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On Second Thought
 

Paternalistic Clichés Mar Non-Western Coverage

1 Comment · Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I recognize the patronizing voice in American reporting about countries struggling to find their way out of chaos or recently overturned dictatorships. It rings of the arrogance that too often accompanied our foreign aid, when it wasn’t politically incorrect to refer to used cans of cooking oil as “appropriate technology” for Third World women fetching water.
  

Lucasville Riot Coverage Demonstrated Resourceful Journalism

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 16, 2012
It hit me a few days ago. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the bloody Easter uprising at Ohio’s crowded, racially tense maximum security prison at Lucasville. That deadly riot, the longest prison riot in American history, was The Enquirer’s finest hour.   

How Media React to Errors Is Enlightening

1 Comment · Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Given the news media’s historic reticence about admitting screw-ups, I have no idea whether we are more or less ethical than in recent decades. What has changed is the likelihood that unspeakable puffery and blatant conflicts of interest are likelier than ever to be caught and publicized.  

Addition of Wilkinson Adds Muscle to WVXU

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 17, 2012
WVXU’s decision to hire retiring Enquirer politics reporter Howard Wilkinson is the rare bright spot in the increasingly constricted world of local news gathering. Adding him to WVXU’s reporting staff scored a twofer for news director Maryanne Zeleznik. In addition to his sense of local and state politics, Howard is as passionate and knowledgable about the Reds.   

A Brit’s Hard Look at Sgt. Robert Bales

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Rarely do foreign journalists’ brutal criticism of American actions or policies get space or time in our mainstream news media. That’s too bad. What passes for comment and debate here is a pretty constipated exercise.     

Kony Video Is Manipulative But Effective

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I finally watched the 30-minute online video, Kony 2012, calling for the capture or killing of African terrorist Joseph Kony this year. With an estimated 100 million views so far, it’s an interesting example of manipulation of social media.  

Seed Catalogs a Throwback to Yesteryear

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 7, 2012
A printed news source I can’t do without comes unfailingly in the mail: seed catalogs.  Forget Hindu, Jewish, Chinese or Gregorian new years. Delivery of the first seed catalogs starts my new year before Thanksgiving.     

Article Highlights Cost-Effective Charities

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Years ago, after speaking at a local Catholic high school on the students’ duty to give intelligently when they donate to charity, a student grabbed my arm en route to lunch of grilled cheese s  

Publisher’s Threat to President Tests Free Speech

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Atlanta publisher Andrew B. Adler’s “kill Obama” column challenges my “fight-words-with-words” standard response to vicious publications and speech. It never should have been published. No, he’s not a racist, anti-Semitic crank or advocate of sex among boys, clerics and coaches. Sick as they are, I wouldn’t muzzle them so long as they are willing to accept the consequences.    

Media Help Reveal the ‘True’ Ron Paul

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Dwelling on any presidential aspirant’s personal history, proposals and promises invites accusations of bias that mainstream news media fear most. That might explain reluctance to hammer Ron Paul for views he espouses now or previously published.    

Mitt, Newt and Covering Religion in Politics

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Religion continues to bedevil politics reporting. News media prefer the simplicity of characterizing elections as horse races until there is a winner. Religion beyond clichés complicates politics. If voters are to appreciate the implications of campaign thrust and parry, it’s time to yoke religious and political reporters for the duration.   

Plagiarism's Meaning Shifts in Digital Age

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 21, 2011
If Poynter Online director Julie Moos is correct, I’m a plagiarist. I sometimes use others’ words in this column. While attributing the words and ideas to the original writers, I don’t always put their words inside quote marks. That’s not good enough for Moos. It was his failure to maintain that level of attribution purity that drove out veteran aggregator Jim Romenesko from the Poynter website. He always told us where he got his material but he sometimes used those sources’ language without direct quotes.  

Recalling Religious Hysteria, Enquirer Firings and How Jesus Died

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Fussing over the latest translations of the Roman Catholic Mass recalls one of the truly weird moments in my years as a religion reporter.  

Photographing Police is a Dangerous Business

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Are increasingly militarized local police — helmets, assault rifles, black uniforms and boots, etc. — using excessive force more often than previous generations? Or has technology — cell phones and YouTube — made any use of force, whether excessive or justified, easier to document?  

Enquirer Plays Politics with Page 1

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Until its Page 1 story on public employee “perks” last week, The Enquirer was doing a pretty good job of playing pre-election partisanship down the middle. That story — which required a major page 1 correction — embraced the paper’s historic Republican and anti-union demons. The timing was too neat; the subject could have been explored in many ways at any time.  Almost on the eve of the Issue 2 ballot, it was no coincidence.