INDUSTRY NEWS 9-11-2014
NY judge: TV clip service not violating copyright
A media monitoring company distributing television clips and snippets of transcripts to customers including the White House and Congress hasn't violated broadcasters' copyrights by letting its customers search its database, but it's unclear whether all facets of its business will get a judicial stamp of approval, a judge said Tuesday, Sept. 8. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan ruled in a copyright case filed by Fox News Network against TVEyes
Inc. He wrote that the company's database and its searchable function for television clips and snippets of transcript were fair uses of broadcast content and thus were protected from claims of copyright infringement.
Judge refuses to dismiss newspaper lawsuit
A lawsuit challenging a joint-operating agreement between Salt Lake City's two daily newspapers will proceed after a federal judge on Monday, Sept. 9, refused to dismiss the case.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune made powerful arguments about why the lawsuit should be stopped, but Waddoups said he had to be cautious when stopping a case early in the process. Attorneys for the two newspapers argue that a group of Tribune readers and former employees has no legal standing to challenge the agreement.
Chuck Todd debuts as 'Meet the Press' moderator
Chuck Todd debuted Sunday, Sept. 7, as moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," bringing a low-key style and surrounding himself with fellow pundits as NBC turns to him to erase a slide that has taken the long-running Sunday morning political affairs program from first to third in the ratings. The bulk of his first program was centered on Todd's Saturday interview with President Obama, the biggest "get" possible for one of the Washington-based chat shows. It also included a look at cities around the country where mayors are successfully moving their communities forward.
Publisher of NJ.com, Star-Ledger rolls out changes
The company that publishes NJ.com, The Star-Ledger and other newspapers around the state, has rolled out changes it says recognize its future as an increasingly digitally focused operation.
Matt Kraner, the president of NJ Advance Media, said Monday, Sept. 8, that many reporters, photographers and videographers whose work appears on NJ.com are now part of NJ Advance Media.
Defense: Ban TV camera from theater shooting trial
Attorneys for Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes asked the judge to bar television coverage inside the courtroom, saying it would violate Holmes' right to a fair trial.
In a filing dated Thursday and released Friday, Sept.5, defense lawyers argued that televising the trial could intimidate witnesses, expose jurors and attorneys to death threats, and create other problems.
Lawmakers' lunch shows vagueness of meetings law
City council and school board members in Sacramento, Calif., gathering for dinners, parties or other social affairs must guard their words or notify the public beforehand if a majority will attend and talk policy. The same rules do not apply for state lawmakers, who have long exempted themselves from the transparency rules that apply to other elected bodies in California. The vagueness of the special open meetings law for the state Legislature was highlighted last week when Gov. Jerry Brown invited all 120 lawmakers to a luncheon honoring Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
MU starts search for journalism dean
The University of Missouri has started its search for a new School of Journalism dean.
The university said in a release posted on the journalism school website that it had started its nationwide search to replace Dean Mills, who announced in February he was stepping down from the post he occupied for 25 years. Mills is taking a part-time job as director of the Reynolds Fellows program at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. According to the online job posting, the journalism school seeks a “dynamic” and “visionary” leader.
Family mourns slain journalist in tearful service
Letters slain journalist Steven Sotloff wrote to his family before he was beheaded by Islamic State militants were read at his memorial service Friday, Sept. 5, in Pinecrest, Fla. He told them to be happy and stay positive and that if they didn't meet again, he hoped they would in heaven. In a service punctuated by tears, Sotloff's parents, sister and friends spoke of his gentle demeanor and unwavering commitment as a journalist toward putting a face on suffering in the
Arab world, despite the personal risks.
Former NFL receiver joins Huffingion Post
The Huffington Post has made an unusual choice for a new correspondent covering national security — former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth. The website announced Thursday, Sept. 4, that the 10-year NFL player will join its Washington bureau this month as a fellow.
New York newspaper sacks Washington nickname
One of the nation's largest newspapers says it will no longer use the name Redskins when writing about Washington's NFL team. The Daily News of New York said Thursday, Sept. 4, in a lead editorial titled "Sack the Name" that the reference will no longer be part of stories and columns. The name, however, may appear in quotations, reader letters and discussion of the dispute.
INDUSTRY NEWS 9-4-2014
Journalist killing highlights role of freelancers
Journalists James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Peter Theo Curtis all had one thing in common when they were captured by Islamic militants in Syria, the title "freelance journalist." The role of freelancers, who make a living by selling individual stories, photos and video to multiple outlets, has expanded across conflict zones in recent years with the spread of technology and social media, which provides a ready canvas for their work. Some are cautious and well-trained; others take major risks. And they often lack the institutional support staff journalists receive if they get into trouble in a conflict zone.
"There is no question that people with less experience and less support are venturing out into conflict zones and seeking to make their name as journalists," said Joel Simon, the executive director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. ...According to the committee's data, just under half of the 70 journalists killed in Syria since the conflict began in 2011 have been freelancers.
Connecticut police get free military equipment
A group of Connecticut newspapers reports that nearly two dozen police departments in southwestern Connecticut have an inventory of M-16 assault rifles, utility trucks, Commando armored cars, a mine-resistant vehicle, an armored truck and a Huey helicopter. The Hearst Connecticut Media Group reports (http://bit.ly/Y3lUGg ) that an open records request shows 19 police departments in southwestern Connecticut have received free surplus military equipment from the Department of Defense since 2006. That's more than half the 35 departments in the region. The Defense Department's Law Enforcement Support Office has come under scrutiny after the militarized police response to violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
Wisconsin’s Justice Department delayed porn probes statewide
The Wisconsin Department of Justice field offices across the state have delayed assigning and investigating child pornography cybertips for months, newly released records show. DOJ officials have insisted that no systemic delays in launching child pornography probes exist, saying overwhelmed agents prioritized most of the cases properly.
DOJ's Internet child pornography unit has taken intense criticism since March, when Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced Milwaukee Special Agent-in-Charge Willie Brantley had been fired and Special Agent Anna King had left her job after agency officials determined they had let nearly four dozen cases languish for months. In one case, the agency got a tip in 2010 that Christopher Kosakoski of Milwaukee was downloading child pornography. Agents finally reviewed the tip in January — nine days after Kosakoski was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. The agency released documents tied to the review in response to open records requests from media outlets, including The Associated Press. They include a spreadsheet shows 46 cases had languished for two months or longer across the Madison, Eau Claire, Wausau and Milwaukee field offices as of Feb. 23.
Miami Herald didn’t cover FIU football opener
For the first time since FIU created a football team, the Miami Herald did not cover the Panthers’ home season opening game because the school has refused to provide a press credential to the newspaper’s beat reporter. FIU athletics officials denied the Herald’s request for a game pass for reporter David J. Neal, who has been covering FIU sports since June, 2011. Passes were granted for a Herald columnist and photographer. Neal’s access to FIU coaches and athletes had been dwindling for months, to the point where he was no longer permitted to attend football practice or conduct interviews. Last week, when Neal attempted to write a story on the FIU women’s soccer team, he was told no one was allowed to talk to him. FIU said in a statement: "We are very disappointed that The Miami Herald has decided not to cover our football home opener, although we have credentialed members of the Herald staff. We did not issue a media credential to the Herald's beat reporter because of concerns we have brought up to the Herald's reporter and editors over the past few years about the reporter's interactions with our student athletes, coaches, and staff and the nature of the resulting coverage. He is not banned from FIU or FIU Stadium. He just does not have additional access beyond that of the public.”
Chelsea Clinton quits as NBC News reporter
Chelsea Clinton is quitting her job as a reporter at NBC News, citing increased work at the Clinton Foundation and the imminent birth of her first child. Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton's daughter had been working at the network since 2011, sporadically doing feature stories on people or organizations doing public-spirited work. Politico magazine reported earlier this year that NBC was paying her $600,000 a year.
David Muir takes over at ABC's 'World News'
David Muir is taking over as ABC's "World News" anchor, replacing Diane Sawyer. Muir, 40, joins NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams and Scott Pelley of the "CBS Evening News" at one of the three jobs generally considered the pinnacle of American broadcast news. Muir is also a generation younger than the 55-year-old Williams and 57-year-old Pelley.
The 68-year-old Sawyer, one of television news' best-known personalities, had anchored ABC's flagship newscast since December 2009.
Turner Broadcasting offering buyouts
The corporate parent of CNN, TNT and TBS offered voluntary buyouts to 600 veteran employees, part of an overall cost-cutting effort at the Atlanta-based broadcasting company founded by Ted Turner.The offer went out to U.S.-based employees who are over 55 and have worked at the company for at least 10 years, excluding on-air talent and others with specific contracts. Some 9,000 of Turner's 13,000 employees are based in the United States. Turner Broadcasting chief executive John Martin has been talking for several months about a restructuring plan he has called Turner 2020. Turner is a division of Time Warner.
INDUSTRY NEWS 8-28-2014
Study indicates government information officers try to block specific journalists
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that as states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street, and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, a study released this month revealed that many government information officers block specific journalists they don't like from accessing information.
The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing "serious limitations on access to records" that they say have impeded their oversight work.
The data about public information officers was compiled over the past few years by Kennesaw State University Professor Carolyn Carlson. Her surveys found that four in 10 public information officers say "there are specific reporters they will not allow their staff to talk to due to problems with their stories in the past."
"That horrified us that so many would do that," Carlson told the Columbia Journalism Review, which reported on her presentation at the July conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Carlson has conducted surveys of journalists and public information officers since 2012. In her most recent survey of 445 working journalists, four out of five reported that "their interviews must be approved" by government information officers, and "more than half of the reporters said they had actually been prohibited from interviewing [government] employees at least some of the time by public information officers."
Jonesboro, Arkansas, police chief gets 30-day suspension
Jonesboro, Arkansas, Police Chief Michael Yates was suspended for 30 days without pay for derogatory comments he made on Facebook about The Jonesboro Sun and a former reporter who covered his agency.
In announcing the suspension, Mayor Harold Perrin said Yates would have to write letters of apology to the newspaper and its former reporter Sunshine Crump.
