Andy Rooney Dead at Age 92

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The famous 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney died Friday night at the age of 92 in a hospital in New York City.

He died of complications from minor surgery which was undisclosed.

"It's a sad day at '60 Minutes' and for everybody here at CBS News," said Jeff Fager, executive producer of "60 Minutes"and the chairman of CBS News.

Rooney had announced on Oct. 2, 2011 on "60 Minutes" that he wouldn't be appearing regularly anymore on the show.

Ever since television has been around, Rooney had been involved in it. For 60 years he was with CBS. 30 of those years he was a writer and producer for the show.

Rooney said he was never comfortable with being the television personality that he became. and according to an article on, "He preferred to be known as a writer and was the author of best-selling books and a national newspaper column, in addition to his '60 Minutes' essays."

Rooney was known for his essays in which he delivered at the end of every "60 Minutes" episode.
These essays would generate thousands of responses from viewers or the show.

The topics these essays were about were very controversial. One particular comment about homosexuality led to getting him suspended from his job on "60 Minutes". But his loyal fans demanded him to be back on air and ratings dropped 20% when he wasn't.

“I’ve done a lot of complaining here, but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life.” Rooney once said. And he considered himself lucky to have lived such a life and if he were to live life over again, he said he would live it exactly the same.


The Dangers to Journalists

The Freedom of Speech

When Colombian native Jineth Bedoya Lima became a journalist, she'd never imagined it would lead to her biggest nightmare. At the age of 26, Bedoya was kidnapped, raped, and tortured while following through a story on Bogota's maximum-security prison La Modelo in May 2000. She was drugged and taken from the prison, and repeatedly raped by three different men. A taxi driver later found her hours away bound in a garbage dump near a road.
"We are sending a message to the press of Colombia," Bedoya recalled them saying.

Bedoya is not the only one to live with this. The U.S. and the rest of the world's eyes were snapped wide open when CBS correspondent Lara Logan was attacked last February at Cairo's Tahrir Square during celebrations after taking down the Egyptian dictatorship. And it's not just violence against women. Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema has publically disclosed that he was stripped naked by men wearing police uniforms and violated with a wooden pole in 2010.

Sexual violence against journalists is not just violence against one person- as if that isn't bad enough. When journalists are targeted, it is an attack on the freedom of the press and the ability of the journalists to do their job. Lauren Wolfe, blogging about it for The Atlantic, interviewed and quoted Logan after Bedoya's case was advanced to an international justice commission.
 "An attack in retribution for your reporting speaks directly to the First Amendment. It's terrifying in a different way. In her case, justice is critical because if you're allowed to attack journalists with impunity, there will be no free press, especially if the government is involved," Logan said.

Sexual violence against members of the news media is about more than personal suffering. It is meant to silence members of the press to keep them from bringing to light suspicious and criminal activity. The journalism industry must be more aware of the effect this pain brings on its staff and better prepare it for confrontation, both for the journalist's safety, and the industry's freedom of speech.

Photo credit/Chuck Coker,


Building Trust in Journalists

Lately I have been reading a lot of about the publics distrust in media organizations, studies showing that they are at record highs. With this in mind a new website has been created for journalists called

This site allows the public to get to know those who produce their news better. It is comprised of “journalist profile pages”, which are different from a typical profile page

Similar to the way Wikipedia operates, anyone can add or edit information found on a page. There is also the option to write a review on the journalist, and a collection of the journalist work is available.

I think this is really great idea in today’s journalistic age. You always believe information from those who you trust. Getting to know a journalist better, and seeing what others have to say about them can help build this trusting relationship.

At the same time though, this site could ruin a journalist. Too many bad reviews or negative comments could end a career.

Another hope of the website creator is that will improve the quality of journalism by holding people accountable. 

I think this kind of program is a step in the right direction for strengthening people’s trust in today’s media.

Photo Courtesy of Photo Bucket


Scandalous Scoop

Secrets lead to scandals. As journalists, we feed off of this basic formula for our biggest scoops.

According to an article from The Huffington Post, the identities of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment remain anonymous. This adds to Cain's politically scandalous story.

As a reporter covering the Cain development, a few legal issues are present.

First off, the choice to grant anonymity is a double-edged story. For some sources that is the only way to get them to talk, and without them there would be no story. On the other hand, because the source is unnamed, there is less accountability placed on the source to be accurate and a greater level of scrutiny on the journalist to have the facts instead of lies.

Thus far, only the attorney for one of the accusers has commented on the case. Joel P. Bennett, the attorney, said that his client will stay anonymous and decline interviews. Due to her silent approach, he said, "I could be on TV 12 hours a day easily," Bennett said. "I could be on CNN eight hours alone. Meet the Press. ABC. Next week, I'll be a nobody again."

Bennett brings up an interesting point. The public loves a good political scandal whether it be 'Weinergate' via Twitter, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, or Herman Cain. However, will the press care in a week?

Clinton was reelected after the Lewinsky scandal, but Weiner stepped down after his Twitter fiasco. Cain topped the polls when the sexual harassment allegations hit the headlines. Will he be able to recover?

Photo by Gage Skidmore


Covering an Outbreak

It is difficult to cover widespread diseases when people are panicking and false information is flooding the Web.

Journalists who cover this beat work hard to keep people informed and calm when covering disease such as AIDS, swine flu, malaria, and avian flu.

When there is an actual pandemic, the biggest problem is the confusion.

The first thing people want to know is how the disease will affect their family and what they can do to prevent getting the disease. The journalist's job is to tell the truth about the number of deaths, the dangers of the disease, and what can be done about it.

One problem that arises when covering a pandemic are the methods taken to avoid the journalists from contracting the disease.

Journalists should always take masks and gloves. They should also receive any shots available to prevent getting the disease.

The most reliable sources for diseases are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.


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