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Rowing Against Current Just As Difficult As Ever
paddles Awful things are popping out all over the internet. Politicians vow to make it safe, at least for themselves. We understand their frustration. But the internet and all things that spring from it are not just a well of ideas to be bottled up. On this river everything flows.

 

 

 

Ignore What You’ve Always Heard: No News Is No News
guys with guns Conflict zones always pose extreme conditions for news gathering. International conventions aside, warring parties view journalists as in the way, at best, or partisans to be contained. Conflict coverage is and always will be in high demand. Proliferating news channels, neutral or not, send crews with cameras to scour through the rubble. Unsurprisingly, everybody gets a bit aggressive.

 

 

When It Comes In Waves, Learn To Surf
surfs up Change has always driven the news. Without change there is no news. Imagine being the weather reporter in Mauritius; sunny today, sunny tomorrow. The digital dividend for news organizations has meant considerable change, disruption and, for some, fun.

 

 

Get Your Hair Straight, Democracy Comes To Television
BBQ Televised political debates have become a regular and noteworthy application of democratic action. Since US presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John Kennedy appeared live on TV in 1960, the formula has been adopted in and adapted for national audiences almost everywhere. TV debates are much loved by political journalists – and their editors – hoping for a headline-making line.

 

 

 

In Write On

War Reporting Not Like The Movies - May 1, 2014
living dangerously News coverage in conflict zones has always been precarious, war correspondents often celebrated. William Howard Russell’s coverage of the Crimean War in the mid-19th century for the Times (London) was widely followed for its grit and gristle. In every conflict there are stories to tell and legions ready to tell them.

 

The Alternate Reality of Social Media - April 14, 2014
As the internet became the agent for speedy delivery of news and information those less speedy entered an existential crisis. People would wait no longer for the newspaper to hit the doorstep or the evening TV news programs appointed hour. And why should they? People now accept that all the news they need can be consumed in real time. This is not the only transformation.

High Tension And Evil Thoughts - March 21, 2014
Among adults disagreements are settled, typically, through dialogue. Governments employ talented diplomats to nudge adversaries with nuance. Failing that, there’s always war. And information wars have a particular ugliness.

No Change In “Hostile” Country - February 17, 2014
The advertising people are fond of repeating that measurement is the currency of media. Indexes do, in fact, help focus attention. Everything is traded on rankings, particularly change. It works for stock traders and anybody else betting on the future.

The Flow Of Information Causes Aggression, Says Politician - January 30, 2014
All too common are vicious attacks on media workers. Beatings and shootings, robberies and other forms of intimidation are meant to keep inconvenient news off the television and out of the headlines. Authoritarian governments also create laws to limit or curtail information. Interestingly, it isn't having the desired effect.

Six Degrees Of Confusion - January 24, 2014
We are reminded constantly about the virtues of constant connectedness and that the digital world is more transparent because ones and zeros are pure. There’s no nuance to profit and loss, nor to corruption. But good reporting is all about what appears between the numbers. That makes journalism a very analogue pursuit. We should be glad.

Unease At Shameful Targeting Of Media Workers - December 6, 2013
Nothing shines the light better than pictures. Those who carry cameras into the places that need to be seen are the most vulnerable of all media workers. Their load is enormous, the job increasingly precarious. The bad guys target them.

Better Out Of Control Than Out Of Business - November 18, 2013
Self-regulation bodies that set standards in the media sphere are widely seen as good things, a mature approach to proscribing bad practices. The distasteful alternatives range from irresponsible chaos – yelling fire in a crowded theater – to legislated regulation – government censorship. The printed media has, more or less, adopted self-regulation as a means of keeping politicians out of their newsrooms while keeping a watchful eye on the politicians.

Influence Means Business With Personality - September 30, 2013
Influence is a fundamental ambition for the news media. It can be mercurial. Highly influential new media covers two subjects more than most: business and gossip. Mixing them is the key to being highly cited.

The Glare Of News Media Reveals All - September 9, 2013
The wave of contention between governments and news media returned from the summer holidays with many media watchers. Press freedom as a democratic concept may be enjoined by nearly all kings, princes, presidents and prime ministers but reality can be quite different. They like having media under their thumb and, more and more, don’t mind showing it.

Press Freedom And The Transit Lounge - August 26, 2013
Occupying the news cycle for an entire day or two was the story of authorities detaining a traveler in transit. It grew precipitously as details emerged; a major newspaper involved, electronic devices confiscated, wobbly statements from authorities. Add to that whistleblowers and spies for sufficient theatrics.

News Coverage Is About Being There, Despite Social Media - July 29, 2013
Following every news event, large or small, comes inevitably the fusillade from media critics, more often than not by the Twitterati. Once upon the time these ‘armchair quarterbacks’ would be kept at arm’s length. Today they’re quoted.

Social Media Lowers Fear, Not Loathing - July 8, 2013
Hunter When events of major importance are met with a dearth of credible information people most affected will search high and low for news that satisfies basic needs. People verify information sources very lightly, something marketing people fully understand. Family and friends are most trusted, followed by familiar names, then, sometimes, institutions.

 

 

 

Media Muzzled By National Security Concerns And Other Embarrassment - May 27, 2013
Governments have been resplendent in their commitments to press and media freedom. Dimming that light are national security issues, particularly embarrassing leaks. Balancing both can be difficult. And it can happen anywhere.

Media Freedom: To Your Health - May 6, 2013
A healthy media environment needs a balance of many things, healthy competition being one. New media – spawn of the internet – can be suitably expansive but it doesn’t replace the need for newspapers, radio and television. Openness is always the measure of greatness.

For Press Freedom There Is Only One Tune - March 21, 2013
As a legal concept press freedom is meant to enshrine a separation between those who deliver news to the public and those who might impose limits. The purpose is to mind the principle of an informed public enabling democracy. Though inscribed in the grand conventions on human rights, not everybody agrees on the purpose.

Record Low As Media Follows Bad Examples - February 4, 2013
Ranking the attributes of any country’s media sector is acceptably subjective. There is the obvious, not so obvious and uncovered. As in physics, the act of observing changes things. Physics also reminds us that objects at rest tend to fall apart.

Journalist Murderer Only Meant To Frighten - January 30, 2013
Measuring media freedom is a subjective art. Freedom for one represses another, say critics. Indisputable, though, is death. Where media workers die for their work, mysteriously ordered, we learn that freedom isn’t free.

The Soup That Is Censorship - January 14, 2013
New media has taken its place as rabble rouser-in-chief. Torrents of tiny text can literally light up the sky. Even where censors try to pull the shades, people stay one line – or character – ahead. Anyway, it’s all very good for business.

Media Wins Another Election - November 7, 2012
Elections are great democratic exercises. The people speak. Campaigns, though, are for candidates to speak and speak and speak. Media’s role in it all has never been more apparent.

Partners Question News Channel Expansion - October 5, 2012
A fundamental understanding in management is the metaphysical difficulty getting and keeping partners and shareholders on the same page. For many top executives the endeavor can be a career-ender. It’s easier for Rupert Murdoch, so far.

All The News That's Fit To Scan - October 4, 2012
highlights Producing original news content looks like the next big thing, except when it doesn’t. Harkening back to earlier times, ad sellers are offering original news content to attract readers or viewers or surfers. It worked before, why not now?

 

 

 

Without Context It’s Only An Ugly Noise - September 27, 2012
That words and images have the power to provoke, whether a video uploaded to the internet, a radio or television talk show or a cartoon published in a newspaper, has been amply demonstrated, once again. Demonstrations against words and images offensive to some and delivered both by new and old media moved beyond legitimate protest to violence, destruction and death. Defense of media freedom has been swift and compelling.

Election Has Broadcasters Scrambling For Edge - September 10, 2012
A new election cycle is upon us, longer it seems and certainly more costly each year. The drama plays well on television, even with the rise of new media, as candidates and supporters carefully craft their messages. Covering these major events gives an edge to broadcasters, too.

Broadcasters Warned On “Shock Value” News - July 12, 2012
Recordings of communication between police and a murder suspect that found their way to a television news program raised questions about news value and ethics. Authorities want to know how the recordings, graphically revealing police negotiations with a deranged killer, left their control. Mirroring the outrage of victim’s families, the media regulator asked if rules were broken.

Good Night And Good Luck - May 28, 2012
As new media shortens the attention span of viewers and readers to 140 characters, reporters and editors are even quicker to move from one event, crisis or revelation to the next. Context is lost, some say post-modernly irrelevant. Those intent on controlling images are ever more pleased.

Memory Hole For Foreign News Bureaus - May 10, 2012
After years of shrinking foreign bureaus to save money, news organizations are finding more and more interest in their work. Maybe dismal economics hasn’t put globalization in reverse. Or maybe there are some trends you just can’t buck.

Local Owners Criticized For Narrow Interests - May 1, 2012
Conventional wisdom holds that private sector media holds political influence at bay because of the profit motive. It’s very idealistic. Where local owners are investors with wide and varied interests, new to the media game as well, standards and practices are shaped by “short-term vision.” Add rampant corruption and the media sector is poisoned.

Post Journalism And The Attention Deficit - April 5, 2012
Theater and journalism generally keep their separate spaces. Both, though, are venues for a good story, which attracts viewers, listeners and readers. The values of journalism – objectivity and facts – seem passé in an attention-obsessed world. Welcome to post-journalism.

I Feel The Need For Speed - February 13, 2012
Newsrooms are delightful studies of chaos. It’s a high-pressure world where the timid are quickly discarded. Add online demands to the mix and the mind boggles. Once journalism was about who, where, what, when and why. Now it’s the power of Twitter.

Irregularities Everywhere In The New EU - February 9, 2012
Eight countries formerly in the Soviet orbit plus Malta and Cyprus became Member States of the European Union (EU) in 2004. Two others – Bulgaria and Romania – joined in 2007. In those early days major media and press freedom indicators showed the promise of open media in newly democratic societies. Happiness was everywhere. While there have been successes, in less than ten years those same indexes point to failure in several of the new EU Member States. Happiness now, largely, is gone.

Working The Cannibal Angle - December 22, 2011
The public is confused. Business leaders are confused. Politicians are confused. With all that confusion, the best game going is something like Trivial Pursuit. Except in this game the winner eats the other players. Yumm!!

Media On Trial: Innocence Denied - December 1, 2011
Hacks and paparazzi, they are to blame. Scurrilous media bosses, blame them too. Forget not the politicians and celebrities with secrets. Tar and feather them all!

