WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Shop Talk

Tri States Public Radio's weekly round table discussion of media related issues featuring News Director Rich Egger and fellow panelists Jasmine Crighton, News Coordinator for the Western Illinois University Department of Broadcasting, and Jonathan Ahl, General Manager for TSPR.

A story on NPR's Morning Edition last week reported GateHouse Media is thriving in the beleaguered newspaper industry. Critics say GateHouse makes money by decimating news operations, but the company said it is saving newspapers with efficiencies of scale.

An opinion piece in the Boston Globe suggested the U.S. should reinstate the Fairness Doctrine if we want to stop the spread of fake news.  The piece is written by Steve Almond, who is author of the new book, "Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country."

Fox News show host Sean Hannity has regularly served as a cheerleader for President Donald Trump but never mentioned the two shared an attorney.  He also fawned over HUD Secretary Ben Carson during interviews without disclosing he bought some homes through HUD programs.

A few weeks ago the Shop Talk crew discussed a reported rise in the number of students enrolling in journalism schools.  This week the panelists debate whether students are as passionate about journalism as they were years ago.

The private equity firm that bought the Denver Post about five years ago has chipped away at the size of the newsroom staff in order to secure larger profits. The paper's editors and reporters recently wrote an editorial critical of what's happening and they used a photo to demonstrate the damage done.

Market Watch reported that the rise of so-called fake news is producing a record number of journalism majors.  The publication quoted one young person who said students are concerned they have not been paying attention and have not held politicians accountable for their actions.

America's News Deserts

Mar 27, 2018

Columbia Journalism Review is asking for help from the public.  CJR wants to create a complete and accurate map of America's news deserts – places with no daily local news outlet.

Kentucky State Police say when they are conducting an investigation they don't want reporters putting out any information about the story until the agency issues its own news release.  And reporters and news organizations that ignore this edict face the threat of being taken off the Kentucky State Police media distribution list. 

CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter reported that conservative broadcasting company Sinclair is requiring its stations to run "scripted" promos that "decry 'fake stories'" from national news outlets.

In an opinion piece on the political website The Hill, Dan Shelley, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), writes about the Journalist Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to assault journalists.  Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) introduced the legislation.

National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the media exploits mass shootings to improve ratings.  “Many in legacy media love mass shootings. I’m not saying you love the tragedy, but you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold," she said. 

The Chicago Sun Times bought a bar in downtown Chicago in 1977 – The Mirage Tavern – and used it to uncover city corruption.  Reporters worked as bartenders and wait staff at the tavern.  Microphones and cameras were hidden throughout the premises. Columbia Journalism Review called it "undercover journalism’s greatest coup" in a recent article that looks back at the investigation.

The movie The Post examines the role the Washington Post played in exposing a U.S. government cover-up that spanned several decades and presidencies.  The Post and the New York Times fought the government for the right to publish classified documents, known as The Pentagon Papers, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the newspapers. 

The Shop Talk panelists continue their discussion about enterprise and investigative journalism.   

The Shop Talk panelists talk about investigative and enterprise reporting -- the type of journalism that broke the news about the case against Larry Nassar.

St. Louis station KMOV-TV recently reported that Missouri Governor Eric Greitens had an affair with his former hair dresser in 2015 – a time when he was considering whether to run for office.  Greitens has since acknowledged the affair but denied the report's allegation that he blackmailed the woman.

President Donald Trump is accused of using vulgar language to describe African nations.  He uttered the remark last week during a White House meeting on immigration. Some news organizations chose to use the president's curse word in their reporting on the story while others did not.

Several news outlets have released the name of the 17-year boy charged in the January 1, 2018 shooting death of a LaHarpe woman.  Reporters got the name from court documents, but the Shop Talk panelists believe journalists should withhold reporting the name unless he is charged as an adult.

Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and Mark Halperin are among the journalists who've lost their jobs after being accused of sexual misconduct in the workplace (such allegations have also affected the NPR newsroom).  The Shop Talk panelists discuss the issue during this week's program.

The Washington Post recently caught the group Project Veritas trying to pull off a scam on its reporters.  Project Veritas claims to be exposing the world for what it is, but the Shop Talk panelists don't see it that way.

The Shop Talk panelists talk about some of the issues that confronted journalists during the past year and their concerns for the profession as the new year approaches.

Wednesday, November 22 marked the 54th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  So the Shop Talk panelists stepped back in history to take a look at that weekend in 1963 from a journalist's perspective. 

When reporters and editors at DNAinfo-Gothamist voted to join a union, owner Joe Ricketts shut down the operation, which had newsrooms in New York City and Chicago.  All of the organization's content was removed from the web initially, though it was later restored.

A group called the Coalition to Save Local Media formed specifically to oppose the Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed purchase of Tribune Media for $3.9 billion.  The Coalition contends the merger would hurt consumers by increasing prices while at the same time decreasing choices for local content.

Fake News is No Treat

Oct 31, 2017

On this Halloween edition of Shop Talk, the panelists say the concept of "fake news" is one of the scariest things happening to journalism today.

Who is a Journalist?

Oct 18, 2017

A list of journalists arrested in the U.S. this year shows some are from well-known outlets such as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Getty Images. Others are independent and freelance journalists, which got the Shop Talk crew wondering how to determine who qualifies to be called a journalist.

Mark Twain deserves credit for the quote used in the headline, while journalists who report on someone's demise before it's confirmed discredit their industry.

The Associated Press reported that government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records that might be embarrassing or legally sensitive. Instead of granting or denying their requests, a growing number of school districts, municipalities, and state agencies have filed lawsuits against people making the requests.

The Poynter Institute reported on a project called Report for America that aims to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms in the next five years. According to Poynter, this is how RFA will work: 

Frontline, the outstanding public television documentary program, will do some audio-only documentaries as podcasts. The magazine Current reported on the story. Program producers told the magazine certain stories are meant to be told in the audio format rather than video. 

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