Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advisers Acting Un-Ethically

While I was Managing Editor at Pasadena City College, two administrators were charged with allegedly accepting bribes from and LED light company and getting a free trip to India to 'Inspect' the factories.  I have a friend that is a real estate agent and I asked him to look up the houses of the administrators to see whether there was anything interesting about their homes.

I wanted to find that they had just bought a new million dollar home or just re-modeled their kitchen with brand new appliances. All I found was a modest home with a reasonable mortgage, nothing unusual. I shared the info with my partner Senior Editor and we both decided it was not newsworthy information and did not need to be reported, I threw the print out in the trash.

Three days later the paper comes out with this article on 8, the back page:

Notice that the comments for this article are closed.  This is because of the windfall of angry comments that were received about this article.  They included comments about how pointless the article was, how it hurt the credibility of the newspaper, and that the article seemed like something out of the National Enquirer.

My adviser somehow got a hold of this information. He then wrote this article at the last minute and put a staff writers name on it (without informing him) and placed the article on the last page of the news section. We had no News Editor, so this was MY section; I designed it, I picked and edited the articles for it, and I laid out the all the news pages, along with my managerial responsibilities.  I had left the office at around 1:15AM after finishing my pages.  The next morning I find this article in the paper.

I don't know what my advisers reasoning were for printing it, and when i confronted him he denied doing it completely. But if I had to guess, it was my advisers upbringing as a journalist.  My adviser was originally from South Africa, and as we discussed in class, UK journalism seems to have a utilitarian perspective.  He may have thought that since we had the info, everyone in the PCC community needed to have the info as well.

Whatever his reasoning, I disagreed and so did the rest of my editors and writers.  We at some point had a yelling match in class about our displeasure with the article, I hope he figured out that it was unethical for him to do what he did. As editor of the section and Managing editor of the newspaper I was obviously pissed that the entire PCC community saw this article.

Views of U.S. Global Power Fall to 40-Year Low

Views of U.S. Global Power Fall to 40-Year Low

PCC Journalism Adviser Reinstated After Showing Naked Pictures to a Student

My former journalism adviser showed naked pictures of himself to a student I worked with.  He is now being reinstated.  He is a great teacher, but is this ethical?

File Photo by Mathew Chan

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A World Without Newspapers

Business Communications in a Post-Gutenberg World

By David Schneiderman
Senior Counselor, The Abernathy MacGregor Group Inc.