Never Let The Truth Get In The Way Of A Good Story - November 28, 2011
Put a provocative title on a video clip, in context or not, and world wide attention on the world wide web is guaranteed. There are certainly a lot of people out there with nothing better to do. Ah, the viral flames; so creative, so very post-modern.

Media Ethics Is A Silly And Vitally Important Debate - November 17, 2011
Turn it one way and a free press is the essential voice of democracy. Turn it another and it’s an emblem of power. At a different angle it’s just a big business. Ethics are important no matter which way you see it.

Joke Issue Firebombing Fails To Detour Newspaper - November 2, 2011
Condemnations came swiftly from all quarters after the offices of French satirical newspaper were destroyed in early morning hours Wednesday (November 2). “One or two incendiary devices,” witnesses reported to Le Monde, were thrown through windows causing extensive damage to electrical and computer systems. “Everything was destroyed,” said publisher Charb. There were no injuries.

They Are Still Rounding Up Journalists - September 19, 2011
Every dictator knows that keeping news media under tight control is essential to holding power. It’s fear that matters and fear that rules. When authorities use intimidation tactics against news media they always reveal their own weakness.

The Inspector General And The Printing House - May 25, 2011
Freedom of the press, perhaps a surprise to some, was not originally enshrined to protect newspapers. It was to protect printing houses. This dates back to the 16th Century. Many, many countries, even those with rather dicey records on the more modern formation of press freedom, have a law or two to protect the process of printing from the whims of kings, bishops, landlords and such. The modern equivalent of controlling printing presses might be like controlling the internet, a concept near and dear to today’s politicians, as expressed so eloquently this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the e-G8 in Paris.

In A Big Boost To European Press Freedom Twitter Puts An End To The UK’s Super Injunctions and The Human Rights Court Rules The Media Doesn’t Have To Give Prior Warning Of Upcoming Stories - May 11, 2011
press freedom Twitter did in one afternoon what the brightest legal and political minds in the UK have failed to accomplish for years – put a virtual end to the UK’s super injunctions which allows the courts not only to stop an upcoming media story but also prohibits publication that such an injunction was granted! And a day later the European Court of Human Rights surprises just about everyone and ruled that the media doesn’t have to forewarn people they are about to be outed.

A Moment Of Silence - May 3, 2011
The new century brought with it a whole new media context. News cycles are faster than the electrons in the chips that power new technology. At the same time clouds of intimidation and corruption veil the ideal of press freedom. It deserves a moment of silence, a pause for reflection.

The US Once Again Has Two International News Agencies; The UK Now Has None - April 28, 2011
Recent editorial changes have solidified what was already a reality – that Reuters, the great British news agency that got its start two centuries ago by its German founder flying news across Europe via carrier pigeons, is no longer British. As Thomson Reuters it has become as North American as apple pie.

Corruption…A Little Help From Your Friends - March 25, 2011
Favors and frauds, pay-offs and propaganda all unfold in news broadcasts and headlines. Perhaps it’s the public or just editors most enamored with human failings. More complicated is when media itself is involved.

Ideas Old, New And Others - February 14, 2011
As events in Egypt unfolded over these last three weeks, media has been part of the story. The effects of new media, television and censorship on the changing narratives will occupy analysts until the next big event arrives. Decisive or not, without media, there was no story and everybody had a role.

Citizen Journalism, Wikileaks And Regret - February 8, 2011
Enabled by new digital tools, the Web collided with journalism in the last decade with the hope of bringing out the best in both. Perhaps it has. Those tools and the Web itself were seen as the great enablers of information by and for all, giving rise to what came to be called citizen journalism. It was an “era that came and went quite quickly.”

Egypt – What The 24-Hour News Networks Were Made For - January 25, 2011
The Egyptian demonstrations were a perfect venue for the international cable news networks to unleash their mighty power of 24-hour continuous coverage, and the world has been well served. But who was best?

Should Your Digital And Traditional Media Sites Be Singing From the Same Editorial Hymn Book? - January 13, 2011
The very messy way that some reputable news organizations handled the Tucson shootings has brought into view that not all sections of an organization’s news operations keep to the same standards. ABC TV, for instance, did not falsely report that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had died, but for about 10 minutes its abcnews.com did, quoting other news organizations.

If Your Child Wrote To Santa Claus At The North Pole And Got A Reply Here’s One News Agency Reason Why - December 16, 2010
Children around the world write every year to Santa Claus (Father Christmas) at the North Pole telling him how good they have been all year and they hope the jolly old man will reward them with the presents they want, especially when offered the bribe of milk and biscuits left on the kitchen table. And they can expect a written reply from the North Pole, or at least not too far away from there!

Wikileaks – The State Department PR Machine Neatly Handles Wikileaks And It’s The Media Having To Do The Explaining - December 2, 2010
Want a lesson in damage control? Then just study how the US State Department has handled Wikileaks. It’s A PR exercise that should be studied in universities for years. Now, it is the media that needs all the PR help it can get to handle an unforgiving public.

The Secrets Of Fragile Information - November 30, 2010
Richard Nixon Thousands of journalists went to work Monday. Some even started early, on Sunday. There was a lot of catching up to do…in more ways than one.

 

 

 

 

Television News: Form And Content - November 29, 2010
Television news is like fruitcake; looks good, cooks debate the best recipes and nobody really likes it. Endlessly, mercilessly critics skewer both. There’s too much sugar, not enough booze and the nuts rise to the top.

Journalism In Intensive Care - November 8, 2010
Media workers are literally running for their lives. Another beating, another threat; it’s scary. The powerful – and scary – like it that way. Chasing a story can mean always looking over your shoulder.

Respect and Progress, Complaints and Deficits - October 25, 2010
Press freedom, loosely defined, is a mirror on the social values on nations. Post-modern media gives away nothing, jumping from platform to platform, often loudly. National leaders either accept the chaotic information blitz coming from all directions or choose silence.

Do We Want Commentary From Our News Agencies? - October 21, 2010
Sgt. Joe Friday’s famous line on that great Dragnet TV detective series was, “The facts ma’am, just the facts.” Shouldn’t that apply to news agencies today?

The BBC Shows The World – And CNN in Particular - How To Cover A Major Breaking World News Event And, Yes, Throwing Money At It Really Does Show - October 14, 2010
The BBC has been criticized at home for sending some 25 people to the Chile mine disaster and throwing money at its coverage but, no matter where you are in the world, if you really wanted to be “there” then there was just one channel to watch – BBC World. And it really put CNN’s so-called continuing coverage to shame!

Killings, Arrests, Intimidation – They Continue In Our Global Media Village - October 6, 2010
Those of us living in societies where freedom of the press is a given can easily forget in just how many places in the world such freedoms are still being fought for daily with lives, imprisonment and intimidation. The latest report from WAN-IFRA says that so far this year 56 journalists have been killed, catching up on the 99 killed last year, more than 100 journalists are imprisoned either with no charges or trials or via sham trials with hundreds more forced into exile, and intimidation is on the rise.

Should The Media Cover If Someone Does Something Really Offensive That Would Cause Deaths Around The World? - September 16, 2010
Last weekend a preacher in Florida pulled back from the brink and did not burn some 200 Qurans as he had threatened. But for the week before he had several times more media on his doorstep than he had parishioners in his flock and the world was on edge for violent global protests. But if he had gone ahead should the media have covered knowing full well how the Muslim world would have reacted?

When The Light Fades, It’s Feeding Time - August 16, 2010
Politicians feed on the affection of their constituents. It sustains them, for good or ill, making them powerful. Getting between a politician and his or her craving doesn’t bode well for news media.

News, News: Read all about it - July 26, 2010
The news business is going through difficult times. Advertising revenues are way down, with little clear understanding of the relationship between blogs and the internet to paper media. For the moment, print is the big loser. But, whatever your media preference – I do assume people are still interested in getting the news, especially readers who are looking at this article – two recent stories show how valuable the media can be in checking the government while informing the public.

Are News Agencies Worth It? - July 13, 2010
CNN dumped AP services at the end of June saying it could do better putting that money to work increasing its own news gathering sources. It had done the same with Reuters back in 2007 but the two now have resumed some relationship under an Agreement that Reuters will supplement CNN on breaking news. CNN still has Agence France Presse in English.

Goodbye Octavia Nasr - July 9, 2010
CNN has fired Octavia Nasr, its Atlanta-based senior editor of Middle East affairs, because of this Twitter, “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Now just seen by itself with no further explanation and remembering that the U.S. considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization that is a dicey statement given that your American news organization tries to tread the international straight and narrow, and sure enough once the hullabaloo erupted on the Internet she was gone.

Want To Get Your Message Across? Simple, Start Your Own 24-Hour Cable News Channel - July 7, 2010
What do you do if you’re a nation that doesn’t think the world’s 24-hour English language global news networks are giving you a fair shake? Simple, you start your own English news channel. All you need is money and that’s what governments print so, no problem even in these days of counting pennies.

Turkey's Government Squeezes, Media Persists - June 21, 2010
The relationship between the Turkish government and the country's media has gone from sour to simply rotten. Using a variety of judicial and administrative rulings, the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has chased journalists, television channels, newspapers and their owners giving the appearance, at the very least, of a war over words. International condemnation has little effect on a country - and leaders - moving in their own direction.

Goodbye Helen Thomas - June 8, 2010
Media old-timers around the world will remember Helen Thomas, who will be 90 this August, as the United Press International (UPI) White House correspondent for some 40 years. But after suffering one UPI bankruptcy and ownership change too much she left the news agency in 2000 and became a columnist for Hearst newspapers. Her acid tongue continued and she voiced her biases more and more and that finally caught up with her—she said in a video interview that Jews should leave Palestine and go home to Europe or America. That just doesn’t fly in official or unofficial America, and thus a sad end to an illustrious career.

Finger Jabbing, Faces Bursting Red With Anger, Asking Questions But Not Allowing Full Answers –The UK 24-Hour News Channels General Election Aftermath Had Everything And Most Of It Was Great - May 12, 2010
Let’s face it, repetitive news on the half-hour is, well, boring, but for the British, who are used to a losing prime minister immediately packing his bags and the moving trucks loaded outside 10 Downing Street, the political bargaining over the past five days was riveting and the UK’s two 24-hour news channels really came of age.

No More NBC Nightly News On CNBC Europe - April 27, 2010
For expatriate Americans and for others staying up late who were into Americana, CNBC Europe had for many years the best daily American hour of TV starting at midnight CET with a half-hour commercial-free Tonight Show with Jay Leno followed by the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams on the half-hour live – which did unfortunately mean with all the commercial breaks. Leno’s monologue and NBC’s newscast -- about as diverse but accurate a read on what America is thinking as any you would likely find within an hour on the dial.

