Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Are the media out to get Rudy Giuliani?

One media critic says he's convinced they are.

ABC's Robin Roberts...

...has acknowledged she has breast cancer.

The Grand Old Party...

...is having a grand old time trying to determine if it will take part in a September debate involving CNN and YouTube. My immediate reaction? The Republicans are making a mistake not allowing themselves to take questions (however bizarre some of them might be) from the general public.

A partnership in election coverage

NBC and The New York Times have announced plans to combine some of their forces in election coverage. This could be a powerhouse combination, if the personnel and resources of both are used effectively.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The passing of a television pioneer

Tom Snyder -- who was the first to do a true late-night television talk show -- has died.

Another news helicopter goes down

This time, however, the news is much better. Meanwhile the investigation continues into accident in Arizona, where 4 journalists died after two news helicopters collided.

Another endorsement for...

...the CNN/YouTube debate.

Kill the news...for Dr. Phil?

One Miami station did it...with surprising results.

Is "soup"..."nuts"?

Link here to sort out this play on words.

Last minute cold feet?

Or signs of a deal going bad? I'm guessing the former.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A horrible day in Phoenix

News crews from two Phoenix television stations airborne in a helicopter and covering a police chase crashed. All four people in the two helicopters died. Horrible. Just horrible.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The RTNDA throws a flag at the NFL

What is the broadcasting organization concerned about? The answer can be found here.

Is Fred Thompson a chameleon?

That word might be a bit too strong; but, as this Washington Post report notes, trying to figure out exactly where he stands on certain issues is a bit difficult.

I'm not sure if this is good news...

...but a new report says college-aged students are watching more television. The reasons...and what they are watching are contained in the report.

More misery for McCain

Another key member of his campaign team is bowing out. I suspect there will be a very interesting story written months down the road that will detail why so many people connected to the Arizona senator have walked away from his presidential campaign effort. As they say...stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


That's what Campbell Brown is saying...she's on her way to CNN and possibly a primetime gig.

Drew Carey? Drew Carey?

He's the new host of "The Price is Right"? Wow.

NPR says no...

...to any talk of merging XM and Sirius. And so does an influential Republican senator.

The night will come when...

...no evening newscast is on the air. That's what one former network anchor thinks.

Reaction to the CNN-YouTube debate

I did not watch the debate -- my son had minor surgery yesterday, and my wife and I were more concerned with him being happy than my watching the debate. But here is one reaction to what took place. And here is another. And yet another.

I think I can...I think I can...

...derail the Dow Jones-Rupert Murdoch deal. Who's looking to be "The Little Train That Could"? Read more here.

A la carte might be coming!

Of course, it might be to satellite radio. And only if the merger between XM and Sirius happens.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Seeing Red(stone)

Quite a family tussle these days between Sumner Redstone and his daughter.

The CNN/YouTube debates

I confess to being more than a bit uncomfortable with the amount of hype and promotion surrounding this partnership. However, this report states something important (and I agree) -- perhaps this format -- involving the public -- will generate interest in this highly critical facet of our democracy. The first debate is tonight.

Is it time to open up?

Here is an interesting report that suggests one of the principal reasons why journalism is held in such low regard is that the industry refuses to be transparent. Journalists demand openness from their sources and from government, the report notes, but they often refuse to do the same thing for others.

The FCC doesn't want it...and President Bush says he'd veto it

But the move to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine continues.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The journalist was a spy

As I write this, I am watching the final few minutes of an interview appearing on C-SPAN2. Larry Berman, a political science professor at the University of California, Davis, has written a book about a former Time magazine correspondent who doubled as a spy for the VietCong.

Here is a C-SPAN link describing the program, which is available online.

What I've found the most interesting element to the interview is how the Vietnamese man succeeded for so long in these dual roles. The interview explains how Pham Xuan An began his journalism career in the United States after being brought to this country by Americans who believed he could be a great resource to combat the growing Communist sentiment during the 1950s in the south of the country.

Watch the program. Then consider doing what I will be doing -- picking up the book.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The untimely death of a great journalism educator and researcher

The death earlier this week of University of Miami journalism professor Michael Salwen was shocking. I learned of the news earlier today when a colleague from Point Park University sent me the following story. I did not know Salwen personally, but one did not have to spend much time in the academy before coming across one of his many research publications.

