Sunday, September 27, 2009

More to Pew poll than headlines

"Most Americans believe media biased" was a common headline two weeks ago when the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released its updated survey on people's attitude about the news media. However, the survey is deeper than a headline and isn't all bad news for journalists -- or conscientious news consumers

For one thing, the survey doesn't differentiate between journalists and media advocates such as Rush Limbaugh, Amy Goodman or Walter Williams. They all have fans, but they're much more entertainers or opinionated writers than reporters who strive to offer stories that are complete, fair and accurate. Further, only indirectly considered is human nature -- appreciating contents that reinforce one's existing beliefs and discounting material that disputes or disagrees with beliefs as biased.

Finally, buried in the Pew study are tidbits of positives or surprises amid the conventional-wisdom blather:

*"For more than two decades, majorities have expressed the view that a critical press keeps leaders from doing things that should not be done,"

*"Even among those younger than 30, substantially more say they get most local news from newspapers (39%) than from the Internet (21%)," and

*"Young people are actually more likely to say it would be an inportant loss if national news sources such as network TV evening news, cable news and large ntional newspapers shut down.

Elsewhere, the Newspaper Project <> is less than a year old in its mission to "support a productive exchange of information and ideas about the future of newspapers," but its public-service ads are gaining some attention. Here's one --

Friday, September 25, 2009

WIU J grad signs comic for White

Western Journalism alum Chris Ward signed a first edition of his new comic, Bluewater Productions' Political Power: Barack Obama, which was sent to John H. White, the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who visited the Macomb campus on Sept. 17 -- along with Ed Komenda's nice story about the appearance from the Sept. 21 Western Courier.

A friend of the Obama family, White covered much of the Obama campaign, plus the Grant Park victory celebration on Election Night and the Inauguration.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rolling Stone profiles Fanning from 'Frontline'

The September 17 issue of Rolling Stone has a short but solid snapshot of TV journalist David Fanning (shown at right), the creator and producer of Frontline, the PBS-TV show that's earned Fanning 40 Emmy Awards in 28 years.

This week he won his most recent, for Frontline's episode Bush's War in the category of "Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story - Long Form."

"David takes on big subjects that require real, painstaking reporting and produces work that is smart, gripping and subtle," says competitor Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times.

Having produced more than 500 investigative documentaries, Fanning also led a team of journalists in uncovering what was going on in the economic meltdown that resulted in what's being called the Great Recession -- last winter, in the midst of the crisis.

The RS piece is not available online, but it's definitely worth checking out at a library or a pal's stack of magazines.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Multi-media producer wants news background

The executive producer of, the news-site spinoff from Seattle's Post-Intelligencer, says even the so-called Web 2.0 needs journalists with solid skills in the fundamentals.

"We're leaning toward candidates with strong news background who are not tech-phobic and don't belong in that small class of people who seem to be unable to pick up new technology," Michelle Nicolosi said in a post by Renay San Miguel of TechNewsWorld. "Our experience at has been that most people with a news background can learn basic HTML, pick up our CMS fairly easily, grasp the basics of SEO [search engine optimization] and learn fairly quickly all the other skillls they need to produce the site."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kid reporter shows the zeal

National Public Radio reports, "Rupert Murdoch, get ready for Brennan LaBrie! LaBrie is 9 years old, lives in Washington State, and puts out a newspaper called The Spruce Street Weekly. Learn how he puts out a newspaper without having to fall back on stories about John and Kate and Brittany. Host Scott Simon talks with LaBrie, Time For Kids magazine's 2009-2010 reporter finalist — one of 12 young journalists chosen from across the nation.

Check out this talented young journalist from a video on his blog --

Newspapers still strong: Inland Press Assn.

Adolfo Mendez in the new issue of Inland Press Association's Inlander has a news feature with some perspective on the newspaper industry's health and future.

Titled "Stop the presses: Newspapers have a future," the piece puts into context the strengths of newspapers even in financially challenging times.

"Although our industry is evolving, the foundation of our business is very strong,” Mendez quotes Illinois newspaperman Larry Maynard. A newspaper has “one of, if not the, strongest brand equity” in its local market, Maynard continued. “More often than not, nobody is more familiar with the name of any media than they are with your company.”

Newspapers "have the strongest and longest relationships with advertisers — some of those go back 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years,” he said. “Nobody has longer advertising relationships than the newspapers do.”

Other media don’t come close, he added.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Journalism jobs: Advertising is still hiring storytellers

The Huffingtonpost entry's headline is eye-catching: "Where are the journalism jobs? The answer is ..."

The answer is a little surprising -- and a lot more reassuring that most employment news in what's being called the Great Recession.


That's right, according to Mark Pasetsky, editorial director for, advertising agencies and even big brands are starting to appreciate how valuable solid editorial content is in communicating theuir messages.

Pasetsky, who's also an editorial consultant for OK! Magazine and editorial director for, leads analyses of magazine and catalog covers.

The comnplete story is here --

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

College pays off: BLS

Buried down in Table 4 of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' report on "usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers" through the second quarter of this year are numbers that can be reassuring or chilling to students, depending on their attitudes toward school.

The Educational Attainment breakdown shows that Americans who've earned a Bachelor's degree earn 63% higher pay than high school graduates on average.

High school only -- $630/week.
Bachelor's degree -- $1,031/week.

The report also has breakdowns based on gender, age and race. See it at