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If It Bleeds, It Leads: Journalism Thread
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Uncle Taylorbell



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:30 am    Post subject: If It Bleeds, It Leads: Journalism Thread Reply with quote

I dunno, I reckon I've never read more newspapers than I have this last few weeks. It's been interesting. Newspapers and news, clearly, aren't synonymous. Anyway, how about a thread of cuttings, quotes and speculation? Like squishing the Random News Stories, Socrates Was A Christian and other threads together?

Slightly numinous description, I guess. Lemme know whether any of you think a mediawatch kinda thread is worth maintaining. If it ain't, hey, I'll delete it.

Speculative: if the video of police officers striking Ian Tomlinson hadn't arrived at the Guardian offices, would the Guardian have given the story as many column inches as it has? If the footage had ended up at the Sun, NotW, or Mirror, would the Guardian be giving it time every day front page above the fold? And if it had arrived at the Times, would the Times being running it as much as the Guardian is? Thoughts?

And other stories?


Last edited by Uncle Taylorbell on Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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picturesofsky



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can we just type up the script of Newswipe with Charlie Brooker?
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I think this is a great idea TB. We could post different media outlets takes on the same stories too.
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Uncle Taylorbell



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Dan.

Today's Guardian was most interesting. Dominating page two is the following story: How Five Guardian Stories Have Shaped Events.

In five small columns the Guardian claims responsibility for prompting: Hilary Clinton's 'absolute concern' for women's rights in Afghanistan; the Home Office 'confirms that official documents ... will be made public'; 'Gordon Brown announces he will spearhead a worldwide campaign against tax loopholes' etc etc.

Good reporting is vital to the integrity of an open democracy, such as we presume we have. And there's nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back every now and again. But increasingly, the Guardian portrays itself not just as a news organ, but as the instigator and prime mover in many of it's stories. I speculated whether the Guardian would have run quite so hard with the death of Ian Tomlinson had it not been the first recipient of footage of the event. Today's full page article (page seven) confirms to me that they wouldn't.

After receiving the 'scoop' material, it seems they are spinning the thing out into full prize-winning self-congratulatory nonsense. There is actual, breaking news, on the topic: a third post-mortem on the body of Tomlinson. But that registers just two sentences in paragraph five of the story. The first four paragraphs concern a Guardian-commissioned opinion poll (taken from a sample of just over 1,000). "The Guardian today ... the Guardian ... footage obtained by the Guardian ... compiled by the Guardian ..." The rest of the story is simpy a rehash of previous reports - the Guardian quoting itself as a source.

This has ceased to be crusading journalism into the dark heart of a tactically thuggish, dishonest, craven police force, and has instead become a massive act of tabloidesque onanism.

(I can bang on and on about the Guardian ... it is however, to my taste, far and away the least objectionable organ of the British print media - but it has gone awfully along the path run by the Baltimore Sun in series five of The Wire).
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i don't know the guardian, so i don't want to argue with them, but i sorta doubt that hillary clinton had no interest in afghan women's rights before they brought the matter up. i could be wrong, of course.

as a side issue - hereabouts we are hearing all sorts of predictions about the imminent death of the american newspaper, based on the closure of a number of venerable papers, reduction in publication schedules by others, and the loss of revenue (due to the internet, so they say) all around. is this also being predicted in other countries? you say that the guardian is going the way of the baltimore sun; as i recall, the suggestion on the show was that at least part of that was due to the need to keep making sales - is that also the case with the guardian?

sorry - i seem to be derailing your topic already, but it seems relevant. sorta.
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Uncle Taylorbell



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
i don't know the guardian, so i don't want to argue with them, but i sorta doubt that hillary clinton had no interest in afghan women's rights before they brought the matter up. i could be wrong, of course.


Precisely. They're arguing - quite falsely - that they're changing the world, one article at a time. Now, with their stories on the death of Ian Tomlinson (G20 thread), they are undoubtedly having an influence, but only as a conduit for non-journalistic sources, such as mobile phone footage etc. Their editorial insight has been no more profound than any other newspapers - they're saying the same as the other papers, only louder, and only because they have some kind of tenuous link to source material now widely available.

Like I say, there's patting yourself on the back, and there's masturbation.

Mouse wrote:
As a side issue - hereabouts we are hearing all sorts of predictions about the imminent death of the american newspaper, based on the closure of a number of venerable papers, reduction in publication schedules by others, and the loss of revenue (due to the internet, so they say) all around. is this also being predicted in other countries? you say that the guardian is going the way of the baltimore sun; as i recall, the suggestion on the show was that at least part of that was due to the need to keep making sales - is that also the case with the guardian?

sorry - i seem to be derailing your topic already, but it seems relevant. sorta.


Your not derailing at all dear Mousey. It was a kind of numinous and airy topic anyway. The death of the newspaper is as interesting topic as any. Newspaper sales are down worldwide, aren't they. Badly so. According to figures the I read the other day, prior to the proliferation of the internet, (I think the year given was 1991), 70% of British households received a daily newspaper. And that's households - so I can only guess what percentage of the population as a whole read the paper. Now the figure is floating just above 30%. That in itself surprised me - I don't know anyone who gets a daily paper, even a tabloid.

The question of how news papers can recoup lost sales and ad revenue after they already given up most of their content for free is a real puzzler. Of course, one might also ask whether it should bother anyone if they fold (I think it should be regarded as a great loss - whilst there are plenty of sources of news online, most of them do seem to me to simply be culling and rewriting articles from the print media. It seems the print media do the actual journalism, the whole notepad and shoe leather thing, and the internet often just eats it up and shits it out for free).

