February has been a heartbreaker of a month for people in Philadelphia who care
about quality news, journalistic integrity and the future of our city’s daily
To start, the newsrooms of the two jointly owned dailies — the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News — will lose
another 37 staff by the end of March to buyouts or layoffs, as
announced last week. That will leave the Inquirer’s
newsroom with 60 percent fewer staff members than it had in the late 1990s. And
it shows. As a daily reader of the paper, I see how it's become a shell of its
season is in full swing and voters are being inundated with political
advertising. Finding out who actually paid for all these ads is no easy task. The
Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling
ushered in a new era of deep-pocketed donors and gave them cover under
innocuously named third-party groups and Super PACs.
But yesterday eight senators sent
a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski in response
to the agency’s effort to increase transparency for television viewers in an
election year. The group expressed full support for the agency’s proposal to
require TV stations to place their public and political files online.
Should communities have a right to
decide how residents get online? It sounds like a simple question. It isn’t.
The notion of self-determination is
fundamental to our self-identify, our politics and the way we construct our
communities. And while we all have different interpretations of what “the right
to self-determination” means, most of us can agree that it’s a bad thing when
governments try to take it away.
just voted on a bill that extends the payroll tax cut and unemployment
benefits. A significant provision will determine the future of a large portion
of the public airwaves, or spectrum. That the New York Times gave this issue — ordinarily covered only in tech
journals — front-page
treatment speaks volumes.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offered no bonbons and
forget-me-nots for AT&T this Valentine’s Day. On Tuesday, the SEC told
AT&T and other telecoms that they must
include a resolution supporting wireless Net Neutrality in annual
shareholder ballots. The SEC found no merit in AT&T’s claim that such a
resolution would “interfere with its network management practices and seriously
impair its ability to provide wireless broadband service to its customers.”
The new year is not off to the rosiest of starts for News
Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch. On Saturday five senior journalists at his London
tabloid the Sun were arrested and
charged with bribing
public officials for information. This spate of arrests is the latest
development in Scotland Yard’s ongoing investigation into News Corp.’s
ever-expanding corruption scandal, which led to last summer’s closing
of the tabloid News of the World,
home to phone hacking and other underhanded approaches to sleuthing the news.
What happens when a journalist is
arrested? How do we account for the stories that don’t get told, or the issues
that don’t get covered because the press was restricted or behind bars? How do
we measure the intimidation journalists feel, and the chill that police
intervention places on freedom of the press? One gauge might be the U.S.’s
recent drop in global press freedom rankings, down to number 47 worldwide.
President Obama succumbed late Monday to the dark logic of the Super PACs, instructing top West Wing staffers to help raise money for the so-called "independent" groups that have been successful in picking winners and losers thus far in 2012.
Before the Web blacked
out to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act
(PIPA) — the Internet-censorship bills that faced massive opposition online —
there was another SOPA blackout. This one came courtesy of the TV news
networks, which almost uniformly
ignored SOPA and PIPA until it was impossible not to.
Matters report showed that in the run-up to Jan. 18, when Wikipedia,
Google, Reddit and other big sites joined millions of Internet users in one of
the biggest online protests to date, only CNN mentioned SOPA and/or PIPA in its
nightly news coverage.