5/29/2009 2:22:08 PM
Hypotheticals are flying about judge Sonya Sotomayor, Barack Obama’s recent nomination for Supreme Court Justice. Media Matters wonders, what if she were a man? Would newspapers still question her “temperament”? Eric Boehlert wonders, “Would the NYT ever dream of typing up a straight news article about whether the judge was too bossy on the bench?” He thinks not.
The American Spectator questions: “What if Sotomayor were white?” Writer Andrew Cline postulates that more than half of the praise for Sotomayor stems from her race, gender, and socioeconomic background. “Most of the praise of Sotomayor is being dished out by commentators who seem ignorant of her record,” Cline writes, “but acutely aware that she is a Hispanic woman who grew up in a housing project.”
In the same vein, conservative radio host Bill Bennett recently went beyond speculation and straight into unfounded rumors, according to a transcript provided by Think Progress. Speaking with Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes, Bennett said:
BENNETT: Did [Sotomayor] get into Princeton on affirmative action, one wonders.
BARNES: One wonders.
BENNETT: Summa Cum Laude, I don’t think you get on affirmative action. I don’t know what her major was, but Summa Cum Laude’s a pretty big deal.
BARNES: I guess it is, but you know, there’s some schools and maybe Princeton’s not one of them, where if you don’t get Summa Cum Laude then or some kind of Cum Laude, you then, you’re a D+ student.
In response, Salon.com threw out a hypothetical of their own, saying “if Sotomayor were a white man nominated by a Republican, he and Bennett would never have had that conversation.”
5/27/2009 12:49:11 PM
There’s one thing about this whole death of newspapers thing that troubles me: where do you go to mourn? Answer: Toronto, where you’ll find this:
Or you can make your own dead newspaper memorial.
Source: Blade Diary
5/26/2009 2:22:02 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.
5/22/2009 12:43:35 PM
How would you fill an empty lot? That’s what the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts is asking. Their flickr site provides a template photo of an empty urban lot and invites people to fill it in with their own ideas. The resulting collection of images ranges from the environmentally practical to the downright whimsical, including this waterfall and a tightrope walker, all nested between two buildings. Governing reports that the project was intended to spark conversation about public spaces rather than actual plans for development. That’s probably good news, because in these tough economic times, who wants to fund a giant fish tank with car-sized fish?
Image courtesy of John Ruppert
5/21/2009 4:31:30 PM
Craigslist recently announced that it was getting rid of its “erotic” services section. Instead, the website will have an “adult” services section with more stringent screening and a $10 fee. Speaking with On the Media, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said to Craigslist, “you've got to recognize that your site has become the number one Internet brothel, and you have to take some responsibility for this.” The CEO of Craigslist countered, accusing politicians of “a bit of a witch hunt or a use of Craigslist as a political piñata.”
Largely absent from this conversation are the sex workers who have come to rely on Criagslist for their livelihoods. The latest issue of $pread, a magazine about “illuminating the sex industry,” has a point-counterpoint with two sex workers on the effect of the new Craigslist rules.
It’s understandable that Craigslist would bow to pressure from politicians and special interest groups, according to a writer known as Starchild, but that doesn’t make it fair. “Their new policy singles out folks who seek and provide erotic services from all other Craigslist users and subjects them to special discrimination, not to mention a greater risk of arrest, fine, and jail,” because of the ability to trace the fees. She does not, however, blame Craigslist. And she doesn’t advocate that people leave the site. Having the “erotic” services listed along side job and apartment listings on Craigslist, she writes, “can do nothing but help sex work be seen as normal and acceptable.”
The new rules aren’t unfair to sex workers, according to Mistress Matisse, but they are unfortunate. If sex workers don’t want to put down a credit card for the Craigslist ads, they can always go other places. And people who can’t afford the fee have bigger problems than Craigslist.
“Don’t blame Craigslist,” Starchild writes. “At least, not too much. Instead, let’s lobby them to send those $10 payments, which Craigslist says will go to charity, to groups like the Desiree Alliance, Sex Workers Outreach Project, and Erotic Service Providers Union, which are working to decriminalize prostitution.”
