1 James W. Carey, “The Mass Media and Democracy,” Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 47, No. 1, Columbia University, 1993, p. 4.
2 I am indebted to journalist Cokie Roberts for this expression. “I think we, in the mainstream media, need to conduct what the nuns who raised me would call an examination of conscience about our role in all of this as well as the role of the alternative information sources and the role of the politicians. It seems to me we have an obligation to do a better job,” Cokie Roberts, The Fifth Annual Theodore H. White Lecture, November 17, 1994, Joan Shorenstein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University, 1994, p. 17.
3 This paper could not have been written without the support and assistance of Newton N. Minow, Director of The Annenberg Washington Program, Associate Director Yvonne Zecca, and Program staffers Lisa Spodak and Margaret Fleming Glennon. The author also owes many debts to journalists, political scientists, and free-thinkers, including Deborah Weisgall, John Clippinger, Jerome S. Rubin, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Katherine Fulton, Thomas Patterson, Marvin Kalb, Charles Firestone, Howard Kurtz, Ed Turner, Gary Griffith, Johanna Neuman, Sonia Jarvis, Ed Fouhy, Ed Miller, Bill Kovach, Jay Rosen, Stephanie Faul, Davis Merritt, Rich Oppel, Rick Thames, Everette Dennis, Adam Powell III, and Pat Butler.
4 Much of this description originated in a speech given on July 28, 1993, by Jerome S. Rubin, Director of the News in the Future Project at the MIT Media lab. I have updated and embellished his vision to include the Internet and other expanded services.
5 “I have an account with Dow Jones that I use to log into the stock market. My account is embargoed for 15 minutes. If I want up-to-date quotes like my 86-year-old stockbroker uncle has, I have to pay a considerable premium to Dow Jones or to my uncle. This is the modern equivalent of the difference in cost between airmail and surface mail,” observes Nicholas Negroponte in Being Digital (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995) p. 32.
6 Nicholas Donatiello, President of Odyssey Homefront, a San Francisco-based market research firm, concludes that home computer owners haven’t been convinced yet that online services provide a real value worth the investment. J.W. Huttig,“News Update,” PC Today, April 1995, p. 4.
7 Oldsmobile’s factory-optional Guidestar system uses military satellite tracking technology to enable customers who are lost to pinpoint their current locations and destinations. Delco Electronics, Pioneer, and Sony are working with systems imbedded in the car stereo. “Nearly all major autosound brands that market auto compact disc players are either offering audio navigation systems now or will be in the coming year,” claimed an advertising supplement in The Washington Times on March 16, 1995. “These voice recognition systems ‘listen’ as a driver spells the address and street name of a desired destination. It then confirms the city and address, calculates the route using CD-ROM mapping information, and provides synthesized voice directions every step of the way to the destination,” says the advertorial. These systems are projected to sell for $500 to $700 because they are easily integrated into the existing car stereo gear. “Onboard Navigation Systems Promise to Change the Way We Drive,” by Ron Cogan, The Washington Times, special advertorial supplement, March 16, 1995.
8 Jerome Rubin, Director of the “News in the Future” project at the M.I.T. Media Lab, predicts that the home media center’s giant screen will be a computer delivering television pictures. (From a telephone interview with the author, March 20, 1995.) Others suggest that for some time there will be multiple options, including cable television, broadcast television, and online services, coming separately into the home media center, where a switch will determine which will be shown on the giant screen.
