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.

Keokuk, IA – The panelists discuss how the media handled the Casey Anthony trial and the accusations of sexual assault against the now former head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

They looked at how court coverage is trending away from a reporter providing accounts of the day-to-day events and more towards pundits offering play-by-play from hundreds of miles away.

The panelists see this leading to people siding with what they hear on the radio, read in the newspaper, or see on television as opposed to making up their own minds.

Keokuk, IA – The panelists talk about an FCC report that concludes that there is a shortage of in-depth, local journalism.

The report says that is the case despite the abundance of news outlets in today's multimedia world.

The panelists see examples of this in their own day-to-day reporting.

They say one reason could be linked to financial difficulties facing radio, TV, and print.

The panelists also point to the fact that there are some people who do not want any local news.

Macomb, IL – The panelists talk about an FCC report that suggests news outlets could make money from on-line ad tracking.

A story in the Washington DC weekly The Hill said the agency found huge challenges to the future of local news. The FCC said "behavioral advertising" - ie, targeted ads - could play a key role in making hometown journalism profitable.

The panelists recognize the tracking of consumer habits and preferences is happening and will continue. But they don't like it.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss a report that looks at how the news media view education, especially higher education.

The article appears in the publication Academe. It contends professors are seen as lazy, they teach just a few classes, and they get paid to do almost nothing.

The panelists feel that perception might exist in popular culture, such as movies and television programs, but is less prevalent in news reporting. In fact, the problem with news coverage of education is that it is almost non-existent.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss the role the media played in the days after a devastating tornado tore through Joplin, MO.

It appears many residents relied on radio for information, especially in the hours right after the storm. It's been reported there was no electricity in the city for 24 hours, and land line phones, cell phones, and the Internet were all out of service.

Macomb, IL – The panelists talk about a possible change to Illinois' open records law that's being criticized by champions of open government.

Lawmakers approved the bill during the waning hours of their 2011 legislative session. Governor Pat Quinn has yet to sign it.

The legislation changes the open records law by allowing cities more time to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings by so-called "recurrent requesters." Those are people who ask for records more than seven times in a week.

Macomb, IL – The panelists talk about the White House policy of "faking" photo ops for reporters.

Under the policy, the president broadcasts a major announcement without any distractions from photographers. Once the announcement is completed, the president reads the statement again, this time with the microphones off. Reporters are allowed to take photos at this point.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss the future of college radio.

The magazine Current reports some universities have sold their student station to religious broadcasters. Others have turned over operations to their public radio affiliate.

Shop Talk panelist Bill Knight is critical of universities that treat the student station as an asset that can be sold off to generate some revenue. He said the stations serve as an important learning lab for students.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss whether it's still possible to have a shared national experience over a news story.

The starting point for the discussion is the shooting death of terrorist Osama bin Laden. Many people around the nation found out about his death at roughly the same time, though they got the news from many different sources.

Years ago people generally tuned into the same few TV or radio stations for breaking news. Now, there are countless stations and websites from which someone can obtain news updates.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss what television might be like in 2020.

The launching point for the discussion is a column by Michael Stroud on TheWrap.com. He led a panel discussion on the issue during the recent NAB conference in Las Vegas.

Some possible developments include a la carte programming, vastly improved HD, and TV sets connected to the web.

Macomb, IL – The panelists talk about Illinois House Bill 3500, which would bar the public release of information about who owns FOID cards in the state.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss a report that says USA Today is considering whether to pay annual bonuses to writers based on page views.

The panelists feel such a move would cheapen the product. Reporters would be tempted to write misleading headlines to increase page views, or they might skip certain stories altogether to instead report on the sensational.

The panelists also point out that a page hit does not necessarily mean someone read the story or got anything out of it.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss how they think social media should be used by journalists.

Bill Knight said social media can be used as a tool to receive tips about stories. It can also be used to promote stories. He said reporters should simply remember to maintain a sense of professionalism.

Mike Murray also said reporters need to be professional, but added he is not a big fan of social media. He is concerned some reporters might editorialize, thus compromising the way they're viewed.

Macomb, IL – The New York Times and other newspapers are preparing to set up pay walls for on-line content. The panelists debate whether that is a good idea.

Mike Murray believes it does not make sense to start charging people for something that has been free for a number of years. He considers it a poor business model.

Macomb, IL – NPR's Cheryl Corley joins the panelists to talk about her job as a Midwest reporter for the network's national desk. She covers a 12 state region.

Corley said she tries to read papers from all 12 states to come up with story ideas. Her editor also suggests story ideas.

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