From the Miami Herald, July 18, 2007:
MICHAEL SALWEN, 53 Respected writer, professor
Michael B. Salwen, a University of Miami journalism professor, author and renowned scholar, died Tuesday at his Miami home of complications from cancer. He was 53.
Salwen fought cancer for more than six years, said his wife and fellow University of Miami professor, Okhee Lee-Salwen.
''He was an absolutely amazing husband until the end, and even more amazing during the hardships than ever before,'' she said.
Salwen was born Jan. 15, 1954 in Perth Amboy, N.J.
He wrote for several Pennsylvania and New Jersey newspapers between 1976 and 1981 before earning his doctorate in mass media from Michigan State University in 1985.
It was at Michigan State that Salwen met his wife. After dating for a year, Salwen moved to Miami to teach and Lee-Salwen continued to pursue her doctorate. For two years they held a long-distance relationship, until marrying in January 1988. During his 20-plus years at the University of Miami, Salwen published more than 70 articles and book chapters, a remarkable feat, according to colleague Michel Dupagne.
''It's pretty hard to publish in a peer review journal today in communications, and sometimes he was publishing four or five pieces a year,'' said Dupagne, a friend and assistant professor at the university.
Former student Bryant Paul said Salwen let him work on research on the third-person effect, a theory that people believe others are more affected by media than themselves.
Paul said Salwen shaped him as a scholar and helped him publish a thesis paper on the topic that has become a commonly cited work in the profession.
'There were times I remember thinking, `Gosh, I wish he would stop being so prolific so I could just get a little time off,' but at the same time it's good he didn't,'' Paul said.
A quiet man with a wide range of interests, Salwen authored or coauthored six books, including Latin American Journalism, Radio and TV in Cuba: The Pre-Castro Era, and Online News and the Public.
In 1995, Salwen was appointed to the editorial board of Journalism Quarterly and named an associate editor of Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly.
''He had a very, very broad yet deep understanding in mass communication,'' said longtime friend and colleague Bruce Garrison. Garrison co-authored several books with Salwen and recruited the professor for UM's School of Mass Communications in 1984.
''To me, you can't get any better than him,'' Garrison said.
Along with his wife, Salwen is survived by his mother Zelda Salwen and his brothers Ronald Salwen and Hal Salwen.
In lieu of flowers, contributions should be sent to the Michael B. Salwen Fund at the Office of Advancement, School of Communication, University of Miami, PO Box 248127, Coral Gables, FL 33124.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 at the Levitt Weinstein Mt. Nebo Kendall Memorial Chapel, 5900 SW 77th Ave. A memorial service for the University of Miami community is being planned for mid-August.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Fairness Doctrine...

...ain't dead yet. But let's face it, the reality is it will not be coming back. The Democrats are fighting a symbolic fight here. They have no chance of winning.

Be careful what you say...

...or more precisely what types of words appear on your air. The FCC is one step closer to being able to hand out some serious sanctions.

Amy Jacobson update

Few details were provided, but Amy Jacobson has reached a settlement with the Chicago television station that fired her. She also used the "news" to level a blast or two at her critics.

From the TV to the Metro beat

A demotion? Wouldn't you see it as one? But it turns out that the Philadelphia Inquirer's decision to move Gail Shister to a new beat is not a unique circumstance...in fact, it's been going on for some time. Arguments pro and con are considered in this report.

Forcing people to promote?

It appears the NFL is determined to compel photographers who shoot football games this fall to promote select camera companies.

Time to dust off the resume

That's exactly what many Wall Street Journal reporters are doing now that Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of the Dow Jones media empire seems certain.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A jailed U.S. scholar appears on Iranian television

This Washington Post report examines how the Iranian government is turning the scholar's words and actions into a case that she is an American spy. Her family's reactions also are noted.

Changing tactics

An interesting New York Times report about how some of the leading Republican presidential candidates are beginning to change tactics. The causes of the changes are highlighted.

A lesson in ethics

Who's giving it...and who's receiving it might surprise you.

As they get older...

...do men become more "distinguished" but women simply become "older"? This article suggests that might be the prevailing wisdom.

Did ABC News go too far?

Some critics -- including the parent of a dead American soldier -- say the network went too far when it showed some violent video from the Iraq War.

Getting ready to meet the new boss

Many current Wall Street Journal employees say they are more than a bit anxious about their new boss -- Rupert Murdoch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Varying opinions on Amy Jacobson

The consensus after reading these editorials is that there is plenty of blame to go around. The opinions appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, Washington Post, and the Daily Herald.

