Truth&Trust

Crime coverage in Chicago may be too good

Chicago is widely known as “Chiraq” or the “murder capital” even though its murder rate is much lower than in past years and in many other cities. Ironically this may be a function of local media’s attempts to do a better job reporting on homicides and crime

There was a time when reporters just didn’t cover many crime – or other — stories in the city’s low income, Black and Latino neighborhoods, noted veteran reporters at Poynter’s “Truth & Trust in the 21st Century” forum in Chicago Thursday. Now the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, DNAinfo and other media outlets make it a point to cover every murder in the city. But that means a lot of negative coverage about the city’s South and West sides, even as there are still relatively few other stories being reported on in these neighborhoods.… Read more

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Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

Police Shooting Missouri Autopsy

What to look for in dueling autopsies of Michael Brown

This column originally appeared on ProPublica’s website and is being republished with permission.

Former New York City chief medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden, right, speaks as Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump, left, holds a diagram produced during a second autopsy done on 18-year-old Michael Brown. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

In the next few weeks, separate teams of doctors will issue autopsy reports about Michael Brown, the unarmed African American shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. If history is any guide, they will differ, perhaps significantly, on how to interpret the gunshot wounds on his body. Michael Baden, the veteran medical examiner chosen to autopsy the body by Brown’s family, has released the preliminary results of his autopsy and both the St. Louis County Medical Examiner and U.S.… Read more

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Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014

Police Shooting-Missouri

During protests, police may balance journalists’ rights with public safety

Without being at the scene of the arrests it is difficult to say if anyone did anything illegal last night when two reporters were detained at a McDonald’s in Ferguson, Missouri. The reporters were covering the protests and riots that broke out after an 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was fatally shot by police there.

The tension here lies with allowing the police to do what they need to do to protect public safety and conduct a complete investigation and balancing that with journalists’ right to report.

The police can regulate the time, place and manner of speech to a certain degree as long as it is not a content-based regulation. Meaning, they can clear an area of everyone if they think they need to do that to keep the peace, but they can’t single out a journalist and tell him he cannot be there.… Read more

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

EW SCRIPPS HEADQUARTERS

Scripps and Journal is just the latest in a series of mega broadcast mergers

There is an underlying fact that makes the Scripps and Journal deal make sense: Broadcasting is still profitable. Second quarter earnings have been strong and topped last year’s numbers.

Wall Street loves broadcasting, and bigger broadcast companies do better than smaller ones these days. Bigger companies have more leverage to negotiate retransmission deals with cable companies. Once this deal is approved, Scripps will be the powerhouse owner of ABC stations, which gives the company leverage to influence the network. Scripps stock hit five-year highs Thursday in response to the news that the company was spinning off its newspapers from the broadcast and online properties.

Wednesday’s  deal is part of a mosaic of mega-media mergers that have produced super-sized broadcast owners that are more than twice the size of what they were only a decade ago.… Read more

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PDLayoff.jpg

How mass layoffs in 2013 changed the lives of former Plain Dealer staffers

On July 31, 2013, after the layoff calls came, some of the current and now-former staff of The Plain Dealer got together for drinks at Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland. Newsrooms around the country called in and bought drinks for those gathered — $4,933 worth of drinks, Eric Sandy reported the next day for Cleveland Scene.

That day, more than 50 people had been laid off from The Plain Dealer.

“We drank for free all night,” John Horton remembered.

“It was bittersweet because we were together, we were supporting each other but we knew that so many of us, myself included, were not going to be going back to the building ever again,” Ellen Kleinerman said.

Plain Dealer staff gathered on layoff day: July 31, 2013.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sochi Olympics Pussy Riot

Could the c-word soon be finding its way into news headlines?

If orange is the new black, then the c-word may be becoming the new f-word? It certainly seems that way. With the f-word drifting to more common usage, we need another word for its shock value.

When I write c-word, I do not mean “cable.” But it is on cable television where the c-word is creeping out of the shadows. Tony Soprano and his cronies used it. I hear it on episodes of the popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones, sometimes used to describe a body part, more often as a corrosive epithet against women and men.

Surprisingly, the c-word has taken on a political connotation. In his comedy routines and on his HBO show, Bill Maher has described Sarah Palin as a c—. He defends the use on First Amendment grounds: that Palin is a public figure and that nasty name calling is as old as the Republic.… Read more

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Monday, July 28, 2014

feedback conceptual compass

Help Poynter improve its website

My top priority as editor of The Poynter Institute’s website is to find the best online method for delivering media news and education. I think listening to our readers is the best way to do this. That is why we are conducting a website user survey to better get to know our readers and figure out how to best serve them.

In addition to the survey, we plan to have one-on-one conversations with people interested in talking to us, and you can send an email to sliss@poynter.org at any time with ideas and suggestions.

It can be a real challenge to manage a website with the amount of content we have. Keeping up with ever-evolving Web technology and trends presents another challenge. That’s where you, the user of our website, come in; we need your input to help guide and shape Poynter.org’s design, look and feel.… Read more

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.42.55 AM

Essay: Hey, Publishers: Stop fooling us, and yourselves

For an industry built on a foundation of truth-telling, the newspaper business sure has trouble telling the truth about itself.

Last month at the World Newspaper Congress in Turin, Italy, the chief spokesperson for U.S.-based dailies, Newspaper Association of America President Caroline Little, gave publishers, editors and educators from around the world a presentation on “the current state of newspaper media in the United States.”

Little’s PowerPoint show was a work of art. With her palette of selective statistics, context-less trend statements and stock photos of smiling, young news consumers, she painted an uplifting masterpiece worthy of the Italian master Botticelli. His cherubic angels were Little’s news-hungry Millennials; his dancing nymphs were her nimble publishers.

David Boardman, Dean, Temple University School of Media and Communication

If I hadn’t known better – knowledge gained through years as the editor of The Seattle Times and in my current role as the president of the American Society of News Editors – I’d have thought U.S.… Read more

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Monday, July 14, 2014

John Seigenthaler

John Seigenthaler: You couldn’t choose a better journalism hero

“Mr. Seigenthaler is on the phone, “ I was told. It had to be important. Why else would John be calling me in the middle of the day?

After greetings the conversation went something like this:

“John, what can I do for you?”

“Well, Gregory, you know that cologne you wear? Dolores [his beautiful wife] loves it and she wants me to start using it. I was wondering if you could tell me how I can get some.”

Seigenthaler in 1994. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

He got it, and every time we met afterward, we sniffed each other and laughed, leaving bystanders wondering if we had misplaced our marbles.

Now, John Seigenthaler is gone. And everyone he ever touched, up close or far away, deeply mourns his passing but will never forget what he did in a life that was truly well-lived.… Read more

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Katy Perry

How Katy Perry, Elvis and Springsteen can change the meaning of your video

It seems that everywhere I turned online this weekend, somebody was flying a quadcopter with a camera through fireworks.

Leaving the wisdom of doing that out of this posting, I wanted to play with how music and special effects would affect the viewer’s experience with a fireworks video shot via drone and published in May. In the original, a classical score and slow drifting shots add drama and elegance to the piece.

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