Sherrod Coverage

So by now we all know the story behind Shirley Sherrod and her resignation.  We also know that many sides as presented in news stories, blogs and by Sherrod herself.  I understand that this a controversial issue and that people that are passionate on either side of the debate should push for justice.  However, traditional “unbiased” new sources should not be advocates.  They shouldn’t be reporting and harping, in essence, on the same event.  The only time that this is acceptable is when there is new information.  However, during the course of this controversy, new information or not, they must report.  Good grief.  CNN has done a pretty good job, allowing Sherrod and others to speak on the issue.  Fox News, however, is terrible.  Why bother bringing anyone on to your program with a different opinion or point of view if you plan to attack them?  What a mess.  However, I did enjoy that Sherrod declined Megyn Kelly’s offer.  What a hoot!!  And Kelly was so gracious too.

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Press Bailouts. Not the way to go.

Boston Globe columnist, Jeff Jacoby, wrote about press bailouts after the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, discussed the value of these bailouts in his recent book, “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open:  A Free Press for a New Century.” In Jacoby’s article, he mentions plans addressed by the Federal Trade Commission.  Many of these plans include moving government money to media outlets.  In my opinion, this is a dangerous step away from free press and toward governmental control of media.  Also, the news is a public service, however, tax payers should not have their money moved to news corporations if they do not plan to utilize the service.  I agree with Jacoby on many aspects of this issue however one sentence is the last paragraph was discouraging.

“Whatever happens to the traditional media, journalism and news delivery will find profitable ways to endure.”

Whatever happens?  Do newspapers and journalists not care about what happens to media today?  Do they not care enough to create effective and innovative media, while maintaining the standard quality and ethics of journalism?

We don’t want the government’s money.  We don’t need it.  We need journalists and news sources to stand up and create new media, not just wait for something to happen.

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Washington Post’s Five Myths

The Washington Post has a really cool section under Opinions entitled Five Myths.  This section is dedicated to beating 5 well-known myths associated with hot topics like gun control and immigration.  While it doesn’t supply a vast amount of information on a topic,  it is great for people who don’t necessarily want to delve deeply into a topic.  If you do, then this a great starting point for that.  Check it out if you have a few free minutes.

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Media meets the iPad

My boyfriend recently received and iPad for his birthday so we were exploring some of the news/journalism apps available.  All of the apps listed below are free, which is a wonderful step in diminshing the destructive paywall in media.

I’ve already talked about the New York Times and how impressed I am with theirs.  I have to say that I prefer it to their online edition.  It is much easier to navigate, more visually appealing and significantly less overhwhelming.

BBC News has produced my second favorite app.  Categories are lined up on the side of the article (horizontal) or at the top of the article (vertical).  You can scroll through the categories to see top stories with photos.  I definitely enjoy this format as an avid news reader.  However, there is an abundance of information that may be overwhelming for some.  Also, reading articles horizontally isn’t exactly convenient, because you are forced to scroll down more often.  However, it is a breeze if you hold your iPad vertically.

The Wall Street Journal for iPad is decent, but not great.  There is a lot of downloading with the app itself, which is a little annoying.  However, the articles are easy to read and navigate.  And it is free!!  Well kind of.  To have access to all of the content you have to pay.  No real surprise there with the Wall Street Journal.

The Associated Press has a really interesting presentation that is not typical of a news organization.  The design is almost like that of a scrapbook with headlines, photos and videos scattered across the app.  However, it is slightly more complicated to navigate.  This would be something you would definitely have to adjust to.  Hopefully they will adjust their app to make it more user-friendly.

The Guardian has not created an official iPad App for news, however, their Eyewitness App is absolutely amazing!!  It offers vivid full-screen photographs with optional captions and tips in the corner.  Hopefully, they will produce a full app in the future.

Finally, the Washington Post has not produced any apps for the iPad.

Definitely some great steps overall for new media!!