Crump resigned from the paper, telling her employer she no longer felt safe in the community and at work. The newspaper's publisher called for Yates to be fired, but Perrin said he had to consider Yates' performance throughout his tenure as chief.
"I do not condone the comments that Chief Yates made through social media concerning Ms. Crump or her employer, and I have made it clear through my disciplinary action that I will not tolerate any such future behavior," Perrin said in a news release.
Iowa judge reverses ban over courtroom photos
An Iowa judge has reversed a ban that briefly prohibited a northeast Iowa news photographer
from publishing photos taken at a courthouse.
District Judge Richard Stochl's decision lifted a ban placed Aug. 11 on Jerry Blue, a
photographer for the Fayette County Union in West Union.
Judge Joel Dalrymple had scolded Blue for taking photographs during a court hearing without
advanced permission and for not wearing credentials. Dalrymple issued a noncompliance order
and warned any publication of the photos could result in Blue and the West Union newspaper
being held in contempt.
The hearing had involved a local mayor facing sexual abuse charges. Blue was able to snap a
photo of him in a jail jumpsuit coming out of an elevator with two deputies escorting him, among
Anelia Dimitrova, an editor and spokeswoman for Community Media Group, wrote a letter
protesting the ban. Community Media Group owns the Fayette County Union.
INDUSTRY NEWS 8-21-14
APME, other organizations express concerns about treatment of media in Ferguson, Missouri
_ APME statement
The Associated Press Media Editors association joins with our colleagues at the American Society of News Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists and others to express our grave concerns about news events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the threat to press freedom as journalists attempt to chronicle those developments.
"The withholding of information by law enforcement, the unlawful detainment of journalists and the censoring of the unfolding story is unacceptable," said APME President Debra Adams Simmons. "We join with ASNE in calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to protect the First Amendment rights of everyone involved."
_ ASNE statement
As an organization whose core mission includes protecting freedom of the press, the American Society of News Editors is especially disturbed by the events taking place this week in Ferguson, Missouri. From police physically assaulting citizens engaged in peaceful protest to arresting without cause reporters from The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, it is clear that there is a concerted, top-down effort to restrict the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and the press.
"From the beginning of this situation, the police have made conscious decisions to restrict information and images coming from Ferguson," said ASNE President David Boardman. "Of course, these efforts largely have been unsuccessful, as the nation and the world are still seeing for themselves the heinous actions of the police. For every reporter they arrest, every image they block, every citizen they censor, another will still write, photograph and speak."
ASNE acknowledges that there has been illegal violence and looting by some members of the public and that law enforcement must respond appropriately. But we remind the police and the nation that that speaking out in protest is not a crime, reporting on that protest is not a crime and taking photographs of it is not a crime. Violating the civil rights of citizens by restricting these activities is a crime. We further call on the U.S. Department of Justice to take any and all appropriate action to protect the First Amendment rights of everyone involved.
_ NABJ statement
The National Association of Black Journalists strongly condemns the arrests of Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly in Ferguson, Missouri.
Lowery, who is an NABJ member, and Reilly, are in Missouri covering the circumstances surrounding the killing of Michael Brown and the ensuing unrest.
Lowery and Reilly have stated they were working in a McDonald's when police ordered them and others to leave the restaurant. Lowery and Reilly say they then were assaulted and detained by police and released shortly thereafter without being charged with a crime.
“Journalists have a constitutionally protected right to work without the government interference,” NABJ President Bob Butler said. “We call on -- and fully expect -- the authorities to investigate what appears to be a violation of the First Amendment and to hold the officers involved to account, if necessary." ...
Media groups present petition supporting reporter
Organizations that advocate for news media have presented the Justice Department with a petition in support of New York Times reporter James Risen.
Organizers say the petition has 100,000 signers and calls on the department to drop its efforts to force Risen to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer who is accused of leaking classified information.
Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said the department was "considering the next steps in this case."
Appeals Court Rules Juvenile Hearings Should Not Have Been Closed
Texas State District Judge Jean Boyd abused her discretion when she barred the media and public from two juvenile court hearings without showing evidence of good cause, Fort Worth’s 2nd Court of Appeals unanimously agreed in an opinion released recently.
Boyd was ordered to promptly vacate the two closure orders and take immediate steps to make transcripts of the Jan. 10 and Jan. 22 hearings available to the mediagroup.
“I respect the decision of the court of appeals, and I will comply with their ruling,” Boyd told the Star-Telegram.
The Star-Telegram and other media groups joined together to fight what they deemed an arbitrary closure of juvenile proceedings after Boyd barred the media from the hearings despite the objections of the state, no such request from the defense, and without conducting a hearing in open court on the matter.
Iowa Judge threatens contempt over courthouse photos
The photo would have been splashed across the front page: Deputies transporting a small-town Iowa mayor to his first court appearance on charges of sexually abusing two girls. But the Fayette County Union declined to publish the shot after a judge warned he would punish the weekly newspaper in northeastern Iowa and photographer Jerry Blue for doing so.
Judge Joel Dalrymple chided Blue for not obtaining advanced permission to take photos during a hearing for Oelwein Mayor Jason Manus and not wearing a badge identifying himself — key provisions of newly revised rules on media coverage of Iowa court cases.
