Friday, August 31, 2007

Ordinary Juan: Both as news source and consumer

Just found this while looking at the old issues of the Philippine Journalism Review (PJR):

"Our society has become politicized more and faster, political relationships become increasingly complexed.... Everybody has become potentially both a news source and a news consumer."

- BusinessWorld editorial board chair and former Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility Vergel Santos, observing how political journalism has ceased to be the preserve of presidential and congressional reporters (PJR December 1991)

For a second there I thought he was talking about blogging and citizen journalism.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Regarding the latest twist to the Malu Fernandez issue

And so, the latest mini-twist to the Malu Fernandez saga was Manila Standard Today's August 27 issue that said she is going to resume her column the next Monday, or September 3. (Photos in Freedom Watch, Rom's Smoke blog, PinoyBlogero, and here)

The reason why an actual copy of the Manila Standard Today where it appeared has to be seen was because it was surprising to see such a photo from Rom, who I think was the first one that posted online.

I think Nick of however was right when he said that maybe this have already been printed before the resignation was tendered. So let's see. If by September 3 no Fernandez's column appears in the Standard Today, then it could be as such.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Malu returns to the Manila Standard Today?

And the plot thickens. This is more interesting than I thought.

Freedom Watch checked the photo posted here (which I also posted the last time) whether it really got published in the Manila Standard Today. And suprise! This announcement was posted in the August 27 issue of the paper, or several days after the public outrage over the issue was reflected in the online and mainstream media.

See more photos here in Freedom Watch.

So, what happened to Malu Fernandez's supposed resignation from that paper? Is she truly part of the Manila Standard Today again?

Still on the Malu Fernandez controversy: Some questions and insights (and is she back again in the Manila Standard Today?)

And I almost thought I'm finished posting about the Malu Fernandez controversy. But these things are too important to just throw them away.

First, now that Fernandez supposedly resigned (but more on this a bit later), other crucial question needs to be addressed: Are the editors at People Asia (or at least the ones who edited Fernandez's piece before it got published) not culpable for deciding to publish the article nevertheless?

Here's Freedom Watch on the issue:

Why did People Asia decide to publish Malu Fernandez's story anyway?
Source: Freedom Watch

University of the Philippines journalism department chair Rachel Khan raised an important question in the still raging Malu Fernandez controversy: Why did the People Asia editors let Malu Fernandez's article "From Boracay to Greece!" pass through?

While the blogosphere is full of castigating remarks against Fernandez, Khan wrote in her blog last August 25, "(N)o one seems to realize that the editors who decided to publish that piece of trash are equally--if not even more culpable--of insensitivity and bigotry against the hard working Filipino overseas workers. Who made the editorial decision to publish the article in the first place??!!!"

Read more here.

And for Fernandez's supposed resignation from Manila Standard Today and People Asia, I have to verify this tomorrow whether this really came out (it looks like it came from Standard Today), but take a look at this:

Got this from this Smoke's blog through The Philippine Experience. Is this true or what? Will post about this later when I can check the actual issue. Repeat: I am not sure about this yet. So for now, let's take this photo with a grain of salt, okay?

Some things can be seen from the whole issue: First: Blogs have become not just a source of opinion, but also of news; Second: That this is one of the few instances in which news got first picked up by the online medium before the mainstream media noticed it (although the rapid rise of the local blogging community has made it sure that this is not the first time it's going to happen); and third, that citizens have become increasingly critical of the press and the role it plays in our society.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Machine is Us/ing Us

I know that this is quite old, but for others who haven't seen this:

Meet Tonton and Benjo

Haha. These are funny, although I think they would be funnier if someone can help me with the translation. Haduken. Jumping Spider. Twisting Turn. Tornado Attack. Finishing Touch. Haha. Great moves.

Here's Tonton, the prince of Troy

And here's Benjo, the son of Tonton

More videos from creator Talibong1.

Friday, August 24, 2007

After all the stinky linkies and divaliciousness

Here's a nice breather after the Malu Fernandez issue.

I really need you to read this article, OK?
By Joel Achenbach
The Wahington Post
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

Am I worried about the future of the newspaper industry? No, because as an artist, I find that literature is its own reward. I care only for the pitch, roll and yaw, the warp and the woof - the yipping and the twittering - of our beautiful language.

