American Journalism Review

Trade journal reporting on broadcast and print journalism. For Trade and Professional audiences.

Articles from Vol. 26, No. 5, October-November

2004 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism: CJC Recognizes Winners and Finalists of 10th Annual Contest
The Boston Globe's wrenching profile of a mother who gave up her two sons for adoption; The Oregonian's incisive look at how massive cuts in mental health services led to the suicide of a 22-year-old woman with schizophrenia; the Los Angeles Times'...
A 911 for Journalists: When Journalists Face Jail Time for Protecting Sources or the Government Tries to Keep Public Information Off-Limits, First Amendment Crusader Lucy Dalglish Is Ready for Battle
When Vanessa Leggett was hauled into jail in 2001 for refusing to hand over to the police her notes for a true-crime book she was researching, she eventually became a media heroine, a symbol for press freedom in America. But not right away. At first...
A Challenge from the Sky: As Satellite Radio Providers Air Local Traffic and Weather, Local Radio Station Owners Are Feeling the Heat
It's not news that radio provides less local news and information than it used to. Consolidation of ownership, program syndication and outsourcing of traffic and weather have turned many local commercial stations into mere transmission belts for content...
Al Jazeera under the Gun: Sanctions against the Network Send a "Troubling Message" for Press Freedom in the Middle East
When the Baghdad office of Al Jazeera was shut down this summer, it was a serious setback for press freedom in the Middle East. It also reignited controversy about the United States government's commitment to support independent news media in Iraq....
An Unconventional Approach: Since Political Conventions Have Become Television Extravaganzas Rather Than News Events, Let's Assign Some Critics to Cover Them
Clone Tom Shales. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The wisecracking Washington Post TV critic and curmudgeon brings a fresh eye to convention coverage that too often is listless and predictable. Cloning him, or at least expanding the use of TV critics...
Checking It Out: News Organizations Need to Be More Careful in Handling Inflammatory Stories Based on Unconfirmed Internet Sources
Fake blood, a vegetable knife and a video camera. Pulling a prank on the media shouldn't be so easy, but it was bound to happen. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Early on the morning of August 7, four versions of an Associated Press story reported that...
Double Whammy: Yemeni Journalists Face Stiff Challenges from an Extremely Restrictive Press Law and Armed Islamic Radicals
Shihab Al-Ahdal, editor of a feisty weekly in Sana'a, Yemen, carries two lifelines with him when he leaves the newsroom each day--a mobile phone that rings constantly and a handgun. As a safety precaution, the newspaper's name does not appear on the...
Energy Boost: The Asbury Park Press Plummeted after Gannett Bought It from Independent Ownership. Then an Aggressive Editor Named Skip Hidlay Look over. Now the Paper Is Known for Its Investigative Edge, Exemplified by Its Award-Winning, 72-Article Series on How New Jersey Legislators Profit from Their Jobs
On Sunday, September 21, 2003, the Asbury Park Press launched a compelling series titled "Profiting from Public Service: How Many N.J. Legislators Exploit the System." For eight days, the newspaper detailed abuses and provided examples that filled...
Foreign Relations: Journalists from Afar Are Dismayed by the End of a Convention Mainstay
Covering the Democratic and Republican national conventions is a rite of passage for many American reporters, and indeed in Boston and New York the number of journalists seemed to dwarf the delegate count. But for foreign journalists--particularly...
Gag the Press: It's Hard to See Why Transcripts in the Kobe Bryant Case That Were Mistakenly E-Mailed to News Organizations Were Kept Sealed in the First Place
Under the best of circumstances, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for Colorado District Court Judge W. Terry Ruckriegle to keep the high-profile Kobe Bryant rape case from turning into a media circus. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] But...
Images of War: This Year the American News Media Have Displayed Pictures of Burned Bodies in Fallujah, Flag-Draped Coffins Coming Home from Iraq and the Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners at Abu Ghraib. but Were They Too Squeamish When It Came to Showing the Carnage of War during the Invasion Last Year?
In April 2003, Time magazine published a number of photographs from the Iraq war, each dramatically spread across two full pages. Among them, the image of a dead Iraqi lying in the desert. The photograph was powerful--the man's mouth slightly open,...
Journalism without Profit Margins: In an Era of Concentration, Conglomeration and Commercialization of News, a Small Band of News Outlets Takes a Radically Different Approach. the Journalists at These Noncommercial Outposts Definitely Seem Happier. but Is the Journalism Better?
Senior producer Michael Mosettig is running through his lineup for tonight's "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" when a colleague darts into his office and exclaims, "They've just beheaded a hostage." [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Mosettig doesn't lunge...
Lobbying Juggernaut: The Broadcast Industry Has Become One of Washington's Most Feared Economic Special Interests, Creating More and More Ethical Conflicts for News Outlets. and Too Many Journalists Are Playing Right Along
When news executives decide to throw their political weight around, they have plenty of ways to do it, some subtle and some crude. Gloria Tristani got the crude treatment as she prepared for a 2002 Senate race in her home state of New Mexico. Tristani...
Puffed Rice: It's Time to Re-Evaluate a Sportswriting Classic
Picture this. You're teaching a journalism course and one of your students turns in a sports story that leads with an allusion to Jewish and Christian eschatology. The writer uses a simile that first makes one of the teams a cyclone sweeping the...
Rock Star
"Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani's rock-star potency might be better suited to the wide-open field of a Republican insurgency...." New York Observer "Though not all the athletes could speak English, they treated Bush like a rock star." Cleveland's Plain Dealer "In...
The Gadfly: Frank Blethen's Battle against Media Consolidation
"You know, at one time I thought I was going to be a social worker," Frank Blethen confides with a chuckle. "That was before I knew what social workers do, and what they got paid." [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Today Blethen is publisher of the Seattle...
The Swift Boat Conundrum: How Should the Mainstream Media Deal with Such Stories?
It's an age-old dilemma: How do you handle controversial, explosive charges made in the heat of a political campaign by people with painfully obvious axes to grind? [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The traditional response of the big-time journalism gatekeepers--the...
They'll Be Dancin' in the Dark-At Home
When a favorite music group is performing at a politically charged fundraiser, what is a journalist to do? The answer at USA Today: Don't go. Though they might love The Boss or R.E.M or Dave Matthews, the paper's political reporters and its editor...
Unearthing the Undervote: Florida Wasn't the Only State with Egregious Election Errors in 2000, and It's Highly Likely Glitches Will Occur in November. Are Reporters Ready to Spot Them?
Rural Tyler County in the western hills of West Virginia lost exactly 1,000 votes belonging to Bob Dole during the 1996 presidential election. In fact, a lot of votes in a lot of places were lost in the past eight years because of inaccurate voting...
What's the Point? Few Voters Are Swayed by Newspaper Endorsements of Presidential Candidates. So Why Do Editorial Pages Keep Publishing Them?
TWENTY-EIGHT DAYS after Sen. John Edwards snagged second place in the Iowa caucuses--propelled, many say, by an unexpected endorsement from the Des Moines Register--CNN anchor Lou Dobbs interviewed Linda Honold, head of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin,...
Woe Is the Industry? Circulation Scandals, Sluggish Ad Revenue and Internet Competitors Have Certainly Had an Effect on Newspapers. but There's No Need to Wallow Just Yet
The newspaper business seems beset by problems on all sides. No sooner had newspapers largely recovered from plagiarism and phony-story eruptions at the New York Times and USA Today than the circulation-inflation scandals surfaced at three major dailies,...