The incident is the latest dispute that has arisen since the new rules went into effect May 1. The changes modernize long-standing rules on cameras in the courtroom to address how and when journalists can use technologies such as laptops, cellphones and social media to report on proceedings. But they have caused some confusion and friction between court officials and news reporters.
Groups to EPA: Stop muzzling science advisers
Journalist and scientific organizations accused the Environmental Protection Agency of attempting to muzzle its independent scientific advisers by directing them to funnel all outside requests for information through agency officials.
In a letter, groups representing journalists and scientists urged the EPA to allow advisory board members to talk directly to news reporters, Congress and other outside groups without first asking for permission from EPA officials. An April memo from the EPA's chief of staff said that "unsolicited contacts" need to be "appropriately managed" and that committee members should refrain from directly responding to requests about committees' efforts to advise the agency.
The scientific advisory board's office had asked the EPA to clarify the communications policy for board members, who are government employees.
Wisconsin media, cities compromise on records
Wisconsin open records advocates and municipal leaders have brokered a truce in a fight over police record redactions, creating a request form that allows the public to get clean copies if they reveal who they are and why they want the documents.
The deal is a departure from Wisconsin's open records law, which does not require either piece of information.
The Wisconsin Newspaper Association and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the two groups that crafted the agreement, say it's meant as a non-binding, stop-gap measure to ensure people can get full reports while a state appeals court sorts out whether federal law mandates the redaction of personal information.
"We don't like it," Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said of the agreement. "They're making you do something our state recordslaw says you can't do. (But) it makes a bad situation slightly better."
Police departments often use motor vehicle records to obtain people's names, addresses, birthdates and other personal information. More Wisconsin departments have been redacting that information from incident and accident reports before releasing them to avoid violating the 1994 federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act, which requires states to obtain consent before they release a driver's personal information.
Louisiana paper acquires 4 weekly newspapers
The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1phfc9i ) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is acquiring four weekly newspapers to increase its coverage of the area as it continues to expand across south Louisiana.
The papers are the Zachary Plainsman-News in Zachary, The Watchman in East Feliciana Parish, The St. Francisville Democrat in West Feliciana Parish and The St. Helena Echo in Greensburg.
The terms of the agreement between Capital City Press — the parent company of The Advocate — and Louisiana State Newspapers weren't disclosed.
INDUSTRY NEWS 8-14-2014
Adams Publishing Group acquires Wisconsin weekly
The Adams Publishing Group, LLC, owner of the Hibbing (Minnesota) Daily Tribune, has bought the assets of Chronotype Publishing Co. located in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.
The purchase includes the Chronotype, northwestern Wisconsin’s largest weekly newspaper, and The Early Bird, a weekly shopper.
The expansion by family-owned APG follows the July acquisition of Huckle Media in southern Minnesota with 10 community newspapers, 17 websites, shopping guides, magazines, a digital agency and commercial printing facilities.
Prior to that, APG acquired three divisions of American Consolidated Media located in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio and Maryland with 34 print publications and related media operations.
Wyoming newspaper files lawsuit for school district records
Cheyenne Newspapers Inc., which publishes the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, says that Laramie County School District 1 needs to provide public records for inspection without a charge.
The paper recently filed a petition for declaratory relief recently filed against the school district in Laramie County District Court.
The newspaper "petitions the court for declaratory judgment that Laramie County School District 1, pursuant to (Wyoming statute) 16-4-401 through 408, may not charge for inspection of records and may charge only for the cost of making a copy of a record if one is requested," according to court documents.
The district can charge for the creation of a new electronic record, the petition acknowledges.
The records the WTE asked to inspect were a series of emails by members of the LCSD1 Board of Trustees. They were documents that already existed, according to court documents. The school district charged $110 for producing the electronic records to cover the cost of staff time to retrieve the records, but not for reviewing the records for confidential information, according to court documents.
Al-Jazeera America logs first anniversary
Al-Jazeera America marks its first anniversary on the air next week.
The news network has recorded some startlingly low ratings and recently shown signs of retrenchment with layoffs and by cutting some live newscasts. Al-Jazeera America has also won awards for its work, seen some recent audience growth and its chief executive insists a steady growth plan is on target.
After several unsuccessful years trying to get its English-language network carried widely in the United States, the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera bought and closed Al Gore's Current TV network last year and set up the U.S.-focused AJAM to replace Al-Jazeera English in the U.S. It is now available in nearly 60 million cable and satellite homes, just over half the U.S. market.
"The quality of the channel is very much what was promised," said Dave Marash, a former reporter for ABC's "Nightline" and Al-Jazeera English. "It is serious of purpose, by far the best news channel available to American viewers."
Al-Jazeera America won Peabody Awards for documentaries on cholera in Haiti and a deadly factory fire in Bangladesh. The network had six first-place finishes in the National Headliner Awards, which honors notable journalism. Two weeks ago, the National Association of Black Journalists honored AJAM for "creative, compelling, character-driven storytelling."
