Friday, August 31, 2007

Another change at the White House

Press secretary Tony Snow is stepping down in mid-September.

When a "real" presidential candidate is also a...

..."pretend" district attorney. What do you do? Keep the show on the air!

200 journalists are now dead... a result of the Iraq War and its aftermath. That is the conclusion of one group.

Is PBS caving to pressure?

Or simply doing the prudent thing? You decide.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Richard Jewell -- falsely accused Olympic Park bomber -- is dead

I've used the Jewell story in a couple of classes. Perhaps you have as well. The news of his death, apparently from natural causes, stunned me.

Clearing the first bureaucratic hurdle

The FTC has given a preliminary green light to Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the Dow Jones media empire.

Another media partnership... advance of the 2008 presidential election. Who's involved? Find out here.

Universities need to do what...

...or risk losing what? This story has various repercussions.

Why is Japan ahead of us when it comes to broadband?

Fewer bureaucratic roadblocks, and overall inefficiency would (of course) have nothing at all to do with it. Not a chance. This story demonstrates that very well.

A new report on the SAT test

Something that all educators ought to find interesting.

Were the media fair to Michael Vick?

A new report indicates that the color of your skin might be critical in how you answer that question.

Katie Couric is out...

...of the country. (Fooled you, didn't I?) Find out where she's going and why by linking here. Meanwhile here is an excellent piece about the state of the three network anchors.

It took 3 months for this story to become news... UPDATED

...and at least one critic of the media wants to know why.

And at least one reporter thinks he has an answer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

From the U.S. News daily news bulletin...

Last night, all three networks led with the resignation story, devoting a combined 17 minutes to Gonzales. Many newspapers, likewise, devote their front pages and lead editorials to the departing Attorney General. Amid this torrent of commentary, it is hard to find any coverage at all – other than Bush's spirited defense – that is sympathetic toward the Attorney General.

One last lie on the way out the door?

After reading this, you might conclude the answer to that question is "yes."

The ACLU says blame the FCC

What's behind this spat? Read more here.

40 years as all-news radio...

...and still going strong. Today is the day to celebrate at WCBS in New York.

Radio venture to end -UPDATED

The Washington Post has announced that effective next month it is giving up its radio programming. Low ratings is cited as the reason.

AUGUST 29 UPDATE -- Here's what's next for that station.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More Antonio Gonzales

Interesting evaluation on the departed attorney general, from TIME magazine.

Rupert wants you to...

...stay. That's the message (delivered by Murdoch himself) to some top Wall Street Journal reporters.

Does radio have MORE room for other voices?

This article suggests the answer is a resounding "yes."

Bill Moyers' interview with FCC Commissioner Michael Copps

You can access the transcript here, and an internal link to the video portion of the interview will be available.

Don Imus' new home...

...might be as easy to remember as ABC.

The first of what will be many reactions to the departure of Alberto Gonzales

I suspect most of the media discourse will focus on the wiretapping fiasco; but here is the brief, first response from one newspaper.

Quite a media Monday morning

The attorney general reportedly is stepping down...and Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick is accepting his plea bargain.

Ten people to be charged in the death of a Russian journalist

Additional details here.

Does Charlie Gibson need to lighten up...

...or do Brian Williams and Katie Couric need to show a bit more professionalism? You decide.

Here we go again? Or is this different?

You decide, after reading this report about an attractive cable television news and business reporter.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A non-media message that I hope all of you will read and consider offering help

Please access this link from, and if you are in position to offer any so.

Changing viewing habits...

...and changing media market numbers. Check out the estimates here.

Taking the CNN-YouTube debate one step further

This time, its MySpace and MTV that are partnering, in an effort to reach young voters.

Remembering Katrina

Television networks are planning significant coverage to commemorate the 2-year anniversary of the deadly hurricane.

$how me the money!

Lots of it, in fact. That's what radio and television stations and networks are saying, as the 2008 election cycles rapidly draws in.

The BBC acknowledges it has lost something...

...but promises it will get it back.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The new academic year is about to begin

I hope all who read this who are college educators feel the same sense of anticipation and excitement that I do, as the new academic year gets underway.

At Point Park, our fall semester begins Monday. The simple increase in the number of bodies around our buildings made it clear that classes are about to start again.

Good luck to one and all in the 2007-08 academic year.

"Anchorwoman", part 3

It replaces series after one airing with episodes of Til Death.
By Staff

Thursday afternoon, Fox sent out a revised schedule noting that “Fox has pulled Anchorwoman from the schedule effective immediately. Corresponding changes have been made to the schedule on three Wednesdays.”

It’s substituting episodes of Til Death on Aug. 29, Sept. 5 and Sept. 12.

"Anchorwoman", part 2

A disgrace.

That seems to be the sentiment that many of my journalism colleagues are expressing on a listserv to which I belong. I agree with the sentiment (as if you had any doubt).

Using a real newsroom for a reality show is an embarrassment. Management that allowed such a fiasco ought to be disciplined appropriately.

One side note: A former student of mine at Texas Tech University works at the television station. I won't name her (for fear of embarrassing her). I hope her career isn't affected because of this latest example of shameless lusting for and pandering to viewers.

Now here's a gig I would have loved...

...back in my college days. Check out what 50 journalism students will be doing next summer.

Getting kicked in the (Stephen) A. (Smith)

Here's what's happening at the Philly Inquirer.

Bloggers do journalism!

And this story tries to offer some evidence of it.

A change to

Branding is behind this decision, and on the surface it appears to be a smart one.

An interesting intern

Who he is and where he is are just part of the story.

Real anchorwomen talk about "Anchormwoman"

Care to guess what most of them think?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Declining minority numbers in newspaper newsrooms

Here's one reaction to the news

When should race be mentioned in a story?

That question is being discussed in the newsroom of one leading U.S. newspaper.

Change...and the reaction to it

At one leading journalism school, the changes being implemented by one leader are not necessarily being well received.

Russia brings out the scissors to the BBC

You can still hear some broadcasts inside Russia, but it is a bit harder these days. The story and the protest behind the decision are available here.

The coverage is starting to balance out

Specifically between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. There are two interesting links contained in this report.

Nasty, nasty, nasty

An unauthorized biography of Katie Couric takes shots at her up one side and down the other. Couric's camp denies everything.

A messasge for Don Imus

If you want to return to the airwaves (with less controversy than you will undoubtedly have)...then you had better read this.

That's not my message; it comes from Al Sharpton.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Right on, Bill!

Which Bill? (Here's a hint...he's spent a lot of time around the White House in recent years.)

The lobbying bill...$4.3 million

Who spent that much? The answer might surprise you.

Another bad day in the sports world

A former NBA referee walked into a federal courtroom today and pleaded guilty to two felony charges. His career is over. His time in prison might just be beginning. There also is news today that a prominent NFL quarterback is considering a plea bargain for his role in a dog fighting ring. What this might mean to his professional career and whether he will spend any time behind bars are likely critical issues that must be determined before any plea is agreed to and then entered.

How the media cover these stories is important. Journalists already have been advised by their sources that these incidents are "isolated," the available evidence suggests that these men acted alone (meaning that no other basketball referee or football player was involved). Narrowly defined, this is true; no fellow referee or football player has been charged in either case. In other words, there is no widespread rampaging flu-like virus destroying the health of these sports leagues.

But in other ways, this "isolated" argument is far from true. Making such an argument seems to defy reality.

Professional sports leagues find themselves on the crime page in frightening amounts these days. I say frightening because as a former sports journalist, long-time sports fan, and as the father of two boys who are sports fanatics, I am uncomfortable with any sports executive suggesting that athletes do anything "isolated" these days. An "isolated" incident is something that rarely happens -- natural disasters come to mind. Man-made ones seem all too frequent.