9 Paul Farhi and Elizabeth Corcoran, “Interactive in Orlando,” The Washington Post, December 13, 1994. The Orlando project is the most comprehensive and high-profile attempt to offer interactive television in the United States since the pioneer Qube system was offered in Columbus, Ohio, from 1977 to 1984. Other companies also are testing the market. Bell Atlantic Corp. is introducing a more limited interactive service through phone lines in parts of Northern Virginia, and U.S. West Inc. of Englewood, Colorado, has begun a similar test in Omaha, Nebraska. The Qube project may have helped Warner Communications win political points in the franchise wars of the late 70s, but it did little to convince the world that interactive TV was popular with consumers. A subsequent experiment by GTE in Cerritos, California, in 1989 also failed to produce much consumer demand. But many industry analysts believe that these projects were marketed ineptly and ahead of their time. Because technology has improved and video games and other interactive experiences are more common, consumers finally may be ready, they say, to pay for interactive television and video on demand. While Time-Warner and others are counting on monthly fees, advertising, and paid customer transactions to make their systems viable, another economic model will be tested in Montreal starting in fall 1995. Le Groupe Videotron, a Montreal-based cable television and broadcasting firm, expects to offer a new interactive multimedia system free of charge to Chicoutimi, Quebec, reaching 80 percent of the households across Quebec by 2002. Le Groupe Videotron Chairman Andre Chagnon believes that service providers will subsidize the cost of the system because it offers marketing access to most of the area’s population and provides precise feedback on what they want to buy. Jim McElgunn, “TV Street,” Digital Marketing (MacLean Hunter Publishing Limited, 1994).
10 As quoted by Annenberg Visiting Fellow Johanna Neuman in Lights, Camera, War (to be published by St. Martin’s Press in January 1996), galleys, p. 53.
11 The poll, conducted on June 1-3, 1993, found respondents 18 to 29 years old most interested in interactive television. This is the audience group that newspapers and network news have been having the most trouble attracting. John Tierney, “Will They Sit by the Set, or Ride a Data Highway?” The New York Times, June 20, 1993.
12 The media world anticipates the arrival of Microsoft’s Windows ’95, which will include an easy way for consumers to access the Internet. Also jumping into the online access business to compete with existing Prodigy, America Online, Compuserve, and others is AT&T. Revenue streams will include a basic subscription fee of about $10 a month, fees for extended use, and advertising. In addition to having to provide the technology and support, they will have to pay content providers like The New York Times a share of the subscriber fees.
13 Samuel C. Florman, “He Has Seen the Future and It Works,” New York Times Book Review, February 5, 1995, reviewing Negroponte’s Being Digital.
14 Although one point of this paper is that definitions have become blurred, the words “news” and “journalism” refer in this discussion to professional American-style journalism that attempts to present objectively to the public facts that are new, verified, and relevant. “Journalists” are people in all print, electronic, and multimedia who gather, create, and convey the news content. Not generally included in these terms are docudramas, editorials, advertisements, opinion columnists, talk show pundits, or comedians.
15 See Paul Sperry, “A Changing Information Market,” International Business Daily, March 27, 1995. In addition, a new magazine devoted to talk radio claims that the number of talk radio stations has quadrupled in 10 years. Of these radio stations, 70 percent of the estimated 8,000 hosts identify themselves as “conservatives” according to Marvin Kalb, “Telling the News from the Pseudo-News,” The Los Angeles Times, October 2, 1994. Another study by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press says that about 4 in 10 Americans listen to talk radio on a relatively frequent basis.
16 Howard Kurtz, “O.J. Squeezes the News,” The Washington Post, April 6, 1995, citing an April 6, 1995, Times Mirror Center poll that said that nearly one in four Americans regularly watched the O.J. Simpson trial.
17 See Paul Farhi, “Advertisers, Suitors Zoom in on TV Networks,” The Washington Post, October 31, 1994. See also Johanna Neuman, Lights, Camera, War, on the ways in which existing media technologies have endured as new ones have emerged.
18 See Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, The One to One Future (New York: Doubleday, 1993), p. 15.
19 Jean Gaddy Wilson, “For a New Nation, a New Press,” Nieman Reports, Vol. 46, No. 1, Spring 1992, p. 17.
20 Robert D. Putnam, “Bowling Alone,” The Journal of Democracy, January 1995, pp. 65-78.
21 An old-fashioned partisan story could run only in one party’s papers; an “objective” wire story could run in all papers, doubling its market reach. See Michael Schudson, Discovering the News (New York: Basic Books, 1978).