INDUSTRY NEWS 8-7-2014
Journal Communications, Scripps Co. announce deal
Journal Communications Inc. of Milwaukee and E.W. Scripps Co. of Cincinnati have agreed to combine their broadcasting operations while spinning off newspaper holdings into a separate public entity.
The deal is the latest move by media companies to separate sluggish newspaper operations from more profitable broadcast units, as the industry adapts to consumers' increasing taste for digital content.
The trend started with Belo Corp., which in 2008, spun off its newspapers including The Dallas Morning News. More recently, The Tribune Co. said it is splitting its print business, including the Los Angeles Times, and its TV channels. News Corp. and Time Warner Inc. have also split into separate publishing and entertainment companies.
Shareholders have shown their preference for pure-play broadcast companies rather than companies that combine newspapers and broadcast.
Journal Communication's newspaper component, Journal Media Group, will be headquartered in Milwaukee and operate in 14 markets, according to news releases from the companies. It will combine Journal Communications' Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, community publications and digital products with Scripps' daily newspapers, including the Memphis Commercial Appeal, plus community and digital products.
Gannett to split publishing, broadcast-digital into 2 public companies
Gannett Co. Inc. has announced that it is creating two publicly traded companies – one focused on broadcasting and digital businesses, the other on print publishing.
Gannett said that the planned separation of publishing and digital-broadcast businesses will "create two focused companies with increased opportunities to grow organically across all businesses, as well as pursue strategic acquisitions."
Gannett has also signed an agreement to acquire full ownership of Cars.com. Under the agreement, Gannett will acquire the 73 percent interest it does not already own in Classified Ventures LLC, which owns Cars.com, for $1.8 billion in cash. Cars.com allows consumers to shop for cars, compare them and connect with sellers and dealers. It is the No. 2 auto-related site with 30 million visits per month, and displays 4.3 million new and used cars from nearly 20,000 dealers.
Gannett owns USA Today as well as the Detroit Free Press, its largest Sunday newspaper, and other media sites in Michigan – including the Lansing State Journal, the Port Huron Times Herald, the Battle Creek Enquirer, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, the Observer & Eccentric weekly newspapers in metro Detroit, and WZZM 13 in Grand Rapids.
Tribune completes spinoff, changes name
The Tribune Co. has completed the spinoff of its newspaper business and changed its name to Tribune Media Co.
Tribune first announced plans to separate its television and print businesses a year ago.
Tribune Media Co. will operate 42 local TV stations and the WGN America cable channel, and start trading under the ticker TRBAA.
Its newspaper arm will be called Tribune Publishing Co. and include newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Its shares are set to start regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "TPUB.”
The Tribune Co. was founded in 1847 when the Chicago Tribune was first published.
Toledo, Ohio, Blade, union reach pact on decision to outsource
Officials with The Blade’s parent company say an agreement is in place with the 131 unionized employees who will lose their jobs later this year when The Blade shutters its downtown printing and production facilities.
No details of what that agreement includes were released.
Block Communications owns The Blade.
South Carolina’s Osteen group buys newspapers in coastal Alabama
The family-owned company that operates The Sumter Item in Sumter, South Carolina, is buying several small newspapers in Alabama.
The Sumter Item reports (http://bit.ly/1s75FSm ) that OPC News LLC has finalized the purchase of Gulf Coast Newspapers LLC.
OPC News is owned by Graham, Kyle and Jack Osteen. The company has holdings in Osteen Publishing Co. Inc., which has run The Sumter Item for more than 100 years.
OPC News will own five small newspapers in Baldwin County, Alabama, as well as tourism-related publications and a website. Gulf Coast Newspapers Publisher Sudie Gambrell will continue in that job.
5 food writers subpoenaed in 'pink slime' lawsuit
Several food writers, including a New York Times reporter, have been subpoenaed by a meat producer as part of its $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC in regards to the network's coverage of a beef product dubbed "pink slime" by critics.
The subpoenas were issued to five writers — three reporters for the online Food Safety News, Times reporter Michael Moss and noted food writer Michele Simon — asking each to supply copies of any communications they had with ABC in 2012.
Beef Products Inc. sued the network in 2012 seeking $1.2 billion in damages for the coverage of the meat product the industry calls "lean, finely textured beef," which critics dubbed "pink slime."
BPI said ABC's coverage misled consumers into believing the product was unsafe and led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs.
ABC's attorneys say that in each of its broadcasts about the product, the network stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture deemed the product safe to eat. They say BPI might not like the phrase pink slime, but like all ground beef, it's pink and has a slimy texture.
Wichita Eagle: Find statistics online about adoptions in Kansas
Each Monday, The Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas, highlights a government record that is available to the public. One recent column noted that open records help people keep government in check and help them better understand how government affects their lives.
For a complete list of You Oughta Know columns, go to www.kansas.com/oughta.
An example of the paper’s work is a column about finalized adoptions in Kansas.
Why you’d want them: To learn more about how many children are adopted in Kansas, by region and at what ages.
Where you get them: The statistics are available at the Kansas Department for Families and
Children’s website, www.dcf.ks.gov. Under the “Prevention and Protection Services” menu, click on the “Foster Care” link. Then click on the “Reports” link and finally, on “Finalized Adoptions.”
