Wednesday, June 29, 2005


GROKSTER: Legal fire-sharing trade group urges new business models

Contact: Kelly Larabee DCIA 602-258-1416

DCIA Addresses Supreme Court Decision in MGM v. Grokster Case

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

ARLINGTON, VA, (NAMC) - The Distributed Computing Industry Association
(, which focuses on peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing and last
week celebrated the milestone of recruiting fifty (50) Members in less than
two years, responded to today's US Supreme Court ruling in the MGM v.
Grokster case by committing to redouble its efforts to foster the
industry's commercial development.

"The DCIA welcomes the Courtÿÿs refusal to rework the Betamax decision, and
is optimistic that the grounds for secondary liability that it announced
today will prove to be fair and workable. As the case works it way back
through the lower courts, we anticipate clarification of the rules of
engagement between content providers and technology suppliers in the digital
realm generally, and with respect to peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing in
particular. We are confident that todayÿÿs decision in the MGM v. Grokster
case will ultimately lead to the continued expansion of our industry,ÿÿ said
DCIA CEO Marty Lafferty in making the announcement.

"We urge all affected parties to focus now on deploying new business models
for content distribution that are non-infringing and expand the marketplace
for digital content, and not to pursue legislative intervention, which would
only be counter-productive. The private sector, with added clarity that will
result from such lower court outcomes, should manage the process from
here,ÿÿ he added.

"This ruling provides impetus for the P2P distribution channel to grow and
flourish. P2P digital rights management (DRM) technologies and micro-payment
services have been proven with computer games, software, and independent
music and films. Major labels and studios can avail themselves of these
tools to develop marketplace solutions ÿÿ starting today.ÿÿ

"We hope the Courtÿÿs decision will lead to a shift away from conflict and
toward commerce, and we encourage everyone to come to the table and develop
new business partnerships. The MPAA and RIAA and their powerful members
control 90% of popular entertainment content distribution and can now move
forward to license responsible P2P companies using this highly efficient and
extremely popular channel for the distribution of their copyrighted works to
create new markets and revenue opportunities. P2P file-sharing technologies
are part of the larger movement to an increasingly distributed computing

Contact: Kelly Larabee DCIA 602-258-1416

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


BACKGROUND: Post by Susan Crawford about the Brand X case

It's More Important Than Grokster

by Susan at 01:46PM (EDT) on June 27, 2005 | Permanent Link

The consequences of BrandX (also decided today) are more important than
those of Grokster. Grokster keeps the status quo in place. BrandX opens up
a whole new world of regulatory power.

"What?" you ask. "I thought BrandX was just about the access of little
ISPs to big mean cable systems."

No. In fact, both opinions are the reverse of what they purport to be. The
Grokster opinion gives certainty to tech companies. And the BrandX opinion
takes it away again.

In BrandX, Justice Thomas gets very confused about the internet and ends
up essentially announcing that everything a user does online is an
"information service" being offered by the access provider. DNS, email
(even if some other provider is making it available), applications, you
name it -- they're all included in this package. And the FCC can make
rules about these information services under its broad "ancillary

This is very very big. This means that even though information services
like IM and email don't have to pay tariffs or interconnect with others,
they may (potentially) have to pay into the universal service fund, be
subject to CALEA, provide enhanced 911 services, provide access to the
disabled, and be subject to general consumer protection rules -- all the
subjects of the FCC's IP-enabled services NPRM. I've blogged about this a
good deal, and now it's coming true: the FCC is now squarely in charge of
all internet-protocol enabled services.

The implications of all this are staggering. This is the real news from
today. After the DC Circuit's ruling in the broadcast flag case, people
may have thought that the FCC's "ancillary jurisdiction" was in trouble.
No longer -- the FCC has been given an enormous jurisdictional surge in
power. Even though its statute -- in my view, at least -- doesn't really
give it this authority.



LINK: To a PDF download of the Supreme Court's BrandX decision (fwd)

Full text of U.S. Supreme Court decision in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. . The court is sending the caseagainst Grokster
back to a lower court for trial.


LINK: To a PDF download of the Supreme Court's BrandX decision

Monday, June 27, 2005


QUERY: To the Newspaper Association of America about Brand X

Sheila Owens
VP, Strategic Communications
(703) 902-1682

Zachary Brousseau
Communications Manager
(703) 902-1698


Will NAA have a statement about the Brand X decision?

I would think newspaper publishers were be really alarmed. Look forward a
few years and image that Time-Warner CNN website is competing with local
news against a local paper. What is now to stop Time Warner cable from IP
blocking access by its customers to the newspaper's website?

In effect, this means that as newspapers port their principal product to
the web, they are losing control of their means of publishing. Will they
have to pay "carriage fees" to Time Warner, or Comcast, or Verizon?

Bill Densmore, director
The Media Giraffe Project
Journalism Program
Department of Communication
108 Bartlett Hall
Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst
Amherst MA 01003
OFF: 413-577-4370 / CELL: 413-458-8001


LINKS: To stories about the Brand X decision


BELOW FROM:,,SB111991658546871022-1RI1Anz4Jo1R5c6AWFGvoGYZg60_20060627,00.html?mod=tff_main_tff_top

Tim Wu, a University of Virginia law professor, called the decision a
"mixed bag for consumers." He says it could increase the temptation by
cable and telephone providers to limit access to certain applications. He
cited past efforts by cable companies to restrict customers' use of Wi-Fi
devices and said new federal consumer-protection regulations are needed.

"The court's decision increases the pressure and the need for
congressional network neutrality rules -- rules designed to ensure that
consumers can reach any Internet content they want and use any application
they want and attach any device they want," Prof. Wu says.

One area at risk: Internet calling, or VOIP, an increasingly common
application that has the potential to take phone customers way from cable
and phone companies. Earlier this year Internet phone company Vonage
complained to the FCC that a rural phone company was blocking its
customers from using its service. A Vonage spokeswoman said yesterday that
the company isn't concerned about the Supreme Court decision. But she also
contends that there needs to be some network neutrality rules.

Verizon Communications Inc. said that consumers will wind up with more
choices because of the growth of alternative technologies, like Web access
via cellular networks and power lines.



The danger, the ACLU said, is that monopolistic broadband providers will
leverage their ownership of the wires that people use to get online to
exert control over subscribers' Web surfing, e-mail, Internet telephone
services and other uses of the Internet.

"The Supreme Court missed an opportunity to correct the FCC's decision on
this issue," said Hansen. "The Court's ruling was a fairly straightforward
judgment that the judiciary's tradition of deference to the executive's
power to interpret the law exceeded any misjudgment on the part of the
FCC. That judgment was mistaken in our view and the FCC seems to be moving
in the wrong direction on this issue."

"No one should think that the free Internet that we currently enjoy is
somehow immune from change or guaranteed to stay free," said Hansen.
"These two decisions may make it harder in some ways to preserve that free
Internet, but they also insure that the battle will rage on."

An ACLU-commissioned technical report on cable broadband and a white paper
on the open access issue are available online at



The Consumer Federation of America, along with the American Civil
Liberties Union, the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and a host of
other public advocacy organizations, supported Brand X in its legal battle
with the FCC.

The groups fear broadband competition in the United States will be reduced
to a duopoly between cable modems and DSL.

"Open communications networks have been at the core of the American
economy for centuries. Nondiscriminatory access to transportation and
communications networks has always been essential to a thriving economy,
whether it was railroads, the telegraph or telecommunications," the CDD's
Jeff Chester said in March. "In the digital age when communications and
commerce converge, open communications networks are even more important."

Chester added, "The open environment of the Internet was the source of
dynamic innovation in the digital economy in the 1990s when
nondiscriminatory access to telecommunications network was guaranteed."

Broadband services reach approximately half of all Internet subscribers.
Cable broadband providers and incumbent carriers offering DSL dominate the

According to the FCC, there are 32.5 broadband connections in the United
States with cable leading the pack with 18.6 million subscribers. DSL
accounts for 11.4 million connections.


EarthLink Statement Addressing Supreme Court Decision in the 'Brand X'
Monday June 27, 12:36 pm ET

ATLANTA, June 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The following statement is
attributable to Dave Baker, vice president, law and public policy,
EarthLink (Nasdaq: ELNK - News).

