Eric Deggans

Bob Schieffer, Howard Kurtz

Sizing up Howard Kurtz’s new show against ‘Reliable Sources’

As a recent member of the conga line of guest hosts for CNN’s media-analysis show “Reliable Sources,” I took interest in the Sunday debut of ex-host Howard Kurtz’s new Fox News program “Media Buzz.”

Airing at the same time as … Read more


Ebony editor: ‘The extremists are the ones with the megaphone’

When a Florida jury pronounced George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin on July 13, Ebony magazine Editor-in-Chief Amy Barnett had to cope with two surprises:

First, she didn’t expect that the former neighborhood watch captain would completely escape punishment for shooting Martin, famously bearing just a can of iced tea and a bag of candy.

And she had a magazine which had to be put to bed in just eight days. What to do?

What Barnett eventually did, was scramble her staff to pull together an 18-page look at the issues raised by the verdict, including four separate cover shots featuring Martin’s parents and their surviving son, along with NBA star Dwayne Wade, filmmaker Spike Lee and actor Boris Kodjoe -- each posing with their sons in gray, hooded sweatshirts to symbolize the “hoodie” Martin wore the night of his death. The headline on each: "We are Trayvon" (excepting the cover featuring Martin’s parents, which reads: “We are all Trayvon.”) “It was a team effort,” Barnett said of the decision to go with the four covers. “We were thinking about what society would be talking about. Trayvon has become a symbol for African American youth... The idea is that all our kids are Trayvon.” (more...)
Hong Kong Iceland Snowden

Snowden’s leaks force media self-examination

Besides forcing government and national-security institutions to face the public about their spying efforts, Edward Snowden’s decision to release information on America’s massive public surveillance efforts has thrown another system into a flurry of self-examination:

The American news media.

As … Read more

Paula Deen

Lauer’s interview with Paula Deen missed the real questions

Celebrity chef Paula Deen’s tearful interview on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday morning doesn’t seem to have changed many minds, leaving some critics suspicious that she’s hiding deeper problems with racial issues after admitting that she once used the n-word.

But … Read more

George Zimmerman

Pointers journalists should keep in mind when covering the Zimmerman trial

As media coverage of George Zimmerman’s murder trial begins this week, we already know a few things that will happen.

Tiny Sanford, Fla., will become the center of the media universe, with hundreds of journalists expected to travel to the … Read more

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Chris Christie

PETA reaches out to news outlets that exaggerate its position on Chris Christie killing a spider

In early May, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed a spider during an event with several schoolchildren. That prompted a journalist with the website Talking Points Memo to call People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to see what their … Read more


Is Truth-O-Meter the real issue in Maddow’s latest blast at PolitiFact?

The Tampa Bay Times’ fact-checking site PolitiFact has drawn another heated rebuke from MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, who accuses it of “ruining fact checking” and being “truly terrible.”

But at the risk of looking like a homer — the Times … Read more


Charles Ramsey interviews reveal risks of jumping on a good story too soon

What big media gives, it can take away just as quickly.

That’s the feeling in the air as some news outlets continue chewing over the story of Charles Ramsey, the struggling dishwasher who became a media hero and Internet sensationRead more

Robert Lipstye

New ESPN ombud Robert Lipsyte talks about his role

Ask if Robert Lipsyte is going to be particularly critical as ESPN’s new ombudsman, and he mentions a little piece he penned for Slate magazine back in June 2011. The piece dismantles the 763-page oral history of ESPN, “Those Read more


Studies: Women candidates pay political price for any mention of their looks

Name It. Change It. For many years, some media critics have insisted that press coverage that refers to female politicians’ looks -- particularly when there’s no similar reference to male politicos -- trivializes and damages them in the eyes of potential voters. Now the Women’s Media Center and She Should Run have released studies they say prove those criticisms, developed in a joint project called Name It. Change It. In one survey, conducted online, they reached 1,500 likely voters to gauge what would happen to female candidate’s electoral chances if she were described in news stories that outlined her appearance. In another, they used an online dial survey to sample 1,000 likely voters on the effects of sexist coverage for female candidates who were white, black, Latina and Asian American. The first survey found that news stories that mentioned female candidate “Jane Smith" 's appearance hurt her chances of getting votes against male candidate “Dan Jones,” regardless of whether the description was neutral, positive or negative. In fact, positive descriptions of the candidate’s appearance hurt her more than neutral ones; among respondents who heard a flattering description of Jane, she had an 11 percent disadvantage to Dan, compared to a 5 percent disadvantage after a neutral description (the two were evenly supported by respondents who heard no physical description. (more...)
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