22 Howard Kurtz, Media Circus (New York: Times Books, 1993), p. 315.
23 “Did O.J. Do It? Network News Viewing and Newspaper Reading Off,” Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press, April 6, 1995.
24 CBS News executive Howard Stringer moved to a new job creating programming for Bell Atlantic, Nynex, and Pacific Telephone. In addition, Oracle Corporation, a well-known software company, has been talking with telephone, computer, and news companies about creating a nationwide digital video service that would allow personal computer users to create their own customized video newscasts or conduct online research from video news archives. See John Markoff, “Oracle in Talks to Offer Video News Service,”The New York Times, March 15, 1995, p. D1.
25 A megabillion-dollar battle is raging to establish strategic advantage in the converging media industry by designing and marketing the best navigator, interface, or “intelligent agent” to access communications services. “The fact thatTV Guide has been known to make larger profits than all four networks combined suggests that the value of information about information can be greater than the information itself,” observes Nicholas Negroponte in Being Digital, p. 154.
26 Don Hewitt, the founder and Executive Producer of “Sixty Minutes,” angrily recounted at a Columbia Journalism Forum on November 28, 1994, how a CBS executive had called to chew out the producers of “48 Hours” because they had done a segment on how the U.S. troops were doing in Haiti instead of a more sensational piece on child abuse. As Hewitt told it, the executive barked “How dare you! The people don’t want Haiti. They want child molestation.”
27 “Welcome to Cyberspace,” Time, Spring 1995 Special Issue, p. 60.
28 As Negroponte observes, once the value of the content is established, “the added value of a distributor is less and less in a digital world.” Being Digital, p. 84.
29 The nation’s largest cable operator, TCI, bought a large chunk of MacNeil-Lehrer Productions, which makes documentaries and feature television programs. (The “NewsHour” was not part of the deal.)
30 Remarks by Donald Kellerman, Times Mirror Center Senior Fellow, during the conference “Changing the News,” at The Annenberg Washington Program, February 9, 1995, transcript, p. 164.
31 “Great confidence” in doctors dropped from 71 to 53 percent. From 1991 to 1994, great confidence in the federal government slid from 18 to 9 percent, in state government from 12 to 8 percent, in local government from 15 to 13 percent. The Yankelovich Monitor, a yearly tracking study, is a service of Yankelovich Partners, Inc.
32 Kellerman, “Changing the News.”
33 Michael Crichton, “The Mediasaurus,” Wired, October 1993.
34 Citizens and Politics: A View from Main Street America, The Kettering Foundation, 1991, pp. 23, v-vi.
35 Carey, “The Mass Media and Democracy.”
36 Thomas Patterson, Out of Order (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993), p. 68-69.
37 Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph N. Cappella, “Newspaper and Television Coverage of the Health Care Reform Debate,” Annenberg Public Policy Center, August 12, 1994. The authors analyzed CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, “The MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour,” and “Nightline” as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Philadelphia Daily News,Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, andPhiladelphia Tribune, from January 16 to July 25, 1994.
38 E.J. Dionne argues that Americans could find common ground on most issues if the politicians (and the press) would stop polarizing the debate. See E.J. Dionne, Why Americans Hate Politics (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991).
39 Sometimes gory pictures on the television news can serve an important public purpose. In New Mexico, the video from a terrible car accident led to stricter drunk driving laws.
40 Historians are quick to point out that American politics have always been nasty. The first real presidential contest in American history was, as Paul F. Boller Jr. recounts, full of personal attacks: “The Federalists called Jefferson an atheist, anarchist, demagogue, coward, mountebank, trickster and Franco-maniac, and said his followers were ‘cut-throats who walk in rags and sleep amidst filth and vermin.’” Paul F. Boller, Presidential Campaigns (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 8.
41 Larry Grossman, quoted in Nieman Reports, Vol. 48, No. 2, Summer 1994, p. 53.
42 For discussions of the press’s negativity bias, see Thomas Patterson’s Out of Order and Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s Dirty Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
43 See Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Congress, The Press and the Public (Washington, D.C.: The American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, 1994).
