undecided about the value of the redesigned Cincinnati Business Courier
print edition. Previously, the weekly was helpful to a general reader
who wanted to follow corporate doings and influence in Cincinnati. Now,
I’m less sure of its usefulness. It didn’t help that veterans Lucy May
and Dan Monk quit to join the online staff at WCPO. The newly flashy
Business Courier is evermore a niche publication and I’m clearly outside
its desired print audience. I’m only a shareholder, a taxpayer and a
voter. Oh, and a subscriber.
brings me to another question. With the Business Courier and others
going online with their first journalistic efforts, if not their best,
who has the time to spend at work reading all that online stuff ...
and do what they’re paid for? It takes far longer to scroll through a
website than to flip through print pages, reading stories that draw the
eye. Or are aspiring Americans mistakenly imitating Japanese salarymen
who seem never to be away from the job or their smart phones, laptops
the meantime, I have suggestions for whomever writes Business Courier
headlines. Quit using “inks” to report someone signed something. It’s
so, I don’t know, maybe 1930s without managing to be charmingly retro.
What’s next: "P&G inks deal to tan gams?" And Business Courier
editors spelled the wrong word correctly over a recent editorial:
“Cincinnati’s Getting To Old To Depend on Father Figure”. How old? Too old. • NPR’s
Diane Rehm had a spirited exchange the other day among specialists on
the Middle East and, especially, Egypt. It was, however, another example
of Rehm in thrall to her guests. Not once did she challenge their
assertions that “most Egyptians” are pro- or anti-Morsi. Who knows what
“most” of 82 million Egyptians want? It’s loose thinking that screams
for the challenge, “How do you know?”
[Read Ben L. Kaufman's July 10 column, "Enquirer Takes Questionable Approach to Covering Meyers Ordination" in On Second Thought here.]
events in Egypt on English-language Middle Eastern news sites offers a
view often not available in U.S. news media. A disturbing video on egyptdailynews.com
showed two men being tossed off a building in Alexandria. The caption
said the victims were anti-Morsi protesters. The video was credited to english.alarabiya.net. Each man was beaten after he fell. One reportedly died. Arabia.msn.com
says anti-Morsi social networks are accusing CNN of promoting events as
a coup rather than a revolution and adopting the Muslim Brotherhood’s
emblem as a logo for its broadcasts.
you let anyone use the rail disaster in Quebec to prove the best way
to move crude oil cross country to refineries, look at the map of
Canada. Most Canadians live near the border and their communities are
connected by transcontinental rail lines as well as east-west highways. Towns and cities grew along tracks which often run through their
communities. Trains, not pipelines, make sense. That’s certainly true in
the northern Ontario village where we have our fishing cabin; tracks
parallel the transCanada highway with homes on both sides and the entire
business district within yards of the rails. Accidents happen,
albeit rarely as awful as that in Lac Megantic, where most of the
victims were in a night club near the tracks. Accidents can be
mitigated; safer, modern rail tanker cars; better brakes and/or
brake-setting routines, etc. The disaster proves nothing.
• Endorsements and celebrity/fashion magazines and websites have
accustomed us to lithe young blondes on the women’s professional tennis
tour. Some have parlayed tennis moments into seemingly endless paparazzi
feeding frenzies. So there
was no way to avoid comparisons between the stocky 28-year-old brunette
women’s champion at Wimbledon last week and increasingly common tall,
slender and fair competitors.
It was unspoken until this year.
When French winner Marion Bartoli rushed from Centre Court to her father in the guests’ box, BBC’s Radio 5 Live presenter John Inverdale
asked, "Do you think Bartoli's dad told her when she was little,
'You're never going to be a looker, you'll never be a [Maria] Sharapova,
so you have to be scrappy and fight'?"
listeners, viewers, readers and bloggers exploded with anger. Bartoli
is popular with the tour and reporters for her smarts and humor; her
life and interests embrace more than her devotion to top level tennis.
Told of Inverdale's comment, she responded, "It doesn't matter,
honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about
having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning
Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes. And to share this moment with my dad was
absolutely amazing and I am so proud of it.”
told French reporters that Inverdale should see her at the traditional
end-of-Wimbledon ball in London. "I invite this journalist to come and
see me this evening in ball gown and heels, and in my opinion he could
change his mind." She handed Inverdale his professional scrotum with class.
women's champion’s father and longtime coach, Walter Bartoli, added, "The relationship between Marion and me has always been unbelievable so I
don't know what this reporter is talking about. When she was five years
old she was playing like every kid and having fun on the tennis court. She's my beautiful daughter."
stupidity was compounded by his sort-of apology and more than 24 hours
of verbal stumbling. First, he claimed that he had tried to "poke fun,
in a nice way, about how she looks." Great. That’s an apology? An
excuse? A day later, Inverdale added, "Before we start I probably ought
to return to yesterday and a clumsy phrase I used." How about
offensive? Degrading? Dismissive?