In 1984, Rupert Murdoch thought he had seen the
future. He summoned his top editors and publishers to a
meeting in New York to learn about “electronic journalism”
and the impending death of printed newspapers.
After two days of spirited discussions and a primitive
demonstration of an electronic Washington Post, the
attendees declared that the demise of printed newspapers
was inevitable.
Strangely, we didn’t discuss what might happen to the
advertising dollars that accounted for the lion’s share of
revenue for newspapers. It was merely assumed that those
dollars would migrate seamlessly to the electronic newspaper.
The participants focused on a simple, attractive equation:
If you subtract the cost of newsprint, printing and the
subsequent job reductions in production, newspapers
would become money machines. As we now know, it did
not quite work out that way.
As newspapers struggle to remain viable in the post-
Gutenberg world, it is worth recalling the newspaper
industry’s long and tumultuous love/hate relationship
with technology. The arrival of radio and television
threatened to displace newspapers as the dominant source
of news and information. Television did make the
evening newspaper irrelevant, but with fewer competitors,
the survivors thrived. In the 1970’s, computerized
typesetting permitted newspapers to substantially reduce
payroll, turning them into cash cows and attractive
investment vehicles. Now, technology has become the
Grim Reaper, with the Internet steadily drawing readers
and advertisers from print and imperiling the very existence
of newspapers.
There are no easy solutions to the decline of newspapers,
but ultimately, websites with large, desirable audiences
will win, which is why the appealing content newspapers
know how to produce remains the crucial element for success
in online journalism. However this plays out, every
business is confronted with not only unprecedented and
growing challenges, but also exciting opportunities in this
new communications ecosystem. Here are some of the
most consequential:
Web journalism is fast becoming the dominant form of
news media. Not so very long ago, web journalism was
nothing more than an afterthought, the electronic version
of a print story. Now that’s changed, as journalists post stories
throughout the day, adding updates, corrections and
new material in an effort to be current and competitive.
This web-first approach means that information, access and
materials should be provided first and foremost with the
Web version in mind. Online journalism is multimedia and
corporations must now equip themselves to provide news
with video, audio and graphic content, moving beyond the
traditional text-only news release. And communications
professionals must gear themselves to the post-it-now aspect
of web-based journalism.
Nothing is ever final online. With news websites rapidly
becoming the primary editions, they are now publishing
the most fluid form of journalistic storytelling ever. Stories,
in essence, are never quite put to bed because they are so
readily revised or even entirely rewritten throughout the
24/7 news cycle.
It is, therefore, essential that sharp communications teams
be equipped to “fix” stories as they evolve over the course
of a day, rather than having to fight the uphill battle
against what’s been memorialized in print. This of course
means that life must change for everyone in the approval
and response process in order to stay on top of stories as
they are posted hour by hour and minute by minute.
The Internet has democratized media by shifting power
from institutions to individuals. The media world has
evolved from a top down, command and control model
into a complex ecosystem of mainstream media, blogs and
user-generated content. It was once relatively clear where
news came from (your local paper), when it would arrive
(each morning) and who was the messenger (the longtime
beat reporter). Today, the news can come from anywhere,
anybody, anytime. News, gossip, and rumor move instantly
through the Web—often without the benefit of an editor
attempting to separate fact from fiction. One important
scoop can turn an obscure blogger into an influencer virtually
overnight. Conversely, a reporter’s reputation is far
more fragile as readers are quick to identify and call out any
example of journalistic malfeasance.
The media landscape is constantly in flux, and as a result,
the traditional news release distribution list may never be
the same again. It’s always been important to figure out
who really are the important reporters. Now it can be as
important to identify the important bloggers and opinion
influencers in your space. Get to know them. Decide which
AWorld Without Newspapers
Business Communications in a Post-Gutenberg World
By David Schneiderman
Senior Counselor, The Abernathy MacGregor Group Inc.
ones you can work with, and cultivate them, and keep an
eye on the wannabes who can quickly develop a following.
Know the different rules of engagement for each individual
who matters, not just the rules as they’ve traditionally been
applied by different journalistic outlets.
Demand-driven journalism increasingly influences news
