WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Worst Week Ever!: Dec. 4-10

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 10, 2014
If there’s anything worse than religious people who try to act morally superior and tell other people who they can marry and where their soul will spend eternity after they kick the bucket, it’s atheists who think other people care what they do and do not believe in.  

The Disaster in Disaster Relief

0 Comments · Friday, November 14, 2014
National media have a bottom drawer into which they stuff important stories that someone else did.   
by Jac Kern 10.24.2014 57 days ago
Posted In: Events, Radio at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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CityBeat Staffers' Favorite 'This American Life' Episodes

Ira Glass performs live at the Aronoff Saturday

This American Life, the true storytelling public radio show hosted by Ira Glass, is one of the most popular radio programs and podcasts today. Each week since 1995, Glass presents a theme — cars, summer camp, break-ups — and a variety of writers, comedians, journalists and everyday people share stories of their experiences with that subject. For the few unfamiliar with TAL, it’s one of those shows that will keep you in your car with the radio on long after you’ve pulled in the driveway. Ira Glass will present his live show, Reinventing Radio, this Saturday at the Aronoff Center. CityBeat spoke to Glass about his history with public radio — check out our interview here. To celebrate the program and its adorable bespectacled host, CityBeat staffers have compiled a few of our favorite episodes (in no particular order). Why not start at the beginning? This American Life’s very first episode — back when the program was called Your Radio Playhouse — aired on Nov. 17, 1995. The theme: New Beginnings. One of the guests is Ira’s mom. Fear of Sleep (Aug. 8, 2008) features tales on various things that go bump in the night. Comedian Mike Birbiglia shares his astonishing stories of sleepwalking, which later inspired his movie, Sleepwalk with Me. This American Life has done a few live productions over the years. On May 10, 2012, Glass and friends took the stage at New York University’s Skirball Center for Invisible Made Visible, a performance that was streamed live in movie theaters across the country. It was an incredible interactive experience that included music, dance, comedy and a short film. Check out photos here. From mistaken identity to evil twins, Dopplegangers (Jan. 11, 2013) has it all. Including Fred Armisen’s impeccable Ira Glass impression. A lot of This American Life segments are anecdotal, but sometimes the show has taken on newsier issues — and one time, they got it all wrong. On Jan. 6, 2012, Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory aired. Mike Daisey spoke about the conditions of an iPhone factory in China, including vivid details and interviews with workers. Soon after, it was revealed that Daisey had fabricated his story and lied during the fact-checking process. Retraction is not only an interesting correction to the original Daisey program, but a commentary on journalistic integrity, the importance of fact-checking and the lengths people will go for a moment in the spotlight. Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets: 513-621-ARTS or cincinnatiarts.org.
 
 

Ira Glass: The Golden Age of Wireless

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 22, 2014
This American Life host Ira Glass had radio in his blood from the start — only he didn’t know it.   

No Images = No Stories

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 14, 2014
It’s taken almost a month for the story of hundreds of kidnapped Nigerian school girls to gain a foothold in the American news media.   
by Ben L. Kaufman 06.12.2013
Posted In: Media, Media Criticism, Ethics, News at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Curmudgeon Notes 6.12.2013