Inverdale said it was his "ham-fisted way" of saying that "in a world where [players] are all 6
feet tall," Bartoli is 5-7.
"I have apologised to Marion by letter if
any offence was caused and I do hope we can leave the matter there." He
just doesn’t get it. “If any offence was caused?" BBC really didn’t
care. He’s a star. At least he’s a BBC star who hasn’t been arrested for
sexually abusing colleagues and youngsters for decades.
off-guard where its star broadcasters often are snarky or worse, BBC
finally apologized to the Bartolis: "We accept that this remark was
insensitive and for that we apologise." However, BBC left Inverdale in
place as commentator for the men's final.
you watched Wimbeldon, you saw spectators waving a flag with a
white-on-blue diagonal cross of St. Andrew. That’s the Scottish saltire.
Scots are touchy about such things. That’s why they’re planning a vote
on whether to leave the United Kingdom and resume independence lost in
the 1707 Act of Union. So why did the New York Times celebrate Andy
Murray’s victory with a tweet and online story, “After 77 years, Murray
and England rule"? A correction followed: “After 77 years, Andy Murray
and Britain rule.” How about Scotland?
I overstated the case last month about press cards and shield laws
being de facto licenses for journalists, Sen. Dick Durbin, the Illinois
Democrat, inadvertently rushed to my defense in a recent column in the
Chicago Sun-Times. He wants Congress to define who is a journalist
worthy of protection by a federal shield law. And who isn’t. Here’s part
of what he wrote:
regardless of the mode of expression, has a constitutionally protected
right to free speech. But when it comes to freedom of the press, I
believe we must define a journalist and the constitutional and statutory
protections those journalists should receive.
media informs the public and holds government accountable. Journalists
should have reasonable legal protections to do their important work. But
not every blogger, tweeter or Facebook user is a ‘journalist.’ While
social media allows tens of millions of people to share information
publicly, it does not entitle them to special legal protections to
ignore requests for documents or information from grand juries, judges
or other law enforcement personnel.
journalist gathers information for a media outlet that disseminates the
information through a broadly defined ‘medium’ — including newspaper,
nonfiction book, wire service, magazine, news website, television, radio
or motion picture — for public use. This broad definition covers every
form of legitimate journalism.
No, it doesn’t.
those who feel politicians shouldn’t define who a journalist is, I’d
remind them that they likely live in one of the 49 states, like
Illinois, where elected officials have already made that decision.”
To Durbin, that’s precedent. To the rest of us, it’s the bandwagon fallacy.
leaks of classified information about the NSA’s surveillance operations
and an ongoing Justice Department investigation into who disclosed
secret documents to the Associated Press have brought this issue back to
the forefront and raised important questions about the freedom of
speech, freedom of the press and how our nation defines journalism.
“It’s long past time for Congress to create a federal law that defines and protects journalists.”
that Durbin does not mention online sites other than “news” but broadly
includes “television, radio or motion picture” without requiring them
to be news media. Bloggers are ignored. His “every form of legitimate
journalism” is typical of efforts to exclude journalists who don’t fit
his criteria. That would deny them his “reasonable” protection in
federal courts and investigations if they chose to honor promises of
confidentiality to their sources.
In short, a license to be Durbin’s kind of journalist.
It’s a rare reporter who hasn’t awakened with the fear we’ve made a
mistake. My latest nighttime sweat involved a paragraph from June 26
Curmudgeon Notes about the trial that sent Nelson Mandela and his
comrades to prison for life in mid-1964. I wrote: “Our
weekly Zambia News and then daily Zambia Times — hundreds of miles to
the north — were able to report with freedom unknown in South Africa. We
benefited from the freest journalism in Southern Africa, including
Southern Rhodesia, Southwest Africa and Portuguese Mozambique and
requires a clarification. I implied that the Zambia Times, of which I
effectively was the editor, reported the trial. I don’t think so. The
weekly Zambia News did but the daily Zambia Times started publishing
later that year.