Love Bites

This post is less about the delivery of news and more about the news itself.  This is normally something that I try to avoid, but this news is just too weird to not discuss.  ABC recently did a story on the ‘Twilight’ Effect, teens biting one another to show their affection.  Disturbing to say the least.  It is a pathetic time for our society when 16 year olds can no distinguish between a fictional book about vampires and real life.  Anchor was a little too casual about a “bizarre phenomenon” that could simply be described as idiodic.  ABC addressed this issue as something silly teens are doing, a fad that will diminish with time.  And while I am sure this is a fad, we do not need to encourage this behavior by portraying it as cute on the news.  Just saying.

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Time not keeping up with times

With the changes in today’s society, the need for new technology and the immediacy of events, the media is under great pressure to deliver.  However, most newspapers, magazines and other media are failing to accommodate the needs and desires of their audiences.  Emerging technology is enabling the people in our society to interact and communicate in new ways.  However, standard news and journalism hindering this movement, thus becoming obsolete.  I’ve spoken about the need for new media several times.  However, I want to stress the need for new EFFECTIVE media today.

Everyone from large corporations to small businesses are making changes to address to save themselves from debt.  However, most of these changes are either not big enough or not the right changes.  Time Magazine is perfect example of what NOT to do.    Time’s website prefaces many of its articles with the following:

The following is an abridged version of an article that appears in the July 12, 2010 print and iPad editions of TIME magazine.

So now to receive all of the resources and content Time has to offer we may have to go to three separate sources.  Time’s print edition offers stories and all print content for $4.99 an issue.  While Time’s online edition offers some multimedia, blogs and snippets of stories.  Finally, Time’s iPad App offers multimedia content like slideshows, photos, videos, etc.  This costs $4.99 as well and includes print content.  However, this means we have to pay $500 for an iPad.

Now this is simply too complicated for most of us to understand and keep up with.  While, Time may be able to keep some of its loyal readers, young audiences will seek out alternative online magazines that are free.  So unless Time alters its model, I do not see it being profitable for much longer.

Here’s a thought?  Couldn’t Time spend most of its own time on creating an interactive, thoughtful, useful website with cheap or even free content.  Make money with ad revenue.  Charge for additional, in-depth content or access to databases.  Merchandise on valuable services.  Print the paper version of the magazine, sure, but don’t waste so much time and resources on something that is becoming insignificant anyway.  Just because the print versions of newspapers and magazines are dying doesn’t mean that the content or the industry has to.  Utilize technology.

Nieman Journalism Lab and All Things Digital have also blogged about Time’s decision.

Sorry this is a short post.  The holiday weekend has caught up to me and my brain is officially fried.

I just finished writing a story so I thought I’d relax with a nice, short investigative piece by The Atlantic.

The Atlantic’s article, interesting in and of itself offers some interesting insight in politics, popularity, polls and platforms.

For news lovers, the headline will definitely catch your attention and make you crack a smile.

“Do Marijuana Ballot Initiatives Help Dems Win?”  ”Gay-marriage bans worked for Bush”

The Atlantic is definitely a great place to go if you like to read lengthy investigative pieces.  The only problem I really forsee with the Atlantic are the large chucks of text broken up by nothing but white space.  While this isn’t a problem for me personally, I could see where many avid newspaper readers would be distraught.  Most papers divide stories into small, easy to chew paragraphs, broken up by photos or graphics.   However, if you ever want to explore an issue more in-depth, check out the Atlantic.

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ProPublica Probes

I don’t know about you but investigative journalism is absolutely fascinating to me.  It’s easy to read a national paper or watch national news on television and hear the same information.  Some of it is covered well, some is covered poorly.  Some has an obvious slant, some does not.  But virtually it is the same news over and over.  While I clearly enjoy reading the paper and watching the news on a daily basis, I thoroughly enjoy a solid investigative piece.  ProPublica does an outstanding job with this.   They offer a number of pieces about ongoing investigations from the government’s stimulus package to tainted dry wall.  These investigations can be found on their website.

Something revoluntionary about ProPublica is the idea that they focus only on their investigations and do not try to repeat the same news we hear continually throughout the day.  ProPublica, out of New York City, is a non-profit investigative news source.  So clearly, the journalists involved with this organization are dedicated to the cause of improving both news and society as a whole.

I always thought that if I made it big I would want to work for CNN or the New York Times, but now ProPublica seems like something I would be more interested in.  Their stories really make a difference and that is exactly what I want to do.

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