Morning media roundup: More on war correspondents; FishbowlDC's day on the Internet

Paul Conroy, a Sunday Times journalist, and Edith Bouvier, a reporter for Le Figaro, have posted video appeals for help. Both were wounded in Syria in the rocket attack that killed Marie Colvin, whose family is having trouble reclaiming her body, and Remi Ochlik, whom Slate profiled Thursday night.  Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists is careful not to say Syria is specifically targeting journalists, but he does tell The Daily Beast's Mike Giglio that he sees a lot of parallels between last year's Egyptian uprising  last year uprising and the battle in Syria today: "Those international reporters who had the ability to disseminate images from Egypt to a global audience were a serious threat to the ability of the regime to maintain power. And they were targeted as a result.” Jillian C. York and Trevor Timm explain how one can be tracked via a satellite phone.

• "You can always be a star, so what’s the rush?": a Colvin piece from 1978, a sort of benediction to her alma mater Yale. Lara Logan told Gayle King she felt "guilty" about Colvin's death: "I feel like that’s my place," she said. "For doing what she was doing. For being there on the ground, like Marie was, telling the story of people whose voices cannot otherwise be heard. ... Whose lives otherwise mean nothing, because if you’re not there to record the truth about what’s happening to them, then it cannot be stopped. No government can ever be pushed into stopping it." Data on women who are war correspondents: They're well-educated, often single and, while no more prone to PTSD than their male counterparts, at higher risk of alcohol abuse.

David Carr on war reporting: "For many of us, war is becoming a remote affair, something that happens on a computer screen. Absent contextual reporting, it starts to sound and look alike: a shaky video in which the distant thrum of war draws suddenly close, the bullets and bombs land, there is much screaming and running, then the screen goes blank." Timothy M. Phelps on war reporting: "Would President Obama have intervened in Libya last year if U.S. journalists had not been covering the plight of the people of Benghazi? Could more coverage from the Western press have whipped up sentiment to stop a genocide in which 800,000 people died in Rwanda in 1994? What will stop the Syrian army from continuing to shell and shoot its own people if the stories of people like the 2-year-old baby whose death Marie chronicled in the days before her own death aren't being told?"

• Would you donate to a site that will commission and sell longform science articles one at a time? That's the pitch behind Matter, which has exceeded its goal of raising $50,000. Felix Salmon loves the idea: "I’m optimistic that Matter’s editing process will help its stories be much richer than most of what we’re seeing today." Stephen Robert Morse, not so much: "Your money would be better invested in projects that can actually have long-term financial viability and longevity. Buy a subscription to one of the other legacy magazines already out there that produce way more content."

• The problem with The Washington Post's opinion shop isn't that it leans one way or another, writes enigmatic media blogger DC Porcupine. It's that the Post's editorial pages are so flippin' boring.

"With the exceptions of E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson (who have barely survived MSNBC’s blanding machine), there’s nothing good in the columns. Take a look at Thursday’s selection: Harold Meyerson writing on Americans Elect, David Ignatius on Iran, and George Will flopping around on Romney-Santorum."

DC Porcupine's critique, though, is mostly of the paper product: "Adding excerpts from the Post’s blogs haven’t helped either. The paper seems to select the most boring possible posts."

• Today in Philadelphia Newspapering™: NPR's David Folkenflik talks with Inquirer and Daily News staffers who worry about editorial independence. This time, the papers' suitor Ed Rendell observes his pledge not to talk to the media about the possible sale. Other parties interested in the papers have complained they were shut out; Mike Armstrong explains how the sales of such assets work. The current governor of Pennsylvania says Rendell shouldn't own the paper. Jack Shafer says it's not an ideal situation, but it could be worse.

Job cuts and buyouts at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

• Thursday, FishbowlDC's Betsy Rothstein placed an idea in the public sphere: Are women who are reporters being too sexy in their Twitter avatar photos? The Internet rejected the transplant. For amateur Rothsteinologists such as myself, the international reaction was a bit surreal, like when a parochial annoyance makes the national news: A bad piece of architecture gets announced, maybe, or a rickety bridge collapses. In this case the collapse wasn't just self-inflicted but stoked by the Mediabistro employee's usual Twitter strategy, which is to furiously attack anyone who questions her editorial decisions. That launched several collections of tweets, including a thorough one by my colleague Mallary Tenore, and articles in the Guardianthe New York ObserverSlateVanity FairNew YorkKPCCthe Atlantic Wire and Jezebel. "I very much intended to present this as an issue to think about," Rothstein told the Guardian, "not something in which I was declaring myself the judge and/or the jury."

• Rothstein's site did rally Thursday, despite the storm, and found the energy to attack yet another woman journalist.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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