Media musings from Cincinnati and beyond

• The Enquirer’s MasonBuzz.com wasn’t honest with readers about the source of its story promoting “National Heimlich Maneuver Day.” It was posted by a reporter but carried the byline of Melinda Zemper. She’s not a reporter and she wasn’t identified as a “contributor.” Zemper is public relations professional whose clients include Heimlich interests. She was helpful when I sought out Phil Heimlich for a story recently. That’s her job. So is providing copy ready for publication. With so few reporters and editors, news media are evermore open to such PR material as “news.” Traditional journalism ethics requires that we be told the writer’s underlying interest in the story if it’s not by a reporter or contributor. MasonBuzz.com failed that test.   • London’s Guardian scored its first of two coups when it reported the Obama administration is collecting our cell phone records in the name of national security. The Washington Post followed with its story about spying through Internet sites such as Google. Both relied on the same source, one of thousands of private contractor employees with top security clearances.  • The Guardian’s second coup was its interview with the American who revealed that NSA cell phone tracking: Edward Snowden, 29. The Guardian called him a “former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.” The paper said it named Snowden and published his online video statement at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, the paper said, Snowden eschewed the protection of anonymity. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he told the Guardian, although he wants to avoid the media spotlight. "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing." That won’t be easy, he conceded. "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me." Still, he told the Guardian, "I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in ... My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."  • Whistleblower Snowden is the civilian version of Army Private Bradley Manning, who gave military and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. Both were low-level intelligence specialists with high-level security clearance.  Both claim to have acted according to conscience, hoping to save rather than harm our nation. There is a difference, however, that I haven’t seen or heard in facile news media comparisons of Snowden to Manning or Daniel Ellsberg, an academic defense analyst who revealed the Pentagon Papers. Manning’s military and diplomatic cables and Ellsberg’s study of the Vietnam war were in the broadest sense histories. Snowden’s revelations involve current and future data collection and analysis.  • Mother Jones magazine/online also scored two scoops in recent days. It says the Justice Department wants to hide an 86-page opinion by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court that says the government violated the spirit of federal surveillance laws and engaged in unconstitutional spying. Mother Jones’ bureau chief in Washington, David Corn, says the secrecy effort is a response to a Freedom of Information suit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  • In its second coup, Mother Jones says the FBI raided the Winchester, Ky., home of corporate cybersecurity consultant Deric Lostutter. As hacker KYAnonymous, he was instrumental in making the Steubenville rape case a national story. Mother Jones says Lostutter “obtained and published tweets and Instagram photos in which other team members had joked about the incident and belittled the victim. He now admits to being the man behind the mask in a video posted by another hacker on the team's fan page, RollRedRoll.com, where he threatened action against the players unless they apologized to the girl ... According to the FBI's search warrant, agents were seeking evidence related to the hacking of RollRedRoll.com ... If convicted of hacking-related crimes, Lostutter could face up to 10 years behind bars — far more than the one- and two-year sentences doled out to the Steubenville rapists.” • Local news media embrace an uncritical “boost, don’t knock” approach to local festivals. Even so, they ignored a great photo op at the opening of Summer Fair. Hundreds of people stood in line in the Coney Island parking lot while two people — at one table — took admission money. Some people waited more than 30 minutes to get in. Parking was free, so no one knows how many potential customers took one look and drove away.   • A recent Enquirer cover story confirms what a lot of people have known for years: Go elsewhere for sophisticated cancer care. What’s news is the admission in a proposed UC major investment to bring advanced cancer care here.  • Another Enquirer cover story made my prehensile toes curl with joy. The Creation Museum is evolving to allow us to return to tree tops ... via zip lines.  • I’m still unhappy about NPR’s decision to kill Talk of the Nation carried here 2-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday. It was the nation’s best long-format public radio interview program, sort of a New Yorker of the air.  Starting July 1, WVXU plans to fill the newly vacant 2-3 p.m. gap with an expanded Cincinnati Edition using current staff as hosts. I hope it retains long-format interviews.  With its limited resources newly devoted to the expanded Monday-Thursday Cincinnati Edition, WVXU is ending Maryanne Zeleznik’s Thursday morning long-format Impact Cincinnati interview show and the staff’s Saturday and Sunday one-hour weekend Cincinnati Edition. There were good regular segments and I hope they’ll be woven into the new format.  To fill 3-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday, WVXU is bringing in The Takeaway. WVXU says it’s is a co-production of WNYC Radio and Public Radio International, in collaboration with New York Times Radio and WGBH Boston. The Takeaway carries the tagline, “Welcome to the American Conversation.” We’ll see. Talk of the Nation set a very high standard. • Sunday’s Enquirer Forum calls on Ohio to expand Medicaid despite a shortage of physicians and others to cope. In part, the paper notes, few med school grads choose primary care. Reasons aren’t that complicated. Relatively low salaries paid to primary care physicians mean docs will spend a good portion of their adult lives repaying loans that often began as undergrads and compounded while adding med school loans. Another reason is that Medicaid pays even less than Medicare for office visits and treatments. That’s helps explain why primary care docs aren’t better paid and some practices limit their Medicaid and Medicare patients.  The Enquirer should dig still deeper into related issues. Why should taxpayers provide health insurance (Medicaid or unpaid emergency care) to badly paid workers whose major employers provide little or no health care insurance? Why do we as a nation offer such niggardly support to med students that they opt for higher paid specialties which ease loan repayments? (This isn’t a personal beef. Our daughter, whose board certifications include family practice, went through medical school on a UC scholarship but many classmates graduated with life-limiting debt.) • NPR had a long story on how jelly fish are multiplying at a rate that creates or exacerbates problems in the oceans. These prehistoric creatures survive, multiply and prosper without a spine or brain. Apt analogies encouraged.  • The cascade of information about NSA snooping has an unintended benefit. Pervasive federal intrusions no longer are “just a journalists’ thing.” Millions of Americans now know their cell phone calls and email/Internet data are being collected and analyzed by NSA computers and agents. This growing consciousness may provoke a groundswell that could provide brains and spine for Congress to correct police state legislation passed after 9/11.  • Eric Holder — still U.S. attorney general when this was written — is almost contrite about Justice Department grabbing reporters’ telephone and email records. He now says he won’t prosecute reporters just doing our jobs. Any journalist who accepts his assurance lacks the minimum skepticism required for our trade. Holder serves at the pleasure of a president whose antipathy to leaks recalls Nixon’s creation of the Plumbers. • NKU dropout Gary Webb shared the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for San Jose Mercury’s coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Then he took on the CIA in his sometimes-overreaching 1996 Mercury series, Dark Alliance, which said crack cocaine was being sold in Los Angeles’ black ghettos to support CIA-supported contras in Nicaragua. The LA Times and others — including the NYTimes and Washington Post — were embarrassed by Webb and the nowhere San Jose paper. They went all out to discredit Webb and his findings. Webb’s errors and inadequately supported assertions gave critics their opening. Irrespective of the the national papers’ attacks inaccuracies and misdirection, they ruined Webb’s career and he committed suicide. Years later, even former critics acknowledged the generally substantiated core of Webb’s series: CIA ignored Contra cocaine smuggling and its spread of crack in U.S. inner cities. A movie is being made about Webb and the CIA series, Kill the Messenger. • NPR’s Morning Edition described in broad detail an NSA data center going up outside Salt Lake City. Computers are so large and hot that they will need 1.5 million gallons of cooling water daily. I wish NPR told me where that water was coming from and where it would go after being used to cool the computers.   • With friends like this ... Aljazeera.com reports that Syrian rebels executed a 15-year-old Aleppo coffee vendor in front of his family because the killers thought a common Syrian retort was blasphemy. The youth apparently refused someone coffee on credit, saying, “Even if Mohammad comes down, I will not give it as a debt.”  • Obama’s meeting at Sunnylands, the Annenberg estate near Palm Springs, Calif., pricked my nostalgia. In the early 1940s, my father, an Army physician, was stationed in Palm Springs. A visionary local developer offered Dad some land. As our family legend goes, that friend assured my father that “after the war,” Palm Springs would boom. Headed for combat in Europe and uncertain what might follow, Dad said thanks, but no thanks. Oh, well. If Dad had taken his friend’s offer, last week’s Obama-Xi meeting could have been on a Kaufman desert hideaway, “10,000 Lakes.”
 
