Odds and Ends
About 10 years ago, journalist and historian Craig Fehrman got an idea for a book. It would be a book about the books that presidents write. Pretty simple, right? Just make a list of all of those books, read them and then tell people about what you’ve read.
Misinterpreted data and unsubstantiated conclusions plague press and social media. What can journalists do to stop them? Quill asked Rob Pyatt, who has presented workshops focused on teaching critical thinking skills, to chime in on the subject. Pyatt, an assistant professor in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics at Kean University, is certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics and serves as a director of the Oxy-Gen Laboratory in Norcross, Georgia.
Connecting two sources directly to President Nixon was proving challenging, in spite of the efforts of reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Just when a connection looked solid, a potential source clammed up. Evidence couldn’t be secured. And Nixon was building momentum heading toward the end of his term.
Missouri newspaper turns the page The University of Missouri daily newspaper, The Missourian, is attempting to combine the best facets of online and print newspapers with a 10-week experiment, Peter Johnson reported in USA Today on March 1. The Missourian’s online version, called an EmPrint, will feature pages that are entirely contained on the computer screen and that are taller than they are wide.
NRA uses media to bypass election rules The National Rifle Association’s decision to attempt the purchase of a television or radio station in December drew criticism from Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who wrote in a letter to Federal Elections Commission chairman Ellen Weintraub that the organization should not get a media exemption to campaign finance rules. The NRA was seeking an exemption from spending limits in the campaign finance law.
Musical tour protests media consolidation Wisconsin’s Historical Society Auditorium found itself hosting an eclectic collaboration in Madison on Nov. 7: the state’s lieutenant governor, a Federal Communications Commission member and a guitarist from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, to name just a few attendees. The diverse array of speakers and performers drew an audience of hundreds of activists, seeking to stop what they believe is the unchecked concentration of media outlets in America at the first National Conference of Media Reform. “I don’t think there’s a more important meeting taking place in America today,” Michael Copps, an FCC member, told a packed audience in Madison, as quoted by The Capital Times newspaper.
Journalists discuss benefits of embedding U.S. military brass and many journalists found the process of embedding reporters in combat situations positive enough to use it again in the next big American conflict. This was largely the sentiment of those involved in a Military Reporters and Editors conference that met in October in Crystal City, Va.,
FCC approves Hispanic broadcast merger The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger of Hispanic TV’s UnivisiÛn Communications and the nation’s top Spanish language radio corporation, Hispanic Broadcasting, on Sept. 22. The action, approved 3-2 along party lines by the FCC, creates a new media superstar. If the FCC vote was any indication, the measure had both its backers and dissenters.
Legal ads could appear on Web only Legislatures in the Midwest, in an attempt to balance budget deficits, are discussing allowing state, county and local governments to place their legal notices on Web sites. Currently, the law requires that they be published in newspapers. The Racine County (Wis.)
Pot columnist charged with growing it Ed Rosenthal, who has authored how-to books and columns on growing marijuana and not getting caught, has gotten caught. He went on trial Jan. 21 on federal charges of cultivating pot illegally. The case is another clash between state and local authorities and the federal government about using marijuana for medical purposes.
Chicago Defender sale finalized The Cook County, Ill., probate court has approved a $10.9-million deal to buy Sengstacke Enterprises Inc., which includes the daily Chicago Defender and three black weeklies. Since the death of John Sengstacke in 1997, the court has overseen the company, which was left with a $3-million estate-tax bill and a family divided over its future.
Newspapers run nine of top 20 news sites Audience statistics from Nielsen/ NetRatings have found that nine of the top 20 news Web sites in the U.S. for the month of July were newspaper sites. Topping the list in terms of audience members were CNN.com,
CBS refuses to run Schwab ad Now that their sales practices have come under fire, Wall Street stock brokerages seem to have found an ally in CBS-TV, according to The Associated Press. The network has refused to run a Charles Schwab commercial making fun of an industry sore spot – allegations that commission-driven brokers sometimes recommend stocks known to be poor investments. Analysts said CBS’s decision illustrates the power of Wall Street’s financial clout at a time when revenue-starved media outlets are reluctant to alienate major advertisers. However, CBS spokesman Michael Silver said Merrill Lynch’s advertising relationship with the network did not sway CBS. The other television networks are airing the Schwab commercial, which is part of a new advertising campaign that was launched May 16. The ad features an executive urging brokers at an unidentified firm to tell customers that a stock is “red hot” even though the fundamentals “stink.”
New York Times wins record 7 Pulitzers Many of the 2002 Pulitzer Prizes, which were announced by Columbia University April 9, focused on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their aftermath. The New York Times won a record seven prizes, including one in the public service category for “A Nation Challenged,” a special section that ran in the months following the Sept.
NBC REVERSES DECISION TO RUN LIQUOR ADS Just three months after NBC broke a decades-old ban on televised liquor advertisements, the network reversed its decision in March after a barrage of criticism from lawmakers and advocacy groups. NBC said leaders of both parties in Congress asked the network to reconsider its decision to broadcast the first liquor ads since 1948, when the networks began a self-imposed ban, Reuters reported. “We have agreed to do that.
VOA REPORTER IS PULLED OFF AIR A Voice of America journalist who landed an exclusive and controversial September interview with the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has been taken off the air and reassigned to what she and the agency’s news director call a “useless job.” The reporter, Spozhmai Maiwandi, and the news director, Andre de Nesnera, said that the job change is in response to outside pressure that has prompted the VOA’s chief to impose a ban on interviews “with any official from nations that sponsor terrorism.” Although the VOA does broadcast clearly defined U.S.