Posts tagged journalists
Posts tagged journalists
It’s been a tough media week for bloggers. Thursday President Obama said members of this profession were among those who “profit from conflict” in Washington, D.C., (which he also called “this town”, h/t @MarkLeibovich).
“How business is done in this town has to change,” Obama said during a press conference. He later added: “All of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict.
It gets worse: On Tuesday Martha Stewart railed against bloggers. “Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue magazine,” she told Stephanie Ruhle. “Bloggers create kind of a popularity, but they are not the experts and we have to understand that.”
Obama’s criticism has some validity—the people that Obama is talking about are the bloggers who don’t hold the ethical standards of journalists and are willing to take a buck off their influence. The context of that line is important. He’s talking Rush and Hannity and Gateway Pundit. Journalism has shifted ideological, which is fine, except there’s nothing separating a pure political voice and a journalist in the eyes of many.
Stewart’s criticism, on the other hand, makes no sense and looks silly. It feels like a bit of self-preservation on her part, because she’s a media icon and crafty bloggers eat into her business empire.
Woke up to some really sad news today: Dr. Lee Thornton, a former CNN and CBS correspondent — and my former UMD journalism/documentary professor — died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Thornton was a trailblazing and award-winning journalist. She was the first African American woman to cover the White House beat for a major news network, and the first African American woman to host the weekend edition of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” She joined UMD’s Merrill College in 1997 to educate a new generation of journalists — many of whom have gone on to win awards and become successful journalists themselves. No doubt, her accolades are many, and her death, a shock to the journalism community.
I met Dr. Thornton in the fall of 2008, when I was a graduate student at Merrill. At the time, she was serving as the interim dean of the college. Despite her busy role that year, she accepted my request to teach a documentary class the following spring semester (her documentary class was one of the reasons why I decided to attend UMD’s journalism school). The experience was invaluable, and the skills I gained go beyond the world of journalism and documentary filmmaking — they extend to understanding people, relationships and everyday life.
Dr. Thornton was not only a professor, but also a mentor that offered me endless encouragement — from chasing stories and promoting my work to pursuing new opportunities that would help advance my career.
After writing a letter of recommendation for me last year, she sent this email: “You, young lady, are going to go so far. That I had even a tiny bit to do with it will forever be a quiet joy. Know that I’ll always be cheering on the sidelines.”
Thank you for everything, Dr. T. I owe you so much, and will miss you.
Helen Thomas, veteran member of White House press corp, dies at 92
Politico: Helen Thomas, whose career covering the White House dated back to the Kennedy administration, died on Saturday at the age of 92. Thomas was the the first woman to join the White House Correspondents’ Association, and the first woman to serve as its president. She was also the first female member of the Gridiron Club, Washington’s historic press group.
Photo: NBC News
The talent first. That is the reason Michael’s death was news to so many people who didn’t know him personally, the reason his stories hit a nerve almost without fail.
Michael’s journalistic roots were in the 1970s, in gonzo writers like Hunter S. Thompson who flung their bodies at the story, and often got hurt. He had been badly hurt once: His fiancée was killed in Baghdad in January of 2007, when he was a Newsweek reporter there, and her death was still utterly raw to him when he published his first book, I Lost My Love In Baghdad.
And then the other part: He knew how to tell it. He knew that there are certain truths that nobody has an interest in speaking, ones that will make both your subjects and their enemies uncomfortable. They’re stories that don’t get told because nobody in power has much of an interest in telling them — the story, for instance, of how a president is getting rolled by his generals.
In a way, Michael was born too late: He wrote with the sort of commitment of the generation of reporters shaped by the government’s lies about Vietnam, not by the triumphalism of the 1990s or the reflexive patriotism of the years after 9/11. He was surer than most of us that power is, presumptively, not to be trusted. Writers of his courage and talent are so rare, and he was taken way too soon. There are few like him. We will miss him terribly.
Sad news for my alma mater, UMD Merrill College, and the journalism world:
"Haynes Johnson, a distinguished Washington Post journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for civil rights coverage in the 1960s and later sought to pierce the mysteries of the politics and gamesmanship of the capital, died May 24 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was 81.
