Posts tagged Media

Cable on Climate Science

Via the Union of Concerned Scientists:

CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are the most widely watched cable news networks in the U.S. Their coverage of climate change is an influential source of information for the public and policy makers alike.

To gauge how accurately these networks inform their audiences about climate change, UCS analyzed the networks’ climate science coverage in 2013 and found that each network treated climate science very differently.

Fox News was the least accurate; 72 percent of its 2013 climate science-related segments contained misleading statements. CNN was in the middle, with about a third of segments featuring misleading statements. MSNBC was the most accurate, with only eight percent of segments containing misleading statements.

Read the overview here, or jump to the study here (PDF).

Images: Science or Spin?: Assessing the Accuracy of Cable News Coverage of Climate Science, via Union of Concerned Scientists

Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.

Janet Malcom, The Journalist and the Murderer, via Slate. The Storytellers: Walter Kirn gets taken in by a con man.

So begins a review in Slate of Blood Will Out, a new memoir by Walter Kirn about his relationship with Clark Rockefeller, a real life Mr. Ripley who impersonated a famous name, lived the high life and was eventually charged on kidnapping and murder charges. Kirn’s book explores how, as a writer, he was taken in by the faux Rockefeller. Or, more precisely, by the German-born Christian Gerhartsreiter who successfully played a Rockefeller in New York City social circles.

But while Kirn explores why and how he was taken over a decade-long relationship, let’s go back to Malcom’s original quote, to the journalist as con man, to his or her relationship with sources, and why sources should talk with reporters.

In the wake of NSA revelations, national security journalists have spoken about their increased difficulty reporting the news (see here, here and here). And with the Obama administration’s use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers you can see why that would be the case.

So why should sources talk to reporters? It’s an important, unasked question, says Edward Wasserman, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley:

When you think about it, that question goes to the foundation of the entire edifice of a free press. And that foundation, at the moment, is shaky.

Let’s back up. No honest press, whatever its sense of mission and however firm its legal protections, can outperform its sources. It can’t be any better, stronger, braver, more richly informed, or more dedicated to broad public purpose than the people who swallow their misgivings, return the phone call, step forward, and risk embarrassment and reprisal to talk to the reporter.

The mythology of journalism enshrines the sleuths, sometimes the editors, even the publishers, but sources are really the whole ball game. Press freedom is nothing more than source freedom, one step removed. The right of a news organization to tell what it learns is an empty abstraction without the willingness of news sources to tell what they know.

Considering how important sources are, it’s stunning how little affection they get and how flimsy the protections are that anybody claims for them.

Give Wasserman’s article a good read.

It moves well beyond national security issues as it explores, again, why when a source’s quote can be nitpicked a thousand different ways — in “the online multiverse, and his or her words, motives and integrity will be denounced or impugned, often by pseudonymous dingbats, some of them undisclosed hirelings” — he or she should ever want to talk to the news media.

Average Time US Millennials Spend Interacting with Media Per Day
Eighteen hours? It’s all about multitasking. Via the Wall Street Journal.

Average Time US Millennials Spend Interacting with Media Per Day

Eighteen hours? It’s all about multitasking. Via the Wall Street Journal.

Why Even Have a Mormon Blog?

To the question: Why—given that only 2% of Americans are Mormon—does Religion Dispatches have a blog about Mormonism but not other equally small churches?, RD writer Holly Welker replies:

I admit I haven’t asked my editors for their exact reasoning, but my standard explanation goes something like this: “Well, we’re interesting. Love us or hate us, a lot of people want to read about us. And we’re more politically engaged than other 19th-century American religions—Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, even Christian Scientists. They might have the Monitor, but they don’t have a Senate majority leader like Harry Reid or a former presidential nominee like Mitt Romney.”

But really, she goes on, in light of the question of what might happen if the Supreme Court strikes state-level bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional:

[Another] reason why a very small religion warrants a prominent place within the broader current discussion of religion, politics and culture: because Mormons have been where the Christian Right is collectively right now: we staked much of our political and personal identity and capital on a fight over the definition of marriage. We could see we were losing; we retrenched; we lost decisively. We sulked about it for a really long time, and now we just wish the whole sordid past could go away and stop haunting us.

And then we managed not to learn anything from our mistake and did the same basic thing again a century or so later, but this time, we got a whole bunch of other people to join us.