judgments. Journalists once cared primarily about getting a
great story, being on the front page and winning awards,
usually in that order. They still care about those things, but
they are often now caught up in how many people are reading
their stories on the Web. The popularity of a story is
playing an increasingly larger role in assignments and story
placements on a web site. This creates the strongest incentive
since the era of Hearst and Pulitzer to search out
stories that will attract eyeballs, and to write headlines that
may not faithfully reflect an article’s tone and content.
This will make it harder to interest reporters in stories that
may be important and worthy, but don’t have legs.
Reporters now keep a close watch on the most viewed and
most emailed story lists on their sites, and you should too.
You now have intelligence on what moves readers and what
doesn’t on a particular news site. This will help you in
deciding how best to pitch a story and to whom. And it will
give you insight into the mindsets, preferences and interests
of readers.
The best and most influential reporters are becoming
brand names. Journalists are embracing the tools of social
media to create online personas. They are breaking free of
the constraints of traditional media to blog and tweet
everything from deep thoughts to random musings to personal
information that was considered verboten not too
many years ago. Not everyone can be a one man media
conglomerate, but reporters are encouraged by their editors
to be more transparent and accessible to readers offering
new opportunities for engagement.
Brand name reporters are far more accessible than their
counterparts in the era of old media. You now have multiple
avenues to get to know the most important reporters
covering your business. Keep track of their musings
through various social media tools and connect with them
when appropriate. A reporter’s tweet can become an entry
point for a conversation outside of the usual give-and-take
dictated by a breaking news story.
The distinction between news and opinion will continue
to erode. Successful bloggers know that a mix of news,
opinion and expertise, with a dose of attitude, is the surest
route to growing an audience. This is not lost on mainstream
reporters so it is not surprising that journalism, in all
its forms, is becoming more and more subjective. The days
of “just the facts” are gone (if they ever really existed),
as reporters use context, analysis and third parties to shape
a story that reflects their point of view. This doesn’t mean
that most reporters are partisan, but it does mean that
they now have less incentive to be disinterested observers
of events.
The upside of this reality is that it is now far easier to
know where a reporter is coming from and to deal with
him or her accordingly. You also have the ability to communicate
directly, particularly through a company blog, to
the audiences that matter to you—your institutional
investors, your employees, your business-to-business customers.
So companies (and universities and non-profits)
must think of themselves as publishers and expand their
ab ility to speak to these constituencies through the Web
without a media filter.
Tabloid journalism will flourish on the Web. Unfortunately,
a flood of fictitious junk courses through the Web
and it will only get worse. Most goes nowhere, but some
goes viral, forcing companies to spend time and resources
containing the damage. Thanks to the First Amendment,
there will never be a sheriff on the Web, so this challenge
will always be with us. This new media world may sound
eerily similar to the old media world—the very old media
world of early 20th century newspapers. Tabloid journalism;
opinion mixing with news; intense competition; a premium
on speed—Hearst and Pulitzer would have been very
comfortable and successful practicing web journalism.
In the 21st century media world, it will be critical to distinguish
between credible and irresponsible news sources
and to know which have clout and which merely create
noise that will quickly dissipate. It will be equally important
to have a basis for gauging when a public response
will sting the opponent or simply feed your opponents’
desires. With increasing opportunities to engage your
critics, it will take discipline to decide when it’s in your
interest to respond and when it’s best to remain quiet.
Consider creating an internal “truth squad” if you
haven’t already, one equipped to aggressively monitor
and correct inaccuracies in real time.
A Final Perspective. Many of the fundamental, underlying
principles of effective public relations remain unchanged by
this emerging world without newspapers. But make no
mistake, the revolution is indeed here. And that fact makes
it all the more imperative that every institution affected by
this revolution not miss the boat in adapting its communications
capabilities to this new reality.
David Schneiderman was formerly Chief Executive Officer
of Village Voice Media. If you would like to discuss
this article, please contact David Schneiderman at
206-437-9998/ in Seattle or Lex Suvanto at
212-371-5999/ in New York.
2 JANUARY 2010
AWorld Without Newspapers

Anonymous Sources: I know its Fox News, but it's still interesting

Do you think they could have gotten the story with the anonymous source?  Lets forget that its Fox News, if an actual news outlet did this would it be ethical to use the anonymous source?  Would the New York Times have done this?

Monday, December 09, 2013

Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

Bummer. Even political protests can turn out to be staged events. I wonder what he was trying to accomplish by masquerading as an entitled Google employee. He certainly caused more harm than good to his cause.

And what about the journalists who actually reported his antics - as fact, no less? I would have done the same thing had I been in their position; it would have been a knee-jerk reaction. But I suppose that would have been yet another example of sensational reporting. The temptation to share things on the internet is just too great in this age of social media and information. Unfortunately, this instinct seems to have leaked into the world of professional journalism as well.
But balanced journalism, or attempts at it, will always be susceptible to people knowingly bending the truth. As the ability to put material in front of eyes grows and the number of eyes perusing material before publication shrinks, it's never been more true. [SF Weekly]
Here is the original article, along with a video of what we now know is a staged event:

SFBG: Union organizer shouts down protesters as they block private Google shuttle

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hey, guys - we made the Times!

NY Times examines controversy amid rampant tech gentrification in San Francisco.

Here's the part I particularly agree with:

“There has to be some kind of public support to make sure you don’t just have a city of the very wealthy, but people to make the city run ... A city needs restaurant workers, a city needs schoolteachers, a city needs taxi drivers.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

For anyone who thinks we live in a post-racial society …

Fourth SJSU student charged in alleged hate crime case

For the record, I grew up in San Jose. It’s definitely a “minority-majority” town. Asians, Latinos, Indians, African-Americans, and European immigrants all abide. But San Jose doesn’t celebrate its stunning cultural diversity – it actually takes it for granted.

I would argue that diversity in the newsroom is generally a good thing, but it’s obvious that the presence of other races doesn’t necessarily prevent racism. (White students only account for a quarter of SJSU’s population.) The media has presented a multitude of perspectives on minority cultures, and while these articles are often applauded, they are also met with angry comments made by (presumably) white men. (Read the bottom of the SJSU article if you don’t believe me. Or don’t. Spare yourself the aneurysm.) White men are tired of narratives where minorities are presented as the victim. It’s infuriating that they have the audacity to feel “excluded” at all (they are not, and never will be, a marginalized group of people), but it’s possible that these types of articles simply point too many fingers.

P.S. – Yeah, I know, I’m blowing up the blog. Sorry, guys. It’s easier than writing a research paper.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Press Law in Canada: Ways in Which Muzzling the Press Does Harm

Susan raised the question of how restrictions on the press in Canada differ from those in the U.S. Wandering around I came across the following in which lies a nice summary (which I boldfaced) of why some news that some might find prejudicial to a pending case should be allowed to be published.

In 1994, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a landmark ruling on publication bans and news media in the case of Dagenais versus Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The ruling dealt with limitations on the scope of bans and it named factors that courts must consider before issuing bans that might infringe on freedom of the press. In a 6-3 ruling, the court ruled that the freedom of the press can be of equal or greater importance as the right to a fair trial.

The Dagenais case arose from a cross-Canada publication ban against the broadcast of a fictional drama, “The Boys of St. Vincent,” set in Newfoundland, which portrayed child sexual and physical abuse in a Roman Catholic orphanage. The ban was issued by a lower-court judge after hearing an application by lawyers for four members of a Catholic order in Ontario charged with the sexual and physical abuse of young boys in Catholic training schools. 

The judge reasoned that since the men would face trial soon in Ontario, the TV drama could jeopardize their fair trial rights. The judge ruled that the drama could not go to air until after the four trials, and he also agreed to ban any publicity about the application for the ban. The CBC appealed, but the appeal court agreed with the lower-court decision. However, the appeal court did limit the ban to Ontario and Montreal and it did away with the ban on publicizing the original ban.

The Supreme Court ruled that in “post-Charter Canadian society” the common law principle of protecting against a fair trial “does not provide sufficient protection for freedom of expression.” The court laid down a “modified rule” that a ban should be issued only when:

• Such a ban is necessary in order to prevent a real and substantial risk to the fairness of the trial, because reasonably available alternative measures will not prevent the risk; and
• The salutary effects of the public ban outweigh the deleterious effects of the free expression of those affected by the ban.

The court said the issue is which constitutional right is more important at the time of application. The party, Crown or accused who wants a ban bear the burden of justifying this limitation on freedom of expression. Also, the judge issuing a ban must keep it as limited in scope as possible.

The court noted that judges need to consider seriously alternate measures to bans, such as changing trial venues, sequestering jurors, allowing challenges and voire dires during jury selection, and providing strong direction to juries. 