How much do they cost: The information is free.
INDUSTRY NEWS 7-30-2014
Report says surveillance is hampering journalists
Revelations over the past few years about how U.S. security officials have the ability to track people through phone, email and other electronic records are making it harder for journalists to report on what the government is doing, two human rights groups say.
Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report that access to data as detailed in leaks by former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden, coupled with the Obama administration's prosecution of people for leaking classified information, is having a chilling effect on reporters.
The groups are calling on the administration to be more upfront about the data it is collecting and how the information is used, and to increase protections for journalists and whistleblowers. The same government access to information is eroding the ability of lawyers to protect the confidentiality of its contacts with criminal defendants, the report concludes.
Ninety-two people, including 46 journalists, 42 lawyers and some present or retired national security officials, were interviewed for the report.
While journalists are not being prosecuted for doing their jobs, news about the scope and type of information available to the government has forced many journalists to change how they work, said Alex Sinha, the report's author. Several say that fewer sources are willing to talk to them because they fear the consequences, he said.
Sarah Palin Channel makes online debut as counter to mainstream media
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who's been critical of bias in the media, decided to launch the Sarah Palin Channel, her own online subscription service site.
Palin kicked off the site with a video that described her channel as a news and video chat service that will also include behind-the-scenes glimpses at the political events she attends, The Washington Post reported.
Palin said the Sarah Palin Channel is a direct response to the slanted coverage of mainstream media – the type of coverage she said plagued her during her vice-presidential run.
A subscription costs $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year.
GateHouse Media parent to buy Providence Journal
The parent company of GateHouse Media LLC announced an agreement to buy The Providence Journal and related print and digital assets from A.H. Belo Corp. for $46 million cash.
New York-based New Media Investment Group Inc. said it expects to complete the deal for the newspaper in the third quarter.
"The Providence Journal is one of the most established and prominent newspapers in the United States and is the pre-eminent provider of local content to the greater Providence marketplace," New Media President Michael Reed said. "We are very excited to welcome the paper, its employees and the community into the growing New Media family."
The announcement said the Journal, first published in 1829 and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes, has a circulation of about 72,000 daily and 96,000 on Sunday.
Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
The Washington Times and the Washington Redskins announced a partnership that will make the newspaper a content and marketing partner of the team.
Under the partnership, the Redskins and the Times will collaborate on unique content offerings throughout the year designed to provide Redskins fans with compelling, timely and unique coverage.
The offerings will include a weekly "Redskins Weekend Game Guide," which will wrap the front page of the Times' print edition each Friday during the NFL season and a new free digital magazine called "The Redskins Report," which will showcase exclusive content about the Redskins. Both features are expected to launch in August.
New Jersey's largest newspaper sells building
New Jersey's largest newspaper has sold the building it has called home in Newark for nearly 50 years to a New York firm.
The Star-Ledger is not saying how much Floral Park, New York-based Maddd Equities is paying for the 177,000-square-foot building in Newark.
Publisher Richard Vezza told the newspaper (http://bit.ly/1kZhTaw ) the sale is expected to close in October and Vezza does not know what the real estate investment firm plans to do with the structure.
The newspaper will retain a presence in Newark in a leased office in Gateway Center.
The newspaper's owner, Advance Publications, launched a new media company this year that will provide content and advertising out of offices in Woodbridge.
Fired Iowa editor claims religious discrimination
The former editor of the Newton Daily News in Newton, Iowa, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying he was fired for expressing his religious beliefs on his personal blog.
Bob Eschliman claims religious discrimination and retaliation in the complaint.
The EEOC could order the newspaper's parent company, Dixon, Illinois-based Shaw Media Inc., to compensate Eschliman with back pay, future pay and exemplary damages. It also could issue him a right to sue letter allowing him to pursue his complaint in federal court.
Shaw Media President John Rung didn't immediately return a call. Eschliman had worked at the 4,000-circulation newspaper since June 2012.
Eschliman, a married 41-year-old father of two, was fired May 6, a week after he wrote on a personal blog that gay organizations wanted to reword the Bible "to make their sinful nature 'right with God.'" He also discussed what he termed "deceivers among us," called gay groups the "Gaystapo" and ended the post with, "We must fight back against the enemy."
The newspaper published a column by Rung on the day it announced Eschliman's firing. In it, Rung said Eschliman's posting did not reflect the opinion of the newspaper or the company. He said Eschliman's public airing of his views "compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it."
Misconduct files policy of Chicago police earns praise
A new policy will make public all completed investigations of Chicago police misconduct instead of treating them as personnel matters, a move that a law school professor involved in the litigation that led to the change says will bring transparency to a department that has long been dogged by a reputation for brutality and a code of silence.
The decision, which was announced in mid-July by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, ends a legal fight over the city's long-standing policy of exempting police misconduct incidents from Freedom of Information Act laws. Rather than appeal an appellate court's ruling that the city could not keep the records secret, the city said it would comply with such requests.
University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman said that by forcing the Chicago Police Department to hand over to those who file FOIA requests information on specific cases as well as the names of officers who have been repeatedly accused of misconduct, the department will be forced to investigate patterns of abuse.