"Today's Supreme Court ruling is a blow to consumers and competition. For
too long, cable companies and the FCC have denied consumers a choice of
broadband providers over cable. Besides keeping prices high, this lack of
choice limits the future deployment of innovative voice, video and data
services beyond just those offered by the local cable company.

"EarthLink will continue to serve broadband customers across the country
with high-quality data and voice services and an innovative suite of
protection tools. We will also work with Congress as it revisits the
Telecommunications Act in order to ensure customer choice and the future
deployment of advanced communications services and applications."



In a 6-to-3 decision, the court said the law on the matter was ambiguous
and that the Federal Communications Commission, not the courts, had the
authority to interpret it.

"If a statute is ambiguous, and if the implementing agency's construction
is reasonable, Chevron requires a federal court to accept the agency's
construction of the statute, even if the agency's reading differs from
what the court believes is the best statutory interpretation," Justice
Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority.

In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote that the commission's ruling
was trying to further a free-market agenda, through "an implausible
reading of the statute, and has thus exceeded the authority given it by

Justice Scalia rejected the commission's argument that cable Internet
service combines Internet access, which is communication, with additional
services, like e-mail message ability, and therefore is an information

In the decision yesterday, Justice Thomas wrote that the commission had
the right to change those rules, but the court said it had no opinion on
whether it should do so.



Local Government Prepared to Protect Consumers Following Brand X Decision

6/27/2005 2:33:00 PM

Contact: Elena Temple of the United States Conference of Mayors,
202-861-6719 (additional contacts listed below)

WASHINGTON, June 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Five national organizations have
expressed disappointment in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in the
Brand X case in which the Court sustained the Federal Communications
Commission's (FCC) regulatory classification of cable modem service as an
'information service' with no cable or telecommunications component. The
United States Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the
National Association of Counties, The National Association of
Telecommunications Officers, and the International Municipal Lawyers
Association formed the Alliance of Local Organizations Against Preemption
(ALOAP) to pursue legal and regulatory actions as a result of the FCC's
ruling that Internet connectivity provided by cable operators through a
cable modem is not a "cable service."

The members of ALOAP represent local governments throughout the country
who are responsible for ensuring that cable operators and others using
public property to deliver private services do so in a manner that
protects consumers, and that the public's property is well-managed. While
these protections had traditionally been accomplished through the cable
franchise agreement, as a result of the Court's decision, the Internet
services provided by cable operators are not addressed within the scope of
existing agreements.

The Court's decision to uphold the FCC's view of 'information services'
shifts the burden to the nation's local governments to ensure consumers
are protected from unscrupulous and unsafe conduct by carriers. We are
prepared to use our ownership and management of public rights-of-way, as
well as our general police powers to protect our constituents. The Court's
decision jeopardizes the nation's public safety as information services
are not subject to law enforcement (CALEA) and 911 requirements. The
decision also hurts consumers as it denies them the legally protected
right to choose unaffiliated Internet service providers (ISP). In making
the finding of pure information services, the Court's ruling has the
effect of classifying the broadband connection to most residences as an
unregulated, closed proprietary network with no obligation to interconnect
or to carry unaffiliated VoIP and ISPs. Worse yet, these proprietary
networks have no legal obligation to be accessible to the disabled.

The classification of this service as an information service will usher in
a significant period of market uncertainty. We look forward to meeting
quickly with the industry so that at least at the local level, these
issues are resolved appropriately, in a way that balances the rights and
interests of the operators with that of the local community and

ALOAP participated in proceedings before the FCC, was a party before the
United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit and cross-petitioned
for review of the Ninth Circuit decision by the Supreme Court.


The United States Conference of Mayors - Elena Temple 202-861- 6719

National League of Cities - Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis 202-626- 3023

National Association of Counties - Jeremy Ratner 202-942-4220

International Municipal Lawyers Association - Henry Underhill 202-466-5424

National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors - Libby
Beaty 703-519-8035
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


"The Federal Communications Commission ... has once again attempted to
concoct 'a whole new regime of regulation (or of free-market competition)'
under the guise of statutory construction," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia
for the minority.

"Today's ruling is bad news for millions of Americans who are overpaying
billions of dollars every year in cable Internet service," Mehrdad Saberi,
chairman of the California ISP Association, said in a written statement.
The group says it has more than 100 independent members representing more
than three million California consumers and businesses. "The interests of
American consumers and businesses have been sold out as the FCC and now
the court have defined Internet service in such a narrow way that allows
cable companies to escape proper regulation. ... Now that source of
Internet innovation, consumer choice and affordability is threatened with
extinction as cable companies block the benefits of competition."


BRAND-X decision "grave threat" to Internet openness, Center for Digital Democracy says

[from the Center for Digital Democracy:]

Supreme Court's Brand X Decision Endangers the Principle of Net Neutrality
Court Strikes a Blow Against Freedom Online
Battle Now Goes to Congress and the American Public

Note: CDD was one of the petitioners in this case, along with Consumers
Union and the Consumer Federation of America. The Media Access Project
served as legal counsel for CDD.

Washington, DC: Today's decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the
Ninth Circuit Court's classification of cable modems as a
"telecommunications service" (and thus subject to the open access
regulations that have long governed the dial-up Internet) poses a grave
threat to the future of the Internet.

By upholding the FCC's March 2002 Declaratory Ruling that classified cable
Internet as an unregulated "information service," the Supreme Court has
paved the way for a privatized, tightly controlled broadband environment
that will bear little resemblance to the open, diverse, and competitive
Internet of the past.

As the ACLU warned in its Brand X brief to the Supreme Court, ".cable
companies can leverage ownership of the physical infrastructure into
control of citizens. access to and use of the Internet. This threatens
free speech and privacy. A cable company that has complete control over
its customers. access to the Internet could censor their ability to speak,
block their access to disfavored information services, monitor their
online activity, and subtly manipulate the information sources they rely

The decision now leaves the vast majority of broadband households in the
US at the mercy of just two companies--the local cable monopoly or one of
four remaining "Baby Bells"--for their connections to what the courts once
described as ". the most participatory form of mass speech yet
developed.." They will operate these networks as the same top-down
monopolies that have dominated both the cable and local telephone

.Today the Court struck a blow against freedom online," said Jeff Chester,
CDD.s executive director. .The Internet they have bestowed promotes the
interest of a few big media companies against the best interests of the
public--in the U.S. and globally. It.s time that Congress heard from
Americans that Big Media shouldn.t be allowed to control the future of the



BRAND-X DECISION: Statement of Center for Creative Voices in Media

Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 13:23:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jonathan Rintels <>

Statement of Jonathan Rintels, Executive Director, Center for Creative Voices in Media, on the Supreme Court's 6-3
decision in the Brand X case holding that cable companies do not have to share access to their lines with competing
Internet Service Providers.

The Supreme Court's decision in Brand X to permit cable companies to discriminate in providing Internet access is a
potentially devastating blow to the wide diversity of viewpoints and voices upon with our democracy and culture
depend. Despite its underwhelming name, today's Supreme Court decision is overwhelmingly significant. It is nothing
less than the opening shot in what promises to be an ongoing war over whether the future Internet will be "open" or
"closed." Will Americans enjoy the freedom to visit any website, as they do today, or will they be restricted to
visiting sites approved by - or in business with - the cable, telephone, or media conglomerate "gatekeeper" that
provides broadband access to the Internet?

Extreme media consolidation and concentration have eliminated many independent voices and visions from much of
America's media. Many creative artists fervently hoped that high speed broadband would empower them to share their
creative visions directly with their audience over the Internet, eliminating the Big Media gatekeeper/distributor.
Today's Supreme Court Brand X decision may have dashed those hopes. Here's why. Cable broadband providers will have
the power to discriminate as to which websites their customers visit. They can demand payment from content creators
for access to their broadband customers. They will have the power to divert their customers to sites they own and
operate, or that pay them "carriage." Or they can simply block customers from accessing programming that competes with
websites or TV networks that they are in business with. And no doubt the FCC will soon extend this power to
discriminate to telephone company DSL broadband services ! as well.

