The Media Primary

"In the early months of the 2008 presidential campaign, the media had already winnowed the race to mostly five candidates and offered Americans relatively little information about their records or what they would do if elected," concludes a new study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.


Chemical Reaction

Andrea Gawrylewski reports that an email from an "ACS insider," who insisted on anonymity, alleges that bonuses paid to executives of the American Chemical Society are tied to the profits of the publishing division and that this is why the society is opposing open-access publishing.


Lights, Camera, PhRMA

Buffeted by bad press from recalls of dangerous drugs and public bitterness over high drug prices, the drug industry has decided to cure its ailing image by sponsoring its own TV talk show, hosted by Billy Tauzin, the former GOP congressman who now heads the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).


Keeping Investigative Journalism Alive

A new non-profit group called Pro Publica wants to counter the decrease in real investigative journalism. "The plan is to do long-term projects, uncovering misdeeds in government, business and organizations." Pro Publica will be led by Paul E. Steiger, who served as the top editor of The Wall Street Journal for 16 years. It is the creation of Californians Herbert M.


An Ethical Look at Fake News

Jerry Dunklee (photo courtesy of John O'Dwyer)"I love Red Cross, but I don't trust them completely when they're the ones shooting the video," explained journalism professor and Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) ethics committee member Jerry Dunklee.

Dunklee was speaking at SPJ's recent convention, on a panel titled "Paid and Played: The Ethics of Using Video News Releases." His remarks focused on the ethical issues raised by VNRs. Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) executive director John Stauber and Jim Bayse of the firm Wiley Rein, which represents the Radio-Television News Directors Association, were also on the panel.

Much of the VNR debate is currently focused on legal and policy issues: speculation over what the Federal Communications Commission really meant by fining Comcast for five undisclosed VNRs, and what the agency is likely to do next. But it's also important to address the ethical implications of VNRs. Dunklee did so by relating sometimes abstract guidelines to real-world situations he faced as a reporter and news director in cable and broadcast television.


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