Friday, December 18, 2009 11:13 AM
Ethnic media saw their audience grow by 16% between 2005 and 2009, according to a poll released earlier this year by New America Media, an association representing thousands of ethnic news organizations. A subsequent piece in Global Journalist (PDF) quotes Garry Pierre Pierre, a former New York Times reporter who now runs the Haitian Times in New York City: "We are not in the same predicament as the New York Times or Boston Globe because we never had what they had."
Over at the Online Journalism Review, Sandra Ordonez writes about ethnic media's four-step model for the news industry's future. It's a refreshing recognition that the future of news is a conversation that ought to reach (and reach out to) all corners of the media landscape, rather than fixate on mainstream media and its boosters—a conspicuously homogenous bunch.
Here is the outline of the four-step model:
1. Forget the numbers. Who is your audience?
Historically, ethnic newspapers have been less concerned with numbers than thoroughly reaching a specific audience, whether it be a Colombian community in Queens, or a growing Asian population in Central Florida. They have been successful in becoming both liaisons and voices for their targeted population, so much so that they are regularly targeted by both national and international entities seeking to interact with their specific community.
2. Become the nexus of your community
It is not uncommon to see newspaper representatives establishing strong relationships with a gamut of local business owners and community leaders, while at the same time serving as 'networking' facilitators and community knowledge purveyors.
3. Understand your community's interest
Journalists and editors actively interact with their community and find out what stories are 'in demand.' Additionally, there seems to be more flexibility in regard to format and types of content that are published. Most importantly, however, they provide opportunities for citizens from different socioeconomic strata to voice their opinions and engage the community.
4. Think local
While ethnic newspapers may habitually publish news about their community's homeland or region, most newspapers focus solely on community news. They may not be as exciting or as sophisticated as newspapers such as the New York Times, but this ensures that published news is extremely relevant to the majority of their readership. In other words, the main focus is the community itself.
Ordonez gets a bit deeper into each of these in her piece, including a discussion of why mainstream models should follow suit. Thoughts?
Sources: New America Media, News21, Global Journalist, Online Journalism Review
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009 5:12 PM
The deals are a “stunning one-two punch,” according to All Things Digital: Microsoft announced today that it has struck agreements to integrate real-time feeds of status updates from Twitter and Facebook into Bing. The deals are nonexclusive—which means Google could follow suit—but for the time being, Bing has something the search giant has yet to tap, at least in the case of Facebook. And get this: Microsoft is paying for it—exact terms, of course, haven’t been disclosed.
This is nonetheless “a precedent that the ability of search engines to index and link to content is worth some money,” Ryan Chittum writes for Columbia Journalism Review. “Where this goes from here no one knows. . . . Would the AP yank its news off Google if Bing paid and Google didn’t? Would it be worth it in the lost revenue from not showing up in as many search results? That’s too early to tell.”
One thing is clear, as Chittum says: This will be worth watching.
Sources: All Things Digital, Columbia Journalism Review
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 2:22 PM
File this under odd: PBS has filed a complaint with the California Attorney General’s office against a young San Diego gentleman who intends to announce himself this weekend as the “successor” to the late Fred Rogers.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Kinsell told Current, a newspaper about public TV and radio, that he already has filmed six episodes of Michael’s Enchanted Neighborhood. He intends to make the public announcement this Sunday, when, not inconveniently, his nonprofit is holding a gala ceremony to honor Fred Rogers as the recipient of its new Children’s Hero Award. According to the PBS complaint, the talent agent who booked celebrities for the event was “repeatedly assured by Kinsell that it is a PBS-sanctioned event.” One can only presume that Kinsell intends to load guests onto tiny trolleys and scoot them along to the land of Make-Believe.
Image by randomduck, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 10:37 AM
At an undisclosed location, somewhere in the United States, a public relations man is chronicling the demise of the media as we know it—and he’s doing it in short bursts of 140 characters or less.
If you are a journalist or media organization who is not on Twitter, you should be. And once you’re there, you should subscribe to the daily beating that is a Twitter feed called themediaisdying.
There you’ll find the rat-a-tat-tat of daily media executions. Here’s a sampling of the devastation:
VIBE has lost an associate music editor, Shanel Odum.
MAD MAGAZINE is going quarterly
VARIETY could have cuts this week
The February WIRED is only 113 pages, of which only 31.5 are ad pages - not the usual 1:1 ratio.
It is brutal, but that is not its founder’s intention. “It started as a closed group of our eight founders,” the anonymous ringleader of themediaisdying (lets call him Mr. Dying) tells Utne Reader. Each of the eight founders are employed in the public relations industry—either in-house or on a freelance basis. The Twitter account was mostly a way to keep track of their clients (and potential clients) in the print media industry. “But the point of Twitter is to be open, right? So we opened it up.” The open account launched on December 19 with this posting: "RUMOR: LA TIMES is considering getting rid of its national and foreign bureaus. Can anyone confirm?”