Thus, the implications of Brand X and the ongoing battle over whether the Internet will be "open" or "closed" can
hardly be overstated. As FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps has observed, "This Internet may be dying. It may be dying
because entrenched interests are positioning themselves to control the Internet's choke-points and they are lobbying
the FCC to aid and abet them… We seem to be buying into a warped vision that open networks should be replaced by
closed networks and that traditional user accessibility can be superseded by a new power to discriminate. Let this
vision prevail and the winners will be entrenched interests with far greater power than they have today to design and
control the Internet of the future."

In its controversial 2003 media ownership proceeding, the FCC majority claimed that, "via the Internet, Americans can
access virtually any information, anywhere, on any topic." Therefore, the Commission majority justified and permitted
ever greater media consolidation and concentration. Fortunately, that decision was reversed by a US Court of Appeals
as "arbitrary and capricious." Whether the Commission majority's claim was valid in 2003 is open to debate. But
today's Brand X decision makes that reasoning history. With the FCC now poised to take up these media ownership rules
again, it must take into account the fact that as a result of today's Brand X decision, one of its primary
justifications for relaxing the prior ownership rules just vanished. Americans may no longer have the freedom or
opportunity to "access virtually any information, anywhere, on any topic" on the Internet.

Today, the Supreme Court helped make the cable and telephone companies' vision of a closed Internet a reality. Most
Americans have no choice for broadband access other than a cable or phone company gatekeeper. Now, their Internet may
bear more resemblance to a "souped-up" cable television system or the early "walled garden" days of America Online,
where customers were limited to AOL content. For many Americans, their only broadband Internet may be the cable
company's walled garden Internet or the phone company's walled garden Internet.

We hope that the FCC and the Congress will seriously examine the harmful implications of this Supreme Court decision
and immediately act to preserve and protect the free, vibrant and open Internet, full of diverse and competing voices,
that has become the lifeblood of America's democracy and culture, as well as an engine of growth for its economy.

Additional information and background on Brand X may be found in our article in the upcoming Journal of the Caucus for
Television Producers, Writers & Directors, which is posted on our website,here.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Jonathan Rintels
Center for Creative Voices in Media (blog)

Center for Creative Voices in Media
1220 L Street, N.W., Suite 100-494
Washington, DC 20005

(202) 448-1517 (voice)
(202) 318-9183 (fax)


Supreme Court: File-Sharing Services May Be Sued

2. Supreme Court: File-Sharing Services May Be Sued

Internet file-sharing services will be held responsible if they intend
for their customers to use software primarily to swap songs and movies
illegally, the Supreme Court ruled today, rejecting warnings that the
lawsuits will stunt growth of cool tech gadgets such as the next iPod.

See the Full Story:


RESEARCH: Pew Center research finds public critical of media coverage

Survey on news media finds wide displeasure

Summary from SPJ PressNotes for Monday, June 27, 2005

Compiled by Robert Greene
Ward Neff Intern
Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication
The University of Oklahoma

The latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
has found overwhelming dissatisfaction with news organizations, with a
rising number of people saying that news media were "too critical of
America." And while Democrats have been more satisfied with the news media
than Republicans, the survey found a marked increase in the number of
Democrats who said they believed that reporters were too soft on the Bush
administration. The survey found "a startling rise in the politicization
of opinions on several measures," and its authors said the results
reflected the increasing political polarization of the country. This was
especially pronounced on the question of whether news outlets "stand up
for America" or are too critical of America. "Republicans increasingly
express the view that the press is excessively critical of the United
States," the survey said, with 67 percent agreeing with that statement now
compared with 42 percent in July 2002. About a quarter !
of Democrats say news organizations are too critical, the same level as
three years ago.

Source: Katharine Q. Seelye, The New York Times

Link: Pew report

Saturday, June 25, 2005


LISTEN: June 21 WGBH radio show on Downing Street memo

If you go to this page:

And click on the Listen 24MB MP3 link, you'll find a fascinating one-hour
interview and talk show with Michael Smith, the author of the original
Sunday Times "Downing Street memo" story. He explains his perception of
why that story, and one he did earlier when he was with the London
Telegraph, are so significant. In particular, he cites a Crawford, Tex.,
meeting between Tony Blair and George Bush in which, according to the memo
writer, the two world leaders agreed to pursue a policy of forcing "regime
change" in Iraq -- illegal under international law.

The program is called Radio Open Source, with Christopher Lydon. It just
started up a few weeks ago and you can get the stream on the web at:

Friday, June 24, 2005


BOYCOTT: Huffington suggests boycotting news that doesn't matter
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Arianna Huffington
Posted at Salon

June 23, 2005 | I was thinking a lot over the weekend about the news and
about how the news becomes the news, and then I read Jay Rosen's brilliant


on the Downing Street memo coverage. Rosen elaborates on Josh Marshall's
assertion that "news stories have a 24-hour audition on the news stage,
and if they don't catch fire in that 24 hours, there's no second chance."
Rosen's theory is that blogs have become the news cycle's appeals court,
and that the Downing Street memo story is still alive because it won on
appeal. And thank God.

But unlike a traditional court, the Blog Circuit Court of Appeals lacks an
enforcement arm. The only way its decisions can be enforced is by constant
reiteration of the decisions.

Which brings me back to this weekend. If you were to get your news only
from television, you'd think the top issue facing our country right now
was an 18-year-old girl named Natalee Holloway who went missing in Aruba.
Every time one of these stories comes up -- like, say, the Michael Jackson
trial -- when it's finally over I think, what a relief, now we can get
back to real news. But we never do. When one of these big-league
nonstories ends, they just call up a new one from the minors ... and off
they go with another round of breathless reporting. Anything to not have
to actually report actual news.

Here are the number of news segments that mention these stories (from a
search of the main news networks' transcripts from May 1 to June 20):

-- ABC News: Downing Street memo: 0 segments; Natalee Holloway: 42 segments;
Michael Jackson: 121 segments.

-- CBS News: Downing Street memo: 0 segments; Natalee Holloway: 70 segments;
Michael Jackson: 235 segments.

-- NBC News: Downing Street memo: 6 segments; Natalee Holloway: 62 segments;
Michael Jackson: 109 segments.

-- CNN: Downing Street memo: 30 segments; Natalee Holloway: 294 segments;
Michael Jackson: 633 segments.

-- Fox News: Downing Street memo: 10 segments; Natalee Holloway: 148
segments; Michael Jackson: 286 segments.

-- MSNBC: Downing Street memo: 10 segments; Natalee Holloway: 30 segments;
Michael Jackson: 106 segments.

When defending these choices, news execs inevitably fall back on the old
"we're just giving the people what they want." But are they? Fox News
averages around two and a quarter million viewers in prime time; CNN
hovers just under a million; MSNBC pulls in a quarter million. We have 280
million people in the country. That means that tens of millions of people
actually don't want what they're being given -- and that there are huge
slices of audience a real news operation could go after.

The mainstream media regularly confuses interesting with important. What's
more, it doesn't even do the former very well, and it largely ignores the

One wonders what happens to all those enterprising young broadcast
journalists being pumped out by J-schools across the country. I speak to
them occasionally, and they all seem to be truly dedicated to reporting
the news. So what happens to them between grad school and the moment they
do their 50th windswept, beachfront update on Natalee Holloway? Surely no
one actually aspires to spend his or her life describing the pre-verdict
scene outside the Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse or filling up airtime
with a feature on the party scene in Aruba. This can't be what they wanted
to do with their lives, can it?

In any case, here's my suggestion: Go cold turkey. Just say no. Every time
you see or hear the word "Aruba" or "Holloway" on the screen in the next
few weeks, turn off the TV, or change the channel. I've been trying it,
and it's not easy. (I've found the Cartoon Network is a pretty safe -- if
nerve-rattling -- escape valve.)

This is not to minimize the tragic elements of Holloway's disappearance.
Her disappearance is tragic -- but it's not news in the way the Downing
Street memo is news, or multiple deaths in Iraq are news. The deaths of
19-year-old Lance Cpl. Adam Crumpler, 26-year-old Lance Cpl. Erik Heldt
and 36-year-old Capt. John Maloney were confirmed by the Pentagon in the
past few days, but you won't hear their names repeated on Fox or CNN.

