Journalism in 10: Dan Rather on the Future of Media

It is no secret that American media is in turmoil, with many longstanding fixtures in print journalism either folding or forced to layoff staff. Each week through the end of 2009, a different media insider will offer their perspective on what media will look like in 5, 10, or 15 years–and what will become of investigative journalism. The series includes commentary from John Nichols, Dan Rather, Jane Mayer, Victor Navasky, Ana Marie Cox, David Schimke and Nick Penniman. This week, Dan Rather, Managing Editor and Anchor of Dan Rather Reports on HDNet, and the former Anchor of CBS Evening News, weighs in on the positives and negatives of transitioning predominantly to online media. Speaking at The Nation‘s “What Will Become of Media” salon in the fall of 2009, he also recommends some books on the future of journalism that he thinks everyone should read. To share your opinion on what the future of the media might be, write a letter to the editor marked “Future of Journalism.” We’ll gather the best responses and publish them at the beginning of 2010. —Fernanda Diaz To see more videos in this series click here. Continue Reading

Beating of Kosovo journalist was attack on media freedom: OSCE

PRISTINA (Reuters) - An international watchdog has condemned the beating of a Kosovo journalist known for his reports on corruption, calling it "an attack against freedom of media". Parim Olluri, whose news website Insajderi has become one of the leading online media reporting allegations of corruption among Kosovo's top officials, was beaten by unknown assailants late on Wednesday as he was going home with his fiancée. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), whose Kosovo mission monitors peace and democracy in the country, said: "Journalists should be free to state a different opinion without fear of violence or physical injury." Kosovo's journalists' association called on authorities to find the attackers. Hashim Thaci, Kosovo's president, wrote on his Facebook page: "Journalists should not be discouraged by such criminal acts. On the contrary." The attack came days after Olluri wrote an editorial accusing some former commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, seen as heroes by many for their role in fighting Serb forces during the 1998-99 war, of corruption. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nearly a decade after NATO mounted air strikes to drive out Serb forces and halt the killing and ethnic cleansing of Albanians in a two-year Serb counter-insurgency. Human rights organization Freedom House said in its 2017 report the media in Kosovo is "partly free". Threats against journalists have increased in recent years. Last year a hand grenade was thrown at the home of the head of Kosovo's state broadcaster RTK days after another explosive device was thrown into the television's courtyard. (Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Ivana Sekularac and Robin Pomeroy) (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Click For Restrictions Continue Reading

China closes 60 celebrity gossip social media accounts

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's cyberspace authorities have ordered internet companies to close 60 popular celebrity gossip social media accounts in the latest in a series of crackdowns on independent media. Website operators from some of China's biggest internet companies including Tencent and Baidu were told in a meeting they must take steps to control user accounts focusing on celebrity gossip, according to a post on the Beijing Cyberspace Administration's social media account. "Websites must ... adopt effective measures to keep in check the problems of the embellishment of private sex scandals of celebrities, the hyping of ostentatious celebrity spending and entertainment, and catering to the poor taste of the public," the post said. They must also "actively propagate core socialist values, and create an ever-more healthy environment for the mainstream public opinion", it added. President Xi Jinping has overseen a series of measures to clamp down on independent online media, while reasserting the ruling Communist Party's role in limiting and guiding online discussion. The Cyberspace Administration of China in May released regulations for online news portals and network providers, which extended restrictions on content and required all services to be managed by party-sanctioned editorial staff. Show-business blogs and sites are very popular in China, especially those which regularly produce muckraking reports on celebrities' private lives. In the meeting, the Beijing Cyberspace Administration told the internet companies that a new cyber security law that came into effect on June 1 requires websites to not harm the reputation or privacy of individuals, it said. Companies must collect and record data on any site or account that breaks the cyber security laws and report it to authorities, they said. Sixty different accounts were ordered closed, though many were duplicates run by the same individual or group. Fans of the closed sites reacted angrily Continue Reading

‘Sing the motherland’: China tightens rules for online content

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China laid out rules on Friday for online content from television dramas to cartoons and "micromovies", formalizing and tightening the steps censors should take when vetting material under a tough crackdown across media and entertainment. At least three "auditors" will have to check all movies, dramas, documentaries and animations posted online to ensure they adhere to "core socialist values", the industry body the China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) said. The rules, which build upon guidelines released in 2012, come as authorities are cracking down on online content such as literature, livestreaming, news and social media - a broad campaign aimed at controlling social discourse online. Weibo Corp, the operator of China's top microblogging site, said this week it would block unapproved video content and work more closely with state media to promote "mainstream" ideas, following a sharp rebuke from regulators. [nL3N1JQ1ZX] Authorities also ordered internet companies this month to close 60 celebrity gossip social media accounts to help "actively propagate core socialist values" and prop up "mainstream public opinion". [nL3N1J526Z] Under the new guidance, which comes into immediate effect, censors should check that content adheres to proper Chinese values and strive to tell Chinese stories to help "realize the China dream of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation." Content should "sing the motherland, eulogize heroes, celebrate our times in song, and lead the people to hold the correct historical, ethnic, national and cultural view". Programs that undermined a respectful national image, ridiculed leaders, promoted negative or decadent views of life and showed the "dark side" of society would be edited, or in severe cases stopped. President Xi Jinping has overseen measures to clamp down on independent online media, while reasserting the ruling Communist Party's role in limiting and guiding online discussion. The Continue Reading