Today themediaisdying has more than 10,000 followers and gets upwards of 75 tips a day. A tip could take the form of a leaked memo or it could be an e-mail that simply reads: “Hey, I just got fired.”
“I’m spending about 90 minutes a day on Twittering and following up on leads,” says Mr. Dying, who resents the characterization that he and his comrades somehow relish in the demise they are chronicling. “It’s tragic!”
What’s more, the people behind themediaisdying most definitely have something to lose if their identities are revealed. “There would be adverse effects if we were to be exposed—and I put that in big quotes. We still have to work with the media.”
You can read the dispatches of Mr. Dying and his crew here and you can follow the Utne Reader Twitter feed here. May our paths never cross.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 8:47 AM
In the latest issue of This Magazine, Daniel Tseghay provides a roundup of bloggers and citizen journalists who are behind bars or have done time in recent years for what they've written, shown, or refused to disclose. It's no surprise to see bloggers from China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran on the list. But the United States?
"Journalist and video blogger Josh Wolf was imprisoned in 2006 after posting a video on his blog showing an anti-G8 demonstration in San Francisco," writes Tseghay. "Police wanted Wolf’s unedited footage in order to investigate an attempted arson, but he refused to comply and was charged with contempt. It led to Wolf serving about seven and a half months in prison, the longest period any journalist has ever served in the U.S. for refusing to disclose sources."
If you missed the Josh Wolf story the first time around, here's an interview from the the PBS documentary series Frontline.
To read about the much more grave situation for jailed bloggers around the world, read Daniel Tseghay's piece here.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 11:32 AM
The state-run station China Central Television surprised viewers on Inauguration Day by broadcasting President Obama’s speech live and without the usual delay—a cushion for censors to clip offensive words before they go out over the airwaves. Viewers were not surprised, however, when Obama’s use of two sensitive words: “communism” and “dissent” triggered something of a panic among CCTV broadcasters. The Times Online has a play by play:
“The simultaneous interpreter proceeded smoothly with her translation but her voice faded out with the rest of the President’s sentence. The picture cut from the Capitol to an awkwardly smiling news anchor unprepared for the camera to return to her and apparently awaiting instructions in her earpiece. She turned to a reporter in the studio for comment on Mr Obama’s economic challenges. Yet more confusion as the flustered young woman sought refuge in the notes on her desk. The cutaway seemed to misfire. While many Chinese may not have noticed, the more alert were soon commenting on internet chatrooms.”
Here’s a video of the CCTV cutaway:
China's print media also took liberties with Obama's speech. The People’s Daily completely omitted an entire sentence of the speech: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.’”
One hopeful note: Times Online correspondent Jane Macartney notes that “China is finding it increasingly difficult to police the internet given its enormous population and a mounting demand for freedom of expression. On one major Chinese language portal, NetEase, a user posted their own translation of the cut sections in English and Chinese. Online comments were often angry. One writer in the eastern city of Qingdao said: 'Why did domestic media produce a castrated version to fool people! Why can’t we see a real world now!'”
Thursday, October 09, 2008 10:49 AM
Utne’s own Julie Hanus recently reported on some promising and ingenious ways in which the fair use doctrine is thriving, but technicalities are still tripping up artists who should be protected by fair use.
Producers of the intelligent-design documentary Expelled have been exonerated in court after Yoko Ono and EMI Records sued the filmmakers for including a 15-second clip of John Lennon’s “Imagine”—but not without some difficulty. The film was released on DVD without the clip while the case was pending, which, Cyndy Aleo-Carreira at the Industry Standard argues, is an unfortunate side effect of what should have been an open-and-shut case. What’s more, she points out, fair use might not be enough to protect those who can’t afford to defend themselves in court: “If a film with Hollywood producers has trouble using media clips, what hope does an average citizen have of using something without worrying about huge legal expenses that could result?”
But Anthony Falzone, blogging for Stanford Law’s Center for Internet and Society, hails the case as a victory for fair use, in part due to the efforts of Media/Professional Insurance to cover the legal expenses of Expelled’s producers and others sued in fair use cases.
At Slashdot, Ian Lamont reaches the same conclusion I did: It’s a bit ironic that the song sparking the lawsuit is Lennon’s utopian manifesto “Imagine.”
Image by orsorama, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 4:26 PM
A little over two years ago, Girl Talk released Night Ripper, an album of masterfully remixed samples that lifted mashups—new songs built out of existing tracks—to a gold standard. “The record’s pacing is astonishing,” burbled Pitchfork, “with more than 150 sample sources (all thanked in the liner notes), it ricochets from Top 40 hits to obscure gems and back again like a cool breeze.”