But be warned: Even if you try really hard to go cold turkey, the
Scandalous Non-News Story of the Day still has a way of seeping into your
consciousness. It's some kind of tabloid osmosis. Despite my best efforts,
and an incredibly quick remote-control technique, I still find myself
starting to offer an opinion on one of them at a dinner party before
pulling up short. "Wait a second," my brain starts to shout, "I don't even
care about this story -- why do I know so much about it!?"

Still, it's worth a try. And until the blog high court gets a better
enforcement mechanism, we, as viewers, will just have to practice jury

© Copyright 2005. All rights reserved by original source. This article is
copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically
authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in our
effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First
Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We
believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S.
Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107,
the material above is distributed without profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for
research and educational purposes. Newshare has no affiliation with the
originator of this article, nor is the project endorsed or sponsored by
the article's originator. If you wish to use copyrighted material from
this site for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from
the copyright owner.


STATEMENT: Radio Free Brattleboro's lawyer on "no harm"

June 22, 2005
Posted by paul at June 22, 2005 11:31 AM | TrackBack

Radio Free Brattleboro Raided Today

I didn't see this coming, since, as John pointed out, Radio Free
Brattleboro's case with the FCC is still pending in court, and the Feds
only recently asked for a summary judgement. In fact, last year, the judge
in the case ruled against the FCC's request for an injunction to shut down
the station while the case was pending.

Nevertheless, the station has been shut down:

At 6:58 this morning, June 22, 2005, armed with a warrant issued by a
Burlington magistrate, United States Marshals entered the studios of radio
free brattleboro and seized its broadcasting equipment. The seizure of
equipment and shutdown of rfb.s local broadcasts under authority of a
warrant issued in Burlington comes while an action is still pending before
Judge J. Garvan Murtha in the federal court in Brattleboro.
Click through to read the rest of RFB's press release:

In March of 2004 radio free brattleboro filed for an injunction in the
District Court in Brattleboro, asking the Court to prohibit the FCC from
seizing equipment. The United States District Attorney, representing the
FCC, filed a reciprocal action for injunction to shut down the radio
station. These dueling actions were finally whittled down to one action
and the rfb request for injunction was dropped, due to the following
statement in a filing made by the United States:

In its suit, rfb seeks to enjoin the FCC from seizing its equipment or
from stopping it from broadcasting without a hearing. Because neither of
these eventualities are threatened, the suit is essentially moot. The FCC
has chosen not to try to seize the equipment of rfb but to proceed by way
of a preliminary injunction. Thus, there is no controversy about imminent
seizure of equipment for this Court to remedy or enjoin. Moreover, since
rfb is receiving a hearing on March 15 [2004], it will not be stopped from
broadcasting without a hearing. Thus, the matters that it asks to be
remedied do not need a remedy.

This constituted the Government.s assurance that it contemplated no
seizure of rfb.s equipment and rfb did drop its own action for an

In April of 2005, with matters still pending in the U.S. District Court in
Brattleboro, rfb received a letter from the U.S. Attorney.s office in
Burlington stating that the FCC was .prepared to pursue other law
enforcement remedies . . . .. Rfb was puzzled by this new threat, as it
had dropped its original action for an injunction because of the
Government.s assurance that the regular court process in Brattleboro would
be the venue for the dispute. Accordingly, rfb replied to the U.S.
Attorney.s office stating:

The radio station has continued operating because the FCC.s complaint to
the court has yet to receive a ruling either on the preliminary or
permanent injunctions you [FCC] seek. Your review of the file doubtless
informs you that rfb originally applied for an injunction to bar the FCC
from exactly the action you now contemplate, under 47 U.S.C. § 510. The
station voluntarily agreed to a dismissal of its complaint for injunction
because of the pending injunction petition put in by the FCC. In the given
posture, I do not believe this district court or any appeals court will
say that rfb was obliged to shut down: shut-down is precisely the question
for which we await the judge.s answer. Your threatened action is,
therefore, an end run, is it not?

On May 3, 2005, the Government filed for summary judgment in the case
pending in Brattleboro. Radio free brattleboro responded to that motion
and therefore the FCC.s case asking for an injunction to shut down rfb
remains, today, in the hands of Judge Murtha in Brattleboro.

Radio free brattleboro.s attorney, James Maxwell, commented: .This is on
one level no surprise. The FCC has run out of patience with the regular
court process in Brattleboro and has gone elsewhere for the relief it
seeks, namely, a chance to get the U.S. Marshals into the station to grab
the equipment. Radio free brattleboro has a case with substantial and
legitimate legal issues pending in the federal court here in Brattleboro,
and the station has also applied to the FCC for a waiver to broadcast, and
it has repeatedly stated that when the newly licensed 100-watt station is
up and running it would step aside. Rfb does not operate in defiance of
government but rather from the belief of its members and listeners that
community radio is essential to good government and democratic process.
Radio free brattleboro has always stressed to the public and to the FCC
that it will adhere to FCC guidelines and will serve the public whether
licensed or not. Nevertheless, it is very much a surprise that the FCC has
done an end run around the court here in Brattleboro and obtained a
warrant from Burlington.even while diverting our attention by applying for
summary judgment here. It has undertaken these clever maneuvers, in my
opinion, not because it must shut down the station but because it can shut
down the station. For there is no harm whatsoever being done by rfb, while
there surely is harm being done to a civil society by the broadcast and
cable and satellite conglomerates whose idea of serving the public is to
process entertainment, information and advertisements for mass
consumption, which is to say for no one at all. It.s a sad and
disappointing day, but of course we will explore our options..

Posted by paul at June 22, 2005 11:31 AM | TrackBack


CITIZEN JOURNALISM: Gillmor offers essense of integrity?

Dan Gillmor, former San Jose Mercury-News technology editor and columnist, has offered a simple approach to journalistic integrity at his new local/community website, "Bayosphere". He has put up a page inviting users to register as "citizen journalists." But before doing so, he asks them to agree to the following pledge:

"Citizen Journalist Pledge

"By submitting this form, I agree to be accurate, complete, fair and transparent in my postings on Bayosphere. I will operate with integrity.

"I work in the community interest.

"I report and produce news explaining the facts as fairly, thoroughly, accurately and openly as I can.

"Fair: I'm always listening to and taking account of other viewpoints; Thorough: I learn as much as I can in the time I have, and point to original sources when possible;

"Accurate: I get it right, checking my facts, correcting errors promptly and incorporating new information I learn from the community;

"Open: I explain my biases and conflicts, where appropriate. I may also provide reviews (such as a critique of a movie or book) and commentary with a point of view based on facts, but I will have no significant financial or otherwise direct connection (membership, affiliation, close relationship, etc.) with an interested party.

"If I do have such connections, I'll disclose them prominently, and my work may be labeled and/or categorized appropriately.

"I agree, as an active member of this community, to help uphold the integrity of this pledge by challenging and reporting inappropriate postings or abuse."

Thursday, June 23, 2005


RESOURCES: Media-policy website links from Center for International Media Action


By the Center for International Media Action

The Center for International Media Action (CIMA) is a nonprofit
organization working to strengthen connections among grass-roots
organizations, public interest advocates, activists and researchers
working on media issues. CIMA was founded in February 2003 by Catherine
Borgman-Arboleda, Aliza Dichter and Seeta Peña Gangadharan with the
support of the Ford Foundation.

Who's who in the vast and wide- ranging opposition to media how to contact
them. This edition of the directory is available for download, use,
printing and reproduction for noncommercial, nonprofit purposes. For any
other uses, or to obtain a copy, write to:
You can also visit our website at

First Edition: Organizations urging FCC limits on media ownership
©2003 Center for International Media

Tools for media democracy advocates

Future editions of this directory and additional advocacy tools will be
available on the CIMA Website:

Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers: Media Advocacy Toolkit

Center for Digital Democracy: Media Ownership Policy Site

Center for Public Integrity: Media Ownership Database

Center for Public Integrity: Telecommunications Policy Site

Columbia Journalism Review: Who Owns What?

Common Cause: Media Activist Toolkit

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: Telecommunications Policy Coverage

Free Press: Media Ownership Project

I Want Media: Media Consolidation Headlines and News Archive

MediaChannel Global Media Ownership Chart

Media Channel: Media Ownership Coverage

Media Tank: Media Ownership Overview

PBS/NOW: Media Regulation Timeline

Project for Excellence in Journalism: Media Ownership and Deregulation Site

Prometheus Radio Project: A Media Activist Guide to the Federal Communications Commission


CREDO: Joseph Pulitzer's platform for the Post-Dispatch

Adorning the top of the editorial page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch are
the following words, written April 10, 1907, by Joseph Pulitzer, who
founded the newspaper on Dec. 12, 1878. He wrote:

"I know that my retirement will make no difference in its cardinal
principles, that it will always fight for progress and reform, never
tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties,
never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public
plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to
the public welfare, never be satisifed with merely printing news, always
be drasticall independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by
predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."


Saturday, June 18, 2005


QUOTES: "Conyers at Media Bias Forum: 'Independent Press Under Assault'"


Quoting U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.:

"I opened with a statement summing up the problem of a media that
generally fails to report on the failings of the Administration, and that
when it does, faces threats of retribution and repercussion as Newsweek
recently learned. I also referenced a Congressional Research Service Study
I released today which found that sensational stories like the .runaway
bride. were receiving wall to wall network coverage, while important
policy stories like the .Downing Street Memo. were all but ignored.
Bradblog has the full text of my statement."

THE BRAD BLOG: "Conyers at Media Bias Forum: 'Independent Press Under Assault'"

Brad Friedman
7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594
Los Angeles, CA 90028

About Brad Friedman...

Brad is a freelance writer, investigative blogger, software designer and all
around trouble maker. He broke the story of the "White House Website
Scrubbing" amongst other stories, and has been closely following the story
of "GRAND THEFT AMERICA" since Election Day at his site, The BRAD BLOG,
which can be read -- when it's not being overwhelmed by traffic -- at

Still wanna know more? His personal webpage is at
You may Email him here. He may answer.

Blogged by Brad on 5/24/2005 @ 12:49pm PT...

Conyers at Media Bias Forum: 'Independent Press Under Assault'

Says Mainstream Media Unwilling to Accurately Report on Admin, Scapegoated,
Facing Retribution if They Do

Opening Statement cites alt media sources BRAD BLOG, DailyKos, RAW STORY &
Air America in 'forefront' of those 'willing to be speak truth to power'.

Though John Conyers Forum on "Media Bias and Freedom of the Press" today on
Capitol Hill continues, live broadcasting via Air America has concluded for
the time being. C-SPAN's cameras...

[Conyers_MediaForum.jpg] Though John Conyers Forum on "Media Bias and
Freedom of the Press" today on Capitol Hill continues, live broadcasting
via Air America has concluded for the time being. C-SPAN's cameras were
there and will hopefully be broadcasting in full sooner, rather than later.
We hope to shout out when a time is scheduled on C-SPAN for the broadcast or
when it is made available for streaming via their website.
[Franken_MediaForum.jpg] In the meantime, Conyers' office issued his opening
statement this morning via a Press Release. He decried the current assault
on the Mainstream Media, their lack of willingness to report stories
critical of the Administration in power, posited how different things would
be if it was the Clinton administration who had lied the world into war, and
cited The BRAD BLOG, DailyKos, RAW STORY and Air America as alternative
media sources in the "forefront" of those "willing to speak truth to power".
He went on to say, that "these voices are too few and too diffuse to
overcome the blatant biases of our cable channels and the negligence and
neglect of our major newspapers."
Here is his prepared opening statement in full:

Rep. Conyers Says Independent Press Under Assault
Urges Media To Challenge Authority At Congressional Forum

Washington, DC; Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House
Judiciary Committee, delivered the following statement today at a
Congressional forum examining media bias and the future of a free press:

"There are few institutions in our nation today that are capable of
operating as a check on the abuses of one party rule - one is the
filibuster; another is an independent judiciary; a third is a free and
unbiased press. All three of these institutions are under assault today.

Last night the Republicans came within an inch of obliterating more than two
centuries of precedent supporting the minority's right of debate. The
triggering of the 'nuclear option' may have been delayed for the time being;
but the message has been clearly delivered by the Majority - in the future,
you exercise your rights at your own peril.

Anyone who witnessed the shameful Terri Schiavo debate knows that the
Judiciary is under attack in this country. With Tom DeLay threatening to
'hold judges accountable' and Senator Cornyn rationalizing violence against
what he calls unaccountable judges, there can be little doubt the
Congressional Majority can and will use their authority to discipline judges
who stand in the way of their extreme right wing agenda.

As for freedom of the press - the subject of today's forum - all you need to
do is turn on the television, open up the paper, or listen to the radio to
appreciate the extent our so-called fourth estate has fallen. The vast
majority of the mainstream media is not only unwilling to accurately report
on the failings of the Administration, but the few who do have fallen victim
to scapegoating and retribution.

We have turned from breaking stories like Watergate and the Iran-Contra
scandal to celebrity journalism. As the Congressional Research Report I am
releasing today proves, major events that shape our democracy and impact our
lives routinely receive scant and belated coverage, while the most trivial
matters that were once the last stories on Inside Edition or A Current
Affair now dominate the airwaves.

In the lead up to the Iraq war, every minor leak supporting the
Administration's contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction
was trumpeted on page one. Stories challenging these assertions and
discussing the final reports of weapons inspectors concluding there were no
such weapons, however, were banished to a few paragraphs in the middle of
dailies. Such incidents have become the rule, not the exception, during the
Bush Administration, particularly after 9/11 and in the face of a massive
consolidation in media ownership.

Can you imagine the media uproar ten years ago if the Clinton White House
had given a fake journalist operating under a fake name unlimited access to
the White House? Does anyone think for a minute that the Washington Times
would have ignored stories about paid propaganda coming out of the Clinton
Education Department, or if a Democratic Secretary of State had turned tens
of thousands of Republicans away at the polls in a critical swing state?

Would most of the major papers have buried stories detailing secret
agreements to invade Iraq, billions of dollars in missing reconstruction
funds, or fantasy war stories spun by the Defense Department if a Democrat
were responsible? Consider what Bob Novak or Bill O'Reilly would have said
if Mike McCurry had browbeaten them about their use of anonymous sources, or
the Secretary of Defense had warned the press to 'be careful what you say'
as Donald Rumsfeld had done. You know the answer as well as I do.

There are a few alternative sources willing to speak truth to power. I first
learned about the now infamous Downing Street Memo on Daily Kos. Bradblog,
Raw Story and Air America have been at the forefront of our ongoing national
election scandal. But these voices are too few and too diffuse to overcome
the blatant biases of our cable channels and the negligence and neglect of
our major newspapers.

Thomas Jefferson wrote 'our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and
that cannot be limited without being lost.' Let me remind those in the
media, by failing to exercise your rights and duties to challenge authority,
you risk losing not only your integrity, but the nation's trust and respect.
And to those in the Administration who would blame the press for their
misdeeds and the media for their failings, I would ask you to be careful
what you say. You cannot preach democracy abroad if you don't respect the
constitution and freedom of the press in our own country."


INTERVIEW: Rebecca MacKinnon on why she quit CNN for Berkman blogging

Posted 06/17/05 at 05:21 PM
© 2005 Columbia Journalism Review at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism

The Water Cooler
June 17, 2005

Rebecca MacKinnon, Pretend Tourist No More
Rebecca MacKinnon

Rebecca MacKinnon is a research fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. For more than ten years she reported for CNN in China and Japan, working her way up from assistant in the Beijing bureau to bureau chief in Beijing and Tokyo. She currently spearheads the Global Voices blog and posts at North Korea Zone and at her own personal blog, Rconversation.

Thomas Lang: Last year, you took a break from CNN to work on a fellowship at the Joan Shorenstein Center at Harvard, then resigned [from CNN] shortly thereafter. What prompted your decision not to go back to CNN?

