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Archive for July 2005

The meaning of life, journalistically

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Deborah Feyerick discussed her feature on a religious “gay conversion” camp this morning on CNN’s “On The Story.”

The point of the story isn’t the issue here. What Feyerick said her principal goal with such an “emotional” story is.

She said that it was difficult “making both sides happy” with the story. She said post-story comments from “both sides” suggested that each was satisfied with the story, that both were “happy.”

I’ll be sure to dramatically revise my newswriting courses next month to tell students the purpose of journalism has nothing to do with providing appropriate information so that readers and viewers can make informed political and consumer decisions. “Make ’em all happy” will be my new mantra.

I just wish I’d gotten the CNN memo that Feyerick must have received.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 31, 2005 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A tale of two media: One getting richer, another not

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The corporations owning two of the nation’s most influential newspapers — The New York Times and the Wall Street Journalreported second-quarter profit declines this week.

Chief among the reasons: a sluggish print advertising market. Owners of stock in The New York Times Co. will make 42 cents a share, down from 50 cents a year ago. Dow Jones and Co. stockholders get 41 cents a share. (Part of the profit decline here was a one-time charge for leaving a programming agreement with CNBC.)

But Google stockholders will get an adjusted $1.37 a share, well above analysts’ expectations of $1.21. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 22, 2005 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

LATimes ed finally states the obvious — the end is near

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Big Media’s pact with Wall Street to maintain “unsustainably high profit” is driving readers away from newspapers.

That’s the message from John Carroll, who steps down as editor of the Los Angeles Times next month, in CJRDaily. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 22, 2005 at 2:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Owners win; newspaper readers lose

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The Seattle Times ownership’s decision to shrink the width of its newspaper — and editor Mike Fancher’s July 17 column explaining the rationale — demonstrates a commitment to maintaining financial return rather than providing news to its readership.

Beginning this week, the Times‘ broadsheet pages will be one inch narrow; its tab sections will be one inch shorter. Fancher says that newsprint prices have climbed 40 percent in the past three years and will likely go higher.

That’s a sound rationale, of course. The First Amendment may protect newspapers from government interference, but newspapers must be financially healthy to do their jobs. They must make a profit. (We’ll leave for another time a discussion of what amounts to appropriate profit.)

But this shrinkage comes at a cost to the reader. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 18, 2005 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Readers take Plain Dealer to task over holding series

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The Cleveland Plain Dealer printed letters to the editor Wednesday commenting on its editor’s decision to hold two investigative series based on leaked documents. [Read other editors’ comments.]

I’ve always warned my students to never underestimate the intelligence of their readers. These letters speak to the issue far more eloquently than I can: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 15, 2005 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Wanna know what the non-American press thinks?

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Many newspapers outside the U.S. have English-language Web sites. But many others don’t. So wouldn’t you like to be able to read a non-U.S. newspaper even though you don’t know the language?

The Christian Science Monitor reports that a translation site exists for just that reason. The site, Watching America, also has an RSS feed.

The translations are usually posted only a day after original publication, CSM reports.

I’d be curious about others’ reactions to the site.

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 14, 2005 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized