Media Literacy/Bias

Obama administration, US press continue drumbeat of baseless attacks on Venezuela

Mark Weisbrot, Guardian

US-Latin American relations fell to record lows during the George Bush years, and there have been hopes - both north and south of the border - that President Barack Obama will bring a fresh approach. So far, however, most signals are pointing to continuity rather than change.

Obama started off with an unprovoked verbal assault on Venezuela. In an interview broadcast by the Spanish-language television station Univision on the Sunday before his inauguration, he accused Hugo Chávez of having "impeded progress in the region" and "exporting terrorist activities".

Read more.

Guild to discuss possibility of employee buyout of Seattle P-I

Associated Press

The Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild has scheduled a meeting next Tuesday to discuss whether Seattle Post-Intelligencer workers are interested in investigating a possible employee buyout of the newspaper.

The union represents most P-I workers.

Guild Administrative Officer Liz Brown says the union is trying to figure out whether there is sufficient interest to bring in a consultant and seek state money for a feasibility study.

The Hearst Corp. put the newspaper up for sale Jan. 9 and said it would quit printing the paper in 60 days, perhaps maintaining an online-only P-I.

Read more.

Newspaper publishers seek tax cut from WA Legislature

Rachel La Corte, Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Newspaper publishers implored lawmakers on Wednesday to give them a temporary break on the state's main business tax, saying that some of the state's papers are "holding on by our fingertips."

Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen and Scott Campbell, publisher of The Columbian in Vancouver, told the Senate Ways and Means Committee they need help during tumultuous times in the industry.

Under the proposed measure, the business and occupation tax on newspapers would be cut by 40 percent through 2015.

Read more.

Financial collapse threatens real journalism

David Horsey, Post-Intelligencer

In a week when Congress was consumed by debate over the best way to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to revive the economy and bail out bankers, one ailing industry was being left to fend for itself: newspapers.

Arguably, newspapers are as vital to American democracy as banks are to the American financial system. Yet the implosion of the news business is the most underreported story amid the great flood of bad economic news.

Read more.

Is environmental journalism endangered?

Caitlyn Zachry, Scripps-Howard

As news organizations across the country suffer layoffs and pay cuts, and their corporate stock prices sink, industry insiders fear that environmental journalism is becoming an endangered species.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a panel on the future of science and environmental journalism last week, featuring four speakers: Mother Nature Network columnist Peter Dykstra, Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein, J-Lab Director Jan Schaffer and National Public Radio correspondent Elizabeth Shogren.

About a year ago, Borenstein told a reporter at the Columbia Journalism Review that, despite a Harvard report stating otherwise, he did not think environmental journalism was in trouble. The story never ran, and Borenstein is glad - about three months ago, he talked to the reporter and rescinded his statements. In one week, three of his science and environmental reporting friends were laid off.

Read more.

The Loss of trade press covering media industry in DC - why it matters

Jeff Chester, Digital Destiny

This week we learned that the long-time reporter covering the cable industry in Washington, D.C. for the industry “trade” publication Multichannel News had lost his job. Variety also closed its DC bureau in December. Hollywood Reporter doesn’t have its veteran DC reporter. Adweek/Mediaweek/Brandweek no longer have a regular person based in Washington. There’s been consolidation at Ad Age and TV Week as well, with one journalist now responsible covering issues for both publications. We understand there has been some belt-tightening also at Broadcasting and Cable.

Read more.

When will Seattle-area TV stations go digital? June 12

Seattle DTV Assistance Centers

[Updated 2/10] While Congress has set June 12 as the date for the national switch to digital TV, local stations across the country were given the option of shutting off their analog broadcasts sooner.

Nearly all Seattle-area stations have confirmed that they are delaying their DTV switch until June 12: KCTS (PBS), KING and KONG (NBC), KIRO (CBS), KOMO (ABC), KCPQ and KMYQ (Fox), KSTW (CW), and KUNS (Univision).

Only KWPX (ion) will shut off their analog signal on Feb. 17.

Here's what's happening in other areas of Washington State:

In Bellingham, KVOS and KBCB (ShopNBC) will shut off their analog signal on Feb. 17.

In Spokane/Pullman, KWSU (PBS), KAYU (Fox), KHQ (NBC), KXLY (ABC) and KWDK will shut off their analog signal on Feb. 17.

In Yakima/Tri-Cities, KVEW (ABC), KAPP (ABC), KNDO/KNDU (NBC), and KTNW (PBS) will shut off their analog signal on Feb. 17.

In Seattle, Reclaim the Media and other local organizations are providing DTV Assistance Centers (see for details) and a DTV Assistance hotline at 206.508.1277. (We're still looking for volunteers - call if you'd like to help!)

Read more.

The double life of Juan Williams

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Whenever Jon Stewart introduces commentator Larry Wilmore for one of his bits on "The Daily Show," he's always identified as the show's "senior black correspondent."

Until Wyatt Cenac came along last year, Wilmore was the show's only black correspondent -- senior or otherwise. That's why the honorific is so funny.

Veteran news analyst Juan Williams must feel a lot like Larry Wilmore these days. As the senior black correspondent for both National Public Radio and Fox News, he has to constantly juggle his ideological commitments to meet audience expectations.

Read more.

Newspapers without profits

Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress

The future is going to contain lots of for-profit media enterprises. But the very rapid pace at which information can be disseminated these days makes it difficult for a media enterprise to internalize all the gains of reporting new information. Consequently, in the future news gathering is going to be a lot less profitable. And that means that more of it is going to have to be done by not-for-profit institutions.

Read more.

Hispanic media coalition wants tracking of hate speech on cable

John Eggerton, Broadcasting and Cable

In a petition to the Federal Communications Commission last week, the National Hispanic Media Coalition claims hate speech is "prevalent" on national cable-news networks and wants the government to do something about it. That was one of the assertions made by the group in a formal request that the commission open a notice of inquiry into "the extent, the effect and possible remedies" to what it said was a pervasive problem, and not just on conservative talk radio.

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