But corporate realities are getting harsh around here, and thus I've decided to blog a lot more about sexual deviancy, inebriated starlets, "American Idol" rejects, unlikely but theoretically possible natural catastrophes, and pets in distress. In the future all my blog entries will have headlines such as "Britney Menaced by Sharks." No, wait: "Britney's Dog Menaced by Sharks."

Untrue, but think of the eyeballs!

Newspaper journalism is different these days: Suddenly everyone is obsessed with eyeballs, page views, "stickiness," "click-through rates," and so on. No one shouts "Stop the presses!" anymore, but they do whimper "Why aren't I on the home page?" The noble product that we manufacture and distribute throughout the metropolis - the physical thing so carefully designed, folded and bagged - is now generally referred to in our business as the "dead-tree edition." It gets little respect.

Read more here.

The Malu Fernandez apology

Here's GMANews.TV's report on Malu Fernandez's alleged statement. At this point, it seems the statement indeed came from Fernandez.

Manila Standard columnist quits after getting OFWs' ire
Source: GMANews.TV

Malu Fernandez, lifestyle columnist of Manila Standard, resigned from the paper and the travel magazine she used to write for after getting the ire of readers, particularly Filipino overseas workers in Dubai, a statement posted on blogsites and sent to the GMANews.TV email said.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and my friends and family have nothing to do with this. To date I have submitted my resignation letters to both the Manila Standard and People Asia, on that note may this matter be laid to rest," Fernandez said in the statement forwarded to GMANews.TV Thursday evening.

Fernandez's resignation came after readers reacted to an article she wrote for the newspaper and the magazine that apparently made fun of OFWs travel style.

Read more here. Got the tip from Ederic.

The Malu Fernandez controversy continues

Here's yesterday's TV Patrol World report on the Malu Fernandez controversy. Courtesy of Mukamo Philippines:

As you can see in the video, TV Patrol World's basis to report that Fernandez apologized was this page.

Here's a report on the same issue by ABS-CBN News:

Society columnist quits over OFW bashing
Source: ABS-CBN News

Complaints sent via the Internet and through othery types of media led a Manila-based society columnist to resign from her job following her negative comments about overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau reported Thursday.

Bureau chief Dindo Amparo reported that Filipinos in the Middle East proved they can make a difference by uniting for a cause against columnist Malu Fernandez.

Read more here.

Now, this online report said that ABS-CBN 2 sought Fernandez for comment but she declined. Instead, the report said that Fernandez sent a letter to the network saying, "I take full responsibility for my actions and my friends and family have nothing to do with this. To date I have submitted my resignation letters to both the Manila Standard (Today) and People Asia, on that note may this matter be laid to rest.” Which is what the alleged online apology also said.

So, can we really now say that the Fernandez's alleged apology in this site real? But if TV Patrol World actually sought Fernandez for her reaction (but declined), shouldn't the program check with the two papers if, for example, they indeed received such letters of resignation, as what the alleged Fernandez's statement said?

The ABS-CBN 2 online report also quoted Fernandez as saying: “I am humbled by the vehement and heated response provoked by my article. To say that this article was not meant to malign, hurt or express prejudice against the OFWs now sounds hollow after reading through all the blogs from Filipinos all over the world.” Which was also in the alleged Fernandez's statement. The report said that the statement was posted in the online version of the Standard Today. But I could not find any such link in the Standard Today site.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

On TV Patrol World's Malu Fernandez report

Ooooh. Tsk tsk. I just hope ABS-CBN 2 would not get a "bum steer" or in local journalism parlance, "kuryente," over its report on Malu Fernandez's alleged apology earlier.

TV Patrol World's Malu Fernandez report lacked corroboration

Source: Freedom Watch

Jeers to TV Patrol World's for a sloppy report on Malu Fernandez's alleged apology. The report, which aired a few minutes earlier, solely relied only on this page. It did not bother to check the side of Fernandez or even the papers where she write for (Manila Standard Today and People Asia).

Read more here.

Malu Fernandez apologizes?

Any moment now, TV Patrol World airs a report saying that Malu Fernandez apologizes over her controversial article. I hope the report would not just rely on this alleged statement from Fernandez. Got this info from Shari.

Alleged Statement from Malu Fernandez on the OFW Controversy

I take full responsibility for my actions and my friends and family have nothing to do with this. To date I have submitted my resignation letters to both the Manila Standard and People Asia, on that note may this matter be laid to rest.

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The latest from Freedom Watch (including Gretchen Malalad- Bong Alvarez issue)

Just what I hinted weeks ago, Freedom Watch, the institutional blog of the Center for Media Freedom of the Responsibility (CMFR), now regularly carries media monitors. Check out Freedom Watch for some of these new monitors.

And it also has something to say on the Gretchen Malalad-Bong Alvarez incident that happened yesterday. Video (including quotes from CMFR deputy director Luis V. Teodoro) below taken from Freedom Watch site.

Malalad's counterattack justified
Source: Freedom Watch

Our condolences

From Ma'am Georgina Encanto: "I am deeply saddened to inform you that our beloved Mervyn passed away at home this morning. Please pray for the repose of his soul. His remains will lie in state at the Della Strada. Details to be announced later."

Our deepest condolences, Ma'am Georgie.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Malu Fernandez controversy

I'm technically busy at the moment, watching endlessly episodes of NBN'4's Primetime Teledyaryo and surfing the Net on the side. Meanwhile, the latest issue to hit the blogosphere continues to rage -- in fact, I'm probably quite late in posting this.

Here's a comprehensive post on the whole Malu Fernandez controversy:

Malu Fernandez, Manila Standard Today, Bigotry In The Media

With the recent irresponsible, elitist, bigoted, and discriminating comments made by Manila Standard Today columnist Malu Fernandez in her People Asia magazine article “From Boracay to Greece” in which she makes many belittling comments about Overseas Filipino Workers and Filipinos in general, the response from Filipino bloggers have been overwhelming, and have not been light on the criticism. When do we say enough is enough and that we will no longer stand for the bigotry and discrimination that takes place, not only in this country but all around the world?

For her part, in her “apology”, Malu Fernandez addressed the emails responding to her article. However, the apology, was nothing more than another attempt to take a jab at Filipinos and to once again assert that she’s an elite that those in lower socioeconomic classes just fail to understand or comprehend her “wit”.

Read more here. One quick note: I think the last time a columnist got flak from readers was Isagani Cruz of the Philippine Daily Inquirer who stirred public criticism for a piece he wrote about homosexuals.

Will Standard Today follow the massive public outcry to fire Fernandez, or will the paper keep her to boost circulation (Striking while the iron is hot)?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A more relaxed pace (and a Harry Potter check for journalists?)

Thanks to the people who attended last Friday's roundtable discussion on monitoring the news media coverage of the 2007 elections. It kept raining last Friday, but more than 50 people attended. Thank you, thank you.

Here is a short report of what happened.

Improvement noted in media coverage of 2007 elections Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

There was widespread awareness of the professional and ethical responsibilities of the press among the major media players. TV networks ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7 and the leading Manila broadsheets seemed very much aware of the importance of their role in the 2007 elections.

The leading media organizations in both print and television also prepared their staffs for the coverage through seminars and briefings, in which the ethics of reporting the elections was emphasized.

These were among the conclusions of the study on media coverage of the 2007 elections conducted by the non-governmental Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). The results of the study were released today during a roundtable discussion at the Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati.

Read more here. Other reports published in newspapers and online available on Monday.
To the interns and volunteers who attended -- Dana, Criz (with friend Xan), Rocel, Mark -- thanks again.

Now that the book on the project is out, I think I can breathe a little better and resume my work -- and life -- at a slower, more relaxed pace.

Meanwhile, here's an interesting entry from the Chicago Tribune. A Harry Potter check for journalists? "Perhaps it is time for each news organization, reporter and editor to institute a Harry Potter check," P wrote in the Chicago Tribune last August 12. "Call it a human decency test."

What would Harry Potter do?

Source: Chicago Tribune

The extraordinary thing about the final Harry Potter book isn't that it has sold umpteen millions of copies. It's that the news media -- traditional and non-traditional, print and digital -- have treated the story with an unusual degree of human decency.

Maybe there's a lesson to be learned.

Although copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" were in circulation in the days leading up to its official publication date of July 21, news organizations and individual bloggers, almost unanimously, refused to disclose details of the novel. They didn't reveal the ending. They didn't make public even the usual plot and character bits routinely mentioned in book reviews.

