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.

The panelists discuss the changes coming to the two largest newspapers in Lee County.

Mississippi Valley Media says the Daily Gate City and the Daily Democrat will publish four days per week. A shopper-style paper with news mixed in will be published the fifth day. The changes go into effect May 6.

The Shop Talk panelists talk about an appeals court ruling that Aereo does not violate copyright law. An article in Gigaom called it the biggest blow yet to the existing TV business.

The panelists discuss a recent controversy at a law school that initially prevented the student newspaper from printing a story.

The Pioneer Log covered an appearance at Lewis & Clark Law School by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. But The Oregonian reported school administrators insisted the story needed to be cleared by the Supreme Court’s press office before it could be published.

The Shop Talk panelists discuss political blogger Andrew Sullivan’s decision to charge readers to subscribe to his blog.

NPR’s Planet Money team reported Sullivan is charging $19.99 or more per year for subscriptions. It quoted him as saying, “It was either quit blogging, or suck it up and become a businessman.”

Most bloggers try to make money by selling ads, but Sullivan indicated he wanted to avoid selling ads because they chase away page views.

The panelists talk about the upcoming National Summit on Plagiarism and Fabrication.

The RTDNA reports the summit will be held in St Louis on Friday, April 5, as part of the American Copy Editors Society national conference. It will include a panel discussion on the common causes of plagiarism, steps to prevent it, and how to handle incidents.

The Shop Talk panelists wonder if the practice of on-line aggregation has more people thinking it’s okay to use the work of others without giving attribution.

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the New York Times’ decision to do away with its environmental reporting “pod” and its “green” blog. The pod was a group of reporters and editors who focused solely on the environment.

Readers and critics have criticized the changes and the timing of the announcements – news of the blog’s demise was released on a Friday afternoon, which is a good time to release an announcement that you don’t want many people to hear.

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the Pew Research Center’s 2013 State of the News Media report.

The study found newsroom staffs are shrinking, as are audiences. The RTDNA pointed out the survey discovered nearly one-third of news consumers have stopped turning to a particular new outlet because they were no longer getting the reporting they were accustomed to.

The panelists discuss whether public information officers help disseminate information or get in the way.

Media Jobs = Low Pay

Mar 5, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss a recent item on the Forbes website that lists reporters and announcers among the 13 surprisingly low-paid jobs.

The magazine used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It found the mean annual income for reporters and correspondents is $43,640. The bottom 10% make $20,000.

The mean annual income for radio and television announcers is $40,510. The bottom 10% make $17,150.

Digital vs Print

Feb 26, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss an item from the Newsosaur blog titled Why Digital Natives Don’t Like Newspapers.

Panelist Lisa Kernek pointed out the younger generation prefers to travel lighter and they don’t want to be bogged down by large piles of newspapers or assets such as stacks of CDs.

The Shop Talk panelists discuss whether journalism is a profession that’s becoming dominated by elites.

The conversation was sparked by an MSNBC piece: How lower-income Americans are shut out of journalism. The article points out how future success in journalism can depend on attending the right college and making the right connections.  Such opportunities are not always available to those from low income backgrounds.

Nova & Drones

Feb 12, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss complaints about a Nova special about drones that was underwritten by Lockheed Martin, which is a drone manufacturer.

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) complained the situation violated PBS’s guidelines concerning sponsorship and conflicts of interest.

The panelists talk about the report, “The Future of Mobile News,” which is the subject of an article on the Journalists Resource website.

The panelists discuss recent concerns about a doctored photo posted to US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Flickr site.

A piece by the Radio Television Digital News Association reported that Pelosi gathered 57 of the 61 Democratic women now in Congress for a photo on the Capitol steps. By the time the image appeared on the Flickr site, the missing women had been included through the use of Photoshop.

The panelists discuss a newspaper’s decision to publish the names and addresses of gun permit holders.