 

Bunbury Rocks, Def Lep Rewinds and Macca/Boss Cut Short

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The first ever Bunbury Music Festival draws tens of thousands to Cincinnati's riverfront for three days of great times and even better music. Plus, Joe Elliott says Def Leppard will be joining iTunes soon finally — after the band re-records all of its old songs so they can receive all the profits — and one of the jerks responsible for pulling the plug on Bruce Springsteen/Paul McCartney defends the decision and jerkishly says it "added legend to the myth."  
by Jac Kern 04.11.2012
 
 
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'This American Life' to Be Broadcast Live

Popular public radio show will be shown in local theaters

"I don't really like This American Life or Ira Glass," said no one.The weekly, true storytelling public radio show with its quirky, adorable host seriously has something for everyone — timely topics, laugh-out-loud (or cry-out-loud) anecdotes, thoughtful insight. TAL even got my stubborn, conservative father to listen to NPR on a regular basis. So since we can all agree how awesome it is, let's celebrate the announcement that Ira and Co. will present a live show in New York City, to be broadcast in movie theaters across the country on May 10.Those who watched the television adaptation of This American Life know how flawlessly the program can be adapted to incorporate visual elements with the standard unscripted storytelling format. But the live show is set to involve more than just interviews and animations seen in the TV program.The live event will feature stories by writer David Rakoff (who worked with Ira Glass and David Sedaris), comedian Tig Notaro (Comedy Central Presents, The Sarah Silverman Program), Glynn Washington (host of radio show Snap Judgement and jack-of-all-trades) and Ira himself. Taking full advantage of the live, visual format, the show will also feature music by OK Go, a short film by longtime TAL contributor and comedian Mike Birbiglia, a dance performance by Monica Bill Barnes & Company and much more to be seen. This American Life presented a live show, also broadcast in theaters, back in 2009.The show will go live at 8 p.m. May 10 onstage at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. If you can't make the trip to the Big Apple (it's sold out anyway), check it out at one of many local theaters screening the show, including AMC Newport, Western Hills 14, Florence 14, Milford 16, Springdale Showcase Cinemas and Deerfield Town Center. Many of these theaters will present an encore screening May 15 as well. Go here for tickets.
 
 

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.  

Nov. 24-30: Worst Week Ever!

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 1, 2010
It's 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28: Do you know where your rifle is? If you don't then it's time to mount up because Ohio's nine-day deer hunting season runs Monday through Saturday and after that you only have two more days this year to shoot one of those bastards.  

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