44 “In the 1960s, less than a third of the media’s evaluative references to political leaders were unfavorable. In the 1980s, nearly two-thirds were.” Thomas Patterson, “Trust Politicians, Not the Press,” The New York Times, op-ed page, December 15, 1993.
45 From an interview with the author, October 19, 1994.
46 Carey, “The Mass Media and Democracy.”
47 Paul Starobin, “A Generation of Vipers,” Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1995, p. 29.
48 This author, formerly a member of the piranha press corps, learned firsthand how stupid a feeding frenzy can be when, as a Wall Street Journal reporter, she covered vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle in Huntington, Indiana, just after George Bush picked him as his running mate in 1988. The public was so outraged at what seemed to be press harassment of the candidate over his decision not to serve in Vietnam that the press became the issue, rather than the failure to serve. Although this author never wrote an article about the event because it occurred after her newspaper’s deadline, she was particularly singled out by press critics for appearing to hound the candidate unfairly in pursuing the story. See Larry Sabato, Feeding Frenzy (New York: The Free Press, 1991).
49 Starobin, “A Generation of Vipers.”
50 See, for example, Howard Kurtz, Media Circus.
51 Adam Gopnik, “Read All About It,” The New Yorker, December 12, 1994.
52 Jamieson, quoted in William Glaberson, “The New Press Criticism: News as the Enemy of Hope,” The New York Times, “Week in Review,” October 9, 1994.
53 No one really knows the size of Limbaugh’s radio and television audiences. For an analysis of the estimate of 20 million Limbaugh radio listeners each week, see Philip Sieb, Rush Hour (Fort Worth, TX: The Summit Group), pp. 2, 35.
54 Jamieson discussed her study on the misinformation levels of radio talk show listeners at the Theodore White Lecture with Cokie Roberts, published by the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, 1994, p. 40.
55 “The next great American scandal will involve not politicians, not corporate executives, but journalists,” predicts James K. Glassman, former editor of The New Republic, in an op-ed piece, March 28, 1995, in The Washington Post. Describing the activities of financial columnist James C. Cramer, Glassman observes that “Many top journalists are becoming entangled in conflicts of interest because they’re trying to do two irreconcilable things at once—report fairly and give expensive speeches to interest groups with a stake in gaining favorable coverage.”
56 For a more detailed discussion of how journalism affects politics, see Ellen Hume, “The News Media and the National Interest,” The Morality of the Mass Media (Dallas, TX: University of Texas at Dallas, 1993).
57 Johanna Neuman’s book Lights, Camera, War argues convincingly that the media set the agenda only when politicians fail to offer their own strong leadership on the issue in question. Journalists are caught in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dilemma when they hold information they know could affect policy dramatically. When The Washington Post had information about Senator Packwood’s alleged sexual harassment of women staffers, they held it until after Packwood’s election in order to be sure it was thoroughly checked and handled responsibly. Packwood’s critics cried foul. But just a few years earlier, when Post reporter Ken Ringle had a story about an aide to then Speaker Jim Wright who had brutally attacked a woman and gone to jail for the crime, the timing of the story’s publication was interpreted as another deliberate nail in the coffin of Wright’s troubled speakership. Ringle insists that the timing of the story was determined by meticulous fact-checking and other internal publication requirements, not by the political events it would influence.
58 Because logistics do not allow all news organizations to cover the president’s every move, several reporters and camera people are designated to cover such events on a rotating basis and are obligated to provide to all the others a comprehensive pool report. Non-pool reporters are barred from covering the event themselves but are assured they will be told about everything that happened.
59 “While I knew he had made the promise several times during the campaign, this was the first time that Clinton had made the pledge while I was covering him,” Friedman explained to William Gregory White, a Harvard graduate student who wrote a paper about the episode for the author’s seminar in May 1993. “I felt that this was particularly newsworthy given that Clinton was now making the pledge to lift the ban for the first time as president-elect,” Friedman told White.
60 “Covering the Presidential Primaries,” The Freedom Forum Media Studies Center, June 1992, p. 75.