The supreme court listed reasons as to why publication bans are not healthy for the justice system as a whole, because not ordering a ban may:
• Prompt persons with relevant information to come forward
• Prevent perjury by placing witness under public scrutiny
• Prevent state or court wrongdoing by putting the justice system under scrutiny
• Promote public discussion of important issues.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Diversity Statistics from the American Society of Newspaper Editors

The percentage of ethnic minorities in American newsrooms has stagnated at between 12 and 13 percent for more than a decade, according to the annual census released today by the American Society of News Editors. 
The census includes responses from nearly 1,000 out of almost 1,400 daily U.S. newspapers and was conducted with the Center for Advanced Social Research. It finds that ethnic minorities make up 12.37 percent of newsrooms in 2013, down from a high of 13.73 percent in 2006.
That trendline is of great concern to the nonprofit professional organization. If it continues, ASNE will fall well short of their goal of having the percentage of ethnic minorities working in newsrooms nationwide reflect their representation in the overall population by 2025, when it is predicted to reach 42.39 percent.
"It's terribly disappointing to learn that diversity in newsrooms remains stagnant despite the rapidly changing landscape of America," said Karen Magnuson, editor and vice president/news at the Democrat and Chronicle Media Group, Rochester, and co-chair of the ASNE Diversity Committee, in a press release announcing the census' results. "If we are to accurately reflect and authentically cover the communities we serve, we must do much better as an industry or we risk becoming irrelevant to news consumers of the future."Newsroom minority chart
The moribund growth of the minority population in newsrooms is mirrored in the lack of diversity in cable news.A Media Matters study of evening cable news shows found that white men were hosted 58 percent of the time in April 2013, a figure nearly unchanged from a similar study we conducted in May 2008.
Other lowlights of the ASNE census include:

Ethnic Minorities Make Up Only 10 Percent Of Newsroom Supervisors

People of color are slightly underrepresented in the editorial ranks compared to their percentage in newsrooms overall.Supervisors by race

Percentage Of Ethnic Minorities In Newsroom Internships Has Fallen

Many aspiring journalists get their first taste of a professional newsroom as interns. Ethnic minorities made up 26 percent of newsroom interns in 2013, down from 27.2 percent in 2012 and a significant underrepresentation relative to minorities' 37 percent share of the general population. Moreover, the large and consistent gap between the percentage of ethnic minorities who are newsroom interns and their share of newsroom jobs suggests a disconnect in the hiring process.
Even worse, the percentage of minorities in internships has fallen significantly from their nearly 40 percent share in the early 1990s.Internships

Percentage Of Women In Newsrooms Has Never Exceeded 38 Percent

While ASNE's press release focuses on the worthy goal of ethnic minorities reaching parity in newsrooms, the census also shows the percentage of women in newsrooms has gone virtually unchanged for 14 years, never exceeding 38 percent.Women in newsrooms

Women Also Underrepresented As Newsroom Supervisors

Women are 34.6 percent of newsroom supervisors in 2013. That figure peaked at 35.6 percent in 2006.Women supervisors
Charts by Oliver Willis.

From Oakland's Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

Media Programs for Journalists of Color

Send by emailThe Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE) is the leading organization dedicated to training journalists of color and to helping the nation's news media reflect the nation's diversity in staffing, content and business operations.

MIJE began as the volunteer project of nine working journalists who believed the nation's news media could never fulfill its obligation to society with its entrenched segregation. Over the years the Institute has literally changed the face of journalism by designing programs that meet industry needs.
Today, those programs reach a broad group of journalists and fulfill the training needs of hundreds of news organizations. Each is open to participants of all ethnic and racial groups.

The Caldwell Journals: Nearly 40 years ago, a young black man took a job at his hometown daily newspaper in rural Pennsylvania. It was a rare occurrence for that generation.
Earl Caldwell, then 22 years old, could not grasp the significance of that event, nor could he forecast the tempestuous decades that would sweep him and hundreds of other journalists of color into the thunderous fold of civil rights history.

The Chauncey Bailey Project: Renewed Investigation in the Death of a Black Leader

New America Media and the Maynard Institute have convened an array of Bay Area journalists, as well as highly respected media organizations and local university journalism departments to form an investigative team to honor and continue the work of journalist Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr., and answer questions regarding his death. Bailey, the editor of the weekly Oakland Post, was murdered on Aug. 2, 2007 while reporting on a story regarding the suspicious activities of the Your Black Muslim Bakery.

