Who qualifies as a journalist? Margaret Sullivan of the New York Times explains:
A real journalist is one who understands, at a cellular level, and doesn’t shy away from, the adversarial relationship between government and press – the very tension that America’s founders had in mind with the First Amendment. Those who fully meet that description deserve to be respected and protected — not marginalized.
Tribute to Michael Hastings at FAIR, by Jim Naureckas:
Hastings, a reporter for Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed who died in a car crash in L.A. yesterday at the age of 33, didn’t see it as his job to maintain “good media/military relations,” or to decide what is “necessary to report.” To the contrary–he told CounterSpin (1/27/12) that one of his golden rules for reporting was, “What does everybody know who’s on the inside, but no one’s willing to say or write.”
Hastings never forgot that journalists’ loyalties are supposed to be with the public and not to the government officials whose actions they cover–and that approach distinguished him not only from Burns but from most of his colleagues. BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith (6/18/13) recalled in a tribute to his reporter:
Michael cared about friends and was good at making them; it visibly pained him when, late in the 2012 campaign, the reporters around him made little secret of their distrust for him. But he also knew…he was there to tell his readers what was going on.
Many news outlets around the world, in the age of the internet, have struggled to find an economically sustainable model for supporting real journalism. The results, including for some of the largest, have been mass lay-offs, bureau closures, an increasing reliance on daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items, and worst of all, a severe reduction in their willingness and ability to support sustained investigative journalism. All sorts of smaller journalistic venues – from local newspapers to independent political blogs – now devote a substantial portion of their energies to staying afloat rather than producing journalism, and in many cases, have simply ceased to exist. . .
As governments and private financial power centers become larger, more secretive, and less accountable, one of the few remaining mechanisms for checking, investigating and undermining them – adversarial journalism – has continued to weaken. Many of these large struggling media outlets don’t actually do worthwhile adversarial journalism and aren’t interested in doing it, but some of them do. For an entity as vast as the US government and the oligarchical factions that control it – with their potent propaganda platforms and limitless financial power – only robust, healthy and well-funded journalism can provide meaningful opposition.
For several years, I’ve been absolutely convinced that there is one uniquely potent solution to all of this: reader-supported journalism. That model produces numerous significant benefits. To begin with, it liberates good journalists from the constraints imposed by exclusive reliance on corporate advertisers and media corporations. It enables journalism that is truly in the public interest – and that actually engages, informs, and inspires its readers – to be primarily accountable to those readers.
I recently received the following email from someone at aol.com to one of my regular legitimate email addresses:
Subject: What are these?
These look like dodge cars in the shape of colorful onions.
What is Buckminster and Chihuly Do Rounds?
Hmm. I get quite a few engineered phishing emails. But this one was not quite of the mold. I decided to google the phrase, and it led me to the Neighborhood Stabilization Team for the City of St. Louis home page that looks like this:
Ah Ha! I thought. So I replied:
I had to Google the phrase to remember what you are asking about. The site rotates several images, so you may need to hit refresh a few times to get back to mine: Neighborhood Stabilization Team
The caption made more sense with the full image that they showed back when I submitted my pic to the city.
This is the pond in front of the geodesic dome of the Climatron (which showed the dome above and its reflection below the strip that they still have on display).
So the title refers to the round dome designed by Buckminster Fuller and the round glass onions designed by Dale Chihuly, with a weak medical pun about “doing rounds” or seeing what there is to see.
But the city website designer eventually chopped the aspect ratio of the banner image from 4:3 to 9:16 to 3:17, removing most of the image, but keeping the now enigmatic title.
Here’s the original:
So what happened is that I submitted a few pix to a photo contest in 2007, and one of my shots was used as a web page banner. But as the needs changed, so did the image, until the final view little resembles the intent nor aspect of the original. And the caption that has been propagated is more absurd than intended.
Stunning new development regarding the Obama administration’s war on journalism, and this is not hyperbole. What follows is an excerpt from Glenn Greenwald’s analysis:
Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ – that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for “soliciting” the disclosure of classified information – is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.
That same “solicitation” theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged Manning to leak classified information, the US government can “charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.”
[T]he point of the unprecedented Obama war on whistleblowers and press freedoms: to ensure that the only information the public can get is information that the Obama administration wants it to have. That’s why Obama’s one-side games with secrecy – we’ll prolifically leak when it glorifies the president and severely punish all other kinds – is designed to construct the classic propaganda model. And it’s good to see journalists finally speaking out in genuine outrage and concern about all of this.
Modern times are discouraging to those of us who believe that freely available information is the only way to run a democracy. Here’s the latest blow, as reported by Mother Jones:
On Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that states have no constitutional obligation to honor public records requests from non-residents. Journalists, who frequently rely on freedom of information laws to expose corruption and break open stories, fear that the decision may make it harder for them to access public records.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) and 53 other media organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing:
By largely limiting public record access in Virginia to commonwealth citizens, [the law] inhibits the media from acquiring newsworthy records and stymies efforts to provide state-by-state comparisons on important topics such as public education, healthcare, and law enforcement activities,” the media organizations argued in their brief.
MuckRock, a website that files public records requests on behalf of activists, journalists is proposing this fix, offering out-of-staters seeking public records by pairing them with locals willing to co-file the requests.
Ask people who their heroes are, and many of them talk about those who engage in physical exploits, such as soldiers and athletes. Most of those who I consider to be courageous, however, do not engage in any physical acts of bravery. [More]
At Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Steve Rendall discusses numerous stunning examples, historical and recent, of journalists withholding important stories from the public at the request of the federal government.
Journalism is supposed to hold power to account. That’s the principle implicit in the U.S. Constitution’s singling out a free press for protection. If that principle were respected, the Washington Post’s admission (2/6/13) that it and “several news organizations” made a deal with the White House to withhold the news that the U.S. has a drone base in Saudi Arabia would have been a red flag, triggering widespread discussion of media ethics. But these deals have become so commonplace that the story generated less concern among journalists than did the denial of press access to a recent presidential golf outing.