In the weeks since, those same editors and writers have gone to extreme lengths to protect the book's secrets by splashing spoiler alerts prominently on any story that might give the merest whiff of the story's twists and turns.

In thousands of private decisions, writers, editors, publishers and bloggers have determined that they don't want to spoil the book for Harry Potter's fans. Maybe it would have been different if those fans had all been adults. But most are children. And the decision was made, over and over and over, not to break their hearts.

I'm glad. I think that was the right thing to do and a good instinct to follow. The world was better for it.

Normally, journalists aren't so mushy. Normally, the argument that the public has a right to know anything and everything trumps all other considerations. Behind this argument isn't just 1st Amendment pieties. There's also a competitive imperative. The rush to be first with news doesn't leave much room for consideration of whether a particular revelation is the sort of news that the public must know.

Usually, it's not a fictional plot that gets revealed but the real-world details of someone's private life.

This isn't the way it has always been. The famous example is Franklin Delano Roosevelt's polio-crippled legs.

Read more here.

On the local front, I am glad that the Philippine Daily Inquirer recently had a front-page report on the only winner from Ang Kapatiran Party in the last elections. Hats off to the Inquirer for continuously covering Ang Kapatiran even before the polls were already finished. In our monitoring project that monitored the country's three top broadsheets, Inquirer was cited for its exceptional coverage of the party.

Kapatiran’s lone winner keeps party’s flame burning
By Christian V. Esguerra
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The flame of Ang Kapatiran and its campaign for a God-centered politics did not die with its crushing defeat in the May elections.

Keeping it alive is a city councilor—the only one who won out of the 27 candidates that the party fielded—who is now engaged in a lonely battle against a key population control measure being introduced in Olongapo City.

John Carlos de los Reyes is fighting what he says is an attempt by foreign and local organizations to introduce a city measure to curb the Philippines’ runaway population growth “through the back door.”

Read more here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jitters critters

Please can anyone hand me Prozac pills ASAP.

It's been raining like hell these past few days. Whether it continues raining tomorrow or not, I hope many people can still join us in our roundtable discussion on news media coverage of the 2007 elections.

From the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility:

CMFR invites you to a roundtable discussion on the CMFR Monitor of News Media Coverage of the 2007 National Elections.

Luis V. Teodoro
Deputy Director

August 17, 2007
9:30 AM
Filipinas Heritage Library
Ayala Triangle, Makati Ave.
Makati City

A cocktail lunch will be served.
RSVP Carol or Lara
894-1314 * 894-1326 * 840-0889

In 2004, CMFR monitored the reporting of that year’s presidential elections to look into how selected news media were covering the exercise. CMFR did a similar project this year for the senatorial and party-list elections, but on a much wider scale.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Just making myself happy amid continuous raining

These are freaking hilarious.

and the follow-up:

I'd nominate this classic Filipino film clip in the "worst line ever said by any actor in this planet" category:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oh, what bittersweet night

Junette was the first to post most of these pictures in her Multiply page. Oh well. I'm posting them here, what the heck. Even if they're days late.

As I promised a few days ago in an earlier post, here are some photos taken during Venus's goodbye treat.

First, we ate at Colasa's for dinner. It was the first time for Bimbo and Sheila to eat there. The rest of us -- well, let's just say that we're already more than familiar with the restaurant's small floor area size and shabby restrooms. But Colasa's bulalo (definitely a must-have) and pork barbecue make up for those small things.

And being such sore misers we all are, we proceeded to Aruego's, that small videoke place near Kalye Juan and Heaven and Eggs. Where beer costs only P40 and song P5. Haha. Beat that, Uncle Scrooge.

Of course, one major downside if you're in Aruego's is that street peddlers frequently bug you and even destroy your beautiful moments caught by the cam by joining in your mandatory group posts. Like the one ogling at Venus (Or was it Junette?) wearing the gray Gap shirt.

Of course, Don began the videoke fest with his signature song. Janno Gibbs, watch out.

Of course, would Bimbo allow himself to be defeated by Don's powerful and jaw-dropping singing skills? F4, I think you lost your fifth member here in Manila.

But of course, the "Star of the Night" award went to Venus, who melted our hearts away with her "I-love-you-but-goodbye" songs.