Journalists my age and younger (I’ve been in the business since 2005—right around the time digital media emerged as a plausible career option) have never operated under the illusion that a staff job at The New Yorker or a New York Times column was in our future. But nearly a decade into the digital-media revolution, another shift has occurred. It’s not just that journalists understand former “prestige” jobs will be nearly impossible to get. Now we don’t even want them.
Ann Friedman, The New Dream Job, Columbia Journalism Review

Why We Follow Porn

Because in the New York Times, an “adult film actor” named Stoya writes about pornography, stage names and identity:

Along with desires to differentiate themselves from performers in similar fields, increase ease of spelling and pronunciation or convey a certain image, some performers do take a stage name for the purpose of making themselves more difficult to recognize. This might possibly have worked in the ’70s, but with easy access to enormous amounts of adult content on the Internet and the ease with which we can all find juicy tidbits of information about one another’s pasts online, I can’t see it having much effect anymore…

…[But] my stage name is less about withholding parts of myself or maintaining privacy than it is a symbol of the idea that I am more than just my job or any other isolated slice of my identity.

Stoya talks about the inherent paradoxes in the pseudo-anonymity her stage name affords, but equates it with what she sees as part and parcel of a fragmentation many — notwithstanding those who disagree with the notion of digital dualism — experience between their online and offline selves.

Because in PandoDaily, we read about PornHub’s innovative marketing campaigns to get their NSFW “product” into SFW spaces.

As a result, Pornhub must rely (for now) on social advertising, digital advertising, and organic promotion, which makes them as interesting case study for other startups that, while not restricted by social mores, may have financial roadblocks in getting on TV.

The latest untraditional marketing strategy came this week when Pornhub launched a call for “Safe-For-Work” Pornhub ads. Aspiring ad men and women can submit their entries to this Tumblr (SFW). The person behind the winning entrant has a shot at becoming the company’s next creative director, the site promises.

A campaign like this not only grabs headlines (which is its own kind of free advertising). It also allows Pornhub to set the terms of its own brand identity before even launching a national campaign.

Because while reading the above we read some more and came across a study by the Urban Institute on underground economies and learn that Atlanta is the sex trade capital of the United States, a “sex act” runs anywhere from $5 to over $1000 in Dallas and pimps don’t like being called pimps. It’s too seventies. Business Manager will do.

And because so long as we’re reading about fragmentary identity, online marketing and job descriptions, we might as well read how sea slugs mate: The hermaphrodites “penis fence” in an attempt “to penis-stab the other. An inflicted wound inoculates the recipient with sperm.”

Penis stabbing? It’s not just the sea slug. Enter the bedbug, just penis stabbing its way through life:

Males will often jump on and penis-stab anything that comes their way, even females of other species, often killing them in the process — a phenomenon that has driven some species to evolve apart. Male bedbugs regularly jump other males by mistake—which is such a problem that males in one species have evolved their own damage-control spermaleges.

And that’s what we learned this week by following porn. Now off to watch Isabella Rossellini demonstrate the erotic lives of snails. Spoiler alert: “love darts.”

100 Years of Photographs Now Free to Embed

The News: 

Getty Images is dropping the watermark for the bulk of its collection, in exchange for an open-embed program that will let users drop in any image they want, as long as the service gets to append a footer at the bottom of the picture with a credit and link to the licensing page. For a small-scale WordPress blog with no photo budget, this looks an awful lot like free stock imagery.

Implications abound but this one is particularly interesting:

The biggest effect might be on the nature of the web itself. Embeds from Twitter and YouTube are already a crucial part of the modern web, but they’ve also enabled a more advanced kind of link rot, as deleted tweets and videos leave holes in old blog posts. If the new embeds take off, becoming a standard for low-rent WordPress blogs, they’ll extend that webby decay to the images themselves. On an embed-powered web, a change in contracts could leave millions of posts with no lead image, or completely erase a post like this one.

How Teens Actually Use the Internet

danah boyd, superstar researcher of media, culture and teens, has just published It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked teens, which you can learn about and purchase here, or download (for free!) here.
We’ve yet to read it ourselves, but in this excellent round-up of questions and answers from Ethan Zuckerman, you can get a good sense of the content she covers and the myths about teen habits online that she busts. For example: the fact that teens want to gather in physical space rather than rely on connecting through the web, but we’ve restricted their ability to participate in public life and so they must rely on the web.

The book is organized around myths associated with youth and online media: the idea that youth are digital natives, that online spaces are heavily sexualized, and that online spaces are dangerous to youth.
Her overall takeaway from this research: we have spent thirty years restricting the ability of youth to get together face to face in the physical world. These technologies give youth access to public life once again and to make meaning of the world around them. Youth want to gather and socialize with their friends and become part of public life. Many youth would rather get together in real life, but turn to online spaces because those are the only spaces where young people can interact with one another in public life.
“There’s so much learning, so much opportunity through being part of public life”, says danah. We need to accept the idea that these online spaces are the key public spaces for young people.

