From sinking ships to pedophile priests, stories uncovered by investigative reporters have served as catalysts for change. Steve Weinberg, a former executive director of Investigative Reporters & Editors, reviews two new books, Robert Frump's Until the Sea Shall Free Them and William and Judith Serrin's Muckraking!
The Mountain Citizen, a weekly Kentucky newspaper, is defying a court order to stop publishing under its name, which has been legally acquired by the head of a water board that has been the subject of several critical stories.
A Turkish court has sentenced a journalist to a suspended prison term of 20 months for writing that ordinary Turks have litle hope for a fair trial. Meanwhile, the head of the international journalist group Reporters Without Borders has been banned from entering Turkey, after the group called Turkey's top general a "predator of press freedom."
The Committee of Concerned Journalists (CCJ) has developed a set of principles outlining a "consensus about what journalists must offer and what citizens should expect." Its principles include "above all, truthfulness. ... proof that the journalists' first loyalty is to citizens. ...
Journalists are being far too timid in reporting the news, and the public is poorly informed about the media's role in democracy, veteran journalist Bill Kovach told media ombudsmen on Tuesday. "An awful lot of news organizations are far, far more timid than I would like them to be ... far, far more timid than they have any right to be," said Kovach, a former editor for The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Media hoax artist Joey Skaggs has gotten reporters to fall for fake stories including a cemetery amusement park, a robbery at a celebrity sperm bank, and a canine brothel. (Skaggs called it a "cathouse for dogs.") Skaggs says his success at hoodwinking journalists shows how little effort they put into checking their facts. "They are the status quo with capped teeth and hair spray," he says. "They are the puppet presenters of misinformation, propaganda, lies, deceit and commercialism.
U.S. news media are overwhelmingly biased in favor of genetically modified (GM) crops, according to a survey of major newspapers and weekly newsmagazines conducted by Food First. "A search was made to find all opinion pieces over a two-year periodofrom September 1999 through August 2001," reports Nick Parker.
It's official: Philip Morris, the world's largest tobacco company, has now changed its name to "Altria," from the Latin root for "altruism." The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids isn't impressed.
Are the ways most media report and discuss the Israeli-Palestinian war making the crisis worse? Do accusations of media bias push people farther apart? How can news stories help bring about peace? The MediaChannel offers a compendium of news features and essays.
PR Watch editor John Stauber and Hunter College Professor Stuart Ewen recently participated in a a panel discussion on the topic of "perception management" and managed to make an impression on columnist Danny Schechter's own perceptions of today's over-spun media environment. The influence of PR, he observed, has some unintended consequences for us all. When spin doctors "drive the news agenda" with "pre-fabricated messages," rational public discourse starts to break down. "Think about the messages of the terror war or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Schechter says.