The information is considered public record – the same as marriages, births, real estate transactions, etc. But The Journal News of Westchester County, NY, did not print the gun permit data until after the school shootings in Newtown, CT. The timing of the decision angered those who believe it cast gun permit holders in a negative light and violated their privacy.

The panelists discuss whether the audience deserves to know more about reporters – and how much information might be too much.

The New York Times covered the issue in a piece by Margaret Sullivan. She wrote, “Journalists can let readers get to know their backgrounds, their personalities and how they do their jobs.”  She also quoted the author David Weinberger, who said, “Transparency is the new objectivity.”

The panelists talk about plans by the Tribune Company to sell its newspapers – including the Chicago Tribune – and focus on its cable television network.

The report from Reuters said the company’s Board of Directors includes many former TV executives, who are expected to soon begin the process of selling most, if not all, of the Tribune-owned newspapers as the company emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The panelists discuss a Washington Post article about how local TV stations across the country end up broadcasting the identical story.

The panelists discuss whether media organizations should start using drones in their reporting, especially of breaking news.

Vince Duffy, Chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Association, writes about drones in a recent column. He pointed out it is much cheaper to buy a drone than pay for a helicopter and pilot. The tool is already being used by some news organizations.

The panelists discuss a US Supreme Court ruling on whether people can record Illinois police officers performing their duties in public.

The AP reports the high court went along with a lower court ruling that found the state’s anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who make audio recordings of law enforcement officers.

The panelists talk about the future of journalism, focusing on one particular start up that has enjoyed some success.

An article in Columbia Journalism Review labels This Land Press as “…perhaps the best for-profit local journalism startup in the country…” The article said This Land is on pace to turn a profit by next spring, just a couple years after it started.

The panelists talk about the challenges journalists face when so many public relations specialists are working to put their own spin on events.

The panelists discuss news coverage of the results of the 2012 presidential election.

Much of the discussion centers around Republican consultant and Fox commentator Karl Rove’s insistence on election night that Fox was jumping the gun by declaring President Barack Obama had won Ohio and thus earned enough electoral votes to be re-elected.

The panelists credit Fox for sticking with its projections – which proved to be correct. Ultimately reporting won out over partisan spin.

The panelists talk about a study that found Americans used nearly every news platform available in the weeks before the November 6 election.

The study was done by the Pew Research Center.  It said the biggest gains came on the Internet – both to the websites of traditional news sources and those native to the web. Television was found to be the most useful source of campaign news.

The panelists discuss an experiment at the University of Toronto to turn experts into journalists rather than journalists into experts.

The Shop Talk panelists discuss Newsweek’s decision to publish its final print edition on December 31. After that the weekly magazine will be available only in digital formats.

The magazine was first published 80 years ago. Reuters reports the digital version will be called Newsweek Global. There will be a single, worldwide version.  

The panelists discuss whether public radio underwriters should be allowed to have their spots linked to particular stories and other news projects.

The panelists talk about Wisconsin television news anchor Jennifer Livingston, who took on a viewer who called her fat.

Livingston said she exchanged several e-mails with occasional viewer Kenneth Krause before she made her case on the air. She gave a four minute editorial – speaking directly to Krause – in which she addressed weight and bullying.

The panelists talk about the past and future of USA Today, which recently marked its 30th anniversary.

Panelist Lisa Kernek points out the paper was widely scorned by journalists – but it was also widely imitated. USA Today influenced the industry by making papers more appealing visually and more reader-friendly.

Panelist Mike Murray said it was designed to appeal to the generations raised on television – its color photos and short stories made it a sort of newspaper version of a TV newscast.

The panelists discuss the practice of quote approval in exchange for access to sources.  Some journalists allow sources to read and approve quotes before a story is published.

David Carr of the New York Times wrote about the practice in a piece with the headline "The Puppetry of Quotation Approval." He wrote, "What pops out of that process isn't exactly news and isn't exactly a news release, but contains elements of both."

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