Melai (left), the newest staffwriter, can't resist singing. Even resident diva Junette (right) sang her blues away that night.

A day before Venus's treat, Ma'am Melinda treated the staff with two sinfully delightful cakes. Since most of us have such weird tastes, eating the cake meant we have to buy liters of cola.

I am really not into sweets, but this one is definitely a winner. Just looking at the photo makes me salivate like an askal would.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Government's goal: Continue keeping the public in the dark?

"True freedom depends on freedom of information. You can't have one without the other."
- Peter S. Prichard, editor, USA Today, 1993

Why does it seem hard for the Arroyo administration to consider the people's right to information bill an urgent one? Has this government, like BusinessMirror said in today's editorial, become a "government of secret and shady deals"?

"The Philippines should have its own freedom of information legislation. It’s high time the government stops treating people like mushrooms in the dark constantly being fed horseshit," BusinessMirror said in its editorial.

A government of secret and shady deals
Source: BusinessMirror

IF there’s one thing glaringly absent from the President’s legislative agenda now lodged with the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac), it’s the absence of the proposed Freedom of Information Act.

The private sector, especially the foreign chambers of commerce, have been clamoring for it, and yet their pleas don’t seem to get across to MalacaƱang.

It’s a shame because if there’s one reform initiative that would really make a difference quickly in the life of this country in the next three years without entailing any financial cost, it would be such a law. We may call it the “Freedom of Access to Information Act,” or to be more ambitious, the “Transparency in Governance Act.”

Read more here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Musings of a sick (and hungry) person

With a high fever yesterday (because I got rained upon these past few days), I was not able to go to work yesterday. Call me a masochist or whatever, but I really hate missing work. For us, to be absent even for just one day means more tons of paper work when we come back. Darn.

Thank God I already finished writing my article for the August issue of the PJR Reports. Frickin' six pages long, single-spaced. And to think I told Don and Bimbo that I am only doing a one-page article. Talk about major babbling.

I am still feeling under the weather so I think I'm going to take it easy this weekend. I think it would be good to to stay away from the newspapers, TV news programs, and the Internet even for just the next two days. If only my eyes, which have retained its strained and reddened status for quite some time now, could complain and resign from my physical self. Tsk tsk. Plus a mild carpal tunnel syndrome is in the offing, the paranoid me thinks. On the other hand, I have to finish reading THE Book before Sunday, plus I promised my gang back home that we're going to watch the complete series of Deathnote (Thanks Tat!). And can I not really check the papers or even look at the Internet even for just a day ? Massive withdrawal syndrome alert. Haay, what to do, what to do.

And lest I forget again, congratulations to my former ethics teacher and current boss at the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Luis Teodoro, who is one of four awardees of this this year’s “Many Faces of the Teacher” search. Here's Prof. Danilo Arao's entry on Sir Louie's win. I am very thankful I was his student, for I can't imagine the profession without Sir Louie. Sir, when are you going to treat us in Chocolate Kiss? Haha. (Picture at left from Chocolate Kiss site)

Before I go back to sleep, here's a journalist's guide to "crowdsourcing" as a follow-up to my earlier post about it.

A Journalist's Guide to Crowdsourcing
Source: Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review

Crowdsourcing, in journalism, is the use of a large group of readers to report a news story. It differs from traditional reporting in that the information collected is gathered not manually, by a reporter or team of reporters, but through some automated agent, such as a website.

Stripped to its core, though, it's still just another way of reporting, one that will stand along the traditional "big three" of interviews, observation and examining documents.

The core concept is not new in journalism. At its heart, modern crowdsourcing is the descendent of hooking an answering machine to a telephone "tip line," where a news organization asks readers to phone suggestions for stories. Or asking readers to send in photos of events in their community.

Such methods require substantial manual labor to sift through submitted material, looking for information that can be used well in a story. Which makes them only marginally more effective than traditional news reporting.

True crowdsourcing involves online applications that enable the collection, analysis and publication of reader-contributed incident reports, in real time.

Read here more.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

TV news booboos

These clips are all over the Internet. Technical glitches or just plain incompetence?

Merry Miller, the novice reporter in the video below, was described in some blogs and websites as the world's worst celebrity interviewee ever. Tsk tsk. Here is the poor kid's infamous interview with actress Holly Hunter.