After retiring from The Post in 1994, Mr. Johnson had an endowed Knight Foundation chair in journalism at the University of Maryland, where he was a popular professor. He attended Monday’s commencement ceremony in College Park. Next month, he was scheduled to be inducted into the Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hall of fame.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Richard Ben Cramer died Jan. 7 at the age of 62.
Writing for Esquire, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and two newspapers, Cramer excelled at the finely drawn profile, from baseball stars to Irish revolutionaries to American politicians. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his coverage of the Middle East. His 1992 book, “What It Takes: The Way to the White House,” which told the story of six men who ran for president in 1988, became a gold standard for political journalism.
Imprisonment of journalists worldwide reached a record high in 2012, driven in part by the widespread use of charges of terrorism and other anti-state offenses against critical reporters and editors, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ identified 232 individuals behind bars on December 1, an increase of 53 over its 2011 tally.
Some of the 648 Journalists murdered since 1992
Beats Covered by Victims *
15% Human Rights
(* May add up to more than 100 percent because more than one category applies in some cases.)
For more, on these heroic women and men, see Committee to Protect Journalists’ website.
For half a century, he took on corrupt politicians, scam artists and bureaucratic bumblers. His visits were preceded by the four dreaded words: Mike Wallace is here.
Wallace took to heart the old reporter’s pledge to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. He characterized himself as “nosy and insistent.”
So insistent, there were very few 20th century icons who didn’t submit to a Mike Wallace interview. He lectured Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, on corruption. He lectured Yassir Arafat on violence.
He asked the Ayatollah Khoumeini if he were crazy.
He traveled with Martin Luther King (whom Wallace called his hero). He grappled with Louis Farrakhan.
And he interviewed Malcolm X shortly before his assassination.
He was no stranger to the White House, interviewing his friends the Reagans … John F. Kennedy … Lyndon Johnson … Jimmy Carter. Even Eleanor Roosevelt.
Plus all those remarkable characters: Leonard Bernstein, Johnny Carson, Luciano Pavarotti, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Salvador Dali, Barbra Streisand. His take-no-prisoners style became so famous he even spoofed it with comedian Jack Benny.
Wallace’s death was announced on “CBS Sunday Morning.” The “60 Minutes” icon, who hosted the show for four decades, had been ill for several years.
The Storyteller: Connecting people to each other and to issues that matter in their lives.
Strengths: Storytellers render dull material vivid, making broccoli taste like s’mores. In the hands of this journalist, even a mundane City Council meeting becomes a font of whimsy and intrigue.
Potential pitfalls: Reality has a way of defying classical narrative conventions. As Tyler Cowen has argued eloquently, our zeal for stories can blind us to underlying empirical trends that are ultimately more important. We tend to turn political races, for example, into grand dramatic clashes between near-mythic characters with tragic, indelible flaws.
The Newshound: Exposing facts that are hidden or unknown.
Strengths: Newshounds possess a relentless curiosity and drive that helps them constantly uncover new facts. Most investigative journalists probably lean in this direction.
Potential pitfalls: News has a tendency of crowding out context. We give outsized focus to novel information at the expense of known facts that might help us legitimately understand an issue better. At its worst, this tendency pushes us to gobble an everlasting stream of trivia without ever attending to the truly significant dynamics of a story.
The Systems Analyst: Understanding the world and explaining it clearly.
Strengths: Systems Analysts have a gift for sniffing out root causes, key trends and important patterns that underpin a story. They prize themselves on cultivating genuine expertise, knowledge of a subject that lasts far beyond a news cycle.
Potential pitfalls: It can be difficult to write about systemic patterns in ways that are accessible to general audiences. Systems Analysts constantly have to be vigilant about not convening a conversation solely for wonks and insiders.
The Provocateur: Revealing the many complex facets of the world.
Strengths: Provocateurs surface distinctive ideas and angles, disrupting the natural tendency of media types to exhibit herd behavior. They spur us to think in new ways about a topic or to identify emerging trends or patterns that are worth keeping an eye on.
Potential pitfalls: Originality ≠ insight. The desire for a fresh take can push a journalist into being pointlessly contrarian or spotting trends that don’t exist. Provocateurs have to be careful not to make too much out of outliers and exceptions.