Scripps to shut down two papers

The Cincinnati Post reports that it and the neighboring Kentucky Post will be shut down at the end of the calendar year.

Deal (you can scratch Or No Deal)

Get out the pens...it's time to sign off on the deal that gives Rupert Murdoch the Dow Jones media empire.

More people say "adios" to...

...Senator John McCain, whose presidential bid is rapidly falling apart. These departures are simply teh latest evidence. But the candidate says he will fight on.

Censorship and the Bush administration, part 2

One Washington Post columnist says the former U.S. Surgeon General who accused the White House of muzzling some of his speeches and politicizing others has some additional explaining to do.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Now a member of the Bancroft famliy is trying to...

...block the potential sale of the Dow Jones media empire to Rupert Murdoch. Here are additional details.

How "equal time" could become a matter of Law and Order

So, let's say that an actor runs for president, and his "character" is still on television. What does that mean for the other people who want to be president? Do they have to be on television in equal time allotments? The answers are here.

Charles in charge

Or more precisely Charlie at the top of the ratings.

Do you see a parallel?

The recent problems of fired Chicago television reporter Amy Jacobson sound awfully familiar to another television reporter. She, too, welcomed criticism for what she did as part of what she claimed was getting the story.

A different look at the media divide

A well-reasoned Washington Post story about the problems of too much media.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Who says you can't go home again?

Ohio State (sorry, no "The" and "University" will be added here) has announced that E. Gordon Gee is returning as its president. Gee held the same position from 1990 to 1997 before moving on to Brown and Vanderbilt, where he has been since 2000. Sorry to say, but the decision to bring Gee to Columbus does not sit well with this educator.

I was at Ohio State during the 1995-96 academic year. As I earned my Master's (and met the wonderful woman who would become my wife), I learned firsthand (and more so second hand) about Gee's apparent dislike for the media. A story told to me was that Gee demanded that the university's student newspaper, The Lantern, be more friendly toward the administration. Going from memory here, I also believe he wondered why the paper was independent, suggesting that the university should look into taking it over. (This might sound familiar to those of you who know of Gee's decision to disband the Vanderbilt athletic department, which he thought was becoming too distant from the school.)

Gee also succeeded in gutting the journalism program at Ohio State. Doing so ensured that Ohio's most public university -- located in the capital city -- lacked a legitimate journalism major. His crippling of journalism also highlighted how much better other such programs around the state were. Bowling Green, Kent and especially Ohio did during the 1990s and much more so now turn out well-trained, qualified young men and women.

So, Gee has gone home again. Terrific. There will be no celebrating this decision under the Moretti roof.

Fallout from Jacobson's firing

This interesting column from the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that the city's two long-time rival stations (one CBS, one NBC) might be heading into rougher waters.

Oh, no...not the Senate!

The U.S. Senate is preparing to debate the merits of re-establishing the Fairness Doctrine. I'm not sure anything constructive will come from those rambling speeches. Instead, one Seattle Times columnist argues (and I agree with him) that the discussions should be about media ownership rules.

Regaining credibility

An excellent piece by the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal regarding how fired Chicago TV reporter Amy Jacobson goes about regaining her credibility. Well worth reading.

Why being Katie might not be enough

A well-written piece about the challenges Katie Couric (and other leading television journalists) deals with as she seeks to gain credibility as the anchor of the CBS Evening News.

You can take stock in this

CNBC is about to have a daily challenger in the world of televised business news.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Disinterested youth

A new report suggests America's teenagers and young adults care little about the news happening around them. You can link to the actual study and its findings here.

Sen. McCain's presidential bid is in deeper trouble

The departure of key (and long-time) allies from his campaign is just the latest sign that the Arizona senator's bid for the White House is floundering.

The last gasp?

Last-minute suitors for Dow Jones are feverishly attempting to put together bids. All this in an effort to keep the media empire out of Rupert Murdoch's hands.

Update on the Chicago television reporter and a possible breach of ethics

She's been fired. The homepage of WBBM-TV has the complete and unedited video, along with a story that aired on one of last evening's newscasts.

This turned out to be an interesting discussion in our house last night. My wife and I debated the merits of whether the reporter should be penalized for what she did. Based on the information available to us then, she thought nothing should have been done to her. I thought some sanction -- a suspension at most -- was necessary.

The Bush administration practices censorship?