Rebecca MacKinnon: Well, a couple of things. One was that over the year leading up to my resignation I had been growing increasingly frustrated with the direction CNN was going in. [I was] feeling that the ... trend [toward] less interest in serious news was accelerating and the trend towards more infotainment, from anything but a war zone, was also accelerating. I'm neither a war correspondent nor an infotainment news bunny, and I was beginning to wonder whether there was any place for me in international news at the network.

So there was that general feeling that was buttressed by being told things by my boss like, "Your expertise is getting in the way of doing the kind of stories we want to see on CNN," and "We'd like you cover the region more like a tourist." That kind of thing that just made me increasingly question whether my job was any longer consistent with the reasons I'd gone into journalism -- which was not to be an infotainment news bunny.

This leave had been planned for a long time because I'd been living in Asia since college -- I was in China for nine
years, I was in Japan for two and a half, I had been with CNN for most of that time, and I had been freelancing in Taiwan before that. So I thought it would be good to step back a little bit, take a break in the States to see what else was going on in the media space, and get some perspective on where I was going.

The Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, which is attached to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, [has] these one semester visiting journalist appointments where you do some kind of research project that you write up. ... I did my project on blogs and international news and what one could do with a blog related to international news that would be different than what one could do in a traditional reporting format. I started a blog focused on North Korea, which is called North Korea Zone, just to see what would be possible. It was a fascinating experiment and I got very excited with the potential of what some call participatory media ... just the fact that its now very easy to create media with very little money that specialize in things that CNN audiences may or may not be interested in. There are a sufficient number of people out there who are [interested].

So I ended up deciding that this was as good as a time as any time to resign from CNN and try to figure out what I wanted to do next. The Berkman Center around that time offered me a fellowship to be a research fellow here this past academic year. ... We recently started building a project called Global Voices which the Berkman Center has asked me to stick around another year to help build. [Global Voices] is a site to aggregate and index blogs from around the world and try to point to and filter and highlight what we think are the most interesting and noteworthy and perhaps newsworthy conversations, information, images, sounds, whatever, from grassroots media online from around the world.

TL: Do you see this project as a viable alternative to cable news?

RM: I don't think mainstream media is going to go away. We aren't trying to kill it. I think that there is just a much
broader universe that has evolved. I think that there is still a tremendous audience for cable TV. Most people don't have the time to troll the Web or don't have the technological wherewithal or bandwidth. [People] just get home after a long day, they want to veg out in front of the TV for 30 minutes, figure out what the news is, and then watch the football game. That's great. But there are a lot of other people who are frustrated with their inability to get what they want, and that's what we hope the site will provide.

We're also already finding that journalists are finding the site useful as a way to get information from countries where their news organization doesn't have a bureau.

TL: Are you ever concerned about the accuracy of the blogs you are linking? Or do you just let the reader determine

RM: We're letting the reader determine [accuracy]. We don't have the resources to go through and vet and fact-check [the postings]. As with all information online and in the traditional media, caveat emptor -- don't believe anything you watch, read, or hear until that source has earned your trust. That is definitely the case with any blog. What we're doing is pointing to things. Over time we are going to try to be gathering more information about who some of these people are that we point to a lot, and try to make that available. ...

These are all individuals for the most part who are writing their views of what's happening in their countries on the
Web. It's one person's opinion. It's one person's perspective. Should that replace your diet from mainstream news
sources? No. Is it a very interesting and useful supplement that helps you get a sense of what its like to be an Iraqi?
For instance, there was a blog post we pointed to from a couple weeks ago from an Iraqi that described the bomb that went off down the street and how her cousin was nearly killed and how her family reacted. This is a granular look at people's lives that you are not going to get from newspapers. This is something that blogs can do that can enable people to circumvent the filter of whoever is choosing the sound bite and just hear directly from individuals in other countries. I think that is valuable.

TL: You mentioned that journalists are enthusiastic about the project. What type of feedback have you gotten?

RM: They use it a source ... as background. A major news organization -- the BBC -- somebody there was telling me they have it bookmarked and they check it regularly to get tips on international stories that they may or may not be getting off the wires, that they may want to go look into.

I've also found that journalists are finding bloggers in various countries to be very useful interviewees to talk about
issues that are in the news in those countries. They're taking blogs as sources. Nobody is using blogs [the same way they use] a Reuters news report. And if they are, they are really dumb to be doing that. [The] best way that journalists should approach blogs is as a really valuable set of insights into what locals or sometimes experts in a country are thinking.

TL: In an interview last year on NPR you discussed the difficulty of getting first-hand reporting from North Korea. Has your North Korea Zone blog helped draw out any first-person accounts from North Korea?

RM: A little bit here and there. There is no opportunity or possibility for actual North Koreans to do anything like
that. The site does receive emails from time to time from people who are traveling in North Korea or working in North Korea.

TL: Such as NGOs?

RM: Yeah, NGOs and business people. ... There are also tour groups that go through pretty regularly -- non-Americans. Americans have trouble going, but actually there are Europeans going to North Korea all the time as tourists. Sometimes people will have interesting material that they'll bring out. They might post it on their own personal Web sites and they want to share it more widely and they'll let us know and we'll link to it.

TL: You spent most of your time as a reporter in Eastern Asia. Is their one big international story, specifically in that
region, that the American media is missing?

RM: Since 9/11 events in Northeast Asia, in general, have just really not gotten much attention. Because of the way TV works, especially, but I think newspapers and radio also, to a certain extent, is Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, a bit of
Israel-Palestine, every once in a while Afghanistan -- "Oh, we forgot about that." And then something about the latest trade spat with China. And then if North Korea rattles its saber, then a brief mention of that.

But, basically the complexities of the change going on in Northeast Asia -- and when I say Northeast Asia [I mean]
greater China, Japan, the Korean peninsula primarily -- there is a tremendous amount of change going on there. The geo-political tectonic plates are shifting with China's rise. Japan is basically remilitarizing. Korea is an incredibly
unstable situation with the North, plus you've got South Korea headed very quickly to a divorce with the United States, in terms of the alliance. You've got China rising in power and credibility amongst the countries in the region. You've got a lot going on that is going to have a tremendous amount of impact on the future of American power in Asia, and the coverage of the events there is very unsophisticated.

TL: Specific to CNN, do you think that when you joined the network in the early 1990s that international coverage was that much better that it is now?

RM: CNN, in 1992, when I joined, was part of Ted Turner's family company, basically. In 1992 we had just come out of the Gulf War. It hadn't been that long since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. CNN's big cause had been big international stories that the competition completely didn't hold a candle to in terms of coverage. There was this real feeling that if a story mattered, we should cover it. If you had a strong argument to that effect and you could pitch that to Ted Turner, the funds would be there, because he viewed CNN as something other than a product that you just sell on the market for profit maximization. He saw it as something more socially significant than that.

Then in the mid-90s CNN and Time Warner merged. The issue of Time Warner's share price became fairly central to
management. Thus, CNN's bottom line became much more central, and the efficiency ... of the news gathering operation was also suddenly more important. [This] meant that if you couldn't justify high ratings with a story, increasingly, they didn't want to spend money on it. Of course, it's hard to know in advance sometimes. And sometimes there are stories that are just damn important and your coverage decision should not be determined by ratings, if you consider your organization to be doing something other than just making money. If you do believe as a news organization you are part of a public trust and you're trying to serve democracy and citizens of a democracy with the information they need in order to judge their country's policies ... then making newsgathering decisions about international stories based entirely on ratings is extremely irresponsible.

Then there was the AOL-Time Warner merger. It's been made very clear by [CEO] Dick Parsons and other people at the top of what is now called Time Warner again that CNN is a product like any other product in the Time Warner family of products, be it MAD Magazine or whatever movie studio. It might as well be toothpaste. The idea was profit maximization. Within that, there was less and less room for the kind of journalism that says, we need to inform the citizens of our country with things that are just necessary for them to know, even if that means that on a particular night the ratings on Fox might be a little higher.

As a result, when I interviewed the Prime Minister of Japan not a sound bite of it aired in the United States, even
though he was talking about Iraq the entire time -- even though he was talking about his decision to support President Bush by sending troops to Iraq, which was the first time since World War II they were sending troops into harm's way with tremendous implications politically in Japan. That story was deemed to be of no interest to American viewers.

