• Cry Me A River... Of Ink
    The “sob sisters” are making a comeback, writes Stephanie Shapiro in the American Journalism Review. “Newspapers have fallen in love with long narratives about fatal illnesses and disfiguring ailments, particularly when they involve children,” she says--and readers are responding to these stories that “often offer lessons in spiritual stamina and redemption.” Referencing recent long form disease-of-week pieces in the Los Angeles Times, Denver Post and Boston Globe, she notes that “the drama underlying these anguishing accounts has led to the creation of a subgenre of narrative journalism that often vies with hard news for A1 recognition in the country's ...
  • Shock Slapped
    The premiere issue of Shock magazine could end up getting pulped if a freelance photographer has his way, Ad Age reports. A photo of a G.I. holding a wounded Iraqi child graces the front cover, and Michael Yon, who snapped the pic, says Hachette Filipacchi did not have permission to use it. “I first became aware of the infringement when stunned and angry readers contacted me under the mistaken belief that I allowed Shock magazine to use it on their cover," Yon says on his blog. “I did not, and never would have agreed to their usage. I regularly ...
  • Big To Get Huge?
    Media conglomerates that want to get even more enormous may soon get their wish via a new friend on the Federal Communications Commission, Forbes reports. With the confirmation of Robert McDowell on Friday, Chairman Kevin Martin finally has a 3-2 Republican majority and should be able to ram through big changes in media ownership rules. “The confirmation of McDowell puts media ownership back on the front burner,” Forbes says, while also raising the chances that a Time Warner and Comcast plan to chop up Adelphia Communications' assets will “get swift FCC approval without onerous strings attached.”
  • Tribune Settles Circulation Inflation Charges
    A promise by Tribune Company to go and sin no more has apparently satisfied federal regulators enough to let the publishing giant off without a fine, after they charged it with inflating circulation figures. The Associated Press reports that the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other papers settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the case that involved two of its properties: Newsday and the Spanish-language Hoy. The company neither admitted nor denied the allegations, “but did agree to refrain from future violations of the securities laws.” The deal comes after nine former employees ...
  • Internet Ad Revenue Moves Ahead Of Newspapers In U.K.
    Ad revenue on the Internet will surpass that in national newspapers in the U.K. by the end of the year, according to one media buying shop’s predictions, the Guardian reports. The preview of a report from Group M says that the Internet will account for 13.3 percent of the £12.2 billion ($23 billion) advertising market in 2006, versus a share of 13.2 percent for national newspapers. “The speed at which advertisers have shifted spending to the Web has surprised many,” the article notes: “Six years ago the Web was an upstart medium controlling only 1 percent of the multibillion-pound ...
  • The Times, It Is A Comin'
    The venerable Times, Rupert Murdoch's London newspaper, has its eyes on the colonies, Reuters reports, and is aiming for an initial 10,000 readers for a new U.S. edition. Times editor Robert Thomson tells the newswire that the move here is apt to be followed by others aimed at raising the paper’s global profile. “We're looking at other parts of the world where partnerships may be possible," he says. Thomson was in charge of the U.S. expansion of the Financial Times when he worked there and says the Times might satisfy a growing demand for foreign news, which has been ...
  • FCC In Thrall To Zealots
    “No more influential piece of the federal apparatus has been captured more effectively by the Republicans’ Christian right wing than the Federal Communications Commission,” writes Kurt Andersen in New York magazine. And, he says, “it has been running amok, mullah-like, throwing out old rules and precedents willy-nilly and making up new ones as it goes along.” Fortunately, he adds, the cavalry is on the way and it isn’t the American Civil Liberties Union. “No, the improbable free-speech white knights riding in for this battle are suits, members of the corporate Establishment, virtual and actual Republicans--the four big broadcast-television networks ...
  • Trash TV, Eh?
    A Canadian columnist takes aim at such staples of North American culture as the Jerry Springer and Maury Povich shows, likening their presence on the airwaves to a sign that we may be in the last days of Rome. "Famous for trolling the shallow end of the gene pool when booking guests, 'The Jerry Springer Show' and others of its ilk seem determined to pander to the worst in human nature," writes Gordon MacFarlane in the Winnipeg Sun. But, he insists the shows are not the cause of our decline but a symptom: "Contrived nonsense on the airways, while stupid ...
  • Buyers Like NBC Sked Shake-Up
    NBC is making the right moves in its schedule reshuffle, according to a number of media buyers, MediaWeek reports. The network made changes on every night of the week except for Saturday, which came as a surprise, but buyers apparently accept NBC’s rationale of, “Let’s just launch our new shows in the most opportunistic time periods.” According to one anonymous buyer:  “We are talking about the fourth-rated network here. NBC needs to be reacting to what the networks ahead of it do… so it can try to improve its ratings.”
  • Grim Milestone
    The deaths of two CBS personnel over the weekend marked another grim milestone in the U.S. occupation of Iraq: The war there has now claimed the lives of more journalists than any other, The New York Times reports. Cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan lost their lives while correspondent Kimberly Dozier was wounded. Their deaths bring the tally to 71, eight more than died in Vietnam and two more than perished in World War II. “It is absolutely striking,” says Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "We talk to veteran war correspondents who have ...
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