Miller's station, ABC explains what happened in this entry.

Just when you think Miller is the worst reporter ever, this site says, a local newscaster in Seattle named Connie Thompson makes Miller sound like the highly-respected news anchor Walter Cronkite. "Bless the person who took the time listening to hours upon hours of footage to compile a lengthy string of flubs from the easily confused reporter, who is probably sitting at home right now wondering if Donald Trump has just fired someone or if one of his building’s has burned down," the site said.

The much-maligned video:

Sorry but I can't help myself remembering that I posted here Michael Fajatin's report sometime ago. I still don't personally know Fajatin, but I am quite glad that at least I have never seen or heard him doing a similar report again.

Will Murdoch signal the end for The Wall Street Journal?

Oooh boy, did I speak too soon. I thought I am going to be pretty relaxed the next few days, but I thought wrong. Need to finish proofreading the election book and writing an article for PJR Reports. Aargh.

Meanwhile to keep me insane, here are three good reads from the Columbia Journalism Review on the controversial deal between media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Dow Jones & Company and its jewel, the highly-respected The Wall Street Journal.

CJR's editorial on the Murdoch offer

A familiar fable tells of a scorpion that asks a frog to carry him across a river. The frog is sensibly fearful of getting stung. But the scorpion is persuasive, pointing out that if he stings the frog, they will both sink into the water and die. Why would he do such a thing? So the frog agrees. Midway across the stream, the scorpion stings. The dying frog asks: Why? It's my nature, the scorpion explains.

For our purpose here the frog is the Bancroft family and the scorpion is the charming Rupert Murdoch, who would very much like to own the Bancrofts' shares in Dow Jones & Company and its jewel, The Wall Street Journal. Family members sensibly fear that he would misuse that paper's journalistic power. Murdoch's answer is that to damage the credibility of the Journal would be to destroy it. Why would he do such a thing?

You know the answer. For proof, you can read the wonderful 114-inch page-one piece in the June 5 Journal itself, which reported multiple examples all around the world demonstrating (again) that Murdoch's "newspapers and other media outlets have made coverage decisions that advanced the interest of his sprawling media conglomerate, News Corp."

Why the Dow Jones Vote Matters
Dean Starkman on the mission of The Wall Street Journal
NEW YORK -- Last Nov. 14, 38-year-old Martin A. Siegel, one of Wall Street's leading investment bankers, was spending the afternoon in the Park Avenue offices of Martin Lipton, an eminent takeover lawyer and a man Mr. Siegel had come to regard almost as a father.

Suddenly a federal marshal burst in upon the two men, thrusting a subpoena into Mr. Siegel's hand. When Mr. Siegel read the subject matter of the investigation—Ivan F. Boesky—and the accompanying list of his own takeover deals at Kidder, Peabody & Co. in the 1980s, he knew his career was over. He began sobbing, as a horrified Mr. Lipton rushed to comfort him. [1]

The Wall Street Journal leder. Has modern American newspapering produced anything better, or at least more elegant? The nation's leading financial daily has produced long-form narratives on its front page since Bernard Kilgore decided after World War II that the nation's business news was of interest to people other than the nation's businessmen and women, and that the interests of the nation's businessmen and women were broader than just business news.

Murdoch historian Bruce Page on how Rupert built his empire, and how he uses it

“There might be other buyers more palatable to them. But who’s to say Rupert Murdoch is all that bad?”

Brian Rogers of T. Rowe Price, advising the Bancrofts to sell The Wall Street Journal.

The answer to this question depends on what you mean by bad—or good—and on who is a credible witness. Robert Thomson, editor of The Times of London, testifies for good. He says Rupert Murdoch’s control of The Times doesn’t distort its reporting, which is admirable if true. But Mr. Thomson is a Murdoch employee, and there’s some evidence that he is talking through his hat.

For Mr. Rogers, making money is generally “good,” but there are particulars in News Corp. that might trouble him. For instance, making money at newspapers like The Wall Street Journal is something Murdoch has been notably bad at. (The Times is a prime example.) We must estimate, since News Corp. doesn’t publish results for its individual titles. (There are about 175 of them, the best-known being the New York Post, in America; The Times, the Sunday Times, The Sun, and the News of the World, in Britain: The Australian, The Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, and The Mercury, in Australia). Media companies are often secretive, and News Corp. outstandingly so. If due diligence meant as much as Wall Street pretends it does, the Bancroft advisers would require disclosure before talking business.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Now that's sexy news (no offense meant)

And talking about conflict of interest.