"Because the department has refused to investigate those patterns, it leaves the cops (responsible) thinking they're above the law," he said. "This is going to be a strong incentive to say,' We've got to investigate.'"
INDUSTRY NEWS 7-17-2014
South Carolina Supreme Court: Autopsy reports are not public
The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that autopsy reports are not public records, dealing another blow to traditional practices under the state's Freedom of Information law.
The justices ruled 4-1 that autopsies are medical records and fall under privacy provisions of the open records law. The ruling came just four weeks after the justices ruled that public meetings don't have to have a list of topics to be discussed, and if they do have an agenda, it can be changed in the middle of the meeting.
The justices ruled in a lawsuit against the Sumter County Coroner Harvin Bullock by The Sumter Item. The newspaper sued because the coroner refused to release the autopsy report of 25-year-old Aaron Jacobs, who was shot by police in 2010.
Police initially said Jacobs fired on officers, but the autopsy report, obtained from a different source by the newspaper, said there was no gunshot residue on Jacobs' hands and he was shot in the back.
Tribune sets Aug. 4 date for publishing spinoff
The Tribune Co. has set Aug. 4 as the date for the expected spinoff of its newspaper publishing business.
It first announced plans to separate its television and print businesses a year ago. The company has said the move will let one company take advantage of growth in broadcasting and allow the other to focus on newspapers, an industry where revenue has been declining for years. News Corp. and Time Warner Inc. have also recently split into separate publishing and entertainment companies.
The new company will be called Tribune Publishing Co. and include newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Its shares are set to start regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "TPUB" on August 5.
INDUSTRY NEWS 7-9-2014
CNN sues Blaine County for Bergdahl records
Cable News Network has sued Blaine County in Idaho seeking information from a 1999 police investigation involving the family of Bowe Bergdahl, the Wood River Valley soldier who spent five years in captivity of the Taliban, according to the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper. CNN says the report from the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office is subject to disclosure under Idaho public records laws. Sheriff Gene Ramsey has twice denied the network's request. “I have declined to release the report because I feel it should be exempt from disclosure, because it would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” Ramsey told the Idaho Mountain Express. The sheriff said the report comes from “an investigation in 1999 in which no charges were filed.”
Hearst Connecticut, Westfair ink content sharing deal
Hearst Connecticut Media Group has begun a content-sharing partnership with Westfair Communications, publisher of the Fairfield County Business Journal, the Westchester County Business Journal and WAG magazine. Westfair is based in White Plains, New York."This is a great opportunity to give our readers more news and more information about our
local economy," said Executive Editor Barbara T. Roessner, who oversees news content and operations for Hearst Connecticut’s four daily newspapers and five weeklies. "Local business coverage is essential to our communities. It's a top priority for our newspapers and websites." Dee DelBello, publisher of Westfair, heralded the arrangement as a first-of-its-kind for the company.
Adams Publishing Group buys Minnesota newspapers
Adams Publishing Group LLC has purchased the Owatonna (Minnesota) People's Press, Faribault Daily News and other media properties from Huckle Media LLC. The deal includes 10 community newspapers, 17 websites, shopping guides and a commercial printing facility. The new division, APG Media of Southern Minnesota will also include the Northfield News, Waseca County News, St. Peter Herald, Le Sueur News-Herald, Kenyon Leader, Lonsdale Area News-Review, Blooming Prairie Leader and Le Center Leader. The family-owned Adams Publishing Group is based in St. Louis Park. Its founder is Stephen Adams, youngest son of longtime WCCO Radio and TV personality and Minneapolis Star and
Tribune columnist Cedric Adams. The company in March acquired three divisions of American Consolidated Media in northern Minnesota,
Las Vegas Sun shifts ownership, plans to keep publishing
The Las Vegas Sun has broken off talks to end its longstanding joint operating agreement with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Sun reported on its website. The Sun also said its Publisher, Brian Greenspun, has become sole owner of the newspaper’s parent company, Greenspun Media Group. The company, founded by Hank and Barbara Greenspun in 1950, was owned by Greenspun and his three siblings — brother Danny Greenspun and sisters Susan Greenspun Fine and Janie Greenspun Gale.
Judge: Emails about emergency network US property
A federal judge in Des Moines, Iowa, has blocked the release of emails to and from an Iowa sheriff serving on a federal board tasked with building a high-speed broadband network for emergency responders. Judge James Gritzner issued an order declaring the emails in Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald's county email files federal records that may not be released by the county without U.S. government permission. Fitzgerald was appointed in 2012 to serve on the board of FirstNet, created by Congress to improve upon weaknesses found in emergency networks in the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The news outlet Politico learned Fitzgerald used county email to discuss FirstNet business and sought copies through an open records request. Gritzner sided with the Department of Justice, which opposed the release, arguing the emails
included sensitive information.
