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Archives: June 2013

Bureau Chief Blows Up at Verizon

Albuquerque Journal Washington Bureau Chief Michael Coleman went on Twitter Thursday to blast Verizon for its lack of follow through. In the course of a many tweet tirade to @VerizonSupport, he expressed his exasperation toward a company that didn’t bother to show up to install his phone and internet service, among other atrocities.

In what is a growing trend of journalists using the power of the press to go public with complaints against companies and services, Coleman said Verizon left him no choice but to publicly call them out. In many cases it’s airlines or hotels that screw up with journalists, but the complaints and companies vary.

In response, Verizon apologized. Unfortunately, it was too late. “I had no idea a telecom company could have worse customer service than Comcast, but I was wrong,” Coleman told FishbowlDC.

On Twitter, his words grew fiery. “Pardon me while I flame @verizon some more,” he wrote. “Worst customer service experience of my life. DO NOT use Verizon for home phone-net in DC.”

The back story? Coleman moved into a place on Capitol Hill. He thought after a rocky decade with Comcast it was time to end things and start fresh with Verizon, especially since they were offering what seemed to be a pretty great package with Direct TV included. What he says he didn’t bargain for was waiting three full days for someone to never show up for appointment(s) to hook up his internet and phone during one of the busiest work weeks on the Hill in a long time.

“I work from home,” Coleman told FishbowlDC. “Total first world nightmare.”

Here’s what happened next… Read more

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Bloomberg News Hosts Panel on Press Freedom

With the rise of conflict in North Africa and the Middle East, concern for press freedom has intensified.

Bloomberg News Thursday evening hosted a panel with the Committee to Protect Journalists to discuss CPJ’s 2013 report on press freedom in North Africa and the Middle East, which was recently published. Those in the audience found a copy of the report on their seat upon arriving.

Among the panelists were Faysal Itani, an Atlantic Council fellow; Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa coordinator for CPJ and Honey Al Sayed, an exiled Syrian welfare host.

The panel was moderated by Indira Lakshmanan, foreign policy corespondent for Bloomberg.

The panel discussed the role of the press in Middle Eastern and North African regions, which is largely controlled by the regimes in power or opposition movements. Al Sayed shared her story of being host of the first privatized radio show, “Good Morning Syria,” in Syria in 2005. As the opposition gained traction, the station was forced by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime to act as a propaganda arm, denouncing the rebel movement.

Her show became increasingly regulated by the regime. She faced threats when she didn’t praise it. The station also endured threats from the rebels, who wanted the station to stop broadcasting. Facing increasing danger from both sides, Al Sayed decided in early 2012 to leave and come to the U.S.

Al Sayed’s story, as Lakshmanan pointed out multiple times, was not much different than the stories of many of the audience members.

The panel also discussed the importance of social media and citizen journalists, who they said have provided almost all the coverage of the conflict in Syria. Very few journalists are able to travel to Syria from an outside country, leaving most of the coverage to Syrians with Twitter, Facebook or YouTube accounts.

The panel was hopeful for increased press freedom in Middle East and North Africa, though they said it may be at least a decade before some countries, such as Syria, see an increase.

Govtech.com Redesigns Itself Into the Pinterest of News

Govtech.com, the online version of Government Technology, a trade mag for state and local governments, has redesigned its website with what they’re calling a “never-ending” news page.

“Gone is the standard news page look and feel. The new site fits any device you choose— smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop,” the magazine said in a press release. We’re told this new approach has already created buzz, though we couldn’t really find any. They say the redesign “is responsive, more social, bold, bright and extremely visual.”

That’s all well and good, and the site is actually extremely visual, so much so that it’s like a Pinterest board of news. We’re just not sure we mean that in a good way. Is this really the best approach to organizing date-based content? Just a few seconds of scrolling down the homepage and we’re on a story like ”Free Tax Filing Online Helps Low-Income Citizens.” That is a good idea for an article… for tax season, when it was actually written.

It is nice, though, that you can filter the never-ending list to display only the kind of stories you want—and not just by topic, but by the branch of government the story pertains to. Then it really is like a Pinterest board.

Maybe a more social approach would’ve let people organize the stories themselves. Crowd-curation? Share groups of stories they liked? As it stands in default, it’s just weird to give front page real estate to stories that are months old, even if you do have to scroll before you find them.

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This Week’s WTF Moments In The News

Every once in a while, you guys write stories so crazy we can barely believe what we’re reading. Here’s a round up of a few WTF moments from this week.

National Journal, Nearly One in Five Members of Congress Gets Paid Twice

The Story: Congressmen get paid, and some also collect pensions—lucrative pensions

WTF: This story may or may not be a big deal to you, depending where you fall on the political spectrum. Seems, though, if you work a job that promises you a pension and you put in your years of service—usually a lot of them, there’s not much of an argument for not collecting that pension. Unless, of course, you don’t actually put in your years of service. National Journal mentions Tea Party Rep. Trey Gowdy in South Carolina. There, if you’re a judge or state lawmaker, you can buy your years of service. Buy. It seems like that’s just what Gowdy did, but no one from Gowdy’s office had the balls to step up and actually admit it. “So, in 2011, the year after he rode the tea-party wave into Congress promising to slash government spending, he reported $88,432 in pension income—one of the 10 largest in Congress,” Congressional reporter Shane Goldmacher wrote.

#wefoundrusty…

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Separated at Birth: Two Blonde TV Journos

PBS’s Judy Woodruff and CNN’s Deborah Feyerick could easily be related. Sisters? Mother-daughter? Either will do.

 

Morning Reading List 06.27.13.