New York Times media columnist David Carr dead at 58

New York's media establishment was rocked by another sudden death. David Carr, who wrote the influential Media Equation column for The New York Times, collapsed in the newsroom Thursday and later died, The Times reported. He was 58. “Words fail me. A genius is lost,” media blogger Jeff Jarvis tweeted. Carr's death comes one day after veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon was killed in a crash on the West Side Highway. “I am sorry to have to tell you that our wonderful, esteemed colleague David Carr died suddenly tonight after collapsing in the newsroom,” Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet said in a memo to staff. “A group of us were with his wife, Jill, and one of his daughters, at the hospital. His daughter Erin said he was special, and that he was.” Carr collapsed in the newsroom shortly before 9 p.m. and was transported to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, The Times reported. Just hours before his passing, Carr took part in a New York Times-hosted panel discussion at The New School featuring a video chat with Edward Snowden, "Citizenfour" director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald. "The number of people who say they owe their careers to David Carr, or who consider him their principle mentor, is astonishing and telling," said Scott Stossel, the editor of The Atlantic magazine, where Carr was a contributor. Carr's viewpoint was in high demand with the recent suspension of NBC News anchor Brian Williams, the announced retirement of "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and the tragic death of Simon. “He was the finest media reporter of his generation, a remarkable and funny man who was one of the leaders of our newsroom,” Baquet said. “He was our biggest champion, and his unending passion for journalism and for truth will be missed by his family at The Times, by his readers around the world, and by Continue Reading

60-year-old exec at WorldNow, online tech company, says boss forced him to dye his gray hair

This is a case of 60 shades of gray. Robert Mischel, a 60-year-old chief financial officer of an online media technology company, claims his boss has it out for him because of his age — and told him to dye his gray hair because he looked too old. Mischel, who earns $300,000 at WorldNow, where he also functions as chief operating officer, has filed suit in Brooklyn Federal Court, accusing company president Albert (Gary) Gannaway III of targeting gray scalps at the firm’s office in Long Island City, Queens. Gannaway is no spring chicken — records show he is 59 — but he told Mischel to break out a little Just For Men dye, according to Mischel’s age-discrimination suit. Mischel refused the “outrageous” request, said his lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, but has since been stripped of much of his authority and relegated to note-taking responsibilities at meetings. Mischel’s suit, which seeks court-ordered relief to get him back to his normal spot in the boardroom, says Gannaway has gone after at least one other graying co-worker. “Gannaway demanded that one gray-haired employee’s photograph be removed from a slide in a presentation because there would be ‘too much gray hair’ on the slide if the photograph was included,” the suit said. “Gannaway explicitly told Mr. Mischel that he wanted younger employees displayed in place of the gray-haired employee.” WorldNow general counsel John Wilk said the suit is “completely without merit” and that the company would vigorously defend itself. Mischel’s suit also says he was subject to a verbal tirade in 2013 from Gannaway, who is a former U.S. Marine, according to records. Gannaway threatened that “he would be the ‘toughest’ and ‘meanest marine sergeant’ (and) that Mr. Mischel would be his ‘grunt’ and (that) he would ‘pound on Mr. Mischel like Mr. Mischel has never been pounded on Continue Reading

How do you use the media to win? Just ask Donald Trump

The 2016 presidential election was a squeaker. But the contest for airtime, ink and clicks was a landslide for Donald Trump.The irresistibility of Donald Trump for editors, producers, bloggers and Twitters dramatically shifted the election in ways that will be discussed for decades in future political communications classes. The high volumes of clicks and ratings that the president-elect generated gave way to a self-renewing cycle of free, unrelenting publicity, or “earned media” in industry parlance. And for a campaign that trailed its rival in fundraising and advertising buys, the ceaseless generosity from the media turned out to be a huge boon for Trump.From July 2015 to the end of October, Trump received $5.6 billion worth of earned media, including stories, TV and radio news segments, blog posts, podcasts and social media mentions, according to media tracking firm Mediaquant. In October alone, he had $58 million of coverage.Despite being the first female nominee of a major political party, Hillary Clinton paled in comparison, generating only $3.5 billion worth of earned media during the 15-month period. Trump's closest rival during the Republican primary, Ted Cruz, received $447 million of total earned media during the period, Mediaquant says.“We’ve never seen volumes of earned media that Trump was able to pull to together consistently from the moment he entered the race,” says Paul Senatori, chief analytics officer of Mediaquant. “You can add top 20 celebrities or top 15 athletes in season and they still won't total what Trump got in a single month.""She was always trying to catch up to Trump’s earned media," he says.As the campaigns headed for the home stretch, Clinton was able to narrow Trump’s lead in earned media, coming within 10%. But “she never quite pulled it off,” Senatori said.The media understandably gravitates to newsmakers. And the former reality TV star with an unfiltered Twitter Continue Reading