Image: A prezi visualizing danah’s talk to the Berkman Center luncheon.

How Teens Actually Use the Internet

danah boyd, superstar researcher of media, culture and teens, has just published It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked teens, which you can learn about and purchase here, or download (for free!) here.

We’ve yet to read it ourselves, but in this excellent round-up of questions and answers from Ethan Zuckerman, you can get a good sense of the content she covers and the myths about teen habits online that she busts. For example: the fact that teens want to gather in physical space rather than rely on connecting through the web, but we’ve restricted their ability to participate in public life and so they must rely on the web.

The book is organized around myths associated with youth and online media: the idea that youth are digital natives, that online spaces are heavily sexualized, and that online spaces are dangerous to youth.

Her overall takeaway from this research: we have spent thirty years restricting the ability of youth to get together face to face in the physical world. These technologies give youth access to public life once again and to make meaning of the world around them. Youth want to gather and socialize with their friends and become part of public life. Many youth would rather get together in real life, but turn to online spaces because those are the only spaces where young people can interact with one another in public life.

“There’s so much learning, so much opportunity through being part of public life”, says danah. We need to accept the idea that these online spaces are the key public spaces for young people.

Image: A prezi visualizing danah’s talk to the Berkman Center luncheon.

My colleague Alex Goldman told me he thinks of this as “a mesmerizing stock ticker of the world’s perversions.”
The 545: A Single Subject Site on India’s Elections
A group of students at Columbia J-School just launched the 545, a first of its kind (in India) single-subject news site inspired in part by Nate Silver and Syria Deeply. Why 545? Because that’s how many seats there are the House in Parliament.
The 545:

Think of it as a combination of BuzzFeed and Quartz— 300 to 400 word pieces with charts, graphics, visuals — to tell interesting stories tailored for online consumption. And everything will be pushed through social media.
Think of it as writing for your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. No high-brow, jargon-led, politically-driven journalism. There are enough newspapers doing that already. TheFiveFortyFive.com will break through the clutter, delivering pieces that’ll interest even the most non-political of readers.
That means that we want to become a platform for a variety of voices — students, academics, professionals, bureaucrats, journalists and the discerning politician even — telling us what the election means to them.
This, after all, is the world’s biggest exercise in democracy. TheFiveFortyFive.com will try and reinvent how it’s reported, online.

FJP: While visually striking news sites and blogs abound in the States, India’s news ecosystem is very print focused and pretty conventional. To learn a bit about what the media ecosystem looks like there, as well issues facing the industry, see The Hoot, a media-watch site focused on the Indian subcontinent.

The 545: A Single Subject Site on India’s Elections

A group of students at Columbia J-School just launched the 545, a first of its kind (in India) single-subject news site inspired in part by Nate Silver and Syria Deeply. Why 545? Because that’s how many seats there are the House in Parliament.

The 545:

Think of it as a combination of BuzzFeed and Quartz— 300 to 400 word pieces with charts, graphics, visuals — to tell interesting stories tailored for online consumption. And everything will be pushed through social media.

Think of it as writing for your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. No high-brow, jargon-led, politically-driven journalism. There are enough newspapers doing that already. TheFiveFortyFive.com will break through the clutter, delivering pieces that’ll interest even the most non-political of readers.

That means that we want to become a platform for a variety of voices — students, academics, professionals, bureaucrats, journalists and the discerning politician even — telling us what the election means to them.

This, after all, is the world’s biggest exercise in democracy. TheFiveFortyFive.com will try and reinvent how it’s reported, online.

FJP: While visually striking news sites and blogs abound in the States, India’s news ecosystem is very print focused and pretty conventional. To learn a bit about what the media ecosystem looks like there, as well issues facing the industry, see The Hoot, a media-watch site focused on the Indian subcontinent.

Today’s tween is no longer a child but not yet an adolescent; too old for Barbie dolls and Disney Junior, too young for Facebook and to understand the search results that pop up when she googles “sexy.” She is old enough to text, want designer jeans and use Instagram, but too young to have her own credit card and driver’s license. Still, she is a malleable thinker, consumer and marketing target. Each day, she is exposed to eight to 12 hours of media, depending on her age, that hones her understanding of how she is supposed to act. She spends a significant portion of her day plugged in – communicating, posting photos, playing games, surfing the web, watching videos and socializing. When TV, music, social media and the Internet are used as baby-sitters – when adults don’t ask girls questions or encourage them to think critically (and sometimes even when they do) – a dangerous scenario emerges: The media start to parent.

