2018 media trust poll & what it means

Gallup’s not-so-surprising poll finds that media trust depends on which side of the fence you’re on.  Some 84 percent of Americans believe the news media has a critical role to play in a democracy, but nearly 70 percent of Republicans ranked the media unfavorably, compared to 54 percent of Democrats.

Forty percent of Republicans say that negative stories about conservative politicians are “always” fake news.  So, in this case, “fake” is not a reflection of veracity but rather just another partisan position.

See the Knight Center and Columbia Journalism Review articles.


A journalists call to action

One thing is certain in the wake of the 2016 presidential election,  says  Margaret Sullivan’s  Nov 11 2016 column in the Washington Post 

“Journalists are going to have to be better — stronger, more courageous, stiffer-spined — than they’ve ever been.

“Donald Trump made hatred of the media the centerpiece of his campaign. Journalists were just cogs in a corporate machine, part of the rigged system. If many Americans distrusted us in the past, they came to actively hate us.

“…  We have to be willing to fight back,” she said.

“More than ever, we will need fearless and deep journalism,” she quoted Dan Gillmor, a journalist who teaches at Arizona State University.

Bad news for the news biz says Oliver

In this hilarious but sobering take on the demise of real news, Oliver takes on Tribune media’s human wrecking ball Sam Zell, and its ‘tronc’ rebranding (you cant make this stuff up).  Then there’s Sheldon Addleson the casino owner who took over the Las Vegas newspaper and edits everything that appears about him in the newspaper. And there’s Jeff Bezos … Well, you’ll just have to watch it.

The Pew report Oliver mentions is at journalism.org. This was part of a long string of reports from similar institutions about the impact of the digital Continue reading

About journalism


The late Larry Gibson, the “Lorax” of Appalachia, being interviewed by RU students at a mountaintop removal mining site, 2008.

Journalism is needed like never before.  At a time when the world seems perched on the ledge of self-destruction, we need people who can act independently, serve the public interest, and search for the truth.

Journalists are among the few professionals who are expected to serve the public interest and be guided by professional ethics and personal conscience.

There’s never been a better time to go into journalism.  Sure, the field is crowded, the obvious opportunities are limited, and many publishers are in trouble. But there is still a demand for information. People need to understand the world around them, and this is, after all, the information age. There are lots of ways to make a living in the news business. Continue reading

Report for America

Report for America, a partnership between the GroundTruth Project and Google News Lab with support from the Lenfest Institute, the Knight Foundation, and a number of other journalism organizations, has the ambitious goal of putting 1,000 journalists into underserved newsrooms across America over the next five years, according to an article in Nieman Reports.

A poet’s view


New NC law represses campus speech

North Carolina is considering (in April, 2016) a law that would harshly punish anyone who disrupts campus activities.   Although designated a “free  speech” law, the intent of the law appears to be the opposite of its name.

Solutions journalism course

Poynter’s News University, in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network, is offering the self-directed course “Solutions Journalism in Every Newsroom.”

Participants will learn how to define solutions journalism; identify and vet solutions journalism story ideas; structure a solutions story; write or produce solutions stories; and incorporate solutions journalism into daily workflow and beat reporting.

This course is in beta phase. As a bonus, participants who complete a survey at the end of the course will receive a free NewsU webinar.

Registration is ongoing. The course can be taken at any time.

For more information, click here.

(From International Journalism network )

Undercover reporting

Nelly Bly, undercover reporter for Pulitzer’s World newspaper, went undercover for “Ten Days in a Mad House”

When is it ethically and legally justifiable to go undercover to report a public interest story?   Good question. Brooke Kroeger’s book and project, Undercover Reporting: The Truth About Deception, looks at the historical answers to that question.

On The Media interviewed Kroeger about the issue.

“New Pills to Purge Melancholy . . .”

To sift the news, extract, refine,
We’ll start, they say, with nine, nine, nine,
The Fleet St. muttered: news comes late
Let’s get them down to eight, eight, eight.
The Treasury mildly swore to heaven
They’d soon reduce each eight to seven.
The Commons cried: confound their tricks,
They can’t need more than six, six, six,
And if they’re keen, alert, alive,
They ought to do with five, five, five,
The public shrieked: more news, much more,
Reduce your staff to four, four, four,
Lord Camrose spoke: leave this to me,
I’ll run it all on three, three, three.
The pundits wrote: Now this won’t do,
The right amount is two, two, two.
Their task was hardly yet begun
When lo, they dropped to one, one, one,
Before they’d done one half they ought
They quietly dwindled into nought.

Anonymous Ministry of Information official, 1939.
From Nicholas Cull’s “Selling War,” 1995, Oxford U Press.