It is easy (and I think incorrect) to simply say that athletes today get in trouble because they have more money than they know what to do with, and therefore are convinced they can buy themselves out of any problem they might face. I also cannot accept the argument that athletes are spoiled and coddled and never learn the value of self-respect or respect of others.

Let's face it: all professional sports leagues survive largely because of their integrity. I watch football because I believe that the results are not scripted (say as they are in "professional" wrestling). I watch baseball, soocer, basketball, hockey and other sports because they are at their core legitimate competitions. The playing field has to be fair for the results to be valid.

No sports executive can in any way link the referee scandal, the dog fighting probe, rampant allegations of steroids or other illicit activity to the core of their sport. Doing so runs the risk of contaminating the legitimacy of that sport and the games that are played to help determine the "champion."

However, the media cannot simply brush off these (not-so) "isolated" incidents, as their sources would like them to do. Athletes are told to dig deeper every day. Doing so is supposed to make them better players and increase the chances of their teams' success. The same message holds for journalists. Dig deeper. Don't report and move on. Analyze. Study. Do more than tell us what happened.

You can. The question is will you?

90 percent are white...64 percent are male

Who are they?

If it appears that no one is in favor of...

...the merger between XM and Sirius, then why are efforts continuing to make it happen? The latest group to oppose the deal is the National Association of Broadcasters.

Imus and CBS make a deal

Here are two examples -- one from The New York Times, the other from the Wall Street Journal -- of what the print media are saying about the deal.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yes, I know...this is about the "horse race"

Nevertheless, I think the numbers are a bit terms of who has moved well ahead and who might be lagging. But please remember that the primaries don't start for another four months.

Comments in droves...about Rove

Depending upon whom you believe, the departure of Karl Rove means his mission is not finished...his tactics never had the chance to sustain themselves...will be on display in 2008, even though he's on the sidelines...or ensures that Democrats might be even more worried about him outside of government.

You talk about mixed messages!

If not September...then November

Leading Republican presidential candidates are expected to participate in their version of the CNN-YouTube debates two months later than planned.

When you combine...

...trimmed budgets, a dangerous mission, and a growingly disinterested get? Here's the answer.

More local news is coming to...

...a city known more for its national and international stature.

She's back...

...and thankful that she is.

Here we go again!

Journalists are being forced to testify about their government sources. This sounds all too familiar.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Do you have students interested in study abroad programs?

Then you had better consider reading this report.

The presidential ambitions are over...

...for one Republican, at least.

Sometimes the laggards -- at least when it comes to adopting new technology --

...can be found in places you might not expect.

More on the recent spat between...

...New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse and C-SPAN. You might recall that last week she threatened to walk out of an AEJMC convention panel she was on if C-SPAN was allowed to videotape the event. The description of Greenhouse in this story isn't that flattering.

The fourth hour of Today will be hosted by...

...the names can be found right here.

If you want to watch the Engligh-language version of Al-Jazeera...'re probably going to have to do it on the Internet. A recent story notes that the cable news and information provider is having a hard time getting placed on leading U.S. cable systems.

Rupert Murdoch is ready to take on The New York Times

...and no "take on" has nothing to do with adding the paper to his media empire. Read more here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

When great people do great things

Angie Kucharski is the vice president and station manager at WBZ in Boston. She also was my news director when we worked together about 10 years ago at WBNS-TV in Columbus.

Angie did something today that I think you need to know about -- she took a red-eye flight from Las Vegas, where she had been attending the National Association of Black Journalists convention, to take part in a panel here at the AEJMC convention in Washington.

The panel examined how the growing percentage of women as anchors impacts local news, story selection and a host of other news issues.

Think about that one more time -- she flew all night to take part in an educators' convention. Yes, I asked Angie to attend; but when I did, I had no idea she would be coming from Las Vegas.
Angie, thanks!

What we can do as journalists to prepare our students for 2008

Yesterday, I attended a session here at the AEJMC convention that examined what the 2008 political landscape might be like and what we as educators can do to assist our students in doing better reporting as it approaches.