Abigail Jones, Sex and the Single TweenNewsweek.

An important and slightly horrifying long-read on pre-teen girls and media.

Related 01, and Horrifying: The YoutTube trend in which girls ask they internet if they are pretty or ugly.

Related 02, and Awesome: It’s Girls Being Girls, a YouTube Channel and Tumblr by Tessa, a senior at ASU, featuring and supporting cool, interesting, personal, inspiring content for girls by girls. Get in touch with her if you want to contribute!

Who Controls The Media? Who Controls The FJP?
Let’s take this in order: Who controls the media?
If we’re talking traditional, corporate media it typically looks like this:
GE Owns: Comcast, NBC, Universal Pictures.
News-Corp Owns: Fox, Wall Street Journal, New York Post.
Disney Owns: ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax.
Viacom Owns: MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Paramount.
Time Warner Owns: CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Brothers.
CBS Owns: 60 Minutes, Showtime, NFL.com.
They all own way more than this, and I’d also add Clear Channel to the equation since it owns the majority of radio stations throughout the United States.
But you can’t talk about “owning the media” without talking about who owns cellular and Internet pipes. That includes companies like AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.
Online sources remain remarkably diverse despite reliance on upstream providers. People can reach and enjoy them despite the depth and breadth of overall marketshare of the properties mentioned above. That said, recent Network Neutrality rulings threaten our ability to access, interact with and enjoy this online diversity. Take, for instance, this AT&T patent application that would let it discriminate against online content and gives us access (or blocks access) accordingly:

A user of a communications network is prevented from consuming an excessive amount of channel bandwidth by restricting use of the channel in accordance with the type of data being downloaded to the user. The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if is permissible or non-permissible. Non-permissible data includes file-sharing files and movie downloads if user subscription does not permit such activity.

Similarly, you can’t talk about owning and influencing the media without paying attention to how our technology companies operate within the ecosystem. Namely, how our interaction with information and communication is mediated by the code created by the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. As CUNY’s Lev Manovich has written:

Software has become a universal language, the interface to our imagination and the world. What electricity and the combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. I think of it as a layer that permeates contemporary societies. If we want to understand today’s techniques of communication, representation, simulation, analysis, decision making, memory, vision, writing, and interaction, we must understand software.

So, that is more or less who controls American media.
Second question, who controls Future Journalism Project?
Ask a question, get an answer: meet the power behind the throne.
Most days though it’s me and Jihii. — Michael

Who Controls The Media? Who Controls The FJP?

Let’s take this in order: Who controls the media?

If we’re talking traditional, corporate media it typically looks like this:

  • GE Owns: Comcast, NBC, Universal Pictures.
  • News-Corp Owns: Fox, Wall Street Journal, New York Post.
  • Disney Owns: ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax.
  • Viacom Owns: MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Paramount.
  • Time Warner Owns: CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Brothers.
  • CBS Owns: 60 Minutes, Showtime, NFL.com.

They all own way more than this, and I’d also add Clear Channel to the equation since it owns the majority of radio stations throughout the United States.

But you can’t talk about “owning the media” without talking about who owns cellular and Internet pipes. That includes companies like AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.

Online sources remain remarkably diverse despite reliance on upstream providers. People can reach and enjoy them despite the depth and breadth of overall marketshare of the properties mentioned above. That said, recent Network Neutrality rulings threaten our ability to access, interact with and enjoy this online diversity. Take, for instance, this AT&T patent application that would let it discriminate against online content and gives us access (or blocks access) accordingly:

A user of a communications network is prevented from consuming an excessive amount of channel bandwidth by restricting use of the channel in accordance with the type of data being downloaded to the user. The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if is permissible or non-permissible. Non-permissible data includes file-sharing files and movie downloads if user subscription does not permit such activity.

Similarly, you can’t talk about owning and influencing the media without paying attention to how our technology companies operate within the ecosystem. Namely, how our interaction with information and communication is mediated by the code created by the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. As CUNY’s Lev Manovich has written:

Software has become a universal language, the interface to our imagination and the world. What electricity and the combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. I think of it as a layer that permeates contemporary societies. If we want to understand today’s techniques of communication, representation, simulation, analysis, decision making, memory, vision, writing, and interaction, we must understand software.

So, that is more or less who controls American media.

Second question, who controls Future Journalism Project?

Ask a question, get an answer: meet the power behind the throne.

Most days though it’s me and Jihii. — Michael

In a dictatorship, independent journalism by default becomes a form of activism, and the spread of information is essentially an act of agitation.

#NotYourNarrative

Related: The danger of a single story, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, via TED.