Tag: About News

From a Bad Situation Comes a Powerful Defense of Local Journalism

“Most family newspaper sale announcements bear some variation of stock language regarding the new owner’s ability to ‘assume the families’ stewardship,’ ‘continue to provide strong local reporting,’ and ‘maintain the legacy’ of the selling family. Sadly, we feel that none of that will be true in our case.”

— George Lynett, publisher emeritus of Times-Shamrock Communications
Read more.

AI Spreads in Journalism. Remain Calm, Everyone.

The issue of how artificial intelligence programs will affect journalism is an interesting and complicated one. Some say they could have benefits. Others say they might be harmful. It depends on how they are used.

Did you think this was yet another article about AI for which the writer cleverly asked an AI program to write the lead? Fooled ya! This was actually my trying to write like an AI program.

Either way, pretty lame, eh?

The use of artificial intelligence in journalism is spreading rapidly, and debates over what newsrooms should and shouldn’t use it for are spreading even more rapidly. Read more.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

The many powerful people who don’t like the news media have all sorts of ways to make life harder for them. Publicly attack credibility. Pass laws restricting information. Take away public notices. File a lawsuit. And the occasional physical assault.

There’s also the option to steal their equipment and kill their mothers.

The journalism community across the country is rightly up in arms about Friday’s raid on the newsroom of the family-owned Marion County Record in Marion, Kansas (population 1,900). Acting with a search warrant approved by a judge, local law enforcement seized computers, cellphones and other reporting materials. One reporter had her cellphone taken from her hand. Read more.

A Journalism Disaster in Georgia

The conventional thinking warns that the stories that get news organizations in trouble are the ones they’d least expect. It’s not the sensitive major investigations because those get so heavily vetted before publication.

LOL. Try getting The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to agree with the conventional thinking right now.

On June 27, the AJC published a seemingly worthy expose alleging that the University of Georgia football program under head coach Kirby Smart engaged in systematic protection of players who had been accused of sexual assault. The story claimed the AJC knew of 11 such situations but, notably, included the names of only two of the 11 players.

The article prompted the university’s athletic association to send a letter to the AJC, claiming major inaccuracies and bias. It raised the possibility of reporter fabrication, and demanded a retraction of the entire article. College athletic programs hide and twist facts a lot, but the nine-page, highly detailed letter made a persuasive case that the report had to be somewhat or perhaps seriously flawed. Read more.

Presenting the Don’t Fall For Social Media Challenges Challenge

Here’s a rare Arenblog cooking tip: Don’t marinate your next chicken dinner in NyQuil. It’s terrible.

OK, I didn’t really do that. But you’d think from a wave of news media reports last year that a lot of people did.

The “sleepy chicken challenge” is just one example from a long list of supposedly widespread social media “challenges” that the news media have dutifully reported on and warned against in recent years.

Letting the public know that reckless social media posts are inviting people (especially young people) to try bizarre, alarming and even dangerous stunts is a worthy public service. The problem is, evidence indicates that in most cases the challenges were not widespread on social media and people really weren’t doing them in any significant numbers. Read more.

Use of Espionage Act vs. Trump isn’t dubious. Here’s a case that is.

Donald Trump on Saturday mocked the Espionage Act of 1917, the law by which he faces criminal charges for absconding with classified government documents. “They want to use something called the Espionage Act,” he said at a convention in Georgia. “Doesn’t that sound terrible?”

He should be familiar with it, actually. His administration used it as the basis for a terrible criminal case against the founder of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The act, passed to try to stifle dissent about U.S. involvement in World War I, has generated much debate over the years about what it should be used for. Read more.

Let’s End Live TV Coverage of Politicians Talking

When the audience for CNN’s live “Town Hall” laughed at Donald Trump’s ridiculing of a proven sexual assault victim, do you think CNN’s president was pondering how many alienated Fox News viewers he would capture, or maybe how happy a conservative billionaire on CNN’s board would be? I doubt he was doing what he should have been doing: Vomiting.

Wednesday night’s live event manufactured by CNN was predictably disastrous. Even some CNN employees anonymously acknowledged the shame the cable network had brought upon itself. Trump discharged his familiar lies endlessly despite the commendable but essentially ineffective efforts of moderator Kaitlin Collins, a UA journalism grad with a track record of aggressive questioning of Trump.

CNN had to know what it was going to get from Trump. Either it didn’t care or foolishly thought it had a way to mitigate. Read more.

If you’re a reporter, how sneaky are you willing to be? Here’s an exercise.

I’ve never seen “sneakiness” listed among the requirements for any reporter jobs but maybe it should be.

A reporter for the McCurtain (Oklahoma) Gazette-News ended up with a flabbergasting story when he secretly left a voice-activated audio recorder in a public meeting room after citizens were told to leave a session of the McCurtain County Commission. The reporter, believing county officials had a practice of continuing to discuss government business in violation of the state open meetings law, retrieved the recorder and discovered comments lamenting that Black criminals couldn’t be lynched anymore and talk of killing local reporters. Read more and take the test..

A Demon and a Lemon: Big-Name Firings Were Not the Same

You ought to do some soul-searching if you’re a big-time media figure who gets fired and the media reporters have to offer possible reasons in list form

But that won’t happen with Tucker Carlson, who, despite being fired by MSNBC, CNN and now Fox, is incapable of shame. And maybe he couldn’t find his soul anyway.

One remarkable aspect is that Fox even did this to its biggest ratings winner. Read more.

In Brandon Miller Case, Blaming the Media Is Way Too Simple

The University of Alabama men’s basketball program ended its season Friday having squandered its national championship chances and its good reputation. In the same process, the reputation of the news media took a thorough pounding, as well.

Many UA fans blamed the press — mostly the press outside of Tuscaloosa — for sparking national hatred of the program that showed itself in arena chants and on social media, culminating with death threats and armed security for star player Brandon Miller, who was part of the chain of events that led to the shooting death of a young mother. I got to wondering if the blame was valid. Read more.