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Ben L. Kaufman
 

Putting Journalists in Danger, Enquirer Firings and the Death of Robert McNamara

0 Comments · Monday, July 20, 2009
NBC's show 'The Wanted,' unites a reporter with a former U.S. Navy Seal and a former Army Green Beret in a hunt for fugitive war criminals and terrorists. Dumb. Too many people already see journalists as the enemy to be kidnapped, taken hostage or killed.  

The Whole World Is Watching Iran

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Go to YouTube and watch Neda Agha-Soltan die. She's on the Tehran pavement, shot by a government theological thug. It wasn't a gunfight. Not even the Iranian government claims that demonstrators shot at police, soldiers or militias. In our celebrity-obsessed era, she has achieved the ultimate: known by one name. Neda.   

Three Stories the Local Media Need to Cover Better

3 Comments · Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I call it "reporter's remorse," the notion that there were important stories we know we screwed up, missed or pursued with insufficient energy or smarts. Every one of us has that secret list. Three recent stories brought reporter's remorse to mind: shortfalls in Cincinnati municipal employees' pensions, the wild disparity between reality and UC economic consultants' tax revenue projections and the possibility that Duke Energy will build a nuclear power station in Ohio.   

Newspapers and the Web Try to Work out a Reasonable Relationship

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 10, 2009
There is no unanimity among publishers about the best response to the parasitic relationship with web sites like HuffingtonPost and Google. Some news media enjoy or accept unrelated sites that draw readers with brief summaries and link to their original stories. Meanwhile, papers with significant web traffic are trying to figure out how they can begin (or return to) charging for what readers have learned is free.  

Maureen Dowd's Plagiarism, Cincinnati's Connection to a British Scandal and Problems at NPR

2 Comments · Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I no longer regularly read the New York Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd. I take no delight in her Pulitzer-winning nastiness, even when I applaud her target being skewered. For sheer vitriol, she has few rivals outside cable TV. So it was with schadenfreude that I read about her passing off an entire paragraph, almost verbatim, from Talking Points Memo blogger Joshua Marshall as her own and offering an explanation that further undermines her credibility.  

A Flu by Any Other Name Wouldn't Be As Interesting to the Media

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Let's call it Flying Pig Flu to honor the birds and hogs that contributed genetic material to the new influenza. Why not? For the news media, finding the right name was the larger crisis. Flying Pig Flu is more politically correct than the Israeli decision to call it "Mexican" flu because observant Jews and Muslims who abstain from pork are offended by "swine" flu.  

Potential Closing of Hebrew Union College Deserves More Media Coverage

2 Comments · Wednesday, April 29, 2009
In the past month, The Los Angeles Times and The Enquirer have reported the possibility/likelihood that Hebrew Union College will close its historic Cincinnati campus on Clifton Avenue. HUC, founded here in 1875, is the oldest continually functioning Jewish seminary in the world. It trains Reform rabbis in New York, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Jerusalem. The L.A. campus might also be up for the chop, according to the California paper.  

Despite Bashings, Enquirer Continues to Move Forward ... to a Tabloid

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Celebrating Reds Opening Day might be the only local tradition whose popularity and numbers exceed badmouthing The Enquirer. Hostility to the morning daily is amazing, as is critics' frequent admission that they don’t subscribe or read it regularly. As it moves through uncertain times, I'm betting that The Enquirer is going to embrace a tabloid format.   

Holy Bad PR! Vatican Changes Pope's Press Remarks About AIDS and Condoms

2 Comments · Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The Vatican doesn't get it. I don't mean condoms, Islam or a Holocaust-denying bishop. I'm talking about the Internet. When Pope Benedict XVI asserted that condoms worsen Africa’s HIV/AIDS plague, bumbling Vatican aides corrected him, either ignoring or unaware that accurate news coverage was everywhere forever on the Internet.  

Debating the Media's Responsibility When Covering Suicides

1 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Editors generally avoid news and images of local suicides, reflecting our awareness of historic religious stigma and communal sense of shame that can burden survivors. Exceptions generally involve suicides where lots of people see the act and/or body, as when someone jumps from a downtown building or hangs himself in a school gym. Taboos continue to affect our discussion of suicide as a way to end an intolerable life or unbearable physical or emotional pain. This is most intense when a young person commits suicide.