Health and the Media: Helping reporters do a better job covering health issues for men and boys of color.

In his book Whistling Vivaldi, Columbia University Provost Claude Steele recounts how New York Times editorial writer Brent Staples whistled Vivaldi when he walked down city streets in an attempt to reassure white pedestrians that they had nothing to fear from the tall black male.

The Oakbook: Oakland Voices is on hiatus while we wait for our new class. In the meantime, we are offering a live feed from The Oakbook. Get updates on Oakland issues and events from a unique perspective.

Oakland Voices: Oakland Voices is The Oakland Tribune’s 9-month program that trains East Bay residents to tell the stories of their neighborhoods. The Tribune created Oakland Voices  as a vehicle for community members to become multimedia storytellers, and to be new voices directly shaping the coverage of this region.

Jackson Voices: Jackson Voices is a project of The Clarion-Ledger and The Maynard Institute, which supports diversity in American journalism. The nine-month program was created to put the power of storytelling in the hands of Jackson residents with the goal of elevating voices not often heard, particularly within the African-American community. The Clarion-Ledger wants the community correspondents to be new voices in coverage of Jackson. The program will enable people from the community to report on what they think is most important. Ten community correspondents will report, write and take photos.

Reality Checks:  Reality Checks is a Web-based diagnostic tool that allows news organizations to quickly and easily assess the diversity of its sources and the completeness of its coverage.

Plug in the information of the demographics, placement and story type for each article, and the Reality Checks software crunches the numbers and generates the reports.

Media Center on Structural Inequity: The media has made great strides since the days when mainstream newsrooms were mostly male, almost exclusively white and often declined to report on communities of color. Yet even today people of color too often find themselves over represented in stories about crime, sports and entertainment and too infrequently in stories about business, lifestyle and everyday life. The problem is compounded by the fact that news stories still rely on the personal narrative, often ignoring the structures and policies in place that go a long way toward defining our lives. With support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Maynard Media Center on Structural inequity is providing coverage analysis, a research library, reporting tips and a daily analysis that looks at coverage of people of color in the digital space. It is our hope that this  will help journalists provide comprehensive reporting on the complex issues that create structural inequities in our society.

Maynard Institute Webinars: In 2011, we produced our first webinar through a grant provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In the coming months we will expand our online library. While we encourage people to participate on the day of broadcast to engage with presenters and ask questions, we make these webinars available on our site indefinitely for viewing at your convenience.

Media Academy: This program prepares individuals for promotions to entry level management roles on both the editorial and business sides of newspapers. This innovative year-long training experience is run by Maynard in partnership with the Newspaper Association of America.

Editing Program: An immersion program that hones participants' professional copy-editing skills.

Fault Lines: An innovative framework that allows journalists to analyze and discuss their coverage in the context of the communities they serve.

Oral History Project: An ongoing effort to document and preserve an untold era of American journalism by chronicling the contributions of a generation of black journalists who changed general circulation news coverage. Highlights include an online serial, "The Caldwell Journals," a personal account of the black journalist movement written by legendary reporter and columnist Earl Caldwell and a unique oral/video collection of journalists' stories.

Native American Journalists Recommend Thanksgiving Stories

Six tips, including:

When referencing Native Americans in Thanksgiving coverage, do not refer to us as figures from the past. One unfortunate case of this happening came this year when The Reporter newspaper in Landsdale, Pa., published this headline: “Walton farms fifth graders bring Native American tribes to life.” ( ). Tribes have living cultures that are vibrant and evolving today.

Report: Batkid Wish Cost S.F. $105,000

As the city comes down from the high of the year, The Chronicle's City Hall watchdog duo Matier & Ross have dug into what Miles' wish cost the city of San Francisco. According to their sources the price tag on the event totaled a cool $105,000.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Speaking of SNL ...

I really enjoyed their spoof of 60 Minutes featuring Rob Ford:

The media’s been having a lot of fun at his expense lately. I’m not gonna lie – I’ve been enjoying it myself.

