WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Shop Talk

Tri States Public Radio's weekly round table discussion of media related issues featuring News Director Rich Egger, WIU Broadcasting Professor Mike Murray and WIU Jounalism Professor Bill Knight.

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.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton feels product placement during newscasts has gotten out of hand.  She said the wall between news and sales has gotten so thin that you can see through it.

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. 

The problems caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have been well-covered in the media.  Meanwhile, wildfires have also caused destruction in parts of the U.S. but have not received as much coverage.

The Shop Talk panelists this week discuss news coverage of Hurricane Harvey and what it's like to report on a disaster.

RTDNA recently ran a column from a contributor who recommends every reporter have a blog.  The author of the piece wrote that it's a chance for reporters to keep their creative writing skills sharp, given that a lot of news writing is churned out to ensure there is content for newscasts.

In the Washington Post, media columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote about what she called the false equivalency presidency of Donald Trump.  She wrote, "During the 2016 presidential campaign, the national news media's misguided sense of fairness helped equate the serious flaws of Hillary Clinton with the disqualifying evils of Donald Trump."

Al Tompkins and Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute say they've both covered hate groups and they're offering some advice for journalists.  They shared their thoughts in an article that's the subject of this week's Shop Talk.

MarketWatch reported that a survey by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri found The Economist is the most trusted news source in the U.S.  Other news organizations that fared well in the survey include NPR, Reuters, the BBC, and The Wall Street Journal.

Keeping It Civil

Aug 1, 2017

A recent case of animal cruelty in western Illinois sparked an onslaught of angry social media comments on the websites for some news organizations.  People called for all manner of retribution against the person accused of the crime. A television station felt compelled to post a piece urging people to show some restraint and not become an online lynch mob.