Geeks double as scourges and sages at VIP Allen & Company media summit in Sun Valley

The media moguls attending an annual powwow staged by investment bank Allen & Co. used to be able to rest comfortably in the Idaho mountains as they mulled their next moves. Even if they didn't hatch any big deals or bright ideas, the media executives could try to squeeze more profit from their firm grip on the flow of news, entertainment and seemingly everything else people read, watched or heard. Things have changed radically since Allen & Co.'s first summer summit in 1983. The conference, which returns to Sun Valley on Tuesday, now revolves around the technology trailblazers who have turned computers and mobile phones into multimedia hubs that are tormenting newspapers, magazines, broadcasters, music labels and movie studios. The disruption has the geeks playing the dual role of the media's sages and scourges. This week, Twitter Inc. CEO Evan Williams will likely be in high demand as everyone tries to figure out whether the online messaging service is a fad or a revolutionary breakthrough in communications. "Ev is going to be the belle of the ball," predicted Silicon Valley entrepreneur Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga Inc., a developer of games widely played at online hangouts such as Facebook. Pincus is going to the Allen conference for the first time. With roots going to the 1920s, Allen & Co. is run by Herb Allen, the grandson of one of the firm's founders. Although relatively small, Allen & Co. has become a prominent media investment bank by emphasizing a personal touch - such as the Sun Valley summit. The firm invites current and prospective clients to spend five days frolicking with their families at a posh lodge made famous by Ernest Hemingway. When they aren't playing tennis, golfing, biking, swimming, fishing and rafting, the guests are cloistered in presentations about emerging opportunities and business challenges. The Allen & Co. guest list isn't officially disclosed, but familiar media faces at the conference typically Continue Reading

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warns of crackdown on online media in face of continued demonstrations

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's opposition announced a third day of street demonstrations Wednesday as the country's most powerful military force warned of a crackdown against online media in its first pronouncement on the deepening election crisis. Blogs and Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been vital conduits for Iranians to inform the world about protests over Friday's disputed election. Pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and his supporters accuse the government of rigging the election to declare hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner. The Web became more essential after the government barred foreign media Tuesday from leaving their offices to report on demonstrations on the streets of Tehran. The Revolutionary Guard, an elite military force answering to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei , said through the state news service that Iranian Web sites and bloggers must remove any materials that "create tension" or face legal action. The Guards are a separate military with enormous domestic influence and control of Iran's most important defense programs. They are one of the key sources of power for a cleric-led establishment that has been pushed by the crisis into an extraordinary public defense of the Islamic ruling system. The unelected supreme leader made a highly unusual appeal Tuesday in response to tensions, telling Iranians that all citizens should hold fast to their belief in the system despite disagreements over the election. Despite official warnings and a ban on street demonstrations, some Web sites allied with opposition leader Mousavi said Wednesday that supporters should gather in a downtown square in the late afternoon. The announcement raised the prospect of further clashes with security forces. The violence has left at least seven people dead, according to Iran's state media. In an attempt to placate the opposition, the main electoral authority said Tuesday it was prepared to conduct a limited recount of Continue Reading

Gannett takes a majority stake in online media firm Grateful Ventures

Gannett, which owns USA TODAY and 109 local news properties, has become a majority investor in Grateful Ventures, a media company specializing in food and cooking websites and blogs.The Phoenix-based Grateful Ventures, founded in 2014, draws an online monthly audience of about 8.5 million to its holiday food site, social media hub, and Food Blog Stars network (sites include Budget Bytes and Divas Can Cook).Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.Initially, Gannett, headquartered in McLean, Va., plans to focus on increasing holiday traffic to and Grateful Ventures' other sites by cross-promotion throughout the USA TODAY Network. Next year, Grateful Ventures will grow its content offerings to new lifestyle categories including beauty, health and fitness, and parenting. The new initiatives are expected to lead to increased advertising opportunities and event sponsorships.“We are impressed by Grateful’s vision to provide original, high-quality content in high-passion categories,” Maribel Perez Wadsworth, Gannett's senior vice president and chief transformation officer, said in a statement. “Their focus on building relationships with influencers, who have an authentic voice and resulting strong following, is a winning formula." Grateful Ventures will expand with additional staffing and a new video-photography facility with a kitchen studio to produce original shows and series.“We are incredibly excited to join forces with such a dynamic, diverse and innovative company as Gannett,” Grateful co-founder, Kyle Cox, said in a statement. “Thanks to USA TODAY Network’s reach and wealth of creative and professional resources, the new opportunities available to Grateful are truly unparalleled.” Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.  Continue Reading