But if we’re talking about ethics (and I know that we are!), I should raise questions about the way the press broke the story of his notorious scandal.

Back in May, the website Gawker started a “Crackstarter” campaign (yes, really) in order to purchase footage (from his drug dealers!) of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack-cocaine. The deal fell through, but a Gawker editor saw it and ran something anyway. This gave the Toronto Star license to talk about it in their own paper, which they later attempted to claim as an exclusive story. (A war between the two outlets ensued, but that’s beside the point.)

I find it entertaining that a news site would go so far as to contact a politician’s drug dealer for footage, let alone offer him money. It doesn’t exactly lend Gawker a lot of journalistic credibility. (But then again, they are a gossip site.) I suppose you could call that “checkbook journalism,” but maybe it’s different if your readers are the ones paying for it. (That’s another thing – is it really okay to solicit your readers in order to pursue a gimmick like this? Seems totally sleazy to me.)

I also noticed that Rob Ford lives in another country. I imagine the Canadian press has their own set of rules and regulations that American reporters may not be subject to. It’s kind of a cheap shot on the part of Gawker. They had no accountability for the story had it turned out to be false. If the Toronto Star had reported it (without evidence), they could have faced a lot of trouble from the Canadian government and the Toronto mayor himself. Rob Ford can’t exactly sue someone in another country – not easily, anyway.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A little reminscing for the class from KQED's Forum

Working Links for Talking about War Reporting


What embeds?

A Scholarly Article Critiquing Embedded Journalism

A Sexually Explicit Cartoon Criticizing Embedding

Geraldo yanked


Embedded 2007

ussr 1


Willie & Joe Pulitzer

The "elephant" in the room.

Two ethical dilemmas here:

1) Word choice. The use of the word “elephant” coupled with his unflattering profile. Coincidence? I think not. The media hasn’t kept quiet on Christie’s sizable figure.

2) Horserace reporting – premature horserace reporting. Why do we need to speculate on the presidential candidates for 2016? Our current one has three years to go.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Existential Code: Let's Start with Film Noir

The detective's "code"from

 When the protagonist is a detective, she or he is presumed to have a set of ethics or moral values. These are called "the detective code," or simply "the code," when discussing the genre. The basics of the code are best summarized by Richard Layman in his discussion of what James Wright of the Pinkerton Detective Agency taught Dashiell Hammett (see Hammett section) To summarize, the detective should be anonymous, eschew publicity, be close-mouthed, and secretive. He or she protects good people from bad people, who do not live by the rules; thus, one may break the rules in dealing with them. The detective ignores rules and conventions of behavior, because the client pays for this. Loyalty to the client is very important, but may be superceded by a personal sense of justice or the rule of law. The detective must keep an emotional distance from the people in the case, retain an objective point of view, and consider all pertinent clues.

Robertson says: All right. Who else does this sound like? A reporter or a reporter's image of herself/himself in the "movie" he/she plays in hir mind.("Hir" is an attempt from some years ago to create a non-gendered third-person singular pronoun.) I do think many of us are characters in our own movie.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A relief from the master narrative of tech reporting.

"Hot New Startup No One Needs"

It's just a tech blog (partnered with Gawker), but I really appreciate how critical this article is of a ridiculous new start-up named “Coin.” They’re working on a device that allows you to upload all of your credit card information to one place. A mind-bafflingly stupid idea, in my opinion. (How is that remotely safe?!)

It’s rare for any media, new or old, to write anything critical of the tech industry. Too often are they commended with phrases like “innovative,” “leading the way,” and “revolutionary.” We still refer to Steve Jobs as a hero, despite his lack of notable philanthropic work and willingness to outsource cheap labor to China. (Not to mention his notorious temper.) Yet we’re always waiting to see who will become the next Apple or Google.

The tech industry is always portrayed as “saving the world.” It’s true that technology has made our lives easier, but it’s also sparked a lot of problems that are inherent to our capitalistic system. I think a lot of people forget that technology is capitalism. It doesn’t necessarily seek to include everybody. There are people who get left behind.