TV Station Reviews Reporter’s Actions
By Chicago Tribune

WMAQ-Ch. 5 executives on Tuesday continued to weigh what, if any, disciplinary action to take against reporter Amy Jacobson, seen on videotape in a swimsuit at the home of Craig Stebic, whose wife’s disappearance Jacobson has been covering.

Officials at rival station WBBM-Ch. 2, who had been debating since Friday whether they should air the tape, aired clips on Tuesday morning and posted a report on the station’s Web site after the tape’s existence was reported in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.

The tape appears to show Jacobson in a bikini top with a towel around her waist, as well as her children, at the Stebic home along with Stebic. Channel 2, which said the tape was shot Friday but did not say how it was acquired, also reported Stebic’s sister from Iowa was present.

Stebic’s wife, Lisa, 37, has been missing since April 30. The couple was in the process of divorcing and Lisa Stebic was moving to evict her husband from their Plainfield home on the day of her disappearance, the Chicago Tribune has previously reported.

The tape’s existence has been the talk of Chicago’s newsrooms, including Jacobson’s own, where she was asked to give her version of events to WMAQ President and General Manager Larry Wert, Vice President of News Frank Whittaker and News Director Camille Edwards. “The matter’s under review,” Channel 5 spokeswoman Toni Falvo said Monday.

Read more here. Photo above taken from there as well.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

When journalists sleep with their sources (and see you next time, Venus)

Sorry for my on-and-off posting activity. As I have been ranting in the past few months, work at the office has reached toxic levels -- toxic enough to completely miss some of the gimmicks I scheduled, the movies I planned to watch, the books I was supposed to read -- you get the picture. Well, at least now that the election monitoring project is gone (There's going to be a book launch on it on the 17th. Yipee!) and with only one story hanging for the August issue of the PJR Reports (note to self: Finish it tomorrow, you procrastinator!), I think I am going to be relatively relaxed these next few days. So God, please help me.

Aside from reminding myself to finish one story tomorrow, I also have to remember that Venus, a dear colleague and friend of mine, isn't going to be in the office anymore. Sigh. Venus was with the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) for some time now, and it's always sad when people in CMFR (like Nathan) whom you have become friends with leaves. I watched her grow in the office, that Venus. She started working with CMFR as an election monitoring project volunteer in 2004, and ironically, she's ending her stint in the office after doing a fantastic job in the 2007 election project. She has been a great colleague and friend, always filling the office with her cheerful and upbeat personality.

We had some photos taken last Friday, when the staff went out. Venus treated us to Colasa's and after a hearty dinner (with bowls of to-die-for bulalo and lots of liempo and barbecue servings), we proceeded to Aruego's to cap the night with a round of drinks and incessant videoke singing. Will post some of the pictures this week.

Sigh. I hope that last Friday's night-out with Venus won't be the last.

Moving on, here's an update on the controversial journalist who had a love affair with one of her sources.

Mayor's girlfriend is placed on leave
Telemundo took the action while it investigates whether anchor Mirthala Salinas breached journalistic ethics by having a relationship with Antonio Villaraigosa.
By Duke Helfand and Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writers
Source: Los Angeles Times

Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo placed newscaster Mirthala Salinas on paid leave Thursday while it carries out an investigation into whether she breached journalistic ethics by having a relationship with someone she covered: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Salinas has been missing from her anchor chair on the 6 p.m. newscast for the last three nights, since news of the relationship broke. Telemundo's national newscast on Thursday evening aired a lengthy story about her removal.

"Given the seriousness of the allegations that have been made, we have decided to conduct an internal review of the decisions and events that led us to where we are today," said Manuel Abud, vice president and general manager of KVEA-TV. "In the meantime, Mirthala Salinas has been placed on a leave of absence from her duties pending this review. We will conduct this investigation with the utmost respect to personal privacy and journalistic standards."

Salinas, 35, defended her actions through a spokeswoman, voicing confidence that the internal probe would clear her of any ethical lapses.

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