A UK TV First Tonight – An Election Debate - April 15, 2010
For all the talk the Brits make about their democracy they have never held a nationally televised debate between the major party leaders during a general election campaign, but that comes to an end Thursday night when the ITV terrestrial commercial network hosts the first such event.

Washington Viciously Back-Stabs Christiane Amanpour - March 24, 2010
Even by Washington standards it’s sickly venom being aimed at CNN’s star foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour because ABC News signed her, and not an ABC Washington bureau insider, to mediate over its Sunday morning talk show.

News Online – The Seven Percent Solution - March 17, 2010
There is an obsession among news gatherers and news sellers: how to share in the digital dividend. The Web has twisted every convenient business model. Tasty theories dry up when salted.

Press Freedom And The Road Less Traveled - March 1, 2010
cartoon protest The Danish cartoon controversy that sparked broad outrage has flared again. This time it was a newspaper’s apology to Muslims that provoked anger from politicians and free press advocates. The newspaper’s editor said it wants to advance a conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

Gonzo Journalism in Haiti - January 28, 2010
Gonzo journalism began with Hunter Thompson and his ability to report on events while being part of them, if not creating them. By definition, it tends to favor style over accuracy and often uses personal experiences and emotions to provide context for the topic or event being covered.

Do Newspapers Still Need Copy Editors? - January 21, 2010
The complaints keep coming into the Washington Post and other newspapers that more and more sloooppy editing is finding its way into print, and most newspapers are honest enough to admit one primary reason for that is that they’ve got rid of most of their copy editors. So, is fixing mispellings and the like worth the cost?

Why Management Shouldn’t Be Calling Editorial About A Client/Investor’s Complaint! - January 12, 2010
The blogosphere has been full of various innuendos the past few days that an investor in ThomsonReuters, aware its editorial unit was writing a story that he would just as soon not see the light of day, called the head of Reuters Markets Division to complain, the message was passed to the editor-in-chief, and the story was killed.

If Your Child Wrote To Santa Claus At The North Pole And Got A Reply Here’s One Reason Why - December 21, 2009
Children around the world write every year to Santa Claus (Father Christmas) at the North Pole telling him how good they have been all year and they hope the jolly old man will reward them with the requested presents, especially if bribed by being told milk and biscuits will be left on the kitchen table. And the really lucky ones will even get a reply from the North Pole, or at least not too far away from there!

Three Turkish Media Groups Attack WAN-IFRA Report Slamming Government Pressure, Particularly The Massive Dogan Fine - December 3, 2009
The World Association of Newspapers and Newspaper Publishers (WAN-IFRA) resolution and report critical of Turkish government pressures on press freedom hasn’t set well with all Turkish media with three groups strongly criticizing accusations against the ruling Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Do We Have An “Oversupply of Journalism” And A Newspaper Cull Is A Good Thing? - November 12, 2009
newspapers In the past week there have been calls by a senior Financial Times editor and by the head of the WPP ad agency that we would all be better off if natural economic rules applied to newspapers – only the fittest and strongest should survive and we should let the weakest die. No doubt the financially strong newspapers think that’s a fine idea whereas the weak ones don’t, but what part, if any, in this financial argument does supporting democracy play?

 

 

The Wall Came Down - November 9, 2009
Rumbling was felt in Berlin for several weeks in 1989 as summer turned to autumn; stronger at times, subsiding, shaking again. East Germany – the German Democratic Republic – was twisting and turning in its final danse macabre. When the gates finally opened late the night of November 9th television brought the news to Germans and the world.

What’s More Important – Get It First But Get It Right, Or Get It First And If It’s Wrong Apologize Afterwards? - October 29, 2009
Former editorial hands at Reuters are reacting with some dismay at the new editorial objectives the news agency recently announced because lacking within those principles is the word “accuracy”. And in recent weeks Reuters has been caught out on more than one occasion for getting it wrong and having to apologize very publicly.

Politicians Dash Press Freedom in Europe, Raise Hope in the Americas - October 22, 2009
Five European nations tied for the top rank in the annual Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF) Press Freedom Index. Below that, changes in rankings show very bright spots and more than a few grim reminders of how fragile freedom of the press remains. The effect of “meddling” politicians and corruption is now more obvious than ever.

The News Agencies Along With Newspapers Have A New Editorial Credo – Be Best On The Best, And Leave The Rest - October 22, 2009
Thomson Reuters and AP have sent new missives to their editorial staff basically telling them they need to “own” the big stories, be best on “higher value” stories and, in the AP’s case, stop wasting editorial resources on stories that few use. It makes sense, but good luck in getting it done.

Newsroom Style Changes Ahead Of Elections - September 9, 2009
strangled turkey A news program was cancelled and prominent newscaster suspended, prompting news editors resignations. There are denials and accusations. As usual, many things are tangled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Figure -- BBC World Television Blankets Kennedy Funeral But On CNNI Its Talk Asia And The Like - August 31, 2009
CNN International (CNNI) apparently believed Senator Kennedy’s funeral was of interest only domestically in the US so it was business as usual on the network Saturday afternoon and evening with more repeats of Talk Asia and the like. But on BBC World there were more than three hours of non-stop, no commercial interruption funeral coverage from before the hearse arrived at the Boston church until after its departure. Goes to show that the 24-hour TV news networks are not alike!

Farewell Walter Cronkite - July 21, 2009
If Walter Cronkite said it then you knew it was so. It was as simple as that. Seldom in broadcast journalism has one man earned the confidence of a nation, but when Walter Cronkite reported the news America believed him. He died Friday at age 92 after a retirement - all depends really how you define retirement - of some 30 years.

What A Tangled Web We Weave… - July 9, 2009
British media is rocking as almost hourly revelations come to light about reporters stealing information on private individuals through snooping and hacking schemes. It’s hairy stuff, more than a little frightening, of an “out of control” tabloid, settlements for silence, collusion of police and, of course, Rupert Murdoch. Politicians, some targeted by the snooping, smell blood in the water.

“You're not going to find very many British newspapers and truth within 25 words of each other” – White House Press Spokesman Robert Gibbs - June 2, 2009
Robert Gibbs description of British newspapers that you’re not going to find many of them “and truth within 25 words of each other” probably had a lot of personalities around the world jumping for joy -- Gibbs saying what for years they wish they had the guts to say for the shoddy treatment many of them have received at the hands of particularly the tabloids -- but should the White House press spokesman really be saying such things?

There’s A Session Missing From UNESCO’s Conference On Press Freedom: ‘What Actions Can The UN Take To Stop Governments Arresting, Jailing, And Killing Journalists?” - April 30, 2009
Despite all of the press freedom verbiage from governments around the world, the number of journalists arrested, jailed, and, yes, killed, each year is one of humanity’s disgraces. UNESCO holds a two-day meeting Saturday and Sunday to mark World Press Freedom Day May 3, but regretfully it pussyfoots around what governments are doing.

Maybe CNN Should Rename Itself The Cable Feature Network? - April 2, 2009
One of the major reasons for watching cable news is that one should be able to switch on and get a news fix within a reasonably short time. But that’s no longer guaranteed with CNN.

Oh, Pew! - March 16, 2009
American journalism experts continue to believe American journalism is in crisis because American newspapers are going bust. The Pew Research Center’s 6th annual Project for Excellence in Journalism State of the News Media report takes the whining to new heights. It’s been coming for a generation. It’s time to let it go.

Media to blame for global crisis - March 11, 2009
People pay attention to themes they find relevant. They also pay attention to themes mirroring their beliefs and, often, fears. Media users have choices to fit those needs and interests. Media outlets, some at least, have choices, too.

Citizen Journalists Are Losing Out On Lucrative Cash Payments As They Give Away Their Pictures For Free - March 3, 2009
You’ve got to hand it to news organizations – they encourage citizen journalists to send in all their news pictures with the promise the good stuff will get published or get on the air, and their cost for those pictures of the day’s breaking news is absolutely zero. Not like the good old days when they could afford to pay fortunes for exclusivity.

Big Brother stays on schedule, news director quits - February 11, 2009
Big Brother The gripping story a comatose woman’s last days with family and physicians pitted against politicians and the Church also pitted a renowned television journalist against his network. The journalist wanted to tell the story. The network refused, preferring a Big Brother episode. The news anchor resigned.

Could Phelps Sue The News Of The World For Privacy Invasion? - February 3, 2009
Rupert Murdoch’s UK Sunday tabloid News of the World can justifiably boast of its exclusive picture that shocked the sporting world of 8-time Olympic swimming Gold Medalist Michael Phelps using a glass pipe to smoke pot, as he has now admitted, while visiting the University of South Carolina last November. But does such a picture run afoul of UK privacy laws?

Were You One Of The Few Not Watching The Obama Inauguration? - January 21, 2009
It was the most watched event in TV history – Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. And there were very few places in this world where you would not have been able to watch that live on TV, high definition TV in some places! And of course if you didn’t have a TV nearby then you could have watched it on any number of Web sites or on your mobile phone.

Will Gaza Do For Al Jazeera English What the First Gulf War Did For CNN? - January 15, 2009
Al Jazeera logo Since our basically positive review 10 days ago of Al Jazeera’ English language news coverage of Gaza we’ve been watching with some amusement as other analysts on both sides of the Atlantic have caught up to the fact that if you really want comprehensive Gaza coverage then Al Jazeera English is the place to be.

 

 

 

 

What Is Fair Coverage When One Man’s Terrorist Is Another Man’s Hero? - January 7, 2009
On the first day that this writer entered the UPI London bureau in 1971 to take a three-day live copy-editing test to see if he was the “right stuff” for the American news agency the first rule pumped into him by the quiet-spoken, gray-haired editor was that the word “terrorist” was never to appear in UPI copy. “Remember, the copy you are editing is distributed throughout the world, and that readership means one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero”. It’s a rule that remained imprinted in one’s journalistic soul by the printers’ ink running through one’s veins.

Gaza -- Al-Jazeera English, CNN International, and BBC World - January 6, 2009
The Gaza bombing and Israeli ground assault is Al-Jazeera’s opportunity to prove to the western world that its English language TV news service could be watched by mainstream western viewers with some resemblance of reporting balance from both sides. And by and large it’s doing ok.

India Must Drop Its Satellite License Transmission Rule That Hindered Reporting Of Last Week’s Mumbai Attacks -- The World’s Largest Democracy Should Not Prevent International News Media Doing Their Jobs - December 2, 2008
Now that the terror of Mumbai is over the Indian government is conducting a top-to-bottom re-examination of everything that occurred during those awful days, and while security will, of course, be the top priority, it should also look into how government bureaucracy stopped the international television news media transmitting their satellite pictures around the world because of either no transmission license or refusing an extension to an expired license.

