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On Second Thought
 

A 15-Step Program to Save the Media from Themselves

0 Comments · Friday, January 7, 2011
Dump consultants. Cancel audience-counting contracts. Fire click whores. Ice eyeballs. Adopt my cost-free 12-step program (actually 15) to save surviving news media ... from ourselves. Readers, viewers and listeners know we fill space and time with meaningless words. It goes beyond verbosity. It's insulting. Start the new year by embracing virtue.  

Changes at Streetvibes to 'Broaden the Reach of the Paper'

0 Comments · Monday, December 20, 2010
After Streetvibes Editor Greg Flannery left over what I will call irreconcilable differences with Josh Spring, executive director of the sponsoring Greater Cincinnati Coalition of the Homeless, Spring says "the paper will play its role" in Coalition battles to house the homeless and oppose gentrification. Staff meetings will include new Editor Jennifer Martin, and then her job, he says, "is to do what an editor does."  

How the Media Covers the Poor Follows America's Treatment of the Poor

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Was the man who burned to death trying to stay warm in Queensgate, William Floyd, another throwaway Cincinnatian? Had he died in a house fire in a better neighborhood, we probably would have learned about his family, his education, trade or profession, his military service, health/mental problems, possible addictions or alcoholism and funeral/burial plans. We might even have learned what bank was accepting donations for his funeral. [Thanks to Kevin Osborne's Dec. 2 blog post on CityBeat.com, I do know some of that information now about Floyd.]  

Media Sloppiness Leads to Guilt by Association

0 Comments · Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Why associate a homicide with an apparently unrelated business? A recent Enquirer story said an Over-the-Rhine shooting was "a block south of Findlay Market." The headline said it was "near Findlay Market." Nothing in the story said or indicated the victim or shooter had anything to do with Findlay Market except proximity. Would The Enquirer say "a block south of P&G" in a story that doesn't tie a homicide to the corporation? Not likely.  

Tea Party Candidates Painted Media as Enemy

1 Comment · Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Partisan campaign violence and intimidation are worrying, especially when elected leaders remain silent. It's as if Republicans know the radical fringe could turn on them. Egregious examples are Tea Party favorites. Given public perceptions of Tea Party power, that suggests the next two years will be ugly as reporters try to elicit useful information from Republican winners, candidates and operatives.  

The Media's Role in Covering All Election Candidates

0 Comments · Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I'm troubled by the unjustifiable exclusion of minor party candidates from Ohio campaign debates sponsored by the news media. Criteria I've seen for inclusion remind me of the tests faced by blacks at some Southern election boards and polling places. They're designed to affect the elections by excluding persons who should be included. Stripped of other roles, that of informing voters is the foundation for our continued free press.  

Peeking Inside the Department of 'Corections'

0 Comments · Monday, October 11, 2010
My favorite reading includes corrections. Everyone errs. Some admit it and correct their errors. Graphs, maps and percentages figure prominently in corrections, but names of people and places most often seem to trip us up. Get a name wrong, and it becomes journalism history if not local legend. Unless it's corrected, others reporters may rely on that spelling and get into all kinds of trouble.   

Everyone Wins When a Newspaper Covers the News

0 Comments · Monday, September 27, 2010
Most Tristate households didn't buy a Sept. 19 Enquirer. Too bad. Even 10 days later, it's still a good buy. That Sunday's Local Life and Sunday Forum made it one of the best in memory and confirm Editor Tom Callinan's success at retaining a core of his best hard news reporters during brutal staff cuts. We need more of this kind of journalism from our Sole Surviving Daily because no one else has the resources.   

Teaching Media Ethics to Two Generations of News Consumers

0 Comments · Monday, September 13, 2010
Next Wednesday I'll pursue a favorite past time: introducing a class of University of Cincinnati undergraduates to the ambiguities of journalism ethics. We'll talk about virtues and vices, standards and seducers. Our first session probably will include the threatened burning of the Qur'an by a Florida pastor. And in October I'll teach a similar class for UC's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. It's freewheeling — no text, exams or grades.  

The Disappearing Science of Covering Science

0 Comments · Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Mainstream news media have trouble covering science or anything else that involves a process and lacks a winner and loser. It's worse these days since reporters covering that beat often were among the first to be fired in the search for profitability. Probably no one has fared worse from this institutional handicap in recent years than Charles Darwin, especially in the past months during the 150th anniversary of his unsettling book on evolution.   

A New Challenge for the Media: 'Unpublishing'

0 Comments · Monday, August 16, 2010
A Pennsylvania legal case opens up discussion of the perennial tensions among individual desires for privacy and the news media and old thinking versus new media. Should news stories, especially those with embarrassing details, be expunged from online media archives? Can they ever be truly "unpublished" in the digital world?  

Why Fact-Checking Is Even More Important in Today's Go-Go Media World

0 Comments · Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I'm still laughing at the credulity of the NAACP national office, the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack over the firing of Shirley Sherrod. You can't make this shit up. And when I'm done laughing, I want to weep. Some of the brightest people in our public life believe anything that's on the Internet.  

News Sites Trying New Approaches to Handling Anonymous Comments

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I just don't have time for the stupidity, ignorance, anger, obscenities and racism that anonymous online commenting encourages. In a more innocent online era, many daily papers and others opened themselves to online comments. It was to be an instant Letters to the Editor, a more personal connection with the reader. But the resulting toxic stream of comments have led The Enquirer and other Gannett dailies to hire an outside company, Pluck, to intervene on reader online comments.  

Access to Important Sources Often Means Journalists Avoid Controversial Stories

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Access is everything to reporters. We want people to talk to us, to share confidences and documents, to point us to others who will do the same. But there's a price: Don't burn your sources ... which can mean ignoring a story that will prompt the subject to slam the door (figuratively or actually) in a reporter's face. That might be one reason it took Rolling Stone to reveal the contempt for the president and other civilians to whom U.S. military officials in Afghanistan report.  

FTC Studies How to 'Save' Journalism Via Federal Government Intervention

0 Comments · Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The Federal Trade Commission is sticking its nose into the future of journalism. It's not needed. The FTC has enough to do; news is not a monopoly, nor is it a fraud. That hasn't kept staff from studying what already is being studied, drafting issues and suggestions that hardly suggest novelty or media neutrality and laying the groundwork for continued employment of FTC staff while working journalists are being fired by the thousands.