TL: So as bureau chief you just found yourself advancing stories that got no play?

RM: The story got play on CNN International ... but there was just increasingly this frustration that there was an
assumption Americans didn't want to know anything about most of the rest of the world, that it was just too complicated for them. ...

Let me just explain how the process works.

So I interview [Junichiro] Koizumi, the prime minister of Japan. Obviously I knew about this interview in advance -- it doesn't just happen. So the shows know about it. That means that the producers of the prime time shows in the United States are alerted to when it's going to be completed and fed into Atlanta, and the shows on CNN International are all alerted also. Of course, they are not going to make final decisions about anything until they find out what he said. [It also depends] on what else happened that day. But it's up to the producers of every individual show to decide what runs on the show. The producer's job depends on their show having high ratings. If their show declines in ratings, after ... a certain amount time, then they get replaced. Their entire incentive is short-term, night-to-night ratings.

As it was put to me, you're fighting with Fox for every fifteen seconds of airtime. You're trying to put on whatever is
the most titillating, gripping stuff to keep people from changing the channel. What that means is that if there is
something that one thinks the American public needs to know, but it is not as sexy as Michael Jackson, then they'll go with Michael Jackson.

So what happened on that day was that there was a lot of news. In fact, there was a Michael Jackson trial development that day. There was a development with Jessica Lynch. Colin Powell came out and talked to CNN. So they didn't have room for the Prime Minister of Japan because they considered all these other things to be of higher priority.

TL: Why do you think CNN International is different? I recently reviewed it for CJR Daily, and it's a far more
sophisticated show.

RM: They're going to a global audience. And they're treating their audience as an intelligent audience that wants to be informed about world affairs. They're not treating the American audience that way ... because the Nielson ratings are telling them that the American audience wants to be entertained. ... As you say, why isn't a show like "Your World Today" on CNN USA all the time? Because decisions have been made for a long time that that kind of thing isn't of interest to Americans.

TL: It's something of an endless cycle, because if you continue to feed out pointless news, then no one is going to be
educated enough on a serious subject to appreciate the stories that do air.

RM: Yeah, exactly. It's completely self-fulfilling -- the self-fulfilling vicious cycle.

TL: Finally, on your personal blog you call yourself a "recovering TV reporter." What do you mean by that?

RM: [In one way], it's a joke. I dated a recovering alcoholic once and so I just thought it was kind of funny to call
myself a "recovering TV reporter." Slightly more seriously, there are habits you have to unlearn when you come out of the very formulaic world of reporting that I was in at CNN ... just in terms of being honest with your viewers, not talking down to them, having a conversation with your audience, being more transparent ... allowing your personality to appear publicly. But also just being able to do what I want, as opposed to what my editor wanted, which was to cover my region more like a tourist, rather than a journalist.


VIDEO: BBC posts training center for teaching video shooting


Share the knowledge

: The BBC has put up a comprehensive and free course in shooting better
video (see for more).

How smart of them. This is what the future of news is about: sharing.

By teaching those who care to learn, the BBC is building an army of
news-gatherers in the world. One of them could be there when the huge
story happens. One of them will be inspired to go out and report a story.
And that video will end up on the air -- on the BBC or on the internet or
elsewhere -- and we're all better informed.

You could argue that the BBC, which has also talked about starting a
journalism school for citizen reporters, can do this because it has a
different mission than a commercial network: It is supported by license
fees to inform the public, period (which would make you think, by the way,
that NPR, PRI, and PBS should be doing exactly the same thing here).

But I'll argue that the wise commercial station -- and newspaper -- should
be doing this, too, because it will produce more news and improve the
reporting of that news reporting at a lower cost, while also taking down
the barriers that have been built up between the press and its public.
It's good journalism. It's good citizenship. And it's good business.


Link to BBC site:

Friday, June 17, 2005


Teaching and journalism seen as crucial professions for democracy


"We're at time when at least a handful of educated, cultured journalists
are needed," said Carnegie's Vartan. "I believe there are two professions
that are the most crucial for democracy, and are needed to make it safe:
teaching and journalism."

Journalism Drowning

By Rory O'Connor, AlterNet. Posted June 1, 2005.

Five out of five heads of prestigious J-schools agree: journalism is in
need of a fix.

Why did Vartan Gregorian round up millions of dollars to help educate
journalists? "When you're in the middle of the ocean, you start swimming,"
explained the president of the Carnegie Corporation. "Either that, or you

Gregorian's harsh assessment of the current state of American journalism
led him and his foundation, along with the leaders of John S. and James L.
Knight Foundation and five universities, to commit more than six million
dollars -- with millions more to follow -- to a nascent effort to improve
the quality of journalism education in America.

Speaking last week at press conference announcing the multi-year,
multi-million dollar effort, Knight Foundation president Hodding Carter
III agreed with Gregorian, saying "We're in the midst of a revolution with
no end in sight," and adding "Things aren't changing -- they're

The leaders of five of the nation's most prominent journalism programs
echoed those remarks. Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of
Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley was particularly
outspoken, decrying "the parlous state of our media," which he said "lies
close to the heart of the question over whether our system of governance
will succeed." But a chorus comprised of Loren Ghiglione, dean of the
Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Geoffrey Cowan,
dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of
Southern California and Alex S. Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein
Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University lent
amens to Schell's analysis, while Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Graduate
School of Journalism at Columbia University asked via videotape, "What can
we do that news organizations can't themselves do?"

One answer may be simply this: educate journalists! After all, according
to Knight president Carter, "the Great Dirty Secret" of the journalism
profession is that "The industry pays for nothing when it comes to
training. Instead these companies depend entirely on the kindness of

The goal of the ambitious program unveiled last week is in fact to
revitalize journalism education -- and eventually journalism itself. By
creating joint national investigative reporting projects, integrating
journalism programs more deeply into their respective universities and
providing a mechanism of influence for what Gregorian called "a coterie of
journalism schools," the hope is that they will be able to play a larger
role in the ongoing media reform debate raging in this country.

That American journalism is in deep crisis was not even questioned by the
white middle-aged men who run our leading journalism programs. This in
itself is exceptional since, as Carter noted, "J schools for most part are
chickens." Why? "Because they need dollars," he explained. "Standing
together will be better for them."

"That's why we're circling the wagons," agreed Schell. "The object of this
exercise is to be courageous and to try to use this opportunity. Frankly,
we don't see enough of that. This is a time not only to try and make
journalism schools as relevant as possible to the evolving profession, but
also to have universities begin to weigh in on the debate about what
happens in the media."

Although journalism schools are doing their best, Gregorian said, "their
best is not good enough in this complex day and age."

Here's another professional secret: most journalists didn't attend
journalism schools, and many question their value entirely. So why bother
even to have them? Schell, who (like this reporter) never attended a
journalism program, thinks such institutions are more vital now than they
were in the past.

"Things have changed substantially since we came up the journalistic food
chain," he said. "As news cycles have gotten faster and more bottom-line
driven, there has been less inclination and capacity in media outlets to
train, mentor and guide upcoming generations."

"Virtually everything in journalism is, at the moment, insufficient and in
a state of flux," Hodding Carter added. "Basic principles do not change,
but the environment in which they must be applied is changing radically.
So should the education of those who must work within that environment."

"We're at time when at least a handful of educated, cultured journalists
are needed," said Carnegie's Vartan. "I believe there are two professions
that are the most crucial for democracy, and are needed to make it safe:
teaching and journalism."

Besides, as Vartan concluded, journalism schools are here to stay -- there
are more than four hundred of them in the US now. "So we may as well take
them seriously. This is just the first salvo!"

So there you have it, Columbia J-School Young'uns: You better start
swimming or you'll sink like a stone, for the Times...and Newsweek...and
CBS News....and the rest of their ilk -- they are a -- changing.

This and other articles by Rory O'Connor are available on his blog.


Craig Newmark: Craigslist Offers a 'Culture of Trust'


Craig Newmark: Craigslist Offers a 'Culture of Trust'

Newspapers could retain readers by adding blogs, says the founder of the
community site Craigslist

By Laura Pennace Spring 2005 : Profiles

Photo/Gene Hwang

The name Craig Newmark may not be familiar to many
people, but his Web site Craigslist is known by almost every young adult
with a computer.