Sources: On the Media, $pread (article not available online)
5/21/2009 4:16:08 PM
It's over. We've selected the winners of the 2009 Utne Independent Press Awards and we've made them known. We've also demystified the process a bit. Our good friend Chuck Olsen, responsible for our video response to Jon Stewart, spent many hours wandering Utne Reader headquarters with a camera and a microphone. Here's the result:
Thanks again to the delightful and competent Chuck Olsen of MN Stories and The Uptake .
5/21/2009 2:18:00 PM
In the quest to save journalism, media experts have wandered into a mythical land of elves, orks, and gaming nerds: World of Warcraft. “Ninety-seven percent of American teens—the future audience of the press—are gamers,” Joe Yachimec writes for the Ryerson Review of Journalism (though he provides no source for the statistic). Gamers are being neglected by the mainstream press and treated like “adolescent, prurient drivel,” according to video game researcher Ian Bogost. The people who do write about games are often too inside the gaming world, and lack the journalistic knowledge to appeal to a mass audience. Paying more attention to games and gamers might not save journalism, Yachimec writes, “there’s only so much you can expect from a shopping magazine,” but it could provide an extra few million readers.
Source: Ryerson Review of Journalism (article not available online)
5/19/2009 4:55:48 PM
You know the adage: Sex sells. The wizards who cooked up the low-cal, chocolaty Mars Fling, however, seem to have taken the maxim a bit too, um, literally. In a Bitch-at-its-best take down, the feminist magazine wryly dissects a marketing campaign that urges women to “pleasure [themselves] with this chocolate sensation time and time again.”
5/19/2009 11:05:28 AM
If you follow American Idol , you know that tonight’s show will feature the last performances from the final two contestants, Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, before the results are revealed at the finale tomorrow. You may also know that in the media, much has been made of Lambert’s sexual identity, and whether or not he is gay. “Is America Ready for a Gay American Idol?” has been the headline on too many stories to count (just Google “Adam Lambert” and “gay” and see what you come up with). But in my estimation, all of the people asking this question are revealing that they are major fuddy-duddies. The worst fuddy-duddy of them all is, not surprisingly, Bill O’Reilly, who for his segment chose to crop the now infamous photos of Adam swapping spit with some lucky anonymous boy, rather than, gasp, showing an image of two male adults kissing (although, to his credit, O’Reilly does concede that talent is what should matter most in the competition. But man, he really seems to wish the gay factor mattered more). Whether or not Adam is gay doesn’t matter at all. This guy has a natural gift that can’t be denied, and rock star quality to spare. He oozes sexuality when he is on stage, and is the object of major female adoration, from 12-year old girls to 60-year old grandmas, who swear he is Elvis incarnate. Whether he directs that sexuality towards boys or girls in his personal life is totally beside the point. Every young internet-savvy female fan has seen the now infamous photos, and they obviously don't care. Rock-n-roll is about fantasy, not reality. Since when does it matter whether a rock star would actually date you in real life or not? Go Adam!
5/18/2009 2:00:37 PM
When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, representations of human forms were banned—with one exception: men could sit for passport photos (women were represented in their travel documents by fingerprints only).
Young Taliban men flocked to Kabul’s photo studios—but not for passport photos. Instead they brushed their long hair, applied makeup to the flesh around their eyes, and posed affectionately with friends and sometimes guns.
Just weeks after the Taliban were driven from Kabul in 2001, photographer Thomas Dworzak wandered into a photo studio near his hotel and discovered piles of these photographs. As he scooped them up and paid for them, shop owners looked at him like “some stupid Westerner.”
He’s assembled the photographs in a book. His photo agency, the legendary Magnum Photos, has produced a short video and slideshow with commentary by Ahmed Rashid, a veteran correspondent in the region.
Rashid points out two things in an attempt to explain the photos, chief among them: Afghans love to have their picture taken.
He also speaks of a “very strong homosexual tradition” in Afghanistan, “in which an older man will kind of adopt a young man and become a lover and teach him whatever skills he may have.”
