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Posts Tagged ‘John Carroll’

Your Weekend Beach Read, Courtesy of the FCC

Ready for a little beach blanket uh-oh? Then have we got the mobile device, PDF download for you.

The FCC document we’re recommending was released Thursday. It’s titled “The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age,” is 450 pages long, and can be bookmarked here. For those of you too scared to look under the FCC hood, here are a few summary SoCal gleanings.

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The News Literacy Project: Bringing Accountability Into the Classroom

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Vivian Schiller, Soledad O’Brien and Alan Miller Photo via Meredith Goncalves

Last night, Time Warner hosted a litany of major media players, all gathered in support of The News Literacy Project. Founded by Alan Miller, who left his investigative reporter position at the Los Angeles Times to do the unthinkable – teach students to think critically about the barrage of information thrown at them on the Internet — the program attracted the attention of board members like NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, CNN‘s Soledad O’Brien and Paul Mason, formerly of ABC News. Also on hand yesterday evening was The New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., one of the evening’s co-hosts and participants in last night’s silent auction to raise money for the NLP.

Launched last spring, the NLP brings journalists from across the media world to social studies, English, and history classes in middle and high schools in New York City, Maryland, and Chicago where they teach students how to think critically and pick out reliable information from the overwhelming amount of news that bombards them every day.

Last night’s fundraiser included panels with some of the inaugural members of the program, including Anabel Rivas, a graduate of New York’s Facing History School (one of the three public schools that participated in the first NLP program), as well as Facing History’s principal Gillian Smith, Vice Principal Mark Otto and AP English teacher Kristina Wylie, whose classroom was one of the first to benefit from the News Literacy Program.

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Former LAT Editors Speak Out

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Los Angeles Magazine speaks to five former editors of the LAT about what the paper was like then – and where it’s going today. The overall picture is as grim as you’d expect: The good old days are good and dead and the industry is headed to hell in a handbasket. All that. Funny thing is, we remember some of these guys, and there were as many gripes during their tenures as now.

Shelby Coffey III for instance can wax poetic all day about the “tremendously stimulating time” he had as editor-in-chief from ’89-’97 and all the bureaus and new editions that were added under his watch. But let’s not forget that many of those bureaus were ghosts towns by ’95 populated by quasi-legally employed “stringers.”

Michael Parks seems to benefit the most from 20/20 hindsight, even offering his perspective of how he’d run the paper in today’s climate: “You have to get more imaginative in your coverage choices. The Los Angeles Times should not run and hunt with The New York Times and The Washington Post. It’s sui generis. It needs to be reported, written, and edited for the people of Southern California.” He doesn’t mention any other innovative ways to increase the paper’s funding. We’re guessing that’s a sore subject.

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FBLA Exclusive: Alan Miller Leaving LAT For Much, Much Better Things

It’s a rare reporter who leaves daily news to try to make journalism a better institution. From our inbox this morning:

You asked several weeks ago if I was taking the latest buyout at the Los Angeles Times. I apologize for not responding sooner. But I want to let you know that I am leaving the paper after 21 memorable years, including nearly 19 years in the Washington bureau. My last day is March 28.

As you may know, I’m one of two remaining charter members of the bureau’s high-profile investigative team (started five editors and 14 years ago) and one of three Pulitzer winners in the bureau’s history (2003). This was one of more than a dozen national awards that I shared with my colleagues, including the Polk Award, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and two IRE awards.

With Robin Fields departing as well, the bureau’s I-team, which just a year ago had seven members, including Kevin Sack, my partner on the Harrier, will be down to three.

I’m leaving the paper but not the battlefield. I have a planning grant from the Knight Foundation to bring journalists and retired journalists into secondary schools to give students the tools to become smarter and more frequent consumers and producers of credible information across all media. My former editor, John Carroll, Vivian Schiller, who runs nytimes.com, and Chuck Lewis, who founded the Center for Public Integrity, are among my advisory board members.

I’ve spoken to many journalists, educators and social entrepreneurs in recent months, and have generated promising ideas, participation and initial support for Appleseed: The News Literacy Project. “The concept of reaching out to the younger generation through those of us who have experienced classical journalism and appreciate the First Amendment is long overdue,” Philadelphia Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow told me recently. “In my opinion, this project is one of great importance, and great urgency.”

I look forward to keeping up with LA Times, as well as the rest of the media world, through your site.

Alan C. Miller

Good luck, Alan!

Mark Bowden Swings at The Wire’s David Simon

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Mark Bowden writes about The Wire and its creator, David Simon in the new Atlantic. Bowden finds the show a little bleak, and isn’t happy that Simon lambasted two of his pals in a public speech about his days as a reporter at The Sun:

This is the place of H. L. Mencken, of Frank Kent, of William Manchester. It’s like you can touch things that you can be proud of. I just have to do good work for its own sake…I’m basically happy, and it’s like the least ambitious I am in my life. Until …it gets sold out of town. And these guys come in from Philly. The white guys from Philly. And I say that with all the contempt you can muster for the phrase white guys. Soulless motherfuckers. Everything that Malcolm X said in that book before he got converted back to humanity–no, no, he was right in the first place. These guys were so without humanity. And it was the kind of journalism–how do I describe bad journalism? It’s not that it’s lazy, it’s that whenever they hear the word Pulitzer, they become tumescent. They become engorged…All they wanted to do was win prizes …I watched them single-handedly destroy The Sun.

One of those white guys is John Carroll, late of the LA Times. Bowden is appalled at Simon’s hatred of Carroll, but plenty of LA Times readers can remember that paper’s pursuit of prizes at the expense of local coverage. And as the final season of The Wire is allegedly based on Simon’s experiences at The Sun (one of story lines deals with a newspaper’s muckraking campaign on homelessness), Bowden got into a tiff with Simon while writing the story.

Matthew Yglesis posts about the show:

Fundamentally, I think his vision of the bleak urban dystopia and its roots is counterproductive to advancing the values we hold dear.

Commenters point out that Yglsis knows fuck all about inner city Baltimore and then Simon shows up to comment.

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News War: The LA Times vs. Tribune and Readers Lose

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KCET broadcast Frontline’s series News War last night, as counter programming for American Idol, never guessing that someone could actually want to watch both. This episode, What’s Happening to the News, which examimes the struggles of the LA Times, will repeat this Friday and the website has the whole series.

The producers interviewed all the right people for the series, and all but five of them are men.

In this episode, Amanda Congdon is presented twice–once in her Rocketboom days, and now as the fresh new face on ABC.com. She even gets an extended section on the website–the only woman with such a segment. (Maybe she’s supposed to help David Westin get a reasonable return.) Other than a woman in the LAT’s Baghdad bureau (in a burkha!) and Lauren Rich Fine from Merrill Lynch, women aren’t talking about the news business. And judging by the credits, women aren’t working in it either, at least not on this episode. (The first two episodes were written, produced, and directed by Raney Aronson-Rath.)

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