Post-Napster music fans stood still, waiting for foamy-mouthed industry lawyers to descend upon Girl Talk’s man-behind-the-curtain Gregg Gillis in a frenzy of copyright-violation suits. Gillis even had sampled the very same “Bittersweet Symphony” riff that famously embroiled the Verve and the Rolling Stones in the late 90s.
And then. . . nothing happened.
Some speculated that the record industry wanted to avoid more negative, copyright-control-freak publicity—Gilles had thanked his samplees, for heaven’s sake. But more heartening was the hope that Night Ripper so clearly demonstrated creative transformation that no one dared question Gilles’ right to invoke fair use.
Fair use, laid out in Section 107 of U.S. copyright code, is a tricky thing, mostly because it’s (necessarily) vaguely defined, and (consequently) judged on a case-by-case basis. If you can make fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism, comment, scholarship, or teaching, why then: How do you define criticism? How do you define comment, scholarship, or teaching? If the portion used will be considered "in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole," well, then: What's a reasonable amount? Unfortunately, those definitions often seem to belong to the person with the biggest legal budget.
“Artists need to be able to earn money from their work, but by the same token, an artist needs some access to the work of others, to find things that are existing and reconfigure them into something new—the mashup is a hallmark of 21st-century artistry,” author Bill Ivey recently told Utne Reader librarian Danielle Maestretti. “The challenge is to have a conversation not about what’s good for corporations. . . or even what is important about copyright for artists, but really how copyright serves citizens.”
Confusion about fair use impacts more people than musicians and artists. In late 2007, American University’s Center for Social Media released a report entitled “The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy,” which showed how “poor guidance, counterproductive guidelines, and fear,” (emphasis mine) undermine teachers’ ability to “cultivate critical thinking and expression about media and its social role.” The report gives some based-on-real-life examples: A high school teacher, who produces dummy ads for his students to analyze, for fear that real ads would violate copyright restrictions in the classoom; an art teacher, who won't let students use album covers in their projects.
"Fair use is the most important tool in copyright for educators," according to the report's authors. Yet we’ve been so cowed by the specter of copyright enforcement that we toe a more conservative line than necessary.
Fast forward to the present day: Girl Talk’s recent release, Feed the Animals, samples over 300 songs, and Gilles’ unimpeded ascension to the top of the charts has some copyright scholars thinking of him as the guy who gave fair use “its mojo” back. OnTheCommons.org editor David Bollier writes:
Could Girl Talk’s brave invocation of fair use signal a turn of the tide for that beleaguered legal doctrine? Perhaps. Not only is fair use being thrown back at copyright industries with increasing frequency and success— evidenced by cases brought by fair use legal clinics at Stanford Law School and American University—Girl Talk actually has the public support of his Pennsylvania congressman, Mike Doyle.
It’s especially exciting to see scholarly momentum, even scholarly hope gathering around an artist like Girl Talk’s continued success when the general state of copyright law is so damn depressing. So depressing, in fact, that at the beginning of August, a premier U.S. intellectual on such matters threw in the towel at his personal copyright blog. Exhausted from voicing dissent, in his last post, William Party asserts:
Copyright law has abandoned its reason for being: to encourage learning and the creation of new works. Instead, its principal functions now are to preserve existing failed business models, to suppress new business models and technologies, and to obtain, if possible, enormous windfall profits from activity that not only causes no harm, but which is beneficial to copyright owners. Like Humpty-Dumpty, the copyright law we used to know can never be put back together again: multilateral and trade agreements have ensured that, and quite deliberately.
What do you think about the current state of copyright law? Is it broken beyond repair? Should we be hanging our hopes on artists like Girl Talk? Discuss in the Utne Salon.
(Thanks, Guernica and Soft Skull News.)
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007 8:41 AM
On Tuesday, December 18, the Federal Communications Commission voted to loosen even further the rules that govern media consolidation in this country. The FCC's decision weakens a 32-year-old ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership, which had prevented a company from owning both a newspaper and broadcast station (radio or television) in the same market. The vote, 3-to-2 along party lines, permits this sort of cross-ownership in the country's 20 largest markets.
Read all about it at the Free Press blog, and don't miss the powerful dissenting statements from FCC commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps (Word docs) on what this means for local media.
This is bad news, but it’s not the final word—the legislature has the authority to overturn the decision. If enough people sign the open letter to Congress that Free Press has drafted, perhaps they’ll listen.
Check out Keith Goetzman's profile of Adelstein and Copps, “Big Media Meets Its Match,” from the July-August issue of Utne Reader.
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