Journalistic Practice

Weymouth defends pay-to-play access scheme


Howie Kurtz worked all day yesterday trying to come up with a narrative that would make the WaPo's Pay2Play scheme look less damning. His latest effort is notable for several reasons:

  • He killed the anonymous quotations from Weymouth and Brauchli
  • With those anonymous quotes, he also killed any description of what the Pay2Play dinners were supposed to be
  • He let Weymouth spend 356 words claiming "everyone does it"
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Before we 'save' journalism...

Jim Naureckas, FAIR Extra

One thing to keep in mind while worrying about the future of journalism is that its past hasn’t been all that great either.

Journalism ought to be judged not on the profits it makes for stockholders but on the service it provides to democracy. By that measure, the reporting profession has been falling down on the job: Leading us into an aggressive war with evidence based on lies, overlooking an asset bubble whose predictable deflation devastated our economy, failing to raise alarms about the erosion of key civil liberties.

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Iran now "world's biggest prison" for journalists

Reporters Without Borders

The Islamic Republic of Iran now ranks alongside China as the world’s biggest prison for journalists. The crackdown has been intensified yet again following Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s endorsement of the result of the 12 June presidential election and the opposition’s decision to call another demonstration on 20 June.

Iran now has a total of 33 journalists and cyber-dissidents in its jails, while journalists who could not be located at their homes have been summoned by telephone by Tehran prosecutor general Said Mortazavi.

“The force of the demonstrations in Tehran is increasing fears that more Iranian journalists could be arrested and more foreign journalists could be expelled,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The regime has been visibly shaken by its own population and does not want to let this perception endure. That is why the media have become a priority target.”

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NPR's Argo Project plans to increase 'vertical' news production

Karen Everhart, Current Online

Looking to advance public radio’s standing as an online provider of news, NPR will try ramping up 14 stations’ local reporting capacity through a project that creates and distributes web-original content in specialized subject areas that the stations want to develop.

The Argo Project, as the network calls it, will help the stations expand coverage by creating “content verticals,” a new-media term for an ongoing online offering devoted to a particular subject.

Think of Planet Money — the feature that persistently examines the mysteries of the global economic meltdown. Imagine how Boston’s WBUR could apply that reporting depth and doggedness to health-care reform stories on its CommonHealth blog, or what Triple A pioneer WXPN could do on the Philadelphia music scene, or how Oregon Public Broadcasting could clarify environmental policy.

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Seattle filmmaker describes detention in Iran

James Longley interviewed by Erik Lacitis, Seattle Times

He's an Oscar-nominated Seattle-based documentary-maker who on Sunday in Tehran, found himself and his translator being hauled off by the riot police.

James Longley, 37, isn't much for getting news secondhand, and so he has traveled to Russia, the Gaza Strip, Iraq and now Iran.

"I like to know what's going in the world and to form my opinions based on direct experience," he said in e-mail exchanges with The Seattle Times. Calls to his cellphone in Iran were not going through, and the government has clamped down on some Web site access.

Being dragged to the Ministry of Interior was pretty direct.

Longley had official permission to film, but in the middle of history-making protest marches the Iranian cops weren't stopping to ask.

Longley wasn't harmed, he said, but the translator was sprayed in the face with pepper spray, punched, kicked in the groin and beaten across his back with a truncheon. The cops told the translator his mother and sister were whores, and they used graphically explicit language, he said.

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AP to distribute journalism by 4 nonprofits, including CIR and ProPublica

Editor and Publisher

The Associated Press will announce today that on July 1 it will begin distributing the work of four nonprofit groups devoted to investigative journalism.

This is aimed at vastly expanding their audience -- and partly filling the gap left by cutbacks in the newsroom. The newspapers can publish the stories for free.

The four groups are ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity, the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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If nonprofits are supposed to save journalism, why are reporters excluded from Capitol press?

Megan Tady, In These Times

Many players in the journalism world hope that one short string of letters and numbers can save our crumbling media system: 501(c)(3). And no, it’s not a lottery number.

It’s the IRS code for nonprofit status, and veteran journalists are eyeing it hungrily. As newspapers crumble, leaving thousands of journalists unemployed, nonprofit news models are emerging as possible replacements for failing commercial media.

But this new media savior suffers from a major handicap: An outdated congressional rule bars many nonprofit news organizations from covering Capitol Hill. While reporters working for nonprofit organizations are sometimes granted temporary access to congressional press galleries, the Standing Committee of Correspondents and their executive committees continue to deny permanent credentials to any news organization that isn’t “supported chiefly by advertising and subscriptions.”

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Zimbabwean journalists Journalists spurn government press freedom summit

Busani Bafana, Inter Press Service

Media organisations this week dug in their heels over boycotting a national media conference in the resort town of Kariba, Zimbabwe. State-owned media reported that the much-postponed conference finally opened on May 8, with information minister Webster Shamu lamenting the deep divisions within the media fraternity in Zimbabwe.

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Wire creator David Simon testifies on the future of journalism

David Simon, Senate Commerce Committee

David Simon, former Baltimore Sun reporter and creator of the HBO series The Wire, testified this week before the Senate Commerce Committee during a hearing on the future of journalism. These are his prepared comments.

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet
Hearing on the Future of Journalism, May 6, 2009

Testimony of David Simon (Baltimore Sun, 1982-95, Blown Deadline Productions, 95-09, Baltimore, Md.)

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Duke conference to explore non-profit approaches to sustaining newsrooms

Terry Sanford Institute for Public Policy, Duke University

A small group of leaders from nonprofit and commercial media, foundations and academia will gather May 4-5 at Duke University’s Sanford Institute of Public Policy for a series of working sessions to explore new models for nonprofit ownership of media. The conference aims to move beyond current calls for increased nonprofit media support to the next stage: examining barriers to greater nonprofit and foundation ownership of media outlets, as well as barriers to nonprofit-sector subsidies for the creation of information.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey