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Commentary: Enough, Already!

Whatever interests the public is not necessarily in the public interest. Perhaps, that statement should now be the guiding principle of the American media. Perhaps, that statement should be added to the principles in the so-called “Code of Ethics” that some journalists may consult on occasion. What prompts that suggestion is the media circus that is running agog in that small town in Connecticut, following yet another “senseless” mass killing. Since Congress is too cowardly––or is it the … Read entire article »

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Volunteers needed for Philadelphia schools’ Project Mastery

Philadelphia Youth Network (www.pyninc.org) has a new and exciting volunteer opportunity for the busy professional who has a knack for writing. Partnering with the School District of Philadelphia on their new initiative, Project Mastery, PYN is seeking established writers and other professionals interested in using their skills to help the students of our city succeed. During the yearlong curriculum, students will be challenged in their English Language Arts classes with new material and educational approaches with the goal of keeping students engaged and giving them the tools to produce remarkable work. See the attached document for a fuller description of the program and how volunteers will help make that happen through reviewing and guiding student work. Participants … Read entire article »

Commentary: Is the American Media Sycophant or Incompetent?

Of course, it could be that I am reading from and listening to the wrong sources (I don’t have a television set so I can’t be watching), but it seems to me that the news media is swallowing hook, line, and sinker (I have been wanting to use that cliché all my life!) what the Obama regime is saying about its support of the so-called “rebels” in Syria. Unless I am mistaken, they are “goodies” (fighting the “baddies”) and are “freedom-fighters” seeking to get rid of a dictator (when did he become a dictator? by the way) and bring democracy to their country. No one, it seems, reports that they are criminals and gangsters who resort to … Read entire article »

Commentary: Where is the news media?

A country has recently passed a law that will permit the military to indefinitely detain without trial any citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to an offshore penal colony and kept there until “the end of hostilities.” The bill describes a “covered person”—one subject to detention—as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported [terrorist forces] or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the country, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” The bill, however, does not define the terms “substantially supported,” “directly supported” or “associated … Read entire article »

Commentary: Some thoughts as we start a new year

Admittedly, I have not read every newspaper and news magazine in the country, nor have I watched every news program on television, nor have I listened to every news broadcast and talk-radio program in the country, so it is possible that one or more journalists have raised or otherwise commented on some of the “news” items that have intrigued or … Read entire article »

Commentary: First Genocide, Now Vericide

Now that the term “genocide” has been established as a “crime against humanity” and is a matter for the courts, it is time for the introduction of another word, but, this time, for use by journalists who report and otherwise comment upon what countries and their leaders say about genocide and lesser matters: Vericide. Historians should also start using it. Just as … Read entire article »

Commentary: Flags for Burning

When journalists report on the “spontaneous” flag-burning demonstrations, around the world, there is one fact that is never covered or reported:  How and where do the protestors get the flags they burn? Do all the countries that have flag-burning mobs also have shops that sell “Flags for Burning”? Is there an international company that has salesmen traveling the world selling flags of … Read entire article »

Commentary: Fair and Balanced?

More than 50 years ago, when “The Time of Your Life,” was revived on Broadway, with Henry Fonda playing the lead, LIFE magazine asked the playwright, William Saroyan, to review his award-winning play. Instead of coming East from his home in San Francisco, Saroyan “reviewed” the play as he imagined it would be performed.  LIFE ran the review, which (like G. B. Shaw’s Prefaces) reflected Saroyan’s philosophy of life as well as re-telling the story of the play. On April 27, there was a panel discussion, “Fair and Balanced?” presented jointly by the SPJ and the Philadelphia Public Relations Association. Since virtually everything that was said was inaudible (when will panelists learn to speak to the microphones and … Read entire article »

Is the reporting of “straight” news dead?

Is the reporting of “straight” news dead?  Do people want the “facts” (the traditional 5Ws and H) and then make up their own minds? Or, do the people want someone to give them an opinion?  And, “It had better be the opinion I want to hear.” For some time, the Fox News Channel has been faulted for not really being a “news” channel–even by those who watch it faithfully. These people want to have their views confirmed. The subject will be the topic of a program cosponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, on Wednesday, April 27. Watch this site for details. Meanwhile, it might be worth noting that Media Matters is … Read entire article »

A manifesto for the simple scribe – 25 commandments

Former Guardian science editor, letters editor, arts editor and literary editor Tim Radford has condensed his journalistic experience into a handy set of rules for aspiring hacks. It applies to journalists (and would-be journalists) everywhere–and to the new phenomenon, the “citizen journalist.”  Radford is a freelance journalist. He worked for The Guardian for 32 years, becoming – among other things – letters … Read entire article »