Good night, and good luck

Monday, May 3, 2010

Journalist, Public Commentator, and Broadcasting Legend Bill Moyers signed off from his weekly PBS series for the last time Friday night. Moyer's departure was unsurprising, but Craig Aaron, Managing Director for Free Press, stated that his absence marks a turning point for journalism in America.

For the EWG Students in BNR this term, the topic of Aaron's blog post echos sentiments we heard in a speech by Free Press founders John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney. The media is in crisis; thousands of journalists are losing their jobs and local newspapers are becoming a thing of the past. Big media companies that overtook smaller media outlets are now drowning in debt and taking the public's access to local stories and media down with them. Eight weeks ago, I would have considered the word using the word "crisis" to describe this situation a bit of a misnomer. But, as I have become more aware of the news around me and the effect it has on my opinions and my responsibility as a citizen, I now think the term is accurate.

Aaron's article explains that America, which is considered by many the greatest democracy in th eworld, only spends $1.43 on it's media sources. Those media sources are our link to each other, to citizens in other towns across the state, to our capital and to the world. $1.43 will buy you a small french fry or a hamburger at McDonalds. $1.43 is all the public money available to fund a public media. In comparison, each U.S. taxpayer spent $565 to bail out AIG. I'm not sure about you, but something seems off here. There is more money available to bail out a bunch of CEO's whose bonus' equal more money than I will see in my lifetime than there is to pay someone to go out and investigate the truth for me?

It's hard in an economic downturn to think of funding something as small as journalism. But if I've learned anything in BNR this term, it's that journalism isn't small. It's size depends on where we can send it, where we can make it reach; be it the far corners of the Earth or just down the street, I've realized that there journalism offers us a chance to reconnect to each other in a world where we've completely disconnected.

Aaron provides details in the blog on his testimony to the FCC, in which he gave several possible solutions to the crisis in journalism. Though he cited a few kind words spoken by FCC representatives and others regarding Moyers' retirement, he stated that finding a way to get journalism back on it's feet to help America build a stronger democracy would be the best tribute we could all give him.

And I think that after over 50 years of service to us, a tribute is in order.


Politician to Jail to Broadcaster?

The New York Times reported that in Illinois, breaking the law seems to lead to a guaranteed opportunity as a political broadcaster. The city has three politicians that have been convicted of crimes from accepting bribes to corruption charges, done jail time, and now have their own shows as radio broadcasters.

While Chicago or Illinois is not the only place this happens, the city has numerous tainted politicians turned professional talkers.

Local television stations explain that they always recruit ex-politicians on election night, and they don’t differentiate the honest from the dishonest. It seems more important to have the insider awareness, and who better knows what is going on?

Listeners are also drawn to big politicians that have been brought down, convicted, and now they are out and have lots to say. Prior broadcasting or radio experience isn’t necessary.
While these individuals obviously aren’t trustworthy, maybe they are the best source to tell what really happens in the political world.


Social Media for Recruiters

Social media and social networking are becoming hot terms in the HR world. Companies are realizing that there is a significant opportunity to reach candidates through the various social media avenues.

1. Go where candidates would hang out on the web. Surround yourself with people smarter than you are. See which site fits your niche and join by creating a profile. Options include, HRM Today, and The Fordyce Letter Network.

2. Learn how to use LinkedIn. This site is a must for business professionals. It is a great tool for personal branding, job searching, and business development.

3. Read more blogs by subscribing to an RSS such as Google Reader. This allows a reader to skim through material and read content at a more efficient pace.

4. Try Twitter and connect with thought leaders who share what they’re working on, resources, tips, and links. Potential candidates and clients may follow you on Twitter.

5. Use Facebook to recruit. It offers some cool tools for recruiting and employment branding, and you can effectively connect with and recruit young professionals as well as senior level talent.


Time to Review Online Privacy Laws

The New York Times reported that the push to strengthen online privacy laws was backed by a coalition calling itself Digital Due Process. The coalition wants to ensure files and documents remain protected from easy access by legal and government authorities.

The coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology. The coalition also includes technology companies such as AT&T, Google, and Microsoft. The group wants to safeguard information and require law-enforcement agencies to use a search warrant rather than a subpoena to obtain online data.

Under current law, information on Facebook and other social media sites is accessible through a simple subpoena, which can be issued easily. The group wants Congress to update the current Electronic Communications Privacy Act written in 1986, a decade before Internet became mainstream.

While advocates say new rules are merely intended to ensure protection enjoyed in the past as technology evolves, they acknowledge they will face resistance from law-enforcement agencies.
It seems clear that the electronic privacy laws are outdated and need to be reviewed. Whether you store a file in a cabinet at home or on your laptop, your privacy should remain the same.


Hawaii Loses a Newspaper

Hawaii will only have one newspaper following Gannett's sale of The Honolulu Advertiser to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Owner, David Black, of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin signed the paperwork this morning. This means the loss of at least 300 jobs for employees of The Honolulu Advertiser. Gannett said the poor economy in Hawaii has led to declines in readership and advertising.

Many people worry how the consolidation will impact the community with fewer news stories will be produced each year.

"It's a real tragedy," said Gerry Keir, who worked at The Advertiser for 27 years, rising to editor before leaving in 1995. "I don't think there's any question that the community is the loser."

Mark Platte, editor of The Honolulu Advertiser, will become the news director of Hawaii News Now. He starts in his new role May 10.


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