The Media And The US Elections - November 4, 2008
As America’s democracy celebrates its most important day -- the electing of a new President -- it brings to mind how closely the whole world watches. Pierre Salinger, President Kennedy’s press secretary who later went on to head the ABC bureau in Paris and who became an admired journalist for L’Express, once explained that as far as the French were concerned, “The US Presidential election is far too important for just Americans to vote!”

Citizen Journalism – What A Perfect Way To Spread A Rumor! - October 6, 2008
Remember a few years back when citizen journalism started coming into its own and how it was damned for its amateurism and there was little or no way of checking out what those citizen journalists wrote or videoed. But then they started filing from breaking news events where the professionals just plain didn’t have people on the ground, and it wasn’t long before the 24-hour cable news networks and other news outlets begged their viewers across the globe in every newscast to contribute. But as CNN learned last week the original fear is still very much with us.

Be Sure You Trust Your News Source For Old News Dressed As New Could Cost You Big-Time - September 10, 2008
How many times have you searched Google looking for recent information but clicked on “web” instead of “news” and only by chance did you notice the item was a few years old. Now what if that old item actually was found by Google on a newspaper site and the robot, not finding a date on it, listed it as new news item? Scary? Couldn’t happen? Well it did last weekend and it caused financial mayhem in United Airlines shares Monday.

Guidelines for reporters covering China and the Beijing Olympics - August 5, 2008
The Olympic Games in Beijing opens in less than 100 hours. The foreign media contingent is estimated at more than 20,000, roughly double the number of competing athletes. To be sure, not all the reporters and news crews are focused on sports.

Max Mosley Wins His Privacy Case Tightening The Screws on UK Tabloids - July 25, 2008
Max Mosley, the Formula 1 president, has won record privacy damages against Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, the judge saying that while there was no doubt certain sexual events occurred in Mosley’s apartment the newspaper had recklessly ignored his right to privacy, and that the only real reason for printing the story and placing video online was for material gain. The newspaper had said running the story was in the public interest because of Mosley’s position within Formula 1

Richard Quest Is Back, But Not On Camera - July 15, 2008
Richard Quest is back, starting off slowly as he gets back into his travel reporting for the CNN International. He did a voiceover on the demise of independent all-business class airlines in Europe, but he did not appear on camera.

NBC News – Pot Calling The Newspaper Kettle Black! - July 9, 2008
NBC News with Brian Williams on Tuesday night ran a piece about the distress in the newspaper industry and it was right on – it talked about the bad goings on in Palm Beach, Florida (300 fired) but also the good, Mort Zuckerman’s $150 million investment in new color presses for the New York Daily News. All in all, a fair balanced piece.

If You Agree That 'What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas, Then How Do You Feel About A Sex Orgy At Home As Pages Of Tabloid Fodder Plus The Video On The Newspaper’s Web Site? - July 8, 2008
It’s titillating stuff. Max Mosley, 68-year-old son of the 1930s British Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley and who is now the president of the governing body for Formula 1 racing, captured on a video camera in his bedroom romping with five prostitutes. The UK Sunday tabloid News of the World (NOW) gleefully claimed it was a “sick Nazi orgy.” and promptly put the video on its web site which more than 1.4 million viewers have now accessed.

It Was A Nice Civil Discussion Between Western And Islam Journalists At A Meeting In Sweden About The Rights And Wrongs of The Danish Cartoons But The Terrorists Gave Their Answer 24 Hours Later With A Car Bomb Outside The Danish Embassy in Pakistan Killing At Least Eight - June 3, 2008
hate It was all civility at a round table discussion at the World Association of Newspaper Round Table Sunday about the rights and wrongs of those Danish cartoons that caused so much aggravation in the Islam world a couple of years back and then again were republished this year, but 24 hours later the world received yet another lesson that terrorists don’t like talking, they prefer to kill, and thus a massive bomb blast Monday outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad.

 

 

If China Thought Stopping The Golden Pen Press Freedom Award Winner From Going To Sweden To Accept The Prize Would Dampen Criticism, Then It Sure Got That Wrong - June 3, 2008
It was intended to be embarrassing – for the second year in a row the winner of the Golden Press Freedom Award is Chinese – signifying the continuing lack of press freedom in that country, and China responded by stopping the winner and his family from traveling to Sweden to receive the prize and furthermore ordered its China Newspaper Association to boycott the event.

In Iraq Killing Journalists Remains A Sport, And There Are Few Places In The World Where Journalists Don't Come Under Pressure – Violent or Legal -- All Condemned In The World Association Of Newspapers Press Freedom Review - June 3, 2008
blindfold

In the past six months alone 28 journalists have died around the world, nine of them in Iraq, making that country the most dangerous for working journalists. But that’s not the only place where journalists, and citizen journalists, face death or imprisonment, and the sad fact is that there is little let-up in global pressure on freedom of expression, according to the semi-annual report by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).

 

Two Sides To China: Dior Guts Star Endorser Sharon Stone For Earthquake 'Karma' Remarks While Police Stop Dissident Journalist And Family Traveling To Sweden To Receive Golden Pen Award - May 30, 2008
Actress Sharon Stone gets paid really big bucks to promote Christian Dior, and in China the luxury goods firm has 68 outlets with 11 in Beijing. So when the Chinese went crazy on the Internet and elsewhere at her comments that their tragic earthquake could have been due to “karma”, Dior told Stone she had better say sorry publicly or she wouldn’t be representing the company any more. She apologized real fast.

Know How To Shoot Video and Do A Stand-Up? Know How To Edit A Package? Know How To Take Still Pictures? Know How To Do Live Audio? And Can You Write? Then Maybe You Could Be A Newspaper Journalist - May 7, 2008
Back when this writer went to through his university journalism training emphasizing newspaper reporting, there were several courses about the philosophy of journalism, there were news writing courses, there was one elementary photo course, but no audio and no video although those specialties were available to radio and TV undergraduates. Four years of all of that and one was supposedly ready to be a newspaper reporter. No more.

‘Your mother wears combat boots’ and other slanders - April 27, 2008
gagged media The Russian State Duma sharpened legal language on slander and libel to include ‘damaging honor and dignity,’ the consequence for media outlets being an even closer watch on what they say or print or face being closed. Defamation laws continue to discourage dissent, criticism and other forms of free speech. But, then, not everybody believes free speech and free press are good things.

 

 

It Has Not Been A Good Week Internationally For CNN – China Is Still Angry And Then It Seems Just The Mention Of Richard Quest Is Taboo - April 25, 2008
Richard Quest Internationally, it has not been one of CNN’s best weeks – the Chinese are still mad about on-air comments and in return there have been demonstrations in the streets and cyber attacks on its web site, and then there is the embarrassment of handling the Richard Quest affair – so far not a single word on that has passed from any CNN spokesperson. The subject seems taboo, or perhaps the company hopes the situation will just go away if they pull the ostrich act of putting their heads in the sand.

Only the New York Post Published Lurid Details Of Richard Quest’s Arrest, But Those Were The Details That Splashed Globally, So Can The Popular CNN Personality Survive? - April 22, 2008
The reporting of embarrassing details that played no part in the drugs charges against CNN’s Richard Quest’s at the weekend is really sad, but it also points to the overwhelming global power of the Internet and how nasty it can really be at times.

No irony as OBS story shuts Moscow newspaper - April 19, 2008
Silvio shoots

Russian President Vladmir Putin, weeks away from a new job, faced questions about his personal life at a press conference while standing along side Italian media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, also weeks away from a new job. Such it is with those tabloid reporters, always chasing the rich, famous and powerful for a headline. Mr. Putin was nonplused, Mr. Berlusconi (mostly) silent and the newspapers’ editor fired.

How Many Of Those Newseum Reviewers Who Gushed How Great The New News Museum in DC Is Would Have Actually Paid $20 a Head From Their Own Pocket For The Press Tour And Later Returned To Pay For The Whole Family? - April 11, 2008
By all accounts the news industry has a great living monument to be proud of in Washington, DC – a fabulous state-of-the art interactive $450 Million museum dedicated to news that opens today. Too bad so many people won’t get to see it because of the $20 entrance fee!.

A British Coroner’s Jury Finds The Paparazzi Helped Kill Princess Diana By Chasing Her Car That Crashed In A Paris Tunnel, And If It Had Happened In The UK They Could Be Found Criminally Liable - April 8, 2008
paparazzi A British coroner’s jury returned a verdict far harsher than had been expected – that the car crash that killed Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed came about not only because of the reckless driving of the car driver, but the paparazzi chasing the ill-fated Mercedes contributed to their “unlawful deaths”.

 

 

Beijing boycott drumbeat more than a trickle - April 6, 2008
Olympic protest

 

Ah, yes, only the young athletes would suffer by a boycott of the Beijing Olympic games. So goes the oft-repeated trance-like meme from many, mostly those with money on the table. More broadcasters voiced a different view this past week.

 

 

 

Dutch public broadcaster answers anti-Islamic film - March 25, 2008
Two years ago publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked violence and rage. In the name of freedom of speech the Danish government took the side of the publishers. Nobody wants the story repeated.

Thin threads link journalists’ murders - March 22, 2008
GTRK Dagestan Two prominent television figures died by brutal force, hours apart. Both were murdered shortly after their names appeared on a blacklist. The message is clear: don’t make enemies.

 

 

 

Front-page apologies and 700 thousand euro judgments won’t salvage old media’s credibility - March 19, 2008
Cheney shoots UFO

 

I must admit, I laughed so hard I cried. Two of the UKs most notorious tabloids were forced to print front-page apologies and pay real money. They lied. But today is another day that journalism cried.

 

 

Eight years after, journalists’ murderers sentenced - March 16, 2008
After a trial that began in January 2007, three former Ukraine Interior Ministry officers were sentenced for the murder of young journalist Georgiy Gongadze. It’s a gristly tale. Just as ugly is that it’s unfinished.

Why Local Newspapers Should Webcast Their Local Government Meetings - February 29, 2008
There are rising complaints from local governments in the US that as newspapers cut back their editorial staffs a great deal of municipal affairs coverage no longer makes it into print. Well, if there aren’t the journalists to write about council, cabinet, and committee meetings then why not webcast them live?

Have You Noticed How Many More And Bigger Pictures There Are In Your Newspaper These Days And How Little Original Reporting There Is -- How Else Are They To Fill The Editorial Space With Fewer Journalists? - February 28, 2008
There’s a new word entering our journalistic language – churnalism -- and it comes from a book just printed in the UK that already has the lawyers racking up their fees and some senior journalists and editors furious, but so far there hasn’t really been any evidence to prove false the basic concept of the book – that the vast majority of UK journalism is not original.

