Nieman Reports

A journal presenting information concerning media issues for the academic audience.

Articles from Vol. 49, No. 3, Fall

Bias and Safety: Society Should Deal with Non-Racist Racial Discrimination
Randall Kennedy Professor of Law W.E.B. Du Bois said the problem of the 20th Century would be the problem of the color line. I'd like to focus our attention on one problem that exists along that line: the use of race as a proxy for suspiciousness....
Brazil's Vibrant Media
June 14 was a rather slow news day for Brazilian editors. Then Argentine President Carlos Menem exploded. Angered by Brazil's announcement that it would limit imports of Argentine cars, he threatened to cancel a visit to Sao Paulo the following Monday....
Colombia's Press Losing Its Edge
Strange things have happened to Colombia's media over the years, but few are stranger than what went on at the leading newsmagazine, Semana, several months ago. The story behind one Semana story says a lot about difficulties of investigative reporting...
Criminal Trial Reform: Simpson Case Foreshadows Changes in Court Procedures
I teach at Harvard Law School and have been urging the school toward technology, both conceptually and practically. Last fall we brought our entire first-year class up electronically; 540 entering students, in a series of classes, studied the OJ. Simpson...
Delete 'Fundamentalist.' (Media Coverage of Religious Stories)
It is my belief that too much attention is given to irrelevant news items, and not enough to religious stories. It's the nuances that are missing, the ironies and intricacies of a happening that should make a news item worth reporting. Going behind...
Economic Challenges: Companies Are Renewed, but U.S. Is Still Plagued by Country Management Problems
As most of you know, at Harvard Business School we teach by the case method. My case for this morning is a video made at Opel's new plant in Eisenach, Germany. Opel is GM's second largest group--after Chevrolet. It is bigger than Chrysler. The 3-minute...
Economic Problem: Incomes Are Stagnant, Even with 2-Earner Families
There are two major difficulties in trying to understand current U.S. economic policy. The first is that so many people with half a mind to talk about the subject go ahead and do so anyway. The second is that such a very large fraction turn out to occupy...
Economic Trend: More Willing to Give Up Pay for Additional Time Off
There are a number of indications that workers continue to work longer and longer. The most dramatic evidence of this trend is in manufacturing, which is recording the highest work week since World War II and the highest levels of overtime recorded....
Ecuador's Timid Press
The front pages of Ecuador's daily newspapers all carried essentially the same story one Monday in September, 1994. Based on a statement from a presidential spokesman, the newspaper stories criticized a false report that Ecuadorian President Sixto...
Environmental Policy: Better Media Coverage of Risks Is Urged
I was on a plane a few days ago, coming back from Austin, Texas, where I participated in a weekend conference of environmental journalists. The person next to me asked me what I did for a living and I said, "Well, I'm an environmental economist." There...
Epistle to the Troglodytes
The 1995 Nieman Reunion was a wonderful occasion for renewing valued old friendships--and valued old prejudices. My prejudice is the conviction that many news people are myopic to the point of total blindness in the delusion that they can shun science...
First, Learn Some Basics about Religion
It s not that I am completely ignorant about sports. Name a team and F 11 probably be able to tell you whether it is football or baseball. There are even a couple of sports heroes on my list of people I admire. But, even though I am not interested...
Foreign Affairs: Paradigm Lost to Press and Historians
Ernest May Director of the Charles Warren Center For Study of American History My theme is paradigm loss. The basic way in which we interpret events has changed. By "we," I mean journalists like you, who interpret events of the day, and historians...
Health-Care Reform: The Press Failed to Inform Public of Alternatives
I'm a ringer. You're not going to learn a lot about health and medicine from me. I'm here to start the discussion about the poll of Nieman Fellows. What is the role of the press on big issues? I'm going to use health-care reform as a case study....
How to Go Online Quickly
My friend's voice on the other end of the phone betrayed a sense of urgency. He had just returned to his job as editor of a medium-sized and well-respected newspaper on the West Coast and had discovered that management had been treading water for a...
In Argentina, Contradictions Abound
The Argentine press is facing up to the fact that hard times are the real stuff it is made of. While the media, both print and broadcast, are facing problems in emerging countries all over the world, consider the special nature of the situation in...
Is Public Ready for News on Computers?
We have a reliable and timetested system for getting the news out to the public. Since the commercialization of the steampowered rotary press in the 1830's, newspapers and magazines, and then from the 1920's, radio and television have evolved and negotiated...
Judaism: 4,000 Years of Media Attention
In responding to the principal question for this report of whether the media provide the information that members of the Jewish religious community want to receive, I must preface my remarks with two important observations. The first is that Judaism,...
Leadership: It Should Not Be Equated with Mere Authority
It took me ten years to write my book on leadership, that just came out in the fall. ["Leadership Without Easy Answers"] And it took ten years because the field is so fuzzy and blurry, and most efforts to analyze leadership are confused and confusing,...
Mexico's Press in the NAFTA Era
Last June, Mexican authorities arrested one of the country's most powerful drug lords after a chartered Lear jet ran out of fuel and crashed in central Mexico. Because the trafficker, Hector Luis Palma, survived and was captured, press releases poured...
New Education for Journalists
Who would have thought the Pope and the U.S. Coast Guard would end up in near pas de deux, and in cyberspace of all places?Yet that is what happened within a 48-hour period this spring. On March 30, the Vatican announced that 2,000 years after the...
New Openings in Science: Microbes Are out There, Ready to Hurt - and Help
When I turn on the news at night, whether it's CNN or one of the networks, or even if I open The New York Times (except for the Science Times), the amount of information, that the public gets on science is very small. The public's perception, in terms...
Nieman Poll Finds Decline in Media Quality
The Nieman Foundation, as part of the program for its 1995 reunion, contracted with the George H. Gallup International Institute to conduct a survey of the 500 United States Nieman Fellows to explore the state of the public media today. It was an Opportunity...
Photography and Life: Pictures Depend on Attitudes of Viewer and Maker
Barbara Norfleet Curator of Still Photography in Carpenter Center for Visual Arts "We have art in order not to die of the truth." I saw this quotation on the blackboard of a public school in St. Louis in 1969. I had just taken up photography after...
Re-Entry Blues
It's a dirty little secret of the Nieman and other fellowship programs, the only down side in an otherwise spectacular year: it's called re-entry. Which, as all alumnae/i know, is the hard reality that after spending a year being told and shown...
Rudenstine, Galbraith and Thomson Talks
Following are excerpts from the remarks by Neil Rudenstine, President of Harvard; John Kenneth Galbraith, retired S. G. Warburg Professor of Economics, and dames C. Thomson, Jr., former Nieman Curator, to the 1995 Nieman Fellows reunion banquet May 6,...
Timing Is Really Everything
Media executives looking for grOwth investments during the 1980's had two big chances to strike it rich. Early in the decade, cable television blossomed. Later, cellular radio telephones produced a second bonanza. Following these successes, many media...
What New-Niche Newspapers?
The death of newspapers has long been reported by newspapers. In fact, the newspaper has died many times only to be reinvented technologically, editorially, and financially. But this time it may be different. The changes are so multiple and simultaneous...
What Would Attract Pentecostals?
To address any trait among Pentecostals, it is necessary to remove radical extremes that fall under the classification of Pentecostal. To be Pentecostal is to be part of a movement, not necessarily a church or an organization. The number of people...
World Economy: Good Policies Demand More Than Economics
For the last two or three days, I have had a terrible backache. The condition has some similarity with the nature of the world economy at this time: the body is in large measure quite sound, but there are parts of that structure that have a lot of...