61 Newton N. Minow, “How Vast the Wasteland Now?” Speech delivered to the Gannett Foundation Media Center, May 9, 1991.
62 “CBS Evening News,” once the pinnacle of national broadcasting, has had the most noticeable slide downhill. Connie Chung co-anchored the “CBS Evening News” for almost two weeks from Portland, Oregon, in order to track down Tonya Harding and persuade her to talk on Chung’s magazine show, “Eye to Eye.” During that entire period, the known facts in the Harding story did not change enough to warrant the on-location spotlight. See Tom Rosensteil, The Beat Goes On (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1994), p. 37.
63 Paul Klite presented his data from the study, “A Day in the Life of Local TV News in America,” at the conference “Changing the News,” at The Annenberg Washington Program, February 9, 1995.
64 While an organization may not represent the majority’s values and may seem to some self-indulgent in its mission, the author believes that there nonetheless is something virtuous about seeking a better life for the community that should be distinguished from simply seeking private, personal gain.
65 David S. Broder, “The Citizenship Movement,” The Washington Post, November 27, 1994.
66 Theodore White Lecture with Cokie Roberts, p. 17.
67 John Carmody, “The TV Column,” The Washington Post, June 28, 1995, p. C4.
68 Howard Kurtz, “Television Has Trouble Bringing Congress’s Revolution Into Focus,” The Washington Post, January 24, 1995, p. 1.
69 The Chung exchange, which aired on January 4, 1995, the day Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House, wasn’t even conducted that day—it was taped on December 20 for the January 5 “Eye to Eye With Connie Chung” program. Holding the interview until the day Gingrich became speaker made it appear that CBS was deliberately trying to spoil Gingrich’s big day. If it was genuinely news, why didn’t they run it the day it was done? If it wasn’t news, why did they put it on the “CBS Evening News”? CBS sources insist that all they were thinking about was getting more attention (and audiences) for Chung’s “Eye to Eye” broadcast. Regardless of the motivation, the choice of running this item when they did was spectacularly inappropriate. It backfired. CBS subsequently seemed to be trying to make it up to Gingrich—carrying his “100 Days” speech live and running a generally sympathetic Connie Chung interview with him afterward. The episode also was cited when Chung was dropped from her CBS job a few months later.
70 Many journalists argue that because politicians and the public are at least as much to blame (or more so) for today’s troubling political culture, there is nothing much to be done about it. However, Sissela Bok offers a powerful argument to the contrary in her paper “School for Scandal” (Joan Shorenstein Barone center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, April 1990, pp. 1-2). She argues that if journalists work differently, this can make a positive difference in our political culture: Just when peoples the world over look to our democratic traditions for guidance in how to safeguard fundamental rights, many in our own country feel trapped in a vicious circle of manipulative and trivializing political discourse. In any vicious circle, a number of factors contribute to a downward spiraling…. The way to begin to break out of such vicious circles is to bring about forceful change at as many points as possible of their downward spiraling. As social theorists have argued, vicious circles are dynamic systems, not static ones; by changing the direction and momentum of any one factor, all the others will be affected.
71 Nicholas Donatiello, discussion at The Annenberg Washington Program, May 18, 1994.
72 Tierney, “Will They Sit by the Set, or Ride a Data Highway?”
73 See Mark Thalheimer, “High-Tech News or Just Shovelware?” Media Studies Journal, Winter 1994.
74 Mitch Kapor, speaking at the Digital World conference, June 1993, Los Angeles.
75 As quoted in Nieman Reports, Vol. 48, No. 2, Summer 1994, p. 33.
76 One says this with some trepidation because these claims have been made as each new communications technology has been introduced, from telegraph and telephone to fax, radio, and satellite television. As Johanna Neuman chronicles in Lights, Camera, War: “Whenever a new communication technology arrived on the scene, diplomats complained about shortened time for decisions; journalists boasted of new influence, the public noticed its world was shrinking…. Each new media technology dislodged the middleman, bringing the audience closer to the stage, offering the potential for wider circulation of information” (Galleys, Preface, p. 1).
