Singing the Bite Me Song

« February 2003 | Main | June 2003 »

May 29, 2003

Will someone please stop this insanity?!

Are bigger voices better voices?. With FCC expected to relax ownership rules Monday, the media industry faces static from a public wary of consolidation. [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

May 29, 2003 at 11:00 PM in Media & Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2003

Ernie Pyle will talk about dead men, but US television coverage won't

Ernie Pyle, the original embedded reporter. I just read an article about a one-man off-Broadway play based on the war reporting of Ernie Pyle. Meanwhile, the IU School of Journalism is reprinting three dozen of his dispatches. It is interesting that Pyle, perhaps the original embedded reporter managed to report honestly about the horrors of war in spite of perhaps a more sweeping censorship department that read everything coming from the front. Pyle's description of Normandy (previously discussed) is a classic contrasting a beautiful day on the beach, the human and material wreckage, and even empathy for German prisoners of war. And then there was some black humor of surviving near misses that could have come out of Catch 22 or Slaugherhouse 5. His unfinished final dispatch reads like poetry:

"Dead men by mass production--in one country after another--month after month and year after year. Dead men in winter and dead men in summer.

"Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous.

"Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them."


May 7, 2003 at 10:55 PM in Media & Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Boycott absurd online content archives charges!

Opening Up the Vaults.

State of Denial

"Today one of my professors told us about an article in the Sacramento Bee called State of Denial. When I went to go read this article I found I had to pay $1.95. Tell me, how many copies of the paper could I get for that price? At least two, maybe four, or even eight! Now tell me, what sort of value is that to me? None. I won't pay $1.95 for one article. Because the Sacramento Bee is charging so much they are effectively locking away the past in their vaults." [Grant M. Henninger]

Another reason not to lock away your content behind a cost figure that is perceived to be too high by the user but too low for a credit card-based transaction (at least until micropayments are a reality).

And, of course, a friendly reminder that you can usually get this type of article for free from your local library!

[The Shifted Librarian]

May 7, 2003 at 10:40 PM in Cyberculture, Democracy, Favorite Links, Intellectual Property, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An interesting ethical dilemma for journalists, or is it?

A Respected Face, but Is It an Ad or News?. Well-known broadcast journalists appear in videos that resemble newscasts but are actually paid for by drug companies. By Melody Petersen. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

Aaron Brown of CNN, Walter Cronkite and other broadcast journalists have been hired to appear in videos resembling newscasts that are actually paid for by drug makers and other health care companies, blurring the line between journalism and advertising.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Cronkite, the former CBS News anchor, are the new hosts of video "news breaks" produced by a Boca Raton, Fla., company called WJMK Inc. that are shown on local public television stations between regular programs. They are replacing Morley Safer of CBS, who has appeared in hundreds of the videos but has concluded, according to a "60 Minutes" spokesman, that the work does not meet the standards of CBS News.

Based on information that it received yesterday, CNN said it was reviewing its decision to allow the participation of Mr. Brown, who has not yet appeared in a video.

The hosts of the videos, standing on an elaborate news-style set, provide a general introduction to segments that profile health care companies or their products. According to WJMK documents, the companies pay WJMK about $15,000 in connection with the segments and other services and are allowed to edit and approve the videos, which are two to five minutes long.

Now Walter Cronkite can do whatever he wants, but Aaron Brown not only isn't supposed to endorse any particular advertiser's product, but he isn't allowed to join political parties, take positions on political issues except in designated editorials in what is called the "news hole" of broadcasts, rather than as part of the "ad hole."

Unless that line is utterly blurred. Or maybe it is just blurred for famous faces with big contracts, while ordinary reporters are banned from marching in peace marches or any other kind of political activity--or can be fired, as recently happened to a reporter in California.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, I'd say.

I'd also say that corporations find a lot of reasons to blur the boundaries between ads and news whenever it is convenient for them to sell more ad space.

And further, I'd say that this boundary on supposed "political" speech, and "objective" reporting is utterly illusory and absurd. I don't know about hawking soap or real estate or whoring for drug companies, some of the most loathsome capitalists out there. I have all kinds of ethical problems with taking money from companies that protect their patents while people in the continent of Africa are dying of AIDS and living on $1 a week. Yeah, if Aaron Brown or Walter Cronkite is doing that, I hope they have all kinds of trouble sleeping at night. My standards are a bit higher.

But in the end, I don't think folks in journalism realize how much they commodify and sell in their supposed "news hole" each and every day.


May 7, 2003 at 10:28 PM in Media & Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How will Blogs and Wiki merge into one giant CMS?!

I left some thoughts on Don Park's site, but all I really want to say here is that I would bet good money the Google/Blogger folks are working on this already, as well as the Moveable/TypePad folks. If they aren't, they should be, and if they just got the idea from me here, I will be happy to send a bill for my consulting fee. [G]

Don Park: "Wiki is like a fun house for cheery gully dwarves, endless interconnected rooms with five-feet high ceiling and no housemaids." [Scripting News]

If Blog is an one-mensional animal with a single continuous stream of consciousness, Wiki is a N-dimensional animals with many segmented strands of consciousness.  While the two are related on the surface, they are two very different beasts.

UI-wise, Wiki is like a fun house for cheery gully dwarves, endless interconnected rooms with five-feet high ceiling and no housemaids.  Think neck pains and perma-mess.

May 7, 2003 at 10:21 PM in Cyberculture, Democracy, Interactivity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack