Monthly Archives: March 2009

Vanity Fair Profile of NY Times Boss

new-york-times-0905-01If you haven’t read Mark Bowden’s profile of New York Times owner Arthur Sulzberger Jr., here’s the LINK. It’s a great portrait, with telling details and anecdotes. A masterful write-around: Sulzberger did not cooperate. Perhaps he should have. Bowden portrays the Times heir as a nice guy with a naive belief that superior journalism will triumph in the end, who has driven the paper into the ditch. Bowden’s condemnation of Sulzberger’s business prowess seems a little unfair as nobody seems to have figured out how to keep newspapers afloat. A great read.

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Don’t Be the April Fool

The Student Press Law Center say one of their busiest days is April 2 – the day after all the April Fools’ Day stories have run in student publications and turned out to be not very funny at all. Here’s a list of tips to avoid getting sued. Humor, they remind us, is not a defense against libel.

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Robert Novak Collegiate Journalism Award

There isn’t much time left to apply for this award, applications have to be postmarked April 1. But if you’ve got three good clips that show excellence in reporting and and understanding of the importance of the free press, you could win $5,000. The Robert Novak Collegiate Journalism Award is run by the Institute on Political Journalism, which has other internships and awards worth keeping an eye on. Click HERE for more information on the award.

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Cops Caught Dumping Student Newspaper

Here’s a story in Boston.com (website of The Boston Globe) about police officers at MIT who were caught trying to dispose of hundreds of issues of the student newspaper, The Tech, because it had a story covering the arrest for drug trafficking of a fellow police officer. The officers apparently took them from the newstands and dumped them in recycling.

Here’s The Tech’s version of the story.

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Fargo Paper Covers Flood Online

wildriceNewspaper lore is full of stirring stories of journalists rallying to cover a large story that consumes their town or city. And increasingly that coverage is going online. So it is with the The Forum of Fargo, which is up to its eyeballs in flood water. According to a story in Editor & Publisher, the paper has mobilized most of its staff to cover the flood and taken their web coverage to 24 hours. Reporters are working 12-hour shifts covering the story, then going out to help with sandbagging. Blog-like posts with information about the latest developments are going up on the site as they come in. Never do news organizations seem more important than in moments like these.

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NBC Paid Internship to Honor Tim Russert

Seniors, take note:

Beginning on March 23rd, NBC will begin soliciting applications for a one-year, paid position in the NBC News Washington, D.C. bureau.  The fellow will work on a rotational basis in key areas of the bureau including assignments on “Meet the Press” and with the NBC News Political Unit. Responsibilities will include assisting talent and producers, participating in news shoots, and story research. The goal is to give one graduating senior the opportunity to be mentored by seasoned NBC News staff members and truly experience a yearlong “boot camp” in political journalism.

NBC is looking for an all around outstanding student, who not only displays a talent for journalism but also is a proven leader dedicated to improving the community. NBC News will continue to sponsor the Fellowship for years to come as a lasting tribute to our friend, Tim.

Tim Russert Fellowship applications and candidate requirements will be available on 
http://www.nbcunicareers.com from March 23 through April 10.

This tip came in from Poynter’s Al Tompkins.

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Applications Up at Columbia J-School

It’s a fascinating trend that journalism school applications are increasing at the same time as the fortunes of the journalism industry seem to be dramatically decreasing. Columbia Journalism School reports applications are up an astonishing 40 percent since last year. Here’s the story in InsideHigherEd.

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A Bill to Save Newspapers

A Democratic Senator has introduced the Newspaper Revitalization Act that would allow struggling newspapers to become non-profit organizations with tax breaks that might help them survive. Here’s the Reuters story.

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Sunshine Week

The Student Press Law Center is celebrating Sunshine Week, designed by the American Society of Newspaper Editors to emphasize the importance of open government and freedom of information, by sending records requests to 1oo public universities and colleges about student disciplinary procedures.

With the help of journalism students and instructors at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, the University of North Texas and Humboldt State University, the SPLC sent out identical letters to 95 public and 20 private institutions in early to mid-February. Some schools required an additional form. The request asked for the total number of complaints investigated by the student disciplinary body, the number of those cases resulting in various types of punishment, any breakdown by the nature of the complaints, data related to sexual assault complaints, and the number of cases referred to the student disciplinary body by the police. SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte said the request focused on institutions’ internal disciplinary procedures because in some cases these “mini-court systems” have evolved to deal with serious criminal complaints in near-secrecy.