77 An enterprise news story is a journalistic term for a story that is not a breaking story but one that a reporter develops through personal enterprise.
78 Entrepreneurial news organizations like CONUS in Washington offer custom news coverage for paying clients. They will cover an event as if it were genuine “news” and provide a tape to the client. The footage does not appear on any newscast, but the client has a journalistically framed video of the event to use as he wishes.
79 Journalism and the public would be worse off if journalists replaced their negativity addiction with the opposite extreme—too many light features—because advertisers don’t like bad news. Many media advertisers now are willing to take the luck of the draw on what news will run beside their ad because they want the “halo effect” of credibility that they believe they get from a neutral newspaper or newscast. Understandably, advertisers now are looking for clever ways to hook customers in the online environment, where “netiquette” currently resists blatant salesmanship. Advertorials, long television ads that seem like magazine programs and news, are one way they can get the message across to a niched audience.
80 The pictures from around the world remind us of our own distinct cultures, of who we are in contrast to what we see. “In the very act of drawing people closer together, modern communications destroy the cultural isolation in which misunderstanding ferments, but, often at the same time, intensify perceptions of difference that increase social antagonisms and promote social fragmentation,” concludes former newspaper editor Michael O’Neill in The Roar of the Crowd(New York: Times Books, 1994), p. 68.
81 New technologies are enabling them to “address” their news on cable to different regions. Thus Channel 8’s local all-news programming in the Washington, D.C., area provides different stories simultaneously to Washington, Maryland, and Virginia.
82 Howard Kurtz, Media Circus, p. 368.
83 Gary Griffith, “New Age Newsgathering,” The RTNDA Communicator, Vol. 10, October 1994, pp. 10-13. CD-ROM, which has not proved to be a good medium for fast-changing news delivery, nevertheless is an ideal technology for storing and easily accessing past stories and information. Still photographs are staging a big comeback in multimedia CD-ROMs.
84 Beverly Kees and Bill Phillips, Nothing Sacred: Journalism, Politics and Public Trust in a Tell-All Age, Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, Vanderbilt University, p. 53.
85 From Ed Fouhy, producer of the presidential debates for the Bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates and Director of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism.
86 Lester Crystal, Executive Producer of the “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” predicts that these sources will “hold the bulk of the news and information audience five years from now.” TCI, the huge cable operator, wanted the cachet that such “serious” news purveyors bring. So it bought a large interest in MacNeil Lehrer Productions, which makes spin-off educational programs featuring Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer. (From a speech given at “Live and Learn Seminar Day,” sponsored by the Northwestern University Alumni Association and held at the Norris University Center on Northwestern’s Evanston Campus, April 16, 1994.)
87 Philip Moeller, “The Age of Convergence,” American Journalism Review, January/February 1994, p. 24.
88 W. Russell Neuman, Marion R. Just, and Ann N. Crigler, Common Knowledge (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 111.
89 Presentation at the conference “Changing the News,” at The Annenberg Washington Program, February 9, 1995.
90 “Library circulation of juvenile books increased 33 percent from 1980 to 1987. Sales of juvenile books jumped 250 percent from 1972 to 1986. People in their teens and twenties comprise a major portion of the readership of such magazines as Rolling Stone, Mademoiselle, and GQ. They are simply less interested in what newspapers have to offer,” says Howard Kurtz in Reinventing the Newspaper (New York: The Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1993), p. 63.
91 The poll is cited in John Maxwell Hamilton, “In Defense of Electronic Liberties,” Media Studies Journal, The Freedom Forum Media Studies Center, Fall 1991, p. 37.
93 David Bartlett, President of the Radio and Television News Directors Association, cautions that there is no definitive research about which news organizations are tabloid and which are not. Furthermore, some stations lead in certain newscasts while different stations lead at other times of the day. But he concurs with Ellis’s observation that the less sensationalized, more serious news generally rises to the top in most television markets. Bartlett said in a June 20, 1995, interview with the author that even in Miami, the television station that has set the style nationally for “Miami-style” tabloid news, WSDN, is not at the top of its market; the least tabloid-like news, on WLG, is generally more popular with audiences. The interview with media business consultant John Ellis was conducted by the author on March 15, 1995. Ellis has worked as a consultant for Roger Ailes, President of CNBC, and for General Electric, NBC, and other media companies.