The panelists were Steve Scully from C-Span and Rich Landesberg, a colleague, friend and assistant professor at Elon University in North Carolina. I found each man to be optimistic and a touch pessimistic about the upcoming election cycle.

I raised the question of what we as educators can do to provide a realistic classroom environment for our students, recognizing that 2008 provides for many of them their first opportunity to cover a presidential election. Scully offered an interesting suggestion -- get students involved in a campaign. Get them, in other words, to feel the energy, the enthusiasm (and although he didn't use this word, it is safe to say the tedious nature) of a campaign.

He had a second thought that many of us also can adopt: allow our students to watch an event from beginning to end and as they watch consider the following -- the candidate's body language and how well he or she answers questions that are asked. Getting our students away from staged events (i.e. press conferences) is critical, he concluded.

Landesberg said he is likely to use an actual event as an assignment. His students will be expected to watch an event from beginning to end, then take the video and audio and turn that into a news package. He then will allow his students to compare their work to that of the local and national journalists who covered that event.

A member of the audience added something that I thought was a masterful idea -- ask students what issues are critical to them in the upcoming election...then make them prepare stories on those topics. She added that the students could also compare their thoughts about that issue to what the candidates are actually saying.

Landesberg reiterated one point, and it is not a positive one. He is bothered that the horse race mentality seems to continue this year but with a twist. In year's past, the race was poll driven -- who was ahead, by how many points, has the lead increased or decreased? But this year, the race is about money -- who has raised the most, who is catching up, who is lagging? Regardless of what kind of race is being covered, it is not healthy for journalism, Landesberg said.

This was a great panel, and I say that with a bit of pride because I was one of the people who proposed the idea then organized it once it was accepted into the convention program.

Today is the last day of the convention. I hope another posting or two will follow!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

An incredibly powerful call to arms...

...was delivered this evening by multiple-award winning journalist Bill Moyers at his keynote address to the AEJMC convention.

Moyers was brilliant, as he challenged journalism educators to not surrender to the corporate mentality that has its grip over major American media.

He suggested that in his role as a journalist he has often taken on powerful politicians and corporations. He told the crowd that taking on a politician is nothing compared to taking on a corporation. But he also reminded us that being a great journalist comes in part by remembering that it is "not how close you are to power, but how close you are to reality."

Moyers made multiple references to his recent documentary that challenged multiple claims made by the Bush administration in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. He noted that the current administration combined with its many friends in the "right wing echo chamber" are seeking to convince Americans that any questioning of authority is akin to being un-American. Nonsense, according to Moyers. "Free speech as sedition?" he asked. "Tell your students silence is sedition."

Moyers used one example from CBS to identify how the corporatization of the media (as I define it to my students) has manifested itself. He said that since 1980 about 60% of all full-time staff positions have been eliminated by CBS News. Yet he stilled called upoin journalists to be at their best in these bad times, reminding us that the market will not deliver to the public the information that is needed to keep American democracy thriving.

He ended with highlighting the tragic cases of about a half dozen journalists from all over the world who have been killed in recent years. What was the unifying element to these people? For all of them, they did what they did every day "because journalism matters."

An amazingly powerful speech that ended with Moyers getting a well-deserved standing ovation.

There was a television crew from C-Span at tonight's address, which might have been covered live by the cable network. Regardless you might want to look for it at various times over the next few days. And you also might want to do what I am going to -- ask C-Span to send me a DVD copy.

What a great way to end day one of the convention -- with a legendary television journalist reminding all of us who teach journalism that what we do has relevance, that we touch the lives of young people every day, and that we cannot give up. Bravo, Bill.

The thoughts of 2 FCC commissioners

One of the tangible benefits of the annual AEJMC convention being here in Washington, DC is the chance to hear from leading political and journalistic sources. Such an opportunity presented itself today when two FCC commissioners addressed a room of about 35-40 journalism educators.

Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein are the two Democrats on the commission; thus it should be no surprise that their comments were quite critical of the current political and legislative environment.

Mr. Copps suggested that the pace and tone of change vis-a-vis media regulation is not healthy. He argued that deregulation, which began in the Reagan era, and the "tsunami of consolidation" have not been beneficial to the American public. He argued that "big media" remain committed to seeing even further change enacted into law.

Mr. Adelstein said that the current efforts to deregulate and allow for fewer companies to own more media properties goes against American history. He discussed a book that I hope to get my hands on. Titled "The Creation of the Media" and written by Paul Starr, Adelstein noted that there has always been a history of a government hands-off policy involving the media. However, the trade off historically has been a media that serve the interests of the public over any self-interest. He argued that trade off is no longer considered necessary by big media, and their political associates in Washington are supporting them.

Two other quick points: Neither man sees any chance for the Fairness Doctrine to be re-enacted or in fact even discussed by the current FCC. The opposition of the commissions' Republican majority was the reason cited. They also blasted America's effort to promote and bring broadband Internet capability to the public.

The critics of these men undoubtedly will raise their opposition. It should be noted by the way that a retired member of the FCC (and a Republican) also was scheduled for the panel, but he was called away to China where he is conducting business.

A great recognition for a great educator

My dissertation advisor from Ohio University has been recognized by his colleagues within the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Dr. Patrick Washburn is being honored with the Eleanor Blum Distinguished Service to Research Award. Pat was "roasted" by some of his former students and his colleagues today.

It was simply great to see someone whom I admire so much receive something that is so precious to him.

A quick headline comparison

I mentioned in a posting from yesterday that I arrived in Washington DC for an academic convention. My arrival coincided with the news that Barry Bonds had hit his record-breaking 756th career home run. The historic blast occured the night before against the Washington Nationals.

Bonds' feat was an above-the-fold headline in the Washington Post. There was a corresponding picture. He was not found either above the fold or with an accompanying photo in the Washington Times.

Read whatever you want into this editorial decision.

Tip O'Neill was right...

...all politics is local. And when it comes to political advertising for 2008, politicians are being advised to keep that mantra in mind.

The non-military background of...

...the sons of one presidential candidate. This story, the content of which is in some dispute, nevertheless again raises the question of what is fair game when it comes to the families of the men and women who want to be president.

So, Rupert...what are you going to do now?

Nope, he's not going to Disneyland, but he definitely has plans.

China's Olympic Image in Hong Kong

I have just come from an interesting research paper session here at the AEJMC convention. The series of papers dealt with East Asia, but the one I was most interested in was one presented by Annisa Lee from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

She discussed a survey she conducted wth Hong Kong residents gauging their impressions of how the image of the Olympics in general compared with the image of China as a Olympic host.

She began by noting that the Olympics are viewed in China and Hong Kong as a $40 billion facelift of image of country that is geared toward returning and recapturing the image of China as a proud and determined nation

Prof. Lee identified five "sports," "significance to the world", and "personal attributes" that are critical to developing the Olympic brand. She found among those surveyed that "fair competition" is the most important sports-related image of the Olympics. The respondents also thought that "fair competition" was the most important attribute China could display, but their confidence was not as high.

When it came to "significance for the world, the promotion of peace and harmony are closely connected to overall Olympic image, and for China harmony was also highest; but the promotion of peace for China was much lower.

Finally for "personal attributes", striving to do and be your best is considering the highest value, and striving is also the highest attritube for China.

Fair competition was the highest rated (meaning strongest supported) image of the Olympic brand, and China did not score well in this area

About 60% of respondents think the Chinese image to the world will improve because of the Games.

Perhapsthe most interesting finding stemmed from the question of who the survey respondents thought was the most preferable person for promotion of the Games: 726 of the respondents (there were 1011 total) said Chinese athletes; fewer than 30 said the Chinese government.

