Saturday, March 29, 2008

MediaWatch 29 March 08

Are newspapers coming undone? I found a reference to Jayson Blair on a Michelle Malkin post about the Los Angeles Times, how the paper got duped by one of its own reporters, who himself was duped by a source. You might think the LA Times is trying to take itself out from under the microscope:
The Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair fabrication scandals may have damaged journalism, but those only really affected the small portion of news consumers who read. For us picture-looking news consumers, what I've discovered may be far more disappointing. After a series of phone calls to secret sources, I found out that most of the celeb-mag "editors" who appear on TV don't actually edit, write or in any way help produce the magazine. Instead, Star, US, Life & Style, In Touch, InStyle and People find attractive people and pay them to go on TV and talk about articles as an "editor at large" or "national correspondent" or "television editor." At other magazines, those first two titles refer to an editor or writer who works from home, and the last means an editor who works on the section of the magazine about television. Editors who spend all day talking to TV producers are properly called Graydon Carter.- Joel Stein (more)
Michelle's "Skinback" post paints a bleak picture for newspapers... but, wait. I think the New York Times has picked itself up a bit since the days of Blair. In general, the eastern papers and the SF Chronicle, IMHO, are quite reputable. In the Capital Region, the Times Union has really outdone every other newspaper and TV station newssite (except for Capital News 9) when it comes to posting and hosting on the Net. Here in New York City, nothing beats HDTV2's on-air and website news: The NY Times, as I mentioned, continues to deliver strong, quality content. Then there's the Observer, the Post and Daily News, New York Magazine, New Yorker... the list goes on.

As a working broadcast journalist, I know how difficult it can be to come up with story after story on deadline. But any enterprising writer / reporter can do it, once you're in "the groove" time after time, reputably, honestly and objectively.

The Demise of Borders Books. Once calling itself a collection of individual stores and denying it was a chain, Borders, begun in 1971 by brothers Tom and Louis, is in deep financial trouble.

The recent discovery of a phonautogram by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville may be the earliest recording of sound in the world, predating that of Thomas Edison by almost 20 years! The ancient sound file gave BBC Radio 4 news reader Charlotte Green a fit of the giggles live on air.

Speaking of GIGGLES: the Rip and Read method has arrived at the New York Times. Just when I was so sure the NYT had reached a new level of credibility, the paper got punk'd:
NYT falls for cheesy internet hoax

When Brian Selter writes on the front page: "According to interviews and recent surveys, younger voters... are replacing the professional filter — reading The Washington Post, clicking on CNN.com — with a social one" you've got to sit up and take notice.

Ngourlay announces that Qatar Telecoms has blocked some of Facebook's applications. The blogger also lists five reasons the telecom provider censors sites: pornography, political criticism of Gulf countries and anti-Islamic sites; some sites are also blocked ‘by mistake' and others are banned because they may be offensive to some people.

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