Rating Press Freedom - February 18, 2008
nursewithneedle

Press freedom, institutionalized, serves to inoculate us against the evils of absolute power. It’s a vitamin jab; instant sunshine, instant energy. Calling out press freedom failures is also a jab, like a blood test for a dread disease – painful but necessary.

 

 

 

 

The Personal Journalist - January 17, 2008
“Hi, I’m your personal journalist,” is coming to a device near you. Having what you want, when and where you want it is mantra in new media. Delivering the goods has been elusive, until now.

Sarkozy To French Media: 'If You Don’t Like To See Pictures of Me With My Girlfriend (Fiancé) Then Don’t Send a Photographer. We Are Not Going To Hide' - January 9, 2008
Nicolas Sarkozy Confidence oozed from French President Nicolas Sarkozy at his Tuesday news conference and the focus of the world’s media concentrated on when he was going to marry his supermodel girlfriend. That means his fascinating chastisements of the media, and some of his proposed solutions to heal the ailments of the French media business didn’t break through those headlines but they are important as one charts the future of the French media

 

 

If Your Child Wrote To Santa Claus At The North Pole And Got A Reply Here’s One Reason Why - December 21, 2007
Santa Children around the world write every year to Santa Claus (Father Christmas) at the North Pole telling him how good they have been all year and they hope the jolly old man will reward them with the requested presents, especially if bribed by being told milk and biscuits will be left on the kitchen table. And the really lucky ones will even get a reply from the North Pole, or at least not too far away from there!

 

 

Global study questions press freedom - December 10, 2007
BBC WS poll Press freedom is a fundamental human right, so the Convention says. Ask people, though, and that Western view of a free press is sometimes muted. A global poll commissioned by the BBC World Service points to the striking relationship between the exercise of free press and its popular support.

 

It’s No Longer ‘Content Is King’ But Instead ‘Ownership Is King’ - November 16, 2007
Now in the news CNN International has announced it has taken the near $10 million that Reuters wanted for its various services and has used that money to expand its own reporting structure. What it has done is give up an organization with 2,400 editorial staff in 196 bureaus in 131 countries in order to add 15 to 16 correspondents to its existing staff of 150, plus develop some of its digital infrastructure.

Yahoo Settle Chinese Dissidents’ Lawsuit - November 14, 2007
It seems Yahoo did get the US Congressional message last week after Chief Yahoo Jerry Yang and Michael Callahan, Yahoo senior vice president and general counsel, were told their company was a giant technologically and financially but “morally you are Pygmies.”

Journalists, Writers, Stand Up! - November 5, 2007
Anxiety in the newsroom has reached the point where every fear has become a reality. To borrow from Dr. Maslow, people lose all sense of gravity when safety and security are threatened. The European Federation of Journalists has organized a day of protests.

Heather McCartney Cries Out On British TV That the UK Tabloids 'Call Me A Whore, A Gold Digger, A Fantasist, And A Liar' So She Wants More European Parliament Regulation For A 'Specific Portion' Of Newspapers - November 1, 2007
Heather Mills It’s probably true to say that when they try, UK national tabloid newspapers can border on being as low, nasty and vicious as the public will accept, and they have been handing out just that to Heather McCartney in her ongoing divorce battle with former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. So in an extraordinary TV interview Wednesday the lady tried to fight back, breaking down in tears, and basically crying out that enough was enough.

 

 

‘Heck of a job’ - October 27, 2007
Wildfires in the US State of California have dominated American news coverage. To meet the pressing demand for information the US disaster management agency called a press conference to which no reporters could attend then proceeded to pretend it was a press conference, using staff as fake reporters. Emergency management now includes managing media.

‘Welcome To My Home’ The Television Journalist Told Viewers Watching Around The World, And He Turned To Show Behind Him His House Burning To The Ground - October 25, 2007
It was a piece of television journalism that few people who saw it will ever forget. Reporter Larry Himmel doing a standup in the driveway to his San Diego, California house. ‘Welcome to my home,’ he exclaimed and with a wave of the hand and a slight turn there behind him was his house still burning.

Green media catches a buzz - October 15, 2007
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to environmental activist and former US Vice President Al Gore reinforces media’s power in shaping public debate and public interest. Media interest in global warming and related environmental issues will certainly increase with this new ‘green’ buzz. Coverage, though, remains illusive and divided.

With Newspaper Web Sites Continually Adding New Reporting Features And With Universities Turning Out The New Multi-Taskers Here’s A Back To Basics Reminder From The Washington Post Editor: ‘It Doesn’t Matter How Webbie You Are, If You Can’t Report, It Doesn’t Matter.’ October 10, 2007
Truman press corps Washington played host to a couple of big national journalism conventions last week and some of what got said deserves a wider audience. Like Leonard Downie, editor of the Washington Post, reminding everyone that for all the new technology that journalists must master the focus still needs to be on the basic – how to report.

 

 

Author Gives Up On McKennitt UK Privacy Case - October 9, 2007
Niema Ash, the author who wrote a ‘kiss and tell’ book about Canadian singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt has given up on her attempt to publish a second edition of the book that would have eliminated portions of the original book that a High Court judge ruled violated privacy rules.

It’s Really Cheap These Days For Media, Even TV, To Have Foreign Correspondents Around The World - October 5, 2007

One of the most common complaints visitors to the US have about American media is the dearth of international news. Watch a network newscast and there are many days when it is all domestic news. Most newspapers except for the really big ones have eliminated their foreign bureaus so whatever foreign news there is almost entirely agency reports cut down to a few paragraphs.

 

When the Kremlin starts throwing bombs, be sure to look the other way - September 14, 2007
Keystone Kops

It was a great week for Russia watchers. Moscow prosecutors ruled the suspicious death of a military journalist a suicide. President Putin named a little known pal Prime Minister. And then they dropped a big bomb.

 

 

 

In Less Than 24 Hours CNN Gets Nailed Not Having ReutersTV - September 11, 2007
It took CNN less than 24 hours to learn that a global television network can be really embarrassed if a competitor has video that you are desperate to have. And it was Reuters Television that had that first bin Laden tape which meant in the US that Fox and MSNBC had bin Laden on tape blaming Congress and the Democratic majority for not ending the war, but all CNN had for a long time was just a transcript.

Today Is The 10th Anniversary Of Princess Diana’s Death And The UK’s Tabloid Editors Are Still Asking Themselves Whether They, Along With The Paparazzi, Should Share Some Blame - August 31, 2007
papparazzi It’s a somber day in London what with the special memorial service marking the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death and many Britons remembering their loss of the tabloid’s princess, but within the past few days some newspaper editors who have remained quiet over the years have reflected upon whether demanding and paying for paparazzi exclusives means they share guilt for what some believe was an inevitable end in a Paris road tunnel.

Ten Held In Politkovskaya Killing - August 28, 2007
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya would have turned 49 Wednesday had she not been slain last October in the lobby of her apartment building, and protests in Moscow were planned against the lack of arrests in the case. So it was good timing by Russian authorities to announce Monday they are now holding 10 suspects in a killing that prosecutors said was arranged from outside Russia by anti-Kremlin forces who wanted to embarrass the country.

China Celebrated the Olympics One-Year Countdown In Grand Style In Tiananmen Square But Press Freedom Issues Were Shot Across Its Bow, Too, Warning What Will Come If No Improvement Over The Next 12 Months - August 10, 2007
olympic handcuffs No one could help but be impressed with the opulent celebration in Tiananmen Square that China held this week to mark the one-year countdown to the Beijing Olympic Games scheduled to start on the luckiest date possible in Chinese folklore, 08-08-08 at 08:08 PM.

 

Did Yahoo Tell All To the US Congress On Its Shi Tao Debacle? - August 6, 2007
Yahoo again has Congressional problems over its China policies after a document surfaced last week indicating the company did know why Chinese officials wanted to find journalist Shi Tao, whereas the company had previously told Congress it had to respond to a Chinese request for information but didn’t know why the request was made.

Still Ramifications From Those Danish Cartoons - July 24, 2007
Remember those Danish cartoons that depicted the Prophet Mohammad as a terrorist that the Jylands-Posten newspaper in Denmark printed in September, 2005, eventually causing riots around the Moslem world and a few resulting deaths? Well, in the UK there were no riots but three people did try to stir up crowds with “bomb bomb” comments that brought up the question of just how far does free speech stretch in such situations.

 

Free Alan posterRelease From Gaza – Writing the Script - July 9, 2007
A good film script needs a title. Or, to be precise, selling a film script needs a good story and a great title helps. The film script of Alan Johnston’s release from the bad guys is certainly being written now. The title is unclear.

 

Entering the Paris-free Zone - July 2, 2007
Today’s morning show on Radio Hamburg offers a Paris-free zone. Last week a US television newsreader tried to set her Paris Hilton copy alight.

British Military Personnel Prohibited From Selling Their Stories To The Media - June 20, 2007
Remember the hue and cry back in April when the lone British female sailor, among the 15 sailors and marines released by Iran after a week of captivity, sold her story to the Sun newspaper and to ITV for a figure thought close to £100,000. The military said it was ok, the public thought otherwise, the government backtracked and did what it always does when it is in a muddle – it ordered a review.

Reality Meets the Newsroom - Imagine Swimsuit Models in the WSJ Newsroom - June 18, 2007
Leave it to Fox TV – the Murdoch owned scandal sheet gone video – to pull journalism down one more notch. East Texas television station KYTX and CBS affiliate is providing the set and crew, it seems, for a “comedy-reality” show called “Anchorwoman.” Swimsuit model Lauren Jones made her first appearance last week after a quick lesson in reading the TelePrompTer. Fox 21 and The G Group is producing the series that will begin airing in August.

Where Do You Draw The Line In Passing Laws Protecting Against Terrorism and Infringing On The Free Flow of Information? - June 6, 2007
press banner

Democracies everywhere are being caught between the rock and the hard place. They want more police and court powers to combat global terrorism, and yet the very being of a democracy is the free flow of information and free speech, and there are times when all of that comes very close to clashing. Does it need to?

 

 

 

The Journalist Whom Yahoo Identified to Chinese Authorities And Now Languishes in Jail Serving 10-Years Wins WAN’s Golden Pen of Freedom - June 5, 2007
Yahoo claims to this day it had no choice but to identify Shi Tao who used Yahoo’s email system in China to distribute information Chinese authorities didn’t like and it’s not their fault the man is now serving a 10-year prison term. The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) thinks differently and has awarded Shi its highest press freedom award, the Golden Pen of Freedom.