And those who push the human rights agenda (meaning seek to use the Games as a means of the improving the human rights situation in China) might find the last element of this posting with a bit of disgust. The respondents were asked their thoughts about what was the most important thing the Chinese could do in advance of the Games:

Improve environment was first; followed by security; tourism; city planning; human rights and democracy were fifth and sixth.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Greetings from one of my favorite cities

I arrived in Washington D.C. earlier today, and I was greeted by 95 degrees and stembath humidity. I'm here for the annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual convention. Beginning in the morning, more than 1,500 faculty and graduate students will provide research examining various facets of communication. Along the same lines, many also will appear on panels to discuss topics relating to journalism education or the communications industry. I hope to offer multiple postings over the next few days.

The News(eum) will not begin on time

Construction delays are the given reason. Here are additional details.

A sad day in Los Angeles

Hal Fishman has died. The name is probably not familiar to people who have never lived in southern California, but for those (such as me) who did Fishman was an institution. In an era in which local television newscasts begin to slide into entertainment and frivolity, Fishman insisted his news program on KTLA never strayed from reporting news.

If you like watching the Olympics on television...

...then get ready because NBC is going to give you an Olympian effort from Beijing. By the way, the Games start in one year. Woo-hoo! Meanwhile, one long-time Olympic sponsor says 2008 will be the last year it is involved in advertising during the Games.

It's time once again to blame the media

Here's who doing the blaming.

Iran slams the door on...

...another independent news source.

When it comes to the Wall Street Journal and China...

...the newspaper's new owner, Rupert Murdoch, is promising a hands-off editorial policy. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Going beyond simply telling the story

A leading U.S. newspaper is beginning an "action" plan that might be a great teaching tool for many of us.

Add yet another voice opposed to...

...a marriage between XM and Sirius. Who's opposed to it now?

To understand the power of media and modern communications...

...try going without them for 24 hours. The idea is not as crazy as you might think.

Keeping airborne reporters safe

The terrible accident in Phoenix, where four television journalists died when two helicopters collided has raised important questions about how to keep these reporters safe in such situations.

A threat?

Is the web a threat to traditional television? Here is an interesting report in the Wall Street Journal.

Are they fair game?

Who are they? Read more here.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Update on Oakland-area shooting of a journalist

Additional details (from over the weekend) available here.

The LEGAL reach of wiretapping...

...has been expanded. I emphasize the word "legal" for somewhat obvious reasons.

How one Scout stopped me cold

Many of you know that I am the Cubmaster for my son's Cub Scout pack. We were on our annual Pack camping trip last week, and one Scout (not my son) said something that almost brought tears to my eyes.

My kids (yes, I think of them in that regard) were at the rock-throwing range when I asked one of them if he was having a good time.

"Yes," he said, with a smile that enveloped his entire face.

It was then that he stopped me cold.

"Mr. Moretti?" he called to me. "As long as you are the Cubmaster, I'm staying in Cub Scouts."

Kids are indeed our most precious asset.

Business news

It might be, but not for the reasons you think.

FOX plays nice... one GOP presidential candidate.

Could the FCC undo...

...what Rupert Murdoch and the Bacnroft family have done? Read the thoughts of one FCC commissioner.

An American journalist is killed

Where it happened...and the circumstances surrounding it...are what makes this story even more astounding.

More on the Minneapolis bridge collapse

Citizen journalists have been proving to be valuable to both FOX and CNN.

A Los Angeles television journalist is suspended

Here's what she did.

The New York Times is...

...shrinking. Here's what it means. And here's a reaction to it.

A FOX in...

...CNBC's house? Sort of. And the latter is ready to take on the former.

A bloggers union???

Check out the thoughts of some people who want it. Meanwhile, some of them are a touch upset at one presidential candidate. Here's why.

An editor interviews himself?

Sounds strange, but here is the story behind it.

Where to go to get original reporting about...

...the Minneapolis bridge collapse. This is an interesting story.

I'm B-aa-ccc-kkkk

Back from four terrific days of Cub Scout camp. Let the postings begin!!!