Though Taliban leader Mullah Omar banned homosexuality, Rashid explains, this tradition, particularly in Southern Afghanistan, “continued, but it was done surreptitiously.”
Dworzak’s found photographs are captivating evidence of a piece of Afghanistan’s history buried by the daily drumbeat of new violence.
5/15/2009 10:00:29 AM
The new Star Trek has unleashed a slew of inaccuracies about the franchise in newspapers across the country, and detail-oriented devotees aren’t letting them get away with it. Craig Silverman, editor of the fantastic newspaper-correction-spotter RegretTheError.com, tracks a series of Star Trek–related flubs—and subsequent corrections issued by editors bombarded with letters from Trekkies—in his most recent column for the Columbia Journalism Review:
The superfans deserve credit for being so diligent and outspoken. They seek out mistakes contained in the far reaches of every newspaper and set their emails to stun. And they’re on the hunt at all times…
Source: Columbia Journalism Review
Image by alfredituzz :B, licensed under Creative Commons.
5/13/2009 3:39:12 PM
In newspapers, if it bleeds, it leads. Thai newspapers take that axiom to an extreme, putting gory photos of death and human misery on front pages nearly every day. According to Global Post’s Patrick Winn, a recent newspaper front page featured, “a meth dealer splayed dead beside a toilet, a married couple shot dead and slumped in their pick-up truck—and for comic relief, photos exposing a con artist who donned flight uniforms to deceive shopkeepers and women.”
This constant barrage of violent images may be corrupting young children, needlessly shaming victims, and violating good taste, according to many in the country. Winn reports that a group of academics have started a campaign urging restraint.
The problem faced by these academics is that the violent newspaper industry in Thailand continues to thrive, unlike the newspaper business in the United States. In fact, the violent Thai newspapers continue to do better than their more modest alternatives. Still, the academics continue to be reminded of the importance of their cause nearly every morning. One doctoral student told Global Post, “I don’t like the criminal pictures. To have breakfast in the morning and see that? Ugh.”
Colin and Sarah
, licensed under
Source: Global Post
5/13/2009 2:09:30 PM
If you believe her most fervent critics, Palestinian journalist Taghreed El-Khodary's primary professional accomplishment is "vomiting Israeli propaganda" onto the front-page of the New York Times, her employer since 2001. As a passionate and talented journalist from Gaza employed by an American newspaper often accused of marginalizing or ignoring the issue of Palestinian rights, El-Khodary walks a near-impossible line. In a piece for Columbia Journalism Review, El-Khodary writes about her struggles to walk that treacherous tightrope during the recent Israeli attack on the people and infrastructure of Gaza:
Israel did not let any international journalists into Gaza, so I feel the weight of responsibility, the need to explain to the world what is happening. And that is one of several kinds of pressure: I want to maintain my credibility, so I work hard not to exclude any element of the story. I deal with Hamas watchers and fighters, which I know how to do. I feel the pressure and possible death from Israeli drones, F16s, helicopters, and tanks.
The piece (only available online to subscribers) is also a catalog of the horrors she witnessed and reported:
I enter a location that has been hit five times by Israeli bombs. I worry that the drones could hit at any moment, but try to focus on the story. I attend a funeral for more than thirty people, and talk to a father while staring into his dead daughter's brown eyes. "From now on," he says, "I'm Hamas."
At the height of the Israeli attacks—which Israel dubbed "Operation Cast Lead"—El-Khodary gave a gripping television interview that makes a fool of any critic who declares her to be anything other than what she most certainly is: a journalist prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to share the tragedy and complexities of the Palestinian story. Here she is:
Source: Columbia Journalism Review
5/12/2009 6:08:01 PM
How much responsibility should be put on the media for hate crimes? Its fair share, according to Extra!, the publication of media watch dogs FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting). In response to a 40 percent increase in hate crimes against Hispanic people, a UCLA professor conducted a study aimed at quantifying hate speech on commercial radio. Chon Noriega found “systematic and extensive use of false facts, flawed argumentation, divisive language, and dehumanizing metaphors . . . directed toward specific, vulnerable groups.” In reaction, the National Hispanic Media Coalition has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the scope and potential human cost of hateful broadcasts.