The AP plans to automate quarterly earnings articles
The Associated Press has announced that it will use computer automation to perform one of the most formulaic tasks for business reporters — writing articles about the quarterly earnings of companies. Articles about corporate earnings are largely based on a company’s report to shareholders, but can include information from earnings conference calls with executives and comments from analysts. The AP produces about 300 such articles a quarter, according to Lou Ferrara, a
managing editor who oversees business news. Beginning in July, Mr. Ferrara said, these articles will be written using software from a company called Automated Insights, which The Associated Press has invested in, paired with data from
Zacks Investment Research. The automated system will enable the news service to increase the number of earnings articles it publishes more than tenfold, Mr. Ferrara said, and allow journalists to use their “brains and time in more enterprising ways during earnings season.” No journalism jobs will be lost as a result, he said.
Facebook runs into uproar over experiment that tested emotional reactions
Facebook is facing a firestorm of outrage over an experiment in which researchers temporarily tweaked the contents of nearly 700,000 users' news feeds – without their knowledge – to test their emotional response to seeing more positive or negative news from friends, the San Jose Mercury News reported..As word of the one-week experiment spread online, some users, legal experts and even medical researchers accused Facebook of treating the test subjects like lab rats by deliberately manipulating their emotions in ways that could potentially cause harm. Facebook downplayed the study in a statement that characterized it as just one of many tests the company conducts to make the social network "more relevant and engaging." Defenders pointed out that Internet companies like Facebook, Google and Yahoo are constantly testing
users' reactions to different types of content, including advertising, in ways that determine what each user sees in the future.
Miami News-Record purchased by GateHouse Media
The Miami News-Record has been acquired by New Media Investment Group, one of the largest owners of newspapers in the country. New Media purchased five daily, nine weekly newspapers and four shoppers from the American Consolidated Media Southwest Group, the parent company of Miami News-Record. ACM newspapers are based in small-market communities in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. New Media also announced it purchased The Petersburg Progress-Index, as well as a weekly publication, The Colonial Voice. Those newspapers are in Virginia. Together, the two acquisitions were purchased for $15.3 million. New Media is the owner of GateHouse Media, LLC, one of the largest publishers of locally
based print and online media in the United States. The newspapers will be managed by GateHouse Media.
Watergate as seen through eyes of Dick Cavett show
PBS is marking the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's resignation by running a documentary on the Watergate scandal as seen through the prism of Dick Cavett's late-night talk show at the time. People with memories of Watergate remember developments unfolding on the evening news or the gripping Senate hearings shown on daytime TV, but fewer recall that Cavett's ABC program featured appearances by an array of pivotal figures. Even the former host. "I didn't remember how much there was," Cavett told The Associated Press. "I watched some of it the other day and they were new to me." From 1972 to 1974, Cavett interviewed many major Watergate figures, including Nixon aides John Ehrlichman, Alexander Haig, G. Gordon Libby and Jeb Magruder, as well as several members of the Senate committee investigating the case. Cavett's show even taped a special edition from the room where the Senate hearings were held. The documentary "Dick Cavett's Watergate" features fresh interviews with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, former Nixon aide John Dean and Cavett. PBS announced it will air on Aug. 8.
Minnesota Timberwolves owner closes Star Tribune purchase
Minnesota Timberwolves owner and printing company billionaire Glen Taylor has completed his purchase of the Star Tribune. Terms were not disclosed, but Taylor has put the purchase price at around $100 million, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1jD0zaL ) reported. The Minneapolis media company joins Taylor's group of more than 80 businesses worldwide, including the Timberwolves, the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx and dozens of companies in printing and other industries. "As I've said before, the Star Tribune is not only a good business, it's an important institution for all Minnesotans," Taylor said in a statement. "Our state and the region benefit from the presence here of a strong journalistic enterprise."
National journalism group gives 'Golden Padlock' award to governors for secrecy law
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has received a “Golden Padlock” award from a national journalism organization for her support of the state’s execution secrecy law. Fallin will share the award from Investigative Reporters and Editors with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who has also supported secrecy involving executions in that state. Both governors also share the award with the U.S. Navy FOIA office, which won for blocking access to records about a deadly shooting rampage in Washington, D.C. that killed 12 people last year.
Gilbert's real estate arm buys Detroit newspaper building
Businessman Dan Gilbert's real estate arm says it's bought the home of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Bedrock Real Estate Services made the announcement about its purchase of the Detroit Media Partnership building. The News says the purchase price wasn't disclosed. The 400,000-square-foot building was built in 1917 and designed by famed architect Albert Kahn. Detroit Media Partnership President Joyce Jenereaux says she's "thrilled that Bedrock will be
the new owner of our building." The Free Press says Bedrock and its affiliates now own, control or manage more than 60
properties in Detroit's urban core, totaling more than 9 million square feet of space. The Detroit Media Partnership recently announced it will move its headquarters.
Quinn vetoes Illinois legislation limiting FOIA
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has vetoed legislation that would've made it more difficult for members of the public to obtain large numbers of records under the Freedom of Information Act. The legislation was sponsored by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, and passed the Legislature in May. The legislation would have allowed public
bodies to charge fees for providing electronic data if FOIA requests involved large amounts of information. It also would have given public entities exemptions from having to make copies of records on their websites. Bill supporters said the measure eliminated "undue burdens." It was opposed by numerous press associations.