of office political figure. (And probably not the one you are thinking of.)

Murdoch is moving closer to...

...purchasing the Wall Street Journal. The current owners are reportedly warming to the idea of selling. And maybe it's jsut a coincidence, but there is this story about the Wall Street Journal to consider.

Dan Rather vs. CBS

An interesting (and somewhat atypical) public dispute is happening right now. It involves former CBS News anchor Dan Rather and CBS management. Here's a rough summary of what the dispute is about...and here are the opinions of one television critic.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The FCC and indecency...what's next?

A few options are presented here, in a report that was presented by Broadcasting and Cable magazine.

FOX News and the Iraq War

An interesting study, a summary of which can be found here.

A journalist gets thrown out of...

...a press box??? You bet. And here is what he did to deserve this wonderful (insert sarcastic laugh here) treatment.

Setting any jokes aside, there is a relevant and important issue at stake here -- what actually constitutes contract violations in this era of instantaneous communication?

Is this Couric's last stand?

Probably not...but CBS is certainly firing some big guns in an effort to boost her still-sagging ratings.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Another group adds its name to the "no" voices

This group -- as are many others -- are opposed to the proposed satellite-radio merger between XM and Sirius. Read more here.

More money for the CPB

Congress plans an increase in the funding it gives to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Ask me, and I'd tell you the amount is still not enough. How much is the CPB getting? The answer is here.

No hurrah for Al-Hurra

The Washington Times has a beef with the U.S.-backed Arabic-language television network. What's the problem, as the paper sees it? Find out more here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Satellite radio...and lobbyists

In an effort to bolster their sagging effort to merge, XM and Sirius are using some tried and true (though perhaps not always honest???) methods to drum up support -- lobbying. Read more here.

Journalism educators...heads up!

You might want to read this post. Any thoughts?

Listeners needed!

It's one of the great newspapers in this country, but too few people are listening to its radio offerings. Are changes on the way to Washington Post Radio? Read more here.

Pardon...me?

No, I'm not the one in need of one. But Scooter Libby is. Various reports this morning suggest pressure is mounting on President Bush to give him one. Reports here from the AP and the New York Times.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

When should celebrities and athletes make news?

New York Yankees 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez is the latest celebrity or athlete to make news for things that take place off the field of play. It appears A-Rod has been spending time with a woman, something that wouldn't be a problem if he were single. Unfortunately (for him), he's not.

Of course, he's not alone in finding "personal" items becoming news. Lindsay Lohan seems to be living a tortured life. I don't know her, but my sense is that the problems she's having indicate a young woman who has significant emotional or behavorial issues. Of course, that is rarely discussed in media discourse; instead there is a lusting among too many media organizations to get the "great" pictures of Rodriguez, Lohan, or fill-in-the-blank celebrity as he or she stumbles in the public eye. And I find that disgusting. It also leads me to the purpose of this post -- when SHOULD an athlete or celebrity make news? Notice I didn't say when they DO, because in today's ridiculously excessive reporting of the rich and famous they always do.

Whatever A-Rod is doing with this "other woman" is not news, as I define it. It has no real substantive value to any member of the audience (Mrs. A-Rod excluded), has no impact on anyone's life (again, Mrs. A-Rod excluded), and ultimately has no real informational importance. Let me put it another way -- tell me exactly how your life is affected by Rodriguez and whatever off-the-field shenanigans in which he is engaged? Are you a better informed citizen? Do you learn something from it? Does it improve your life? Honesty requires you to answer "no," "no", and "no."

Of course, in today's celebrity-saturated nonsense, A-Rod becomes news, multiple journalists and news organizations say, because he did what is being reported. No one is making up these stories; they happen and therefore become news. Put another way, and perhaps a bit more eloquently, celebrities and athletes are always in the spotlight, and anything they do is newsworthy because the public wants to know about what is happening to and with these people. Rodriguez wouldn't find his personal life in the newspapers, these journalists argue, if he didn't do anything to warrant it. I find this kind of logic a bit twisted; it smacks of morality. Just do the "right" thing and no one will pay attention to you.

Yeah, right. You and I both know that even if these people were behaving properly (a terribly loaded term, by the way) too many media organizations would still provide extensive and largely worthless coverage of them. Only the justification for the reporting would change.

Something to consider in our classes? I hope so.