Friday, June 15, 2012

University Presidents Ignore Lawsuit Risk

Why do you suppose Division I university presidents are so incredibly silent on the risk of litigation posed by college football, a sport that causes brain damage?   Just read through the complaint filed by the NFL players, and all the medical studies are certainly available and known to universities.

The NFL players get big money.   College players get what, the promise of a college education?  The NFL is a business, a billion-dollar business.   A university's mission isn't supposed to be to maximize team revenue.  Doesn't a university have an ethical, moral and educational responsibility to students?  What will a university president say when questioned by the lawyer for a football brain-damaged student? 

Under deposition, on the witness stand, what does a university president say when asked, "why does your university recruit students to participate in a sport known to cause brain damage?"

A better question is for all the local journalists.   Why aren't you asking that question of your university president?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A newsroom with possibilities

The Times Picayune says it's cutting 84 of the newsroom’s 173 employees.   That still leaves a sizable newsroom.

If these are multimedia journalists who utilize computer-assisted reporting, they can break a whole lot of news.

The key to a successful news operation is to do news.  The key to building an audience is simple:  do stories that matter; not blather that doesn't. 

Journalists can't waste time wringing their hands about what was.  The typewriter is dead.  The film camera is dead.  The print newsroom is dead.   Such things are now the province of historians.  Journalists look at the now and look at the future.   The future is overflowing with great stories waiting to be done.    There are too many human microphone stands; that makes for all the more possibilities for the journalist who actually does what a journalist is supposed to do. 

There are no newspaper reporters.   There are no television reporters.   There are no radio reporters.   There are multimedia reporters.   Those who recognize that will get excited at the incredible reporting possibilities today's technology allows.  I can do a video interview with anyone in the world who has high speed access.   I can produce video projects for a fraction of what they cost years ago.

So why do we still see newspaper web site after newspaper web site that looks a decade out of date?  Why are so many stories still print centric when newspapers died more than a decade ago?   Answer:  management is finally doing now what it needed to do more than a decade ago.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Scavenger Hunt: Find Substantive Healthcare Reporting

News organizations are supposed to examine substantive issues.   One of the crucial issues of our time is healthcare.   A couple years ago, Frontline did a superb analysis, a program titled Sick Around the World.

Here's an easy story.   Go on a scavenger hunt for in depth reporting on healthcare by network television.  Ask CBS, NBC, ABC & Fox to provide the three best examples of thoughtful analysis and reporting on healthcare.   Name calling and yelling about Obamacare do not count.

For any network that can't provide anything, ask a follow up question to each commissioner on the FCC:  does a television network making huge profits have a responsibility to operate in the public interest?

Another quick story:  what thoughtful analysis has your member of Congress done on healthcare options that make sense?    Is your member of Congress looking for solutions or just spouting political talking points?