 

“We decided to see what disciplinary records we could obtain, first, because we suspect there is quite a bit of confusion about the obligation to disclose some disciplinary information — or at least redacted statistical information — and second, because we think it may be surprising to the public how many serious incidents beyond smoking in the rec room are handled through these non-criminal channels,” he said.

 

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British Media Deathwatch of Reality TV Star Jade Goody

PD*27470548The British media is engaged at the moment in a bizarre deathwatch of a reality TV star, Jade Goody, who is about to die of cancer. Goody stepped into the media spotlight six years ago as a participant in the reality TV show, Big Brother. She became a national figure of ridicule for her gauche ways. For a while she was the celebrity that everybody loved to hate. Now, however, the tenor of the coverage of Goody, who has two young sons, has changed as she faces death. She has a notorious British publicist, Max Clifford, who has been doling out updates to the British press, like this one, which ran today in the Daily Telegraph.

 

 

Jade Goody tells sons she will be ‘a star in the sky’ when she dies

Jade Goody has told her young sons she will soon be a “star up in the sky” looking over them, according to Max Clifford, her publicist.

Here’s a great round up of the story in the New York Times, which addresses the strange kind of media creation Goody is. 

This is reality television carried out to its most extreme, grotesque conclusion, one not even envisioned in the film “The Truman Show” all those years ago. The question of why, exactly, the story is so compelling — how to negotiate the line between poignant and voyeuristic, whether newspapers are exploiting Ms. Goody or she is exploiting them — has twisted the media into knots, even as they provide daily updates on Ms. Goody’s deteriorating condition and state of mind.

They are motivated partly by guilt. Many newspapers have been intermittently nasty about Ms. Goody, holding her up as a sorry symbol of vulgarian, instant-gratification Britain, “someone who achieved a sort of fame for having displayed her incalculable stupidity on television,” as Rod Liddle wrotein The Spectator. Some people even suggested at first, as have many anti-Jade sites on the Internet, that she did not really have cancer but was just trying to get publicity.

Now that she is dying, many of the same papers are now squirming with unease at their collusion in the endless building up, knocking down and exploitation of a woman they always counted on to increase their own sales.

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2008 Weblog Awards

I just came across the 2008 Weblog Awards. It’s worth investigating. There are awards in 48 categories, including Best Comic Strip, Best Humor Blog, Best Technology Blog and Best Blog, which Andrew Sullivan won with Daily Dish. I really liked the The Daily Dose of Imagery blog which didn’t win but was a contender in the Best Photography Blog category. He posts one image a day. It’s a nice manageable premise. And some of the images are gorgeous.

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Stony Brook to Hire 50 Journalists

Media Giraffe is reporting that Stony Brook University, which has a strong news literacy program, is putting its money where its mouth is :

 

Stony Brook University unveiled on Friday a proposal to hire 50 laid-off journalists to undergo training this summer and join dozens of U.S. university campuses in the fall to teach “news literacy” to non-journalism majors.

 

Howard Schneider, dean of the Stony Brook School of Journalism, announced the initative at the end of a three-day conference on news literacy. “Their salaries would be paid for by the grant,” said Schneider. He and Alberto Ibarguen, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, confirmed that Knight would provide a planning grant to launch the initiative.

The announcement was made at the end of a news literacy conference held at the Long Island campus this week. Lord knows there are enough journalists out there who need jobs. And with citizen journalism on the rise, teaching news literacy to non journalism majors can’t be a bad thing.

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Time Mag’s List of Endangered Newspapers

This link came in from Prof. Virginia Breen. The New York Daily News, where she and I used to work, is listed on Time magazine’s list of  the 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America. Sob. We both still have a soft spot for New York’s Hometown Newspaper. Also on the list: The Chicago Sun Times, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald. Sob.

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Steve Wulf Visit

steve-wulf-photo2Steve Wulf, the Editor in Chief of ESPN Books and a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, came to visit my Junior Seminar today. He told the class how he joined The Magazine as one of its founding editors in 1997. From 1994 to 1997, Wulf was a senior writer for Time magazine, for which he won the Overseas Press Club Award for his cover story on the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. From 1977 to 1994, he worked for Sports Illustrated as a reporter, writer and editor. He has also written for Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, Life and The Economist. He currently lives in Larchmont with his wife and four children. He was a mellow presence and had some great advice about writing and some great tales covering athletes over the years.

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Images of German School Shooting

 

Here’s a picture which ran in Der Spiegel, a German magazine, showing the pixelated faces of students at the German school which was the scene of a horrific shooting earlier today. Compare it with the third picture in the CNN slideshow below, which shows the children’s faces. Creates a very different effect. 010201460808002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the CNN slideshow. Check out the third image.

 

 

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