Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Journalistic Hopes for the New Year

Here's hoping....

...that 60 Minutes decides it should do journalism again and remembers how to do basic fact checking.

---that Fox News adds a laugh track to most of what it does to put it in proper context for  viewers.

...that local TV sports reporters put down their pom poms and pick up their pens and do some reporting instead of cheerleading.

...that members of Congress get more outraged with members of the secret government who lie to Congress than they do with whistleblowers who tell the truth.

...that members of Congress who don't believe in science lose their next election.

---that local reporters question their members of Congress about inequality, gun regulation, climate change, money in politics, education, stronger protection for government whistleblowers, and the dangers of the secret government.

...that newspapers invest in training their reporters how to do an on-camera interview.

...that newspapers buy some microphones and use two microphones, not just one when doing an interview.

...that newspaper owners recognize news photography requires skill, not just an iPhone.

...that The Guardian, Mother Jones, the Nation, Slate, Salon, the Center for Public Integrity, Frontline, and ProPublica continue to do great work. 

...that K-12 schools provide some basic education in how to question and verify information.

---that J-schools encourage student journalists to investigate their own universities.
...that the Daily Show gets some competition from a news organization for thoughtful commentary (keep up the great work Daily Show).

If that were to happen, what a truly Happy New Year it would be for journalism.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lapdog of the Year: Time Magazine (60 Minutes - wins govt cheerleader)

Where was the American press???

As Time reports in its Person of the Year issue, "At the time Snowden went public, the American people had not just been kept in the dark; they had actively been misled about the actions of their government."

Now, thanks to Edward Snowden and The Guardian we're having a national and international discussion about the secret government approved by the secret court and supported by the lapdog press.

It's truly appropriate that Time doesn't select the Person of the Year to be Person of the Year.   That's exactly what one would expect from a member of the lapdog press.

For lapdog of the year, 60 Minutes with its NSA report was a close second.   But it really deserves the top award for government cheerleading.  And every journalism instructor owes 60 Minutes a big thank you.   In a single episode, 60 Minutes has demonstrated what journalism is not.  

A third finalist was a collective effort:  sports departments for every local TV station in the country. Now, thanks to PBS's League of Denial, the sports cheerleaders are finding it just a touch more difficult to totally ignore the problem of football concussions.

Honorable mention goes to Bloomberg for killing stories critical of China.

What a year!  

When journalism fails, bad things happen.