I have no idea how newspapers will survive - the Daily Show interviewed a senior editor from one of the big US newspapers a month or two back, and he didn't seem to have any workable ideas.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i worry about the loss of actual reporting. television "news" gave up on it long ago, of course, at least here in the u.s. - the news division got subsumed in the entertainment division in the major tv networks, and so now get entertainment masquerading as news. the newspapers were still doing it, but they are also getting dragged into the entertainment biz, because they seem to feel that's the only way to get the subscribers. and clearly, that's failing.

but i don't know how you get people to demand legitimate news reporting any more, too many of them are happy with fox, and murdoch's papers, and stuff like that, and think they are genuinely being informed.
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Uncle Taylorbell



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
i worry about the loss of actual reporting. television "news" gave up on it long ago, of course, at least here in the u.s. - the news division got subsumed in the entertainment division in the major tv networks, and so now get entertainment masquerading as news. the newspapers were still doing it, but they are also getting dragged into the entertainment biz, because they seem to feel that's the only way to get the subscribers. and clearly, that's failing.

but i don't know how you get people to demand legitimate news reporting any more, too many of them are happy with fox, and murdoch's papers, and stuff like that, and think they are genuinely being informed.


As bad as things may get over here, we at least have the BBC, which has the trust of the general public, and due to the way it is funded, doesn't necessarily have to pander to outside influence or commercial interests. Despite their drop in quality of entertainment programming, Channel 4 also puts out good news programming. Both the BBC and C4 give away much of their content online, for free, just as the newspapers do. Hmmm.

I'm wondering, what incentive there is for Channel 4 to produce good news? Surely they could save a few bob by putting out crap news, and funnel the resultant savings in to their vapid entertainment schedules - but they don't. Need to look into that - I suspect it has something to do with C4 receiving some funding from the licence fee (ie, the same way as the BBC), but I'm not sure.

I guess if C4 can do it on telly, then newspapers can find a way to continue to produce good journalism and maintain online content free of charge ... some how ...

Sorry, I'm kind of thinking aloud now.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here I was hoping this would be a thread about midget reporters. I am so very disappointed.

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picturesofsky



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Taylorbell wrote:
As bad as things may get over here, we at least have the BBC, which has the trust of the general public, and due to the way it is funded, doesn't necessarily have to pander to outside influence or commercial interests. Despite their drop in quality of entertainment programming, Channel 4 also puts out good news programming. Both the BBC and C4 give away much of their content online, for free, just as the newspapers do. Hmmm.


God, but the quality of BBC online news journalism has dropped so dramatically of late, it's becoming quite worrying. It panders desperately to the populist - take a look each day at the "most read" and "most emailed" news stories on their front page. The editors of the site certainly do, because they are filling the site more and more with opinion pieces about nothing, much like the vacuous columns of pretty much every tabloid newspaper, only with slightly less hyperbole. The site's gone from radio 4 to radio 1 newsbeat, and it's a dreadful trend.
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Uncle Taylorbell



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

picturesofsky wrote:
God, but the quality of BBC online news journalism has dropped so dramatically of late, it's becoming quite worrying. It panders desperately to the populist - take a look each day at the "most read" and "most emailed" news stories on their front page. The editors of the site certainly do, because they are filling the site more and more with opinion pieces about nothing, much like the vacuous columns of pretty much every tabloid newspaper, only with slightly less hyperbole. The site's gone from radio 4 to radio 1 newsbeat, and it's a dreadful trend.


Ha, I hadn't noticed in the least, I tend not to visit the BBC for news unless I want to check on breaking stories. But, as you yourself infer, BBC Radio 4 continues to be very very good. There is a huge disparity between Radio 4 and, say, BBC News 24, which I do watch. Radio 4's PM programme remains good stuff, as does the World Service. I'm not up early enough to listen to anything like the Today Programme, however.

Is it just me, or has John Humphries jumped the shark massively? He's gone from journalist to curmudgeon-in-chief. Like Paxman did, about five years ago (though Paxman is still occasionally awesome).
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Uncle Taylorbell



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whole viewer-lead populist shit, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be a trend, but a new reality. Horrible.

Paxman's response to being asked to request viewer-lead content was hilarious, though. A comical stand, if it weren't so fucking necessary.
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Uncle Taylorbell



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBC.co.uk news page features a section entitled Weird And Wonderful. The lead story?

Builders find Auschwitz message

Quote:
Builders working near the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp have found a message in a bottle written by prisoners, museum officials say.

The message, written in pencil and dated 9 September 1944, bears names, camp numbers and home towns of seven young inmates from Poland and France.

At least two survived the Nazi camp, an Auschwitz museum official said.

The bottle was buried in a concrete wall in a school that prisoners had been compelled to reinforce.

The school's buildings, a few hundred metres from the camp, were used as warehouses by the Nazis, who wanted them protected against air raids.

Museum experts have checked the authenticity of the note, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Six of the prisoners were from Poland and one was from France, AP said.

"All of them are between the ages of 18 and 20," the final sentence of the note reads.

An Auschwitz museum spokesman said the authors of the note "were young people who were trying to leave some trace of their existence behind them".

The Nazis murdered some 1.1 million people at Auschwitz - mainly European Jews, but also non-Jewish Poles, Roma (Gypsies) and others.


So, the story: weird, wonderful, or both?

Rolling Eyes
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picturesofsky



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's of interest, but sticking it in "weird and wonderful" is exactly the kind of gawp-at-the-world shitcakes journalism the BBC news site has turned to of late. Rar rar rar look at me I'm an old man ranting about how the world has gone to pot.

Side note - I was in London, and picked up the free Metro paper you get on the Tube. Dear christ it's awful. It's apparently aimed at the average reading age of a 9 year old. My friend said it was perfect for her, given that english is her 3rd language.
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Mizike



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lede.
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