Lester Land Ted Talks

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to Boost that Klout Score (You've Seen It, But I Need a Place to Store It

JMR - Klout is an attempt at a metric, but it's a mixed bag.  Here are some observations about why Klout scores rise and fall:

While Klout allows you to tie into multiple social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, etc.), it primarily is driven by Twitter & Facebook.

Scores rise through a combination of # of followers/friends, overall frequency of activity, and how much you engage with other folks, particularly others with high Klout scores.  In the past, it was relatively easy to game Klout simply by posting more, and by engaging a lot with others.  This lead to a lot of blabbermouths getting high rankings.  Klout has modified their algorithm to not support this kind of behavior as much, but it still is a factor. 

When your tweets are getting retweeted frequently, this helps boost Klout score.
Same goes for likes and comments on facebook. 

I guess I wouldn't advise focusing on boosting Klout scores so much as:
Identify the best platform(s) to reach your desired audience (i.e. if you blog about cute kitties, focus on Facebook or Pinterest).  For me, that's Twitter & LinkedIn, so the fact Klout doesn't value LinkedIn as much and does love Facebook makes it less relevant.

Follow and/or connect with the most influential folks in your sector, as well as 2nd and 3rd tier folks.  Don't worry if they don't follow you back, but do engage with them by responding, retweeting, etc.
Regularly post your own content, or good pieces by others.  Others you have been engaging with will begin to follow your content, and retweet/like/share your posts.

Follow back those who follow you and/or accept friend requests.  This is initially important to build an audience.

Post frequently and consistently (i.e. 5-7 days per week)
If you care about scores like Klout, the above behavior will help them rise.


p.s.  A couple of other scores are PeerIndex and Kred.  Both are similar to Klout, but emphasize different things (PeerIndex is twitter specific, and Kred appears to focus on topical expertise

A News Source Aimed at You Guys - to Which I Will Attend Between Semesters

A Platform for the New Generation
Posted: 11/13/2013  |  By: Nu Yang
Do millennials care about the news? According to PolicyMic (, the answer is yes.  

Based in New York City, the website was founded in 2011 by Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz. The two recent college graduates had noticed that mainstream media outlets were not including their demographic in news conversations, so the longtime friends decided to create that platform for young people.  

According to Horowitz, monthly website traffic is at 7.5 million unique visitors with 60,000 registered users. He said the average age of each visitor is 26.  

Whether it’s discussion centered on the conflicts in Syria or the announcement of the new iPhone, Horowitz, who also serves as editor-in-chief, said the idea is to “spark conversation on current events among millennials.”  

To become a writer, PolicyMic implements a Mic system. Users create an account, comment on articles and give Mics to articles and comments they think are thoughtful. Users start as rookies with a 350 character limit and after reaching 100 Mics, they become pundits, which give them a 750 character limit. The more Mics a user receives, the higher they move up the chain to getting published.  
“The Mic system is meant to encourage high quality participation,” Horowitz said. “It gives people an incentive to say something smart.”  

Writers can also apply outside the Mic system by submitting a resume and writing sample. Students have the option to write for university credit. Currently, most of the writers are unpaid, but Horowitz said he and Altchek are experimenting with ways to pay their top writers.   

Currently, PolicyMic publishes between 60 to 100 articles daily, written by some of their 2,000 pundits worldwide. Horowitz said the workflow is a very structured model and the story is looked at by editors and an analytics team before it goes live, ensuring that a writer’s story receives maximum exposure.    

Last month, PolicyMic relaunched with a brand new look and logo. It features new sections such as breaking news and viral. Horowitz said the site will also experiment with video, a new phone app and a newsletter product. The relaunch also saw the end of its banner ads. Horowitz said the revenue model will now focus on sponsored content.  

Looking ahead, Horowitz said PolicyMic will continue to produce high-quality content. “We want to be the New York Times for our generation. A place where 18-to-35-year-olds can read, write and discuss the news.”