 

A US Blogger Spent 224 Days In Jail For Not Giving A Video To A Grand Jury; In Iraq The “Sport” of Killing Journalists Continues Unabated, And In Russia It’s The “Report Only The Good News” Syndrome Plus Murder -- The Plight of Journalists Around The World Is Not Getting Any Better - June 2, 2007
protest The number of journalists that have lost their lives in the past six months is staggering -- 59-- half of those in the Middle East alone. That’s bad enough, but add the pressures to force journalists to divulge sources, administrative harassment, death threats, arbitrary arrests, detentions and the like, and it all makes for very sorry reading in the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) global press freedom review of the past six months.

 

French Newspapers Stories Used To Be About Whether They Could Financially Survive, But With The Sarkozy Presidency It’s All About Whether His Buddies (The Financiers Who Rescued Those Newspapers) Will Censor Embarrassing Stories To Remain On Good Terms - May 24, 2007
The French electorate saw Nicolas Sarkozy as the new breath of fresh air that will pull France firmly into the 21st Century. But he does have an Achilles Heel – he is very sensitive to media reports about his private life, especially his marriage – it seems to be a very “French” marriage -- and there are already signs that his buddies who now own many French newspapers do not wish to offend by having their media report “Sarko’s” personal embarrassments.

ftm Ahead of the News – One Of Those Iranian Suits WAS Flogged On eBay! - May 6, 2007
In our story about the released British sailors and marines who had been captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and the subsequent decision, later revoked, by the Defense Ministry to allow those released captives to sell their exclusive stories to the media, ftm noted sarcastically in its final paragraph:

Today Is World Press Freedom Day, Hurrah – Except In Many Places In Our World Journalists Have Little Joy, Just Harassment and Imprisonment - May 3, 2007
UNESCO Today is World Press Freedom Day, a day, as the United Nations reminds us, to remember the media’s vital role in promoting sustainable peace, democracy and development. And yet conditions for independent media are worsening in many parts of the world, threatening democracy and human rights, according to the non-governmental Freedom House that has issued a chilling report on the decline in press freedoms globally, and how Internet freedom in particular is under siege in some countries.

World Association of Newspapers Urges Governments to Balance Stricter Security Without Infringing Upon The Freedom of The Press - May 3, 2007
The World Association of Newspapers says it fears that as governments enhance security precautions many of their measures are being used to restrict the free flow of information. Seeking to find a balance between the two, WAN, for World Press Freedom Day, issued the following manifesto calling on governments and their agencies:

US State Department Urges Russia To Find Politkovskaya’s Murderer - May 2, 2007
The US State department has renewed its call to Russia to bring to justice the person or persons who murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in the lobby of her apartment building last October. Her murder, the department said, was an “affront to free and independent media and to democratic values.”

ftm follow-up Polish PM’s Bodyguards Rough Up TV Reporters - April 19, 2007

ftm follow-up Military Court Acquits Swiss Journalists - April 19, 2007

Citizen Journalists Help Tell The Virginia Tech Story - April 7, 2007
Watching the tragedy at Virginia Tech unfurl via CNNI has brought home how important civilian journalists have become to the telling of breaking news on television.

ftm follow-up OMON Beats Journalists in Moscow, St. Petersburg - April 17, 2007
This is not a game

ftm follow-up Swiss Journalists To Go On Military Trial For Divulging CIA Secrets From A Swiss Secret Service Document - April 16, 2007

ftm follow-up Another Rugby Sports Rights Issue Goes To Court - April 12, 2007

The Sun Gets Its Exclusive Interview With The Sole British Female Sailor Released By Iran, Paying Handsomely For The Privilege Of Getting A One Day Circulation Jump, But The Public Is Not Happy That The Military Allowed The Captives To Profit Financially From Their Drama - April 10, 2007
The obvious disappointment at the news conference last week by the British military captives freed by Iran was that the sole female, Faye Turney, wasn’t there. The other speakers said she had been through an ordeal and needed time to mend. Translation: The Sun newspaper and the ITV television network were paying her more than £100,000 ($200,000, €150,000) because “I want people to know what I’ve gone through”. Couldn’t she have done that at the news conference?

ftm follow-up House Of Lords Refuses Privacy Appeal - April 5, 2007

ftm follow-up BBC World And CNNI Both Miss THE Iranian Announcement - April 4, 2007

The World Association of Newspapers Takes ftm To Task For Saying Rugby’s Attempts To Restrict Internet News Pictures Circulation For The World Cup Is A Commercial Issue And Not A Freedom Of The Press Issue - April 2, 2007
The International Rugby Board is attempting to restrict the world’s media on how many pictures can be shown on the Internet, even how pictures are used in print, and while ftm applauded the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) for fighting that silliness, we said the battle should be fought on commercial issues, not as a freedom of the press issue as WAN claimed.

ftm follow-up The Danish Cartoon Story Does Not Go Away - March 26, 2007

If It Is A Given That The Young Are No Longer Reading Newspapers, Then How Comes US Universities Continue To Enroll More Budding Journalists Every Year? - March 21, 2007
US journalism and mass communications university programs have enrolled more students each year since 1999. So if generalizations are true that the young aren’t into reading newspapers then the obvious question is, why do they want to work for them? Must be for the high pay and glory!

Getty Scoops Up Scoopt - March 19, 2007

Blacklists – 21st Century Reality - March 9, 2007
Journalists independent of State media have been barred from court proceedings in Azerbaijan where a former government minister stands accused of abuse of power. South Africa’s State broadcaster has been accused of blacklisting commentators who just might spin a line different – and critical – of the government. We are so fortunate, in the “west,” for immunity to such impunity.

Well, Here’s A Novel Newspaper Study That Flies In The Face Of All Those Newsroom Firings -- The Better Your News Reporting Excellence The Better Your Bottom Line! - February 19, 2007
It sounds like just plain common sense, but now there’s a study by the respected University of Missouri Journalism School that lays it out in simple language – the best way for newspapers to improve their bottom lines is to invest in news reporting excellence.

The Ash-McKennitt Privacy Lawsuit That Went Very Badly For UK Freedom Of Expression Is A Wakeup Call That The Media Everywhere Needs A System To Get Involved In Such Important Cases At The First Stage – The Appeals Level Is Too Late - February 1, 2007
The privacy lawsuit won by Canadian folk singer Loreena McKennitt against a former friend and colleague, Niema Ash, claiming Ash’s book contained personal details that were an invasion of privacy has rocked the UK media with lawyers and editors fearing it is the end of “kiss and tell” celebrity stories. Yet how this case actually made privacy law in the UK should come as a shock and wake-up call to the media worldwide that it needs to get its legal protection house in order.

Celebrities Are Now Finding It’s Much Easier To Keep The Media At Bay With Privacy Law Suits Rather Than Cumbersome Libel Proceedings, And That Is Changing The Face of UK Tabloids - January 30, 2007
Princess Caroline of Monaco’s name will go down forever in European media privacy law for setting a precedent that basically says we are all entitled to a private life without media intrusion in addition to our public life. UK courts have been expanding upon that to the point that tabloid editors believe the end of “kiss and tell” is upon us.

They’re Killing The Journalists - January 22, 2007
Hrant Dink Hrant Dink, gunned down in Istanbul, became the latest journalist murder victim to attract world-wide media coverage. The day-time Friday shooting on a busy “European side” of Istanbul street, his newspaper office in sight, became a call to outrage. Perhaps editors could not resist the AP and AFP photos of the sheet covered body, boots and blood visible. Instant death: instant pictures.

A Remembrance: President Ford With Leonid Brezhnev In Helsinki And The Reporter Who Had Their Global Scoop But No Way To Tell The World - January 3, 2007
US President Gerald R. Ford, who passed away last week, had traveled to Helsinki in the summer of 1975 not only to sign what became known as the Helsinki Accords but also to negotiate with the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev on reaching a new Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT). And there was a young correspondent from United Press International, this writer, who along the course of those events came up with the scoop of the day.

Reuters Embraces Citizen Photojournalism, But Is This Just A Way Of Getting Those Exclusives Without Having To Pay A Fortune? Don’t Outfits Like Scoopt Offer A Better Deal? - December 5, 2006
The official pronouncements about the Yahoo/Reuters’ new citizen photojournalist project contain all the right buzzwords about encouraging user generated content and getting those efforts out to the wide world, which is swell, but cut to the bottom line and who could make out like a bandit? Hint: It’s not the citizen photojournalist who probably does not really understand the value of the pictures produced, or how to get them marketed exclusively.

Blame and Shame on South Africa’s Public Broadcaster - October 16, 2006
SABC logo Independence and transparency separates State broadcasters from public broadcasters. Or, that is the theory. Blacklisting political commentators by South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) news officials is bad enough. Trying to cover it up is worse.

 

Murder of a Writer - October 9, 2006
“…self-appointed executioners…”
Anya was strong and brave at a time when weakness and fear keeps many from asking the hard questions. It was Russia that she loved. She cried for Russia as she wrote devastatingly critical work about what she said is resurgent Stalinism. She wrote about Chechnya, sparing no side her sharp words.

The Murder of Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Terrible As It Is, May Just Be That Defining Event That Brings More Press Freedom Back To Russia - October 9, 2006

 

There has basically been a one-sided civil war going on in Russia between gangsters, politicians, Chechens, and maybe some oligarchs, too, versus the media. Current score since Vladimir Putin came to power: Journalists dead, contract-style 13 – those found guilty 0.

 

 

 

 

When Belo Announced That 111 Employees At The Dallas Morning News Had Accepted Buyouts The Reuters Story Was Not Written in Dallas, Nor New York, But Rather In Bangalore, India. Bangalore, India? - September 18, 2006
Even though Reuters has 350 journalists in the US, it is not enough to report all the financial news that originates there every day. Yet Reuters’ US-based journalists are among the industry’s highest paid, so it’s an expensive proposition to add staff to handle the rewrites of news releases from the multitude of mid and small-capitalized companies. Simple solution: hire 100 journalists where it is not so expensive to handle the overload and with modern-day communications there’s no reason why they really need to be in the US.

If You Thought The Wall Street Journal’s Opening Of A Global Fashion Bureau Is All About Journalism You’d Be Very Wrong. It’s All About Getting More Fashion/Luxury Advertising - September 10, 2006

 

If there is one newspaper that looks like it is attacking in exactly the right way the industry’s slumping newspaper circulation/advertising numbers then it has to be the Wall Street Journal.