That.s because Craigslist is a virtual smorgasbord of online
offerings.thousands of listings organized by city and category. If you
want to find a date in Chicago, you can do that as easily as finding a job
in Houston, or an apartment share in Atlanta.

Newmark, Craigslist.s founder, began the site 10 years ago to help form an
online community and share news of local events with people living in the
San Francisco area. The site quickly grew in popularity, and local
versions launched in dozens of other cities in America and abroad. Today
every continent has at least one Craigslist, and more cities are
frequently added.

Craigslist, remarkably, established its worldwide presence mostly through
word of mouth. And while the site was established as a technical
for-profit organization in 1999, according to Newmark less than 5 percent
of Craigslist charges a fee. Only job ads in its leading markets of New
York, San Francisco and Los Angeles require payments of $25 to $75 for
posting. All other postings remain free.

.I.d like to see a Helen Thomas blog; we.d get some real reporting out of
the White House..Newmark says he spends much of his time on customer
service for the site. He also works with the Craigslist Foundation, a
nonprofit he started to help other nonprofits find success.

While Craigslist.s popularity is increasing, Newmark does not perceive his
site as a threat to newspapers, as some in the industry contend. .We may
be vaporizing many ads that would be placed in newspapers, but there is a
lot of potential classified business that remains untapped,. he claims.

Many young people are turning to Craigslist because .fewer and fewer
people trust the mainstream press,. he says, citing news bias and a lack
of coverage of some stories by major newspapers. .There is a culture of
trust on the site. We are simple, effective, honest..

While admitting that many blogs are not professionally produced, he sees
blogs as .a new type of publishing. and predicts that .amateur journalism
and professional journalism will blend together..

He also sees blogs as potentially valuable to newspapers. .Reporters could
really report the news that otherwise gets unreported,. he says. .I.d like
to see a Helen Thomas blog; we.d get some real reporting out of the White

If done well, newspaper blogs would improve news quality, customer
retention and trust, he says.


Can Google News robot rival the newspapermen?


June 10, 2005
Can Google News robot rival the newspapermen?

By George Brock
Writing in The Times of London

(George Brock is the president of the World Editors Forum)

A potential nightmare faces the 'dead-tree-and-ink' business

WE ARE accustomed to the idea that media history has been made by editors
and publishers. That was in the past. Now the people who may next change
the way news is interpreted and delivered work in a two-storey building in
the Indian city of Bangalore.
They are not exactly editors or publishers: they are mostly young Indians
with PhDs in computer science. The interns who work in Bangalore for the
search-engine company Google are trying to teach computers to figure out
what is quality journalism. If they succeed, their impact on written
journalism will be profound.

When Google.s webmasters first launched Google News in 2001, its inventors
endured a lot of lofty ridicule from newspaper editors and writers
pointing out that no .robot. was ever going to be a better news editor
than a human. And Google.s system wasn.t perfect: it reported with a
straight face that Canada had arrested George W. Bush on war crimes

However, the smiles of the men and women in the dead-tree-and-ink
newspaper business are fading. Google News has six million users a month.
In the search-engine wars, this isn.t huge . Yahoo! News, edited by real
people, has bigger reach . but the implications are more intriguing.
Google News is produced entirely by computer algorithms that sift 4,500
internet news sites every quarter of an hour and produce news bulletins
ranking the stories by how many times they are found. Like most of Google,
the front page is bare bones: clusters of links through to the original
stories wherever they appear. You can customise a news feed on a
particular topic of your choice; there are 22 regional editions in nine

Once upon a time, fast, accurate news was in short supply. In a wired
world with a glut of news, Google wants to be the global positioning
system for people who need to navigate the information jungle.

For many people, and not just journalists, this is the stuff of
nightmares. For an entertaining summary of the case for the prosecution,
watch a short .mockumentary. in which Google.s news robots take over the
world.s news business. Without discrimination, the vast news engine spews
out data largely trivial and untrue.

Google News.s young Indian founder, Krishna Bharat, is not heading for
that dystopia. As the snags are being ironed out of Google News.s basic
model, he has already set his interns in Bangalore to work on subtler
filters to sift news.

Are the sentences and paragraphs copied from somewhere else and can that
story be discarded? Does the length of the story count? How many people
does the news operation employ? How many foreign correspondents does it
have? Above all, Bharat is striving to establish how to teach a computer
to recognise originality, a genuine scoop, clarity, concision, eloquence,
political impact.

.I see us as an integral part of the news community,. Bharat told the
World Editors Forum in Seoul last week. .Our relationship with newspapers
is symbiotic. We send traffic directly to the content provider . . . and
we amplify the amount of news being read..

Google.s experts see information being published on a range from history
books at one end to fast-breaking news on the web at the other. A reader
chooses how to trade off timeliness against mature reflection. That means
that newspapers have to be clear about where they sit and what their
readers expect of them in the balance between speed and depth. Newspapers
confused about this are those most liable to die.

Perhaps the most powerful evidence of the advance that automated news
.aggregators. have made is that their workings and effect are now on the
political agenda. American journalism weblogs debate whether the Google
formulas demonstrate an unintentional bias between Republicans or
Democrats. There was a vigorous disagreement at the conference between
Bharat and US and Japanese speakers over Google.s reluctance to reveal
exactly what sources it uses and how it adds or subtracts from the list.

But those arguments only go to show that Google News is a force for
change, like it or not.

George Brock is the president of the World Editors Forum

For more information:
For further media coverage:


FREE SPEECH: Microsoft aides and abets China blogger crackdown


Posted by Andrew Nachison on June 14, 2005 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

The Media Center blog
« Memo to MSM: Where RU? Answer: Neverland | Main | Pac-Man turns 25 »

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
China's Free Speech Crackdown - WIth A Little Help from Microsoft
To all those holier-than-thou journalists and MSM defenders who dismiss
bloggers as nothing more than amateur rumor-mongers and babblers, please
take note of what's happening in China today - and don't just sit there.
Apply YOUR free speech: report, expose, shine the light of day on
repression. And note not only the policies of control, but the engineers.
In this case, they include Microsoft.

The Chinese government is clearly fearful of the political consequences of
free speech. While the government exerts control over state-owned or
sanctioned media, the Internet poses a clear threat to that control.

China has ordered all bloggers to register with the government by the end
of this month, and now we learn that a new blogging portal launched this
month in partnership with Microsoft automtically blocks posts that contain
"sensitive" words in their titles, such as "democracy" and "demonstration"
and "Taiwan independence." The Washington Post reported today:

The restrictions appear to apply only to the subject line of such entries.
Writing them into the text, with a more innocuous subject heading, seems
to be no problem.

Does Microsoft have anything to say about its collaborator role in
enabling China's repression? Microsoft's uber blogger, John Scoble, wrote
(for himself, NOT an official company postion) in his Scobleizer blog:

When doing business in various countries and, even, various states here in
the US, we must comply with the local laws if we want to do business

And, as a shareholder in Microsoft, I think it would be a bad decision to
decide not to do business in China.

Global Voices founder Rebecca MacKinnon, a longtime resident of China and
former CNN correspondent there, responded today:

I agree with Scoble: no outsiders, including Microsoft, can force China to
change. But nobody's asking Microsoft to force China to do anything. The
issue is whether Microsoft should be collaborating with the Chinese regime
as it builds an increasingly sophisticated system of Internet censorship
and control.

Microsoft is by no means alone in choosing to engage in business that
enables China's repression. A report published in April from the Open
Internet Initiative concluded that "China.s Internet filtering regime is
the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world. Compared to
similar efforts in other states, China.s filtering regime is pervasive,
sophisticated, and effective."

See also: Marketingvox .

Blogging is the current best expression of the We Media social
transformation that we see extending to every country: the empowerment of
individuals and the consequent challenge to traditional power and
authority - including government, media and corporate power. In China's
attempt to track and suppress bloggers, we see the confluence of all three

Posted by Andrew Nachison on June 14, 2005 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?