A claim that is bound to open a huge can of worms. The person making the allegation is the former U.S. Surgeon General.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Maybe "The Price Is Right" for...

...Dan Patrick? His announced decision to leave ESPN after almost two decades could signal he's one step closer to taking over as host of the popular daytime game show.

Katie Couric is playing politics

Actually she's covering politics...and a lot of it. CBS News has outlined its political plans for 2008, and Katie Couric will be front and center for much of it.

Proposed satellite radio merger update

You can add the National Association of Broadcasters to those opposed to any merger between XM and Sirius.

Did a Chicago journalist cross the line?

Read this story...and offer your own reactions.

Election euphoria...election ennui

Voters are feeling both. A great read here.

No nervous breakdown!

One network news anchor says her critics are perhaps disappointed that she hasn't collapsed yet. Did I say her? Gee, I wonder who this story is about? And read one critical reaction to it.

Be even more graphic

That's what one person is challenging the media to do as they continue to cover the Iraq War.

Talking "Fairness"

You'd be surprised how many people are talking about it.

Changes are coming to...

...the CBS Early Show. (And is it just me, or does it seem inevitable at some point that Katie Couric will end up anchoring that program???)

Another suitor for Dow Jones?

The answer appears to be "yes." Read more here. And here's what might happen if the media empire is not sold...to anyone.

Radio airplay hurts album sales?

Are you kidding me? The National Association of Broadcasters thinks the same. Read its response to a study that says airplay is a detriment to sales.

Censorship in China

An interesting report about what censorship is depriving the Chinese people of...and it's more than you might think.

Back at it...

Following a few days of camping...we return to the usual endeavors. Let's begin in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin is using something that smacks of the Communist era, to build enthusaism for his policies.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Seeing former students do well

That is one of the things that really gives me a charge. It probably does for many educators. A few days ago I caught up with a former student, Amanda Pavlik (a short bio is available here), who is now reporting and anchoring at WDTV in Clarksburg, WV.

Amanda graduated from Point Park in December 2006, and in her short time in Clarksburg has blossomed into a solid reporter whose skills are improving all the time. This comes as no surprise to me. Amanda was a reporter and anchor for some of the television programs that my students produce. But I really got to see just how talented and professional she was because of her work as a director. She served in that role for the initial "On the Point" programs. It was a role she handled very well, and she showed her fellow students just how vital a role a director plays in ensuring a television program goes well. Over time, she became so comfortable at it that she offered thoughts and ideas about how to make the show better. I kept telling my students I wanted them to take that kind of control of the show, and she was one who did just that.

Amanda spoke at the recently completed high school journalism workshop, which I discussed in a couple of postings last week. Her conversation about internships, writing well, working hard, etc. seemed to resonate with our attendees. I caught a glimpse at a few of the end-of-the-week evaluations, and positive comments about Amanda were offered in many of them.

No question, seeing a former student do well makes my day.

There often is no freedom when...

...information is sought. Read more here.

An endorsement for...

...Katie Couric. Link here to find out who is providing it.

There are some Republicans who don't believe in...

...bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. Who are they? Here is the answer.

Throw a flag!

This latest effort by the NFL to hinder daily media coverage is obnoxious.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The latest terror in the UK

I did not spend the entire day with CNN on Saturday, but the coverage that I did see of the London/Glasgow terror attacks was good. If I were grading it, I'd have given it a B.

The network updated the situation regularly, and it tried as best as possible not to fall off into the television dumping ground that, for me, is worthless interviews and re-airing of old video.

The primary shortcoming I saw is not new -- not enough solid reporting from people on the scene. This lack of manpower in foreign news bureaus is something that has been argued by many people over the past decade; I'm not going to rehash the discussion points here. But suffice to say that a lack of staffing in international cities combined with the Glasgow event happening on a Saturday ensured that makeshift reporting had to be employed.

CNN seemingly fell in love with one of its reporters who was stationed outside of Atlanta's airport. No offense to him (and some of his reporting was strong), but his stories were secondary, if not tertiary, to what was taking place "across the pond."

Moreover, the video of the burning SUV was overused. Perhaps this was a by-product of the lack of personnel on the scene. Perhaps it was a result of police cordoning off the airport. Perhaps other factors were at work. Regardless of the reasons, I rapaidly grew tired of the same shots of the burning vehicle.

I will be curious to see if the coverage improves over the next few days.