5/8/2009 3:58:19 PM
For those of you concerned about President Obama’s highfalutin spicy-mustard habit, take note: Nixon and Kissinger savored some exotic Mexican food back in their day, as reported by Dan Rather (ca. 1973) on the May 7 episode of The Daily Show.
(Thanks, Columbia Journalism Review.)
Source: The Daily Show
5/8/2009 11:01:13 AM
Testifying before a Senate hearing on the “Future of Media,” David Simon, creator of HBO’s The Wire and a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun, warned that “high end journalism is dying in America, and unless a new economic model is achieved, it will not be reborn on the web or anywhere else.”
He begins his comments, broadcast today by Democracy Now, by saying that he doubts that neither newspaper publishers nor new media mavericks will agree with his overall analysis. He blasts the captains of the newspaper industry for having a martyr complex, and delivers a withering analysis of their short-sighted decision to cut newsroom budgets in the hopes the consumers wouldn’t notice—a move he equates with Detroit’s downfall in the Seventies. He also reminds proprietors of news-oriented websites that bloggers, tweeters, and citizen journalists can’t take the place of professional reporters, who, like firefighters and other civic servants, require training and institutional support—not to mention funding for investigations that never see the light of day.
His conclusion is that without an acknowledgement that content is king, there is no hope for the future of serious journalism, for profit or not.
Source: Democracy Now!
5/6/2009 4:56:41 PM
The death of the newspaper is upon us! But let's not concern ourselves with that now. It's humbling to peer backwards into history at the process of producing a newspaper or magazine in the age of typewriters, teletype machines, and glue fumes—which you can almost smell in this set of photographs from the newsroom of The Daily Titan, the paper of California State University circa 1970. Newspaper junkies, you're welcome.
Image by Dan Wybrant.
(Thanks, Creative Review)
5/5/2009 8:30:39 AM
When a war correspondent reflects on their time spent reporting in Iraq, it’s usually the same story: a few harrowing stories from a few days or weeks spent riding with a unit in Baghdad or somewhere nearby. When the history of Iraq is evoked at all, it is a history that begins in 2003. Jane Arraf is an exception. In the years leading up to the 2003 invasion she was the only Western reporter stationed in Iraq. She worked for CNN and lived in a hotel on the Tigris. Eventually, she moved into a house. She knows Baghdad like no other Western journalist, which is why her reflection piece in the Christian Science Monitor is a must read.
In My Iraq: a reporter’s 20-year retrospective, Arraf has the good sense to bury the harrowing war correspondent stories—and she has her share—in favor of the stories and voices of the Iraqis she came to know over the years. And quoting a particularly courageous Iraqi journalist who happens to be a woman and a mother, Arraf shares a truth that should be printed on the back of every war reporter's Iraq book: "It takes more courage to be a mother in Iraq than a war correspondent."
Source: Christian Science Monitor
5/1/2009 1:02:37 PM
There is no better place to encounter the wide world than a carefully curated rack of magazines for sale. A newsstand is a holy place. There are fewer of them every year and that makes them holier still. Maybe it’s the illusion of abundance that attracts some of us to newsstands—magazines are shutting down every day, but that’s impossible to believe when you’re staring at hundreds of them.
Maybe that’s why I can’t stop staring at this photograph…
, licensed under
5/1/2009 12:03:03 PM
Before creating The Wire, one of the greatest shows in the history of television, David Simon was a journalist for the Baltimore Sun. In a brief, over-lunch interview with the Nieman Journalism Lab, Simon talks about the future of journalism and how newspapers can charge for content.
Some newspaper experts argue, “We already let the horse out of the barn door,” in giving content away for free, but Simon doesn’t buy that. He brings up the point that “television was free 30 years ago. Now everybody’s paying 16 bucks a month, 17 bucks a month, 70 dollars a month.” The key is getting a core group of writers that can’t be found anywhere else (like the HBO model). Either that, or sell porn.
You can watch the video below:
David Simon on charging for news and whether "The Wire" is journalism from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.
Source: Nieman Journalism Lab
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