94 While the tabloid rival rose from third to second place, the reason was complicated; it had to do with its strong “ER” program lead-in and a shakeup in network affiliations as well as its tabloid appeal.
95 A WHDH reporter who posed as a crime suspect’s friend to get an interview with the suspect’s father was let go after the duplicity caused an uproar.
96 John Lansing, “The News is News, Right? Wrong!” The Poynter Report, The Poynter Institute, Fall 1994, pp. 6-9.
97 While WCCO remains in first place in Minneapolis, other stations that have tried “family-sensitive” programming haven’t won the ratings boosts they had hoped for. One reason may be that some are missing the point. Violence should not be swept under the rug any more than it should be gratuitous. It should be covered in a way that provides meaning and context for viewers.
98 Beverly Kees and Bill Phillips, Nothing Sacred: Journalism, Politics and Public Trust in a Tell-All Age, p. 82.
99 This phrase was a subhead summarizing Sassa’s views in David Kline, “Savvy Sassa,” Wired, March 1995, pp. 112-15.
100 Frank Stanton made these remarks at a March 8, 1995, dinner given by the Radio Television News Directors Foundation in Washington, D.C., which honored retired CBS anchor Walter Cronkite.
101 Katherine Graham, Chairman of The Washington Post Company, delivered these remarks in an April 7, 1993, speech entitled “The Future of News in an Interactive Age.”
102 “Delivery or Content,” Wall Street Journal advertisement, January 16, 1995, p. B6B.
103 See Michael McKeon, “Fragmenting of News,” The Washington Post, May 11, 1994.
104 As described in David Mathews’ unpublished speech, “America’s Secret Political Life II,” February 1995. See also Communications as Engagement, a survey by Millennium Communications for The Rockefeller Foundation’s “The Common Enterprise” initiative, 1995.
105 At Newhouse News Service in Washington, D.C., Constance Casey has been assigned to a new “good works” beat, looking into foundations, community service organizations, and other institutions trying to solve public problems. Yet the horrible child abuse or foreign war story in the local newspapers or on CNN often is paired with a light feature rather than a serious positive story. Animals at the zoo, fashion shows, and other frivolities may be fun, but they do not compare to the serious news that could be offered about people like Robert DeSena, who is cutting gang violence in New York City high schools through theater projects, or Habitat for Humanity, which brings community volunteers together to build homes for poor people. What journalist was looking at the United Way, which does innumerable good works across America, until its leader got into trouble?
106 Ed Fouhy, “The Dawn of Public Journalism,” The National Civic Review, Summer-Fall 1994, p. 263.
107 “Reporting on Public Life at the Virginian-Pilot,” prepared for the Project on Public Life and the Press, Fall Seminar, November 10-12, 1994, American Press Institute, Reston, Virginia.
108 Jay Rosen made his comments during an interview on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” broadcast on March 19, 1995.
109 Ed Turner’s remarks were made during the conference “Changing the News,” at The Annenberg Washington Program, February 9, 1995.
110 Ed Fouhy, “The Dawn of Public Journalism,” p. 262.
111 This would have been a perfect place for Connie Chung’s infamous interview with Mrs. Gingrich, in which the speaker’s mother called the First Lady a “bitch.”
112 Bill Woo was interviewed by Lisa Spodak of The Annenberg Washington Program on January 5, 1995.
113 Kees and Phillips, Nothing Sacred: Journalism, Politics and Public Trust in a Tell-All Age, p. 89.
114 With the exception, to be sure, of some time-sensitive news niches such as financial data.
115 This was the title used for the Key West Literary Seminar on journalism in January 1995.
116 Davis “Buzz” Merritt, Public Journalism and Public Life: Why Telling the News is Not Enough (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc, 1995).