 

Just How Does International News Coverage Fit Into A Newspaper Going Local, Local, Local? - August 17, 2006

An Editor & Publisher article had an energy reporter for a US newspaper asking, “How do you get the time to write (about international issues) when you need to be out writing about hometown problems?” Easy – relate those international issues to hometown problems.

 

As Demonstrated During The Lebanon War, Photo Software Can Be A Very Dangerous Journalistic Weapon In The Wrong Hands, And News Agencies Need To Re-Think Their Procedures - August 16, 2006
Does it really matter if the photographer edits his picture to make the smoke look darker than it really was? Does it matter if the same woman shows up five days apart in what looks like the same pose to wail at the death and destruction before her? Yes, it does.

 

 

 

 

 

BBC World and CNN Need To Get Back To Basics – It’s The Coverage Of Live Events, Stupid! - August 14, 2006
CNN Breaking News logo For all the magnificent coverage that BBC World and CNN have provided from the Middle East in the past month both networks are increasingly guilty of forgetting their roots – that it is live event coverage of news conferences, speeches, and crucial UN votes that put them originally on the map – rather than packaged reports -- and their ever stricter adherence to set program schedules are diminishing that coverage. Look no further than the terrible live coverage provided of the UN ceasefire resolution vote.

Newspapers and Broadcasting Are Still Primary News Sources And Internet News, While Growing in Popularity, Still Just Supplements Most Needs - August 3, 2006
A new major American survey has loads of good news for those who believe traditional media still has a long healthy life ahead, and it has loads of good news for those that believe the Internet continues to grow in news popularity. But dig into it deep enough to sort it all out and there are signs that for traditional media things may not be getting better, but the worst may be over.

American Media Survey Shows Again That Local and Community News Is A Newspaper’s Biggest Draw - August 3, 2006
A major new survey on the news habits of Americans shows that readers’ tastes, and newspapers themselves, have evolved overt the past 20 years, but there is one constant – local and community news is still by far what readers turn to the most.

There Are Corrections, And Then There Are Corrections - July 19, 2006
It’s not nice to poke fun at others when they have made a mistake but a correction on the New York Times web site by Reuters on its story about the New York Times just can’t be passed up.

RFE/RL and VOA in Russian Sights - July 10, 2006
International broadcasters are increasingly backed against a wall when it comes to finding easy broadcast licenses for the taking. Governments can prevent access to distribution or, at the very least, make life very uncomfortable for local media affiliates. The enduring rule of media and politics is that no government takes criticism easily, particularly from foreigners.

Who Would Have Thought It Just a Few Years Ago, But To The Main US Terrestrial TV Networks Russia Is No Longer A Story That Merits Correspondents Based In Moscow - July 10, 2006
Among the most infuriating interviews that Larry King conducted regularly on CNN were with the three US TV anchors who are no longer on the job – Tom Brokaw (retired), Dan Rather (retired/fired) and Peter Jennings (died). King would ask all three in separate interviews what they thought of their news programs today and each gushed how great they were and that budget cuts had done no harm. What nonsense!

American Media Cut Back Their Foreign Correspondents Just As The British Media Increases Their US Presence In The US - July 10, 2006
Last October ftm questioned why so many American newspapers were keeping their costly foreign news bureaus going, when the emphasis was on saving costs and increasing local coverage. Seems the Tribune Company has also asked itself that very same question and the result is the closing of some bureaus and those that remain open will write for all Tribune newspapers, not just the one newspaper that sent them overseas.

 

 

Time and Again, At the End Of The Day, Whether You Are In The Red Or In The Black, As Long As It Is A Level Playing Field, And You Have A Wealth Of Experience Without An About Face, It’s Time To Get Rid Of The Clichés! - June 15, 2006
The headline above is a classic – don’t lose it. In one headline you have the seven most frequently used clichés by the British and US media. And we’re going to name names and there are some that may surprise you.

 

 

Russian Freedom Of The Press Has Come A Long Way Since Soviet Times -- And the Country Needs To Be Given Credit For That -- But Its Political Leaders Still Haven’t Grown That Thick Skin They Need To Govern In A Truly Democratic Society - June 11, 2006
Until the very last minute the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) admitted some of its membership objected to its annual meeting that concluded last week from being held in Moscow. It was right to go there, and it took a very gutsy WAN to tell President Putin inside his own Kremlin Palace in front of the world that he and his government needed to do more to ensure true press freedom. As good an example of free speech as one could demonstrate.

A Trip To Modern Russia Shows A Former Foreign Correspondent In The Soviet Union How Life Has Changed - June 11, 2006
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The modern art artists had all of their paintings out along the railings and on the sidewalk next to the park. Diplomats with their wives and kids strolled through the exhibition, talking and joking with the artists. And then came the city street cleaning water trucks. Welcome to the Soviet Union, 1974.

 

 

New Newspaper Publisher Mikhail Gorbachev: “There Is No Going Back To The Past. Of That I Am Sure” - June 7, 2006
One sure way of telling who the heroes are is to see how many people adoringly crowd around a speaker after he has given an audience an hour of his time. Based on the reception Mikhail Gorbachev received from the Russian and foreign media after a speech and a Q and A Wednesday it’s fairly obvious that the last President of the Soviet Union is indeed a hero in Mother Russia today.

 

The Big Question of the Jyllands-Posten Editor: If You Had to Do It All Over Again, Would You Have Printed the Mohammed Cartoons? Answer: “Hard to Tell!" - June 7, 2006
The deputy editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper at the center of the controversy in the printing of the Mohammed cartoons last September, peered out from the stage gazing onto hundreds of fellow editors from around the world and asked himself the question he knew they wanted to ask: “Would you do it over again?”

Medvedev Tells The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) the Ongoing Dialogue With The Kremlin Over Russian Press Freedom Is Positive For It Would Never Have Been Possible Under The Soviet Era - June 7, 2006
On the Monday President Vladimir Putin gave rather short shrift to The World Association of Newspapers campaign for more press freedom in the Russian Federation, and the next day the Kremlin rolled out Putin’s first deputy prime minister who said pretty much the same thing, but at least he did it with a smile.

 

 

 

In Iraq Killing Journalists Is Almost A Sport, In Iran The Wrong Blogs Gets You In Jail, and In The US Major Internet Companies Put Profit Ahead of Press Freedom In China -- All Condemnations By The World Association Of Newspapers Press Freedom Review - June 4, 2006
In the past six months alone 38 journalists have died around the world, 16 of them in Iraq, making that country the most dangerous for working journalists. But that’s not the only place where journalists, and citizen journalists, face death or imprisonment, and the sad fact is that there is increasing global pressure on freedom of expression, according to the semi-annual report by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).

When ftm Wrote About the Advertising Campaign of A British Apparel Store And Joked That Its Raunchy Advertising Was Not Yet Banned In Boston (Where It Has Two Stores), Little Did We Realize That Would Get ftm Banned in AOL Land!- May 17, 2006
Earlier this week ftm wrote about the new advertising campaign by a British Apparel Store (FCUK – it stands for French Connection United Kingdom), and we mentioned there were two such stores in Boston and the mayor thought that its advertising featuring lesbianism and women fighting with one another had overstepped the mark.

 

 

Perhaps The Most Distressing Finding Of A Recent Major Study About the News Media Is That The Battle Between Journalistic Idealists and The Accountants Is Over, And The Good Guys Lost!

“At many old-media companies, though not all, the decades-long battle at the top between idealists and accountants is now over. The idealists have lost.”

 

 

 

 

Major World Journalist Organizations Reject Government-imposed or Suggested Codes of Conduct, Guidelines, or Even New Laws Restricting Freedom of the Press In Response To The Danish Cartoons, But They Agree That Journalists Should Not Create Unnecessary Tension By Promoting Hatred Or Inciting Violence. - February 23, 2006
Major news organizations including the International Federation of Jounalists (IFJ) and several all-news channels have held separate meetings in the past days to discuss the Danish cartoon controversy and to determine what has been learned and what needs to be done to prevent similar distress in the future.

Why Is It So Difficult For The Media Just To Say “Sorry”? - February 13, 2006
A Danish reader took ftm to task this past week for saying that Jyllands-Posten had apologized for printing the 12 cartoons that caused riots throughout the world by protesting Muslims. There was no apology for printing the cartoons, we were told, but rather the apology was if the cartoons caused any offense.

Is There A Difference If Newspapers Did Not Print Those Danish Cartoons But Did Publish Them On Their Web Sites Or Provided Links Outside Their Country To Where They Could Be Viewed? - February 9, 2006
US media, with just a few exceptions, did not show the Danish cartoons exercising their freedom of the press responsibility, but a Google image search found the most offensive of those cartoons on the San Francisco Chronicle web site, but not in the newspaper. In the UK not one newspaper printed the cartoons but that didn’t stop some national newspapers from offering direct links to sites outside the country where the cartoons could be viewed.

With Danish Embassies Burning, Danish Goods Taken Off Store Shelves – Some European-Owned -- Were European Newspaper’s Acting Responsibly In Reprinting Those Jyllands-Posten Cartoons? Or Are Those Fires and Boycotts The Price Democracy Pays For Freedom of the Press? - February 6, 2006
When European newspapers reprinted those 12 Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad there is no question they had the freedom of the press to do so, but was it responsible journalism to offend Muslims in such a way? And in making that decision does one take into account the rioting, the burnings, the boycotts the world over? In other words should “fear” of what might happen preclude publication?

 

 

Why Did A German Newspaper Immediately Apologize For Placing An Ad About Gas Within A Story About Auschwitz? Why Did the Rome Football Club Accept Tough Punishment For Its Fans’ Display of Fascist Banners and Swastikas? And Why Did It Take Jyllands-Posten Four Months to Say Sorry for Printing Caricatures of Prophet Muhammad? - February 2, 2006
We in the West take for granted our freedom of speech and the press. We also understand that with those rights comes a social responsibility and the media, and the public, constantly question just where the line is drawn on what is acceptable. How three separate incidents were handled this past week in Europe shows how far we have come, and how far we have yet to go.

As The World Criticizes Google For Accepting Self-Censorship in China and Officials There Banning Yet Another Newspaper, It’s Worth Remembering That China Produces One In Every Seven Newspapers Hitting the Streets Globally - January 26, 2006
There were big damming headlines around the world that Google had sold-out to self-censorship in order to operate in China. On The Same Day Chinese authorities also closed Bing Dian, an influential weekly newspaper -- China banned 79 newspapers in 2005. And yet for all that, for five years running China still leads the world by far in the volume of newspapers coming off the presses, accounting for one in seven globally.

