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.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss the challenges facing TV's nightly newscasts.

Viewership is still strong for the three major networks, though audience numbers have decreased over the years as the potential sources of news have increased. The around-the-clock news cycle means Americans no longer need to tune in to the nightly news for a digest of what happened in the world.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss media coverage of the scandal at Penn State University.

Former PSU football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is charged with 40 criminal counts of molesting young boys. Legendary head football coach Joe Paterno lost his job as a result of the scandal and the university president was also dismissed.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss the "First in Print" or "Only in Print" promotion touted by Gatehouse newspapers. The idea presumably is to sway on-line readers to buy a print copy of the newspaper.

The Shop Talk panelists feel this is a poor idea. They believe news organizations should integrate their stories between platforms rather than trying to compete with themselves by not offering some stories on-line.

Macomb, IL – The panelists talk about NPR's latest snafu -- this one involving "World of Opera" host Lisa Simeone.

The network tried to have Simeone fired for taking a leading role in the Freedom Plaza occupation in Washington DC. NPR has told employees they should not participate in political rallies.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss Iowa Governor Terry Branstad's plan to push for even more access to public records.

Branstad, who is a Republican, said he wants better enforcement of open meetings and open records laws. He says lobbyists representing local governments helped defeat the bill last year.

Branstad also announced all open records requests received by his office will be posted on-line. In addition, his office will detail each was resolved.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

They feel the mainstream media was slow to react to the protests, and panelist Mike Murray believes many news organizations continue to give short shrift to the movement. He compares the coverage to the way the media portrayed Vietnam War protesters during the late 1960s and early '70s.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss a $4.1 million Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant to American Public Media for expanding its network of "citizen sources."

The Associated Press reports the grant will be funded over two years. The money will be used to add 100,000 more people to APM to share information with more than 50 newsrooms. The "citizen sources" will help beef up coverage from courthouse and statehouses.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss an Illinois judge's ruling that the state's eavesdropping law is unconstitutional as applied to a particular case.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Michael Allison was accused of violating a city ordinance by fixing old cars on his front lawn. He faced up to 75 years in prison for recording conversations with police officers who he claimed were harassing him.

Macomb, IL – The panelists talk about the Online News Association and its annual conference.

American Journalism Review's article previewing the conference is headlined, "For the Online News Association, the Future Is Now." The article notes the phrase "future of" was banned at this year's conference.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss a federal court ruling on the Green Party's lawsuit against Chicago public television station WTTW.

The Green Party sued after WTTW chose not to include the party's candidates for governor and the US Senate in televised debates during the 2010 elections. The Green Party is recognized as an established political party in Illinois but the station only invited the Democratic and Republican party nominees.

Macomb, IL – The panelists talk about Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's decision to sign House Bill 1716, which rolls back some of the improvements made just a couple years ago to the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Quinn signed the 2009 reforms during a public ceremony. He signed the measure that weakens FOIA in private on a Friday afternoon.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss the consequences to communities when newspaper consolidation results in a few regional newspapers instead of local papers.

Panelist Bill Knight is concerned that such consolidations will harm small communities, much as they're harmed when the local post office or school closes. He thinks the change will impact news judgment.

Macomb, IL – The Fairness Doctrine has been removed from the books in the United States. The panelists discuss the significance of the action.

The Fairness Doctrine was introduced in 1949 to ensure that broadcasters offered honest and balanced discussion of controversial issues. Such a rule was never imposed on newspapers.

The FCC has not enforced the Fairness Doctrine since the 1980s but the rule remained on the books until it was officially eliminated this month.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss the University of Iowa's decision to stop offering a professional Master's degree program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The program recently did not receive accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. But panelist Bill Knight believes the school chose to drop the program in order to save money.

The 22 students currently enrolled in the program will be allowed to complete their degrees.

Macomb, IL – The panelists discuss whether governments should block social networking sites and messaging services during periods of civil unrest.

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron said the government considered such an action during recent rioting. Police investigated whether Facebook, Twitter, and BlackBerry Messenger were used to encourage rioting.

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