Reporters circle around Mandela like vultures — Reporters, like strippers and politicians, don’t have a good rap to begin with. But this week they sink a notch lower as reports surface of them “hovering” around former and ailing South Africa President Nelson Mandela like “vultures.” The story says the behavior of reporters is angering South Africans and Mandela family members. QUOTE: ”I’m going to say it. There’s sort of a racist element with many of the foreign media where they just cross boundaries,” said Zindzi Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader’s eldest daughter. “It’s like, truly vultures waiting for when the lion has devoured the buffalo.” The Takeaway has the scoop.

Sen. Mark Kirk touched by an angel – In an interview with National Journal‘s Matt Cooper, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) opens up about his stroke. For whatever reason, the author doesn’t offer a basic overview of what Kirk went through. He had a massive stroke in January, 2012. COOPER: You underwent brain surgeries. From what I’ve read it was a spiritual journey. KIRK: I spent a lot of time in the ICU on the edge of oblivion and really did think a lot of death and the process of being dead. They say there are no atheists in foxholes, and I was in a very deep foxhole. COOPER: I heard you had visions of angels, with New York accents, not Chicago ones. KIRK: That’s right. Sometimes I’d look over and see figures talking about me. They had a pretty good sense of humor. Read the full story.

NSA anonymously cozies to press — While the press doesn’t have a good rap, neither do publicists. This week Reuters’ media writer Jack Shafer details the sneaky ways that NSA tried to repair its relationship with members of the press. They show up anonymously in stories in WaPo, Reuters and others. Shafer mostly sits on the fence. He doesn’t like all the anonymous crap, but he also understands it and thinks there ought to be warning labels on stories heavily peddled by intelligence officials. “You might guess that I find this kind of water-carrying by the press corrupting. I do, but not absolutely corrupting,” he writes. “I’m fairly certain that the reporters who filed the stories cited here have broken stories that have angered the two unnamed intelligence officials and will gladly do so in the future.” Read the full column here.

Great @jackshafer column on “NSA charm offensive” with the press: reut.rs/11QQ62p

Morning Chatter

Favorite line from Rachel Jeantel to opposing lawyer  in testimony of George Zimmerman trial: “That’s retarded, sir.”

J-school prof gets “benign” diagnosis

“Just heard the best word in the English language: benign. (And I don’t need to see that doctor again for five years.)” — Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine blogger and J-school prof.

Huh?

“Dinner at 3 a.m. #yolo” — Mother JonesAsawin Suebsaeng.

Subject line of an email we opened and shouldn’t have: “Dirty Little Secret.” And it had zero to do with backstabbing Jodi Arias and everything to do with the boring Illinois Policy Institute.

Reporter sticks up for Rachel Jeantel

“I’m appalled by media scrutiny of #RachelJeantel… This is how the mainstream treats people who do not abide by white cultural norms.” — Independent journo based in Northern Va. Rania Khalek.

Real HuffPost headline: “The Worst Jelly Belly Flavors: A HuffPost Deathmatch”

Spotted at the Nats game Wednesday night carrying approximately nine hotdogs: TPM‘s slim Igor Bobic.

Important Q to Ponder: “Why do I feel, deep down, that Tommy Christopher is overcompensating for some bad things he said/did when he was younger?” — Conservative fundraiser Nathan Wurtzel.

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 9:38 a.m.

Editor gets emotional about gun violence

“These stories, which happen every day, make me physically sick and oh so enraged.” — Mother Jones Co-Editor Clara Jeffries on stories such as a 12-year-old boy who accidentally shoots his 9-year-old brother.

Sen. Schumer a press whore, really?

“Schumer on floor: ‘It might surprise you, Mr. President, to learn that I have a very good press team.’ #notreally” — WaPo’s Aaron Blake. Weirdly, when you look up “press whore” in Google images — who comes up? Sen. Schumer, second row.  In other interesting Blake thoughts“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It should be illegal to pop popcorn in a workplace.”

Uh oh.

“That thing of where your cool story pitch meets an implacable abyss of total silence.” — Politico‘s Ben White.

Congrats to… Marc Ambinder for never being able to stay away from a David Bradley-owned publication. He’s going to work for Defense One. It’s unclear whether he’ll still write for The Week — they have no idea and he didn’t answer an email.

Peter Ogburn contributed to this report.

 

FishbowlDC Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

WaPo

TWT

 

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Congressman to Speak at Inside 3D Printing Conference in Chicago

From the good folks at Mediabistro…

In recent months, the controversy surrounding 3D printing, and 3d printed guns in particular, has gained widespread media attention and caused several notable politicians to speak out. Mediabistro’s Inside 3D Printing Conference will address 3D printed firearms and more as it continues its world tour in Chicago this July 10-11.

Rep. Bill Foster of the 11th Congressional District of Illinois will deliver a keynote presentation at the conference to discuss digital manufacturing’s connection to policy, education, and jobs.

Michael Guslick of HaveBlue.org will also host the session, Additive Manufacturing Meets Hobbyist Gunsmithing, and speak about experiments with gunsmithing applications of 3D printing, the latest work done by others in the field, and the legal issues inherent with such pursuits.

The event will also tackle 3D printing’s impact on food, fashion, art, architecture, design, engineering, and more.

With Stratasys and 3D Systems slated to exhibit at the event’s summer edition, the event provides an ideal opportunity to meet with some of the industry’s biggest players and watch 3D printers and services in action.

Event prices increase at midnight tonight, so save $250 off on-site prices and register today.

 

Politico’s ‘Snopping’ Error

Politico had a story about Mick Jagger on its homepage Tuesday.

The headline:

Snopping? A journo opined to FishbowlDC, “Maybe Politico was trying to capture Jagger’s accent?” Later on, that headline became “Mick Jagger Knocks Obama On Surveillance.”

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