It’s Not Every Day A Swiss Newspaper Prints A Story Confirming CIA Secret European Prisons and Says Damn the Consequences, and Its Not Every Day That The Swiss Army’s Prosecutor And The Attorney General Open Separate Leak Investigations That Could Cost An Editor and Two Reporters Up To Five Years in Prison - January 15, 2005
The big story in Europe before Christmas was that the CIA operated clandestine prisons in eight European countries where it was questioning Al-Qaeda suspects and secretly flew the prisoners through European air space. Condoleezza Rice basically confirmed to European governments there had been clandestine flights, but “What prisons?” and the host governments named said, “No way.”

The Oil Depot Explosions Near London – one of the Worst European fires since the end of World War II -- Showed That Citizen Journalists Are Getting Even More Enthusiastic About Contributing and They Don’t Seem to Mind Not Getting Paid - December 15, 2005
Within minutes of the huge oil depot explosions and fires outside London this week citizen journalists were busy sending the BBC and other news organizations their digital pictures and video. The BBC received some 6,500 emails with digital attachments and there were more than 250,000 requests specifically for those amateur offerings alone on the BBC web site.

FTM in Amsterdam - November 14, 2005
Amsterdam’s TV News Xchange: Highlights of the Various Sessions Many of Which Drew Many Sparks as Attendees Took Issue Wirth What They Were Hearing With Is Paris Burning And Reporting Islam Taking Front Row.

Should Local Government Have to Pay to Get the Good News Published? - November 10, 2005
There was a media story out of New Jersey in October that had media analysts all in a huff – a local newspaper signed a $100,000 no-bid contract to publish positive good news about a city’s activities. Words like “unethical”, “bad public policy” and similar made the rounds. But the real issue is really why the city believed it had to resort to such a policy in the first place. And are there other cities out there that feel the local media are not doing their jobs?

I Want My Al-Jazeera - October 17, 2005
The Al-Jazeera television network moves further into the mainstream, asking Sir David Frost to present a program on its soon-to-be launched English-language service. Al-Jazeera International will be previewed, along with other offerings, at the Media and Marketing Show in Dubai.

French Presidential Hopeful Sarkozy To Sue Media For Revealing Lover’s Identity - October 16, 2005
The French love their sex scandals, but the media has to be very careful how it goes about reporting such because France has some of the world’s tightest laws guarding privacy. And Presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy and his lover believe the media stepped over the line when her identity – a journalist at Le Figaro but we can’t say who – was revealed by some media.

With the Three Top Newspaper Categories for Recapturing Readers Being Local, Local, and Local How Come More Foreign Bureaus Aren’t Being Closed Down? Many are Beyond Their Final Payment Due Date - October 12, 2005
The announcement by the Tribune’s Baltimore Sun newspaper that it was closing its London and Beijing bureaus brings up a key question -- how come so many large metropolitan and regional US newspapers currently decimating their newsroom with buyouts, firings, not filling vacancies and the like aren’t closing down those costly foreign bureaus that on a priority basis surely must come bottom of the list?

Reuters Offers Increased News of South-East Europe Via a Third Party At Additional Cost to Its Financial Clients -- Hmm, And They Said Cutbacks Wouldn’t Affect the Editorial Product! - October 2, 2005
Reuters is offering its financial clients at additional cost SeeNews, a third party news service covering South-East Europe. Great for SeeNews, a one-year-old start-up run by a former Reuters manager who spotted a lack of internationally reported financial news from the region, but it does pose the question of how come Reuters isn’t filling that news hole as it should itself?

“And Now for Your Latest In-Flight Entertainment Turn To Any Channel and Watch How We’re Preparing This Plane to Crash Land; Be Sure to Hear the Experts on the Ground Give the Odds for Our Success!” - September 26, 2005
And if you think that headline is pure fiction, think again. It just happened!

New Orleans Media Ban Overturned - September 12, 2005
CNN sought and was granted a restraining order against US authorities in New Orleans.

The Race Issue Finally Comes to the Forefront in the Katrina Coverage: Can People Be “Refugees” In Their Own Country, and How Come One Picture Caption Identifies a Black as a Looter While a Similar Picture of a White Does Not? - September 8, 2005
When New Orleans was ordered evacuated, those who stayed for the most part had no way of escaping. They were either ill or poor or just did not have the means to escape. And most of the poor were black. That was obvious on our television screens but reporters didn’t talk about that much.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune Finally Publishes Print Editions After More Than 100 Million page views to its Online Site; WWL-TV Managed to Stay on the Air; While in Texas Newspapers Print Special Sections Distributed at Shelters To Help Evacuees Find Loved Ones and Jobs - September 8, 2005
If ever there are special awards given for a newspaper’s and a television station’s dedication to their city in time of crisis then surely the New Orleans Times-Picayune and WWL-TV win. Even though staff at both media had to evacuate their own buildings that didn’t stop either from continuing in the finest journalism tradition of serving their community in time of need non-stop.

Hurricane Katrina and the London Bombings Reopen the Debate on Just How Graphic Television Should Be in Reporting Such Stories - September 5, 2005
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But in this instance it was the words.

Hurricane Katrina Has Changed American Journalism Forever: No Longer Are Reporters on the Ground Just Innocent Bystanders Describing Tragedy -- Now They Get Involved - September 5, 2005
A fundamental of American journalism training is that the journalist provides just the facts, no opinions, and the people, armed with that information, are left to make their own opinions and decisions. But Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath of old people and babies dying in the streets from dehydration, bodies floating in the flood, looting, and armed gangs shooting at rescue helicopters became all too much for many reporters on the scene.

The AP Has to Explain Itself to Some Members Who Accuse It of Having a “Bunker Mentality” In Iraq and Failing to Report the “Good News” As Reuters Loses Yet Another Journalist to “Friendly Fire” - September 1, 2005
The headline on a recent news release from the International News Safety Institute (INSI) should send a shudder through working journalists everywhere: “US forces second biggest cause of journalist deaths in Iraq”.

“Bad Guy” Interview Throws US ABC TV Network in Hot Water - August 4, 2005
Russian authorities complained bitterly about an interview broadcast on ABC News “Nightline” with Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev. “I am a bad guy, OK,” said Basayev in the interview with journalist Andrei Babitsky, broadcast July 28th. “The Cechyan people are more dear to me than the rest of the world. You get that?”

Reporting Sports in Africa - June 27, 2005
Journalism training is a serious part of the régime for regions marked for development. Dozens of organizations sponsor and conduct workshops and seminars on everything from newspaper design to documentary production. Considerable attention is given to journalism in conflict zones, post-conflict zones, and transitional and developing regions. And there are specialists in every area.

Vanity Fair Claims A Big Exclusive Revealing the True Identity of “Deep Throat”; That Is NOT Where the Kudos Should Go – They Belong to The Washington Post For Protecting Their Source These Long 30 Years - June 2, 2005
Sometimes journalism can be very cruel to itself. The Washington Post honored its agreement with W. Mark Felt that it would not name his as “Deep Throat” – the secret source who confirmed many of the details in the Post’s Watergate coverage that eventually ended with the resignation in disgrace of Richard Nixon as President of the United States in 1974. Yet a phone call from a lawyer representing Deep Throat’s family two years ago to Vanity Fair asking if they would buy the story eventually gave the magazine its “exclusive.”

The Newsweek Debacle: Whatever Happened to the Rule That Before Something Got Printed It Had Two Reliable Named Sources? - May 19, 2005
Ever since the global revulsion to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq the media has been aware that particularly in the Moslem world they take their religion and customs very seriously, and when American wrongdoing towards Moslems is uncovered it’s going to cause very serious consequences. That doesn’t mean that such events should not be reported, but it does mean extra care needs to be taken to ensure such reporting is correct.

The Shot by General Motors Across the Bow of the LA Times Is a Shot Heard Around the World - April 11, 2005
No Matter the Final Outcome the Damage Is Already Done.

Oh, Bring Back the REAL UPI! - April 1, 2005
The AP Announces It Will Offer Two Leads for Some Stories. What We Really Need Are Two Different Stories.

What Worries The Media the Most About CNN’s Eason Jordan Is Not What He Said, But Rather How You Found Out What He Said - February 15, 2005
Eason Jordan resigned over a comment made about US troops targeting journalists in Iraq. It wasn’t the US media that demanded his scalp for maligning the US military – in fact the US media didn’t even report the story until it was almost over.

Light in the Dusky Afternoon - February 14, 2005
The esteemed playwright Arthur Miller died at the end of a week that also claimed lives of journalists in Iraq and Somalia. The week also ended the career of CNNs head of international news.

After Firing Four News Executives, CBS Wants to Move On From Its Rathergate Scandal. It Cannot, and It has Only Itself to Blame - January 13, 2005
The 224-page independent report was scathing, as expected. The story CBS News reported about President Bush and his time in the Air National Guard has already claimed the semi-retirement of star anchor Dan Rather

Iraq The Most Deadly Journalistic Global Assignment; “Stay Away” Says Chirac - updated January 9, 2005
The Iraq war and its aftermath claimed 61 deaths through the end of 2004 and more news media were killed in 2004 globally than any time since 1994.

Does it Get Any More Dangerous than to be a Journalist Covering Iraq? - November 24, 2004
The journalistic casualty statistics for Iraq are staggering: 62 journalists and critical support staff dead since the conflict began.

Dangerous Road; Sambrook on risks to journalists, RSF press freedom ranking - October 27, 2004
Nobody doubts that recent conflicts pose certain danger and that danger extends to journalists.

It's Not Dan Rather, Rather It's US Journalism - September 29, 2004
In an unexpected announcement, Dan Rather announced November 23 that his last broadcast as CBS news anchor would be March 9, 2005, exactly 24 years after succeeding US news icon Walter Cronkite.


ftm Knowledge

The Curtain Falls - Media Rises – new

This updated set of essays focuses on the dramatic changes in Europe's media that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain thereafter; Germany in 1989, new media rules,transition of State broadcasting to public broadcasting, refocus for international broadcasting, the rise of commercial broadcasting and the importance of youth culture. PDF (December 2014)

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Media in the Baltics - New World Order

By the time Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the European Union they were known as the Baltic Tigers. The media sector grew spectacularly with big multi-nationals investing. Times have changed. This ftm Knowledge file reports the changes, new opportunities and lingering ghosts. 63 pages PDF (October 2014)

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The Privacy Issue

The privacy issue touches every aspect of media. From consumer protection and the rights of individuals to news coverage privacy is hotly debated. New media and old media stumble and the courts decide. ftm offers views from every side of the Privacy Issue. 68 pages. PDF (July 2014)

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